Americans living in or visiting France or Monaco are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Paris or the nearest Consulate and to obtain updated information on travel and security within France and Monaco.
The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Paris is located at 2 Rue St. Florentin, 75001 Paris (Place de La Concorde, Metro Stop Concorde). Tel. 011-33-1-43 12 22 22 or (in France) 01-43 12 22 22; fax 01-42 61 61 40. Further information can be obtained at the U.S. Embassy's web site at http://france.usembassy.gov/. The Consulate General in Marseille is located at Place Varian Fry, 13086 Marseille; tel. 011-33-4-91 54 92 00 (Consular Section extension: 304), fax 011-33-4-91 55 09 47.
The Consulate General in Strasbourg is located at 15 Avenue d'Alsace, 67082 Strasbourg tel. 011-33-3-88 35 31 04, fax 011-33-3-88 24 06 95. The Consulate General in Strasbourg does not produce passports on the premises. American citizens in this area whose passports are lost or stolen and who have urgent travel needs should contact the U.S. Embassy in Paris.
The Consular Agency in Nice is located at 7, Avenue Gustave V, 3rd floor, 06000 Nice; tel. 011-33-4-93 88 89 55, fax 011-33-4-93 87 07 38.
The best time to visit France is April-October, though August can be a bit hot and cities tend to empty out and close down as everyone heads to the coast. Day temperatures range from the mid 70s to the 90s F/23-37 C, with nights in the 50s-70s F/10-27 C. Temperatures generally increase as you go south; the extreme south is 10 F/6 C warmer on average. August can be very hot and humid, and it's a more crowded time to travel, because all of France is on vacation, too; service suffers during this period. The months of May and October are probably nicest for touring, but it's often too cool to lie on the beach, even on the Riviera. The winters are cold, wet and snowy and can be downright miserable (lows below freezing and highs in the 50s F/10-15 C), though there is excellent skiing in the winter in the Alpine region. The Riviera is moderate during the winter, much like Southern California, but it's really too cold for swimming. In any case, take a sweater-the nights can be cool any time of the year.
The French also use a télécarte,--a phone debit card, which you can purchase at rail stations, post offices, and other places. Sold in two versions, it allows you to use either 50 or 120 charge units (depending on the card) by inserting the card into the slot of most public phones. Depending on the type of card you buy, the cost is 7.45€ to 15€ ($6.65-$13).
If possible, avoid making calls from your hotel, as some French establishments will double or triple the charges.
To call France from North America, dial 011, then 33 (the country code for France), the area code, and the eight-digit number. Although French area codes are two digits (the first digit is always a 0), you do not dial the zero when calling from abroad. For example, the Hôtel Négresco (tel. 04-93-16-64-00) contains the area code for southeastern France (04). To call long-distance within France, you simply dial this 10-digit number. But if you call from North America, you would dial tel. 011-33-4-93-16-64-00.
To call North America from France, a relatively inexpensive way is to use USA Direct/AT&T WorldConnect. From within France, dial any of the following numbers: tel. 0800/99-0011, -1011, -1111, or -1211. Follow the prompt, which will ask you to punch in the number of your AT&T credit card or a MasterCard or Visa. The countries that participate in the system--referred to as WorldConnect—include the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. By dialing the number you want in any of these countries, you'll avoid the surcharges imposed by the hotel. At any time, an AT&T operator will be available to help you. The country code for the U.S. and Canada is 1. Great Britain is 44, Ireland is 353, Australia is 61, New Zealand is 64, South Africa is 27.
In general, expect 200 volts or 50 cycles, though you'll encounter 110 and 115 volts in some older places. Adapters are needed to fit sockets. Many hotels have two-pin (in some cases, three-pin) sockets for razors. It's best to ask your concierge before plugging in any appliance.
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