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Dreams (imaginings, desires) are the potentials that are too intense to be imperceptible. Having intensified to the objective reduction threshold, a desire collapses into an action. The nobler an individual, the higher the objective reduction threshold and the more organizedly complex the imagination:

Quotes[edit]

  • Under each arm he carries an umbrella; one of them, with pictures on the inside, he spreads over the good children, and then they dream the most beautiful stories the whole night. But the other umbrella has no pictures, and this he holds over the naughty children so that they sleep heavily, and wake in the morning without having dreamed at all.
  • Álomban és szerelemben nincs lehetetlenség.
    • In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities.
      • János Arany, as quoted in Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and Modern, English and Foreign Sources (1893) by James Wood, p. 11.
  • Sweet sleep be with us, one and all!
    And if upon its stillness fall
    The visions of a busy brain,
    We'll have our pleasure o'er again,
    To warm the heart, to charm the sight,
    Gay dreams to all! good night, good night.
  • Some of my youthful readers are developing wonderful imaginations. This pleases me.Imagination has brought mankind through the Dark Ages to its present state of civilization. Imagination led Columbus to discover America. Imagination led Franklin to discover electricity. Imagination has given us the steam engine, the telephone, the talking-machine, and the automobile, for these things had to be dreamed of before they became realities. So I believe that dreams — day dreams, you know, with your eyes wide open and your brain machinery whizzing — are likely to lead to the betterment of the world. The imaginative child will become the imaginative man or woman most apt to create, to invent, and therefore to foster civilization. A prominent educator tells me that fairy tales are of untold value in developing imagination in the young. I believe it.
  • Perhaps you have heard the story of Christopher Wren, one of the greatest of English architects, who walked one day unrecognized among the men who were at work upon the building of St. Paul's cathedral in London which he had designed. "What are you doing?" he inquired of one of the workmen, and the man replied, "I am cutting a piece of stone." As he went on he put the same question to another man, and the man replied, "I am earning five shillings twopence a day." And to a third man he addressed the same inquiry and the man answered, "I am helping Sir Christopher Wren build a beautiful cathedral." That man had vision. He could see beyond the cutting of the stone, beyond the earning of his daily wage, to the creation of a work of art—the building of a great cathedral. And in your life it is important for you to strive to attain a vision of the larger whole.
    • Attributed to Louise Bush-Brown, director of the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women. Reported in as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
  • And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.
    • The Bible, Book of Joel, chapter 2, verse 28.
  • Trapped dreams must die.
    • James Branch Cabell, The Certain Hour (1916), "To Robert Gamble Cabell II: In Dedication of The Certain Hour'".
  • I was born, I think, with the desire to make beautiful books — brave books that would preserve the glories of the Dream untarnished, and would re-create them for battered people, and re-awaken joy and magnanimity.
  • The Dream, as I now know, is not best served by making parodies of it, and it does not greatly matter after all whether a book be an epic or a directory. What really matters is that there is so much faith and love and kindliness which we can share with and provoke in others, and that by cleanly, simple, generous living we approach perfection in the highest and most lovely of all arts. . . . But you, I think, have always comprehended this.
  • With the passage of time, whatever a man had done, whether for good or evil, with the man's bodily organs, left the man's parish unaffected: only a man's thoughts and dreams could outlive him, in any serious sense, and these might survive with perhaps augmenting influence: so that Kennaston had come to think artistic creation in words — since marble and canvas inevitably perished — was the one, possibly, worth-while employment of human life. But here was a crude corporal deed which bluntly destroyed thoughts, and annihilated dreams by wholesale. To Kennaston this seemed the one real tragedy that could be staged on earth....
    • James Branch Cabell, The Cream of the Jest (1917) "Richard Fentnor Harroby" in Ch. 24 : Deals with Pen Scratches.
  • Man alone of animals plays the ape to his dreams.
    • James Branch Cabell, The Silver Stallion : A Comedy of Redemption (1926), Manuel, in Book Four : Coth at Porutsa, Chapter XXV : Last Obligation upon Manuel
  • People must have both their dreams and their dinners in this world, and when we go out of it we must take what we find. That is all.
    • James Branch Cabell, The Silver Stallion : A Comedy of Redemption (1926), Niafer, in Book Ten : At Manuel's Tomb, Chapter LXIX : Economics of Jurgen.
  • Freud very rightly brought his critical faculties to bear upon the dream. It is, in fact, inadmissible that this considerable portion of psychic activity (since, at least from man’s birth until his death, thought offers no solution of continuity, the sum of the moments of the dream, from the point of view of time, and taking into consideration only the time of pure dreaming, that is the dreams of sleep, is not inferior to the sum of the moments of reality, or, to be more precisely limiting, the moments of waking) has still today been so grossly neglected.
    • André Breton, initiator of French Surrealism, from the first Manifesto of Surrealism - 1924; The Abridged Dictionary of Surrealism, reprinted in Marguerite Bonnet, ed. (1988). Oeuvres complètes, 1:328. Paris: Éditions Gallimard
  • I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.
    • Emily Brontë, Catherine Earnshaw (Ch. IX). Wuthering Heights (1847).
  • The dreamer dies, but never dies the dream,
    Though Death shall call the whirlwind to his aid,
    Enlist men’s passions, trick their hearts with hate,
    Still shall the Visionlive! Say never more
    That dreams are fragile things. What else endures
    Of all this broken world save only dreams!
    • Dana Burnet, "Who Dreams Shall Live", in Poems (1915), p. 209, lines 11–16.
  • His early dreams of good outstripp'd the truth,
And troubled manhood follow'd baffled youth.
  • If you have never had a dream, perhaps you have only dreamt to be alive.
    • Fausto Cercignani in: Brian Morris, Quotes we cherish. Quotations from Fausto Cercignani, 2013, p. 21.
  • Perhaps it is not true that “a man becomes what he dreams”; but if he does not dream, what kind of a man is he?
    • Fausto Cercignani, in: Brian Morris, Simply Transcribed. Quotations from Fausto Cercignani, 2013, p. 13.
  • Un poète doit laisser des traces de son passage, non des preuves. Seules les traces font rêver.
    • A poet should leave traces of his passage, not proofs. Traces alone engender dreams.
      • René Char, as quoted in The French-American Review (1976) by Texas Christian University, p. 132.
  • Myths are themselves a very important kind of proof. Myths preserve the history of human thought - dreams, nightmares, and memories - as well as the history of human deeds. And tangible proof aside, the legendary Amazons have been an almost universal male nightmare. Men have believed in them. Psychologically speaking, we don't fear something that doesn't exist, something that never happened, something that never could happen - any more than people forbid or regulate something that no one wants to do anyway.
  • The center of every man's existence is a dream. Death, disease, insanity, are merely material accidents, like a toothache or a twisted ankle. That these brutal forces always besiege and often capture the citadel does not prove that they are the citadel.
