In accordance with Article R.211-12 of the French Tourism Code, any travel brochures and contracts offered by travel agents to their customers must contain the full version of the following general conditions, taken from Articles R211-3 to R211-11 of the Tourism Code. In accordance with Articles L211-8 and L211-18 of the Tourism Code, the provisions of Articles R211-3 to R211-11 of the Tourism Code, whose text is reproduced below, are not applicable to operations for reserving or selling transport tickets that are not included as part of a tourist package.
Extract of the Tourism Code
Subject to the exclusions listed in the third and fourth paragraphs of Article L.211-7, any offer or sale of services for trips or stays give rise to the provision of appropriate documents, in accordance with the rules defined in this section.
For the sale of airline tickets or travel documents for scheduled routes not accompanied by services associated with this transport, the vendor shall issue the buyer with one or more travel tickets for the entire trip, issued by the transport company or under its responsibility. For charter travel, the name and address of the transport company on whose behalf the tickets are issued must be provided.
Separate invoicing of the different elements of the same tourist package does not exempt the seller from the obligations set out in the regulatory provisions of this section.
Pre-contractual information and contractual terms and conditions shall be made available in writing. This can be done electronically under the conditions of validity and application set out in Articles 1369-1 to 1369-11 of the French Civil Code. The surname or company name and address of the seller are provided as well as details of their inclusion in the register mentioned in Article L.141-3 or, where applicable, their name, address and details of their registration with the federation or union mentioned in the second paragraph of Article R.211-2.
Prior to signing the contract, the vendor must communicate all information to the customer relating to the prices, dates and other elements that make up the services provided during the trip or stay, such as:
1. The destination, means, characteristics and categories of transport used;
2. The type of accommodation, its location, level of comfort and main characteristics, its accreditation and tourist classification in line with the regulations or customs of the host country;
3. The catering services provided;
4. The itinerary description for tours;
5. Any administrative and health formalities to be completed by nationals or by those from other European Union member states or a state party to the European Economic Area Agreement, particularly where borders are to be crossed, and the deadlines for completion;
6. Visits, excursions and other services included in the package or available subject to a price supplement;
7. The minimum or maximum size of the group required for the trip or stay and, if the trip or stay is subject to a minimum number of participants, the date by which the customer shall be informed if the trip or stay is cancelled; this date cannot be fewer than 21 days before departure;
8. The amount or percentage of the price to be paid as a deposit when the contract is signed, as well as the schedule for payment of the balance;
9. The terms for price adjustments, as stipulated in the contract in accordance with Article R.211-8;
10. The contractual conditions for cancellation;
11. The cancellation conditions defined in Articles R.211-9, R.211-10 and R.211-11;
12. Information about the option to take out an insurance policy covering the consequences of certain cancellation situations or an insurance policy covering specific risks, in particular repatriation costs in the event of accident or illness;
13. When the contract includes air travel services, the details of each leg of the flight, as stipulated in Articles R.211-15 to R.211-18.
The advance information given to the customer is binding for the vendor, unless the information states that the vendor expressly reserves the right to modify certain elements. In this case, the vendor must clearly indicate the extent of such modifications and which elements are affected.
In any event, the customer must be notified of any changes made to the advance information before the contract is signed.
