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Preface Last Updated: 1/16/2004 2:27 PM

France has long been the crossroads of trade, travel, and invasion. “La belle France” has a remarkably diverse landscape, ranging from the broad plain that covers most of northern and western France to the snow clad mountains — the Pyrénées in the south, the Massif Central in the southeast, and the Alps in the east — and then to its network of rivers — the Rhône in the south, the Loire and Garonne in the west, and the Seine in the north. The hills of France sprout world-famous vineyards, her forests blanket one‑fifth of her land, and her valleys bloom with flowers that produce her equally famous perfumes. Each region of the country boasts a distinctive cuisine contributing to a gastronomic mosaic of legendary repute.

France’s climate is as varied as the land, allowing for ski resorts in the French Alps and fashionable resorts along the beaches of Biarritz and Deauville. Cool winters and mild summers are to be found in the west and north and a Mediterranean climate in the south.

France was one of the earliest countries to progress from feudalism into the era of the nation‑state. The French Revolution established republican and egalitarian principles of government that would later be adopted throughout most of Europe.

France’s achievements in literature and in the arts and sciences have influenced Western culture and set world standards. French painting is synonymous with greatness. David, artist of the revolution, and Monet and Renoir, explorers of light on canvas, are but a few. In music, Berlioz in the Romantic period was followed by Debussy, who was inspired by the Impressionist movement, and Bizet, composer of “Carmen.” French literature encompasses the 18th century rationalist philosophers Voltaire and Rousseau and the 20th century novelists Colette, Proust, Sartre, and Camus. France has also played a leading role in science. Lavoisier laid the foundations of modern chemistry and physics; the Curies jointly discovered radium; and Pasteur developed theories of germs and vaccination.

France has highly developed and diversified industries — electric power, gas, aerospace, and capital goods. A favorable climate, large tracts of fertile land, and the application of modern technology make France the leading agricultural producer in Western Europe. Each region has its own geographical charm, rich crops, and customs, and they all combine to make France a fascinating experience.

Special Note — American Presence Posts

American Presence Posts (APPs) in France are regional, one‑officer, restricted‑focus Foreign Service posts in five key cities around the country — Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Rennes, and Toulouse. They have the diplomatic status of a Consulate and are treated as such in this Post Report. The purpose of these posts is to provide a continuous, on-the-ground official American presence in support of American businesses, citizens, and public diplomacy goals. Advances in communications technology and an entrepreneurial approach to doing business enables the APPs to effectively pursue evolving U.S. interests with limited staff, infrastructure, and budget.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 1/16/2004 2:29 PM

France covers 220,668 square miles, and is about four‑fifths the size of Texas. The landscape is varied; about two‑thirds flat plains or gently rolling hills, and the rest mountainous. A broad plain covers most of northern and western France from the Belgian border in the northeast to Bayonne in the southwest, and it rises to uplands in Normandy, Brittany, and the east. This large plain is bounded on the south by the steeply rising ridges of the Pyrénées, on the southeast by the mountainous plateau of the Massif Central, and on the east by the rugged Alps, the low ridges of the Jura, and the rounded summits of the densely forested Vosges. The principal rivers are the Rhône in the south, the Loire and the Garonne in the west, the Seine in the north, and the Rhine, which forms part of France’s eastern border with Germany.

France is bordered on the north by Belgium and the Duchy of Luxembourg, on the east by Germany, on the southeast by Switzerland, Italy, and Monaco, and on the south by Spain and Andorra.

The west and north of France experience cool winters and mild summers, while southern France and Corsica have a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. Precipitation is frequent all year. The average yearly rainfall in Paris for the last 30 years is 26 inches.

Population Last Updated: 1/16/2004 2:30 PM

France’s population of 58.7 million (2000 est.) consists of large elements of three basic European stocks — Celtic, Latin, and Teutonic — but over the centuries, these groups have blended so that today they may be referred to only in the historical sense.

Between 1946 and 1996, France’s population has increased from 40 to 58 million inhabitants. Since then, it has still grown, but less quickly from 1975. The “baby‑boom” has lasted until the mid‑’60s. The growth in the population comes from the natural excess for three‑quarters, and for one‑quarter, from immigration, which was mainly very important between 1955 and 1973.

France’s birthrate was among the highest in Europe from 1945 until the late 1960s, when it began to fall. Since 1976 the rate has been approximately 3 births per 1,000 people, the lowest since 1945.

Traditionally, France has had a high level of immigration. About 4,310 million people in 1999 (=7.4% of the population) entered the country between the two World Wars. After the establishment of an independent Algerian state in 1962, about 1 million French citizens returned to France. By early 1982 France’s population of immigrant workers and their families was estimated at 3.5 million or almost 7% of the population. The number of immigrants born in Europe has decreased; the number coming from Maghreb has slightly increased.

As of 2000, about 85% of the population is Roman Catholic, less than 2% is Protestant, and about 1.5% is Jewish. Immigration since the early 1960s from North Africa, especially Algeria, accounts for about 9% Muslims.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 1/16/2004 2:31 PM

The Constitution for the Fifth Republic was approved by public referendum in 1958. Under its provisions, as amended in 1962 and 2000, the President of the Republic is elected directly for a 5‑year term. The President names the Prime Minister, presides over the Council of Ministers, commands the Armed Forces, and concludes treaties. The President may submit questions (with the government’s approval) to a national referendum, may dissolve the National Assembly, and, in certain defined emergency situations, may assume full power.

The Constitution provides for a bicameral Parliament consisting of a National Assembly and a Senate. The Assembly’s 577 deputies are elected directly for 5-year terms. All seats are voted on in each election. The Senate, chosen by an electoral college, has 321 members elected for 9‑year terms. One-third of the Senate is renewed every 3 years.

The French political spectrum includes six distinctive political groups. From right to left, these are the extreme right, the neo‑Gaullists, the traditional center‑right, the Socialists, the ecologists and non-Communist far‑left, and the Communists. Numerous smaller parties have variable national political impact. A center‑right president was elected in 1995. Since legislative elections in 1997 gave the left a majority in the National Assembly, a Socialist prime minister has presided over a leftist coalition government, creating a situation the French call “cohabitation” in which the president and prime minister represent different political tendencies. Separate presidential and National Assembly elections are scheduled to occur in the first half of 2002.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:16 PM

France has had a greater influence on Western Culture than almost any other country. The Gothic Cathedrals of Northern France and the chateaux of the French nobility, the French philosophers and playwrights of the Enlightenment, the novelists and painters of the 19th century, and the French film directors of the “New Wave” have been admired and imitated around the world. France continues as a mecca for performing artists, painters, writers, and intellectuals from every continent who are drawn by its rich museums, its knowledgeable and appreciative audiences, and the prestige given to creative people in all fields.

From the time of Thomas Jefferson, French culture has had an enormous impact on American art, architecture, cuisine, fashion, science, and education. More recently, French culture has borrowed from American popular music, movies, television programs, and the culture of the Internet.

The process of globalization, the growing worldwide use of the English‑language and the immense success of American popular culture have caused considerable alarm and resentment among many French intellectuals. To protect French culture, the French Government has adopted a number of policies, including quotas against non‑French language music on the radio and subsidies for French films. On the other hand, the French have welcomed works by American performers, filmmakers and architects, and has taken pride in honoring many American artists who are not widely known in the United States.

The French have a curious love‑hate relationship with American culture — they admire and imitate much of what they find in the cultural diversity of the United States, but fear that their own culture is threatened by what they see as the excessive commercialization, uniformity, and the marketing power of U.S. culture, particularly Hollywood.

French science and technology are world‑class and also highly successful commercially. The high‑speed TGV trains, French nuclear power plants, and the European Airbus, assembled in Toulouse, are used around the world. French researchers were the first to discover the AIDS virus, and France has an active space program. In recent years, however, French scientists have complained that funding for research has gradually fallen behind that in the United States.

The French education system is highly centralized, with important decisions made by the Ministry of Education in Paris. The French teacher corps is the second‑largest group of civil servants in the world (next to the Chinese Army), and wields great political power, particularly when it feels threatened by outside reformers.

From the maternelle, or preschool, through graduate school, public education in France is free. French primary and secondary schools are first‑rate, particularly in mathematics, science, history, and literature. Students work long hours and have little time for extracurricular activities. At the top of the French educational system are the highly selective Grands Ecoles, which have traditionally produced the leaders of the French Government and industry. The most prestigious are the Ecole Polytechnique (industry), the Ecole Normale Superiure (Humanities and Social Sciences), the Ecole National d’Administration Publique (Government) and the Hautes Etudes Commerciales (Business). French state universities have seen their reputation diminish somewhat, as they struggle with low entrance standards, enormous classes, and insufficient funding.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:17 PM

Since World War II, France has been transformed from a largely agrarian economy with modest mineral resources and small, fragmented industrial sectors into a diversified, integrated, and sophisticated industrial power. Still a large agricultural producer, France also has become a major industrial producer and exporter as well. France is the ninth‑largest trading partner of the United States worldwide in terms of two‑way trade, and the third largest in Europe (after the United Kingdom and Germany). The United States and France share many trade similarities, in particular their status as the world’s top 2 exporting countries in 3 key sectors: defense products, agricultural goods, and services. Franco‑American trade is also remarkable for its symmetry, as the majority of the top 15 export products are the same each way. Nonetheless, France’s major partners are within the European Union.

France has the world’s fourth largest industrial economy, with an annual GDP about one‑fifth that of the United States. The disposable income of France’s 60 million population averages around $20,000 per capita, and memberships in the G‑7, European Union, World Trade Organization, and OECD confirm the status of France as a leading economic player in the world. In 2000, French GDP grew by 3.2% in real terms, an encouraging improvement over 2.0% real growth in 1997.

France’s Socialist government is concentrating on implementing a domestic agenda focused on economic growth and bringing down high unemployment, which stood at 9.2% by the end of 2000. Efforts to implement a reduction of hours worked from 39 to 35 hours per week, as a spur to create jobs, are ongoing. The economic impact of the transition to the 35-hour work week is uncertain.

Government efforts to sell off shares of French enterprises continue, but the government still controls 54% of GDP. In addition, the French concept of a “golden share” gives the government a virtual veto in strategic moves in key firms in the economy. Progress has been made in privatization and the reduction of budget deficits, but taxes remain the highest in the G‑7 industrial countries, regulation of goods and labor markets is pervasive, and structural changes are likely to be spurred by world competitive pressures or by the European Union.


Automobiles Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:20 PM

France has an excellent system of highways providing easy access to Belgium (3 hours), Germany (5 hours), and the Riviera (8–10 hours from Paris). Tolls are high on major roads. Heavy traffic on weekends and during holidays can cause considerable inconvenience. Secondary, two‑lane roads, passing through the centers of small towns, are often more picturesque and interesting. The roads are well marked and detailed maps are readily available. The American driver may have initial difficulty adjusting to the aggressive driving habits of some French motorists. Bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians also encumber the roads both in towns and in the country.

Personnel may import cars (tax and duty free), or purchase them locally. A registration and insurance certificate are needed, but a temporary customs registration and insurance certificate can be obtained at the port of entry. The Embassy or Consulate will assist you in obtaining French registration papers and plates. Technical and administrative staffs receive “K” plates and personnel on the diplomatic list receive “CD” plates. In addition, everyone is issued regular French plates to be used as a security measure to make American ownership of the car less conspicuous. To sell a car locally, duty must be paid, except when sold to another diplomat or to Mission personnel. Married persons on the diplomatic list may register two cars tax-free provided the spouse is at post. Personnel not on the diplomatic list may register one car duty free.

Third‑party liability insurance is compulsory and must be obtained from a French insurance company. Lists of insurance companies are supplied by the Embassy. Rates are higher than in the U.S.

Personnel need to consider the tax consequences of vehicle loss, through theft or destruction, when arranging vehicle insurance. Vehicles, official and private, are imported into France tax and duty free. French laws and procedures mandate that vehicles be exported (or transferred to someone else with tax/customs exemptions). In the event a vehicle is stolen or destroyed in an accident, tax (19.6%) and customs duties must be paid (no exemption for diplomatic staff). French insurance policies cover these possibilities. As American companies are not as familiar with the procedure, arriving staff may want to consult with the American company about this aspect of coverage beforehand.

Automobile repairs are costly. Parts, tires, and accessories for U.S. cars are scarce and expensive. The Military Post Exchanges (PXs) in Germany and Belgium stock common auto parts and can order larger parts, but this takes about 6 weeks.

These service and repair difficulties, narrow streets, parking problems, and high insurance rates make it practical to own a European car. The post has an exception to the rule against U.S. Government shipping of foreign‑bought, foreign-made cars. Such cars can be shipped from Paris to the U.S. at Government expense, but must meet U.S. pollution and safety standards. Cars often may be purchased from departing employees at a reasonable cost.

Garage space or street parking close to residences is limited and usually too small for large American cars. A few Government‑leased apartment buildings provide parking facilities, but most apartment blocks do not include parking garages. Indoor parking space can be leased, usually within the vicinity of your apartment, and is reimbursable to a certain limit. The Boulogne compound has a small on‑complex parking lot with one space per unit. The Neuilly compound has on‑street parking only.

Because of parking problems and heavy traffic in Paris, most people use public transportation during the week and drive only on weekends and vacations.

The employees’ association sells coupons for both leaded and unleaded gas for use throughout France. Unleaded gas is widely available.

Driving is on the right as in the U.S. A U.S. drivers license is valid for your first year. During this time, you are expected to obtain a French drivers license through the Embassy.


Local Transportation Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:20 PM

Public transportation in Paris is excellent and inexpensive and is preferred by most employees to the frustrations of rush hour driving. The metro (subway), although crowded during rush hour, is fast and trains are frequent. Trains and stations are well maintained and routes are clearly marked. Buses also are frequent and provide excellent service. A monthly pass for the metro and bus system, taking you anywhere within Paris, costs €43.45. Student rates are available.

Taxis are plentiful, though difficult to find during rush hour, holidays, and bad weather. Limited to three passengers, they are metered, with surcharges for late rides, long rides, luggage, and use of radio‑taxi. Fares from the Embassy to midtown (plus tip) cost about Euro €.11.43, to Boulogne or Neuilly about €22.87, and to Charles de Gaulle Airport about €38.11.


Regional Transportation Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:21 PM

France offers excellent rail and air transportation to all parts of the country and other European destinations. The French railway system is among the best in the world. Train travel is fast, efficient, and relatively inexpensive. Substantial fare reductions for use of public transportation are offered to children, students, and individuals over 60.

Frequent direct air service is available to many U.S. cities. The two airports serving Paris, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, are about a 30‑minute ride from the Embassy and both are served by excellent bus and rail service to air terminals in the city. Private airport shuttle services offer door‑to‑door airport transportation for a reasonable fee by reservation.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:21 PM

Telephone and telegraph services to and from Paris compare favorably with those in any large U.S. city. A direct‑dial telephone system links France to the U.S. and most of the world. Current charges for direct‑dial calls to the U.S. are about €0.09 a minute plus €0.18 during peak times and as low as €0.09 plus €0.16 for low rate hours. Phones can be purchased or rented. American‑made phones can be used when fitted with the proper plug that is available locally. A basic telephone rental will cost monthly €3.16 with an additional charge for each local call. Calls to the U.S. may be charged to international telephone cards such as AT&T, MCI, and Sprint.

Mission employees request telephone service through the Information Management Office (IMO). Once the request is made, employees go to their neighborhood telephone office to choose the type of service desired and to pick up their instruments. The process usually takes about 2 weeks. Installation fees of about €32.01 or €56.41 (1 or 2 plugs) are paid by the employee and reimbursed by the Embassy.


Internet Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:22 PM

Internet in France blossomed slowly due to the monopoly that France Telecom has held on all telecommunications and the large amounts of revenue gained by the practice of charging for all local phone calls on a toll basis. There has been a resistance to change, as France Telecom is a large monopoly with a strong financial interest in controlling Internet access types. In addition, France was the proponent of a French‑developed Internet alternative — the Minitel system. An early precursor for information access that was included as part of most telephone installations, it allowed customers to access information pages using DOS‑based terminal emulation. Again, there was a toll charge assessed for usage.

Free Internet access is springing up in France. Several ISPs offer no monthly charges but access methods (dial‑up, ISDN, ADSL, or cable) may be limited. Finally, personnel should be aware that many ISPs in France do not accept credit cards for Internet accounts. A French checking account will provide more flexibility when choosing an ISP.


Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:23 PM

Mail and parcel post services to and from the U.S. are relatively good. Airmail from New York to Paris takes 2–3 days via international mail and 4–5 days via the Army Post Office (APO).

Official personnel and eligible family members are entitled to use the APO, which has an office in the Embassy. Services include airmail, prepaid parcel post, money orders, registered and insured mail, SAM (Space Available Mail), and PAL (Parcel Airlift) mail. Parcels sent via SAM must conform to weight and size limitations of 100 inches length and girth combined and 70 lbs. maximum weight. Use APO whenever possible for importing small items from the U.S. Packages sent through international mail must go through customs, and prior to customs approval a list of items must be processed by the Embassy General Services Office.

Use the following forms of address:

APO‑Embassy Full Name PSC 116 (+ room #) APO AE 09777

APO-OECD Full Name PSC 116 (+ office + room number) Paris Embassy OECD Unit 21551 APO AE 09777

International Full Name 2, avenue Gabriel 75382 Paris Cedex 08 France

Pouch Full Name American Embassy Department of State 9200 Paris Pl. Washington, D.C. 20521–9200


Radio and TV Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:24 PM

French TV can only be received on a television set with French SECAM‑L. Not all multistandard PAL/SECAM/NTSC television sets will receive French stations; be sure to check the specifications of any set you plan to use for watching French TV. To watch American videos, bring an American (NTSC Standard) TV, VHS video player, and/or DVD player. All will operate with transformers, which are available at the PXs and locally. The Embassy Employee Association maintains a well-stocked VHS (NTSC) and DVD, video library that adds new titles on a regular basis. Decoders for viewing the Armed Forces Network can be procured from the Post Exchange in most military bases in Europe.