  • I have become increasingly convinced that some of the popular methods presumed to discover what is in the unconscious cannot be counted upon as reliable methods of obtaining evidence. They often involve the use of symbolism and analogy in such a way that the interpreter can find virtually anything that he is looking for. Freud, for instance, from a simple dream reported by a man in his middle twenties [i.e., Sergei Pankejeff ] as having occurred at 4 years of age drew remarkable conclusions. The 4-year-old boy dreamed of seeing six or seven white wolves sitting in a tree. Freud interpreted the dream in such a way as to convince himself that the patient at 18 months of age had been shocked by seeing his parents have intercourse three times in succession and that this played a major part in the extreme fear of being castrated by his father which Freud ascribed to him at 4 years of age. No objective evidence was ever offered to support this conclusion. Nor was actual fear of castration ever made to emerge into the light of consciousness despite years of analysis.
  • If a man could pass through Paradise in a dream, and have a flower presented to him as a pledge that his soul had really been there, and if he found that flower in his hand when he awake — Aye, what then?
  • Don't ever let someone tell you, you can't do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can't do something themselves, they want to tell you you can't do it. You want something, go get it. Period.
  • Dream after dream ensues;
    And still they dream that they shall still succeed;
    And still are disappointed.
  • I dream of vampires. I dream of god. I dream of no vampires. I dream of no god. I dream of nothing. And yet that too is still my dream.
  • Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than with the imagination being awake?
    • Leonardo da Vinci, The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci (1938), XIX Philosophical Maxims. Morals. Polemics and Speculations., as translated by Edward MacCurdy.
  • Men will seem to see new destructions in the sky. The flames that fall from it will seem to rise in it and to fly from it with terror. They will hear every kind of animals speak in human language. They will instantaneously run in person in various parts of the world, without motion. They will see the greatest splendour in the midst of darkness. O! marvel of the human race! What madness has led you thus! You will speak with animals of every species and they with you in human speech. You will see yourself fall from great heights without any harm and torrents will accompany you, and will mingle with their rapid course.
    • Leonardo da Vinci, The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci (1938), XX Humorous Writings, as translated by Edward MacCurdy.
  • Beyond a doubt truth bears the same relation to falsehood as light to darkness; and this truth is in itself so excellent that, even when it dwells on humble and lowly matters, it is still infinitely above uncertainty and lies, disguised in high and lofty discourses; because in our minds, even if lying should be their fifth element, this does not prevent that the truth of things is the chief nutriment of superior intellects, though not of wandering wits. But you who live in dreams are better pleased by the sophistical reasons and frauds of wits in great and uncertain things, than by those reasons which are certain and natural and not so far above us.
    • Leonardo da Vinci, The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci (1938), XIX Philosophical Maxims. Morals. Polemics and Speculations., as translated by Edward MacCurdy.
  • Charlie: You're not getting caught. Not this time. [Pulls out one of Joker's bombs from his jacket.]] I found this blown out of the van. [Waves it in front of a now-terrified Joker] This is how it ends, Joker- no big schemes, no grand fight to the finish with the Dark Knight. Tomorrow, all the papers will say is that the great Joker was found blown to bits in an alley, alongside a 'miserable little nobody'! Heh, kinda funny. Ironic, really! See, I can destroy a man's dreams too! And that's really the only dream you've got, isn't it?!
  • Somehow, I can't believe that there are any heights that can't be scaled by a man who knows the secret of making dreams come true. The special secret it seems to me is summarized in four C's. They are Curiosity, Courage, Confidence and Constancy. And the greatest of all is Confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably.
    • Walt Disney, as quoted in Perceive This! : How to Get Everything You Want Out of Life by Changing Your Perceptions (2004) by Kevin A. Martin, Ch. 9, No Bar Too High!, p. 64.
  • All our dreams can come true — if we have the courage to pursue them.
    • Walt Disney, How to Be Like Walt : Capturing the Magic Every Day of Your Life (2004), Ch. 3 : Imagination Unlimited, p. 63; Unsourced variant: All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them.
  • Dreams, as we all know, are very queer things: some parts are presented with appalling vividness, with details worked up with the elaborate finish of jewellery, while others one gallops through, as it were, without noticing them at all, as, for instance, through space and time. Dreams seem to be spurred on not by reason but by desire, not by the head but by the heart, and yet what complicated tricks my reason has played sometimes in dreams, what utterly incomprehensible things happen to it!
  • Yes, I dreamed a dream, my dream of the third of November. They tease me now, telling me it was only a dream. But does it matter whether it was a dream or reality, if the dream made known to me the truth? If once one has recognized the truth and seen it, you know that it is the truth and that there is no other and there cannot be, whether you are asleep or awake. Let it be a dream, so be it, but that real life of which you make so much I had meant to extinguish by suicide, and my dream, my dream — oh, it revealed to me a different life, renewed, grand and full of power!
  • In dreams you sometimes fall from a height, or are stabbed, or beaten, but you never feel pain unless, perhaps, you really bruise yourself against the bedstead, then you feel pain and almost always wake up from it. It was the same in my dream. I did not feel any pain, but it seemed as though with my shot everything within me was shaken and everything was suddenly dimmed, and it grew horribly black around me. I seemed to be blinded, and it benumbed, and I was lying on something hard, stretched on my back; I saw nothing, and could not make the slightest movement.
  • Oh, everyone laughs in my face now, and assures me that one cannot dream of such details as I am telling now, that I only dreamed or felt one sensation that arose in my heart in delirium and made up the details myself when I woke up. And when I told them that perhaps it really was so, my God, how they shouted with laughter in my face, and what mirth I caused! Oh, yes, of course I was overcome by the mere sensation of my dream, and that was all that was preserved in my cruelly wounded heart; but the actual forms and images of my dream, that is, the very ones I really saw at the very time of my dream, were filled with such harmony, were so lovely and enchanting and were so actual, that on awakening I was, of course, incapable of clothing them in our poor language, so that they were bound to become blurred in my mind; and so perhaps I really was forced afterwards to make up the details, and so of course to distort them in my passionate desire to convey some at least of them as quickly as I could. But on the other hand, how can I help believing that it was all true? It was perhaps a thousand times brighter, happier and more joyful than I describe it. Granted that I dreamed it, yet it must have been real. You know, I will tell you a secret: perhaps it was not a dream at all!
  • How it could come to pass I do not know, but I remember it clearly. The dream embraced thousands of years and left in me only a sense of the whole. I only know that I was the cause of their sin and downfall. Like a vile trichina, like a germ of the plague infecting whole kingdoms, so I contaminated all this earth, so happy and sinless before my coming. They learnt to lie, grew fond of lying, and discovered the charm of falsehood.
