Last updated: 15 Jul 2020



France is a country of contrasts with a multitude of landscapes, offering holidays to suit all tastes and budgets. It's the world's premium tourist destination.

France's romantic capital is full of famous sights, including the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame Cathedral on Ile de la Cité, the Arc de Triomphe leading to Champs Elysées, the Sacré Coeur in the heart of Montmartre and the Louvre's Pyramid. Dining out in Paris is a treat not to be missed.

Paris has 80 museums and 200 art galleries. Visit the Musée d'Orsay located in a beautifully restored railway station, the Palais du Louvre, the Georges Pompidou Centre of Modern Art or the new Quai Branly Museum.

The Disneyland Resort Paris theme park is in Marne la Vallée.
Capital:  Paris (PAR)
Currency:  Euro (EUR)
Language:  French. Local dialects are also spoken. English is widely understood and spoken. 
Dialling code from SA:  + 33
Time Zones: UTC / GMT +1 (1 hour behind South Africa)
Daylight Savings Time: From last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October: UTC / GMT +2 (same time as South Africa)
Public Holidays 2020: 

Jan 1; Apr 13; May 1, 8, 21; Jun 1; Jul 14; Aug 15; Nov 1, 11; Dec 25

Side of the Road: Right. 
Best Time to Go: Spring (Apr-June) or Autumn (Sept-Nov). Summer is very busy. 
Best for: Wine Route, Architecture through the ages, Skiing, Eiffel Tower, Disneyland
Plugs: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Two-pin plugs are widely used.
Drinking Water: Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink. Outside of the main towns, water may be contaminated. Bottled water is available. 
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities, however visitors are required to pay for these services. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended. Doctors will require cash payment regardless of whether you have health insurance. If you require any medication on your travels it is best to bring it with you, in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is and why you need it. If you are bringing a prescription with you, ensure that your doctor uses generic names of medication. 
Customs: French are very proud of their heritage, and appreciate attempts to speak a few words of their language. Foreigners often perceive the French as rude, but this is often just a lack of understanding of French culture. Meals are leisurely, so do not expect fast service at restaurants. Punctuality is not observed. People are generally addressed as Monsieur or Madame without a last name or first name. Topless sunbathing is allowed at most beaches, but nude sunbathing is restricted to a few beaches. 
Local Offences / Laws: Unattended luggage will be removed and destroyed by security staff. Smoking in public places is banned and carries heavy fines. 
Duty Free: France is within the European Union. If you are travelling from the UK, you are entitled to buy fragrance, skincare, cosmetics, Champagne, wine, selected spirits, fashion accessories, gifts and souvenirs - all at tax-free equivalent prices.

If you are travelling from within the EU, there is no limit on the amount or value of goods you may import, providing your goods are for personal consumption. Goods imported for commercial purposes are subject to duty and the following guideline amounts are in place to determine whether this is the case:
• 800 cigarettes or 400 cigarillos or 200 cigars or 1kg of tobacco.
• 10L of spirits over 22%, 20L of alcoholic beverages less than 22%, 90L of wine (no more than 60L of sparkling wine) and 110L of beer.

If you are arriving from a non-EU country, the following goods may be imported into France by persons over 17 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.
• 4L of wine and 16L of beer and 1L of spirits over 22% or 2L of alcoholic beverages less than 22%.
• Other goods up to the value of €430 for air and sea travellers and €300 for other travellers (reduced to €150 for children under 15).
Prohibited Imports: Items which are either prohibited or require a licence include weapons and ammunition, drugs (other than those prescribed for personal use), live animals, plant products, cultural artefacts and endangered species.

Travel Alerts

COVID-19 Travel Advisory: 

  • Travel to France is possible without any restriction from countries in the European zone (EU Member States, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican). Reciprocal quarantine measures remain in force if you are arriving from the United Kingdom.
  • People arriving from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay will no longer be subject to restrictions on the grounds of preventing risks linked to the COVID-19 epidemic when entering Metropolitan France. This list is subject to be updated regularly - please refer:



This Information is intended as a Guideline.

Issuing Authorities

a) French Consulate-General: (only on appointment).
191 Jan Smuts Ave, 3rd Floor, Standard Bank Bldg Corner Jan Smuts & 7th Ave, Rosebank,
Johannesburg 2001.
PO Box 1027, Parklands 2121
Tel: 011 778 5600
Fax: 011 778 5602

b) French Consulate:
2 Dean Street (78 Queen Victoria Street)
Gardens, Cape Town
PO Box 1702, Cape Town, 8000
Tel: 021 4231575

Visa Requirements

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SA Representative

SA Embassy
59 Quai d’ Orsay 75343, Paris, Cedex, 07

Travel Health

Compulsory:  None
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Polio