France

By bus
By bus

Intercity bus service is a relatively new concept in France. Eurolines (http://www.eurolines.fr/en/), Megabus (http://uk.megabus.com) and iDBUS (http://www.idbus.com) all offer domestic French tickets as part of their international networks.

Elsewhere, intercity coaches can only be found in departmental/regional service. So check for the peculiarities of bus service in the region you are in.

Tickets for local service are usually affordable, i.e. in the region of Île De France generally cost €1.60 10 cents more if purchased from the driver.

By ship
By ship

You can cruise down one of the French canals on a river boat to see the sites of the local countryside and moor by a local town/village to try the local produce and visit the cafes and bars. One of the most popular rivers being the Canal Du Midi located in the south of France in the departments of Hérault, Aude, and Haute-Garonne. Many boat charter companies offer this service.

By Vtc

The term 'VTC' voiture de transport avec chauffeur in France is the equivalent of a private hire taxi/minicab in English-speaking countries - you can only take a VTC if it has been pre-booked. The term 'taxi' (see section above in France is the equivalent of a public hire taxi/cab in English-speaking countries - you can take a taxi either by hailing one on the street, going to a taxi stand station de taxi or booking one through a taxi operator central de radio taxi.)

Unlike taxis, by law a VTC can only charge a fare which is either a fixed price which has been agreed in advance or an amount calculated based on the time of the journey. A VTC is forbidden from charging a fare calculated based on the distance of the journey actually driven and having a taximeter installed. A VTC can only carry up to 9 passengers.

You can book a VTC through a number of operators:

Allocab
(https://www.allocab.com/) available in Paris, Lyon, Lille, Cannes, Nice, Montpellier, Toulouse, Marseille, Bordeaux, Toulon, Nantes and Rennes
Chauffeur-privé
(http://www.chauffeur-priv...) available in Paris and the French Riviera/Côte d'Azur
Drive
(https://www.drive.gt/) available in Paris and a number of other cities
Le Cab
(https://www.lecab.fr/) operates a fleet of Peugeot 508 in Paris (with an internet-enabled iPad for passengers onboard)
Uber
(https://www.uber.com/citi...) available in Paris, Bordeaux, Côte d'Azur, Lille and Lyon; note that all pickups are made on demand and it is not possible to make a booking in advance

Make sure that the VTC which you have booked is legal by checking to see if there is a VTC vignette with the registration number of the company/operator both on the front and rear windows.

By car
By car

See also: Driving in France

France drives on the right.

A French driver flashing headlights is asserting right of way and warning you of intentions and presence. Do not use it to mean thanks. Flashing headlights can also mean, "Watch out as there's a police speed-check ahead of you!" Horns should be used only in legitimate emergencies; use of the horn in urban areas outside such circumstances might win you a traffic ticket. Parisian drivers were notorious for honking their horns at anything and everything, though increased enforcement has greatly reduced this practice.

France has a well-developed system of highways. Most of the motorway autoroute links are toll roads. Some have toll stations giving you access to a section, others have entrance and exit toll stations. Don't lose your entrance ticket or you will be charged for the longest distance. All toll stations accept major credit cards although may not accept foreign credit cards, or you can use the automatic booth, but only if your card is equipped with a chip.

Roads range from the narrow single-lane roads in the countryside to major highways. Most towns and cities were built before the general availability of the automobile and thus city centres tend to be unwieldy for cars. Keep this in mind when renting: large cars can be very unwieldy. It often makes sense to just park and then use public transportation.

Renting a car
By car

Once you land in France you may need to use car hire services. Most of the leading companies operate from French airports and there is good merit in booking car hire in advance. It is a regular experience at smaller French airports to not get the type of car you booked online but an alternative model. Sometimes the alternative model is quite different so check carefully before accepting the vehicle and stand your ground if it does not match your booking request and is not suitable to your needs.

Most cars in France are equipped with standard transmissions, a fact that derives equally from the preferences of the driving public and the peculiarities of French licensing laws automatic transmissions are generally only used by the elderly or those with physical disabilities. This extends to vehicle categories that in the US are virtually never equipped with a manual transmission, such as vans and large sedans. Accordingly, virtually all of the vehicles available for rent at the average car hire depot will be equipped with a manual gearbox. If you do not know how to drive a car with a manual transmission and don't have the time to learn before your trip, be certain to reserve your rental car well in advance and confirm your reservation. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a car that is much larger than you can afford or with no car at all.