The contract entered into between the vendor and the buyer must be in writing, drawn up in duplicate and signed by both parties, one copy being given to the buyer. When the contract is signed electronically, it is subject to Articles 1369-1 to 1369-11 of the Civil Code. The contract must contain the following clauses:
1. The name and address of the vendor, its guarantor and its insurer, as well as the name and address of the organiser;
2. The destination(s) of the trip and, for a stay with several different destinations, the different periods and dates;
3. The types, characteristics and categories of transport used, the dates, times and places of departure/return;
4. The type of accommodation, its location, level of comfort and main characteristics, and its tourist classification with regard to the regulations or customs of the host country;
5. The catering services provided;
6. The itinerary for tours;
7. The visits, excursions or other services included in the total price of the trip or stay;
8. The total price of the invoiced services and an indication of any possible adjustment to this invoicing under the provisions of Article R.211-8;
9. If applicable, notification of the charges or taxes for certain services, such as taxes for landing or boarding at ports or airports, or tourist taxes if not included in the price of the service(s) provided;
10. The schedule and methods of payment of the cost; the last payment made by the buyer must not be less than 30 % of the price of the trip or stay and must be made when the documents allowing the trip or stay to be carried out are issued;
11. Any special conditions requested by the buyer and accepted by the vendor;
12. The means by which the buyer may make a claim against the vendor regarding the non-performance or poor performance of the contract, said claim being addressed to the vendor without delay by any means with an acknowledgement of receipt by the vendor, and, where applicable, reported in writing to the organiser of the trip and the provider of the services in question;
13. The latest date on which the buyer will be informed in the event that the trip or stay is cancelled by the vendor if the trip or stay is subject to a minimum number of participants, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 7 of Article R.211-4;
14. The contractual conditions for cancellation;
15. The cancellation conditions defined in Articles R. 211-9, R. 211-10 and R. 211-11;
16. Information concerning the risks covered and the amount of cover underwritten by the vendor's public and professional liability insurance policy;
17. Information about an insurance policy covering the consequences of certain cancellation situations taken out by the buyer (policy number and name of insurer) or about an insurance policy covering certain specific risks, in particular the cost of repatriation in the event of accident or illness; in this case, the vendor must provide the buyer with a document specifying, at the very least, the risks covered and the risks excluded;
18. The latest date by which the vendor must be notified if the buyer assigns the contract;
19. A commitment to provide the buyer with the following information, at least ten days before the agreed departure date:
a) the name, address and telephone number of the vendor's local representative or, if there is none, the names, addresses and telephone numbers of local organisations that may be able to help the customer in the event of a problem or, if there are none, the emergency telephone number on which the buyer may urgently contact the vendor;
b) for trips and stays of minors abroad, a telephone number and an address providing direct contact with the child or the person responsible for the child on site during their stay.
20. A clause for cancellation and refund without penalty of any monies paid by the buyer in the event of failure to comply with the information obligation set out in Paragraph 13 of Article R.211-4;
21. A commitment to provide the buyer with arrival and departure times, in due time before the start of the trip or stay.
The buyer may assign the contract to an assignee who shall meet the same conditions as the buyer for the trip or stay, as long as said contract has not taken effect.
Unless stipulated otherwise to the assignor, the latter shall inform the vendor of their decision by any means with an acknowledgement of receipt at least seven days before the start of the trip. If the contract concerns a cruise, this period is extended to fifteen days. This assignment is not in any way subject to prior authorisation by the vendor.
If the contract includes an express possibility to amend prices, within the limits set out in Article L.211-12, it must describe the exact calculation methods used for price increases and reductions, variations in price and in particular the related amount of transport and tax charges, the currency/ies that may have an impact on the price of the trip or stay, the part of the price affected by the change, and the exchange rate of the currency/ies used as a reference when the prices in the contract were determined.
When, before the departure of the buyer, the vendor is forced to apply a modification to one of the essential elements of the contract such as a significant price rise, and when the seller is not aware of the obligation to provide information stipulated in paragraph 13 of Article R.211-4, the buyer may, without prejudice to their right of recourse in compensation for any damages they may suffer, and after having been informed by the vendor by any means with an acknowledgement of receipt:
- either cancel the contract and obtain the immediate refund of any monies paid, without penalty;
- or accept the change or the replacement trip proposed by the vendor; an amendment to the contract specifying the changes made shall then be signed by the parties; any reduction in the price is subtracted from any sum due by the buyer and, if the payment already made by the latter exceeds the price of the modified service, the excess payment shall be returned before the departure date.
In the case where the vendor cancels the trip or stay before the buyer's departure, as described in Article L.211-14, the vendor shall inform the buyer by any means with an acknowledgement of receipt; the buyer, without prejudice to their right to claim compensation for any damages incurred, shall obtain an immediate refund of monies paid, without penalty, from the vendor; in this case, the buyer shall receive compensation that is at least equal to the penalty that the buyer would have paid if the cancellation had been made by the buyer on that date.
The provisions of this Article do not in any way prevent an amicable agreement being reached whereby the buyer accepts a replacement trip or stay offered by the vendor.
If, after the departure of the buyer, the vendor is unable to provide a large portion of the services included in the contract, representing a significant percentage of the price paid by the buyer, the vendor shall immediately take the following steps, without prejudice to their right to claim compensation for any damages incurred:
- either offer replacement services to those planned, covering any additional costs of this provision, and provide a refund on return for any price difference if the services accepted by the buyer are of a lower quality;
- or, if the vendor is unable to propose any alternative service, or if this is refused by the buyer for valid reasons, provide the buyer with travel documents to enable their return to the place of departure, or any other place agreed upon by both parties, under conditions judged to be equivalent and at no extra cost.
The provisions of this Article are applicable in the event of failure to comply with the obligations set out in Paragraph 13 of Article R.211-4.