  • A dream! What is a dream? And is not our life a dream? I will say more. Suppose that this paradise will never come to pass (that I understand), yet I shall go on preaching it. And yet how simple it is: in one day, in one hour everything could be arranged at once! The chief thing is to love others like yourself, that's the chief thing, and that's everything; nothing else is wanted — you will find out at once how to arrange it all. And yet it's an old truth which has been told and retold a billion times — but it has not formed part of our lives! The consciousness of life is higher than life, the knowledge of the laws of happiness is higher than happiness — that is what one must contend against. And I shall. If only everyone wants it, it can be arranged at once.
  • A dream! What is a dream? And is not our life a dream? I will say more. Suppose that this paradise will never come to pass (that I understand), yet I shall go on preaching it. And yet how simple it is: in one day, in one hour everything could be arranged at once! The chief thing is to love others like yourself, that's the chief thing, and that's everything; nothing else is wanted — you will find out at once how to arrange it all. And yet it's an old truth which has been told and retold a billion times — but it has not formed part of our lives! The consciousness of life is higher than life, the knowledge of the laws of happiness is higher than happiness — that is what one must contend against. And I shall. If only everyone wants it, it can be arranged at once.
  • You can live in your dreams, but only if you are worthy of them.
  • They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
    Out of a misty dream
    Our path emerges for a while, then closes
    Within a dream.
    • Ernest Dowson, "They are not long, the weeping and the laughter," stanza 2, The Poems and Prose of Ernest Dowson (1919), p. 22.
  • The seventeenth-century Iroquois, as described by the Jesuit missionaries, practiced a dream psychotherapy that was remarkably similar to Freud's discoveries two hundred years later. The Iroquois recognized the existence of an unconscious, the force of unconscious desires, the way in which the conscious mind attempts to repress unpleasant thoughts, the emergence of unpleasant thoughts in dreams, and the mental and physical (psychosomatic) illnesses that may be caused by the frustration of unconscious desires. The Iroquois knew that their dreams did not deal in facts but rather in symbols. ...And one of the techniques employed by the Iroquois seers to uncover the latent meanings behind a dream was free association... The Iroquois faith in dreams... is only somewhat diminished after more than three hundred years. ...The conclusions are inevitable: Had Freud not discovered psychotherapy, then someone else would have.
  • You have to believe we are magic, nothin' can stand in our way
    You have to believe we are magic, don't let your aim ever stray
    And if all your hopes survive, destiny will arrive
    I'll bring all your dreams alive, for you.
  • People say that your dreams are the only things that save ya... Come on baby in our dreams, we can live our misbehaviors
  • Pour accomplir de grandes choses il ne suffit pas d'agir il faut rêver; il ne suffit pas de calculer, il faut croire.
    • To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.
    • Variant: To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act.
    • Anatole France, Discours de réception, Séance De L'académie Française (introductory speech at a session of the French Academy), 24th December 1896, on Ferdinand de Lesseps' work on the Suez Canal.
  • The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.
    • The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), from The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, translated by James Strachey.
    • At any rate the interpretation of dreams is the via regia to a knowledge of the unconscious in psychic life.
      • Alternate translation by Abraham Arden Brill, p. 483. Freud did use the Latin phrase via regia in the original as opposed to translating it into the German of the surrounding text.
    • Sigmund Freud "Royal road" or via regia is an allusion to a statement attributed to Euclid.
  • Both dreams and myths are important communications from ourselves to ourselves. If we do not understand the language in which they are written, we miss a great deal of what we know and tell ourselves in those hours when we are not busy manipulating the outside world.
    • Erich Fromm, as quoted in The New York Times (5 January 1964).
  • Science's self-assumed responsibility has been self-limited to disclosure to society only of the separate, supposedly physical (because separately weighable) atomic component isolations data. Synergetic integrity would require the scientists to announce that in reality what had been identified heretofore as physical is entirely metaphysical—because synergetically weightless. Metaphysical has been science's designation for all weightless phenomena such as thought. But science has made no experimental finding of any phenomena that can be described as a solid, or as continuous, or as a straight surface plane, or as a straight line, or as infinite anything. We are now synergetically forced to conclude that all phenomena are metaphysical; wherefore, as many have long suspected—like it or not—"life is but a dream".
  • Did I dream this belief
    Or did I believe this dream?
    Now I will find relief
    I grieve
  • Always believe in your dreams, because if you don't, you'll still have hope.
  • Dreams neither injure nor benefit: they are vain.
  • A dream towards morning is likely to be fulfilled.
  • When a dream is born in you
    With a sudden clamorous pain,
    When you know the dream is true
    And lovely, with no flaw nor stain,
    O then, be careful, or with sudden clutch
    You'll hurt the delicate thing you prize so much.
  • The pain was maddening. You should pray to God when you're dying, if you can pray when you're in agony. In my dream I didn't pray to God, I thought of Roger and how dearly I loved him. The pain of those wicked flames was not half so bad as the pain I felt when I knew he was dead. I felt suddenly glad to be dying. I didn't know when you were burnt to death you'd bleed. I thought the blood would all dry up in the terrible heat. But I was bleeding heavily. The blood was dripping and hissing in the flames. I wished I had enough blood to put the flames out. The worst part was my eyes. I hate the thought of gong blind. It's bad enough when I'm awake but in dreams you can't shake the thoughts away. They remain. In this dream I was going blind. I tried to close my eyelids but I couldn't. They must have been burnt off, and now those flames were going to pluck my eyes out with their evil fingers, I didn't want to go blind. The flames weren't so cruel after all. They began to feel cold. Icy cold. It occurred to me that I wasn't burning to death but freezing to death.
  • Dream and deed are not as different as many think. All the deeds of men are dreams at first, and become dreams in the end.
    • Theodor Herzl as quoted in The Israelis : Founders and Sons (1971) by Amos Elon, p. 57
  • I differ from Freud in that I think that most dreams are neither obscure nor bowdlerized, but rather that they are transparent and unedited. They reveal clearly meaningful undisguised and often highly conflictual themes worthy of note by the dreamer (and any interpretive assistant). My position echoes Jung's notion of dreams as transparently meaningful and does away with any distinction between manifest and latent content.
    • J. Allan Hobson, in The Dreaming Brain : How the brain creates both the sense and nonsense of dreams (1988)
  • It is important to state here -- though evidence will be considered in detail later on -- that all three women have either had "dreams" or normal recollections of having been shown, at later times, tiny offspring whose appearance suggests they are something other than completely human . . . that they are in fact hybrids, partly human and partly what we must call, for want of a better term, alien. it is unthinkable and unbelievable -- yet the evidence points in that direction. An ongoing and systematic breeding experiment must be considered one of the central purposes of UFO abductions.
    • Budd Hopkins, in Intruders: The Incredible Visitations at Copley Woods, p. 130
  • Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.
    • Langston Hughes, in "Dreams" in the anthology Golden Slippers : An Anthology of Negro Poetry for Young Readers (1941), edited by Arna Bontemps.
  • What happens to a dream deferred?