It is a good tip when travelling in numbers to get one member of the party with hand luggage to go straight through to the car hire desk ahead of everybody else, this will avoid the crush once the main luggage is picked up from the conveyor.

For short term rentals, you will find numerous familiar big name agencies Hertz, SIXT, Avis, Alamo which you can book through a number of online portals and compare prices side by side Orbitz, Kayak, Expedia. All of the above rental agencies usually have similar pricing, vehicles and rental policies. Although it not recommended, one will usually be able to wait until near last minute to book online and still get a car when it comes to short term rentals. In fact, there has been a recent surge in the last-minute car rental market, with an increasing number of start-ups promoting low-cost car hire services in different ways. One of these growing trends is car-pooling, which has exploded in the last decade. In fact, most of the biggest names in the market, such as BlaBlaCar and Covoiturage, are originally from France, though they have now expanded in neighbouring countries. Another novelty in this market, which is attracting a lot of attention, is renting cars for one-way trips around France, for one symbolic euro. Indeed, French startups such as DriiveMe now offer one-way, city-to-city car rentals for one Euro net by putting in relation the logistical and car-conveying aspect of the car hire business to the demand side. These innovative solutions and growing trends highlight a growing market and new possibilities for people to travel cheaply throughout France.

However, for rentals exceeding three weeks in duration, it is often advantageous to use a "short term" lease buy back programs in which you need to book at least a few weeks in advance before departing. The lease buy back programs are uniquely French and offer a tax-free alternative to car rentals that can often have an overall lower cost and better value than a traditional car rental. The programs are typically run by the big three French auto makers Peugeot, Renault, and Citroen. Short term leasing offers clients a brand new vehicle, full insurance, unlimited mileage, and flexible driving rules compared to traditional car rentals. You must be a NON European resident to take part in this and one downfall is that you must have need for a car for more then three weeks in order to benefit from the service. Only certain agencies are authorized to sell these leases to US residents. Some of them include; Auto France, Inc. PeugeotUS, Citroen Europass US, Renault USA US.

By train
By train

Your rights as a rail passenger

On the TGV and Intercités, your rights are covered by the SNCF's 'Garantie Voyage' passenger charter:Information guarantee To ensure that you are kept informed and updated about schedule changes/cancellations by SNCF staff and station announcements/screens/signsTicket change/refund guarantee If your train is cancelled or delayed by more than 1 hour, you can change the ticket to take another train within the next 48 hours or receive a full refund.Seat guarantee If you travel for more than 1hr30mins on a train with obligatory reservations on a ticket that states 'sans place attribuée' (no allocated seat, the train conductor will find you a seat, and if not, you will be offered a travel voucher of between €10 and €30 depending on the comfort of your journey, the journey length and the ticket price.)Assistance guarantee For train delays between 1 and 2 hours, you will be provided with a 'suitable and proportionate level of assistance'. For delays of over 2 hours, SNCF will try to reroute you by train, bus or taxi to your destination, offer you drinks and meals at lunchtime and dinner time, and, if necessary, overnight accommodation in a hotel. Note that the assistance guarantee applies regardless of the cause of the delay/cancellation.Punctuality guarantee If your train is delayed because of SNCF, you will be compensated 25% of the ticket price in travel vouchers for a delay of 30 to 59 mins, 25% of the ticket price in travel vouchers or a bank transfer for a delay of 1 hr to 1hr 59mins, 50% for a delay of 2hrs to 2hr 59mins and 75% for a delay of 3hrs or more. The minimum amount of compensation is €4. For Intercités Eco 100% trains, compensation is only given for a delay of at least 1hr.Complaints guarantee If you send a complaint to SNCF Customer Services, they will respond within 5 days, including weekends and public holidays.Note that the guarantees listed above are separate, so technically you could be entitled to more than one.If you qualify for any of the above guarantees but it is not being delivered, you should speak to an SNCF member of staff. If the situation cannot be resolved to your satisfaction, you should keep your ticket and proof of any expenses which you incurred but which should have been covered by SNCF e.g. food in the event of a long delay. After your journey, to request a reimbursement of your expenses get in touch with the SNCF Garantie Voyage centre postal address: Service Garantie Ponctualité SNCF, BP 12013, 14089 CAEN cedex 6, which is obliged to respond within one month. If you are still dissatisfied, contact SNCF Customer Services postal address: Service Relation clients SNCF, 62973 ARRAS cedex 9, which is obliged to respond within 5 days. If following a month, the situation has still not been fully resolved, you can contact the SNCF Mediator postal address: Médiateur de la SNCF, 45 rue de Londres, 75008 PARIS, who makes decisions not merely on the basis of the law, but also common sense/morality/fairness 'le Médiateur intègre le bon sens, l’éthique et l’équité dans l’analyse le conduisant à l’avis qu’il rend'.For more information about the Garantie Voyage passenger charter, see this SNCF webpage available in French only.

