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EMBASSY/CONSULATE ADDRESSES

Diplomatic Representation in US:
Ambassador: Pierre VIMONT
Embassy: 4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007
Telephone: [1] (202) 944-6000
Fax: 202.944.6212

Consulate(s) General are in:
Los Angeles
One Westwood Bldg., 10990 Wilshire Bl., Suite 300,
Los Angeles, CA 90024.
(310) 235-3200

San Francisco
540 Bush St.,
San Francisco, CA 94108.
(415) 397-4330

Miami
1 Biscayne Tower, 2 S. Biscayne Bl., Suite 1710,
Miami, FL 33131.
(305) 372-9798

Atlanta
3475 Piedmont Road, Suite 1840
Atlanta, GA 30305
Phone: (404)495-1660

Chicago
Olympic Center, 737 N. Michigan Av., Suite 2020,
Chicago, IL 60611.
(312) 787-5359

New Orleans
Amoco Bldg., 1340 Poydras St., Suite 1710,
New Orleans, LA 70112.
(504) 523-5772

Boston
Park Square Building, 31 St. James Av., Suite 750,
Boston, MA 02116.
(617) 542-7374

New York
934 5th Av.,
New York, NY 10021.
(212) 606-3688

San Juan
Ponce De Leon Av., Suite 720,
Hato Rey, Puerto Rico 00918.
(809) 753-1700

Houston
777 Post Oak Blvd,
Suite 600
Houston, TX 77056
Tél : (713)528-2181

US Diplomatic Representation:
Ambassador: Vacant
Embassy: 2 Avenue Gabriel, 75008 Paris
Mailing Address: Unit 21551, Paris; APO AE 09777
Telephone: (33) 1 43 12 22 22
Fax: (33) 1 42 66 97 83
Consulate(s) General: Bordeaux, Marseille, Strasbourg


Embassy and Consulate Web Sites for France
U.S. Embassy in Paris, France

Embassy of France in USA


FOREIGN RELATIONS

France plays an influential global role as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, NATO, the G-8, the EU, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the WTO, la Francophonie, and other multilateral institutions. Among NATO members, France is second only to the United States in terms of troops deployed abroad. The French took over the rotating EU presidency for July-December 2008, with a focus on immigration, energy, the environment, and European defense during their term. However, the French presidency’s priorities were complicated by the June 2008 Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, which was meant to serve as an institutional solution to the functioning of an enlarged EU at 27 members. As EU president, French President Sarkozy played a prominent role negotiating a cease-fire during the August 2008 Georgia crisis, generating an international response to the financial crisis, and working toward a ceasefire in Gaza.

A charter member of the United Nations, France is a member of most of its specialized and related agencies. France is also America's oldest ally; French military intervention was instrumental in helping Britain's American colonies establish independence. Because many battles in which the United States was involved during World War I and World War II took place in France, more American soldiers have been killed on French soil than on that of any other foreign country.

France is a leader in Western Europe because of its size, location, and large economy, membership in European organizations, strong military posture, and energetic diplomacy. France generally has worked to strengthen the global economic and political influence of the EU and its role in common European defense. It views Franco-German cooperation and the development of a European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) with other EU members, as the foundation of efforts to enhance European security.

France supports Quartet (U.S.-EU-Russia-UN) efforts to implement the Middle East roadmap, which envisions establishment of a Palestinian state, living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel. Recognizing the need for a comprehensive peace agreement, France supports the involvement of all Arab parties and Israel in a multilateral peace process.

Since 2003, France has supported four UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions on Iraq, including UNSCR 1546, which laid out a timetable for Iraq's political transition and reaffirmed UNSC authorization for a Multinational Force in Iraq, at the invitation of the Iraqi government, to stabilize the country. France contributed to the $315 million EU contribution to Iraq reconstruction in 2003. After the Iraqi Interim Government took power, France agreed to substantial debt relief and offered police training to Iraqi security forces. Since 2006, France has actively and repeatedly publicly stressed the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran and worked with the U.S. and other members of the P5+1 group (China, Russia, the U.K., the U.S., and Germany) to demand that Iran end its enrichment-related and preprocessing activities. France is in the process of establishing a military base in the United Arab Emirates.

