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Travel Infos France

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France - Travel Infos


Due to its location, France consists of a very diverse climate.  With the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, France has factors ensuring a milder climate.  Warm, humid air from the Atlantic lessens the temperature difference between summer and winter months.  With an average annual temperature of 11º C (50º F), the winter months average about 1-2º C (33º -34º F) and summer months average about 18º -19º C (64º-66º F).  Extreme heat or cold are more of an exception in this country marked by a continental climate. 

The Massif Central prevents the dispersion of warm air masses from the Atlantic, which causes a stronger continental climate in the east of the country.  Here, temperature differences are greater, as thunderstorms and strong rains are a more common occurrence here.

In Brittany, Normandy, and in Poitou-Charentes the ocean sets the climate.  Temperatures here are much more consistent, which makes for milder winters and cooler, fresher summers.  Precipitation is more frequent and more regular.  Thunderstorms are rare, clouds and sunny skies are in constant interchange.

In the Provence, in Languedoc-Roussillon, and on Corsica the Mediterranean Sea forms the climate.  This makes for Mediterranean summers which are hot and dry, winters however bring sudden, strong rains.  Strong winds such as the Mistral, who brings Polar air over the Rhone Delta to the Mediterranean, bring periodic cooling to the area. 

The high mountain ranges of the Alpes and the Pyrenees are covered with snow for almost 6 months of the year.

Best travel times:  in spring it is beautiful everywhere; during fall, the wine growing areas Burgundy, Alsace, and Bordeaux are spectacular.  Swimming season on the Atlantic coast is restricted to July and August.  On the Cote d’Azur however, it is comfortable all year around and swimming is possible from May to October. 


Speed restrictions:  within city limits 60 km/h (35 mph), outside city limits 90 km/h (55 mph), on two lane roads outside city limits 110 km/h (68 mph).  Yellow lines along the edge of the road mark no parking zones.  The maximum allowable blood alcohol level is 0,8 Promille.


In the past, there has been criminal activity of organized gangs with occasional use of sedative gases.  It is hence recommended that overnight stays in vehicles on rest stops along French interstates are avoided – particularly in the North-South direction of travel between southern France and Spain. 

During car trips through southern France it is recommended to keep valuables within the vehicle out of sight, and leaving the car locked from the inside, even during travel, to avoid possible attempts of robbery.

For visitors to Corsica:

Since the suspension of the cease fire by the Corsican Separatists on the 18th of July 2003, the number of bomb attacks on public facilities, tourist areas, and uninhabited apartments has risen significantly.  These attacks are politically motivated and have not been directed against foreign tourists thus far.  Since the targets of the attacks however are often also facilities frequented by tourists (for example airports), the endangerment of persons cannot be excluded.  Occurrences of a clearly criminal intent towards tourists have increased.

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