French broadcast TV offers three government-run stations, France 2 and France 3, and La 5. In addition there are two private channels, TF1 and M6 and a French/German Arts channel, ARTE. All channels carry a fair amount of popular American programs dubbed into French. American films dubbed into French or French‑made films, game shows, and variety shows also predominate. The nightly news is at 8:00 p.m. Children’s shows, mostly cartoons, are shown, but for considerably fewer hours of airtime than in the United States. All parts of Paris are able to subscribe to cable, which carries CNN and several BBC stations. At this writing, NOOSTV is the sole cable provider for all of Paris. Visit for a listing of currently available channels. An additional channel, Canal Plus, which can be accessed by renting a decoder box for your French TV set, carries movies in English and several other thematic channels.

The two government‑owned compounds of Neuilly and Boulogne each have an internal cable TV system with direct broadcast satellite (DBS) programs. There are four channels — news, sports, music, and general entertainment. Recently, another satellite system was added for the Armed Forces Network (AFN) with domestic U.S. programming. Since the DBS programs are in the PAL system and AFN uses NTSC, a multistandard TV receiver is recommended. Since these systems are user supported and not maintained by either the employees’ association or the government, compound residents are expected to provide monetary support to keep the equipment maintained. However, there are no annual or monthly fees.

Radio reception is good. What you receive depends upon where you are in Paris. BBC International radio service can be picked up on AM radio. There is no VOA Europe broadcast in the Paris area. It is illegal to ship or hand‑carry a two‑way CB radio transceiver to post. It is possible, however, to join local amateur radio operator clubs. Reciprocal amateur licenses are available and cost €45.73 per year.


Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:25 PM

French newspapers and periodicals, which cost a bit more than their U.S. equivalents, are readily available at newsstands around the city. French newspapers follow a particular ideological or political bent. Editorial comment and factual reporting are not always kept separate as they are in U.S. newspapers. The American political scene and French‑U.S. relations are widely covered.

English-language newspapers, including the International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and British daily papers, are available throughout the city. The European editions of Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report are available. U.S. fashion and special interest magazines can also be purchased. U.S. magazine subscriptions sent via APO only require payment of the domestic subscription rate. Subscriptions sent by international mail will be more expensive. All major publications maintain sites accessible via the Internet.

Galignani and W.H. Smith bookstores specialize in American and British books. Shakespeare and Company and other small independent sellers offer rich English-language hunting ground, with Shakespeare featuring reduced‑price used volumes. Tea and Tattered Pages stocks only used English books (mainly American paperbacks) and also has a small tea room. For the at‑home shopper, the Internet combined with APO privileges offers an economical and convenient way to purchase books.

The American Library in Paris at 10, rue du General Camou in the 7th arrondissement, has a large collection of books, including a good selection of American and English literature. The library facilities are open to everyone for a nominal membership fee. The Public Affairs Section’s Information Resource Center (IRC), located in the Talleyrand Building, serves as a documentation/reference center for a variety of American topics. In addition, the Community Liaison Office (CLO) lending library of used paperbacks donated by community members is located in the Embassy.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:26 PM

The Embassy’s Occupational Health Unit is directed by a local registered nurse available for consultations, minor examinations, and referral for necessary medical care. A State Department regional medical officer, resident in London, visits Paris and the consulates general periodically. A regional psychiatrist is also resident in London.

Most medications used in the U.S. are available in France. A French physician must write a prescription for medications purchased at local pharmacies. If taking a prescription medicine, bring a supply to post with you, preferably in your carry‑on luggage. You are responsible for obtaining and reordering any necessary long‑term medications. Prescriptions from U.S. pharmacies can be arranged through the Occupational Health Unit.

Paris has good medical facilities and well-trained physicians. A good resource list of English‑speaking physicians is available, many of whom have done training in the U.S. Outpatient medical and dental care is generally less expensive than in the U.S.

The American Hospital of Paris in Neuilly (a Paris suburb) is a well‑equipped, 180-bed, American‑style hospital with several American physicians on its French staff. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day with an English-speaking physician. Although it has an outpatient pediatric clinic, it has no separate pediatric unit. The large French public hospitals are well equipped and have specialists in most medical fields, and some speak English.

The medevac point for Paris is London. The nearest military facility is SHAPE Hospital in Belgium, a 3‑hour drive. Military facilities and services are limited. Travel expenses and per diem are not authorized for many military medical facilities.

Health and Medicine

Community Health Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:26 PM

The general level of community sanitation is good. Water in large cities is safe, but not fluoridated. The Occupational Health Unit provides fluoride tablets for children. Many people purchase bottled water or use a water filtering pitcher (available locally or from the PX) to filter out the sediments and chemical deposits. Good pasteurized milk is available.

Most personnel encounter no unusual health problems during their tour. Upper respiratory infections and allergies resulting from dust, pollen, and pollution are the most common complaints.

Health and Medicine

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:27 PM

Although immunizations are not necessary for France, all Foreign Service personnel should have current immunizations against diphtheria‑tetanus and polio. School‑age children are required to have the same immunizations as in the U.S. The Occupational Health Unit gives a yearly TB skin test, and a BCG exemption is done to meet school requirements.

If traveling to areas outside of Western Europe, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Meningitis A&C and typhoid immunizations, plus malaria prophylaxis can be provided at the Embassy medical unit. Yellow fever vaccine can be obtained and certified at the Air France Immunization Clinic.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:27 PM

The U.S. Missions in France make a concerted effort to employ eligible family members of U.S. Government employees assigned to France (spouses, adult children from age 18 through 21, or other eligible family members included in the employee’s travel authorization). Part‑time, full‑time, short‑term, and long‑term opportunities are available frequently in the clerical/administration office. Nonclerical positions are scarce, but do become available occasionally. When funds are available, the Missions sponsor a summer employment program for young adults ages 16–21.

A bilateral agreement between the U.S. and French Governments permits adult eligible family members of U.S. Government employees assigned to France to work on the local economy. Eligible family members must obtain a job offer in writing from a local concern before the Embassy can file the necessary papers to obtain a work permit. The complete process may take up to 10 weeks. Eligible family members planning to work on the French economy should first contact the HR Office. Dependents seeking local employment should also be aware that such positions are frequently arranged in the U.S. before coming to post; a high level of French is required for most jobs. Many positions needing a native English speaker are frequently filled by British applicants who, as members of the European Community (EC), do not need working papers.

American Embassy - Paris

Post City Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:28 PM

Paris lies in north central France in the Seine River Valley. Climatic conditions in Paris are moderate. Winters are damp but not severe. Snowfall is light, sunshine is rare in winter and gray, foggy days are frequent. Summer temperatures are rarely oppressive, but rain is heavy at times. Hot weather may come as early as May and stay as late as October. Conversely, June and July can be cool or rainy. Winds are not excessive. The famous “April in Paris” is traditionally cold, wet, and windy, while autumn can be ideal.

The Paris region has a population of almost 11 million and Paris itself has about 2.2 million inhabitants. About 375 Americans, including civilian and military, work directly or indirectly with the Missions. The American colony around Paris is near 18,000. About 4,000 to 6,000 American students are enrolled in university-level education in Paris and the provinces. Paris receives about 1.8 million American tourists each year.

The Paris Embassy has the distinction of being the first American diplomatic mission overseas. Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first diplomatic agent in 1778, followed by Thomas Jefferson.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 2/11/2005 4:30 AM

The post consists of three missions: the Embassy, the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (USUNESCO). Forty-eight U.S. Government agencies are attached to these missions.

The Embassy Chancery is housed in a government-owned building at 2 avenue Gabriel on the northwest corner of the historic Place de la Concorde. Although a building was originally erected there in 1768, it was eventually torn down and construction on the Embassy’s main building began in 1931. In accordance with 18th-century French law, the building’s facade was designed to conform to those of other buildings on the Place de la Concorde.

The Consular Section, Public Diplomacy Section, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Department of Defense’s Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) are located on the northeast corner of the Place de la Concorde at 2 rue St. Florentin in the government-owned Talleyrand Building. The 18th-century Hôtel de Talleyrand, where Talleyrand died, was declared an historic monument by the French Government in 1980.

The U.S. Mission to the OECD and the U.S. Mission to the UNESCO are located at 12 avenue Raphaël, ARS at 12-14 boulevard Haussmann.

Office hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Mission is closed on American and most French holidays. The telephone number of the Embassy Switchboard is and of the USOECD switchboard is and of the USUNESCO switchboard is The three of them handle Mission phone calls and are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Embassy and USOECD / USUNESCO have duty officers and office managers on call. Marine Security Guards, on duty 24 hours a day, are located at the Embassy.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:30 PM

Although the post makes every effort to have quarters ready for move-in on the employee’s arrival, this is not always possible. Employees should be prepared to spend at least 1 month in transit quarters before their permanent quarters are ready. The Embassy will arrange for transit quarters for arriving employees as needed. In rare instances, neither permanent quarters nor transits may be available, resulting in hotel assignments (paid by employing agency).


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:31 PM

Post policy is to assign permanent housing (an apartment) prior to initial arrival. Assignments are made by the Interagency Housing Board based on the employee’s arrival date, position rank, family size, and, if possible, preferences, apartment availability, and 6 FAM 700 regulations (interagency housing policy and standards).

The U.S. Government-owned residence for the Ambassador to France is located near the Embassy and the Elysée Palace, the residence of the President of France. The residence for the U.S. Ambassador to OECD is located near Porte Maillot on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne.

Employees are assigned to unfurnished government-owned or -leased apartments in Paris and the western suburbs of Neuilly and Boulogne. Eligible employees may also be assigned to a limited number of government-owned apartments at two compounds in Neuilly and Boulogne. Personnel assigned to these apartments generally have a choice of furnished or unfurnished housing.

The major advantages offered by living on either of the compounds include: government-provided furniture; access to the Armed Forces Network (AFN) TV stations via satellite; barbecue on balcony; American appliances; close vicinity to both American schools; close proximity to the largest park in Paris (Bois de Boulogne); guard service 24 hours a day; and a live-in building manager. As government-owned property, these apartments are maintained by the Embassy, and problems can be solved more expeditiously than at leased apartments where the landlord is often responsible for repairs. Some balcony furniture is available.

Most leased apartments are in the 16th arrondissement (district) and a few are leased in the 1st, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 17th. Rooms in general, and especially bedrooms and kitchens, tend to be smaller than those found in the U.S. Bulky items that cannot be disassembled, such as king size beds, triple dressers, wall units, and full-size pianos, should not be shipped. Most apartments have enough space to hold modest-sized sets of both living and dining room furniture. No storage is available at post, so household shipments should be planned accordingly.

Many, but not all, apartments have a “cave,” a small basement storage room assigned to each apartment. These can range from dry to very wet. Caves are provided on an “as is” basis. Very few apartments also come with a small attic room intended for use by a maid or nanny. These are very small and lacking amenities, such as a toilet or shower. Post does not maintain these rooms. Most apartments do not include a parking space. Most personnel rent a space at a parking garage and reimbursement is made per post policy. Leased apartments tend to be in old buildings with small elevators.


Furnishings Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:32 PM

All government quarters have stoves, refrigerators, washers, dryers, sheers, and bedroom drapes. Counselor rank employees are also issued freezers and dishwashers.

Privately owned washers and dryers cannot be installed due to resource and technical problems. Privately owned dishwashers may be installed at the owner’s expense and risk. Personnel wishing furnished apartments should confirm the availability at the time of their assignment to Paris so that appropriate household shipment decisions can be made.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:32 PM

Plumbing and electrical wiring are adequate, but need frequent repair in older buildings. The most frequent problem with apartments is breakdowns attributable to age.

Electricity in the apartments is 230v, 50-cycle. Transformers are available at the PXs in Germany and Belgium as well as locally.

Most small appliances, including vacuum cleaners, work effectively with a transformer. Electric clocks and other devices with electrical timers will not operate correctly unless made for 50-cycles. It is not practical to have them converted. American-made lamps can be used by switching to 230v bulbs and using adapter plugs, available both locally and at the convenience store. CD players, in most cases, can be adjusted to operate properly by replacing the drive wheel or using an adapter. Have this done before shipping.

Food Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:34 PM

The convenience store located in the Embassy stocks basic American food products, small supplies of dairy products, frozen meats, drugstore items, hard liquor, wines, and tobacco. Payment is in dollars or francs. A delivery service is available once a week for a small fee. Many people drive to the nearest military PX and commissary in Belgium (a drive of 2 to 3 hours) for periodic shopping expeditions. The PX has clothing, books, toys, electronic equipment, kitchenware, linens, limited sewing and craft supplies, stationery items, and auto parts. Embassy personnel also are entitled to use the larger PXs and commissaries in Germany, about 5 hours away.

Each neighborhood in Paris has an open-air market several days a week where fresh produce, cheese, meat, and fish are sold at reasonable prices. The French tend to do their food shopping daily and, therefore, need to have an array of shops close to home. Therefore, each neighborhood also has a variety of specialty stores and small grocery stores, some of which are part of a larger chain.

Throughout the city are larger chain supermarkets, some with underground parking. These tend to be a little cheaper for most things than the neighborhood shops, but in general, items are bulk packaged. On the outskirts of the city are even larger supermarkets with slightly lower prices and goods packaged in larger quantities.

Many people do their regular shopping on foot in their own neighborhood using their neighborhood butcher, cheese store, and bakery with occasional forays to the big stores. However, shopping for milk at one store, bread in another, and meat in still another can be quite time-consuming.

Scattered throughout Paris are several small specialty shops such as The General Store and Thanksgiving, which stock only American, imported goods at higher than stateside prices.

Prepared food is available from charcuteries, or delicatessens where a hot meal can be purchased on a carryout basis at midday, or fine pâté, cheeses, cold meats, and salads can be purchased for a quick cold meal. Stores specializing in frozen food, ready for the microwave or oven, abound. American-style carry-outs have sprung up all over the city, with pizza, hamburgers, and french-fries readily available.

Clothing Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:34 PM

Although French summers are cooler and winters slightly milder than those in D.C., a full range of seasonal clothing is needed. A raincoat and umbrella are necessities, as are comfortable walking shoes, sturdy enough to withstand wet streets. Most Americans do more walking in Paris than in the U.S. Even use of public transport often involves walking substantial distances and negotiating a flight of stairs. Comfortable shoes suitable for sightseeing are essential. Local shoe stores carry excellent quality shoes, but at high prices.

Although Paris has a reputation as a mecca for shopping, prices for almost everything are higher than in the U.S. There are some discount and outlet stores, and the major January and July sales offer some bargains. Many people stock up on clothing needs before arriving at post and replenish needs from the PX or mail-order catalogs. There are a few second-hand or consignment shops, but most clothing is designer labeled and expensive even at half price.


Men Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:34 PM

Business suits are worn to most social functions. Men seldom need tuxedos, except for the annual Marine Ball.


Women Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:35 PM

Clothing needs in Paris are similar to those of any big city in the U.S. French women tend to wear dresses, suits, and shirts rather than slacks to events. Formal dress is seldom required, with the exception of the annual Marine Ball. Sweaters, shawls, and blazers of all weights are useful. A raincoat and a winter coat are basic.


Children Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:35 PM

Prices are almost 50% higher than U.S. prices for similar quality goods. Low-priced outlets exist, but shopping at the PXs or through catalogs is more economical, especially for shoes and toys.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:35 PM

There are few supplies and services found in the U.S. that cannot be found in Paris, either at the Embassy Association Service for Employees (EASE) convenience store or locally, but prices are generally higher.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:36 PM

Repair service and parts for American electrical equipment are difficult to obtain.

The employees’ association operates a gift shop, available to authorized purchasers, that imports and sells duty-free items for personal use. Items include perfumes, ties, luxury scarves, Paris souvenirs, crystal, china, leather goods, and fine jewelry.

Men and women’s haircuts cost slightly more than in the U.S.

Laundry, dry-cleaning, and shoe repair are available, but at prices higher than in the U.S. The Embassy maintains a laundry room in the basement, which is available on a sign-up basis and is used mainly by personnel in temporary living quarters.

Development of film and printing of photos is expensive locally and not always of the best quality. Most employees send their film to the U.S. for processing.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:37 PM

Satisfactory household help is available mainly from an immigrant workforce. Many people employ a cleaning woman for 1 or 2 days a week at the current rate of E9.15 an hour. Senior officers with heavy representational responsibilities and working couples with young children may wish to employ full-time household help. Full-time domestic employees usually are hired on a monthly live-in basis and receive lodging and meals as well as salary. Paid vacations and French social security contributions are additional. Lodging (usually a small room in the attic) for an au pair is included with some housing assignments. Employees planning to bring domestic help with them to France should check with the HR Office before making arrangements. French immigration laws are strict and procedures differ for employees on the diplomatic list and for those on the administrative and technical list.

Students are available for babysitting at about $7 per hour. CLO maintains a confidential file of Embassy dependents who babysit. CLO also keeps a list of names offering other household services such as catering, cleaning, etc.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:38 PM

Practically every faith has a church in Paris. The American Cathedral (Episcopalian) and the American Church in Paris (interdenominational) have American pastors and a predominantly American congregation. St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church offers services in English for the English-speaking community. Some Catholic parishes, where English-speaking foreigners ordinarily reside, have an English-speaking French priest. All churches have affiliated social and religious organizations such as Sunday school, choir, women’s groups, etc. Several Jewish synagogues in the Paris area hold services in French and Hebrew.


Dependent Education Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:41 PM

Schools. A number of schools in the Paris area offer American curriculum instruction from kindergarten through high school. Several private French schools offer a bilingual French-curriculum program. The post does not recommend particular schools. However, the CLO coordinator at post is knowledgeable about programs offered by schools attended by Mission dependents, and can advise parents, including those who have children with special needs. The majority of dependents attend the American-curriculum schools. The French public school system offers a high standard of education, but classes are crowded and no provision is made for non-French speakers. In addition, French schools are zoned, making application difficult in advance of arrival at post.

The following schools are those attended most frequently by Mission dependents. Detailed information may be obtained by writing directly to each school.

