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France is generally quite a cool place for nomads. Even if quite expensive, there are plenty of job opportunities also for foreigners (much better if you speak french and have a legal permit to work in schengen area), a legal minimum wage among the highest in the world and a social security system which might keep paying you also when you finish.

French (cool) people have usually a quite good understanding of modern nomadism and you won't have much difficulty to find the right environment that fits you.

Try to avoid big urban areas like Paris (probably the most posh and less friendly place in the whole country) searching more for countryside place like Lozère or cool cities like Toulouse.

You can check out this map with many things like nomad bases, collectives, squats, self-managed farm, etc...


Find info on hitchhiking at Hitchwiki.


France is mostly a great country for hitchhiking. This works really good in the countryside, like in all countries, especially in the south, where rural areas can be more desert, and also in mountains. You often only need to get away from the Mediterranean coast to avoid a lot of tourists, and be picked up by local people.



  • SNCF (national company), [1](for Benelux/Northern Germany), Thello (Italy by night trains), Eurostar (UK with Eurotunnel, or Belgium)
  • low cost : Ouigo,IZY for Belgium.

Main train services are TGV for many long distances travels (high speed trains) and TER for short ones (Regional trains). Long distance trains can be pretty expensive at last minute, but reservations open 3 months in advance. Main rule is the sooner, the cheaper. Cheapest fares are "Prem's", which are non refundable nor exchangeable. BUT, if you choose to have a paper ticket, you'll be able to exchange it with some else. Indeed paper tickets are non nominative, but this may engage you to withdraw the tickets at self service machines, which you'll find only in France (and Luxembourg). This can be a problem by example if you want to take the Milano-Paris TGV from Milano, you'll have to buy an "e-billet".

If you intent to travel a lot by train in France, a reduction card will be very appropriate, and final budget could be cheaper than Interpass Rail. If you're under 27, for 50€ per year the youth card ("Carte Jeune") will ensure 50% off on regional trains and every train without reservation in "blue" periods (off-peak), between 50 and 30% off on TGV trains, or minimum 25% in any case (always from normal adult fare) Peak period calendar. "Carte Jeune" tickets may remain slighty more expensive than "Prem's" ones, but they are fully refundable before departure (5€ fee only if you cancel for the same day, or the next one), and are a lot easier to buy ; you should be able to find them for the next day especially in working days.

Websites such as TrocDesTrains or will help you to find people to trade your non-refundable tickets ("Prem's" or others). But it is possible only with non-nominative tickets, which is not the case with electronic tickets ("e-billets").

One important thing that foreign people, should be aware of is that in France, like in Italy, you'll have to STAMP your normal "paper" tickets before getting on board. This is not at stake for electronic tickets (because you only carry a code/number), but if it's written on your ticket (unfortunately only in French) "A COMPOSTER", you'll have to stamp it or you would be fined. There are stamp points in every station before getting onto platforms, with bright yellow head. It's almost a sport to stamp it correctly, the machine always asking you to return it, even if you don't need to, just do it slowly.


  • You're not allowed to trade your tickets at a higher price than purchased.
  • Paper tickets still have name, but remain non-nominative, it's the name or the purchaser.
  • Reduction cards work only on SNCF trains (also on DB/SNCF trains to Germany), even for international travels, but not other operators, such as Eurostar, which remain very expensive.

You may not want to use the official French train website (there's a whole bunch of them and none of them really work well). Capitaine Train could be a good alternative if you don't mind using FB to log in. is another such site which is interesting in that it also shows prices of other forms of transport, it also often show much better prices than the "official" train websites.

While TGV normal fares are ~75€ on Paris-Marseille for an adult in workdays, it will be often 40€ with "Carte Jeune", and can be as low as ~20€ for "Prem's" If you book 1/2 months in advance.


  • If you like to travel by train and don't want to hurry too much, several journeys are made both by TGV and by normal trains (still often travelling at 200 km/h), and can be a good alternative if TGV fares are too expensive : Paris-Toulouse, Marseille-Nice, Lyon-Marseille, Paris-Tours-Bordeaux, Paris-Lyon.
  • To leave Paris, trains will be more expensive from the city centre stations, check from Marne-la-Vallée-Disneyland TV, Aéroport Charles-de-Gaulle TGV, or Massy TGV stations. You'll just need to take the RER for 30/40 minutes (and can cost you 10€ but often worths it). Same tip for Lyon from Aéroport Saint-Exupéry TGV station, but public transports to go there are even more expensive. More generally, TGV stations were often buildt a bit in the middle of nowhere and remain cheaper.
  • The new low cost branch of SNCF,Ouigo can offer very cheap prices, but not all the time (especially weekends), and from Paris you'll leave only from stations cited above.
  • Few remains, but night trains are a very good way to discover France. From Paris (that's the main problem, everything is centralized in Paris), you can reach the Cote d'Azur, the Pyrénées, or the Southern Alps 1000 km far away in only one night. Or, of course, Venice ! With Thello


Companies provide bus service between main cities within France and neighbouring countries, this can be a good and cheap alternative for train, even though often slower. There are plenty of them : Flixbus,Isilines, Ouibus -owned by SNCF- ...


As there are high speed trains, it's almost an ecological crime to take the plane and you shouldn't need this too much (It's faster to take the train to make Paris-Marseille, if you want to be in the city centres). Just two things to be mentioned :

  • If you want to find domestic low cost flights in France, the main company remains Easyjet (in particular Paris-Nice or Paris-Toulouse)
  • To travel in Corsica (which you should do, it's wonderful ! but take even more care of the nature and environment there), this can be useful, and Air Corsica can offer not too expensive flights, from several European cities.


