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Greece Welcome
Guide for living and working in Greece
A guide, information, advice and useful addresses to be able to leave well-informed.

Greece Welcome

Political status
Geographical situation
Other sectors
Weights, measure & voltage
Main towns
Time differences
ar rental
Hotels & restaurants
Your suitcase

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1 - Political Status
Greece, or Hellas (as it is called in Greek) is the cradle of political thought and democracy.

The present constitution, drawn up in 1975 and amended in 1986, defines the political system as a parliamentary democracy.

It is a republic with a unitarian state structure and a multi-party regime.
It has a legislative assembly (the chamber of deputies) : the Vouli.

The President of the Republic serves a five year term of office which can be renewed once. He is elected by the chamber of deputies, his only power is one of arbitration.
The present President is Costis Stephanopoulos (since the 8th March 1995).
It is the Prime Minister who holds executive power.
The present Prime Minister is Costas Simitis (since the 18th January 1996, and re-elected on 9th April 2000).

The Vouli is made up of 300 members who serve a four year term of office, 288 of them are elected by general election, 12 are designated by the parties, on a pro rata with the election results.

Justice is independent. Civil and political rights, and human rights are guaranteed by the constitution.

Voting is obligatory. Each citizen over 18 years of age has the right to vote, but can only stand for Parliament at 25.

Greece is a member of the UN, the IMF, the CSCE and most of the important western institutions like OECD, NATO, the Council of Europe and the European Union

Historical outline :

1453-1832 : conquest and Turkish occupation
1832 : England, France and Russia obtain the country's independence and impose an absolute monarchy
1897 : Greek-Turkish war
Following the Treaty of Lausanne, which marked the victory of the Turkish national movement, 1,221,849 Greeks returned to Greece and 387,000 Turks and 52,000 Bulgarians left the country.
25th March 1924 : 1st Republic. From this date on, coups took place one after another and the restored monarchy became a royal dictatorship
24th April 1941 : capitulation : the country was divided between the Germans, the Italians and the Bulgarians
1944 : start of the civil war
1946 : restoration of the monarchy
1967 : military putsch, the colonels' regime
1974 : Restoration of the constitution under Mr Caramanlis
1st January 1981 : Greece becomes a member of the EEC
October 1981 : Socialist victory of Mr Papandreou, as Prime Minister.
19th March 1985 : Election to the presidency of the socialist Mr Sartzetakis.
2nd June 1985 : The socialist party PASOK wins the legislative elections
18th June 1989 : The socialists lose their majority
5th November 1989 : PASOK wins the legislative elections
10th October 1993 : Parliament gives a vote of confidence to Mr A Papandreou's government
8th March 1995 : Mr Costis Stephanopoulos becomes President
January 1996 : Mr Papandreou, already ill for several months, tenders his resignation. He is replaced by Mr Costas Simitis, who forms his government on 21st January
December 1999 : the Helsinki summit : Greece at last approves the candidacy of Turkey to the European Union
9th April 2000 : Mr Simitis is re-elected to serve a second mandate
January and February 2001 : George Papandreou and Ismail Cem (of Turkey), the two diplomatic heads, make historical visits to each other's capitals and sign nine bilateral agreements concerning economy, culture and security.

2 - Geographical situation
Greece is a very mountainous country largely surrounded by the sea. There is a total of 15,021 kms of extremely rugged coastline, the continental coastline is 4,000 kms long and there is 11,000 kms of island coastline.

80% of the country is covered in mountains, the highest is Mt Olympus (the domain of the gods), which is 2,917 meters high. The Pindos range crosses the country from the north-west to the south-east.

The biggest rivers are the Aliakmon (297 kms) and the Acheloos.

The total surface of the country is 131,957 square kilometers, the population is 10,500,000, giving a population density of 78 inhabitants per square km.

Greece is situated in the southern part of central Europe, it is made up of 437 islands (25,000 sq.kms), 134 of which are inhabited and which represent 18% of the territory. The biggest are Crete (8,259 sq.kms), then Eubee (3,908 sq.kms) which is so near the mainland that it has been connected by a bridge, Rhodes (1,398 sq.kms), Cephanolia (935 sq.kms), Chios (904 sq.kms), Samos (778 sq.kms) and Corfu (640 sq.kms). Several islands, like Thera (Santorin), Salamine, Egina or Patmos are smaller than 100 sq.kms. Most of them are grouped in archipelegos (the Ionian islands, the Cyclades, Porades, Dodecanese).
They are often mountainous, with rugged coastlines : the Ida range, peaking at 2,456 m, soars over Crete, Thera is volcanic and several other islands have also been shaken by earthquakes.

The vegetation is typically mediterannean : evergreen oaks, cork oaks, maquis, garrigue, olive trees.

Greece is divided into 52 departments and 13 regions.

The regions :

Attica, Thrace and East Macedonia (+ Chalcidic), West Macedonia, Epirus, Thessaly (+Pelion), central Greece ( Etolia/Acarnania, Phocide, Locrida, Beotia ), Peloponnesos ( Achaïe, Elide, Arcadia, Argolide, Messenia, Laconiae, central Macedonia, Western Greece, Southern Aegean, Northern Aegean, Crete and the Ionian islands.

WesternThrace and Macedonia:

Thrace is bounded at the north by the Rhodope mountains, on the east and west by the Evros and Nestos rivers and on the south by the Aegean Sea.
Macedonia goes from the Nestos river to the Albanese border. In Macedonia cereals, tobacco and animal fodder crops are grown.
On the higher land there are pasture land, forests and maquis.

Epirus and Thessaly

Epirus : situated between the Pinde mountains and the Ionian Sea, it is a mountainous region with a few wooded plains and some pasture land. The Katara col, 1,700 m high, connects Epirus and Thessaly.

Thessaly : goes from the Pinde mountains to the Aegean Sea.
It s made up of two large plains which are watered by the Pinios, but it is cut off from the sea by Mr Olympus (2917 m) and Mt Ossa (1978 m).

Central Greece

This region stretches to the south-east between the Corinthian gulf and Atalanti, then up to the Sounion cape at the extremity of the Attica peninsula.
It is made up of an irregular set of mountains and mountain ranges with gentle slopes, which end up with Mt Hymette (1,027 m) above Athens.

Peloponnesos :
This is the southern peninsula of the country, joined to the country by the Corinthian isthmus. In its centre there is the Arcadian plateau (600-800 m), the Tagete chain and the Argolid plain, birthplace of the Mycenian civilization.

Most of the agricultural zone is around the Patras gulf, a well-watered region, with autumn and winter rains, but very dry in summer, rich in olive trees and vineyards.

The best known gulfs are the Argolikos, Laconia and Messenia. Cape Matapan and Cape Malea are the southernmost points in Greece.

The islands

The islands represent nearly 18% of Greece's surface.
The Ionian islands are on the west : Corfu, Leucadre, Cephalonia, Zakynthos.
Crete is to the south, very mountainous (Mt Ida), covered in maquis and farmed plains
To the north of Crete in the Aegean Sea lies the Cyclades, where wine is grown, 31 islands in all.
To the north, near Attica, is the island of Eubea, covered in woods and pasture land.
To the north east of Eubea are the northern Sporades, to the north opposite the Kavalla gulf is the island of Thases and on the south east, Samothrace, Lemnos, Lesbos, Chios, Samos which is 2 kms from the Turkish coast and Rhodes.