The American School of Paris 41, rue Pasteur 92210 Saint-Cloud France Tel: Fax: Email:

The American School of Paris, an independent, coeducational day school, offers an American educational program from prekindergarten through grade 12, including a strong college preparatory and the International Baccalaureate curriculum. Although the Upper School has an honors program, the Middle School does not. A variety of sports, theater, and music programs are offered to about some 680 students, 54% being American. Located in the suburb of St. Cloud, the school has a bus service to most parts of Paris and to the nearby suburbs.

Marymount International School 72, blvd. de la Saussaye 92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine France Tel: Fax: Email:

Marymount School of Paris is an independent, coeducational day school run by the religious order of the Sacred Heart of Mary. It offers an American educational program from prekindergarten through grade 8 to about 330 students. Fifty-one percent are American. Located in the suburb of Neuilly, the school offers a bus service to most parts of Paris and the suburbs.

International School of Paris Elementary School: 96 bis, rue du Ranelagh 75016 Paris Tel: France

Middle School: 7, rue Chardin 75016 Paris

High School: 6, rue Beethoven 75016 Paris Tel: Fax: Email:

The International School of Paris is an independent, coeducational day school that offers an Anglo-American program to students of all nationalities from prekindergarten through grade 12. ISP has 340 students. Seventeen percent are American.

Nursery Schools. Various options exist for prekindergarten children. Children not attending preschool at the American School of Paris or the Marymount School of Paris usually go to either one of the two Montessori schools, the United Nations nursery school or the English playgroup. The Government does not fund tuition for prekindergarten and below. Parents are responsible for the payment, and tuition is expensive. Detailed information on these schools may be obtained by writing to them directly:

United Nations Nursery School Ages: 2–6 40, rue Pierre-Guerin 75016 Paris France Tel: 33.1.

The Bilingual Montessori School of Paris Ages: 2–6 65, quai d’Orsay 75007 Paris France Tel:

The English Playgroup Ages: 3–5 3bis, rue Emile Duclaux 75015 Paris France Tel:

Both state-run and private nursery schools have large classes averaging 25–30 children and teaching is more formal than in American nursery schools. French children aged 3–6 attend neighborhood ecoles maternelles. The state-run maternelles are free, but one needs to apply in May or June for the following academic year to secure a place. Summer arrivals can apply for remaining openings by visiting the Mairie in their particular arrondissement. Schools are zoned within each neighborhood.


Special Needs Education Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:41 PM

Special needs programs are available in grades 1 to 8, but acceptance is not guaranteed. No special needs programs exist at the high school level.


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:42 PM

The Embassy conducts a French-language program for employees and eligible family members in the Missions. Classes are offered at varying levels of proficiency using the FSI method and materials. Eligible family members are eligible for enrollment in the program as funding allows. The Sorbonne, the Alliance Francaise, the Institute Catholique, and the British Institute also offer excellent French-language programs. Private tutors charge around €15.24 per hour.

Courses for college credit can be taken at the American University in Paris and through New York University. The American University is an independent college of arts and sciences, which offers the Bachelor of Arts degree and is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

Other special educational opportunities include the art appreciation courses offered to the public on a nonexamination basis at the Louvre, cooking classes at the Cordon Bleu and Ritz-Escoffier cooking schools, and a wine appreciation course. Short courses are offered through various organizations on such subjects as French antiques, art, and history, the architecture of Paris, etc. Those with a good knowledge of French can attend evening courses offered by arrondissement civic centers.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:43 PM

A small gym, run by the employees’ association (EASE), is set up in the Embassy basement and is open to all personnel and their eligible family members for a minimal fee.

Facilities for a variety of sports are available in Paris, but participation often requires membership in a private club with high costs. The many public swimming pools in Paris offer excellent facilities at reasonable cost. Hotels occasionally offer group memberships in their facilities (pool, sauna, exercise equipment, etc.) to U.S. Mission employees. Facilities for bowling, ice skating, and roller-skating are numerous.

Public and private golf courses exist within a short drive from Paris. The Embassy Golf Association has made arrangements with local golf clubs for members to use their facilities at reduced rates.

Tennis is popular with the French, but the number of courts available does not match demand. It is virtually impossible to find a free court on short notice, and those who choose to wait may spend up to 2 hours in line. To play regularly, book court time on a long-term basis for a high fee.

Horseback riding is a major national sport. Riding is available for all levels throughout France. Opportunities exist for riding vacations, even promenades of several days. For spectators, riding shows, dressage and jumping competitions, races, and even horse auctions abound.

Other recreational activities within the Paris area include jogging, biking, inline skating, hikes, and picnics in the surrounding parks. The numerous city parks offer many activities for children, often with excellent playground equipment. Carrousels, pony rides, model boat sailing, and puppet shows are found in the major parks for a reasonable cost.

Hunting and fishing are popular in France. Most areas require permits.

Many of Europe’s most renowned ski slopes are within easy reach of Paris. Group arrangements make weeklong or weekend skiing fairly inexpensive. The schools, and some churches, organize a ski week in February for their students at reasonable rates.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:43 PM

Paris provides a wealth of activities ranging from traditional museum visiting to picnicking in the parks. Besides the well-known tourist spots, the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, etc., there are day and half-day barge cruises on local canals, tours through Paris’ sewers and catacombs, flea markets to explore, antique shopping, and caf‚ sitting. Possibilities for day trips and overnight excursions are endless. Within an hour of Paris are many famous chateaux and cathedrals including Versailles, Fontainebleau, and Chartres. The Loire Valley with its chateaux to the southwest, the sandy beaches and quaint towns of Normandy to the north, and the Champagne region to the east can all be reached within 3 hours. EuroDisney is only an hour away from Paris and can be reached by suburban train.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:44 PM

Paris has a wide variety of every imaginable type of entertainment, both French and imported. All events are well publicized in newspapers, street and metro ads, and in two weekly publications that list not only theater, opera, and dance, but also museums, exhibitions, and films.

Paris produces grand operas, exciting ballets, and plays. During the season there is a constant stream of visiting talent—singers, orchestras, dance groups, theater, etc. Ticket prices for top events are high and sell out quickly for popular shows. There are several locations for buying half price tickets the day of the event, if any remain. Subscriptions are available for ballet, opera, and theater.

Movies are very popular, and there is a wide selection of both French and foreign, old and new, dubbed in French, or in the movie’s original language with French subtitles. Prices are slightly higher than in the U.S., but there are discounts on Monday, student reductions, and reduced prices for holders of movie cards available through the major movie houses.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:45 PM

Social life for Mission personnel depends heavily on their own desires and efforts. Most socializing is outside official circles. The French entertain mainly with business luncheons and dinners at restaurants rather than at home, but enjoy being entertained in American homes. A wide variety of clubs and organizations are available to Mission personnel and these groups organize tours, lectures, and social events.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:45 PM

Official activity required for Mission personnel depends on their official responsibilities. Officers below First Secretary are not normally invited to French Government functions, nor do they have major representational responsibilities.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:45 PM

The arrival of a new Ambassador, Minister-Counselor, or Counselor is announced to the diplomatic community in a third-person note that is sent to all embassies by the Ambassador’s office. Calling cards are no longer exchanged as a means of announcing new arrivals. However, cards are widely used for business and personal use. Print services are readily available in Paris. Service is quick, but expensive by U.S. standards. Bring cards to post or order them from the U.S. after arrival.

Special Information Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:47 PM

Assignments to France—Dual Citizenship. The assignment of personnel to France with dual American/French citizenship continues to pose problems for post and the employees involved. When a request is sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting accreditation, a citizenship check is made. When it is determined that, according to French law, the U.S. Government employee has French citizenship, the request for accreditation is denied. This means, of course, that the employee has no privileges and immunities. The employee and his/her family members, regardless of their citizenship, must pay all French taxes, cannot import a car duty free, and must obtain a French drivers license through normal channels.

The Protocol Office in the Department of State has informed post that this is consistent with the way foreign diplomats with a claim to U.S. citizenship and their family members are treated in the U.S.

In certain cases, American personnel who are dual citizens arriving at post are surprised to find that they are French citizens in the eyes of the French. See “French regulations for determining citizenship.”

French regulations for determining citizenship

French citizens who became naturalized U.S. citizens before 1973:

Women: If a woman married an American citizen and obtained American citizenship after the marriage, she has lost her French citizenship, as long as the first official residence after the marriage was located outside France.

Men: Unless an American/French citizen requested the French Government’s authorization to renounce his French citizenship and was granted such authorization, he keeps both nationalities and thus, remains French.

Naturalization after 1973: For both men and women, if they have not completed the official process of renouncing their French nationality, they remain dual citizens, and thus, when in France, are considered by law as French citizens and cannot be granted any privileges or immunities.

Note: These are summaries of complex regulations. Anyone who may have a claim to French citizenship should contact the nearest French Embassy for an official determination.

U.S. Government employees assigned to France who have dual citizenship may renounce their French citizenship; however, the process must be initiated in the employee’s usual country of residence and can take up to a year to complete. If the renunciation action has not been totally completed prior to arrival at post, the employee will be treated as a French citizen and will not be accredited.

Post Orientation Program

Orientation programs are presented periodically. All new personnel and adult dependents are invited to attend these programs. Although individual programs vary, the Ambassador and the DCM normally welcome and address new arrivals, with section chiefs giving a brief description of the activities of their section.

Consulate General - Marseille

Post City Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:51 PM

Marseille, the first and oldest port in France, is a busy industrial and shipping center. It has a population slightly under 1 million and is one of the largest cities in France. Founded in 600 B.C. by Greek traders from Asia Minor, Marseille became the first Christian metropolis in France. It is a contrast of old and new. Modern buildings and conveniences exist alongside narrow, winding streets and centuries-old structures. The city is colorful with its picturesque harbor, cliff drive along the sea, and tree-lined boulevards, a typical Mediterranean port city, full of life and vitality, dependent largely on maritime traffic.

Located in the Department of the Bouches du Rhône, Marseille is 20 miles east of the mouth of the Rhône River. The old city surrounds a small natural harbor that for 25 centuries handled all of Marseille’s maritime traffic, but today is little more than a picturesque marina for fishing boats and yachts at the foot of the Canebiere, the city’s main street. In 1854, new docks were built outside the Old Port, which today extend north of the city. As France’s largest port (the third largest in Europe), it accommodates U.S. aircraft carriers and handles more cargo than any other Mediterranean port. Together with the deep-water port in nearby Fos, Marseille constitutes the largest petroleum port and refinery center in France.

About 7,000 Americans, mostly retirees and students, reside in the Marseille consular district, which covers the 13 departments of Aude, Bouches-du- Rhône, Gard, Hérault, Lozère, Pyrénées-Orientales, Var, Vaucluse, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Alpes-Maritimes, Haute-Corse, and Corse-du-Sud, as well as the Principality of Monaco. Few Americans live in Marseille proper. Thousands of American tourists transit Marseille each year, but the numbers of tourists are not as high as on the Côte d’Azur. This is expected to change, however, as the number of cruise ship passengers increases. English-speaking residents of all nationalities, other than French, number between 2,000 and 3,000.

The hills around Marseille rise to 1,000 feet over the rocky coastline. The city recently completed a municipal beachfront development that provides ample space for swimming and windsurfing.

The local climate resembles that of Los Angeles, but with little or no smog. The prevailing northerly wind, the Mistral, sometimes blows at gale strength, making winters seem much colder, but also alleviates summer heat and problems of pollution.

Consuls general assigned to Marseille are accredited also to the Principality of Monaco, an area of 447 acres, roughly the size of New York City’s Central Park, with 35,000 inhabitants. France handles some of the principality’s governmental functions, including the issuance of currency, defense, and customs and immigration controls. A French citizen serves as Monaco’s Minister of State (head of government). Relations between France and Monaco are based on an 1861 treaty signed by Napoleon III and the Prince of Monaco, and was last renegotiated on July 17, 1981. The present sovereign is Prince Rainier III of the Grimaldi family, the oldest reigning dynasty in Europe.

Marseille has several worthwhile museums and art galleries. Several trade fairs are held during the year. Local hobby clubs include photography, aviation, ping-pong, and bridge.

During the summer, Sunday bullfights are held in the ancient Roman amphitheaters in Arles and Nîmes. Except in winter, horseraces are held at tracks in Marseille and Aix-en-Provence. There are several golf courses near Marseille.

The nearby Riviera receives millions of tourists each year and has ample entertainment facilities.

Carnivals, flower shows, film festivals, music and opera festivals, auto shows, and open-air theaters are operated in various municipalities and by private groups. Many movie theaters show American films with French sound tracks. Art exhibits and concerts are frequent. Large casinos in Aix-en-Provence, Nice, Cannes, Monte-Carlo, and Juan-les-Pins sponsor dances, concerts, and theatrical attractions, in addition to gambling.

Marseille is convenient to many large cities: Paris (500 miles), Rome (600 miles), and Barcelona (325 miles). The consular district boasts varied scenery and points of interest.

Marseille is linked to Lyon, Paris, and the north by an excellent motorway and by the high-speed (TGV) train. The Mediterranean headquarters of the French Navy, located in Toulon, is visited regularly by ships of the U.S. Sixth Fleet. The university cities of Montpellier and Perpignan, near the Spanish border, are located to the west.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:51 PM

A variety of hotels are available. Better hotels include the Hotel Concorde-Palm Beach, the Hotel Sofitel, and the Novotel. The Holiday Inn and Hotel Mercure Beauveau are considered moderately priced hotels. Finally, the Climat de France Hotel is an adequate but modest hotel near the Consulate General. The new Hotel Bompard has seven units with minimal live-in cooking facilities. It is farther away from the downtown area, but can be reached by bus.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:53 PM

The consul general’s U.S.-owned home is located on an attractive hillside lot at 301 Corniche President Kennedy, a scenic road that follows the Mediterranean shoreline and one of Marseille’s oldest and best-known residential areas. A steep driveway leads from the Corniche to a parking area in front of the house with stairs to the front door.

The property includes a two-story villa, a caretaker’s house (now used as guest apartments), garden pavilion on the lowest of three landscaped terraces, and a three-car garage at street level. The villa’s main floor has a cloakroom with guest bathroom, vestibule, hallway, living room, dining room, and pantry. The second floor has three bedrooms and three baths. The two dressing rooms have large closets, one big enough for a child’s cot or crib. The basement houses a laundry room and a one-bedroom guest apartment with kitchen and bathroom. The caretaker’s house is divided into two small, three-room apartments with separate entrances that have been renovated and furnished to allow TDY visitors, interns, and personal houseguests to stay for short periods in comfort with conveniences such as refrigerators and cooking equipment.

The home is equipped with chinaware, glassware, silverware, a supply of table linens and cooking utensils, a four-burner gas stove with oven, two refrigerators, a freezer, a washer and dryer, and a dishwasher. The kitchen is wired with outlets for both 220v and 110v appliances, which will allow occupants to use American-made cooking equipment such as blenders, teapots, crock pots, etc. Occupants should bring their own pictures, lamps, vases, ashtrays, and other decorative items as well as extra table linens and favored kitchen utensils.

The dining room seats 12 at a rectangular table 125” x 45” fully extended (80” long when closed).

Other personnel are housed in short-term, government-leased housing. Suitable houses are hard to find, but many apartments, especially unfurnished ones, are available through newspaper ads, rental agencies, and direct offers, which occasionally are received by the Consulate General.


Furnishings Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:53 PM

State Department personnel occupy furnished quarters. The Embassy supplies major appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, washers, and dryers.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:54 PM

Local current is 220v, 50-cycle. Most American appliances, especially stereos, can be adapted to 50-cycle operation, which should be done in the U.S. Step-down transformers will be necessary for standard American 110v appliances.

Irons, toasters, vacuum cleaners, and most other 220v appliances are readily available locally. It is difficult to find parts for American appliances, and 110v major appliances are not available. A limited selection of U.S. food products, appliances and other items may be purchased in the small commissary at the U.S. section of the airbase in Istres.

In many houses and apartments, available wattage is limited because of inadequate wiring, and sometimes only two major appliances can be used at once. Electricity failures only occur a few times a year, but power surges in the main electric system are frequent. Protect expensive appliances and computers accordingly.

Generally, heating is unnecessary between mid-April and the first of November. Newer apartment buildings and villas have central heating (often with oil or gas) and some have air-conditioning. Water heaters are usually electric. Bathroom fittings are similar to those in the U.S.

Radio and TV repair is satisfactory, but shops may not carry parts for U.S. appliances. American-system TV sets will not work in France.

Accounts are available in accredited local banks. A French bank account is useful as French checks and/or the countrywide Carte Bleue (debit card for a checking account) are widely accepted for paying bills and in supermarkets and restaurants.

Food Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:54 PM

Fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant and of good quality. Employees enjoy commissary privileges at the Embassy in Paris. The Embassy sales store fills mail orders for a variety of goods. Shipping charges are reasonable.

Buy or eat fish and shellfish only at reputable establishments. Carefully wash all raw vegetables and fruits.

Clothing Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:55 PM

Gabardine, tropical-worsted, or wash-and-wear suits and light summer dresses are recommended for summer. Clothing for a Washington, D.C. winter is fine for Marseille’s cold weather. A medium-weight coat will suffice on the coldest days.

At least a 1-year supply of clothing should be brought to post. Local shops and department stores can be relied on for small items such as scarves, gloves, socks, and underwear. Women’s clothing in larger sizes is difficult to find in Marseille.

A dark suit is indispensable and male consuls general should bring a tuxedo. Women’s fashions are less formal than in Paris, but bring several long dresses or ensembles that can be worn most of the year, along with summer cocktail dresses. Children’s shoes and clothing are much more expensive than in the U.S.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:55 PM

Good dressmakers can be found, but prices are high. Shoe repair, drycleaning, and laundry facilities are adequate but expensive. Prices at many beauty shops are somewhat less than in the U.S.

Auto repairs for American made cars are expensive, and parts are hard to get. Repair service for European cars is adequate and reasonable.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:56 PM

Reliable domestic help is hard to find, and applicants should be thoroughly screened. Employers must provide food and social security contributions in addition to wages.

