Traveling to France


Aug 31st, 2014, 10:42 AM
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Traveling to France

Our trip is finally happening this week. Is it better to change currency into Euros in the US or over there? We plan on using a fee free card for everything but figure we need some cash. Also, I was told the French do not wear shorts. How casual is their casual dress? Our stay in a Paris is arranged by the company but our 4 day stay in Nice is on our own. We really have no itinerary while there. Any suggestions? Thanks!
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Aug 31st, 2014, 10:54 AM
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Get some cash at an ATM at the airport on arrival. You may want to ask your bank if there is a specific French bank you can use with a lower (or no) fee, but that is where you will get the best exchange rate for Euros.

Dress comfortably for the weather. You will see people wearing everything, although not so many shorts in Paris as in Nice. There are umpteen million threads here about what to wear. People dress in Paris as they do in New York City or Chicago.

Do a search on "Nice" here, and get some specific suggestions for that town. You might want to venture up into Provence on a day trip, maybe to Vence.
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Aug 31st, 2014, 11:17 AM
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You do not change cash anywhere - that is throwing away about 10% of your money. You just pull money from your checking account with your debit card at a bank ATM.

What you wear depends on where you are going and what you are doing. Also to some extent your age and size: kids and students dress the same everywhere, adults in large european cities tend not to wear a lot of short - esp if going to an event or better restaurant. Resorts are different.
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Aug 31st, 2014, 12:20 PM
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I usually wear casual dresses and Capri pants in summer , but honestly I am past wearing shorts unless I am working out. I think you want to look nice and well put together when you are out and about. Certainly out of respect, I would avoid anything too revealing (top or bottom) for visits to churches? I can't say we dress differently in Europe than we do in the US but we don't usually wear flip flops, shorts and athletic gear out and about-so we don't in Europe. Trust me, you will see everything.

Agree with the others...just get cash from ATMs. In France I find that Banque Populaire tends to dispense smaller bills than other French bank ATMs. I hate getting stuck with 50 euro bills, as they can be hard to break.
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Aug 31st, 2014, 12:40 PM
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We're leaving for France in a few days so I have been watching the weather. It has been cool and a bit rainy in France all summer, especially in Paris. We never travel in summer so don't wear shorts in the city. Light-weight slacks and skirts in dark colors will work in Paris though you might want shorts or capris for Nice.

Use ATMs for cash. We often take about 100 Euro which we get from our bank before departing just in case the ATM at the airport has a long line. This time I had E155 left from our last trip so am all set.
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Aug 31st, 2014, 02:05 PM
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Use ATMs in France formobtaining cash and be sure to notify your bank before you leave of your travel countries and dates. If you don't, they may block your card. Just call the 800# on the back of the card. Be sure to do the same thing with your credit cards.
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Aug 31st, 2014, 02:14 PM
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DO NOT use the Travelex ATM (right in baggage claim) in the airport - you will get a terrible rate. Go down to where you get taxis, there is a whole bank of ATMs.
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Aug 31st, 2014, 08:06 PM
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Wow, thanks for the info on the ATMs! We will of course be dressed up for the dinners the company ha planned in Paris. We are also planning an overnight trip to St. Tropez while in Nice to meet friends on their sail boat. Anyone familiar on renting a car to drive there from Nice?
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Aug 31st, 2014, 08:29 PM
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The issue with the Travelx ATM at CDG is the wording. If you navigate the tricky wording, you can get no DCCed Euro. Inside the secure area, it seems all I could find were Travelx ATM at CDG.

The problem is that the Travelx "default" seems to be the DCC. You have to read the entire screen written in obscure wording that you actually have a choice of hitting your US bank in dollar or in Euro. The former, obviously involves DCC. Last year, the DCC route was asking $1.43 per 1 Euro, while choosing to hit your bank in Euro ended up with $1.33 per 1 Euro. They didn't tell you the "$1.33" number. I went online and looked at my bank account after the fact to see what it ended up with. They scare you that if you so "foolishly" to choose the Euro route, the conversation rate will be not controlled and all the evils in the world would fall on you. That really meant was that Travelx did not get to choose the outrageous conversion rate on my behalf. Of course, knowing that the conversation rate should be around $1.33 to 1 Euro, I could easy see the underlining DCC process, and I chose to have my US bank hit in Euro with the $1.33=1 Euro conversion rate and saved unnecessary expenses.

Know the official conversation rate!
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Aug 31st, 2014, 11:44 PM
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Hi Sandy, there are lots of rental car firms in Nice, some in town, many at the airport.
Make sure your hotel in St Tropez has parking - if the hotel is in town, they will charge for parking. Driving to St Tropez can take a very long time, especially on market days Tuesday and Saturday. If you are driving, then leave early in the morning from Nice. It would normally be 1,5 hours or so (motorway A8, exit St Tropez), but could take 3 hours. If you have time, you could take the coastal road, but count on half a day to get to St Tropez that way.

If you don't need a car while there, consider taking the boat straight to St Tropez harbour.

French people do wear shorts; more so on the Riviera than in Paris, though. Just wear whatever you would wear normally, it really doesn't matter.
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Sep 1st, 2014, 10:19 AM
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Thanks, Tulips. Can you take a boat from Nice to St. Tropez?
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Sep 1st, 2014, 10:31 AM
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Yes you can;

I've taken the one from Cannes. Takes a few hours, but it's a pleasant trip if it's not too windy.

Driving is fine too, but don't underestimate the time it will take you. It has taken me 3 hours to drive from St Tropez to Nice - the road between St Tropez and St Maxime is often at a crawling pace, though September is perhaps not as bad as July, when we were there.
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