3 - Economy & statistics
Main economic indicators


economic growth (%)


consumption (variation) (%)


investment (variation) (%)


inflation (%)


public balance/GDP (%)


unemployment (%)


short term interest rate (%)


public debt (%)


exports (variation) (%)


imports (variation) (%)


balance of trade (billions $)


Greece became the 10th member of the European Union in 1981. It is the only country in the Union which has no borders giving on another member country. Greece entered the monetary union in January 2001, with the rate of 340.75 drachmas per euro. In order to be able to get in it had to fulfill all the imposed criteria : since 1996 it's inflation has been cut to a third, the budgetary deficit has been divided by five, the enormous debt has been reduced (it presently represents 104.2% of the GDP), the interest rates have gone down and the drachma was revaluated by +3.5% in January 2000.

Despite these austerity measures, the rate of growth has been maintained. It has been supported in particular by the first privatizing done by the socialist government : in 2000 : the opening of the capital of the public electricity board, Olympic Airways, the Eydap water company, the ports of Pireus and Salonica and the company which manages the Corinthian canal. In 2001 the hypothetical budgets show for the first time a 4 billion franc surplus, a 5% growth rate, a 2.3% rate of inflation and a public debt of 8.9% of the GDP. The Minister of Finance has affirmed that the debt would be down to the 60% needed to conform with the Maastricht regulations by 2008 or 2009.

At the end of 1999 the 3rd Community Support Plan for Greece was adopted for the period from 2000 to 2006 which includes a group of programmes to help the developement of the country. The community contribution combines the structural funds (22.7 billion euros) and the union funds (3.3 billion euros). To this will be added the Greek state participation (11.8 billion euros) and that "anticipated" from the private sector (10.5 billion euros).
These finances will be distributed among seven priority sectors :
1) Human resources : education (training) and employment
2) communications : roads, ports, town developement, railway, airports, urban transport
3) competitivity : enable the industrial and service sector to be more competitive
4) agriculture, fishing : mobilize private investment to improve the rural environment and the quality of the production and the processing of the products
5) quality of life : health, environment (water treatment and waste processing), culture
6) information : modernize the administrations, but also give support to local companies in the plan to liberalize the telecommunications market
7) regional developement

Consumption has been stimulated by the expansion of credit, tax reductions and the rise in the stock exchange values. Investment, both public and private, has been pushed by the transfers from the European Union and the foreign capital coming in attracted by the high interest rates. The government's task now is to continue reforming the public sector and tighten the budgetary policy.

However, the unemployment rate is still high. The government has presented a plan to reform the work market, giving more mobility and flexibility to ensure the competitivity of a bureaucratized economy. This programme has met with hostility from the main unions, but Mr Simitis has shown his determination to deeply change the labour market to adapt to the new economy and absorb the 520,000 unemployed. He has promised to create 300,000 new jobs by 2004, with the support of the small and medium size companies and the privatizations, and forecasts that unemployment will be down from 11.3% in 2000 to 10.4% in 2001.

The parallel economy is very important : it represents 30% of the GDP and 65% of the working population work at least part time out of the fiscal framework. Corruption, which is assisted by a heavy bureaucratic system, is increasing.

The income per capita is only 70% of the average in the European Union (not counting the parallel economy). That is why the government wants to accompany Greece's entry into the euro system with a programme of 'social convergence' : reforming the pension scheme, the health and education systems, decreasing unemployment (maybe by reducing the work time).

With regard to external trade, Greece imports industrial goods, capital goods, food products and petrol. It exports manufactured goods, foodstuffs, drinks, cement, petro-chemical products and pharmaceuticals.

Private companies are for the most part small and medium sized family companies.
Direct foreign investment for the moment is concentrated in large scale distribution.

The revenues coming from tourism, the merchant navy (Greeks own the third biggest merchant navy fleet in the world) and from emigrate workers largely contribute to filling in the deficit in the balance of payments.

Greece exports its agricultural products : fruit, grapes, tobacco, olive oil and wine. It also has deposits of lignite, bauxite and petrol in the south of the Aegean Sea. It is the third biggest producer of olive oil in the world, the 14th biggest producer of wine, the 11th biggest producer of bauxite and the 12th biggest producer of nickel.

64.4% of its total imports come from the European Union.

(sources : Le Monde, MOCI, le nouvel observateur)

4 - Agriculture
(in millions of tons, head, m³ for timber)





























Greece has a varied agricultural production : wheat, barley, sugar beet, tomatoes, cucumbers, but especially olives, tobacco, cotton and wine.

But Greek agriculture is not very productive : it employs 20% of the population and only produces 10% of the GDP, in farms which are usually small and which find it difficult to improve their production methods.

The imminent liberalization of the sector will oblige the farmers, the producers and the distributors of seeds and fertilizers to improve their competitivity. The government is particularly interested in expanding the production of fresh food products, especially vegetables.

5 - Industries & mining
The manufacturing industry represents 14% of the GDP. Foodstuff production is the most profitable and the most dynamic sector for exportation, but other sectors like textiles, shoes, aluminium, building materials, machines, electrical appliances and activities to do with transport also show good results.

The building sector is very dynamic, with major works to do with the 2004 Olympic Games (extension of the underground and Athens' airport, the Rion-Antirion highway bridge ...). Several centres have to be built or rehabilitated : the Olympic village (4 lots of 2,292 residences), the Olympic stadium in Athens, the Olympic pool, a gym hall, a cycle stadium, training rooms, football stadiums ...

Two underground lines have been built in Athens, sections were inaugurated in January and November 2000. 90% of the financing was done by Europe, and 10% by the Greek government. They will now have to be completed, starting with the line 3 towards the north east, with an intersection with the future railway line going to the new airport of Spata and the surrounding areas. The previsional budget is for 194 million euros and the works should start in September. In Salonica there is a project to build the first automatized underground line with 14 stations and 18 trains.

It is also necessary to build new road and rail approaches to the capital. The project concerning the railway includes the modernization of the two lines which are already in place (Pireus-Athens-Corinthe and Pireus-Athens-Chalkis) and their extensions in the south to Loutrak and in the north to Thebes. Also new lines are planned, one towards the new international airport (Spata) going through the new areas being built up around Athens for 35 kms. 5 stations with underground connections will also be built.

Two tramway lines will have to be built in Athens before 2004 to go between the centre of town and the sporting facilities in the south of the town. Apart from the underground, the tramway and the train, Athens will have to modernize its public transport network and foresee parkings at the end of the underground and bus lines. The Athens public transport company (OASA) is planning to buy 800 buses to fill the objectives of the programme. New bus corridors are also under study.

Two main road axes appear among the priorities in the European programme : the PATHE highway (Patras, Athens, Thessalonika) going from north to south, and the Egnatia highway going from east to west (Ighumenitsa-Ioannina-Kozani-Thessalonika-Comotini). A third is planned for 2010 : the Attiki Odos ring road around Athens.

The Greek railways (OSE) will start works on their lines for a total length of 2,700 kms. The projects concern the main axe of Athens-Thessalonika, the lines will be doubled, electrified and signals installed to be able to insure that the trains can travel at a speed of 200 kms per hour.