Arrangements can be made for part-time help such as an all-purpose maid (bonne à tout faire) who does cleaning and laundry several times a week. Waitresses, bartenders, and babysitters can be hired by the hour. Wages are higher than in the U.S.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:56 PM

The city has many Roman Catholic churches, three French Protestant churches, a Greek Orthodox church, an Armenian Gregorian church, several synagogues, and several foreign churches, including the Swiss Protestant church. The Anglican church, located near the Consulate General, holds services in English.


Dependent Education Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:57 PM

Although there are no international schools in Marseille, there are several English-language schools in the area, including the American International School in Nice, the Anglo-American School in Mougins, and two bilingual English-French schools near Aix-en-Provence.

Many other schools, public and private, from kindergarten through high school are available. Instruction is in French. In general, teachers are good and academic standards high. Most schools have no playground equipment or sports facilities. The school day is much longer than in the U.S. Classes are held on Saturday morning (in primary schools), but not on Wednesday in most schools.

Public schools accept U.S. children without tuition fees, but students pay for books and supplies. Tuition at Catholic schools varies according to the grades.

An English-language school using the U.S. system, the International School of Nice, has classes from grades 1 through 12. Inquiries about the school and boarding arrangements should be addressed to the school at 15, rue Claude Debussy, 06200 Nice; tel. 33–493–21-04–00, fax: 33-493–21–69–11.


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:58 PM

The undergraduate school, the faculty of letters, and faculty of law of the University of Aix-Marseille are nearby in Aix-en-Provence. The faculties of science and medicine of the University are in Marseille. The schools of architecture, fine arts, and business administration are east of Marseille in Luminy.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:58 PM

Public sports facilities in and near Marseille are good. A large public sports center has two indoor swimming pools. Several private clubs, open to Consulate General personnel, have pools. Rowing, sailing, yachting, and tennis clubs also exist. A golf club is located near Aix-en-Provence, about a 30-minute drive from the city. Hunting, fishing, skin-diving, windsurfing, and spear fishing are available, and horseback riding, rugby, soccer, volleyball, and basketball are other popular sports.

American football and baseball are becoming increasingly popular.

French sporting equipment can be expensive, so bring your own. However, French skin-diving and fishing gear (masks, spears, etc.) is readily available in Marseille and other seaside cities and is less expensive than U.S. brands. Camping equipment is of excellent quality and reasonably priced, but sports clothing tends to be expensive.

Hunting weapons or the use of animals in hunting is not restricted. Hunters must buy annual licenses. Each community maintaining a hunting preserve charges a yearly fee for its use.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:59 PM

The region near Marseille offers excellent opportunities for touring, sightseeing, hiking, and picnicking. Also available in the district are skiing and mountain climbing in the Alps, as well as fine seaside amusement and recreation on the Côte d’Azur. The historic cities of Arles, Avignon, Nîmes, and Orange are easily reached by train, bus, or car, and the old university town of Aix-en-Provence is only 30 minutes away.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:59 PM Social activities include dinner parties, lunches, and receptions. Most entertaining is informal and buffet dinners are common. Although outdoor barbecues are popular, barbecuing is generally not allowed on apartment balconies.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

International Contacts Last Updated: 2/2/2004 2:59 PM The Marseillais are friendly and easy to get to know, but can be reserved about inviting others to their homes. The consular corps, representing over 60 countries, provides an opportunity to make personal social contacts. The corps holds a few luncheons, receptions, and dinners.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 2/2/2004 3:00 PM

The consul general is invited to many official and semi-official functions including receptions, dinners, wreath layings, weddings, theatrical and motion picture presentations, and university meetings. Formal wear (black tie for men and long dresses for women) are occasionally used, particularly at the annual National Day festivities in Monaco. Formal wear can be rented in Marseille. In general, other officers are invited or delegated to attend such functions as part of their representational responsibilities.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 2/2/2004 3:00 PM

As a rule, only the consul general makes protocol calls within the consular corps and on local officials. All officers should bring at least 100 calling cards. More can be ordered by mail or made locally.

Special Information Last Updated: 2/2/2004 3:00 PM

A few Marseille bookstores have small selections of English books, mostly classics. Aix-en-Provence, Nice, and Antibes have English bookshops.

Consulate General - Strasbourg

Post City Last Updated: 2/2/2004 3:07 PM

A proud and historic city, Strasbourg is located at the confluence of the Ill and Rhine Rivers on the Franco-German border. The surrounding countryside is picturesque and abounds with recreational opportunities. Like other cities in the Rhine Valley, Strasbourg enjoys a moderate climate, although temperature changes can be sudden. For most Americans, sunny days are too few.

Although Strasbourg has been an important Rhine River port and European crossroads for over 2,000 years and is now a dynamic metropolitan area of 451,223 people, the city has retained a pleasing provincial character without the hectic atmosphere of a large capital. Yet, as the seat of the 43-nation Council of Europe and host for monthly sessions of the European Union (EU) directly elected European Parliament, and the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg has a cosmopolitan dimension often lacking in much larger cities. Strasbourg has the second-largest diplomatic community in France. This is due to the Council of Europe with its Ambassador-rank Permanent Representatives and Permanent Observers (including the U.S.), the quarterly meetings of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the monthly sessions of the European Parliament, the 20 professional Consulates, and the 16 honorary consuls. The frequent meetings of the European Parliament and the PACE bring parliamentarians, ministers, and heads of state and government to Strasbourg from all over Europe, as well as from non-European countries.

However, the city is not only a capital for European political institutions. Cultural opportunities include the outstanding Opera du Rhin, an excellent orchestra, and the only French national theater outside Paris. The University of Strasbourg, with 41,000 students from all over the world, is a recognized leader in the fields of medicine and biotechnology, law, and economics. Eight American universities have junior-year programs here. For the tourist or resident, the historic sections of Strasbourg offer charming walks and almost unlimited gastronomic opportunities. Most newcomers find Strasbourg’s attractions a unique blend of French and Germanic traditions, and proximity to several other European countries more than compensates for its weather.

The Strasbourg District covers a large portion of northeastern France and borders three other countries — Switzerland, Germany, and Luxembourg. It includes the regions of Alsace, Lorraine, and Franche-Comté, encompassing 10 departments. In addition to Strasbourg, the consular district contains several important cities — Nancy, Metz, and Verdun in Lorraine; Colmar and Mulhouse in Alsace; and Besancon and Belfort in Franche-Comté.

Alsace, Lorraine and Franche-Comté regions have a diversified export-oriented economy. Their unemployment rates remain among the lowest in France. Major sectors include automobile, mechanics, pharmaceutical, textile, chemicals, agriculture, and financial services. The arrival of numerous high-technology industries, including micro-techniques, telecommunications, lasers, electronics, and biotechnology has compensated for the decline of traditional industries (i.e., coal-steel in Lorraine and watch-clock making in Franche-Comté). More than 100 U.S.-controlled facilities operate in the district, of which the largest are General Motors, Lilly France (SA), Timken, Rohm and Hass, Mars, Wrigley, and Trane. Lorraine and Alsace are leading French regions for foreign investment. Web sites for Strasbourg include, ,and

Strasbourg is considered one of the best medical centers in France. Excellent doctors and surgeons are available. Hospital care is excellent. All the latest drugs are known and used, and the Hospital Civil and some of the clinics are equipped with diagnostic laboratories. Oculists and dentists are plentiful. Several good veterinarians also practice in Strasbourg.

Three of the largest American military cemeteries in France are within the district.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 2/2/2004 3:10 PM

The first U.S. Consulate in Strasbourg opened in 1866, reputedly in the building where the French national anthem, the Marseillaise, was written. In 1871, after the Franco-Prussian war, the Consulate moved across the Rhine to Kehl. In 1921, the Consulate reopened in Strasbourg, only to close again with the outbreak of war in 1939. Reopened in 1946, it was raised to Consulate General status in 1966.

An American Consul General staffs the post along with six French national employees, including one employed by the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service. The post offers American Citizen Services, excluding visas and passport functions, which the U.S. Embassy in Paris now handles. In the Consulate General’s current configuration, the emphasis is on support for American citizens, reporting, support for U.S. business, public diplomacy and representation. The consul general serves as the U.S. Deputy Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe as well as the consul general for the Strasbourg District. The Ambassador is the U.S. Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe.

The current building was designed and constructed in 1950 specifically to be a U.S. Consulate General. It is located at 15 avenue d’Alsace on main traffic arteries near the center of the city. Office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on French and American holidays. Tel: 333–88–35–31–04, fax: 333–88–24–06–95. The mailing addresses are:

APO Full Name CONGEN/STRAS PSC 116 APO AE 09777–5000

Pouch Full Name American Consulate General Strasbourg Department of State 5620 Strasbourg Place Washington, D.C. 20521–5620

International Mail American Consulate General 15, avenue d’Alsace 67082 Strasbourg CEDEX, France


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 2/2/2004 3:13 PM

A wide range of hotels and motels are available in Strasbourg. New arrivals and temporary duty personnel are provided a furnished apartment on the second floor of the Consulate General.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 2/2/2004 3:14 PM

The principal officer’s home is a comfortable, government-owned and -furnished house, and is only a 5-minute drive from the Consulate General. Acquired in 1949, the house is located in a quiet residential neighborhood near the Orangerie Park and the Council of Europe Headquarters. It has large walled grounds, which are ideal for outdoor entertaining in warm weather, with lawns, trees, flowers, and shrubs.

The ground floor has an entry hall, two living rooms, a study, and a dining room, which seats 16 persons. Adjoining the dining room is a pantry with a dumbwaiter. In addition to the kitchen, the basement contains a laundry room, ironing room, furnace room, and two large storage rooms.

The second floor has three bedrooms, two baths, and a small dressing room. The master bedroom has an outdoor balcony overlooking the grounds. The renovated third floor adds additional bedrooms and living space (three bedrooms, two baths, living room, study, and kitchen) suitable for family or houseguests.

At the rear of the house is a separate two-story garage building containing two bedrooms, kitchen, and a bath on the second floor.


Furnishings Last Updated: 2/2/2004 3:14 PM

The home is provided with all basic furnishings, including china, silver, glassware, flatware, and appliances.

An incoming principal officer should bring linens, bedding, pictures (the wall space is extensive), books (there are bookshelves in the entry hall), art objects (the formal living room has two set-in, glassed, illuminated display wall cabinets), and other personal furnishings. Although the house is furnished, it is large enough to accommodate some personal furniture. Additional lamps will prove useful, as would desks for school-aged children.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 2/2/2004 3:14 PM

Electric current is 220v, 50-cycle. U.S. appliances need transformers, and synchronous motor items such as phonographs must be converted to 50 cycles, preferably before shipment.

Food Last Updated: 2/2/2004 3:15 PM

All kinds of foods are available in Strasbourg, with seasonal limitations. Fresh vegetables in winter are sometimes scarce, but frozen foods can be obtained in the larger markets. Frozen foods, meats, poultry, and ice cream are more expensive than in the U.S. Assigned personnel have U.S. military commissary/ PX privileges and can drive to Heidelberg, Germany, about 1½ hours from Strasbourg, to do grocery shopping at the commissary, where food prices for major items such as meats are lower than local French prices.

Clothing Last Updated: 2/2/2004 3:20 PM

A four-season wardrobe is needed in Strasbourg. Tailors, dressmakers, and quality ready-to-wear clothing are all available, but prices tend to be higher than in the U.S. Footwear is attractive and competitively priced, but many Americans find French sizes a problem. Representational duties are extensive, and formal dinners are frequent. A tuxedo is a must for men, as are both long and cocktail dresses for women. Remember to bring raingear.

Supplies and Services Last Updated: 2/2/2004 3:21 PM

All items normally required for housekeeping and household repairs are found here, but ample supplies of children’s toys, books, records, etc., should be brought, as local items are expensive. Drycleaning is about double U.S. prices. Laundries and shoe repair shops are plentiful, and prices are reasonable. The many good beauty shops are cheaper than in the U.S. Radio, TV, and appliance repair is available, but parts for U.S. equipment are scarce. European-made TV’s are available, but expensive. Photographic supplies and services are available but expensive. Kodak and Agfa agencies are here.

Several bookstores carry a limited number of books in English. Membership to the American Library in Paris is inexpensive and books can be mailed to members. The International Herald Tribune is available in Strasbourg on the day of publication. Local newsstands also carry Time, Newsweek, and McCall’s. Les Dernieres Nouvelle d’Alsace, Strasbourg’s principal newspaper, is published in French and German, and a number of other French papers are available.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/2/2004 3:22 PM

The population of Strasbourg is 45% Catholic, 35% Protestant, 10% Jewish, and 10% Muslim and other faiths. People of all four major faiths attend services regularly. Catholic and Protestant services are held in French and German. An Anglican-Episcopal service in English is held every Sunday. Protestant interdenominational services in English are held twice a month at the Temple Neuf Chapel. Jewish services are held at the Strasbourg Synagogue. Construction of a Strasbourg Mosque is planned.

Education Last Updated: 2/2/2004 3:23 PM

Although Strasbourg has many excellent French schools of all types, no English-language elementary or secondary school now exists. The French Government, in recognition of Strasbourg’s position as host city to a number of European institutions, has established a special “international” school (currently, with separate primary and secondary school facilities) designed to accommodate children of the foreign community. However, basic instruction is in French.

Strasbourg has three universities that prepare students for degrees in letters, law, political science, business, economics, medicine, and theology. The universities have special courses for foreigners in French language and civilization.

Students may be enrolled under certain conditions at the Conservatory of Music and the School of Decorative Arts. Private instruction in music and art is available.

The Consulate General can arrange private tutoring in spoken French, using FSI-language materials, for officers and spouses at a cost of about $20–$35 an hour.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 2/2/2004 3:24 PM

The city’s three tennis clubs have good clay courts and one club has covered courts. Strasbourg has four golf clubs: Illkirch (27 holes), Plobsheim (27 holes), Wantzenau (22 holes), and Soufflenheim (27 holes). Indoor swimming is possible at the Schiltigheim municipal pool and at the older Strasbourg municipal bath. Beautiful outdoor swimming pools are available in Strasbourg, in nearby Kehl across the river, and at Obernai, an attractive town in the Vosges Mountain’s foothills about 30 minutes away. Skiing is available in season in the Vosges and in the Black Forest (Germany) within 50 miles of Strasbourg. The season generally lasts from December through March. Strasbourg has a fencing club, and a bowling alley is not far from the Consulate General.

Some trout fishing is possible in the small streams of the Vosges and the Black Forest. For hunters, Alsace has a great deal of excellent game. Quail, partridge, pheasant, and hare are abundant, and deer and wild boar are in the mountains. Opportunities for horseback riding and lessons are plentiful in Strasbourg, and the surrounding areas of Alsace have numerous clubs offering both ring and trail riding. Sailing is possible at Plobsheim. The Vosges Mountains offer the serious hiker and camper invigorating air and scenic vistas. L’Orangerie, near the residence, and the Contades, near the Consulate General, are two favorite parks for afternoon walks.

There are athletic competitions of all kinds, including soccer, basketball, tennis, water polo, swimming, boxing, and wrestling.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:04 PM

The mountains and foothills of Alsace are dotted with small, picturesque villages. In spite of wartime destruction and intensive rebuilding, many houses remain from the 15th and 16th centuries, and the distinctive Alsacian architecture is attractive and interesting. Many fine examples of Romanesque and Gothic religious architecture, as well as 18th century civil architecture, can be found all over Alsace. On the foothills and lower slopes of the Vosges are the vineyards of Alsace, which are the sources of some fine white wines and an unusual rosé. Higher up on rocky promontories, the ruins of medieval castles look out over the Rhine Plain to the Black Forest in the distance.

The Alsatians are French citizens with a Germanic cultural background. Both French and Alsatian, a German dialect, are spoken by nearly everyone. In the countryside, Alsatian predominates and many older peasants do not understand more than a few words of French. German is widely understood and spoken.

Several Western European countries are easily accessible from Strasbourg. In Switzerland, Basel is about 80 miles away, Bern 170, and Geneva 219. Paris is 300 miles away. The distance to Heidelberg is 85 miles, to Munich 170, to Frankfurt 138, to Bonn 214, to Luxembourg 130, and to Innsbruck, Austria 260. Opportunities to visit interesting places are innumerable, and exceptionally good guidebooks are available here. Baden-Baden, 45 minutes away, has a golf course and a famous casino with a fine restaurant and dancing.

Trains are fast, relatively inexpensive, and reliable. Across the Rhine in Germany, the excellent toll-free Autobahn (expressway) system connects Strasbourg with Basel, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, and Munich. A newly completed French AutoRoute (expressway) makes Paris an easy 4- to 5-hour drive from Strasbourg, but tolls are high. Traffic on French secondary roads is intense, particularly at certain times of the day and in the summer. Gasoline prices are the highest in Europe, although diplomatic coupons for use in France are available. Unleaded gasoline is available in Strasbourg and nearby Germany.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:04 PM

Two municipal theaters provide a full program of plays, concerts, ballets, operas, and operettas. The city’s radio-TV station gives free tickets to various concerts held throughout the year. The opera, symphony orchestra, and municipal ballet are particularly good, and many well-known chamber orchestras, quartets, and soloists come here on tour. An international (classical and jazz) music festival is held every June with eminent visiting artists and first-class orchestras and a “musica” (contemporary musical festival) is held in September. Strasbourg has several movie theaters. Movies are in French and occasionally in English. Most British and American pictures are shown with French soundtracks.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:05 PM

The presence of the Council of Europe, with its Permanent Representatives, Ambassadors, and Permanent Observers and a 1,500-person Secretariat composed of citizens from 43 countries, gives social life an international and cosmopolitan dimension. Social functions are frequent and tend toward sit-down dinners and receptions rather than informal affairs, although the business lunch is well established. Although no American club or organization exists in Strasbourg, the local 900-member binational Association Alsace Etats-Unis, organizes and cosponsors a number of events with an American flavor.

