Travelling Europe has never been easier.
With budget airlines flying regularly into all major European airports, and even ferry and train services running frequently from the UK to mainland Europe, there has never been a better time to explore beautiful France.
At Medical Travel Compared we know our customers particularly love travel in France, so we’ve produced this over 55’s guide to travelling to this wonderful country.
We’ll go through your insurance needs, as well as some travel tips and insider advice on the best and most accessible places to visit in France.
European Visa Requirements
Thanks to the Schengen agreement, members of specific EU states don’t need a visa to travel within the Schengen Area.
This applies for UK residents, which means all UK citizens can travel most of Europe visa-free.
Travel Insurance Perfect for Over 55’s Visiting France
In terms of travel insurance for Europe, it is always recommended you find the right policy and book in advance before travelling overseas, even if you are only planning on crossing the channel to our neighbours in France.
Are you are a frequent visitor of France? You might want to consider our annual cover insurance that caters for all types of pre-existing conditions.
We also have long-stay policies if you prefer to spend a little longer exploring the country.
Accessibility in France
The European Union promotes equality in accessibility for disabled people in the throughout Europe.
What Does This Mean for Travel in France?
For travel in Europe, services - especially in the hospitality and tourism industry - are to be accessible and inclusive for people with physical and mental disabilities.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition that requires you to use a wheelchair, you are equally as able to participate in leisure activities under European Union legislation.
European Health Insurance Card
A European Health Insurance Card is available to many people in the European Economic Area.
Pensioners are automatically eligible, along with residents of the UK who also own a home overseas.
You can read the full EHIC eligibility criteria on the NHS website.
The European Health Insurance Card, also known as the EHIC, provides free temporary medical care to European citizens from the European Economic Area if needed when travelling Europe.
The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance, and it is always recommended that travellers to Europe have a valid insurance policy ahead of their departure.
Healthcare in France
Healthcare in France isn’t too dissimilar to the NHS here in Britain.
France has a universal healthcare system, and it has been suggested that it offers some of the best healthcare in the world to its citizens.
What Does This Mean for Tourists Visiting France?
If you fall ill whilst travelling in France, and have an EHIC, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you will be well treated under the French healthcare system
But this service is not free and is only temporary. As mentioned, you’ll still need to ensure you have travel insurance before being treated in a French hospital.
It is important to remember that although healthcare in Europe is largely of a very high standard – it is not a free service of all Europeans even if you do hold an EHIC card.
Beautiful France – Planning Your Trip
From the beaches of Normandy to the French Riviera/Côte d'Azur, France is the kind of destination that is packed with diverse destinations, culture, history and all the fromage (cheese) a food lover could dream of.
Whether your idea of the perfect trip to France is a busy city break in Paris, or an idle week in Bordeaux, France is a country that encapsulates all types of tourism perfectly.
From vineyards to medieval architecture, countryside chateaux’s and a capital famed for its heritage and fashion, France is a country that is rarely spoken about without mentioning the word ‘culture’.
Marseille and the South of France
Take Marseille for example, the stunning tourist favourite in the South of France.
Enjoy an afternoon in the central Vieux-Port (Old Port) of Marseille, crowned the 2013 European Capital of Culture.
Top things to do include, of course, spending some time on the water - you can visit the Office de Tourism in Marseille to book your perfect sunset cruise.
From Marseille, why not explore St. Tropez or Cannes? These are often referred to as Marseilles more luxurious older siblings.
A trip to the French Rivera would not be complete without a mention of Nice either.
With hundreds of flights departing and arriving in the Nice Côte d'Azur International Airport throughout the European summer months, there is no excuse not to add the South of France to your France travel bucket list.
From Paris with Love
Not the movie, literally from Paris with love.
France’s capital is one of the worlds most famed cities for its museums, architecture, fashion, food and of course The Eiffel Tower.
Picture yourself in the heart of the city, enjoying macarons in a Parisian café on a late spring morning.
It’s Paris in bloom and the blossoming flowers leave a sweet and nostalgic feeling of the 1920’s in the city air.
Getting to Paris from the UK
You can take the Eurostar from London Kings Cross/St. Pancras station directly into the city of Paris, meaning you don’t even need to worry about airports for your city break.
This is an ideal gateway into the country and Europe if you plan on doing a multi-city or multi-country trip.
Alternatively, you can fly into Paris’ famous airport Charles De Gaulle. Paris Charles De Gaulle airport is named after the Second World War hero and later French president, it is one of the largest and busiest airports in Europe.
Frequent flights from Europe and beyond arrive and depart from this popular French airport every few minutes.
You can then easily access the city by train or organised transfer from Paris Charles De Gaulle.
(Note that this airport is also sometimes known as Roissy Airport.)
Versailles and The Palace of Versailles
Versailles is possibly the next biggest attraction in France aside from Paris and the French Riviera.
The main lure to Versailles is stunning The Palace Versailles. The traditional French Baroque style architecture and museum and gallery attracts tourists from far and wide.
Not only is the palace an architectural marvel, but it has strong political affiliations dating back to the 17th century right up until the end of the First World War, where the peace Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919.
With its historical and political significance, The Palace of Versailles is a must-see attraction for tourists exploring France, many people travelling to Paris take the one hour journey to Versailles to view the striking architecture.
Food and Wine Tours in France
When it comes to niche forms of tourism, France hosts some of the best possibilities for foodie travel.
If you love French cuisine, champagne and fine French wine then you’re in luck. France is the ideal destination for anyone hoping to excite their taste buds and indulge their pallets.
Some of the notable food tours in Paris include the Gourmet Food Walking Tour, and the Taste of Montmartre Tour.
Explore the famed Parisian districts foodie districts of Montmartre, Saint Germain and Le Marais and make sure you’ve got your spending money for the gourmet and boutique stores, as well as the markets you’ll pass on your tour of the city.
Adventure Travel in France
Foodie tourism isn’t the only niche form of tourism you can enjoy in France, if you have a passion for water sports, cycling and the outdoors then France is a great location.
One of the popular choices when visiting France in the warmer European summer months is to kayak the length of the popular Ardèche Gorges section of the Ardèche river.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, then the 30km stretch of this popular river is ideal for you.
Prefer to take part in winter sports? We’ve got the perfect guide to skiing in The Alps.
Always remember, if you’re taking part in any winter sports during your holiday, you should mention this when taking out your insurance policy.
At Medical Travel Compared we cover all types of travel insurance for Over 50’s. If you’re unsure of what your policy should include then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
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