The production of high technology equipment is increasing, in particular telecommunications.

Greece is traditionally a nation of shipowners (they have 10% of the world tonnage), in 1999 the fleets were spectacularly renewed, taking advantage of the low prices in the Asian shipyards. There are 123 ports in Greece, 11 of which handle national or international maritime traffic.
The infrastructure is poor, and there is a lack of equipment and storage place.
Priority has been given to the Ionian coast, to the modernization of the ports of Igoumenitsa and Patras which are two important entry points for western Europe.
Works are also going on in three ports in the Aegean to improve trade with the Balkan countries.

Airports : five out of the 43 existing airports absorb 85% of the total air traffic.
The airports of Thessalonika, Heraklion, Corfu and Rhodes are being modernized. Also 19 heliports are being built.


(in millions of tons, silver in tons)



world rating











lead (1998)


6 - Other sectors
The service sector represents 62.7% of the GDP, and in spite of the lack of infrastructure, tourism makes up 7% of it. It is the country's main resource, particularly in foreign currency, and the country's main employer.
This sector will benefit from the major works which are taking place for the Olympic Games, it is a strategical sector for the government at a time when foreign investors are coming onto the market (with numerous projects of hotels and marinas).

In Athens the archeological sites occupy an area of about 700 hectares and are scattered throughout the town.
A programme to unify the sites has been created within a general plan to rehabilitate the historical centre, this consists of creating a pedestrial zone which links six of the archeological sites which will integrate green zones and covered spaces, restoring and preserving the monuments.

Greece is playing an ever increasing role in the Balkans.
It is participating in the reconstruction of this region by investing, mainly in the banking and telecommunications sectors.
Thessalonika has been chosen by the countries of the European Union to be the seat of the European Agency for the Balkan reconstruction.

French distribution chains are interested in the Greek market : Promodes has opened the first hypermarket chain and Carrefour are also nearly ready to open.

Other French companies in Greece are : the subsidiary Pechiney Aluminium , created in the 60s, Alcatel which produces cables and Alstom which makes medium tension electrical equipment, the consortium of Interinfra-Siemens built the Athens' underground, and the Thessalonica underground contract has been given to the consortium Bouygues-Bombardier, Gaz de France has been short listed to be the operational partner in a network of domestic gas distribution in Athens.

7 - Population
There are approx. 10,500,000 inhabitants in Greece.
Athens the capital has a population of 4.1 million inhabitants.
There are over 7 million Greeks living abroad, 3 million of whom are living in the European Union.

0 - 14 year olds : 15.85%
15 - 64 year olds : 67.20%
65 years and over : 16.95%

Women make up 50.7% of the total population and 37.4% of the labour force.
Life expectancy : men 75 years, women 80 years.

The ethnic composition is : 95% Greeks, 2% Macedonians, 0.5% Albanians, 0.5% Turks, 2% others (Slavic speaking Pomaks, Israelies, Armenians).

Half of the population live in the coastal areas and the biggest population concentrations are in Attica, Salonica, in the Ionian islands and in the western Peloponnesos. The lesser inhabited regions are the Chalcidic peninsula and the mountains of Etolia and Epirus, Phocida and Acarnania. Past upheavals caused by the ever swelling population in Athens, and the consequences that accompanied the rural exodus is a trend that has recently been reversed.
The movement to the capital has slowed down and stabilized, and several large regional urban centres as well as the countryside itself are developing.

Urban population : 59.74%

The working population 3,854,000 (1997) is divided up :
- 765,000 in the agricultural sector
- 866,000 in the industrial sector
- 2,223,000 in the tertiary sector

Military service is obligatory at 19 years old, women can also do military service if they choose to.

8 - Language
The official language is Greek, but in the hotels and in business many people speak English, French or German.

There are 24 letters in the Greek alphabet. Greek has been a base in forming all the occidental languages.

In today's world only the Greeks can show such a linguistic continuity (3500 years).
Latin was the basis for many neo-latin languages in the world, but then finally totally died out, whereas Greek is still a living language.

(see the Useful Addresses in France section for Schools giving Greek lessons)

9 - Religion
The Orthodox Greek religion was proclaimed the official state religion at the beginning of the war for Independence (1821-1822).
The Greek Church is autocephalic since 1850 and has its own statutes, but its doctrine is indissolubly attached to that of the Oecumenical Patriarchy in Constantinople.

Religious affiliations :
Christians 98.1% - of which 97.6% are Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholics 0.4%, Protestants 0.1%, Muslims 1.5%, others 0.4%.

There are 300 mosques in Greece.

The famous Mount Athos, in the south east of Macedonia on the Chalcidic peninsula, is a territory which is auto-administered. Its numerous monasteries have formed an orthodox monastical centre for the last thousand years.

10 - Weights, measures & voltage
Voltage : 220 volts. Plugs are European standard.

11 - Money

The national currency is the Drachma (there are coins and notes).
The drachma can be divided into 100 Lepta (which only exists in coins).
The drachma is part of the European monetary system.
The French Franc is worth 50.34 drachmas and the euro 330.23 drachmas.
1 drachma = 1.9 centimes

All the international credit cards are accepted.

12 - Main towns
Athens : is the Greek capital, with a population of 4.1 million, situated on a coastal plain.
Modern Athens dates from 1834 when it was chosen to be the capital of the new Greek state. It contains a variety of architectural styles and magnificent relics from the past, like the Parthenon, the temple of Athena, the Erectheion, the Propylis, the theatres of Dionysos and of Herod Atticus.
There are universities and archeological institutes.
One Greek out of two lives in Athens today.
The city lives essentially from its tertiary sector in which more than half the working population is employed.
Tourism is flourishing, even if the visitors only stay a few days in the town before moving on to more 'relaxed' destinations. (see 'places to visit' in the Tourism section under 'Observations')

Thessalonika : the main town and port of Macedonia, it is the second biggest town in Greece with a population of nearly a million. It is also the main economic and cultural centre of the whole of northern Greece. It reached the height of its fame under Roman domination and during the Byzantine epoch, from which time dates its magnificent churches.

Pireus : the most important port in Greece and one of the most active ports in the Mediterranean.
There are big naval shipyards, textile and chemical factories, refineries, steel and foodstuff industries (sugar factories, olive oil).

Corfu : beautiful ruins of the ancient Greek town, Byzantine churches and the relics of the Venitian domination (1386-1797). The port is important and the island is a tourist centre. It is situated in the Ionian sea.

Heraklion : the biggest town on the island of Crete. It exports fruit, vegetables and wine. Occupied by the Arabs and the Turks, it was at the height of its fame under the Venitian domination.

Larissa : an important town in Thessalia, going back to very ancient times then abandonned in the Middle Ages.
13 - Climate
The Greek climate is Mediterranean : warm from April to October.

Summer in Greece, which goes from the beginning of June to mid-September, is dry, hot and sunny. Light breezes blow regularly in the north, and the "meltem" blows from July to September in the Aegean Sea.

Big towns like Athens are extremely polluted in July and August with a "nefos" (a cloud) created by exhaust fumes which causes a high rate of heart and breathing problems.

Spring and autumn are very pleasant seasons.