Official Functions Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:05 PM

The principal officer’s official responsibilities fall into two broad categories: bilateral and multilateral. Invitation cards can be printed at Embassy Paris’ printing shop. Invitation and business cards in French are expensive but available on the Strasbourg market. Calling cards are widely used, and the principal officer will need an initial supply of 300. As the only American official in Strasbourg, the principal officer represents the U.S. at official French events and is invited to attend numerous semiofficial ceremonies and functions throughout the district. At the same time, the principal officer’s position vis-a-vis the Council of Europe requires official participation in a broad spectrum of Council activities and functions ranging from conferences and colloquies to dinners and receptions.

Special Information Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:06 PM


Employment opportunities for spouses and dependents on the local labor market are extremely limited since most potential positions require fluent French, and often German as well (see Paris). Post employment opportunities are nonexistent given the small size of the staff.

Consulate - Bordeaux

Post City Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:08 PM

Over 600,000 people live in greater Bordeaux, the fifth largest city in France and the capital of both the department of Gironde and the Aquitaine Region. Located some 35 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean, Bordeaux remains a relatively important seaport. Oceangoing vessels occasionally dock in front of the Consulate.

Reigning over the Garonne River which flows through its center, Bordeaux recalls the grandeur of 18th century France. Beautiful, intricate stone facades mark the majesty of an era when the city served as a gateway to Europe. Wine flowed from Bordeaux to the rest of the world. Montesquieu pondered the significance of the human spirit here. Visitors flocked to absorb the Bordelais version of the famous French joie-de-vivre.

Now, as before in its long history, the city maintains its charm. Modern buildings mix with the monuments of the past. Cars roll where carriages used to rattle, but the city preserves the essence of tradition. Visitors, many from the U.S., spend weekend after weekend exploring the beautiful vineyards and chateaux that surround Bordeaux. While enjoying nature, they drink great wines and learn about the colorful winemaking process. The city also lies within easy reach of the mountains and the sea.

U.S. representation in Bordeaux dates from 1778 when France formally recognized the independence of the 13 colonies and the Continental Congress appointed commercial agent John Bondfield as a political liaison. In 1790, President George Washington commissioned Joseph Fenwick of Maryland as the first American Consul to Bordeaux, and the post was in continuous existence except during the Franco-American “cold war” of 1798–1800 and the Nazi occupation of 1941–44. In 1962, this oldest known American diplomatic station became a Consulate General. Closed in 1996 for budgetary reasons, it was reopened as an American Presence Post on October 1, 2000, by Secretary of State Madeline Albright.

The Bordeaux consular district includes three regions in southwestern France. The district contains France’s most famous prehistoric caves, many ancient forts and castles, exquisite churches, and most of France’s ultramodern military aerospace industry. The Basque Region, with its mystifying ancient language, is 2 hours south of Bordeaux toward the Spanish border. Other notable cities in the consular district are Bayonne, Pau, Limoges, and Poitiers.

Some 60 American companies with more than 10,000 employees are located in the area. Bordeaux and the Aquitaine Region are responsible for 4.4% of the GNP in France. The U.S. represents 40% of the direct investment in the Bordeaux area. Ford is one of the leading U.S. companies in the region; others are Solectron and Cargill. The APP in Bordeaux was created to facilitate U.S. business ventures with the French defense industry and to expand direct contact with U.S. public diplomacy to an additional 5% of the French population.

About 6,000 American citizens are estimated to reside in the district. In addition, about 200 American students annually attend programs at the universities in Bordeaux, Poitiers, and Pau.

Bordeaux hosts about 10 career consular posts and about 40 noncareer consular establishments.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:08 PM

The APP staff consists of the principal officer and three local employees. Offices are located on Place de la Bourse, in the center of Bordeaux. The office telephone number is Office hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (local staff until 5 p.m.) Monday–Friday, closed on weekends and on French and American holidays. The consular unit is open for American citizen services on Wednesdays by appointment only.

The Embassy in Paris handles virtually all administrative matters for the APP, including personnel matters. Personnel assigned to Bordeaux, therefore, must first report to the Embassy in Paris to complete administrative formalities and consultations. Authority for these consultations should be included in all travel orders. The Embassy will arrange for onward travel to Bordeaux once Paris formalities are completed.

The mailing addresses are:

APO Full Name American Embassy Paris PSC 116-BORDEAUX APO AE 09777

International Mail Full Name American Presence Post 10, Place de la Bourse Boite Postale 77 33025 Bordeaux Cedex FRANCE

Pouch Full Name/BORDEAUX 9200 Paris Place Washington, D.C. 20521–9200

Housing Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:09 PM

The principal officer occupies a government-leased apartment conforming to the State Department’s Federal Building Office (FBO) standards.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:09 PM

Electric current is 220v, 50 cycles. Many U.S-made, 60-cycle appliances overheat in France or do not run properly. Electric clocks, CD players, air-conditioners, and other items with 60-cycle motors may need to be (expensively) converted to 50 cycles for use in France. Incoming officers should ask the post before buying appliances.

Food Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:09 PM

Food of excellent quality and variety is available. Prepared baby foods are expensive, as are some canned or frozen goods. Certain products used in the U.S. are not available here, but can be purchased at the Embassy commissary in Paris.

Clothing Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:10 PM

Winters are very rainy in Bordeaux; summers range from sweltering to cool. Although generally pleasant, the weather tends to change frequently. Heavier weight wool suits and dresses are practical in winter under lighter weight topcoats. Do not forget raingear for all members of the family; it is an absolute must!

Most French clothing is very expensive. Moderately priced clothes do not sometimes meet U.S. standards of style or fit.


Men Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:10 PM

Conservative men’s clothing suitable for the diplomatic world in Washington, D.C., is fine for Bordeaux. The Bordelais dress conservatively and rather formally by American standards. Business suits are worn by men at weekday social events. White tie is not worn and sports coats (with tie) are usually suitable for weekend events.


Women Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:11 PM

Conservative women’s clothing for daytime is the same in Bordeaux as in Washington. Women rarely wear pants to work. For evening, women need several cocktail dresses and at least one long dress. French shoes are beautiful, but expensive, and do not always fit American feet. Since most Americans walk more in Bordeaux than they do in the U.S., bring a good supply of comfortable shoes, especially those practical for wet weather and rough sidewalks.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:11 PM

A variety of toiletries for men and women is available, but prices are high. Newcomers should bring any special home medications or drugs. Almost all basic household needs are available locally, including color and black-and-white film.

A bookstore specializes in English-language paperbacks and several French-language bookstores also have English-language paperbacks for sale, although highly priced.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:22 PM

Laundry, drycleaning, and shoe repair are available at prices higher than those in the U.S. The city has no diaper service.

Good radio, TV, and appliance repairs are available on European-manufactured equipment, but repairs on American appliances (and some Asian items) are expensive and often unsatisfactory. TV’s and VCR’s can be purchased or rented locally, but most cannot play American videos. Film printing and developing service is satisfactory, but more expensive than in the U.S.

All members of the staff use local French doctors and dentists (rarely English speaking) and local doctors’ prescriptions can be easily filled as necessary.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:22 PM

For information on hiring domestic help, see Paris.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:22 PM

Besides many Catholic churches, Bordeaux has several French Protestant churches, a synagogue, and an Anglican (Episcopal) church that holds services in English.

Education Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:23 PM

Facilities for elementary, secondary, and university education are good quality, but all instruction is in French. In general, children up to age 12 learn the fundamentals of the language quickly and are able to take up work at their proper level after 6 months. Older children usually require supplementary language lessons to enable them to keep up with their schoolwork.

Among the public schools are those operated by the municipality and those by the national government (the lycees). Most private schools are run by religious orders.

In both public and private schools, hours of attendance and the amount of homework greatly exceed most U.S. standards. Normally classes are not on Wednesday afternoon but are held on Saturday morning. Tuition costs at private schools are reasonable by U.S. standards and would be within a post educational allowance. State schools are free.

One English-language instruction school exists in Bordeaux that places children from kindergarten to high school level. The Bordeaux International School was founded with the intention of following the standard British educational program through the GCSE level. It is privately run and funded exclusively by tuition fees. It is suitable for most children who have studied in the U.S. and who prefer not to attempt French-language instruction by immersion. The APP has no experience in sending children to this school. A catalog can be requested by writing directly to the school at 53 rue de Laseppe, 33000 Bordeaux.

American studies sections, taught in English, have been established at a local junior high school and high school. Students follow this program in addition to the regular French course of study, so an excellent level of French is required, and the workload is reportedly quite heavy. The APP has no experience in sending children to these programs.


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:24 PM

The University of Bordeaux has faculties in law, medicine, science, and letters, as well as an institute of fine arts, politics, and music. Tuition fees are modest. Their French-for-foreigners course is particularly recommended for older dependents and spouses who are not French speakers.

Adults can study French with private tutors through a university audiovisual course or at a Berlitz School. Textbooks are readily available in the stores.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:24 PM

Eight public swimming pools and a gym are nominally available, although sometimes they are reserved for private athletic associations or school groups. The city has several private tennis clubs and a private golf club. Membership dues and initiation fees are high, and club facilities are limited. The area has several private clubs for flying, sailing, riding, fencing, archery, judo, sculling, and gymnastics; for team sports like basketball, soccer, rugby, and hockey; and for organized activities such as bicycle touring and skiing. Sports equipment and clothing are sold locally at U.S. prices or slightly higher.

The most interesting local spectator sports are basketball, soccer, and rugby. There are local (U.S.-type) ice hockey, football, and baseball teams, however, with almost 100% French participation.

Neighborhood kindergartens and two public parks have playgrounds with swings and seesaws. Organized sports and activities for children are available (after hours) at schools or clubs.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:25 PM

Boating, fishing, swimming, or other water sports abound at regional coastal resorts. A broad sandy beach stretches southward 150 miles from the mouth of the Gironde to the Spanish border. Principal resort areas are Arcachon (40 miles), Biarritz (113 miles), and St. Jean de Luz (120 miles).

The Basque country near the Spanish border is popular for hiking, cycling, and camping.

Skiing in the Pyrénées (3 hours by car) sometimes begins as early as December and can continue until April. These ski resorts are expanding rapidly and facilities are good, but the snow is unreliable.

The picturesque Dordogne River Valley has wonderful castles to visit and good hunting, fishing, and camping facilities.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:25 PM

During the regular season (October to April) there are plays, operas, ballets, and symphony concerts in Bordeaux. Since 1950, a 3-week music festival in May has brought instrumentalists of world rank, chamber music groups, choruses, orchestras, and theatrical companies to the city. Several modern movie houses show French, U.S., British, and other films, most with dubbed French dialogue. Bordeaux has several excellent small museums. Hobbyists devoted to bridge, chess, photography, the cinema, art, and other activities will be able to find groups sharing their interest

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:26 PM

The principal officer has significant representational duties, which frequently involve travel to other towns in the district. Local residents usually entertain at home with teas, small dinners, or lunch parties. Cocktail parties in homes are rare, but cocktail-receptions given outside the home by institutions and organizations are common. French cultural patterns do not promote easy friendships; Americans at post need to make a determined effort to develop professional and social contacts. Fluent French is essential for professional and social success.

Among the business service organizations present in Bordeaux are branches of the Lions and Rotary Clubs. Chapters of France-Etats-Unis (a French association devoted to bettering relations between the two countries) are in Bordeaux and many of the district's larger cities.

The Bordeaux Women’s Club, which meets for lunch monthly, is open to all English-speaking women, as is the Bordeaux-Los Angeles Club, an active friendship association with a young French membership.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:26 PM

The principal officer can expect to attend numerous official and semi-official functions throughout the consular district. These include receptions or dinners at city hall, prefectures, residences of military commanders, chambers of commerce, inaugurations of cultural festivals, and openings of trade fairs, etc.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:27 PM

Shortly after arrival, the principal officer is expected to make courtesy calls on prefects, mayors, and dozens of other leading official and nonofficial persons throughout the district. This involves many weeks of steady effort and hundreds of miles in the car. The principal officer should bring 100 calling cards to post and immediately plan to have more made locally in the French format.

Special Information Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:27 PM

Employment possibilities for spouses or dependents are limited and are only available to persons who speak fluent French and who have unique or hard-to-find skills. See Employment for Spouses and Dependents concerning legal formalities. No possibilities exist for temporary employment of family members.

Consulate - Lille

Post City Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:29 PM

Lille, the capital of the Nord-Pas de Calais Region of France, is a major city whose metropolitan area has over a million inhabitants, 7.2% of whom are of foreign nationality, making it a multicultural and cosmopolitan environment. Centrally located between Paris, Brussels, London, Luxembourg, Amsterdam, and Dusseldorf, Lille is a major industrial and distribution center.

The American Presence Post (APP) in Lille opened on July 3, 2000. The city was chosen as a prime location for an APP because of the opportunity it gives the U.S. Government to be involved in commercial opportunities of a developing region with a European focus. Lille is a central entry point for U.S. products into the European market.

Lille has made strides in the past few years in vastly improving its transportation network. In 1996, a new air terminal opened with a capacity for 1,500,000 travelers annually. The city is also home to the world’s first automatic subway and the third largest inland port in France. Much of the credit for the city’s improvement can be given to Lille’s former mayor, once-Socialist Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy. When he entered office in 1973, Lille started to change from an economically depressed French town into an up-and-coming commercial and industrial center. Evidence of this remarkable transformation can be seen in the Euralille, an impressive modern structure where the TGV (France’s highspeed train) and Eurostar stations are located, as well as offices and a shopping center.

Lille is home to several large industries including publishing, textiles, mechanical and electric, food, chemistry, and pharmaceuticals. It is also home to national retail chains such as Auchan and French mail-order firms such as La Redoute and Trois Suisses. Lille owes its highly diversified economy to the presence of both traditional industry and its rapid move into the most advanced technologies, including e-commerce.

Lille’s history of its many ruling countries—England, Spain, the Netherlands, and France—is reflected in its varied cuisine and diverse architecture: heavily ornamented Flemish facades juxtaposed with elegant French-style civic buildings. Also contributing to the region’s rich social and cultural mix is the presence of Portuguese, Polish, and North African immigrants.

For further information, the following Web sites are helpful:

Rich in culture, the city is home to 6 museums, 11 theaters and concert halls, and the Forum of Science in Villeneuve d’Ascq. The National Orchestra of Lille, the Theater of the North, the Ballets of the North, and the Lyrical Workshop of Tourcoing are some of the performance groups found in Lille. The city publishes 18 regional newspapers and magazines. Lille offers a wide variety of sports facilities, such as tennis clubs, swimming pools, and golf courses, as well as several horseracing and riding centers.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:29 PM

Lille APP is a one-person post. The Embassy in Paris handles virtually all consular and administrative matters for the APP, including personnel matters. Officers assigned to Lille, therefore, must first report to the Embassy in Paris to complete administrative formalities and consultations. Authority for these consultations should be included in assignment travel orders.

The officer assigned to Lille should arrive prepared to focus on outreach activities, both in the economic and commercial domain and in public affairs. Significant local travel is necessary to fulfill the APP mandate. The officer needs to be ready to make extensive use of the Internet and be readily accessible by cell phone. A spirit of adventure and a strong sense of self-direction are essential.

The mailing addresses are:

APO Full name American Embassy – LILLE APO AE 09777

International Mail Full name 15, Place de S‚bastopol 59800 Lille FRANCE

Pouch Full name/Lille 9200 Paris Place Washington, D.C. 20521–9200


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:30 PM

The officer in Lille occupies an unfurnished, government-leased apartment close to downtown that serves as both home and office. The Embassy provides appliances (refrigerator, oven, washer and dryer) and drapes/sheers. The apartment has an extra room that is utilized as a home office and is fully furnished by the Embassy (computer, fax, copier, etc.). Market conditions vary over time, but locating housing that meets standards was not easy during initial search.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:30 PM

Electric current is 220v, 50 cycles. Many U.S.-made, 60-cycle appliances overheat in France or do not run properly. Conversion for use in France is expensive. Incoming officers should ask the post before buying appliances.

Food Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:30 PM

The typical Lille citizen is reliable and hardworking, but also a bon vivant who likes his food and appreciates a beer or two in one of the city’s many brasseries. Food of excellent quality and variety is available and significantly less expensive than in Paris. The traditional dish of mussels and French-fried potatoes and the sugar tart are excellent. Being so close to Belgium, Lille offers the best beers. Certain U.S. products are not available here but can be purchased at the Embassy commissary in Paris or at the U.S. airbase at Chièvres Belgium, less than an hour’s drive.

Clothing Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:31 PM

Lille’s climate is similar to that of Paris, with winters cold and rainy. There are some snowstorms and beautiful, dry but cold days. And summers are generally cool. Wool suits and dresses are practical in winter with warm coats or lined raincoats. Conservative clothing suitable for the business or diplomatic world of Washington, D.C. will also be appropriate.

The Lillois dress conservatively and less formally than in Paris or Washington, D.C. Business suits are worn in political circles, but in much of the area’s high tech sector, more casual business dress is the norm. Neither white tie nor black tie is worn.

Conservative women’s clothing for daytime is similar in Lille to what you find in Washington, D.C., including a mix of skirts and pants. Even for evening, a nice business suit or dress is usually sufficient. A good range of clothing and shoes is available in Lille. Comfortable shoes for rainy conditions are necessary. Gym shoes are seen only on students and tourists.

Good french clothing is expensive, and moderately priced items do not always meet U.S. standards. Mail order from the U.S. is possible through the Embassy in Paris and should be insured.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:31 PM

A wide variety of supplies for men, women, and children is available, at prices somewhat above U.S. rates. Bring any special medications from the U.S., as products differ in France. All basic household needs are available locally, under French brand names.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:32 PM

Laundry, drycleaning, and shoe repair are available, with new chains providing services at prices close to the U.S. market. Repairs on European electronics are easily available, but it is difficult to find someone willing to work on U.S., 110v items. A multisystem TV and video player is highly recommended.

Some U.S.-trained doctors and dentists are available in the region

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:32 PM

Part-time, domestic help is available with a short delay through French social service centers, and associated social costs can be covered through a system of Cheques Emplois Service, available through French banks. To sponsor full-time household help, see the Paris section.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:32 PM

Besides numerous Catholic churches, Lille has several French Protestant churches, an Anglican church with services in English, a synagogue, and a mosque.