    Does it dry up
    like a raisin in the sun?

    Or fester like a sore —
    And then run?
    Does it stink like rotten meat?
    Or crust and sugar over —
    like a syrupy sweet?

    Maybe it just sags
    like a heavy load.

    Or does it explode?

  • Joined by his friend Zero, Mega Man X gazes out over the sea. Sigma has once again been destroyed, but X wonders if the fighting will truly end. Was Dr. Light's dream of a world in which Reploids and humans lived together in peace merely a dream? The price of peace is often high, X thinks to himself. Who or what must be sacrificed for it to become a reality? And when the time comes, will he be able to do it? The future holds the answers or...
  • Keiji Inafune, Sho Tsuge and Yoshihisa Tsuda Mega Man X2
  • I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past, — so good night!
  • ALL THIS IS A DREAM. Still examine it by a few experiments. Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature; and in such things as these experiment is the best test of such consistency.
    • Michael Faraday, in his laboratory journal entry #10,040 (19 March 1849); published in The Life and Letters of Faraday (1870) Vol. II, edited by Henry Bence Jones, p. 253. This has sometimes been quoted partially as "Nothing is too wonderful to be true".
  • The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens to that primeval cosmicnight that was soul long before there was conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach.
    • Carl Jung, The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man (1934).
  • We are so captivated by and entangled in our subjective consciousness that we have forgotten the age-old fact that God speaks chiefly through dreams and visions.
  • One of the most important ways of understanding the unconscious—indeed, as Freud saw it, the royal road to discovering the nature of its contents—is the dream.
    • Morton Kelsey, Myth, History & Faith: The Mysteries of Christian Myth & Imagination (1974) Ch.VII
  • I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal." … I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.
    • Martin Luther King, Jr., "I Have a Dream," speech at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. (August 28, 1963); reported in the Congressional Record (April 18, 1968), vol. 114, p. 9165.
  • Dreaming is not merely an act of communication; it is also an aesthetic activity, a game of the imagination, a game that is a value in itself.
    • Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984). as translated by Michael Henry Heim; Part Two: Soul and Body, p. 59.
  • The dream on the pillow,
    That flits with the day,
    The leaf of the willow
    A breath wears away;
    The dust on the blossom,
    The spray on the sea;
    Ay,—ask thine own bosom—
    Are emblems of thee.
  • I dreamed a dream, that I had flung a chain
    Of roses around Love, — I woke, and found
    I had chained Sorrow.
  • Dream, dream, let me dream,
    Wherefore should I waken,
    Sleep is as a fairy land
    Not yet by spells forsaken.
    Break not on the gentle charm
    In which night has bound me,
    Wherefore, wherefore should I wake
    To the cold world around me ? 
Never the spirit was born, the spirit shall cease to be never. Never was time it was not, end and beginning are dreams.
~ Bhagavad Gita
Life, what is it but a dream?
~ Lewis Carroll

We are now synergetically forced to conclude that all phenomena are metaphysical; wherefore, as many have long suspected—like it or not—"life is but a dream".
~ Buckminster Fuller
The dreamer dies, but never dies the dream
Say never more
That dreams are fragile things. What else endures
Of all this broken world save only dreams!
~ Dana Burnet
Your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.
~ The Bible, Book of Joel, 2,28
A poet should leave traces of his passage, not proofs. Traces alone engender dreams.
~ René Char
If a man could pass through Paradise in a dream, and have a flower presented to him as a pledge that his soul had really been there, and if he found that flower in his hand when he awake — Aye, what then?
~ Coleridge
Don't ever let someone tell you, you can't do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it.
~ Steve Conrad
Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than with the imagination being awake?
~ Leonardo da Vinci
Somehow, I can't believe that there are any heights that can't be scaled by a man who knows the secret of making dreams come true.
~ Walt Disney
Dreams, as we all know, are very queer things: some parts are presented with appalling vividness, with details worked up with the elaborate finish of jewellery, while others one gallops through, as it were, without noticing them at all...
~ Fyodor Dostoevsky
The actual forms and images of my dream, that is, the very ones I really saw at the very time of my dream, were filled with such harmony, were so lovely and enchanting and were so actual, that on awakening I was, of course, incapable of clothing them in our poor language... ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky
How it could come to pass I do not know, but I remember it clearly. The dream embraced thousands of years and left in me only a sense of the whole. ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky
Both dreams and myths are important communications from ourselves to ourselves. ~ Erich Fromm
Always believe in your dreams, because if you don't, you'll still have hope. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
When a dream is born in you
With a sudden clamorous pain,
When you know the dream is true
And lovely, with no flaw nor stain,
O then, be careful, or with sudden clutch
You'll hurt the delicate thing you prize so much. ~ Robert Graves
I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. ~ Thomas Jefferson
The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens to that primeval cosmicnight that was soul long before there was conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach. ~ Carl Jung
I chose to dream and act on my dreams, following the example that my father taught. To live with this dream may be crazy, it may be foolish, but to live without it would be a nightmare. ~ Yolanda King
Yes, you can kill the dreamer. Absolutely, you can kill the dreamer. But you cannot kill the dream. ~ Samuel Kyles
The value of dreams, like … divinations, is not that they give a specific answer, but that they open up new areas of psychic reality, shake us out of our customary ruts, and throw light on a new segment of our lives.~ Rollo May
They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. ~ Edgar Allan Poe
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.~ Edgar Allan Poe
I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was.~ Shakespeare
Dreams are the touchstones of our characters. ~ Thoreau
So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable. ~ Christopher Reeve
Dream is akin to aspiration. And aspiration is a kind of divination of an enigmatic vision. ~ Leo Strauss
I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. ~ William Butler Yeats
During our dreams we do not know we are dreaming. We may even dream of interpreting a dream. Only on waking do we know it was a dream. Only after the great awakening will we realize that this is the great dream. ~ Zhuangzi
After ten thousand generations there may be a great sage who will be able to explain it, a trivial interval equivalent to the passage from morning to night. ~ Zhuangzi
Location
Flag
Quick Facts
CapitalParis
Government republic
Currency Euro (€)
CFP Franc (XPF) (Pacific overseas territories)
Area 643,801km²
water: 3,374km²
land: 640,427km²
Population 63,929,000 in metropolitan France
66,616,416 in all France (2014 estimates)
LanguageFrench
recognized locally: Alsatian, Catalan, Corsican, Breton, Gallo, Occitan, some languages of New Caledonia
Religion 45% Christian, 3% Muslim, 1% Jewish, 1% Buddhist, 6% other religion, 44% none or not stated
Electricity 220-230V, 50Hz. Outlets: CEE7/5 (protruding male earth pin), accepting CEE 7/5 (Grounded), CEE 7/7 (Grounded) or CEE 7/16 (non-grounded) plugs
Country code 33
Internet TLD .fr
Time Zone UTC +1

France, officially the French Republic (French: République française), is a country with which almost every traveller has a relationship. Many dream of its joie de vivre shown by the countless restaurants, picturesque villages and world-famous gastronomy. Some come to follow the trail of France's great philosophers, writers and artists, or to immerse in the beautiful language it gave the world. And others still are drawn to the country's geographical diversity with its long coastlines, massive mountain ranges and breathtaking farmland vistas.

