Preparing for your trip

Here are a few tips to help you prepare.

Do some research

You can obtain information from any French Embassy, Institut Français, Alliance Française or Campus France centre at any time.

We would also recommend that you contact French teachers directly so that they can give you some practical advice and talk to you about life in France. The Fédération internationale des professeurs de français (International Federation of French Teachers) encompasses a number of associations of teachers of French around the world. Contact details for these associations can be found on the FIPF website.

You will find advice online, through various social networks and discussion forums, from lots of people who have already been to France. This will provide often precise answers to many of the questions you may have or that others have asked before you. Enter your question in a search engine and select the most relevant of all of the results displayed. Do be careful, though, as the Internet is teeming with information that you should always verify and corroborate: what date was it published on? Who are the authors?

Many students and tourists also report back on their trips online. Stories, photos and anecdotes are another more entertaining way to get an idea of what to expect, although every situation is different.

Travel documents and visas

If you are an EU national the Schengen agreement will enable you to enter France using just an ID card or passport. This space also comprises four States that do not belong to the EU, namely Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

If you are a national of another country you will need to contact the French consular services in your home country before you leave. Visit the website of the French Embassy or the France diplomatie website for further information. Each consular post has a 'Visa' section on its website where you will likely find the answers to your questions.

If you are a higher education student you will need to contact your nearest Campus France area. The map of Campus France locations is available on the Campus France website.

We would also remind you that minors, that is those under 18 years of age, must have certified parental consent in order to be allowed to travel alone. Contact your French Embassy for further information.

To find out if you need a visa, and if so what type, you will find a simulation tool on the France-Visas website.

Health insurance

You will require certain vaccinations in order to stay in France and a list of these vaccinations can be found on the official website of the French authorities.

Ensure that your health insurance is in order before you leave in order to obtain a reimbursement of any medical costs incurred if necessary.

If you are an EU national or a citizen of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, obtain your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you leave.

This entitles you to health cover in France at the same cost as that paid by French nationals. The European and International Social Security Liaison Centre (CLEISS) will provide you with useful information on this matter.

If you are a national of another country you will need to seek information from your health insurance body. Always keep receipts for any payments you make as these will allow you to obtain a reimbursement.

Some travel agencies and banking agencies offer health insurance packages and notably a free medical repatriation package.