Education Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:33 PM

Thirty percent of the population in Lille is under 20 years old. Facilities for elementary, secondary, and university education are of very good quality. There is an excellent multilingual school. Further information on education is available through the Web site of the “Inspection academique du Nord.” A wide range of public and private schools is available, with costs or private schooling within U.S. standards and easily covered by post education allowance. The school day is generally longer than in the U.S., and in the private system, classes are only 4 days a week, Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday. Public schools often have classes Wednesday morning and/or Saturday morning as well. Extracurricular activities are available through area municipalities on Wednesday and Saturday.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:33 PM

Lille has many public swimming pools, gyms, exercise facilities, golf clubs, and tennis courts. The airport has a flight club, and the area has numerous riding clubs. Area schools sponsor a range of team sports, including basketball, baseball, soccer, rugby and hockey. Sports equipment and clothing are sold locally at U.S. prices or higher. Lille has a major-league soccer team.

The city has several parks and playgrounds for children. Lille and the surrounding suburbs offer a wide array of children's afterschool activities.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:34 PM

The north of France is an area crossed by a myriad of rivers, waterways, and lakes — a paradise for anglers. Boat trips are organized in Berck, Boulognesur-Mer, and Etaples. Regional nature parks have brought a breath of fresh air to the landscapes of northern France. Especially the Parc Naturel Regional Nord-Pas-de-Calais, which is divided into several sectors. Discover dunes, forests, bays, and wetlands by following itineraries on foot, horseback, or bike. Golf courses abound in the region and the network of country roads is ideal for cycling. The region has hundreds of miles of bridle paths running through forests or along the coast for horse riding. Sailing and windsurfing are popular along the coast and on some of the inland lakes.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:35 PM

Lille has become a major cultural center following the establishment of a respected philharmonic orchestra, the opening of Opera du Nord in Lille, the lyric workshop in Tourcoing, the northern France ballet company, and the institution of several theater companies. Several cultural festivals take place here every year: the fall festival includes concerts, fine arts, and theater and dance performances. Every first weekend in September, the whole of Lille celebrates the Braderie (huge flea market); it is a citywide holiday.

The “old Lille” center of town began renovation in 1965 and the buildings dating from the 17th and 18th centuries recovered their beauty. Luxury shops, interior decorators, and antique dealers settled in the area, which is today an attractive place to explore. Architects Bérard and Delmas built the Musée des Beaux-Arts between 1885 and 1892. Renovated in 1997, the majestic building stands on Place de la République opposite the county offices (Préfecture). It is the second largest museum in France after the Louvre. Lille hosts several other interesting museums. An excellent Modern Art Museum is located in the suburb of Villeneuve d’Ascq.

Euralille is a new urban district funded by the Euralille Company and designed by Dutch town planner Rem Koolhaas. Since May 1993, Lille’s railway station, which was renamed Lille-Flandres, caters to most of the highspeed trains that make the trip to and from Paris in an hour. Linked by a viaduct with four arches, the new station, Lille-Europe, was built as part of the Paris-London (2 hours from Lille) and London-Brussels (40 minutes from Lille) routes using the Channel Tunnel. The French architect Jean Nouvel designed the Center Euralille. It contains more than 130 shops, a hypermarket, restaurants, and a cultural center called l’Espace Croisé. It also has a theater, private apartments, and a business school. The oval-shaped Lille Grand-Palais at the south end stages the city’s main events including many international conferences, trade fairs, and major shows.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:35 PM

Significant representational duties frequently involve travel to other cities in the district. Restaurant lunches and institutional receptions are the most frequent events, with home entertaining rare. The population of Nord Pas-de-Calais is more open and accessible than that of Paris, and the APP has been readily welcomed by local opinion leaders. Fluent French is key to developing professional and social success, however, as English ability is quite limited among most APP contacts.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:36 PM

The principal officer is expected to attend numerous official and semi-official functions throughout the consular district. These include receptions or dinners at city halls, prefectures, residences of military commanders, chambers of commerce, inaugurations of cultural festivals, openings of trade fairs, etc. The protocol level in northern France is not as formal as in Paris, and dress, while still businesslike, is less fashion conscious.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:37 PM

Shortly after arrival, the principal officer is expected to make courtesy calls on prefects, mayors, and dozens of other leading official and nonofficial persons throughout the district. This involves many weeks of steady effort and hundreds of miles in the car without a chauffeur. The principal officer should arrive at post with at least 100 calling cards prepared in French.

Special Information Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:37 PM

Water. The water in the Lille area is nonpotable.

Employment. Employment possibility for spouses and eligible family members are limited and primarily available to persons who speak fluent French.

Media. La Voix du Nord, based in Lille, is the most important media presence in northern France. Over 300,000 copies of its 20 regional issues are purchased daily. The paper covers issues important to the local population and is close to the socialist political leadership. The second largest newspaper, Nord Éclair, sells 70,000 copies daily. Lille is the base for the public regional France 3 Television’s north bureau and is also the home of private light entertainment channel, M-6. The national electronic media RTL and Europe 1 each has a correspondent based in Lille. Several local radio stations are also based in the city.

Consulate - Lyon

Post City Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:42 PM

The Lyon metropolitan area is France’s second largest, with a population of 1.2 million and an economic and cultural weight exceeded only by Paris. Lyon is the capital of the Rhône-Alpes Region, which accounts for over 10% of France’s GDP.

Caesar’s lieutenant, Mantius Plancus, founded the Roman colony of Lugdunum at the strategic confluence of the Rhône and Saône Rivers in 43 B.C. Important Gallo-Roman ruins recall the city’s role as Capital of the three Gauls in classical times.

For centuries, the Rhône River marked the boundary between the kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire. Consequently, Lyon acquired certain traits of a frontier city. Italian immigrants helped it flourish during the Renaissance as one of Europe’s major financial centers. The silk industry was established around the same time and became another important source of wealth. During the reign of French King François I, speculation was rife that the capital of France might even be moved to Lyon. The 16th-century Wars of Religion marked the beginning of the city’s slow decline.

The city’s fortunes hit their nadir in 1793, when the revolutionary government of France proclaimed, “Lyon exists no more.” Troops were sent to suppress a revolt of republican moderates against radical Jacobin rule, leaving thousands dead in front of firing squads and at the guillotine.

Its fortunes have recovered steadily if unevenly ever since. The Lyonnais pride themselves on the role their city played in the resistance to the Nazi occupation during World War II. The post-war economic, cultural, and political regeneration of the city has accelerated in recent years. The city is shaking off its negative image as little more than a big bottleneck on the road from the north to the Mediterranean, its faceless modern architecture personified in the nickname “Mayor Concrete” attributed to a city official in the 1970s. UNESCO has proclaimed Lyon a “Patrimonial City of Humanity.” Tourism is growing apace with foreign and domestic investments. A pole of excellence has emerged in life sciences and (with Grenoble) in the computer industry. The political leadership of Lyon has recognized that the city’s future growth depends on its international dynamism. It is moving energetically to reinforce and capitalize on its foreign connections.

The Lyon consular district covers the regions of Rhône-Alpes, Auvergne, and Bourgogne, a big chunk of the east-central part of the country. Other major cities in the district are Grenoble, Clermont-Ferrand, Saint-Etienne, Chambéry, and Dijon, as well as the French suburbs of Geneva.

Fewer than 10,000 American citizens are estimated to be living in the consular district, many of them well integrated into French society. The number of American citizen tourists who spend time in the region typically exceeds 200,000 per year.

Thirteen career consular posts are located in Lyon, along with dozens of honorary consuls. International organizations have a presence in Lyon as well: Interpol’s headquarters, the World Health Organization’s cancer research center, etc.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 6/13/2005 10:12 AM

Lyon was the first American Presence Post (APP) created in France, starting up in 1999 after a 7-year hiatus following the closing of the Consulate General in 1992.

The APP has the diplomatic status of a Consulate but a highly streamlined structure and mission that may not yet be familiar to all Foreign Service personnel. The closest kin to an APP would be a private sector branch office. Lyon’s staff consists of one American principal officer and four French nationals. Of the latter, one is with the Commercial Service, another with Public Diplomacy. The remaining two cover consular affairs and administration. The post’s operating environment is entirely unclassified.

Incoming American personnel should be aware that the basic principle of post management in an APP is rugged individualism. For instance, you will drive and take care of your own official car, solve your own GSO-type problems, and bear certain responsibilities yourself that you might not carry out in more familiar bureaucratic circumstances. The experience is liberating, but it can also be a shock for those who might have grown accustomed to being taken care of.

The office is located at 1, Quai Jules Courmont, 69289 Lyon CEDEX 02; telephone: [33](4)7838–3688, FAX: [33](4)7241–7181, and e-mail:

Office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday (except on U.S. and French holidays), by appointment only.

The Embassy in Paris administers APP Lyon. An officer assigned to Lyon should first report to the Embassy to complete check-in formalities and consultations. Authority for consultations, normally two days, should be included in all travel orders. The Embassy can arrange for onward travel to Lyon upon completion of formalities in Paris.

Incoming pouch and APO mail service is possible using Embassy Paris’s address, with “Lyon” prominently attached to an appropriate part. Because of the long, circuitous route such mail must follow, we recommend that time-sensitive correspondence be mailed to the international address when feasible.

The mailing addresses are:

APO Full name American Embassy Paris PSC 116–LYON APO AE 09777

International Mail Full name American Presence Post 1, quai Jules Courmont 69289 Lyon, France

Pouch Full name/Lyon 9200 Paris Place Washington, D.C. 20521–9200

Housing Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:44 PM

The Embassy rents housing for the APP officer-in-charge on a short-term lease according to family size and any special needs, taking the employee’s stated preferences into account to the extent the housing market allows. Housing policies are set by Embassy Paris. There is no representational housing.

As a general rule, single officers or couples with grown (or no) children may find themselves preferring the second or fifth (Vieux Lyon) arrondissements, which are in the heart of the city, within easy walking distance of most cultural attractions. Families with smaller, school-aged children are apt to prefer the sixth arrondissement, especially in neighborhoods near the magnificent Parc de la Tête d’Or.

Lyon proper is relatively small by American standards, and the more interesting parts can be easily traversed on foot. A highly developed public transportation system (metro, bus, and tram) eases travel within the city.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:45 PM

See Paris.

Food Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:45 PM

Lyon is the justly renowned capital of French gastronomy. The main problem here is how not to eat too much. Some American products are not easily found, but one tends not to miss them.

Clothing Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:45 PM

Lyonnais (and French in general) tend to dress up a bit more than Americans, even for prosaic errands like grocery shopping or walks in the park.

Business dress is very much like in Washington, D.C., though with slightly more attention to style. Lyon’s climate is not unlike Washington’s, but milder; imagine Washington without its extremes of heat-humidity and cold.

Supplies and Services Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:46 PM

See Paris.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:46 PM

Lyon has a tradition of ecumenical tolerance borne out by the harmonious coexistence of all major religions associated with ethnic communities present in the city and region: Roman Catholicism, various Protestant denominations, representative streams of Judaism and Islam, etc.

Education Last Updated: 6/8/2005 10:48 AM

Lyon also has an international school that follows a French curriculum leading up to the baccalauréat. An English-language section of the school trains British, American, and other students in a bilingual program.

First-rate French lycées can also be found in Lyon for those who seek an essentially monolingual secondary French education at a demanding level. The Lycée du Parc in the 6th and Lycée Ampère in the 2nd arrondissement are two of the best.

Since most French children start school by age three, many preschools (écoles maternelles) exist. A small number of bilingual English-French establishments are known to us, including a Montessori school in the 6th arrondissement.

Post-secondary education is also a viable alternative for older dependents in Lyon. The Centre d’Etudes Franco-Americain de Management (CEFAM) offers U.S.-accredited college and masters programs in business administration, in conjunction with its U.S. partners: Old Dominion (Norfolk, VA), Temple (Philadelphia, PA), and Northeastern (Boston, MA) universities. Further information can be found at

Several U.S. state university systems (including Oregon and California) run important student exchange programs with the French universities in Lyon.

Other kinds of educational opportunities, from study of the French language to music lessons, are easily found.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:49 PM

Virtually anything one can or would do in Washington can be done in the vicinity of Lyon. In addition, the proximity of the Alps allows for world-class skiing, mountaineering, and rock-climbing opportunities. Hiking and cycling are highly popular among the French. “Canyoning” in the Ardèche, hot-air ballooning in Auvergne — these and more add up to possibilities that far exceed the time one will be able to eke out for them.

The Parc de la Tête d’Or in the 6th arrondissement is a landscaping jewel comparable to Hyde Park in London. It contains several playgrounds for children at various age levels. One can jog around the park’s 4-kilometer inside perimeter, cycle, or wander through the botanical and rose gardens.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:49 PM

There are cultural and natural wonders in all directions, radiating out from ground zero in Lyon. The only way to do them justice here is to recommend purchase of a good guidebook.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:49 PM

Like Paris, on a somewhat smaller scale commensurate with population.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:50 PM

Local residents usually entertain at home with small dinners, often prepared by caterers. Working lunches or lunch debates in restaurants or private clubs are very common. Cocktail receptions, vernissages, and events of a similar nature are daily occurrences. The main challenge is to develop the art of regretting judiciously.

Lyonnais are reputed to be reserved and clannish. This stereotype is not borne out by the consistently forthcoming and friendly behavior we have observed among a broad range of people.

Fluent French is an absolute necessity in order to function and flourish in this environment.

Rotary International is represented in Lyon by several Rotary clubs, organized roughly by parts of the city. Le Prisme and the Propeller Club are also important business clubs that U.S. officers have found useful to join in the past.

The American Club of Lyon is a primarily (but not exclusively) women’s group that organizes a diverse array of events and activities, including those for mothers of small children. France-Etats-Unis, France-Amérique, France-USA, France-Louisiane, and other organizations of a similar stripe are active in Lyon and in various other cities throughout the consular district.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:51 PM

The representational load in Lyon is significant. On the average, three invitations are received for every day in the week. The American officer can expect to attend numerous official and semi-official functions throughout the consular district. At many of them, he or she will be expected to speak, sometimes with prepared remarks, sometimes extemporaneously. These include official dinners and receptions at city halls, prefectures, or residences of military governors, at business or cultural events, schools, chambers of commerce, etc.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:51 PM

Courtesy calls on local officials and consular colleagues can be frustratingly time-consuming, but usually turn out to be a valuable investment for unforeseeable circumstances in the future. Calling cards are a necessity and are available at decent quality, price, and turn-around time from local vendors. Although U.S. practice of depending heavily on e-mail for communication is becoming more prevalent in France, one must usually go through the ritual of personal introduction and socializing (often over lunch), before overcoming a somewhat stilted approach to the telephone and e-mail.

Consulate - Rennes

Post City Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:54 PM

Rennes, the capital of Brittany since 1562, is a city whose history dates back two centuries before Christ. Under the Romans it was called Condate. Brittany was an independent kingdom from 846 until 1532 when it officially became part of France. Rennes combines beautiful medieval quarters with an impressive 18th-century city center and comfortable, charming suburbs.

The city and the surrounding Brittany region share a strong Celtic heritage that is experiencing a resurgence today in the form of Breton cultural development, periodically intermingled with political separatism. Breton was long banned by the French Government, and during WWII by the German occupation forces. A new series of private schools is again teaching the Breton language, to much acclaim, with a record-passing rate last year of 100% for the baccalaureate. Celtic music is pervasive in the region, and the Celtic Festival in Lorient, on the southern coast of Brittany, grows in stature and popularity each year.

The American Presence Post in Rennes covers three regions — Brittany, Lower Normandy, and Pays de la Loire —t hat comprise what is commonly referred to as “Western France.” Ties to the U.S. go back to the earliest days of our nation, as Benjamin Franklin disembarked in Auray, just south of Rennes, for his first visit to France. Local citizens are still very conscious that in 1917 the U.S. “doughboys,” who put an end to World War I, came into France through the port of Brest, the extreme western point of Brittany. World War II is still a living presence in the three regions and 12 departments covered by APP Rennes. Brittany is home to an American Cemetery. Lower Normandy with the DDay beaches hosts the largest and best known American Cemetery at Collevillesur-Mer. Pays de la Loire lives with the indestructible Nazi submarine bunkers still intact at St. Nazaire.

Population. Each of the three regions is home to about 1,000 American citizens and a growing number of American businesses, with about 130 U.S. companies present in western France. Major cities include Rennes, Brest, Nantes, Angers, Caen, and Cherbourg. Rennes today has a population of 203,500 inhabitants, making it the 10th largest city in France. The metropolitan region includes a population of 346,000. The Brittany Region has a population of 2.85 million, or 5% of the French population, and also 5% of French territory. The region boasts a coastline of 2,500 kilometers. Rennes hosts one other career consular post, and Brittany is host to 20 noncareer consular establishments.

Environment. Rennes comes in at or near the top of all quality of life polls in France, due to its combination of an attractive city center, a vibrant population that includes 60,000 students, a strong overall economy and the natural beauty of the Brittany Region that surrounds the city. The ocean is a 45-minute drive either north or south, and beautiful forests and countryside begin just outside the city limits, with bike and hiking trails covering the region. Western France boasts an excellent infrastructure that ranges from extensive highway coverage to regular TGV highspeed train service and a developing network of airports that offer national and European flights. Rennes is in the process of installing its first Metro lines, and other cities such as Nantes and Caen are developing a tramway network.

Rennes is unique in France in that the city has maintained the former USIS-sponsored binational center, now called the French-American Institute. The Institute is a mainstay of the city’s cultural and educational fabric, conducting English classes for over 2,000 students a year, as well as an active program of cultural and academic programming in conjunction with the APP. Angers is home to an American Library that also cooperates closely with the APP on programs.

Economy. Rennes has the second largest economy among the cities of western France, following Nantes. Brittany accounts for 4% of the French national GDP and 3.5% of French exports. One key economic sector in Rennes and in Brittany more largely is telecommunication research, with 40% of French telecom research centered in Rennes, Brest, and increasingly Lannion (on the northern coast of Brittany). The Minitel, the Transpac network, ISDN services, and the ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) were all developed in Rennes, among other products and services. The Rennes Atalante Science Park, created in 1984, is the center of new technology development in Rennes. Acknowledged as one of Europe’s leading telecom research parks, Rennes Atalante houses over 4,000 research workers, both Rennes universities, 200 French and multinational technology-based firms, and 8,000 employees.