In addition, French courts have decided that all rail passengers are entitled to be compensated by SNCF for any losses which were foreseeable at the time of purchasing the ticket incurred as a result of a train delay/cancellation, unless it was caused by a force majeure. French Civil Code, Articles 1147 and 1150 This legal right is separate to the passenger rights in the 'Garantie Voyage' charter, and can therefore be useful either if you are not covered by the 'Garantie Voyage' charter, or if your losses are not fully compensated by the charter. For example, if your train was scheduled to arrive at your destination station at 5:45pm, but was delayed by 25 mins and so arrived at 6:10pm, which meant that you could not pick up the hire car which you had booked as the car rental office in the station closed at 6pm, and so you had to take a taxi to reach your final destination, SNCF is legally obliged to compensate you for the cost of the taxi ride and any no-show car rental charges if both losses were foreseeable e.g. if at the time you booked your train ticket on the SNCF website, you selected the option to book car rental at the same time on the booking page. Note that technical faults e.g. engine/signalling failures, weather conditions e.g. storms, snowfall and strikes except for surprise, unannounced strikes are not considered by French courts to be force majeure events.

Trains are a great way to get around in France. You can get pretty much from anywhere to anywhere else by train. For long distances, use the TGV Train a Grande Vitesse - High-Speed Train on which reservations are obligatory. But, if you have time, take the slow train and enjoy the scenery. The landscape is part of what makes France one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

The French national railway network is managed by Réseaux Ferrés de France, and most of the trains are run by the SNCF (http://www.sncf.com/indexe.htm) Société nationale des chemins de fer français. For interregional trains you can get schedules and book tickets online. For regional trains, schedules can be found at ter-sncf.com (http://www.ter-sncf.com/i...) choose your region, then "Carte and horaires" for maps and timetables. Booking is available in two classes: première classe first class is less crowded and more comfortable but can also be about 50% more expensive than deuxième classe second class. Note that if your TGV is fully booked, step aboard seconds before the doors close, and look for the guard "contrôleur". He will find you a seat somewhere.

There are a number of different kinds of high speed and normal trains:

TER Train Express Régional: Regional trains and the backbone of the SNCF system. TER are slow but do serve most stations. Available on Eurail and InterRail passes.

Intercités: As of 2012, the bundling of the former Corail services. Includes trains with compulsory reservation former Téoz and the Lunéa night trains and those for which reservations are optional former Intercités. The reservation-optional trains are what one will often use on passes. Some trains go to regions that the TGV services don't, namely in Auvergne.

TGV Trains à Grande Vitesse: The world-famous French high-speed trains run several times a day to the Southeast Nice5-6h, Marseille 3h and Avignon 2.5 h, the East Geneva 3h or Lausanne, Switzerland and Dijon 1h15 , the Southwest Bordeaux 3h, the West Rennes 2h, Nantes 2h, Brest 4h and the North Lille 1h. Eurostar to London 2h15 and Thalys to Brussels 1h20 use almost identical trains. Reservations are compulsory.

iDTGV (http://www.idtgv.com): A low-cost version of the TGV available to over 50 destinations on journeys of 3 hours or more. Tickets are only available online at the iDTGV website prices starting from €19 (second class and €29 first class) and must be printed out, or booked via the iDTGV mobile app.

OUIGO (http://www.ouigo.com): Another low-cost version of the TGV with tickets starting from €10. Note that OUIGO does not go to central Paris, but rather Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy TGV station, which is 50 mins by RER A train from central Paris. Tickets are only available online on the OUIGO website and must be printed out, or booked via the OUIGO mobile app. Also, an identity document passport, national identity card or driving licence must be presented with the ticket when boarding the train.

If you'll be doing more than about 2 return journeys in France and are younger than 26, getting a "Carte 12-25" will save you money. They cost €50, last a year, and give anywhere from a 25% to 60% discount depending on when you book the ticket and when you travel.

