Few countries are as evocative as England, with its emblematic monuments such as Big Ben, its charming villages set in peaceful countryside, its fast-paced cities, its coastline, its natural parks…
Time difference: The UK is at GMT in winter and GMT+1 in summer, so there is an hour’s time difference with France: when it’s 12:00 in Argenton sur Creuse, it’s 11:00 in London.
Money: The national currency is the pound sterling (divided into 100 pence). Banks are generally open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Some open on Saturdays and even for a few hours on Sundays. Opening times may vary depending on the size and location of the facility (which may be closed for an hour at mid-day). Branches are well-equipped with credit card terminals (international cards widely accepted), enabling you to withdraw cash directly from your bank (ask about the exchange commission charged by your bank). When it comes to currency exchange, you should choose banks wherever possible: in principle, they offer the best rates. You can also exchange currency at airports, train stations and travel agencies… Large hotels sometimes offer this service to their guests. All this is subject to taxes and commissions. Scotland prints its own banknotes, which are legal tender in Great Britain (sometimes refused outside Scotland); banknotes issued by the Bank of England are legal tender in Scotland.
Electricity: 240 volts; 3-pin plugs (rectangular cross-section). Adapter essential.
Opening hours: Shops are generally open from 9.00 am to 5.30 pm, Monday to Saturday. Many department stores stay open until 6:00 pm (until 7:00 or 8:00 pm, once a week; Wednesday or Thursday). In major cities, open for six hours on Sundays, between 10am and 6pm (variable times). On the other hand, in towns and villages, stores often close one afternoon a week (preferably Wednesday), and some close for an hour at midday. You can now find supermarkets open 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday.
Post: As a general rule, post offices are open from 9.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Central stations are also open from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm on Saturdays. These times may vary, depending on the location or size of the branch.
Telephone: To call the UK from France, dial 00 + 44 + your correspondent’s number (without the initial 0). To call France from the UK, dial 00 + 33 + your correspondent’s 9-digit number (without the initial 0).
Internet: Cybercafés in all major cities. Connections in most hotels.
GSM coverage: Coverage is good throughout the country. However, we advise you to check with your operator (reception depends on them) how to access the local network.
As always and everywhere, it’s important to be protected against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (whose reappearance among adults, even in France, justifies vaccination for all travel), poliomyelitis and hepatitis A and B.
During the Covid-19 circulation period, we invite travelers to consult the Ministry of Health website or contact us for updated measures.
While, as in all European countries, travelers are not exposed to “exotic” health risks, behavioral or environmental risks can be the same as elsewhere.
Health infrastructures are, of course, satisfactory everywhere, but the cost of care in some private facilities means that you need to check all the clauses of the assistance insurance contract you have taken out before you leave.
Don’t forget to take out a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when you stay in an E.U. country, so that your health expenses (medical and pharmaceutical care, hospitalization) are covered locally. At least two weeks before your departure, ask your Social Security office for the form. For more information, visit http://www.ameli.fr/
Passport: Valid national identity card or passport (valid for 3 months after the date of return) for French nationals.
If you’re traveling with your children, you should be aware that minors of all ages are now also required to have an individual passport. French law stipulates that minors traveling with one or both parents do not need to be in possession of an authorization to leave the country. On the other hand, this document is mandatory (since January 15, 2017) if this accompanying condition is not met. In the latter case, the child must present: a passport (or identity card, depending on the requirements of the destination country); an authorization to leave the country form, signed by one of the parents holding parental authority (the authorization to leave the country form is available at www.service-public.fr); a photocopy of the signing parent’s identity document.
When a minor travels with a parent whose name he or she does not bear, it is strongly recommended either to be able to prove parentage (https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F15392), or to present an authorization to leave the country (Cerfa form no. 15646*01) duly completed and signed by the other parent, together with a copy of his or her identity card. This authorization does not exempt minors from any other formalities specific to their destination.
Since January 1, 2014, French secure national identity cards issued to adults between January 2, 2004 and December 31, 2013 have automatically had their validity extended by 5 years, without any material change to the document. For example, a card issued to a person over 18 years of age with an expiry date of April 23, 2014 will in fact be valid until April 23, 2019. To avoid any inconvenience during your trip (the British authorities have not yet stated their position on this measure), we strongly recommend that you use a valid passport rather than a CNI with an expired date, even if the French authorities consider it to be still valid.
If you’re traveling with just your national identity card, you can download and print a multilingual leaflet explaining the new rules at: http://media.interieur.gouv.fr/interieur/cni-15ans/document-a-telecharger-royaumeuni.pdf
New security measures have come into force at airports: electronic devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) must be charged and in working order on all flights to and from the USA and London. Control officers must be able to switch them on. As a precaution, keep your charger handy. If your device is unloaded or faulty, it will be confiscated. As this measure is likely to be extended to other airports, we advise you to charge your electronic devices before your flight, whatever your destination.
Visa: No visa required for French nationals.