Agriculture, fishing and Agroalimentaire, the transformation of raw products into foodstuffs, are the other major economic sectors, followed by automobile production (the Citroën factory near Rennes employs 10,000 people) and naval and shipbuilding industries.

Rennes is working increasingly with other cities along the Atlantic coast of Europe to benefit from European Union programs that support cross-border economic development. The mayor of Rennes is at the head of the Arc Atlantique, a lobbying group that symbolizes the growing power of the European regions.

Media. Ouest France, based in Rennes, is by far the most important media presence in western France, and the newspaper has the largest circulation in the country. The paper currently offers 42 local editions, covering the same three regions as the APP, with over 800,000 copies purchased daily. Founded as Ouest-Éclair in 1899, the paper was disbanded during WWII by the Nazis and refounded as Ouest-France on August 7, 1944, exactly three days after the city of Rennes was liberated by U.S. forces. The paper is respected for its generally objective journalism and close coverage of issues important to the local population.

Rennes is the base for France 3 Television’s western bureau, and is also the home of TV Rennes, a local cable channel with a public of about 40,000 viewers. Several local and national radio stations are also based in town. TV Breizh is a regional cable and satellite channel that came into being in late September 2000 and is based in Lorient, on the southern coast of Brittany.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:56 PM

Staff of the American Presence Post in Rennes consists of the principal officer, one commercial attaché, and one delegate for public affairs, all of whom work together in a fully integrated fashion. The public affairs staff member also handles administrative duties, and consular work is shared by all APP staff.

Offices are located at: 30, quai Duguay-Trouin 35000 Rennes telephone: (332) fax: (332) e-mail:

Office hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday, closed on weekends and on French and American holidays. Consular services and all meetings are by appointment only.

The Embassy in Paris handles virtually all administrative matters for the APP, including personnel matters. Personnel assigned to Rennes, therefore, must first report to the Embassy in Paris to complete administrative formalities and consultations. Authority for these consultations should be included in all travel orders.

American Presence Posts are a new type of office for the Department of State. Officers should arrive prepared to focus on outreach activities, both in the economic and commercial domain and in public affairs. Internal work hours are limited, and significant local travel is necessary to fulfill the APP Rennes mandate. Roads in western France are good, but the principal officers must be prepared to drive themselves to all points of the three regions covered by the post, and must be fully fluent in French to work in an area of France where English is still far from pervasive. All staff needs to be ready to make extensive use of the Internet and be readily accessible by cell phone. A spirit of adventure and a strong sense of self-direction are recommended!

Post Internet site includes links to numerous regional sites. APP Rennes web site is:

The mailing addresses are:

APO American Embassy Paris PSC 116–Rennes APO AE 09777

Pouch American Presence Post Rennes Department of State 9200 Paris Place Washington, D.C. 20521–9200

International Mail APP Rennes 30 quai Duguay-Trouin 35000 Rennes FRANCE


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:57 PM

Hotel rooms and furnished apartments are available for short-term leasing.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:57 PM

The principal officer currently occupies an unfurnished, U.S. government-leased house in a close-in suburb of Rennes, a comfortable 20-minute drive from the office. A wide variety of good housing is available in Rennes and the surrounding suburbs.


Furnishings Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:57 PM

Housing is unfurnished.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:58 PM

Electric current is 220v, 50 cycles. Many U.S. made 60-cycle appliances overheat in France or do not run properly. Conversion for use in France is expensive. Incoming officers should ask the post before buying appliances.

Food Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:58 PM

Food of excellent quality and variety is available. Seafood and shellfish are excellent, and significantly less expensive than in Paris. Certain U.S. products are not available here, but can be purchased at the Embassy commissary in Paris. Rennes has one of the largest weekly food markets in western France.

Clothing Last Updated: 2/9/2004 1:59 PM

Winters are mild and rainy in Rennes, and summers are generally cool. The weather changes constantly, as summed up by the adage that “The sun shines at least once every day in Brittany!” While the climate is wet, the constant changing of the weather and the cleanliness of the air makes the weather seem less oppressive than in many cities. Wool suits and dresses are practical in winter under light topcoats or lined raincoats. Conservative clothing suitable for the business or diplomatic world of Washington, D.C., will also be appropriate in Brittany. Raingear is essential.

The Bretons dress conservatively but less formally than in Paris or Washington. Business suits are worn in political circles, but in much of the area’s high-tech sector, more casual business dress is the norm. Neither white tie nor black tie is worn.

Conservative women’s clothing for daytime is similar in Rennes to what you find in Washington, including a mix of skirts and pants. Even for evening, a nice business suit or dress is usually sufficient. A range of clothing and shoes are available in Rennes, and a much wider selection can be found in Paris. Comfortable shoes for cobblestone streets and rainy conditions are necessary. Gym shoes are seen only on students and tourists.

Good French clothing is expensive, and moderately priced items do not always meet U.S. standards. Mail order from the U.S. is possible through the Embassy in Paris.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:00 PM

A wide variety of supplies for men, women, and children is available, at prices somewhat above U.S. rates. Bring any special medications from the U.S., as products differ in France. All basic household needs are available locally, under French brand names.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:01 PM

Laundry, dry-cleaning, and shoe repair are available, with new chains providing services at prices close to the U.S. market. Repairs on European electronics are easily available, but it is rare to find someone willing to work on U.S., 110v items. Multi-system TV and video players are highly recommended.

Healthcare. Some U.S.-trained doctors and dentists are available in the region, as Rennes is home to the largest university hospital center in western France.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:01 PM

Part-time domestic help is available with a short delay through French social service centers, and associated social costs can be covered through a system of Cheques Emplois-Services, available through French banks. To sponsor fulltime household help, see the Paris section.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:01 PM

Besides numerous Catholic churches, Rennes has several French Protestant churches, a synagogue, and a mosque. An English Unitarian church holds services in English in Dinard, 45 minutes north of Rennes

Education Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:02 PM

Facilities for elementary, secondary, and university education are of very good quality, but currently most instruction is in French. An Anglo-American section for high school-age students opened in a Rennes Lycée in September 2000, and the APP is working with city and education officials to expand bilingual education at all levels. Further information on the Lycée program is available through the following Web sites:

A wide range of public and private schools is available, with costs for private schooling (usually run by religious orders, but open to all students) within U.S. standards and easily covered by post educational allowance. The school day is generally longer than in the U.S., and in the private system, classes are now only four days a week, Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday. Public schools often have classes Wednesday morning and Saturday morning as well. Extracurricular activities are available through area municipalities on Wednesday and Saturday.


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:02 PM

The two universities of Rennes offer a full range of academic studies, including a full-year course in French as a foreign language. Tuition fees are modest. Several private schools also offer French language study at higher rates, but with more flexible scheduling and courses geared to beginning speakers.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:03 PM

Rennes has many public swimming pools, gyms, exercise facilities, golf clubs, and tennis courts. The airport has a flight club, and the area has numerous riding clubs. Area schools sponsor a range of team sports, including basketball, baseball, soccer, rugby, and hockey. Sports equipment and clothing are sold locally at U.S. prices or higher. Rennes also has a major-league soccer team.

The city has several parks and playgrounds for children, and Rennes and the surrounding suburbs offer a wide array of children’s after-school activities.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:03 PM

Sailing, fishing, and other water sports abound at regional coastal resorts. Beaches are numerous though small by American standards, and vacation facilities are highly developed. Because of the large number of British tourists, most facility managers speak English. Hiking, biking, and camping are popular and readily available throughout the three regions and on the many coastal islands. Charming cities, spectacular coastlines, a strong artistic heritage, and numerous castles and prehistoric sites make western France a lovely tourist destination.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:04 PM

Rennes is proud of its cultural life. It boasts an opera, a symphony orchestra, and the highly respected Théâtre National de Bretagne. In addition to an active season of classical concerts and plays, the city is home to a number of concert halls and holds numerous annual festivals geared to the younger student population, including Transmusicales, Les Tombées de la Nuit, Jazz à l’Ouest and Travelling, a film festival. The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes, founded in 1794 by Napoleonic decree, is located in a beautiful building in the center of the city and presents an impressive collection centered on 17th century works. The museum is a member of FRAME, the French Regional American Museum Exchange founded by Ambassador and Mrs. Rohatyn. Rennes is on the verge of breaking ground for a major new cultural institution that will jointly house the Musée de Bretagne (an ethnographic museum currently co-located with the Musée de Beaux Arts), as well as the city’s first central library (there are 13 regional libraries but only a tiny central institution) and a Cité des Sciences, currently a small but active entity.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:04 PM

All staff of APP Rennes share significant representational duties, which frequently involve travel to other cities in the district. Restaurant lunches and institutional receptions are the most frequent events. The population of western France is more open and accessible than that of Paris, and the APP and its staff have been quickly welcomed by local opinion leaders. Fluent French is key to developing professional and social success, however, as English ability is quite limited among most APP contacts.

Official Functions Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:05 PM

The principal officer is expected to attend numerous official and semi-official functions throughout the consular district. These include receptions or dinners at city halls, prefectures, residences of military commanders, chambers of commerce, inaugurations of cultural festivals, openings of trade fairs, etc. The protocol level in western France is not as formal as in Paris, and dress, while still businesslike, is less fashion-conscious.

Shortly after arrival, the principal officer is expected to make courtesy calls on prefects, mayors, and dozens of other leading official and nonofficial persons throughout the district. This involves many weeks of steady effort and hundreds of miles in the car without a chauffeur. The principal officer should arrive at post with at least 100 calling cards prepared in French.

Consulate - Toulouse

Post City Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:08 PM

Toulouse is the capital of the Midi-Pyrénées region, which comprises eight departments that extend over 28,000 square miles. Toulouse is conveniently located at equal distance from the Atlantic Ocean (2½ hours by car), the Mediterranean Sea (2 hours by car), and the Pyrénées mountains, another 2-hour drive from the city. Midi-Pyrénées, although the largest region in France, has only 2.5 million inhabitants with an economic center overwhelmingly dominated by Toulouse, while smaller cities, such as Albi, Castres, Tarbes, and Montauban, provide limited counterbalance.

Over the past few decades, the greater Toulouse has changed dramatically and now stands as the fourth largest city in France, with a population of 800,000. Toulouse is a technological center for Europe, with a great importance in the aeronautics and space industry, and is well known as the home of the Airbus. The region has also become a center for electronics, information technology, telecommunications, and robotics, as well as the agro-food industry. Toulouse’s strong academic presence has fueled its economic development. The size of the academic center is second only to Paris and contains over 110,000 students who attend 4 universities and 14 graduate schools.

Although Toulouse has economically evolved from a primarily agricultural region to a technological center, the city itself retains its charm. Rich in culture and history, the town is called “La Ville Rose,” because of its red bricks and red tiled buildings. The region was notably important during the Renaissance because of the cultivation of pastel, a plant grown in this region whose seed gave an indelible blue dye. The mixture of old and new architecture ranges from the world-renowned Romanesque basilica St. Sernin to the many Renaissance-style hotels particuliers. Built from the profits of pastel, they make an ordinary walk along the narrow medieval streets a breathtaking experience. With a modern, international airport with flights to Paris every half-hour, Toulouse is easily accessible from all other major cities in Europe. Because of the city’s unique ability to remain a quaint and picturesque town, as well as a high-tech center, Toulouse is often cited in opinion polls and magazines as a very popular and livable city with a remarkable quality of life.

The most common way of getting around in the center city is by foot — the pedestrian section is limited to one main street — and occasionally by bike. For travel outside of the city center, there is a mediocre bus network that stops services at 8 p.m., with the exception of the six most major routes, which stop at midnight. In 1993, a fully automated metro system was opened. It is clean, comfortable and safe but it has only one line. A second line is currently under construction. Taxis are available at the major squares in the city. Parking is difficult despite the many underground parking lots in the center city.

Toulousians enjoy a climate typical of southern France — mild winters, rainy springs, and hot summers, with temperatures reaching 35°C (95°F). The vent d’autan is the dry, sometimes warm wind that is blown from the south, and can provide warm days right up until Christmas.

Toulouse is located in the Haute-Garonne department. South of this department is Ariège, an untamed countryside with a vast network of underground caves with prehistoric artwork as well as castles and fortresses once inhabited by the Cathars. Directly east of the Haute-Garonne department is the Hautes-Pyrénées department, a ski resort area but blessed also with the Madiran vineyards. Little to the north is the department of Gers, which is the home of Armangnac, and is a place often compared to Tuscany because of its buildings and rolling green hills. Tarn-et-Garonne is an agricultural department, the largest producer in France of hazelnuts and garlic.

The northernmost department of the consular district is Lot, which contains France’s second most visited site, Rocamadour. East of Lot is Aveyron, a department traversed during the Middle Ages by pilgrims who, on their way to Compostella, made stops at the St. Foy Abbey in Conques. Finally, northwest of the Haute-Garonne department is Tarn. Located in this department is Albi, home of artist Toulouse-Lautrec, as well as a museum with the world’s largest collection of his artwork.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:09 PM

The APP of the U.S. in Toulouse is quite young, considering it was just inaugurated on December 6, 1999, by Mayor Baudis. The APP is located in the center city at 25, allées Jean Jaurès. It occupies a four-room apartment in a two-story building, with a large lobby area for the public and is comprised of a commercial sector, a cultural sector, and a consular sector. The consular services at this location are only available one day a week and are limited to accepting passport applications and holding interviews. All applications are processed at the Consulate General in Marseille. All notarials are done in Toulouse and require the presence of the American officer. The office telephone number is, and it is open to the public Wednesdays from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. and 2 p.m.– 5 p.m. Any other meetings at the APP are available by appointment only during the hours of operation, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. and 2 p.m.–5 p.m. The APP is closed on French and American holidays.

The mailing addresses are:

APO Full name American Embassy Paris PSC 116–Toulouse APO AE 09777

International Mail Full name American Presence Post 25, Allée Jean-Jaurès (2nd Floor) 31000 Toulouse FRANCE

Pouch Full name/TOULOUSE 9200 Paris Place Washington, D.C. 20521–9200

Housing Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:09 PM

The principal officer occupies a government-leased apartment. The current lease is a five-room apartment plus sitting room and dining room with a garage in an historical building in the city center of Toulouse. The apartment is not furnished but has a washer, dryer, refrigerator and stove

Food Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:10 PM

One need not look hard to find food of high quality in Toulouse. Here, one can find Indian, Middle-Eastern and American food, even sushi; all the packaging labels are in English. But Americans should make an effort to explore the regional cuisine and specialties; an excellent signature dish of the area is a duck meat stew with beans called cassoulet. Although the wine in the Midi-Pyrénées is not as renowned as Bordeaux, the region boasts two appellations contrôlées, or wine whose manufacture is only permitted in this area: Côtes du Frontonnais and Gaillac. Toulouse also has several natural food stores, as well as two organic restaurants, and an open-air organic market at Place du Capitole on Tuesday and Saturday mornings.

Clothing Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:11 PM

Although the weather in Toulouse is notably sunnier than in Paris, it is not as warm as the Mediterranean coast. Winters are cool and breezy, but the temperature seldom goes below freezing, and summers can be quite hot. Overall, the climate is temperate, with relatively mild levels of air pollution. Wool suits and dresses are practical in winter under light topcoats or lined raincoats. Conservative clothing suitable for the business or diplomatic world of Washington, D.C. will also be appropriate in Toulouse.

Toulousians dress well but less formally than in Paris or in Washington. Business suits are worn in political circles and in upper management, but in much of the area’s aerospace and high tech sector, more casual business dress is the norm. Neither white tie nor black tie is worn.

Conservative women’s clothing for daytime is similar in Toulouse to what you find in Washington, D.C., including a mix of skirts and pants. Even for evening, a nice business suit or dress is usually sufficient. A wide range of clothing and shoes are available in Toulouse, ranging from the reasonably priced to the upscale. Several leading French and international designers have shops in Toulouse. Gym shoes are seen only on students and tourists.

Good French clothing is expensive, and moderately priced items do not always meet U.S. standards. Mail order from the U.S. is possible through the Embassy in Paris.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:12 PM

A wide variety of supplies for men, women, and children is available, at prices somewhat above U.S. rates. Bring any special medications from the U.S., as products differ in France. All basic household needs are available locally, under French brand names.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:12 PM

Laundry, drycleaning, and shoe repair are available, with new chains providing services at prices close to the U.S. market. Repairs on European electronics are easily available, but it is rare to find someone willing to work on U.S., 110v items. Multisystem TV and video players are highly recommended.

Healthcare. Some U.S.-trained doctors and dentists are available in the region. Toulouse is home to two large hospital centers, Purpan and Rangeuil, as well as several specialized hospitals and clinics.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:12 PM

Part-time domestic help is available with a short delay through French social service centers, and associated social costs can be covered through a system of “Cheques Emplois-Services,” available through French banks. To sponsor fulltime household help, see the Paris section.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:12 PM

Aside from several Protestant churches as well as a plethora of Catholic churches, there are also Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist institutions. An Anglican church, Sainte-Marguerite, and an Evangelical church, Hope International Church, hold services in English.

Education Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:13 PM

As in the rest of France, elementary and secondary education in Toulouse is more rigorous than education in the U.S. For children who do not wish to learn French through direct immersion, there are schools taught in English. The International School, a private school run by the British Aerospace Community, is for students aged 5 to 18. French is taught as a compulsory subject. Other private schools include the Waldorf School and two Montessori Schools, which are for children from ages 2 to 6. The Lycée Polyvalent International is a public school also for English-speaking students.

Just recently, the business school owned by the Chamber of Commerce started an aerospace MBA program taught entirely in English.