Understand[edit]

France has been the world's most popular tourist destination for quite some time. It received 83.7 million visitors in 2014, although these figures are highly skewed by the number of people who frequent the country for the weekend, particularly to visit Disneyland Paris, Europe's most popular visitor attraction. France is one of the most geographically diverse countries in Europe, containing areas as different from each other as urban chic Paris, the sunny French Riviera, long Atlantic beaches, the winter sports resorts of the French Alps, the castles of the Loire Valley, rugged Celtic Brittany and the historian's dream that is Normandy.

France is a country of rich emotions and turbulent politics but also a place of rational thinking and Enlightenment treasures. Above all, it is renowned for its cuisine, culture and history.

In the Caribbean, France borders the Netherlands via the French territory of Saint-Martin which borders the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten. Five oversea regions also form part of France: Martinique and Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, French Guiana in South America, and Reunion and Mayotte, both off the coast of Madagascar. Numerous French oversea territories also exist around the Earth with varying status.

Climate[edit]

A lot of variety, but temperate winters and mild summers on most of the territory, and especially in Paris. Mild winters and hot summers along the Mediterranean and in the southwest (the latter has lots of rain in winter). You may likely even see a few palm trees on the Mediterranean coast. Mild winters (with lots of rain) and cool summers in the northwest (Brittany). Cool to cold winters and hot summer along the German border (Alsace). Along the Rhône Valley, there is an occasional strong, cold, dry, north-to-northwesterly wind known as the mistral.

Cold winters with lots of the snow in the Mountainous regions: Alps, Pyrenees, Auvergne.

Terrain[edit]

Mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west; remainder is mountainous, especially Pyrenees in south west, Vosges, Jura and Alps in east, Massif Central in the mid south.

When to travel[edit]

If possible, try to avoid French school holidays and Easter, because hotels are very likely to be overbooked and traffic on the roads is simply awful.

  • Holidays: search internet for "French school holidays", as they vary from region to region. Mostly, the winter holidays are 10 Feb-10 Mar. The spring holidays are often 10 Apr-10 May. Also try to avoid travel around the 14th of July. (quatorze juillet) These times the roads are full of people, leading to the much dreaded Black Friday traffic jams which can grow in length to over 160km (100 miles)!

Winter gets very cold, sometimes freezing. Make sure to bring appropriate clothing to keep you warm while visiting.

Hotels are very likely to be overbooked and road traffic will be awful during the 1 May, 8 May, 11 Nov, Easter Weekend, Ascension weekend too.

History[edit]

France has been populated since the Neolithic period. The Dordogne region is especially rich in prehistoric caves, some used as habitation, others are temples with remarkable paintings of animals and hunters, like those found at Lascaux.

Rise and fall of the Roman empire[edit]

Written History began in France with the invasion of the territory by the Romans, between 118 and 50 BC. Starting then, the territory which is today called France was part of the Roman Empire, and the Gauls (name given to local Celts by the Romans), who lived there before Roman invasions, became acculturated "Gallo-Romans".

With the fall of the Roman empire, what was left were areas inhabited by descendants of intermarriages between Gallo-Romans and "barbaric" easterners (Mainly the Franks, but also other tribes like the "burgondes").

The legacy of the Roman presence is still visible, particularly in the southern part of the country where Roman circuses are still used for bullfights and rock and roll shows. Some of the main roads still follow the routes originally traced 2,000 years ago, and the urban organisation of many old town centres still transcript the cardo and the decumanus of the former Roman camp (especially Paris). The other main legacy was the Catholic Church which can be, arguably, considered as the only remnant of the civilization of that time

Middle-Ages[edit]

Clovis, who died in 511, is considered as the first French king although his realm was not much more than the area of the present Île de France, around Paris. Charlemagne, who was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 800, was the first strong ruler. He united under his rule territories which extend today in Belgium, Germany and Italy. His capital was Aix-la-Chapelle (now in Germany, known as Aachen).

The country was under attack by the Vikings who came from the north and navigated upstream the rivers to plunder the cities and abbeys, it was also under attack from the south by the Muslim Saracens who were established in Spain. The Vikings were given a part of the territory (today's Normandy) in 911 and melted fast in the feudal system. The Saracens were stopped in 732 in Poitiers by Charles Martel, grand father of Charlemagne, a rather rough warrior who was later painted as a national hero.

Starting with Charlemagne, a new society starts to settle, based on the personal links of feudalism. This era is named middle age. Although generally seen as an era of stagnation, it can more be described as a very complex mix of periods of economic and cultural developments (Music and poems of the Troubadours and Trouveres, building of the Romantic, then Gothic cathedrals), and recessions due to pandemic disease and wars.

In 987, Hughes Capet was crowned as king of France ; he is the root of the royal families who later governed France. In 1154 much of the western part of France went under English rule with the wedding of Alienor d'Aquitaine to Henry II (Count of Anjou, born in the town of Le Mans). Some kings of the Plantagenet dynasty are still buried in France, the most famous being Richard I, of Walter Scott's fame, and his father Henry II, who lies in the Abbaye de Fontevraud. The struggle between the English and French kings between 1337 and 1435 is known as the Hundred Years War and the most famous figure, considered as a national heroine, is Joan of Arc.

The making of a modern state nation[edit]

The beginning of the 16th century saw the end of the feudal system and the emergence of France as a "modern" state with its border relatively close to the present ones (Alsace, Corsica, Savoy, the Nice region weren't yet French). Louis XIV who was king from 1643 to 1715 (72 years) was probably the most powerful monarch of his time. French influence extended deep in western Europe, its language was used in the European courts and its culture was exported all over Europe.

That era and the following century also saw the expansion of France on the other continents. This started a whole series of wars with the other colonial empires, mainly England (later Britain) and Spain over the control of North America, the Caribbean, South American, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

The French Revolution started in 1789, leading to the overthrow of King Louis XVI of the House of Bourbon and the creation of the First French Republic. Although this period was also fertile in bloody excesses it was, and still is, a reference for many other liberation struggles. In 1791, the other monarchies of Europe looked with outrage at the revolution and its upheavals, and considered whether they should intervene, either in support of the deposed King Louis XVI, or to prevent the spread of revolution, or to take advantage of the chaos in France. The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of major conflicts fought between the French Republic and several European Monarchies from 1792 to 1802.

Napoléon Bonaparte seized power in a coup d'état, reunited the country and declared himself Emperor of the French, he crowned by Pope Pius VII as Napoleon I of the French Empire, on 2 December 1804 at Notre Dame de Paris. His militaristic ambition which, at first, made him the ruler of most of western Europe were finally his downfall. In 1815 he was defeated in Waterloo (Belgium) by the Seventh Coalition - United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Hanover, Nassau, Brunswick, and Prussia. He is still revered in some Eastern European countries as its armies and its government brought with them the ideas of the French philosophers.