The heaviest rainfall is in Corfu (1182 mm per annum) and Zante (1135 mm). In the Cyclades there is only 400 mm of rain a year. The summers are very dry, but the summer winds are cooling.

The Ionian coast enjoys mild temperatures, in the east the winters are cold and the summers are hot. Generally the winters in Greece are rainy but fairly mild, but it can happen that the Acropole is covered in snow.

 14 - Insects & animals
Scorpions, vipers, goats and lots of cats.

15 - Working in the country
Before leaving
You should take Greek lessons, or improve your level.
The quality of job you would like to have may depend on how well you speak the language.

If you are employed locally
When you find a job, your employer will take in charge the formalities concerning your stay and get a visa from the immigration authorities equivalent to the length of your contract - usually for a year.
(Be extremely careful when you sign your contract to check that it is valid and that it gives you the possibility to resort to the local court if necessary).

With a French or international company
If your employer is a French or international company you don't have to worry about formalities.
Usually the administrative services deal with all the formalities concerning the expatriate staff.
Unless you are the only representative of your company in the country (sales representative, or in charge of a liaising office ...), in this case you will have to deal with the formalities yourself.

Preparing for your departure and looking for a job :
You can start searching for information by writing to French associations established in the country, economic expansion services, commercial services of foreign banks in France and French banks abroad.

The French consulate usually has a service dealing with jobs and training, student grants and reinsertion in France, and they can put you in touch with local enterprises who are willing to accept French personnel.

 (See also in the Practical Guide for the Expatriate).

The French Chamber of Commerce also offers information about the job market, the most dynamic sectors of the economy, and edits a bulletin for French companies and local members.
You could publish a job application in this bulletin.

The Trade Commission in Greece, or the CFCE in Paris can furnish you with a list of French companies established in Greece.

Documents about the country are usually available in the cultural service of the Greek Embassy in Paris.

You can however prepare your trip in a more precise manner by making a personal appointment with the Franco-Greek Chamber of Commerce in order to complete your information and get professional advice.

While you are hunting for information you could contact companies directly by sending a spontaneous candidacy proposing your services.

The international departments of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry often have information about the country available.
Directories and useful dossiers from the country can be helpful in getting information on sectors of activity and the local economic life.

Where to find job offers :
In the French press (Le Monde, Le France Soir, Figaro, Moniteur du Bâtiment,...) for French companies sending people abroad.

In the international press, in nearly all the bigger dailies there exists a page or a selection of job offers (The European, The Guardian, Vacature, Coriere della Sera, The Geneva Tribunal ..)

Leading recruitment bureaus in Europe, and interim companies sometimes offer international jobs.

There are several data banks specializing in job offers abroad on Internet which are easily accessible.

Writing your CV and covering letter :
Your dossier is a determining element towards being recruited, it is the first step towards obtaining an interview.

The CV should be very clear, typewritten, detailled, preferably written in English and it should be accompanied by a handwritten covering letter.
Certain countries do not accord much importance to handwriting, but it is advisable to write the letter by hand whichever country it is addressed to.

If the company is French or the subsidiary of a French company, the CV and the covering letter should still be written in the language of the country.

Don't forget to attach a recent photo, preferably one where you are smiling.

Your CV should be detailled, and have the addresses and phone numbers of ex-employers on it so that the company can easily verify the main points of your candidacy.
This can save you from sending a pile of photocopies and documents with it.
You can always present these documents later during an interview if necessary.

If you are thinking of sending a false CV, you should know that a study from the Florian Mantione Institute shows that 45% of the employers check up on CVs, that 34% of the candidates are eliminated during this verification and that 60% of the verifications are made with the previous employer.
Whatever your reasons for 'adapting' your CV to suit the ad, be warned that it won't help you during the interview and could even cause you prejudice.

The questions to ask yourself before an expatriation :
What exactly is the job?
What is the length of the contract?
Is it for the whole family or with bachelor conditions?
What kind of life will you have locally?
Have you thought about when you get back, how you will manage financially to fit in again?
Do you have the necessaries qualities to be an expatriate?

Qualities you need to succeed :
emotional stability (so you can react quickly in any situation)
autonomy (you can make decisions on your own in any circumstance)
being mobile and being available for your job, being able to relocate quickly
being good at meeting people (don't forget that the expatriate is also an ambassador for his country whether in his professional or his social life.
being adaptable (you can easily adapt to different cultures, climates and life styles. )
being able to accept and understand different cultures and cultural differences
tolerance and respect of other people's way of life and way of living should be a natural part of your character.

Your family and recruiting :
Your partner should have the same ambitions as you. It is often an important factor in choosing an expatriate.
In fact some recruitment bureaus or big firms when they are recruiting, specially for long term projects, insist on having an interview with the wife to check that there are no problems in the couple which could get worse abroad and maybe disturb the mission.
Companies often propose that the whole family goes together so that a good family balance is kept.

During the recruiting :
Punctuality and precision are appreciated everywhere. Be on time for your appointments.

Be well dressed for your interview, whatever kind of job you are trying for. Your appearance will weigh with the interviewer.

First interviews are often very short but can last several hours if your candidacy is interesting, depending on the post offered, and if you have to do any psychotechnical (graphological analysis) or aptitude tests.

Be careful not to appear pretentious about your know-how and don't exaggerate your professional competence.

Don't forget that nowadays the job market is a chronic problem nearly all over the world, so take an interview appointment seriously, jobs are not easy to come by.

Emphasize your real competence, your ease of adaption, your mobility, your ability to work in a team, your readiness to pool your experience.

The company and the expatriate :
A lot of countries abroad like to have, and to show that they have, expatriates on their staff.
International personnel often bring in experience and knowledge which can be very advantageous for a company.

Salaries - Salary requirements :
If the candidate doesn't know the prospective country, it isn't always easy to negotiate a salary, especially if the amount has already been mentionned on the ad.
However, there is nothing to stop you from showing your previous salary and from discussing the salary offered.
The recruiting agent or the employer may appreciate knowing what for you is the minimum.
The standard of living that you find abroad is not always similar to the one you know in your own country and sometimes if the salary is much higher you will find that the cost of living is also.
This is one of the reasons, and there are several, including social security conditions, why it is better to go abroad with a French company.
French companies sending people overseas budget for differences in the cost of living.
They can reassure the expatriate that his purchasing power will at least be the same as in France.
The 'basic French salary' can be paid either in France or abroad, it is usually a choice, and an allowance is paid for living expenses (accomodation, food,...)
This compensation is based on the cost of living in the country.

(see the page in the expatriate guide)
If you are employed locally you will have to pay taxes in the country.
If you have an international contract your salary can be negotiated free of taxes.
In some countries income tax is deducted at source by the company.

Accomodation - company car - other fringe benefits :
It is nearly impossible to negotiate for a company house if you are employed locally. Getting a car depends on your job and your level in the company.
In a local company it will be very difficult to negotiate a paid return ticket to France every year.
There again, if you are an expatriate working for a French company you will get fringe benefits, a house, car, travel allowance, return flights to France ...
Usually international contracts give 15 days leave in France every 3 months.

Working conditions :
These are the local ones with all the attenuating advantages and disadvantages if you are working for a local company.
The expatriate is often considered as an immigrant and has to deal himself with the local formalities.