France continues to play an important role in Africa, especially in its former colonies, through aid programs, commercial activities, military agreements, and cultural impact. The Sarkozy government announced a change in its sub-Saharan African policy shortly after it came to power, intending to modernize and rationalize relations in a future-oriented manner. The French military presence is likely to diminish, with an emphasis on cooperating with Africa's sub-regional organizations such as Southern African Development Community (SADC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). France's military bases in Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, and Senegal, and its long-term military presence in Chad may therefore be reduced in size, consolidated, or eliminated in the years ahead. Nonetheless, France is likely to continue to play an important role in promoting stability in the region. For example, French support to the Government of Chad was crucial in 2008 to fending off a rebel attack, and in 2007, France played a leading role in the EU's formation of a peacekeeping mission in Chad and the Central African Republic designed to complement international efforts in Sudan and Darfur. In March 2009, this mission transitioned into a UN operation (MINURCAT), with France continuing to play a leadership role.

France has extensive political and commercial relations with Asian countries, including China, Japan, and Southeast Asia as well as an increasing presence in regional fora. France is seeking to broaden its commercial presence in China and will pose a competitive challenge to U.S. business, particularly in aerospace, high-tech, and luxury markets. In Southeast Asia, France was an architect of the 1991 Paris Accords, which ended the conflict in Cambodia.

Security Issues
French military doctrine is based on the concepts of national independence, nuclear deterrence, and military sufficiency. France is a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and has worked actively with Allies to adapt NATO, internally and externally, to the post-Cold War environment. In 1966, the French withdrew from NATO's military bodies while remaining full participants in the alliance's political councils. In December 1995, France increased its participation in NATO's military wing, including the Military Committee. France is co-hosting with Germany the 2009 NATO Summit and has announced its intention to reintegrate into NATO's military structures.

France released a white paper on defense in June 2008 that assessed foreign and domestic defense and security issues. The white paper was intended to provide a comprehensive security strategy for the next 25 years, reflecting a changed 21st century security environment, and to outline restructuring proposals to make the French military more flexible, technologically advanced, and better able to coordinate with allies such as the U.S. and multilateral organizations such as the EU, NATO, and the UN. Consistent with the white paper, France has undertaken a major restructuring to develop a professional military that will be smaller, more rapidly deployable, and better tailored for operations outside of mainland France. Key elements of the restructuring include reducing personnel, bases, and headquarters and rationalizing equipment and the armament industry. French active-duty military number about 350,000 (including Gendarmes), of which over 35,000 were deployed outside of French territory as of July 2008. France completed the move to all-professional armed forces when conscription ended on December 31, 2002.

France has actively and heavily participated in a variety of peacekeeping/coalition efforts in Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans, often taking the lead in these operations. France also remains a firm supporter of the OSCE and other efforts at cooperation.

France places a high priority on arms control and non-proliferation. After conducting a final series of six nuclear tests, the French signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996. France has implemented a moratorium on the production, export, and use of anti-personnel landmines and supports negotiations leading toward a universal ban. France is an active participant in the major supplier regimes designed to restrict transfer of technologies that could lead to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction: the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Australia Group (for chemical and biological weapons), the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the Missile Technology Control Regime. France participates actively in the Proliferation Security Initiative, and is engaged with the U.S., both bilaterally and at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to curb nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) proliferation. France has joined with the U.S., Germany, and the other three permanent members of the UN Security Council to offer a package of incentives and disincentives to Iran to halt its uranium enrichment activities. France, along with other EU member states, was instrumental in pressing for Europe's adoption of UNSCR 1803, calling for extra vigilance over Iranian banks. France has also signed and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention. France maintains a color-coded security system, similar to that of the U.S., consisting of yellow, orange, red, and scarlet threat levels.

U.S.-FRENCH RELATIONS

Relations between the United States and France are active and friendly. Mutual visits by high-level officials are conducted frequently. Bilateral contact at the cabinet level has traditionally been active. France and the United States share common values and have parallel policies on most political, economic, and security issues. Differences are discussed frankly and have not generally been allowed to impair the pattern of close cooperation that characterizes relations between the two countries.

France is one of NATO's top five troop contributors. The French support NATO modernization efforts and are leading contributors to the NATO Response Force (NRF). France is keen to build European defense capabilities, including through the development of EU battle-group sized force packages and joint European military production initiatives. President Sarkozy supports development of a European defense that complements and reinforces NATO, which remains at the core of transatlantic security. During his December 2007 visit to Kabul, the President underscored French commitment to complete NATO's mission in Afghanistan, where some 2,200 French troops serve. In June 2008 Paris hosted the successful Afghanistan Support Conference, where international donors pledged a total of $21 billion to help develop Afghan infrastructure and to combat drugs, violence, and poverty.