20th and 21st centuries[edit]

1905 saw the separation of the Church from the State. This was a traumatic process, especially in rural areas. The French state carefully avoids any religious recognition. The Church was badly hurt and lost half its priests. In the long run, however, it gained autonomy—for the French State no longer had a voice in choosing bishops. In the early 21st century, the French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP) 2009 study, based on self declaration in a percentage of the total French population, 64.4% of the population identified as Catholic but with only 15.2% regularly attending or occasionally attending Mass, and 4.5% attending Mass weekly.

The First World War (1914-1918) was a disaster for France, even though the country was ultimately a victor. At first many welcomed the war to avenge the humiliation of defeat and loss of territory to Germany following the Franco-Prussian War. However very high losses and almost no gain on the Western Front change opinions of the war. A significant part of the male workforce was killed or disabled and a large part of the country and industry destroyed. When the Second World War (1939-45) was declared there was little enthusiasm and much dread in France at the prospect of enduring another major war. In the spring of 1940 Hitler's army invaded France, the army and government of the Third French Republic collapse and France surrendered in June of 1940. With British troops fleeing France an atmosphere of humiliation and defeat swept over the country. On the other hand, the French Resistance conducted sabotage operations inside German-occupied France. To support the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944, various groups increased their sabotage and guerilla attacks.

Since the end of WWII France went through a period of reconstruction and prosperity came back with the development of industry. The Fifth Republic (1958-to the present) emerged from the collapse of the French Fourth Republic (1946-58) and replaced the prior parliamentary government with a semi-presidential system. It is France's third-longest-enduring political regime, after the pre-French Revolution Ancien Régime and the Third Republic.

France began the process of decolonisation after a rise in nationalism following WWII.

In 1963 France and West Germany signed the Élysée Treaty, known as the Friendship Treaty, the treaty established a new foundation for relations that ended centuries of rivalry between them. France would play a role in what would eventually became the European Union. One of the most visible consequence being the introduction in 2002 of the Euro (€), now the common currency of eighteen of the twenty-eight EU members and also used by seven other European countries.

In 2014, France was a republic with a President elected for a 5-year term (officially the French Republic and some would describe it as a "Unitary semi-presidential and constitutional republic"). Some current main issues are the further integration of the country into the EU and the adoption of common standards for the economy, defence, immigrant rights, and so on.

The ban on religious symbols of 15 March 2004 in public schools is an application of the French policy of laïcité (secularism) under which religious symbols such as Muslim veils, Jewish Kippahs and Sikh turbans have been banned from schools. This has meant that the guarantees for freedom of religion have been curtailed for faith groups in France. Although France is extremely safe, anyone from an openly religious, faith community may still need to exercise care when travelling in France.

Electricity[edit]

Electricity is supplied at 220 to 230V 50Hz. Outlets are CEE7/5 (protruding male earth pin) and accept either CEE 7/5 (Grounded), CEE 7/7 (Grounded) or CEE 7/16 (non-grounded) plugs. Older German-type CEE 7/4 plugs are not compatible as they do not accommodate the earth pin found on this type of outlet. However, most modern European appliances are fitted with the hybrid CEE 7/7 plug which fits both CEE 7/5 (Belgium & France) and CEE 7/4 (Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and most of Europe) outlets.

Plugs Travellers from the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland and other countries using 230V 50Hz which use different plugs simply require a plug adaptor to use their appliances in France. Plug adaptors for plugs from the US and UK are available from electrical and "do-it-yourself" stores such as Bricorama.

Voltage: Travellers from the US, Canada, Japan and other countries using 110V, 60Hz may need a voltage converter. However, some laptops, mobile phone chargers and other devices can accept either 110V or 230V so only require a simple plug adaptor. Check the voltage rating plates on your appliances before connecting them.

Regions[edit]

Metropolitan France is divided into 13 administrative regions, which themselves can be grouped into seven cultural regions:

Each administrative region is divided into a number of departments. Each department is allocated a 2 digit number. This number forms the first 2 digits of the 5 digit French postcode.

Overseas departments[edit]

Overseas territories[edit]

  • New Caledonia (Nouvelle Caledonie) — long-shaped island in Oceania

The following overseas territories are remote possessions kept as natural reservations:

A very limited form of tourism is available in the TAAF islands.

Cities[edit]

France has numerous cities of interest to travellers, below is a list of nine of the most notable:

  • Paris — the "City of Light", romance and the Eiffel Tower
  • Bordeaux — city of wine, traditional stone mansions and smart terraces
  • Bourges — gardens, canals and a cathedral listed as a UNESCO heritage site
  • Lille — a dynamic northern city known for its handsome centre and active cultural life
  • Lyon — France's second city with a history from Roman times to the Resistance
  • Marseille — Third largest French city with a harbour as big as its place as the heart of Provence
  • Nantes — the "Greenest City" and, according to some, the best place to live in Europe
  • Strasbourg — famous for its historical centre, and home to many European institutions
  • Toulouse — the "Pink City", for its distinctive brick architecture, main city of Occitania

Other destinations[edit]

  • Camargue — one of Europe's largest river deltas and wetlands
  • Corsica — the birthplace of Napoleon, a unique island with a distinct culture and language
  • French Alps — home to the highest mountain in Western Europe, the Mont Blanc
  • French Riviera (Côte d'Azur) — Mediterranean coastline of France with plenty of upper class seaside resorts, yachts and golf courses
  • Loire Valley — the world-famous Loire Valley, best known for its wines and chateaux
  • Luberon — the stereotypical Provence of picturesque villages, joie de vivre and wine
  • Mont Saint Michel — second most-visited sight in France, a monastery and town built on a tiny outcrop of rock in the sand, which is cut off from the mainland at high tide
  • Verdon Gorge — beautiful river canyon in a turquoise-green, great for kayaking, hiking, rock-climbing or just driving around the limestone cliffs

Get in[edit]

Entry requirements[edit]

Minimum validity of travel documents

  • EU, EEA and Swiss citizens need only have a national identity card or passport which is valid for the entirety of their stay in France.
  • Other nationals (regardless of whether they are visa-exempt (e.g. New Zealanders) or are required to have a visa (e.g. South Africans)) must have a passport which has at least 3 months' validity beyond their period of stay in France. In addition, the passport must have been issued in the previous 10 years.

France is a member of the Schengen Agreement.

There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented this treaty - the European Union (except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. But be careful: not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union. This means that there may be spot customs checks but no immigration checks (travelling within Schengen but to/from a non-EU country) or you may have to clear immigration but not customs (travelling within the EU but to/from a non-Schengen country).