On the administrative side the expatriate does not have to worry about the formalities concerning the police, customs, immigration, income tax, visa or consular declaration.
French or European companies abroad always have an administrative department which completes all the formalities for its personnel and deals with any problems which could arise.
Foreign companies remain subject to the laws of the country in which they are working.

General information
In Greece the fundamental social unit is the family, followed by the village (xorio) which is a narrow network of family alliances.
In this traditional society, there is the employer (effendikos) who assumes all the responsibilities.
Then there comes a whole hierarchy of subordinates.
The "Parea", the company, is an essential element in Greek life.
In Greece there is a mixture of extreme individualism and group behaviour which foreigners find disturbing. Everyone expresses his own opinions during a meeting and everyone is listened to.

On the other hand it is rare to find an agenda in a meeting or an official report in Greek companies. Everything is done by consensus and meetings will be held over and over again until a compromise is reached.

Personal contact is more important than the telephone, which is only used as a last resort, and conversations tend to be very long.
The written word is avoided.
Foreigners are judged on a trust basis. The Greek language is very difficult, Greeks understand that and appreciate efforts that are made to learn it.

Social security :
The two main social insurance organisms are IKA (for employees) and the OGA (for farm workers), they cover more than 80% of the labour force.

16 - Formalities
An identity card or a valid passport is sufficient to enter the country.

Free allowance :
Gifts totalling not more than 10,500 drachmas
200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250 gms of tobacco
1 liter of alcohol over 22° or 2 liters if it is under 22°
500 gms of coffee, 100 gms of tea, 50 gms of perfume
You need a licence to export antiques.
It is forbidden to import plants.
Foreign currency :
Arriving: you can bring in 100,000 drachmas or 1000 US dollars or its equivalent
Leaving : you can take out 40,000 drachmas, depending on how much you declared on arrival

17 - Health
No vaccination is obligatory.
But it is advisable to have the usual vaccinations up to date (tetanos, typhoid, polio)
There are heatwaves nearly every summer which result in cases of dehydration - drink lots of water.
Pollution is a serious health hazard in Athens.

18 - Transport
You can get to Greece by air, train, road or sea.

By air :
Paris - Athens : 2,098 kms. The estimated flight time is 3h10.
Air France has daily flights six times a week between Paris and Athens, so does Olympic Airways.
(the Olympic Airways flight Paris-Athens and return is cheaper and the conditions are more flexible than with Air France : you can book and get your ticket issued up to two days before departure, whereas it must be fourteen days for an Air France flight.)
Cronus Airlines is the biggest private Greek airline. It also has daily flights to and from Paris, leaving Roissy at 2pm, arriving in Athens at 6.25pm. Tel 01 47 42 58 56 e-mail :
Corsair does weekly charters.
There are also flights going to Greece from Marseilles.

By train :
the trip takes between 50 and 60 hours.
The Palatino and the Parthenon trains include a ferry passage between Brindisi and Patras, while the Mozart, the Simplon Express, the Galilleo and the Orient Express include one or two changes.

By road : The distance by road between Paris and Athens is about 3,000 kms.


Internal transport :

By air :
There are several Olympic Airways flights between Athens or Thessalonika to the other main towns and to the islands
Airport Hellenikon, : (1) 96991.
Air France : 4 Karageorgi Servias, Athens. : (1) 325 5095.

Maritime :
Countless ferries and boats go between the islands, Pireus and some of the mainland ports. The trips take from 15 minutes up to several days.
During the tourist season you have to book your passage well in advance if you are travelling with your car. The prices are fairly reasonable.
The best and the cheapest way to get between the islands :
Ferry boats in Pireus : (1) 451 1311.
Jetfoils : (1) 453 7107.

For Crete :
From Pireus to Hania and vice versa (daily) (12 hrs)
Kastelli (Hania) - Kythera - Antikythera - Monemvasia - Neapolis - Agia Pelagia Gythio - Pireus and vice versa (weekly).
Pireus - Rethimno - Pireus
Pireus - Iraklio - Pireus (daily) (12 hrs).

The sea omnibus :
The maritime routes considered unprofitable, are covered by the sea omnibus.
This service was created in 1937 to ensure that unprofitable itineraries were covered by a regular service.
The state subsidizes each "dromologion" (route) so that the far out islands can have a weekly transport service.
These routes are put up for tender for annual contracts.
You have to buy tickets at least 5 days in advance in summertime (between 50 and 80 FF a one way ticket), you get them in the maritime agencies dealing with internal lines.
It is necessary to confirm the departure time from the information bureau in the port in Pireus (459 32 23) or at the tourist office in Pireus (452 25 86).
The longest route that the omnibus does can take up to 15 days, going from island to island.
The route is complicated, and sometimes disturbed by delays, break downs and bad weather.
The best place to travel is on deck, between the peasants, their baskets of olives and figs and chickens.

It is possible to rent a sailboat or a yacht, with or without a crew. You must be extremely careful however, as both boats and sailors are not always up to scratch. Watch out for the "meltem" : it can make sailing difficult and dangerous in the Cyclades in July and August.

Cruises : To see the points of interest in the islands, there is a wide choice in cruises (the point of departure is usually Pireus). Be careful, the duration of the stopovers is often extremely short.
Companies : Epirotiki Lines, Ocean Cruise Lines, American Star Lines, Royal Cruise Line, Seamborne Cruise Line, Cycladic Cruise.

Railways : There are two railway lines : one going from the north and the centre of the Peloponnese, the other crossing the centre and Macedonia. The trains are very slow (the fastest trains go at 45 kph) and not very comfortable (2 classes). They only cover a small part of the territory, but the railway company does a lot of connecting bus lines.
O.S.E. : 1-3 rue Karolou, Athens : (1) 823 77 44

19 -Time differences
The time difference with France is + 1 hour
20 - Telecommunications

To phone Greece from France dial 00 30 + town or regional code + the number of your correspondent. Athens : 1
To telephone France from Greece dial 00 33 + .

Useful numbers :
Firebrigade : 199
Police: 100
Medical assistance : 176
ELPA Tourist Information Service: 174
ELPA Road Assistance: 104
Tourist Police (GNTO): 171
Information to call abroad: 162
General information : 134
Greek railways (ticket office) : 5222 491

In Crete

Hania : regional code : 0821 Police: 24477
Rethimno : regional code : 0831 Police: 28156
Iraklio : regional code : 081 Police: 246539, 243466
Agios Nikolaos : regional code : 0841 Police: 22251

In Santorini
Police : 22649

Press :

Some Greek dailies published in Athens :
- Eleftheros Typos  (daily)
 - Eleftherotypia  (daily)
-  I Kathimerini  (daily)
- Ta Nea  (afternoon paper)
- Adesmevtos Typos (daily)

21 - Airport
Airport :
Hellinikon is 15 km out of Athens
The new Athens airport, the Venizelos, should be open in 2001. (it will replace the existing airport, the land from which will be used to create either a leisure area or a large congress centre)
There are 43 airports in Greece.