Booking tickets online can be quite a confusing process as it is possible to book the same journey through a number of different websites in different languages and currencies. The fares are not always consistent so it pays to check the same trip on a number of sites.

www.voyages-sncf.com
(http://www.voyages-sncf.com/) This is the French language booking website of the SNCF. To ensure that you get the best prices, make sure you select France as the country, as the website may redirect you to the English language version with higher prices if you access the website from outside France.
www.tgv-europe.com
(http://www.tgv-europe.com/) English language version of the SNCF site. Confusingly this site has a completely different layout and style from the French language version. There are a few strange quirks. The booking window requires you to enter your "country", and if you select France as someone already in France is likely to do, you are directed back to the French language site.
www.raileurope.com
(http://www.raileurope.com/) (http://www.raileurope.co.uk/) (http://www.raileurope.com.au/) The RailEurope sites are booking agencies owned by the SNCF. Fares will often be more expensive on these sites than on the "official" sites, however they are generally easier to use than the SNCF sites.

Both TGV-Europe and Voyages-SNCF frequently report errors in booking attempts; one of the workarounds is to call SNCF to book over the phone (00.33.892.35.35.35 "from outside France" The most attractive internet-only rates are not available there, but still it secures you a seat, and likely cheaper than if you buy in ticket office upon arrival.

If you travel by TER, there are a number of offers available for leisure passengers in each different region:

TER Alsace: unlimited travel on regional trains and local transport - available in 2 formats 'Alsa+ 24h' as an individual ticket valid for 24 hours after validation, and 'Alsa+ Group Journée' as a ticket for a group of 2 to 5 valid on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday

TER Aquitaine: unlimited travel for €11 between Bayonne and San Sebastian Spain for a weekend or any 2 consecutive days during July and August

TER Auvergne: unlimited one-day travel on the TER for €30 within the Auvergne region for a group of up to 5

TER Bourgogne: pay a fare of €1.80 for every 20km travelled by TER on Saturdays and any accompanying passengers receive a 50% discount on their fare, i.e. €0.90/20km. Also, if you book 15 days in advance, you can purchase a Saturday day-trip ticket from Dijon to Paris and return for €20, a weekend ticket from Paris to Dijon and return for €20 and a weekend ticket from a number of Burgundy stations to Paris and return starting from €13.

TER Bretagne: return ticket on Saturdays between any two TER stations for €12

TER Champagne-Ardennes: on Saturdays, a group of up to 4 can travel at the price of 1 person. Also, on Saturdays you can travel from a number of towns in Champagne-Ardennes to Paris for €10 return.

TER Franche-Comté: unlimited TER travel for one day Saturdays and any day during school holidays for €15.50 or for two days weekend or any 2 consecutive days during school holidays for €23.70

TER Languedoc-Roussillon: travel between any 2 stations on 5 TER lines for just €1

TER Lorraine: 40% discount off a regular price ticket on TER trains within the Lorraine region. With a Métrolor Loisirs ticket, a group of up to 5 passengers can enjoy a group discount on TER trains within the Lorraine region 2 passengers pay the Métrolor fare, and up to 3 others pay a €1 fare.

TER Midi-Pyrénées: travel on certain TER trains at a rate of €2.50 per 40km

TER Nord-Pas de Calais: unlimited one-day travel between Lille and Tournai/Courtai for €8 free of charge for children under the age of 12 accompanied by an adult, and during the weekend, a 40% discount off train tickets between Lille and 125 stations in Belgium.

TER Picardie: 50% discount if travelling in a group of 5 to 9 on TER trains within the Picardy region or to/from Paris

TER Poitou-Charentes: a group of up to 5 can travel for €35 on TER trains within the Poitou-Charentes region on any 2 consecutive days

TER Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.: from June to September, unlimited travel within one département of the region for €15. Also, a Pass Isabelle Famille is available all-year, allowing unlimited TER one-day travel in the Alpes-Maritimes for a group of up to 4 with at least 2 children under the age of 16 for €35. In addition, the Pass Bermuda/Pass Bermuda Duo is available during the summer, allowing unlimited TER one-day travel between Marseille and Miramas for €6 1 person or €10 2 people.

TER Rhône-Alpes: on certain Saturdays, if travelling in a group of 2 to 5 within the Rhône-Alpes/Geneva/Mâcon, you can get a 40% discount on the regular fare and children under the age of 12 travel free of charge.

If you've booked online on Voyages SNCF, you can pick up your ticket when you get to the train station. Contrary to a common misunderstanding, this web site allows you to order even if you live in the US; it is not concerned where you live, but where you will pick up the tickets or have them sent; thus if you wish to pick up the tickets at a SNCF train station or office, answer "France". When at the station, just go to the counter "Guichet" and ask to have your ticket issued "retirer votre billet". You can ask "Je voudrais retirer mon billet, s'il vous plait", or 'zhe voo dray ruh teer ay mon bee yay, sill voo play' and then hand them the paper with the reference number.