Please see the article Travel in the Schengen Zone for more information about how the scheme works and what entry requirements are. Citizens of Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Israel, Macedonia, Mauritius, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, San Marino, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Taiwan and Uruguay, as well as British Nationals (Overseas), are permitted to work in France without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorisation for the period of their 90 day visa-free stay. All other visa-exempt nationals are exempt from holding a visa for short-term employment if they possess a valid work permit and can present this work permit at the port of entry, with limited exceptions. However, this ability to work visa-free does not necessarily extend to other Schengen countries. For more information, visit this webpage of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

France Visa requirements[edit]

Foreign nationals who are not visa-exempt (e.g. South Africans) must make a 'declaration of entry' (déclaration d'entrée) at a police station or to border inspection personnel if they arrive in France directly from another country of Schengen Area (e.g. Italy), unless they hold a long-term visa or residence permit issued by a Schengen member state. Their passports will be endorsed by the authorities to prove that such a declaration has been made.

Reading up
Before you leave you may want to read a book like French or Foe by Polly Platt or Almost French by Sarah Turnbull — interesting, well written records from English speaking persons who live in France. For the adult reader interested in the famous reputation enjoyed by Paris for romance and sensuality, try "SENSUAL PARIS: Sex, Seduction and Romance in the Sublime City of Light" by Jonathan LeBlanc Roberts

If you intend to stay in France for longer than 90 days, regardless of purpose and with extremely few exceptions, an advance long-stay visa is always required of non-EEA or non-Swiss citizens. It is almost impossible to switch from a "C" (visitor) entry status to a "D" (long-stay) status from inside France, and you must apply for a long-stay visa in-person at the consulate responsible for your place of residence.

As of 2009, certain categories of long-stay visa, such as visitor (visiteur), family (vie privée et familiale), student (étudiant), intern (stagiaire), scientist/researcher (scientifique-chercheur), salaried worker (salarié), and short-term worker (travailleur temporaire), do not require holders to obtain a separate residence permit (carte de séjour) for the first year of stay in France. However, the long-stay visa must be validated by the Office Française de l'Immigration et de l'Intégration (OFII) within the first three months of entering France to be valid for longer than those three months. This is done by sending in a form to the OFII received along with the visa with the address of residence in France, completing a medical examination, and attending an introductory meeting to validate the visa. The tax required for validation (€58 for students and interns, but €241 for workers except those under the short-term worker category and for scientists, visitors, and family) is, as of February 2013, collected at the end of the validation process inside France. This validated visa will serve as a residence permit and, likewise, allow travel throughout the other Schengen countries for up to 90 days in a six-month period. To stay in France after a validated visa expires, however, and/or if you hold a visa which states carte de séjour à solliciter dès l'arrivée, a carte de séjour (residence permit card) must be obtained at the préfecture responsible for your place of residence within two months of entry into France or two months before the visa expires. Please consult the OFII website for more information.

French overseas departments and territories (DOM-TOM) are not part of the Schengen Area and operate a separate immigration regime from mainland France. As such, if you intend to visit them, you will need a separate visa (if required for your nationality).

By plane[edit]

Flights to/from Paris[edit]

The main international airport, Roissy - Charles de Gaulle (IATA: CDG) is likely to be your port of entry if you fly into France from outside Europe. CDG is the home of Air France (AF), the national company, for most intercontinental flights. AF and the companies forming the SkyTeam Alliance (Dutch KLM, Aeromexico, Alitalia, Delta Air Lines, Korean Air,) use Terminal 2 while most other foreign airlines use Terminal 1. A third terminal is used for charter flights. If transferring through CDG (especially between the various terminals) it is important to leave substantial time between flights. Ensure you have no less than one hour between transfers. Add more if you have to change terminals as you will need to clear through security.

Transfers to another flight in France: AF operates domestic flights from CDG too, but a lot of domestic flights, and also some internal European flights, use Orly, the second Paris airport. For transfers within CDG you can use the free bus shuttle linking all terminals, train station, parking lots and hotels on the platform. For transfers to Orly there is a bus link operated by AF (free for AF passengers). The two airports are also linked by a local train (RER) which is slightly less expensive, runs faster but is much more cumbersome to use with heavy luggage. AF has agreements with the SNCF, the national rail company, which operates TGVs (see below) out of CDG airports (some trains carry flight numbers). The TGV station is in Terminal 2 and is on the route of the free shuttle. For transfers to the city centre of Paris, see Paris. Paris Star Shuttle offers transfers from CDG into Paris.

Some low-cost airlines, including Ryanair and Volare, fly to Beauvais airport situated about 80km northwest of Paris. Buses to Paris are provided by the airlines. Check schedules and fares on their websites.

Flights to/from regional airports[edit]

Other airports outside Paris have flights to/from international destinations: Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Toulouse have flights to cities in western Europe and North Africa; these airports are hubs to smaller airports in France and may be useful to avoid the transfer between the two Paris airports. Two airports, Bâle-Mulhouse and Geneva, are shared by France and Switzerland and can allow entry into either country.

Many airlines operate flights between regional airports in the UK and France and between Ireland and France:

British Airways flies direct from the UK to Angers, Basel (Mulhouse), Bordeaux, Chambéry, Geneva, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris CDG, Paris Orly, Quimper and Toulouse.

Cityjet flies direct from the UK to Avignon (Provence), Brest (Brittany), Brive (Dordogne), Deauville (Normandy), Nantes, Paris Orly, Pau (Pyrénées) and Toulon (Côte d'Azur) and from Dublin to Paris CDG.

Eastern Airways flies between Southampton and Lorient.

easyJet flies direct from the UK to Basel (Mulhouse), Biarritz, Bordeaux, Geneva, Grenoble, La Rochelle, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nantes, Nice, Paris CDG, Paris Orly, and Toulouse.

Flybe flies direct from the UK to Avignon (Provence), Bergerac, Béziers, Bordeaux, Brest (Brittany), Caen, Chambéry, Clermont-Ferrand, Geneva, La Rochelle, Limoges, Nantes, Nice, Paris CDG, Paris Orly, Pau (Pyrénées), Perpignan, Rennes, Toulouse and Tours.

Jet2.com flies direct from the UK to Bergerac, Chambéry, Geneva, La Rochelle, Nice, Paris CDG and Toulouse.

Lydd Air[2] operates a short shuttle flight across the Channel between Lydd in Kent and Le Touquet.

Ryanair[3] flies direct from the UK to Bergerac, Béziers, Biarritz, Bordeaux, Brive (Dordogne), Carcassonne, Deauville (Normandy), Dinard (Saint-Malo), Grenoble, La Rochelle, Limoges, Lourdes, Marseille, Montpellier, Nîmes, Perpignan, Poitiers, Rodez, Toulon (Côte d'Azur) and Tours.

Aer Lingus flies direct from Ireland to Bordeaux, Geneva, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Paris CDG, Perpignan, Rennes and Toulouse.

By boat[edit]

France is served by numerous services from England to France:

Prices vary considerably depending on which route you choose. Generally the cheapest route is the short sea route across the English Channel which is Dover to Calais, so it is worth comparing prices before you decide which is the most suitable route to France.