Internal flights
From Athens to the islands or vice versa :
Heraklion (HER) Corfu (CFU) Rhodes (RHO) Santorin (JTR) Mykonos (JMK) Paros (PAS) Naxos (JNX)
Children's fares : - 2 years = - 90 % ; 2 - 12 years : - 50 %.
Inter-island flights (both ways)
Heraklion (HER)- Mykonos (JMK)
Heraklion (HER) - Santorin (JTR)
Heraklion (HER) - Rhodes (RHO)
Mykonos (JMK) - Rhodes (RHO)
Santorin (JTR) - Rhodes (RHO)
Santorin (JTR) - Mykonos (JMK)
Children's fares : - 2 years = - 90 % ; 2 - 12 years : - 50 %.

22 - Car rental
Speed limit
Built up areas 50 kph, roads 80 kph, highways 120 kph

Avis has agencies all over Greece
The telephone number of the central reservation office is : 0301 3224951
Some other numbers:
Athens : airport 0301 3224951/9953440, Hotel Hilton 0301 7250301
Crete : 0832 31991
Kalymnon : 0243 28990
Karpathos : 0245 22702
Kefalonia : 0671 22770
Larissa : 041 622131
Naxos : 0285 26114/22009
Paros : 0284 24924
Patras : 061 275547
Rhodes : 0241 91700
Thessalonika : 031 227126
Corfu : 066124404
Lesvos : 0251 46171
Mykonos : 0289 22960
Samos : 0273 92341
Skiathos : 0427 21458
Zakynthos : 0695 27512

All Avis cars are completely equipped, have done less than 15,000 kms and have an average age of 3 months. The vehicles are carefully prepared and checked between each rental using a procedure containing 7 obligatory control points.
The cars are rented with a full tank.
Renting from Avis automatically means that the car passengers, renter and/or driver are covered by a third party insurance as well as an insurance covering repatriation and the immobilization of the vehicule in case of an accident.

You can reserve a car :
- from your travel agent
- from the international reservation centre at 0 820 05 05 05
- or from any Avis agency
Avis has an interactive network worldwide, a client can reserve a car instantly from anywhere in the world.

We recommend that you pay your rental using your accredited Avis card or with another credit card accepted by Avis : American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Diners.
Through a simple free membership system, Avis gives identity and/or payment cards, which are a real help for a rapid and efficient service.

REASSURING : No on-line payment, you can pay Avis directly at the agency when you return the car
RAPID : Avis has the quickest car rental reservation service on the web
ECONOMICAL : The cheapest rates on the market are available on the Avis microsite
COMPLETE : You can rent a car anywhere in the world.
The Avis network : 5000 agencies in 172 countries, is now on-line!
EFFICIENT : Find your town (you don't have to fill in the country), enter the date and click on estimate
PRACTICAL : You only have to fill in 4 boxes and you will receive an e-mail confirming the reservation.
You can even rent a vehicle at the last minute just round the corner or ... on the other side of the world.
23 - Hotels, restaurants & apartments
Athens :

Grande-Bretagne***** in the centre of town in the business district
Divani Caravel***** near the Parliament
Andromeda Athens *****. in a very quiet area of town near the American Embassy
Athens Electra Palace **** in the centre of town near the Acropole.
Economy : 3 minutes walk from the Omonia square, a lively district in Athens near the covered market. A simple and pleasant hotel.
Arethousa : in the centre of Athens between the Constitution square and the Plaka, 15 minutes from the Acropole.
Novotel : a few minutes walk from the archeological centre and the central station, in the north west of the town.

In Crete
Aphrodite Beach Hotel
Arolithos Traditional Village
Astron Hotel
Bali Star Hotel
Casa Delfino Suites
King Minos Palace Hotel
Kydon Hotel
Macaris Hotel
Marina Hotel
Minoa Hotel
Minos Hotel
Minos Mare Hotel
Nefeli Hotel
Pandora Suites
Panorama Hotel
Samaria Hotel
Xenotel Hotel


Armeni Village Hotel
Villa Mathios
Santorini Palace Hotel
Sunshine Hotel
El Greco Hotel
Hotel Galini
Kouros Village Hotel
Mediterranean Beach Hotel

Practical and cheap : take a room in someone's house - get information from the Tourist Police (tel 171) who can give you a list of approved addresses. The owners rent their rooms from 115 F a night for two people.

In both hotels and restaurants the service charge is usually included in the bill, but it is normal to leave a 5-10% tip.
24 - Your suitcase
In summer : light clothing, a couple of sweaters or a jacket to protect you from the wind (especially if you are taking a boat)
In spring or autumn : light clothing with a warm jacket and a couple of sweaters
In winter : warm clothing, although not too heavy, and a raincoat.

People dress casually, even at work.

25 - Information
The flag
The Greek flag has 5 blue horizontal lines alternating with 4 white ones. A white cross on a blue background decorates the upper left corner. Blue and white are the national colours. Blue symbolizes justice and loyalty and white symbolizes purity and decency.

Some useful words and phrases (written phonetically):
Yes: neh
No : Okhee
Please : pahrahkahlo
Thank you : ehvkhareesto
Thank you very much : ehvkhareesto polee
Everything is alright : teepotah
Good morning : Kahleemehrah
Good afternoon : kahleespehrah
Good evening : Kaleespehrah
Good night : Ahndeeo

Shop opening hours
Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays: 8.30am - 2pm
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays: 8.30am - 1.30pm 5pm - 8pm
Opening times vary from one region to another
Shops close on public holidays and sometimes on Saturday afternoons, but most of the bakeries and cafés stay open.

Office opening hours
7am - 3.30pm (public), 9am - 5pm (private) Monday to Friday

jewelry, silver ware, patanies (locally weaved fabrics), pottery and leather ware, embroidered articles, carpets

- Yassou (hello) can mean, depending on when it's said : "hello", "goodbye", "good evening" or "goodnight". Greeks rarely shake hands.
- to say no, raise your chin leaning your head a little backwards
- don't raise your hand with your fingers spread : this gesture is considered as an insult
- in a tavern or a simple restaurant you can call the waiter by clapping your hands together
- you can also go into the kitchen to choose the food that you would like
- the Greeks, like the Turks, enjoy playing with big amber beads on a sort of rosary, called a koumboloï : it's just a habit with no religious signification. The blue rosaries that you see a lot in the countryside are supposed to protect you from bad luck.
- because of the climate, it is customary to take a siesta, in summer siestas last till 4pm.
- the Acropole is open to the public until midnight on nights of the full moon.


In all the tavernas and the ouzeries you can taste mezze, tomatoes and feta cheese, stuffed marrow, and koulouri (a bread ring with sesame seeds) ... Try the yoghurt, the honey, the sweet tarts (kaltzounia), savory tarts with fennel, pilaff, xerotigana (fritters), fried cheese (staka), rabbit stew, cheese tart ... fish, shellfish, urchins, octopus, grilled squid, sardines, lobster ... figs, grapes, tomatoes and cucumbers, cheeses - graviera (gruyere), myzithra (ricotta) and staka ...
Other specialities : moussaka (stuffed tomatoes and eggplants), souvlakis (lamb on skewers), tarama (fish eggs), cakes made with honey and almonds ...

Wines : Naoussa, Porto Karas, Tsantali, fruity retsina from Minos ...


When driving : Greece has the unhappy record of having the highest rate of road accidents in Europe.
Be careful!!
Unofficial reports don't exist and a lot of cars are not insured. If you have an accident you must absolutely call the police (tel 100).
Don't forget to buckle your seat belt, the police have become very strict and there are lots of fines (especially for tourists).

