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Expert tip

A café-bar in France will usually charge you extra to sit. If you’re just looking for a quick caffeine hit between attractions, consider downing your cappuccino at the bar to save a couple of euros.

ATM access

5/5 stars – there are ATMs everywhere.


French restaurants charge a service fee, so tipping is not generally required. At cafés, if impressed by your waiter, you can leave a tip of around 5% of your bill.

A decent tipping percentage is 10% for taxi drivers and tour guides, while a euro here and there will be appreciated by any hotel staff who assist you during your stay.

Bargaining scale

2/5 stars – bargaining is impolite.

Bargaining isn’t really customary in French shops, though market stall owners are sometimes open to some respectful negotiation. Never attempt to haggle at a food market; the marked figures are the only prices you’ll be offered here.

Card access

Your bank cards will be widely accepted for payments throughout France.

However, to purchase incidentals and avoid high transaction fees, it’s nice to have plenty of euros in your wallet.

Let your bank know about your travel plans if you will be relying on your credit or debit card significantly during your time abroad.

Cost of a coffee

In France, a coffee will cost you €2-€3.50.


Some French cities have a subway system, a light-rail network, or both.

In these destinations, you can often save money by purchasing a day pass or a booklet of 10 tickets for about €14 rather than single tickets for each trip (this would generally cost you up to €1.80 per ride).

Taxis are reliable throughout most of the country and you can expect to pay around €1.50 per kilometre on top of a €4.50 base price.

Pickpocket security rating

2/5 stars – theft is common.

Pickpocketing is a significant problem in France, particularly in the larger cities including Paris, Nice, and Marseilles. Remain alert in any crowded areas, such as tourist attractions, shopping centres and on public transport.

Scammers and ripoffs

From time to time, there are reports of ATM skimming devices being used in France. Be careful when making any withdrawals, particularly from machines in touristy areas and at remote service stations.

Be wary of con artists, who have a variety of ploys to trick visitors into handing over coins. A popular scam involves pretending to find a gold ring on the ground, offering it to a passing tourist, and then demanding a ‘finder’s fee’ for it. There are numerous variations of this scheme.

Other infamous con artists in Paris are the ‘string men’, who tend to reside outside Sacré-Cœur Basilica. They will offer to make you a friendship bracelet with a piece of string, which they will then make so tight that you can’t take it off. They will then demand a hefty sum to remove it for you.

Departure tax

A departure tax is usually included in the price of plane tickets if required.

Visa costs

Thanks to the Schengen Convention, tourists from New Zealand can visit France for up to 90 days without a visa.

Just make sure that you get an entry stamp in your passport when you enter a Schengen area (including France) for the first time.

During your time in France you are required by law to carry photo ID on you at all times, and the French police do conduct random checks - particularly at border crossings.

If your visit is for longer than 90 days, or for any reasons other than tourism, New Zealanders must get a visa from French Authorities in New Zealand before arriving in France. You can't apply for a French visa, or change your visa status, inside French territory.

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