Passengers travelling from Dover by ferry to France go through French passport/identity card checks in the UK before boarding, rather than on arrival in France. Passengers travelling from all other UK ports to France go through French passport/identity card checks on arrival in France.

There are also connections from Ireland to France:

Numerous companies now act as agents for the various ferry companies much like Expedia and Travelocity act as agents for airlines allowing the comparison of various companies and routes. Two well known brands are Ferryonline [10] and AFerry.co.uk [11].

By train[edit]

The French rail company, SNCF, provides direct service from most European countries using regular trains. French train tickets can be purchased directly in the US from RailEurope a subsidiary of the SNCF.

  • Eurostar[12] runs high-speed trains to France from the United Kingdom and Belgium. Passengers travelling from the UK to France go through French passport/identity card checks in the UK before boarding, rather than on arrival in France. Passengers travelling from Brussels to Lille/Calais/Paris are within the Schengen Area. Eurostar operates the following routes from France:
Paris (Gare du Nord) direct to London (St Pancras International) (2h 15min), Ebbsfleet and Ashford and via Lille to Brussels (Zuid-Midi).
Lille (Europe) direct to London (St Pancras International) (1h 20min), Ebbsfleet, Ashford and Brussels (Zuid-Midi)
Calais (Fréthun) direct to London (St Pancras International) (1h 2min; 2-3 daily), Ebbsfleet (44min; 3-4 daily), Ashford (35min; 1 daily) and Brussels (Zuid-Midi) (1h 9min; 2-3 daily) Note: Although Brussels Midi-Calais Fréthun can't be purchased on the Eurostar website, it is available on the Belgian Railways website [13]
  • Thalys uses high-speed TGV trains to connect Paris to Brussels and onward to cities in the Netherlands and Germany. It can be a bit expensive compared to normal trains.
  • IZY is a low-cost train service between Paris and Brussels (journey time: 2hr 30min, around 1 hour longer than the Thalys high-speed train service).
  • Eurotunnel[14] or Le Shuttle as it's often known, is a train service between Folkestone in Kent in the UK and Calais in France. The Eurotunnel or Le Shuttle transports vehicles such as cars, coaches and freight by rail through the Channel Tunnel. Journey times last approximately 35 minutes with on average 4 departures per hour. In 2015 Eurotunnel became the second most popular way for vehicles to travel across the channel with around 10.5 million passengers using the service.

By bus[edit]

France has several Eurolines-hubs, [15].

By car[edit]

Several weekends each year in France its Black Saturday (Samedi noir) because of the start or end of school holidays and the coinciding traffic jams on the French roads. When possible it is wise to avoid these black days. See for the actual forecast the website of the French traffic service [16].

See Driving in France.

See the 'By boat' section above for information on car ferries to France from the United Kingdom and Ireland.

From Belgium[edit]

  • As according to an agreement with the CFL, the Belgian railways are directing all passenger trains to France through Luxembourg (thus causing an extra unnecessary border crossing), it may be useful to cross the border directly, on foot. The terminus of the French railways in Longwy can be reached from the Belgian train station of Halanzy (the line operates only on work days, however), or from the bigger Belgian stations of Arlon or Virton. Between these two stations there's a bus operated by the TEC company which stops at Aubange Place, a good point of departure/arrival for the walking tour. The path leads almost exclusively through inhabited areas in the community of Mont-Saint-Martin (yet partially in a forest if you go to/from Halanzy) and takes some 7 km. The city of Longwy itself is quite steep in some of its parts, so pay attention to this when planning your route.
  • There are domestic Belgian trains that terminate in Lille (station Lille-Flanders).
  • Between the De Panne terminus of the Belgian railways (and the Coast tram – Kusttram) and the French coastal city of Dunkerque, there is a bus line run by DK'BUS Marine: [17]. It may, however, be operating only in certain time of the year. It is also possible to take a DK'BUS bus which goes to the closest possible distance of the border and then cross it on foot by walking on the beach and arriving at a convenient station of the Coast tram, such as Esplanade.

Get around[edit]

By plane[edit]

The following carriers offer domestic flights within France:

  1. Air France[18] (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))
  2. Hop![19] (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))
  3. Air Corsica[20] (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))
  4. Twin Jet[21] (Cherbourg (Maupertus Airport), Marseille Airport, Metz/Nancy (Metz-Nancy-Lorraine Airport), Paris (Orly Field), Saint Etienne (Boutheon Airport), Toulouse (Blagnac Airport))
  5. easyJet[22] (Bastia, Biarritz, Brest, Lyon, Nantes, Nice (Côte D'Azur Airport), Paris (Charles De Gaulle Airport), Paris (Orly), Toulouse (Blagnac Airport))
  6. Ryanair[23] (Marseille to/from Bordeaux/Brest/Lille/Nantes/Paris Beauvais/Paris Vatry/Tours; Paris Beauvais to/from Beziers/Marseille)
  7. Eastern Airways[24] (Lyon to Lorient)
  8. Hex'Air[25] (Le Puy (Loudes Airport), Lyon Satolas Airport, Paris (Orly Field), Rodez (Marcillac Airport))
  9. Heli Securite[26] (Cannes (Croisette Heliport), Nice (Cote D'Azur Airport))
  10. Nice Helicopteres[27] (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):

  1. Air Austral[28] (Réunion)
  2. Air Caraïbes[29] (French Guiana (Cayenne), Guadeloupe (Pointe-à-Pitre) and Martinique (Fort-de-France))
  3. Air France[30] (French Guiana (Cayenne), Guadeloupe (Pointe-à-Pitre), Martinique (Fort-de-France), Réunion)
  4. 'Corsair International[31] (French Guiana (Cayenne), Guadeloupe (Pointe-à-Pitre), Martinique (Fort-de-France), Mayotte (Dzaoudzi), Réunion)
  5. XL Airways[32] (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).

France

Chantilly gardens, Paris, Île-de-France
St Joseph's Church by August Peret, Le Havre, Normandy, Northern France
Hotel de Ville decorated to celebrate its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Le Havre, Normandy, Northern France
Place du General de Gaulle, Lille, Nord-Pas de Calais, Northern France
View of Mont Saint Michel from the causeway carpark, Normandy, Northern France
Yachts moored in Honfleur, Normandy, Northern France
The French impressionist painter Claude Monet's house in Giverny, Normandy, Northern France
Interior of Bayeux Cathedral, Normandy, Northern France
Half-timbered facades in old town Strasbourg, Alsace, Northeastern France
The cathedral at Reims, Marne department, Northeastern France
The coast at Quiberon, Brittany
Place de la République in Rennes, Brittany
Boats in the harbour at St Malo, Brittany
The main street of old city of Le Mans, Pays de la Loire
The Saint-Julien Cathedral in Le Mans, Pays de la Loire
The Saint-Michel gate in Guerande, Pays de la Loire
Cathédrale Saint-Pierre in Nantes, Pays de la Loire

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