Other : The Tourist Police are a very appreciable Greek speciality. They have the same powers as the normal police. You can easily recognize them by their shiny shoulder epaulettes with Tourist Police marked on them. They are there to solve all different kinds of problems.

Public holidays

1st January : New Year's Day
2nd January : Epiphany
February or March : Ash Monday
25th March : National Day
April : Orthodox Easter
1st May : Labour Day
June : Whitsuntide
15th August: Assumption
28th October : National Day
25th and 26th December : Christmas
 26 - Banks
Banking hours

Monday - Thursday : 8.30am - 1.30pm 5pm - 8pm
Friday : 8am - 1.30pm
Opening times can vary a bit depending on the regions.
27 - Schools and education
Greece spends 4.5% of its GNP on education, which is obligatory for 9 years and free at all levels of schooling.

Primary and secondary schools :
Franco-Hellenic school of Athens. Pre-school, primary, secondary 1st and 2nd cycles.
French school of Thessalonika. Pre-school, primary, secondary 1st and 2nd cycles.

Higher education :
Higher education includes the AEI system, grouping 9 universities, 2 polytechnical schools and 6 higher education schools and the TEI : 11 higher institutes of technology. Out of 16,700 students, nearly half are in the TEI.
The AEI system corresponds to our universities and engineering schools, with 4 to 6 years of study.
The TEI system is similar to a shorter higher education of 3 years, and prepares for technical jobs - the TEI is divided into specialized faculties.

The diplomas are :
- Ptychion : after 4 years of higher education (a master's degree)
- Metaptychiakon : an intermediate degree in between a master's and a Ph.D
-Didaktorikon : a Ph.D after 6, 7 or more years 

Learning Greek in France :

In university :
I.N.A.L.CO (National Institute of Languages and Eastern Civilizations).
University of Aix Marseilles - Modern Greek faculty
University of Bordeaux III - UFR in Literature - Modern Greek faculty
University of Bourgogne-Dijon - UFR in literature and philosophy, classical literature

With an association:
Grenoble : the Franco-Hellenic Association of Grenoble.
Marseilles : the cultural neo-Hellenic institute « Solomos ».
The Greek community in Marseilles.
Nantes : Hellenic Association of the Atlantic Loire.
Paris : Institute of neo-Hellenic studies of Paris
(See the addresses in our Useful Addresses list).

28 - Guides
The Greek consulate prints an information bulletin every two months called 'The Greek Echo'.
In the consulate library you can consult newspapers, monthly magazines in Greek about economics, social or cultural subjects and books in Greek or French.

Guides :

Greek Islands: Guides Bleus, ed. Hachette
Crete and Rhodes : Guides Bleus Evasion, ed. Hachette
Mainland Greece : Guide du Routard, ed. Hachette
Athens and the Greek islands : Guide du Routard, ed Hachette
Greece : Guides Verts, ed Michelin
The big Greek guide : collection La Bibliothèque du Voyageur, ed Gallimard

Books :
- « The Iliade and the Odyssey » (Homer).
- « Greek Mythology » (Pierre Grimal).
- « Greek Islands » (L. Durrell).
- « Summer in Greece, travels in Ancient Greece» (Jacques Lacarrière).
- « Le balcon de Spetsai », « Le rendez-vous de Patmos » (Michel Déon).
- « Birth of the Odyssey » (Jean Giono).
- « Travelling in the Orient» (G. de Nerval).
- « Alexis Zorba », «Christ reborn » (Nicos Kazantsakis).
- « Journal » (Seferis).
- « Les dieux s’amusent » (Denis Lindon).
- « L’Homo Delphinus » (Jacques Mayol). 

Films :
- « Z » (Costa Gravas).
- « Never on a Sunday» (J. Dassin).
- « Zorba the Greek » (Jules Dassin).
- « Le Grand Bleu » (Luc Besson).
- « Orphée aux Enfers » (Jacques Offenbach).
- « Opéra-bouffe » (Jacques Offenbach).

29 - Observations
Several centuries of history have gone into creating this cradle of civilization. It is in Greece that the idea of the worth of man was born and developed. It is from this land that the principals of freedom, equality and democracy were passed on to the rest of the world. It is from Greek philosophers that the most fundamental thoughts and ideas have crossed time to create a foundation for civilization and culture.


Athens :
The Acropole which dominates Athens is the symbol of the Hellenic civilization.
You also have to visit the Parthenon, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian's Door, the Propylees, the archeological museum, the ancient mosque of Djisdaraki, the flea market...
other archeological sites :
Areopagus - the ancient Agora- Hadrian's library- Keramikos Cemetery, (148 Ermou) - Philopappus or Hill of the Muses (opp. the Acropolis) - Lysicrates Monument or Diogenes' Lantern, - Pnyx (opp. the Areopagus) - Hadrian's Arch - the Romain market - Andronikos clock Kyrrhestes or the Wind Tower
Museums : Acropolis - Anthropological - Ethnological (47 Mikras Assias, Goudi) - Ancient Agora (Stoa of Attalus, 24 Adrianou, Thissiou Sq. ) - Byzantine (22 Vassilissis Sofias ) - Byzantine Art, Loverdou (58 Akadimias) private collection of Byzantine and postByzantine art - Goulandris, (natural history) (13 Levidou, Kifissia) - National Archaeological (1 Tositsa and Patission) - National Gallery (50 Vassileos Konstantinou Ave. ) - Greek Folk Art (17 Kydathinaion) - Greek Folk Musical Instruments (1-3 Diogenous, Plaka) - Epigraphic (1 Tositsa, ) - Zoological (Athens University, University City - Panepistimioupoli) - Theatrical (Municipal Cultural Centre, 50 Akadimias) - Goulandris Museum of Cycladic and Archaic Greek Art (4 Neofytou Douka, ) - Holy Icons (Archbishopric, 21 Filotheis) - Historic and Ethnological (Old Parliament, Stadiou & Kolokotroni Sq.) - Kanellopoulos (Theorias & Panos, Plaka) private collection - Kerameikos (148 Ermou ) - Folk Art Collection of the Centre of Research and Greek Popular Art (129 Syngrou Ave.) - Benaki Museum (Vassilissis Sofias & Koumbari) - Numismatic (1 Tositsa) - War (Vassilissis Sofias & Rizari) - City of Athens (7 Paparrigopoulou & Klathmonos Sq.) - Municipal Cultural Centre (50 Akadimias) - Gennadius Library Collection (61 Souidias) - Planetarium, Eugenidis Foundation (387 Syngrou Ave., Amfithea) - Postal (Panathinaikou Sq., 5 Stadiou & 2 Fokianou) - Trains (301 Liossion)- Dafni Monastery - Kaisariani Monastery (on Mt. Hymettus)
Herod Atticus Odeum
from June to September, ancient plays, opera, music, dance. Greek and international troupes. Information : Athens Festival tel: 3221459
Athens Concert Hall Big orchestras tel: 7282333.
Son et Lumière tel: 3221459.