To find your train, locate your train number and the departure time on the departures board. There will be a track "Voie" number next to the train and departure time. Follow signs to that track to board the train. You will have a reserved seat on TGV trains. On other long-distance trains, you can optionally make reservations at least one day in advance; if you do not have one you may use any unused seat not marked as reserved. To find your reserved seat, first look for the train coach number "Voit. No". Pay attention to the possible confusion between track number Voie and coach voiture number abbreviated Voit As you go down the track, the coach number will be displayed on an LCD screen on the car, or maybe just written in the window or right next to the doors.

The reserved seat rules are lax; you are allowed if you switch seats or use another seat of the same class of course if it is empty because the TGV is not fully booked or the other person agrees to switch with you. The only requirement is not to continue using a reserved seat if the person holding the reservation claims it.

On the main lines, TGVs often run in twos. There are two possibilities: either the two TGVs are considered as one train with one train number in this case each coach has a different number; or the two TGVs are considered as separate trains which run together during a part of their journey, with two different train numbers in this case, the two trains may have two close numbers such as 1527 and 1537, and each train will have its own coach numbering. So be sure you are in the right train the train number is shown on the LCD screen, with the coach number.

If you are early, there is often a map somewhere on the track that will show how the train and car numbers will line up on the track according to letters that appear either on the ground or on signs above. That way, you can stand by the letter corresponding with your coach number and wait to board the train closest to your coach. You can easily go from one coach to another, so if you are very late, jump in any coach of the same class before the train starts, wait until most people are seated, then walk to your coach and seat number.

Beware: To avoid any form of fraud, your ticket must be punched by an automatic machine "composteur" before entering the platform area to be valid. Older machines are bright orange, newer machines are yellow and gray. The machines are situated at the entrance of all platforms. Failure to punch the ticket may entitle you to a fine even if you are a foreigner with a limited French vocabulary, depending on how the conductor feels, unless you approach the conductor as quickly as possible and request that your ticket be validated. Likewise if you step aboard a train without a ticket, you must find the conductor "contrôleur" and tell him about your situation before he finds you.

French information booths, especially in larger train stations, can be quite unhelpful, especially if you do not understand much French. If something does not seem to make sense, just say "excusez-moi" and they should repeat it.

Night train services also exist. These include couchettes second class 6 bunk beds in a compartment, first class 4 bunks and Reclining seats.Wagon-lits a compartment with 2 real beds were totally withdrawn from French overnight trains. However, you can ask for a "private room" in first class. Night trains have occasionally been targeted by criminals, though this is not a widespread problem.

Taking a dog
By train

Dogs are allowed on trains in France. Dogs that fit in a carrier maximum 55 x 30 x 30cm travel for €6, while larger dogs travel for 50% of the full adult fare. Ouigo and IDTGV have a set fare of €30 and €35 respectively each way for larger dogs. For more information on where to go in France with your dog, how to get there and where to stay, check out France: A Woof Guide by Paul Wojnicki.

As it is cheaper to book and purchase train tickets, especially those with reservations, in advance, there is a relatively lively trading of non-exchangeable and non-reimburseable train tickets on the Internet. See (http://www.trocdestrains....) and (http://www.kelbillet.com/...)

By road
By road

France is a dreadful country for hitchhiking - especially if you're male. Be patient, prepare yourself for a long wait or walk and in the meantime enjoy the landscape. A ride will come along in a few days since a lot of foreigners are on French roads. People who stop are usually friendly and not dangerous. They will like you more if you speak a little French. They never expect any money for the ride.

Remember that getting out of Paris by thumb is almost impossible. You can try your luck at the portes, but heavy traffic and limited areas for stopping will try your patience. It's a good idea to take the local train to a nearby suburb as your chance of being picked up will increase dramatically.

Outside Paris, it's advisable to try your luck after roundabouts. As it's illegal to hitchhike on the motorways autoroutes and they are well observed by the police, you may try on a motorway entry. The greatest chance is at toll plazas stations de péage, some of which require all cars to stop and are thus great places to catch a lift. Some tollbooths are really good, some not so good. If you've been waiting for a while with an indication of where to go, drop it and try with your thumb only. And also, you can try to get a ride to the next good spot in the wrong direction.