The Alliance Française is established in Toulouse and offers French language courses. There is an English bookstore called “Books and Mermaides” and an American library.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:15 PM

For the outdoors buffs, there is the Pyrénées Club, a popular organization in Toulouse which has monthly skiing and hiking activities, the Comité Regional Olympique et Sportif de Midi-Pyrénées, the Toulouse Athlétic Club, the Toulouse Olympique Aérospatiale Club, and two golf clubs.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:16 PM

Aside from the many sights and monuments to see, Toulouse offers a wide variety of both cultural and physical activities. Toulouse boasts 20 different museums, the most well known being the Musée des Augustins, which has one of the best collection in France of sculptures from the Middle Ages and an excellent collection of 19th-century paintings. One of the other interesting museums is the Musée Départemental de la Résistance et de la Déportation — a thorough exposé of Europe during World War II with a concentration on the role played by the Midi-Pyrénées region.

In the realm of theater, Toulouse has a wealth of offerings and is famous for its tradition of belcanto. The Halle aux Grains, an old market transformed into a concert hall and the Theatre du Capitole, located in the center of the city, are among the most popular places to see performances in Toulouse.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:16 PM

The region hosts several festivals throughout the year. Toulouse-Les Orgues is held in October. Similarly, the Festival de Piano des Jacobins takes place in late spring. Each summer the Festival de la Garonne celebrates a particular river in the world; this year the theme river is the Mississippi. In addition, the town of Castres holds a festival of contemporary photography, Le Printemps de Castres, that has become world famous.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:16 PM

To serve the 50 plus American companies in Toulouse and the vicinity, several Franco-American social groups exist in Toulouse as well as associations for foreigners in general. The most popular group is called Association France-Etats-Unis. Dickinson College, a private American college that has a third-year abroad program in Toulouse and holds Franco-American soirées each week for a linguistic exchange. Among the other social groups are the English-speaking Ladies Group of Toulouse, Americans in Toulouse, and the British Business Network Toulouse.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 3/2/2005 9:35 AM

Report to the HR Office for post check-in procedures, organizing pay and leave records, applying for a French identity card and drivers license, establishing post and quarters allowances, and preparing travel vouchers. Personnel assigned to the Consulates General and APPs are authorized 2 days TDY at the Paris Embassy to complete these administrative procedures. Bring five photos 1½” x 1¾” for French identity cards. (Photos are required for each employee and each dependent over age 16.) Since a French drivers license, international organization passes, monthly metro passes etc., require additional photos, bring extras.

Accompanying baggage should include those personal effects needed on arrival: clothing, toilet articles, and other essential items. If you are arriving in summer, bring a few sweaters and a raincoat. In any season, bring an umbrella.

Airfreight usually takes 15 days from the U.S. to Paris. Allow more time if airfreight is shipped from foreign countries where air service to France is not frequent. Airfreight should include clothing needs, linens (sheets, pillowcases, blankets, towels, etc.), a telephone, and basic housekeeping needs (pots and pans, kitchen utensils, dishes, flatware, cookbook, etc.). Don’t forget to include toys or special needs for children. Enough should be brought to cover a 3-month period, possibly even clothing for a change of season. The GSO has a few Welcome Kits that can be loaned if needed. Surface shipments from the U.S. take 6–8 weeks, while shipping time from foreign countries to France varies according to the sailing schedules of freighters.

Bring enough funds to cover such costs as excess baggage (if you do not have authorization), tips, taxi fares, hotels, meals, and other incidental expenses. Traveler’s checks can be changed into francs at the airport, if necessary. Personal checks can be cashed from dollars into local currency at the bank at the Embassy any workday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If shipment of effects to Paris is arranged through the U.S. dispatch agent, the agent takes care of all necessary details. Otherwise, address consignments to the American Embassy by name of employee, and notify the post in advance to expect such shipment. No size restrictions exist on containers when shipped as freight.

Personnel assigned to the Defense Attaché’s Office should contact that office for the latest information on shipment of household goods and automobiles. Initial shipments should be addressed to the owner, in care of the Defense Attaché’s Office, American Embassy Paris, France and should be made through the appropriate transportation officer.

Cars are usually sent unboxed to simplify clearance formalities. Insure your car and your household effects for both shipping and while at post.

To get pets into France, there could be up to a 4-month wait depending on test results. You are now required to get a microchip, rabies shot, and a titer test for the pet. You have to have your pet first micro chipped, then vaccinated with an inactivated rabies vaccine, then blood tested 30 days later. Animals with a positive antibody value of at least .05ml/iu can be imported to France three months after the antibody test.

Note: Pets coming to France from the US would not need the titer test. If you have had pets in the US for 180 days or longer and are coming from the US to France, you will not have to take the titer test because the US is considered a "favored" nation by the EU.

Moreover, be aware that the airlines calculate the volume and therefore the cargo rates to ship a pet are going up 20 percent.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:20 PM

American members of the Embassy and affiliated agencies can import duty-free items via APO or international channels subject to the following limiting conditions:

Nondiplomatic list personnel are entitled to import used personal goods for the first 6 months they are at post (and for an additional 6 months if the used personal effects are brought from the U.S. or from the post from which they transferred). This means that items purchased abroad are not eligible for duty-free entry.

Having a diplomatic passport does not entitle the holder to be included on the diplomatic list.

Personnel on the diplomatic list and consular officers at constituent posts have indefinite duty-free importation privileges within reasonable limits. All requests for free entry must be processed through the Embassy’s shipping section.

Accompanying baggage is subject to French customs inspection on arrival but is cleared immediately. Unaccompanied baggage sent forward separately is cleared by the Embassy and delivered the next day. Prohibition. Prohibitions exist against importing of alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, and foodstuffs in surface and air shipments of household effects. However, you are allowed in your hand luggage (not in your hold luggage) five cartons of cigarettes per person and either 250 cigars or 2,000 grams of pipe tobacco.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Passage Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:20 PM

A French visa is necessary to enter France for all official personnel whether TDY or permanent. No vaccination or health certificate is required for entry if coming from the U.S., Canada, or Western Europe. Visas are no longer required for tourists or nonofficial business if the stay is less than 90 days.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Pets Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:21 PM

Cats and dogs are admitted into France if their owners can provide the following documents: certificate of good health issued one month before entry into France; an anti-rabies vaccination certificate issued more than one month, but less than one year, before entry into France.

Medications for pets are much less expensive in the U.S. Bring supplies with you to post or arrange for your vet at home to mail medications to you via APO. Pets can be given shots and operated on by the vets at the military bases in Germany and Belgium. There are many excellent local vets, several of whom have studied in the U.S.

Since 1999 the government of France has placed a ban on importing certain breeds of dogs, often called attack dogs (pit bulls, mastiffs, etc.) and requires special handling of others breeds that are often designated as guard dogs (staffordshire terriers, tosa, rottweiller, etc.). Employees with dogs that could fall into either of these two categories should contact the Embassy to determine what specific restrictions or requirements may apply in their particular case.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:21 PM

The French rules concerning the importation and storage of weapons are very lengthy and confusing. As a general rule, all handguns and large-caliber hunting rifles are banned. Only shotguns and small caliber hunting rifles can be easily imported.

The following procedures must be followed for those who wish to import shotguns and hunting rifles (less than 7.65mm caliber):

1. The import of weapons in France can be obtained from:

Direction Générale des Douanes et Droits Indirects 23bis, rue de l’Université 75700 Paris RP Attn: Bureau E/2

2. A copy of the import request should be sent to the Paris RSO’s office.

3. Upon receipt, forward a copy of the import authorization to the GSO office.

If the weapon is shipped to France without appropriate authorization, the weapon will be held in customs bond until import authorization is received. The Embassy recommends that weapons not be shipped until the import authorization is received.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:22 PM

The basic monetary unit in France is the euro (€), which is divided into 100 cents. Notes are issued in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. Coins are issued in 1, 2 euros; 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents. The exchange rate is €1.027 = US$1 (September 2002).

No limit is placed on foreign cash, travelers checks, or letters of credit that may be brought in. Such currency instruments must be exchanged only at authorized banks or agencies. At present, unlimited French francs may be imported for personal use, but no individual may act as agent for another person for importing francs.

The Embassy has a staff of cashiers, who are available 4 hours a day for accommodation exchange. However, ATMs are widely available in France and give a rate of exchange not significantly different from the Embassy cashiers. American credit cards are also widely accepted, and most give a favorable rate of exchange as well.

Many Embassy personnel establish local bank accounts to automatically pay phone and TV cable bills from their checking account. It is also convenient to be able to pay tradesmen and service providers with French franc checks or by Carte Bleu (checking account debit card). Société‚ Générale is the current holder of the Embassy bank account and has a special program to easily set up banking services for new employees. Dollar checks from your U.S. bank account are easily accepted.

Major U.S. banks with offices convenient to the Embassy are Citibank, Chase Manhattan, Morgan Guaranty Trust, and Bank of America.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:23 PM


A vehicle must have its proper registration from country of origin. Automobile insurance (third-party liability) is compulsory in France. If you bring an automobile with you into the country, you must present to French customs at the port of debarkation either an international motor card as proof of insurance or take out a temporary insurance document issued by French customs. The latter, at a nominal fee, covers you under the law for 3 days and enables you to drive your car to post. The international motor insurance card is not necessarily valid in France if issued by a company not accredited in France. In that case, to obtain license plates, you must cancel your insurance and take out another policy with a company accredited in France. Proof of insurance coverage with such a company must be presented to the Embassy’s GSO before you can apply for French license plates.

Information on the sale or purchase of cars in France can be obtained from the Embassy general services officer (see Transportation).

Personnel registered by the Embassy with the French Government are not required to pay French taxes for automobiles, gasoline, or numerous other taxes. However, there is a value-added tax (VAT) on most services and merchandise (currently 19.6%). It is not refunded to diplomatic personnel because it is considered a form of excise tax on the seller.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:28 PM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published in this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

General Reading Braganti, Nancy L. and Devine, Elizabeth. European Customs and Manners. 1992. Meadowbrook Press.

Braudel, Fernand. The Identity of France. Vol. I. “History and Environment.” Collins, 1988.

Cobban, Alfred. A History of Modern France. Pelican Paperback, 3rd edition.

Hollifield, James F. and Ross, George. Searching for the New France. 1991. Routledge.

Kaplan, Alice. French Lessons. 1995. University of Chicago Press.

O’Reilly Susan, Habegger, Larry, O’Reilly, Sean. Paris. Travelers Tales Guides, San Francisco, California.

Osler, Mirabel. The Elusive Truffle. Transworld Publishers, London W5 5SA.

Rochefort, Harriet Welty. French Toast: An American in Paris Celebrates the Maddening Mysteries of the French. Saint-Martin’s Press, 1999.

Platt, Polly. Savoir-Flair! 101 Tips for Enjoying France and the French. Culture Crossings Limited, 2000.

Reed, Edward T. and Mildred. Understanding Cultural Differences. Hall Intercultural Press. 1990.

Zeldin, Theodore. France: 1848–1945. Five paperbacks: Ambitions and Love; Politics and Anger; Intellect and Pride; Anxiety and Hypocrisy; Taste and Corruption. Oxford University Press, 1981.

Zeldin, Theodore. The French. Pantheon Book, 1982.

Contemporary French Politics, Economics, and Society Badinter, Robert. L’Abolition. Fayard, 2000.

Bell, David S. and Criddle, Byron. The French Socialist Party: The Emergence of a Party of Government. 2nd edition. Clarendon Press, 1988.

Bernstein, Richard. The Fragile Glory. Knops Publishers, New York, 1990.

Carroll, Raymonde. Cultural Misunderstandings: The French-American Experience. University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Cohen, Daniel. Nos Temps Modernes. Flammarion, 1999.

Duhamel, Olivier. Le Pouvoir Politique en France. Seuil, 1999.

Duverger, Maurice. Le Système Politique Français, P.U.F. Paris, 1985

Fenby, Jonathan. France on the Brink: A Great Civilization Faces the New Country. Arcade Pub., 1999.

Finkielkraut, Alain. Où Va Le Monde? Tricorne, 2000. Fourasti‚. Les Trente Glorieuses. 1979.

Harrison, Michael. “France: The Diplomacy of a Self-Assured Middle Power.” National Negotiating Styles. Edited by Binnendijk, Hans. Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C., 1987.

Harrison, Michael. The Reluctant Ally: France and Atlantic Security. Johns Hopkins University Press: 1981.

Hoffman, Stanley, et al. In Search of France. Harvard University Press, 1963.

Hoffman, Stanley. France Since The 1930s: Decline or Renewal? Viking Press: 1974.

IMF 1999 (issued periodically). France: Staff Report for The 1999 Report IV Consultation.

INSEE 2000 (issued annually). Rapport sur les Comptes de La Nation de 1999. Le livre de poche.

Lévy, Bernard-Henry. L’Idéologie Française. Grasset, 1981.

Messerlin, Patrick. 2000 Measuring the Costs Of Protection In Europe.

Mitterrand, Francois. The Wheat and the Chaff. Seaver Books: New York, 1982.

OECD July 2000 (issued every 18 months or so). Economic Surveys: France.

Peyrefitte, Alain. The Trouble With France. New York University Press, 1986.

Platt, Polly. “French or Foe, Savoir Faire” (available at C. Ston).

Rosanvallon, Pierre. La Démocratie Inachevée. Gallimard, 2000.

Safran, William. The French Polity. 2nd edition. Longman, 1985.

Suleiman, Ezra. Elites In French Society: the Politics Of Survival. Princeton, 1978.

Touraine, Alain. Pourrons-Nous Vivre Ensemble? Egaux Et Diff‚rents. LGF, 1999.

Touraine, Alain. Comment Sortir Du Libéralisme. Fayard, 1999.

Védrine, Hubert. Les Cartes De La France à l’Heure De Lla Mondialisation. Fayard, 2000.

Wright, Vincent. The Government and Politics of France. 3rd edition. Holmes & Meier Publishers: 1989.

Winock, Michel. Le Siècle des Intellectuels. Seuil, 1997.

Historical Studies Aron, Raymond. France Steadfast and Changing: From the Fourth to the Fifth Republic. Harvard University Press: 1960.

Burke, Edmund. Reflections on the Revolution in France. Prometheus Books: 1988.

Cerny, Philip G. The Politics of Grandeur: Ideological Aspects of de Gaulle’s Foreign Policy. Cambridge University Press: 1980.

Cook, Don. Charles de Gaulle, A Biography. Putnam’s: New York, 1984.

Durosell, Jean-Baptitste. France and The United States: From the Beginning to the Present. Chicago University Press, 1978.

Furet, François. La Révolution. (2 volumes). 1988.

de Gaulle, Charles. War Memoirs; Memoirs of Hope. Simon and Schuster, 1964.

Giscard d’Estaing, Valéry. Les Français: Réflexions sur le Destin du Peuple. Plon, 2000.

Glucksmann, André. La Troisième Mort de Dieu. NIL, 2000.

Judt, Tony. Past Imperfect: French Intellectuals, 1944–1956.

Julliard, Jacques. Histoire de la France, Vol. 5.: Les Conflits. Seuil, 2000.

Paxton, Robert. Vichy France. Columbia University Press, 1982 (new edition).

Lacouture, Jean. Charles de Gaulle. Vol I. “The Rebel.” Homes & Meier, 1988.

Remond, Rene. The Right Wing in France: From 1815 to de Gaulle. Revised edition. University of Pennsylvania Press: 1969.

Shirer, William L. The Collapse of the Third Republic. Simon and Schuster: New York, 1969.

Tiersky, Ronald. France in the New Europe: Changing Yet Steadfast. 1994.

Tiersky, Ronald. François Mitterrand: The Last French President, 2000.

de Tocqueville, Alexis. The Old Regime and The French Revolution. Anchor Paperback.

Winock, Michel. Le Siècle des Intellectuels. Seuil, 1997.

Lille Andreï J-L., Dupuis V. Lille, Métropole. Ouest-France, Rennes, 1997.

Damette F., Vire E., Godin L., Beckouche P. La Région du Nord-Pas-de-Calais. Villes et Système Urbain. Agence de développement et d'urbanisme de Lille métropole, Groupe huit, Tunis, 1997.

Demangeon A. Lille, Métropole Européenne. DATAR, Paris, 1993.

INSEE, Lille. Profils de l’Economie Nord-Pas-de-Calais.

INSEE, Lille. Tableaux Economiques Régionaux Nord-Pas-de-Calais.

Paris, D. La Mutation Inachevée, Mutation Economique et Changement Spatial dans le Nord-Pas-de-Calais. Paris: L’Harmattan, 1993.

Lyon Corbett, Isabelle. Breaking the Ice—Lyon. 1999. No Man’s Land Press, Grenoble, France.

Toulouse Isaacs, Helen and Kerrison, Jeremy. The Practical Guide to Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées. Le Périgrinateur éditeur. 2000.

Le Guide Toulouse Pratique. Released by Editions de l’Aqueduc (imprimerie Ménard, Toulouse; new edition released every year).


Lille CCI de Lille:, Chambre Economique de la Région Lensoise: Conseil Régional: La Voix/L’Etudiant:

Toulouse Welcome to Toulouse and the Midi-Pyrénées: Toulouse City Hall:

Local Holidays Last Updated: 2/9/2004 2:29 PM

New Year’s Day* Jan. 1 Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday Jan. (3rd Monday) Washington’s Birthday Feb. (3rd Monday) Easter Monday* Changes yearly French Labor Day* May 1 Ascension Day* 10 days before Pentecost French Veterans’ Day (WW II) * May 8 Pentecost Monday* Changes yearly Memorial Day May (last Monday) American Independence Day July 4 Bastille Day* (French National Day) July 14 Assumption Day* Aug. 15 American Labor Day Sept. (1st Monday) Columbus Day Oct. (2nd Monday) All Saints’ Day* Nov. 1 Veterans’ Day (WWI) (French and American) Nov. 11 Thanksgiving Day Nov. (4th Thursday) Christmas Day (French and American)* Dec. 25

All French public offices and shops are closed on French holidays, and only essential work is done.

All U.S. Missions in France are closed on American and French holidays.** Although duty officers are ready to provide assistance, travel should be arranged to avoid arrival during local holidays.

* Denotes legal French holidays. ** USOECD is open on Memorial Day and closed for an additional day at Christmas.

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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