CULTURE FACTS, USEFUL TIPS AND OPENING HOURS OF SHOPS IN FRANCE
some handy tips a culture facts that will make your stay in France easier. The pace of life can be completely different from what we are used to. Opening hours of shops in France, habits in restaurants or talking on the phone... With these tips, you won't have any unpleasant surprises!
CALLING ABROAD FROM FRANCE WITH A FIXED LINE
If you want to call from France to another country, you need to add the relevant country code to the number. Below is a list of the most common country codes. Before calling, add the country code and omit the first zero of the phone number.
United Kingdom: 00 44
Germany: 00 49
Ireland: 00 353
Belgium: 00 32
Netherlands: 00 31
Switzerland: 00 41
Spain: 00 34
FOOD AND DRINK ARE FULLY PART OF THE CULTURE IN FRANCE
Lunch is the most important meal in France. You can have lunch in restaurants from 12 noon and until 2pm.
In the evening, you can eat from 7pm. Most restaurants serve until 9pm.
Pubs are usually open from early in the morning until late in the evening. No alcohol is served to people under 18.
SHOP OPENING HOURS IN FRANCE - SOME TIPS
French shops are usually open six days a week from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 12pm and from 2pm to 7pm. In villages and smaller towns, shops do indeed close at lunchtime. In larger towns or large shopping centres, shops are open non-stop or 'en continuous' as they say in French. In most regions, you will find a 'centre commercial' (shopping centre) just outside the town where shops are also open all day. During the summer period (July and August), supermarkets in seaside resorts sometimes stay open until 8pm (this varies from region to region).
Off-season, very few shops are open on Sundays. However, during the summer season, some supermarkets are open on Sunday mornings from 9am to 12:30pm. In the Vendée, there are no shops open 24 hours a day.
PAYING WITH YOUR BANK CARD OR CASH WHILE ON HOLIDAY
In principle, all shops accept debit cards and credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard. Contactless payment is widely used up to €50
You can also pay cash everywhere. ATMs are available in shopping centres or at banks. - It is always handy to have cash in your pocket for small purchases.
If you have your IBAN bank number handy, you can also make bank transfers. This is particularly handy for paying large bills.
INTERNET AND WIFI
These days, almost everyone uses their phones for reading emails, social media or browsing the internet. This can be quite costly once you cross the border. So it is useful to inquire about local (free) Wi-Fi hotspots abroad. In the Vendée, most tourist offices have free Wi-fi and can provide a list of the free Wi-fi zones and explain how to use them. Wi-Fi signs are usually green with white lettering. Hotels, campsites and other accommodation almost always offer internet access but may charge a small fee for this.