France is a close partner with the U.S. in the war on terror. It cooperates with the U.S. to monitor and disrupt terrorist groups and has processed numerous U.S. requests for information under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. French intelligence and security officials continue to actively investigate and prosecute cases of extremism. The French judiciary in December 2007 tried and convicted five French former Guantanamo detainees on terrorism charges. France is a strong partner in multiple non-proliferation fora and is a key participant in the Proliferation Security Initiative. As one of the P5+1 powers and as a leader of the EU, France is working to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

France opposed the use of force in Iraq in March 2003 and did not join the U.S.-led coalition that liberated the country from the dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein. Despite differences over Iraq, the U.S. and France continue to cooperate closely on many issues, most notably in combating terrorism, efforts to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and on regional problems, including in Africa, Lebanon, and Kosovo. On Iraq, the French agreed to generous debt relief for Iraq in Paris Club negotiations and have accepted the establishment of a NATO training mission there. President Sarkozy travelled to Baghdad in February 2009, turning the page in France’s relations with Iraq.

In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, France fully supports U.S. engagement in the peace process and President Sarkozy has called upon Israelis and Palestinians to make 2009 “the year of peace.” He has repeatedly emphasized his admiration of Israel and support for its security balanced with calls for Israel's full respect of commitments under the Middle East roadmap with respect to settlements and restrictions on Palestinian movement within the occupied territories. France hosted a donors’ conference for the Palestinian Authority in December 2007 and President Sarkozy was active in developing a ceasefire during the Gaza fighting at the end of 2008.

The U.S. and France have worked closely to support a sovereign and independent Lebanon, free of Syrian domination. The U.S. and France co-sponsored in September 2004 UNSCR 1559, which called for full withdrawal of Syrian forces, a free and fair electoral process, and disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias. In the wake of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in February 2005, the U.S. and France reiterated calls for a full, immediate withdrawal of all Syrian troops and security services from Lebanon. France also co-sponsored UNSCR 1701 and was one of the leading countries in Europe working to end hostilities between Israel and Hizballah in 2006 by committing 2,000 troops to UNIFIL-plus. Strong French backing led to adoption of UNSCR 1757 establishing a Special Tribunal for Lebanon to prosecute the perpetrators of the Hariri assassination and other killings of critics of Syria's interference in Lebanon. French efforts in Lebanon are focused on maintaining stability and promoting national reconciliation consistent with relevant UNSCRs. President Sarkozy's decision to pursue a rapprochement with Syria following the Doha accord to end fighting in Lebanon in 2008 is also reportedly contingent upon good-faith Syrian efforts to normalize relations with Lebanon; the two exchanged ambassadors in 2009.

Trade and investment between the U.S. and France are strong. On average, over $1 billion in commercial transactions including sales of U.S. and French foreign affiliates take place every day, with the U.S. being France's tenth-ranked supplier and its tenth-largest customer. France ranks as the United States' eighth trading partner for total goods (imports and exports). There are approximately 2,300 French subsidiaries in the U.S. that provide more than 520,000 jobs and that generate an estimated $235 billion in turnover. The U.S. is the top destination for French investments worldwide. Concurrently, the U.S. is the largest foreign investor in France, employing over 650,000 French citizens with aggregate investment estimated at $68.5 billion in 2008.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Ambassador--Vacant
Chargé d’Affaires--Mark Pekala
Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs--Kathleen Allegrone
Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs--Seth Winnick
Minister-Counselor for Commercial Affairs--Daniel Harris
Minister-Counselor for Consular Affairs--Catherine Barry
Minister-Counselor for Management Affairs--An T. Le
Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs--Barry Levin

The U.S. Embassy in France is located at 2 Avenue Gabriel, Paris 8 (tel. [33] (1) 4312-2222). The United States also is represented in Paris by its mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).


TRAVEL ADVISORIES




TRAVEL TIPS

Driving U.S Driving Permit accepted
Currency (EUR) Euro
Electrical 230 Volts
Telephones Country Code 33, City Code Paris 1+8D, Northwest 2+8D, Northeast 3+8D, Southeast 4+8D, Southwest 5+8D



Time: GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Two-pin plugs are widely used; adaptors recommended.

Telephone: Full IDD is available. Country code: 33. Outgoing international code: 00. Card-only telephones are common, with pre-paid cards bought from post offices and tabacs. International calls are cheaper between Mon-Fri 2230-0800 and Sat-Sun 1400-0800. Calls can be received from all phone boxes showing the sign of a blue bell.

