A confusing part of your gap year or backpacking adventure can be working out what visas you need. Here's a quick guide to help you out before you travel.
France is a member of the Schengen Agreement. This collects together 26 European countries that have removed passport and immigration controls from their joint borders. So if you're a citizen of any of these 26 countries you can travel freely through the area.
Nationals of EU and EFTA (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Lichenstein) countries only need to bring a valid passport or national identity card. No visa will be required for a stay in France of any length. This includes UK citizens.
Nationals of non-EU/EFTA countries will generally need a passport in order to enter a Schengen country, and you'll probably need to get a Schengen visa before you travel.
Citizens of the United States of America can enter Schengen countries without acquiring a Schengen visa, as long as they possess a valid US passport and don't stay longer than 90 days within a 6 month period,
Wherever you're travelling, we recommend always carrying your passport or ID card with you.