Note, though, that hitching from a péage, while a common practice, isn't legal and French police or highway security, who are normally very tolerant of hitchhikers, may stop and force you to leave. You can get free maps in the toll offices - these also indicate where you can find the "all-stop-Péage".

By plane
By plane

The following carriers offer domestic flights within France:

Air France
(http://www.airfrance.com) Ajaccio (Campo Dell Oro Airport, Annecy-Meythet Airport, Avignon-Caum Airport, Bastia Poretta Airport, Biarritz Parme Airport, Bordeaux Airport, Brest Guipavas Airport, Caen Carpiquet Airport, Calvi Sainte Catherine Airport, Clermont-Ferrand Aulnat Airport, Figari Sud Corse Airport, Lannion Servel Airport, Le Havre Octeville Airport, Lille Lesquin Airport, Limoges Bellegarde Airport, Lorient Lann Bihoue Airport, Lyon Satolas Airport, Marseille Airport, Metz/Nancy Metz-Nancy-Lorraine Airport, Montpellier Mediterranee Airport, Mulhouse/Basel EuroAirport French, Nantes Atlantique Airport, Nice Cote D'Azur Airport, Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris Orly Field, Pau Uzein Airport, Perpignan Llabanere Airport, Quimper Pluguffan Airport, Rennes St Jacques Airport, Rodez Marcillac Airport, Rouen Boos Airport, Strasbourg Entzheim Airport, Tarbes Ossun Lourdes Airport, Toulon Hyeres Airport, Toulouse Blagnac Airport)
Hop!
(http://www.hop.fr) Aurillac Airport, Bastia (Poretta Airport, Beziers Vias Airport, Bordeaux Airport, Brest Guipavas Airport, Brive-La-Gaillarde Laroche Airport, La Rochelle Laleu Airport, Lyon Satolas Airport, Mulhouse/Basel EuroAirport French, Nantes Atlantique Airport, Paris Orly Field, Poitiers Biard Airport, Rennes St Jacques Airport, Saint Nazaire Montoir Airport, Toulouse Blagnac Airport)
Air Corsica
(http://www.aircorsica.com) Ajaccio (Campo Dell Oro Airport, Bastia Poretta Airport, Calvi Sainte Catherine Airport, Figari Sud Corse Airport, Lyon Satolas Airport, Marseille Airport, Nice Cote D'Azur Airport)
Twin Jet
(http://www.twinjet.net) Cherbourg (Maupertus Airport, Marseille Airport, Metz/Nancy Metz-Nancy-Lorraine Airport, Paris Orly Field, Saint Etienne Boutheon Airport, Toulouse Blagnac Airport)
easyJet
(http://www.easyjet.com) Bastia, Biarritz, Brest, Lyon, Nantes, Nice (Côte D'Azur Airport, Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris Orly, Toulouse Blagnac Airport)
Ryanair
(http://www.ryanair.com) Marseille to/from Bordeaux/Brest/Lille/Nantes/Paris Beauvais/Paris Vatry/Tours; Paris Beauvais to/from Beziers/Marseille
Eastern Airways
(http://www.easternairways.fr) Lyon to Lorient
Hex'Air
(http://www.hexair.com) Le Puy (Loudes Airport, Lyon Satolas Airport, Paris Orly Field, Rodez Marcillac Airport)
Heli Securite
(http://www.helicopter-sai...) Cannes (Croisette Heliport, Nice Cote D'Azur Airport)
Nice Helicopteres
(http://www.capdeveloppeme...) Cannes (Croisette Heliport, Nice Cote D'Azur Airport)

The following carriers offer direct flights between metropolitan France French territory geographically situated in Europe and DOM-TOM French overseas departments and territories:

Air Austral
(http://www.air-austral.com) Réunion
Air Caraïbes
(http://www.aircaraibes.com) French Guiana (Cayenne, Guadeloupe Pointe-à-Pitre and Martinique Fort-de-France)
Air France
(http://www.airfrance.com) French Guiana (Cayenne, Guadeloupe Pointe-à-Pitre, Martinique Fort-de-France, Réunion)

'Corsair International (http://www.corsair.fr) French Guiana (Cayenne, Guadeloupe Pointe-à-Pitre, Martinique Fort-de-France, Mayotte Dzaoudzi, Réunion)

XL Airways
(http://www.xl.com) Guadeloupe (Pointe-à-Pitre, Martinique Fort-de-France, Mayotte Dzaoudzi, Réunion)