Climate: A temperate climate in the north; northeastern areas have a more continental climate with warm summers and colder winters. Rainfall is distributed throughout the year with some snow likely in winter. The Jura Mountains have an alpine climate. Lorraine, sheltered by bordering hills, has a relatively mild climate.
Mediterranean climate in the south; mountains are cooler with heavy snow in winter.
The Atlantic influences the climate of the western coastal areas from the Loire to the Basque region; the weather is temperate and relatively mild with rainfall distributed throughout the year. Summers can be very hot and sunny. Inland areas are also mild and the French slopes of the Pyrénées are reputed for their sunshine record.
Mediterranean climate exists on the Riviera, and in Provence and Roussillon. Weather in the French Alps is variable. Continental weather is present in Auvergne, Burgundy and the Rhône Valley. Very strong winds (such as the Mistral) can occur throughout the entire region.

Required clothing: European, according to season.

Food & Drink: With the exception of China, France has a more varied and developed cuisine than any other country. The simple, delicious cooking for which France is famous is found in the old-fashioned bistro and restaurant. There are two distinct styles of eating in France. One is of course ‘gastronomy’ (haute cuisine), widely known and honoured as a cult with rituals, rules and taboos. It is rarely practised in daily life, partly because of the cost and the time which must be devoted to it. The other is family-style cooking, often just as delicious as its celebrated counterpart. Almost all restaurants offer two types of meal: à la carte (extensive choice for each course and more expensive) and le menu (a set meal at a fixed price with dishes selected from the full à la carte menu). At simple restaurants, the same cutlery will be used for all courses. The bill (l’addition) will not be presented until it is asked for, even if clients sit and talk for half an hour after they have finished eating. Many restaurants close for a month during the summer, and one day a week. It is always wise to check that a restaurant is open, particularly on Sunday. Generally speaking, mealtimes in France are strictly observed. Lunch is as a rule served from noon to 1330, dinner usually from 2000-2130, but the larger the city, the later the dining hour.

Shopping: Special purchases include lace, crystal glass, cheeses, coffee and, of course, wines, spirits and liqueurs. Arques, the home of Crystal D’Arques, is situated between St Omer and Calais, en route to most southern destinations. Lille, the main town of French Flanders, is known for its textiles, particularly fine lace. Most towns have fruit and vegetable markets on Saturday. Hypermarkets, enormous supermarkets which sell everything from foodstuffs and clothes to hi-fi equipment and furniture, are widespread in France. They tend to be situated just outside of town and all have parking facilities. Shopping hours: Department stores are open Mon-Sat 0900-1830. Some shops are closed between 1200-1430. Food shops are open 0700-1830/1930. Some food shops (particularly bakers) are open Sunday mornings, in which case they will probably close Monday. Many shops close all day or Monday afternoon. Hypermarkets are normally open until 2100 or 2200.

Tipping: A 12-15 per cent service charge is normally added to the bill in hotels, restaurants and bars, but it is customary to leave small change with the payment; more if the service has been exceptional. Other services such as washroom attendants, 10 ten to 15 per cent of the meter fare.

Single European currency (Euro): The Euro is now the official currency of 12 EU member states (including France). The first Euro coins and notes were introduced in January 2002; the French Franc was still in circulation until 17 February 2002, when it was completely replaced by the Euro. Euro (€) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of €2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.

Currency exchange: Some first-class hotels are authorised to exchange foreign currency. Visitors should also look for the ‘Crédit Mutuel’ or ‘Crédit Agricole’, which have longer opening hours. Shops and hotels are prohibited from accepting foreign currency by law. Many UK banks offer differing exchange rates depending on the denominations of currency being bought or sold. Travellers should check with their banks for details and current rates.

Credit & debit cards: American Express, Diners Club, Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.

Travellers cheques: Banque de France has put a block on all travellers cheques.


CUSTOMS/DUTIES

Cameras.................No restrictions

Film........................Reasonable for personal use

Agriculture items....Refer psgr to consulate

Gifts........................Reasonable allowance

Currency.................Must be declared on arrival

Passengers 17 years and over entering from countries outside the EU or passengers 17 years and over entering from an EU country with duty-free goods:

Tobacco....200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250 grams of tobacco

Liquor.....1 litre of spirits or 2 litres of alcoholic beverage up to 22%; 2 litres of wine

Perfume....50 grams of perfume or 250ml of eau de toilette

Other goods.....Up to a value of FFR300 (FFR150 per person under 15 years of age)

Passengers 17 years and over entering from an EU country with duty-paid goods:

Tobacco....800 cigarettes or 200 cigars or 400 cigarillos or 1000 grams of tobacco

Liquor.....90 litres of wine (including 60 litres of sparkling wine); 10 litres of spirits; 20 litres of intermediate products (such as fortified wine); 110 litres of beer

Prohibited items: Gold objects other than personal jewellery below 500 grams in weight



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