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Is there really a minimum cash requirement for British visitors to France?

Brexit has ushered in a host of travel changes for Brits coming to France, but is there really a minimum amount of cash you need to enter the country? We look at financial requirements for visitors.

Is there really a minimum cash requirement for British visitors to France?
Brits entering France now face a host of extra checks. Photo by DENIS CHARLET / AFP

UK media have recently been reporting a ‘new’ announcement from Spanish authorities about a minimum amount of money needed for British tourists – but in fact this has always been the case for non-EU citizens and applies equally to France.

Who does this affect?

This is for tourists, visitors and second-home owners – people who do not live in France and do not have either a residency card (carte de séjour) or a visa.

If you enter with a carte de séjour or visa you will not be asked to provide proof of financial means (although you may need to provide them during the visa/residency application process).

If you are a visitor with an EU passport (eg French or Irish) this does not apply to you. 

What can French border guards ask you?

Non-EU citizens entering France can be asked to provide a range of documents, in addition to a valid passport:

  • Proof of accommodation – either a booking for a hotel/gite/Airbnb if you are a tourist, proof of your address if you are a second-home owner or an attestation d’acceuil if you are staying with friends or family – full details on the attestation d’acceuil here;
  • A return or round-trip ticket (or proof of onward travel if you do not plan to return to your home country at the end of your stay in France);
  • Documents proving your purpose of entry;
  • Proof that you have the financial means to support yourself while in France.

This doesn’t mean that every non-EU citizen entering France is asked for all these documents – far from it in fact – but French police are entitled to ask and if you are unable or unwilling to provide these documents you can be refused entry to the country.

How much money do you need?

There is a sliding scale for how much money you need to prove you can support yourself financially while in France:

  • If you are staying in a hotel, gite, Airbnb, campsite or similar you need €65 for each day of your stay – so for example €650 for a 10-day stay;
  • If you are staying with friends or family (and have the attestation d’acceuil) you need €32.50 for each day of your stay;
  • If you do not have accommodation booked for your entire stay, or are staying with friends and family and do not have the attestation d’acceuil, you need €120 a day.

How do you prove it?

The EU states that proof of means that will be accepted are; cash, travellers cheques, bank statements for the last three months showing the balance of your account at the required level or credit cards (debit cards are not accepted).

Showing a current online bank statement is not considered sufficient.

Come on, are they really going to check all British tourists?

It’s pretty unlikely. As mentioned, this has always been the rule for non-EU citizens arriving in France – the only change is that since Brexit it now applies to Britons too.

But anecdotal evidence from American, Canadian and Australian tourists entering France suggests that financial checks are rare, although it’s not unusual to be asked about the purpose of your visit or for proof of where you are staying.

Anecdotal evidence from other non-EU citizens suggests that, unfortunately, racial profiling does happen, so people of colour are more likely to be asked extra questions at the border.

But random checks could take place, and French border guards are entirely within their rights to refuse you entry if you are unable to supply the required proof.

So this is Brexit-related?

Yes. This is the rule for non-EU citizens and applies in all EU countries (although each country sets their own level of financial requirements) – since the UK left the EU it now applies to Brits entering EU Member States, too.

This is one just one many extra travel requirements for Brits entering France since Brexit, including passport-stamping, new rules for pets and restrictions on the items that can be brought in.

Travel to France: What has changed since Brexit

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Readers reveal: The best beaches and coastal resorts in France

The Local asked readers for their top tips for places to visit along the French coast and we were overwhelmed with suggestions for beautiful beaches, off-the-beaten-track villages and lively resorts.

Readers reveal: The best beaches and coastal resorts in France

The Local has been seeking out France’s best coastline in recent weeks, after a disagreement on an episode of our Talking France podcast where Editor Emma Pearson defended La Vendée as home to the best (and most underrated) coastline in the country, while journalist Genevieve Mansfield fought for Brittany. 

To settle the debate, The Local asked its readers to share their favourite place to go on France’s shores, and the results are in, along with exclusive recommendations:

Brittany wins

Almost half (48 percent) of those who responded to The Local’s survey about the best part of France’s coastline voted for Brittany. 

Where to go

Several people recommended the Morbihan département.

Angela Moore, said her favourite part of this area was the islet between Vannes and Lorient, which is home to romanesque chapel and the Etel river oyster, a delicacy in the area. 

Others chose the Morbihan for its “lovely little coves, wonderful beaches and seafood,” as well as for boat rides in the gulf. Meanwhile, some pointed out Carnac, as a spot to visit, as the town is known for its prehistoric standing stones.