Although the 5 DOM-TOM French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and Réunion which can be reached directly by air from metropolitan France are part of the European Union, they are outside the Schengen Area and the EU VAT Area and hence the 5 DOM-TOM apply a different, but similar, immigration regime to metropolitan France which applies the Schengen rules. Since 2009/2010, when flying from metropolitan France to these 5 DOM-TOM, there are only immigration checks on departure from metropolitan France immigration checks on arrival in these 5 DOM-TOM have been removed. However, when flying from these 5 DOM-TOM to metropolitan France, there are immigration checks both on departure from the DOM-TOM and upon arrival in metropolitan known in French as 'double contrôle d’identité'. For EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, a valid passport or national identity card is sufficient for the immigration checks both in metropolitan France and in the DOM-TOMs. Non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens who are visa-exempt for metropolitan France will also be visa-exempt for the DOM-TOMs and, in addition, certain nationalities which require a visa for metropolitan France/Schengen Area will not require one for the DOM-TOMs.

It is possible to reach the French overseas territories of Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin L'Espérance Airport from metropolitan France by transiting onto a connecting flight at Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe without stopping in a third country. Therefore, it is possible for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens to visit these territories with a national identity card only and not a passport.

The following carriers offer flights between metropolitan France and DOM-TOM with a stopover in a third country:

Air France
(http://www.airfrance.com) French Polynesia (Papeete via the United States Los Angeles
Air Tahiti Nui
(https://www.airtahitinui.com/) French Polynesia (Papeete via the United States Los Angeles)

To reach the other DOM-TOM New Caledonia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon and Wallis and Futuna from metropolitan France, it is necessary to transit between connecting flights in a third country.

By taxi
By taxi

Your rights as a taxi passenger

At a taxi stand/rank, you have the right to choose any taxi you want and not necessarily the first taxi at the front, unless there is a queue of taxis. Taxi drivers are forbidden from soliciting customers, so you should never feel threatened to choose a particular vehicle.

Make sure that the driver is a legally authorised taxi driver by checking his/her carte professionnelle. Also check that the vehicle is an authorised taxi which has a 'TAXI' panel at the top, a taximeter and a sheet displayed with the tariff information.

The taxi driver cannot refuse to take you unless his/her shift is about to end, your luggage cannot be moved by hand, you have a pet with you not including guide dogs, you are clearly inebriated, you attempt to hail the taxi within 50 metres of a taxi stand/rank or your clothing or belongings will damage the inside of the taxi. The taxi driver cannot refuse to take you if you are a disabled passenger, and if you have a wheelchair, must carry it free of charge.

The driver cannot refuse to carry 4 passengers. Depending on the capacity of the taxi, the driver can refuse to carry 5 or more passengers.

You have the right to choose any passenger seat including the front seat inside the taxi.

The driver will often but is not obliged to help you with your baggage.

The route taken by the driver to your destination must be the most direct you are entitled to ask the driver to take a route preferred by you and the driver cannot refuse.

You are obliged to wear your seat belt. Smoking is prohibited inside the taxi by both the driver and the passenger.

The use of a car seat for passengers under the age of 10 is not obligatory inside taxis.

The driver cannot carry anyone else other than you and your companions. On the other hand, you are free to request the driver to drop off/pick up any of your companions along the journey.

The taxi driver is obliged to accept payment by cash. Many taxi drivers accept payment by card though this is not a legal obligation, so check with the driver in advance if you want to pay by card.

The minimum charge for a taxi ride is 6.86€ inclusive of supplements.

You can request a receipt from the taxi driver if you wish. If the ride costs less than 25€, the taxi driver can refuse to issue a receipt though this is rare. If the ride costs 25€ or more, the taxi driver is legally obliged to issue a receipt.

It is customary to leave a tip rounding up to the nearest Euro for the driver if he/she has done a good job. However, there is no legal obligation to leave such a tip.

In France, taxis carry up to 9 passengers and are clearly marked with a 'TAXI' panel on top of the vehicle. The 'TAXI' panel will be green if the taxi is available and red if occupied or enroute to pick up a passenger. The term 'taxi' in France is the equivalent of a public hire taxi/cab in English-speaking countries - you can take a taxi either by hailing one on the street, going to a taxi stand/rank station de taxi or booking one through a taxi operator central de radio taxi. On the other hand, the term 'VTC' voiture de transport avec chauffeur see section below in France is the equivalent of a private hire taxi/minicab in English-speaking countries - you can only take a VTC if it has been pre-booked.