If you're looking for rideshares, the biggest company is which offers rides all over Europe. An alternative is Covoiturage-libre, an not-for-profit organization as opposed to Blablacar that makes heaps of money out of the rides. But as it is, less people offer rides so might only find for the common main routes. is a website for the Languedoc-Roussillion region in the South, you can find train tickets for 1 euro between cities such as Perpignan, Nîmes and Montpellier.



{{#ask: Transport type::bus Connects country::France|intro=* Bus: }} {{#ask: Transport type::train Connects country::France|intro=* Train: }} {{#ask: Transport type::plane Connects country::France|intro=* Airline: }} {{#ask: Transport type::ferry Connects country::France|intro=* Ferry: }}


Find info on hosp ex at Couchwiki.


French internet hospexchange community is probably one of the biggest in the world. Spontaneous hospitality works also quite well under any form, hitchhiking drivers invitations, street hosting with panel in cities, door knocking, and so on.

Wild Camping

Don't forget that France has one the lowest mean density per km^2. Especially in rural areas, it will be very easy to camp for free. French law is quite unclear on that, because it is in the law that you are allowed to make free camping... everywhere it is not forbidden. So you'll have to check for local regulations. It is generally tolerated, furthermore if you're not in a too touristic period/region. Just find somewhere a bit hidden, not next to a road (also because of the noise), but you should even be able to camp next to a path. It is still better to decamp in the morning.

In practice, it is quite rare to be strictly forbidden. The main reason are safety (especially fires in the South East and Mediterranean) and nature protection. There are National and Regional natural parks in France, each of them has its own regulation, that you should check. Paradoxically, you will be sure if it's allowed or not ! "Bivouac" (from ~after 7pm to ~9am) are sometimes fully allowed (PN des Ecrins, PN Mercantour), sometimes completely forbidden (PNR Corse, PN des Calanques).


For our Australian/American/NewZealander/Canadian (etc.) friends, it has to be noticed that fire camps are not so common in Europe, and maybe especially in Southern France (and probably around the Mediterranean Sea). It may be of course less tolerated than camping, and if wild camping is often allowed, this would almost never be the case for fire camp, but you should still manage to make one. In summer or in the dry season, take the greatest care with fires, even with gas stoves. There is often a complete fireban in some southern Departments for the summer.

Wild camping is probably not allowed by law but generally tolerated, especially if asking the permission in advance or hiding well enough.

Paying accomodation is usually expensive as most of rich European countries. Hostels are called "Auberges de jeunesse" or simply "Auberge" and range between 15 and 25€.

Meet fellow travellers on hospitality exchange networks: Trustroots, BeWelcome


Find info on dumpster diving at Trashwiki.

Dumpster diving works very well in cities.

Food prices follow the general euro zone average, bit more expensive than Germany but further cheaper than Scandinavian countries like Norway or Iceland.


Not so great. There are no reasonably priced SIM cards with internet connectivity and wifi is not so widely spread. If you have friends, ask if they have codes for the FreeWifi and other hot spots they want to share.


Euro currency and general quite wealthy situation grant average decent salary. French people though tend to complain quite a lot about (almost anything and especially) their economical situation, which makes them often a bit cheap when it comes to give tips (famous worldwide for that) busking included.

Said so, the situation do change a lot from cities to cities, Lyon tend to be better than Bordeaux, Toulouse better than Paris, etc; of course every personal experience is difference..


France is a member of the European Union and the Schengen Agreement. European visa policy will be covered in the article about the EU. In brief, a visa to any other signatory state of the Schengen Agreement is valid in France too. No visa is required for citizens of other EU member states, and those of some selected nations with whom the European Union or France have special treaties. Inquire at your travel agent or call the local consulate or embassy of France.

Paris is the capital of France and home to numerous embassies.

Visa requirements

Depending on the length of the stay, as well as nationality, a visa may not be required. Nationals of the following "Schengen Agreement" countries may not require a visa: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal.

  • For a stay of up to 90 days, nationalities exempted from a short stay visa are also exempted from requesting a student visa if the total stay in France does not exceed 90 days.
  • However, if a student decides to stay one day longer or more after the end of the school period, he/she must apply for a temporary long stay visa (up to 6 months) BEFORE leaving for France.
  • If you are studying for longer than 6 months, you’ll need a long stay visa : this type of visa allows its holder to request a temporary residence permit ("Carte de séjour") at a French Prefecture. You must apply within two months after the date of your arrival to France. Living in France for longer than 6 months without a residence permit is illegal.

Types of visa and cost

  • A uniform Schengen visa is issued for Short-stay visits (tourist, business and students), Airport transit, Transit and Long-validity (circulation) visits.
  • Visa application fees must be paid at the time of application. No visa application fee can be refunded, whatever the result of the application.
  • All Schengen visa applications are now charged at €35, irrespective of the duration of stay requested (except for long-stay visas: stays over 90 days). The fee remains payable in Pounds Sterling only, approximately £22-26.

French Visa Policy Now Tougher For Chinese, The French Consulate and Embassy has made its visa application tougher for Chinese tourists by asking for more personal data and bank savings information. From July 19, local media reports that the French Consulate has asked each travel agency to submit more materials for visa applications for their tourists and has asked tourists to provide two current bankbooks instead of one. One of the deposit books must reportedly be opened a year before the visa application is submitted. July 25, 2007.

Visa note

  • Under no circumstances may a tourist visa be converted into a student visa. This is true throughout the European Union. International students of all nationalities intending to stay in France for more than 3 months must obtain a student identification card.

France Embassies and/or Consulates

List of French embassies and consulates


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Travel destinations

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See media related to France. velo:France couch:France