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When travelling to any new town or country it is always a good idea to familiarise yourself with the local and national customs as well as to check to see if there is anything that you are required to do before travelling. For example, when travelling by car in France legislation dictates that there are a few things that you must have in your car and if you don’t then you could be liable for a fine. Here we try to provide a few of the practical details you should take into account when booking a short break to Boulogne. Most of the information is just practical details and customs such as currency, electricity and smoking, however some are details for what to do if emergencies arise. Hopefully you will not need to use any of that information but it is better to be prepared for every eventuality. You can refer to this information before you travel and while you are there.
Tourist Office: The local tourist office can be found at 24, quai Gambetta.
Embassies and consulates: The English Embassy is in Paris. 35 rue du Faubourg-St-Honore. There is no consulate assistance anywhere in Pas de Calais.
Language: French is the official language in Giverny. However, as with other parts of France, a number of the locals have a good understanding of English and you should be able to find someone who is able to assist you. It would be advisable to familiarise yourself with some of the most common phrases.
Passport and Visas: UK, US and Canadian visitors need a passport, valid for more than 6 months, but not a visa for stays up to 3 months. Citizens of the EU need either a passport or their national identity card.
Insurance: You should buy full health and travel insurance before your trip and make a note of their 24hour helpline number.
EU citizens are entitled to reduced cost emergency care as long as they have the relevant documentation. For Britons this is the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
Customs: EU nationals do not have to declare goods imported for their own use, although you may be questioned by custom officials if you have a large amount of certain items. The limits for non-EU visitors are 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 1 litre of alcohol (over 22 percent alcohol) or 2 litres of wine; 50ml of perfume.
Visitors with Disabilities: France has made headway over recent years. All new buildings must take into account people with special needs and existing properties, where possible, must be adapted. However certain areas may still be difficult to navigate, for example cobbled, hilly streets and squares. Some older attractions (churches and castles) are still not accessible so it may be worth calling ahead, as special arrangements may be possible.
Money Matters: France uses the Euro as its national currency. The Euro is broken up in to 100 cents (1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cent coins and 1 and 2 euro coins) and 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 euro notes. Its best to change money at the post office, banks have large minimum commission charges and other bureaus offer poor exchange rates. Small notes are best, as many places do not accept above € 20. Credit cards charge premises high handling charges so be aware smaller places may not accept them. In France the law demands that the service/cover charge must be included in all prices displayed in bars and restaurants, however it is still customary if you are happy with the service to leave an additional tip. If in a bar this is usually rounding up to next euro, in a restaurant its 10% and if you have only had a couple of drink most will leave the loose change if it's just a few centimes.
Lost Property: If you loose your passport you should report it to the local police station and then to the nearest embassy or consulate. Keep a separate note of any travellers cheque numbers as you will need them to make a claim if lost.
Medicines and Medical Treatment: In case of emergency your hotel should be able to help you find a hospital or an English-speaking doctor.
The hospital is Ctre Hospitalier de Boulogne Sur Mer, Allée Jacques Monod. Citizens from the EU are entitled to free or reduced-cost NHS (National Health Service) treatment, including dental treatment - bring the EHIC card from your home country. Full health an travel insurance is still advised. If relying on the EHIC card for treatment, make sure the doctor is part of the French National Health Service and not a private system, or you may find yourself with a charge. A pharmacy is identified by a green cross outside the premises. If closed a notice should be displayed to tell you where the nearest one is.
Electricity: Voltage in France is 220 volts. Sockets take plugs with two round pins. UK electrical appliances will require an adaptor. American appliances also require a transformer.
Road Awareness: Due to legislation, drivers must have a high visibility jacket when a car is immobilised at the side of the road
This jack must be kept inside the car at all times, not in the boot It is advised that a jacket should really be available to all occupants A warning triangle is also obligatory under the same law Outside of built-up areas, bicyclists are now obliged to wear high-viz clothing at night or during periods of poor visibility (fog) under the same law.
Smoking: Recent legislation bans smoking in public indoor spaces, punishable by fines up to 350 Euros.
- 15 - SAMU (medical emergencies)
- 17 - Police
- 18 - Fire services
- 112 - European emergency line