Although, in general, you will be able to get a taxi relatively easily by going to a taxi stand which you will often be able to find at airports, railway stations, town centres etc, you may need to book a taxi during peak hours, in rural towns/communities or if you require a large taxi. In Paris, you can book a taxi through the central taxi switchboard tel: 01 45 30 30 30 or one of the 3 main taxi operators: Taxis G7 (http://www.taxisg7.fr/), Alpha Taxis (http://www.alphataxis.fr/) and Taxis Bleus (https://www.taxis-bleus.com/). Outside Paris, you can find a list of taxi operators and independent taxi drivers by searching in the Yellow Pages Pages Jaunes.

If you book a taxi, when it arrives at the pick-up point, the taximeter may already be running. This is legally permitted as the taxi driver is allowed to turn on the meter as soon as he/she receives the request from the operator to pick you up this journey to the pick-up point is known as the 'course d'approche'.

All taxis are obliged to have a taximeter taximètre. The fare will be determined according to the taximeter. The fare displayed on the taximeter is calculated according to the tariff which is set annually by the departement where the taxi has been registered. The tariff information must be clearly displayed on a sheet inside the taxi. In Paris, the taxi fare is calculated based on a pick-up charge of €2.60 and 3 different types of tariffs Tariff A is €1.04 per km/€32.00 per hour and applies Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm; Tariff B is €1.27 per km/€37.63 per hour and applies Monday to Saturday from 5pm to 10am and Sundays from 7am to midnight; Tariff C is €1.54 per km/€35.10 per hour and applies on Sundays from 12am to 7am. Outside Paris, the pick-up charge varies from €0.50 to €3.40 and there are 4 different types of tariffs Tariff A applies for a return journey during the day Monday to Saturday; Tariff B a return journey during the evening Monday to Saturday and all day Sundays and public holidays; Tariff C a single journey during the day Monday to Saturday; Tariff D a single journey during the evening Monday to Saturday and all day Sundays and public holidays. The taximeter must indicate which type of tariff is being used to calculate the taxi fare. When a taxi is stationary or moving slowly, the taximeter calculates the fare per hour instead of per kilometre.

In addition to the fare indicated on the metre, the taxi driver is permitted to add certain fare supplements e.g. 4th passenger supplement; baggage supplement; pet animal supplement; supplement for picking up from a railway station or airport. However, all fare supplements must be clearly stated on the taxi fare information sheet displayed inside the taxi. If there are any road tolls, the taxi driver can only add the cost of the road toll to the fare if the passenger has agreed in advance, otherwise the fare includes the cost of the road toll. Road tolls can never been added to the fare if they were incurred during the 'course d'approche' before the driver picked up the passenger.

The tariff set by the departément where the taxi has been registered which is the basis for the calculation by the taximeter is the maximum amount which the taxi driver can legally charge for the taxi ride. However, you are free to ask for a quote demande de devis/negotiate another amount for the journey with the taxi driver. If you do obtain a quote/negotiate an amount for the journey with the taxi driver, he/she is nonetheless legally obliged to turn on the taximeter - the reason for this is that if the final fare displayed on the meter plus supplements is lower than the fare which you were quoted/negotiated, you are only obliged to pay the lower amount and not the higher amount which you had previously agreed with the driver.

If you are dissatisfied with the service provided by the taxi driver, you should try to resolve any problems on the spot with him/her. If you are still dissatisfied, you can contact the taxi operator unless the taxi driver is an independent driver. In Paris, you can contact the police which regulates taxis Préfecture de police, Direction des transports et de la protection du public, Sous-direction des déplacements et de l’espace public, Bureau des taxis et transports publics, 36 rue des Morillons, 75015 PARIS, ☎ 01 55 76 20 05 (prefpol.dtpp-sddep-bttp-taxis@interieur.gouv.fr, fax: 01 55 76 27 01, . A complaint form in English is available at (http://www.prefecturedepo...). Outside Paris, taxis are usually regulated by the préfecture in the departément where the taxi is registered. In some departéments, you can complain directly to the préfecture about a taxi under its jurisdiction. For a list of préfectures by departément, see (http://www.interieur.gouv...). In other departéments, the prefect will have designated the consumer protection authority Direction de la Protection des Populations in the departément as the body responsible for receiving complaints about taxi drivers. For a list of the relevant Direction de la Protection des Populations, see (http://www.economie.gouv....). When contacting the police in Paris or préfecture/Direction de la Protection des Populations outside Paris, you should include the following details: licence plate number of the taxi, time of the journey.