France is the most visited country in the world, from Paris and Normandy to the Riviera and the Alps, it’s not hard to see why. If you’re getting ready to go to France, don’t let poor planning ruin your vacation. Make sure you bring the right clothes for the season and all the essentials you’ll need. Don’t forget to put a US to France power adapter on your packing list, so you’ll be able to keep your devices charged while you’re traveling. That way, you’ll have no trouble taking pictures, using mapping apps, and staying in touch with people back home.
Which power outlets do they use in France?
France uses two different types of electrical sockets: C and E. Type C outlets are ungrounded and have two round holes. There’s just one difference between Type C and Type E: Type E also has a grounding prong that sticks out from the wall. This type is primarily found in countries that have historical ties to France. In Paris and throughout the country, Type E outlets are more common.
Both types are commonly set into a circular indentation in the wall, so plugs with a large head that aren’t round will require an adapter, even if they’re Type C or E. As is common throughout Europe, the French electrical grid operates on a frequency of 50 Hz and a voltage of 230V.
What kind of power adapter do I need for France?
One of the questions all first-time travelers ask is, “What plug do I need in France?”
To be compatible with a French outlet, a plug must have a few characteristics: two round pins, a head that can fit into the round indentation, and either a round grounding hole or a head that’s small enough to avoid the grounding pin.
We recommend this Universal Adapter that will work throughout France and most of Europe in addition to 100+ countries around the world.
What’s the electricity and power supply like in France?
Electrical infrastructure across France is generally of high quality. Power outages primarily occur during storms, particularly in rural areas.
In some cases, electrical fluctuations have also been caused by employee strikes at French power plants.
It’s unlikely you’ll experience a blackout during your trip, though, whether you’re in Paris or the countryside.
Do I need a voltage converter for France?
Most devices are dual voltage, including laptops, mobile phones, tablets, cameras, and do not require a converter.
There are a few exceptions, namely blow dryers, hair straighteners, and curling irons. These high powered appliances are usually rated at 110V in the U.S., so they are not compatible with France’s 230V outlets. If you plug in one of these devices in France without a voltage converter, it will most likely destroy them and could cause some sparks to fly. If you want to use your American blow dryer in France you will need a converter.
Other France Packing List Items
In addition to your US to France power adapter these items will help you on your travels. Also, check out our France packing list for more inspiration and ideas.
1. Neck Wallet
Paris, unfortunately, has a bad problem with pickpocketing, especially in the more touristy neighborhoods. To make sure you don’t become a victim, store your valuables in a neck wallet while you’re out. Unlike a bag or pocket, it will be nearly impossible for someone to access your neck wallet without you noticing.
2. Packing Cubes
If you want to stay more organized on the road, packing cubes will be a game-changer. No more digging through your entire suitcase to find the tank top that fell to the bottom. Instead, you can just pull our your packing cube for tops and know it’ll be there.
3. Lipstick-Sized Charger
If you’re constantly using your smartphone for the mapping app, camera, or flashlight, the battery will drain pretty quickly. Fortunately, a tiny charger that easily fits in your palm will allow you to recharge it throughout the day.
4. Windproof Travel Umbrella
There is so much to see in France, you don’t want the rain to slow down your plans. Bring a compact travel umbrella that allows you to continue on even if you get caught in a rainstorm. We recommend a reliable, well-constructed travel umbrella with an automatic open/close function so you can enter/exit your destinations with ease.
5. Jet Lag Relief Pills
France is six hours ahead of the East Coast of the U.S. and that’s enough to cause serious jet lag in many people. To reduce its effect on you, pack some jet lag relief pills. They’ll help you adjust to your new time zone faster, so you don’t end up going to bed at 6:00 pm.
6. Virtual Private Network (VPN)
You’re not going to encounter banned websites in France, but using a VPN is a good idea whenever you travel. It will protect your privacy and keep you safe from hackers, which is especially important when you’re using different public Wi-Fi networks all the time.
7. Travel Insurance for France
France is one of the safest countries, but that doesn’t mean the unexpected won’t happen. There’s always the chance of getting pick-pocketed in the metro or while walking around a busy farmer’s market. And last-minute trip changes and cancellations are bound to happen when traveling. The best way to prepare for travel mishaps is with travel insurance. You’ll also be covered in case you get sick or injured. We like to use TravelInsurance.com to compare policies from top companies and find a plan with the right coverage for our family.
Other FAQs about traveling in France
1. When to travel to France?
Summertime is tourist season in France, thanks to the sunny weather between June and August. But that means places are more crowded, prices are higher, and things book up far in advance.
Most Parisians go on vacation in August, making it the top month to avoid. The city is populated largely by tourists, and other destinations are crowded with French travelers.
The other busy tourist season in France is around the holidays, from mid-December to mid-January. In some places, the holiday season is even more crowded and expensive than the summer. If you can, visit France in the shoulder seasons of spring or fall instead. The weather will still be pleasant in most parts of the country, but you’ll be able to find better deals and also have fewer crowds to contend with. Be sure to check current France travel advisories before you go.
2. What’s the weather like in France?
France is a fairly temperate country overall, although the weather varies considerably by region. Paris doesn’t generally experience extreme temperatures or get much snow, though rain is common.
On France’s Atlantic coast, the winters are mild but rainy, and the summers are humid; Brittany, in the northwestern corner, is the wettest area of the country.
Eastern France has warm summers and colder winters, as well as heavy snowfall in the mountains. Southern France, including the Mediterranean coast, is the warmest part of the country, experiencing hot summers and dry, mild winters.
3. What to do in Paris?
As one of the most beloved cities in the world, Paris could occupy you for weeks. There are the obvious things to do, of course, and they shouldn’t be missed – the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Arc de Triomphe, for starters.
Don’t overlook the Musee d’Orsay, the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, or the Catacombs of Paris either. Most importantly, save plenty of time to just walk around the city. Not sure where to wander? Start with Montmartre, the Marais, or the Latin Quarter.
4. Where to go in France?
Every corner of France offers different things to do and see. All of France’s major cities – including Bordeaux, Nice, and Marseilles – have more than enough food, culture, and history to keep you busy for days.
Visit the Loire Valley for the wine, the Riviera for the beaches, or Normandy for a sobering history lesson.
For an active vacation, you can ski or hike in the Alps, surf in Biarritz, or kayak the Gorges du Verdon (France’s Grand Canyon). You can’t go to France without seeing some of its famous castles and palaces as well, like Chenonceau, the Château d’Angers, and Versailles, plus the iconic Mont Saint-Michel. If you visit in December, the Christmas markets in Strasbourg, Montpelier, and Bordeaux are some of the best.
5. How to Get Around in France?
Thanks to sophisticated public transportation systems, it’s very easy to get around in most of France. The country is famous for its long-distance trains, including the high-speed TGV. France’s rail system, known as the SNCF, connects much of the country and is comfortable and efficient.
Long-distance buses go to some more remote areas that the train doesn’t serve, and are cheaper than the train (but also slower and less comfortable). The ride-sharing service BlaBlaCar is also quite popular in France, and renting a car is feasible as well.
Getting around most cities in France is usually pretty straightforward as well. All the major cities have buses, trains, and/or tram systems, and Uber is available nearly everywhere.