Some preferred travelling further north in Brittany, and they recommended the Finistère départment.

Rebecca Brite, who lives in Paris’ 18th arrondisement, said she loves this part of France for the overall atmosphere. Her top recommendation was to “Go all the way to the Baie des Trépassés and stay at the old, traditional hotel-restaurant of the same name. Pretend you’re in the legendary kingdom of Ys, swallowed up by the sea on this very site.”

The other part of Brittany that came highly recommended was the Emerald Coast (Côtes d’Armour) – specifically the Côte de Granit Rose.

The Mediterranean coastline

The Mediterranean remained a very popular vacation spot for readers of The Local, with almost a third of respondents claiming it as their favourite part of the French coastline. From sailing to cliffs and architecture, the Mediterranean had a bit of everything according to The Local’s readers.

Cassis and the Calanques were among of the most popular responses for where to go and what to see in this part of France.

One respondent, Gini Kramer, said she loves this part of France because “There’s nothing like climbing pure white limestone cliffs rising right out of the sea. The hiking is spectacular too.”

Some counselled more lively parts of the riviera, like the old port in Marseille, while others suggested the quieter locations.

David Sheriton said he likes to go to the beaches of Narbonne: “It’s a gentle slope into the sea so great for the (grand)children.” He said that the area does have a “few bars and restaurants” but that it does not “attract the party crowds.” 

In terms of beautiful villages, Èze came recommended for being home to “the most breathtaking views of the French coastline,” according to reader Gregg Kasner.

Toward Montpellier, Dr Lindsay Burstall said that La Grande Motte was worth visiting, for its “coherent 60’s architecture.” Burstall proposed having “a chilled pression au bord de la mer while watching the world go by…”

Meanwhile, three readers listed locations near Perpignan, and all encouraged visiting the area’s “pre-historic sites.”

Sally Bostley responded that her favourite areas were “between Canet-Plage and Saint-Cyprien-Plage” and she advised visiting “Collioure, Banyuls with the aquarium, Perpignan, nearby prehistoric sites, Safari Park, Prehistory Park.”

Other parts of the coastline

Though these locations may have received less votes overall, they still stood our in the minds of The Local readers:

Normandy did not receive as many votes as its neighbour Brittany, it is still home to unique attractions worth visiting. The WWII landing beaches “plages de débarquement” came highly recommended, along with cathedrals and abbeys in the region, like Coutances in the northern Manche département.

Reed Porter, who lives in Annecy, likes to go to Êtretat when he visits Normandy. He had several recommendations, starting with “les falaises!” These are the dramatic cliffs overlooking the ocean.

Porter also suggested visitors of Êtretat head to “the glass stone beach” and the “old town” for its architecture. If you get hungry, there are “oysters everywhere all the time.”

Basque country was also highlighted for its proximity to the Pyrenées mountains. Maggie Parkinson said this was the best part of France’s coastline for her because of “The long views to the Pyrénées, the pine forests, the soft, fresh quality of the air, the many moods and colours of the sea – gently lapping aquamarine waves to thunderous, crashing black rollers churning foam onto the shore.”

A huge fan of the area, Parkinson had several recommendations ranging from cuisine to “cycling the many paths through the tranquil pines, visiting Bayonne, the Basque Country and the Pyrénées or northern Spain (for wonderful pintxos).”

She said that she loves to “[chill] on the endless, wide sandy beaches or [rest] on a hammock in the park” or “[catch] a local choir sporting blue or red foulards singing their hearts out to traditional or rock tunes.”

Similar reasons were listed in favour of Corsica as France’s best coastline, as it is also home to tall mountains with beautiful views over the water.

If you are looking to visit Corsica, Paul Griffiths recommends “having a good road map” and then “just [driving] quietly along the coast and over the mountains.” He said that this is “all easily doable in a day” and along the way you can “find beautiful beaches, lovely towns with good restaurants – especially Maccinaggion and Centuri – to enjoy one day after another.”

Finally, the preferred coastline location for The Local’s France Editor, Emma Pearson, also got some support by readers, with one calling La Vendée an “unpretentious” and “accessible” place for a vacation.

Respondent Anthony Scott said that “Les Sables d’Olonne and Luçon both epitomise the spirit of Vendée.” He enjoys the “inland serenity and historic sites, beautiful beaches and inviting seashores” as well as “traditional appetising meals.” He also noted that the area is “not too expensive.”

READ ALSO Brittany v Vendée – which is the best French coastline?

Many thanks to everyone who answered our survey, we couldn’t include all your recommendations, but feel free to leave suggestions in the comments below.