Mt Olympus : the legendary home of the gods and the highest peak in Greece (3000 m)
Metsovo : a village-museum with its winding little roads with uneven cobble stones
Delphes : famous for its oracles, the temple of Apollo and the beauty of the panorama stretched out below

The Peloponnese
Olympia : in the enchanting surroundings of pine trees and flowering Judas trees, the antique columns of this mythical place remind us of the dreams of peace which brought men together for the first Olympic games a little over 2700 years ago
Corinthe : with its amazing canal
Epidaurus : and its theatre dating from the IVth century BC
Mistra : ancien Byzantine capital
Mycenes : legendary city (the first capital of the Greek state in 1829) with its impressive Venitian fortress which looks as if it is still standing guard on the old town which goes down in tiers to the port, bathed by the calm waters of the Gulf of Argolide
: a little fortified medieval town with ramparts overhanging the sea. It can only be visited on foot. Through little streets and past flowered houses you climb to the ruins of the citadel.
Koroni : splendid fishing village with whitewashed houses

The islands

Corfu : beautiful ruins of the ancient Greek town, Byzantine churches and the relics of the Venitian domination (1386-1797). The port is important and the island is a tourist centre. It is situated in the Ionian sea.
Zante : with its capital Zachyntos, known as the "Flower of the Levante", the Venitian domination has left its mark on this elegant town
Rhodes :
the Museum in the Hospital of the Knights, ruins of the temple Athena, the fortified castles.
Crete : Ottoman, Venetian, Arab and Byzantine vestiges, the Palace of Knossos.
Crete is the biggest island in Greece. Majestic mountains rise up in the centre - the White Mts, Psiloritis, Dikti. The countryside is very diversified : wild and arid, forests and fields, olive trees, orange trees, vineyards, gardens, old stone farmhouses, monasteries and villages perched on the hilltops, forgotten castles and chapels, rocks and beaches. The main towns are Heraklion, Hania, Rethimno, Iraklio, Agios Nikolaos and Sitia, which are all on the north coast. Ierapetra is the only port on the south coast opposite Africa.
Evenings are an enchantment, spent in an open air cinema sitting next to a flowering jasmin, or in a bakers shop, or around a taverna table at the edge of the sea, walking along an empty beach or even in a bar or a discotheque in one of the luxury hotels.
Santorini : one of the Cyclade islands, 96 sq. kms, lying 130 nautical miles from Pireus. It is a volcanic island. On the west coast there are high cliffs plunging into the sea, crowned with little white houses. Long beaches stretch along the east coast. The capital is Fira, to reach it you have to climb by donkey or go in the funiculaire to get there from the port of Skala. Fira is a beautiful old town with a very interesting museum. The monastery of the Prophet Elijah (Profitis Ilias) is perched on the highest summit in Santorini. Ia is a lovely little town, 11 kms out of Fira.

Mykonos : the island of 365 chapels is also famous for its beaches, which count among the most beautiful in the Cyclades.

Spetses : the island with no cars, you get around in a horse drawn carriage - the poetic "amaxes" - on the Dapia quays or from Paleo Limani. The Spetse coasts are known as the splendor of the Saronica islands, and are full of idyllic creeks, that you can get to by boat.

Skyros : "the island of pirates and 188 chapels" in the Sporades archipelego. Some houses are decorated with pirate treasure recuperated from shipwrecks in the Aegean sea in the 18th century. In this wild island where nature is cruel and living is precarious there is a unique species of ponies. There are also strange shepherds who, each year in February, go through ancient fertility rites.

Useful addresses in France

Greek Embassy
17, rue Auguste Vacquerie
75116 Paris
Tel 01 47 23 72 28 - Fax 01 47 55 95 19

Greek Consulate
23, rue de Galilée
75116 Paris
Tel 01 47 23 72 73 Fax 01 47 20 70 28

Greek national Tourist Office
3, avenue de l’Opéra
75001 Paris
Tel 01 42 60 65 75 - Fax 01 42 60 10 28
Internet :

Learning Greek in France


Neo-Hellenic Cultural Institute« Solomos »
64, rue Saint Savarin
13001 Marseille
Tel 04 9154 19 34.

Greek community of Marseilles
29 rue Saint Ferréol
13001 Marseille.

Hellenic association of Loire atlantique,
11, Impasse du Dr Pierre Lepine
48800 Saint-Herblain
Tel 02 40 63 75 32

Institute of neo-Hellenic studies of Paris
19 bis rue Fontaine
75009 Paris:
Tel 01 48 74 09 56

Hellenic Community of Grenoble
3, rue Général Mangin
38100 Grenoble

Hellenic Community of Pont de Cheruy
73, rue Réveil
Charvieu - Chavagneux
38230 Pont de Cheruy

Cultural association 'Orphée'
3, rue Général Mangin
38100 Grenoble
Tel. 04 76 87 51 96

Circle of Philhellenics of'Isère
Greek consulate - 9, rue de la Liberté
38000 Grenoble
Tel. 04 76 47 39 23 Fax 04 76 47 37 76

Association of Hellenic students of Grenoble
Greek consulate - 9, rue de la Liberté
38000 Grenoble
Tel. 04 76 47 39 23 Fax 04 76 47 37 76
Student association created under the aegis of the Greek consulate, grouping Greek students in Grenoble who want to make their stay easier and at the same time make friends with French students

Greek Orthodox church "Saint Georges"
3, rue Général Mangin
38100 Grenoble

Greek Orthodox church « Saint Alexandre»
73, rue Réveil
Charvieu - Chavagneux
38230 Pont de Cheruy

Useful addresses in Greece


French Embassy
Leoforos Vassilissis
Sofias 7
10671 Athens
Tel : (1) 3611663

(Greek Tourist Office)
2 Amerikis str.
10564 Athens
Tel: 30.1.331 06 92

French Trade Commission
2, rue Michalakopoulou
11528 Athens
tel 00 30 1 724 05 17 Fax 00 30 1 724 63 18
Site interet :

French Trade Commission in Thessalonika
8, rue Mackenzie King
54622 Thessalonika
Tel 00 30 31 241 138 Fax 00 30 31 241 469

Franco-Hellenic Chamber of Commerc
5, rue Dimocritou
10671 Athens
Tel 00 30 1 362 55 45 Fax 00 30 1 363 81 06


Studying in Greece

Language courses :

X.a.n (ymca)
36 Akademias str.
Tel : 30.1.362.99.70
or : 30.1.362.59.60

Athens University
30 Panepistimiou str.
: 30.1.360.11.84

Other courses :

Ministry of education (dept of studies and student care)
15 Mitropoleos str.
10185 Athens
Tel: 30.1.323.04.61

National scholarship foundation
14 Lysicratous str.
10558 Athens
Tel : 30.1.325.43.85

Institute of Foreign Languages of the University Club of Athens
15 rue Hippocratous
: 361 3261

School of Modern Greek of the University of Salonica
54006 Salonica
Tel : (31) 991 380

University of Thrace
17 rue Dimokritou
69100 Komotini
Tel : (0531) 27016

Higher School of Beaux-Arts of Athens ( painting, sculpture, engraving)
42, rue Patission
10682 Athinaï

American College of Greece
Deree College
6 Gravias Street
15342 Aghia Papaskevi

Ionian Centre of Scientific and Intercultural Studies
11, rue Lyssiou
10556 Athinai

University Club of Athens
School of foreign languages
15 rue Hippocratous

College Year in Athens
PO Box 17176
9 Vassileos Georgiou II Street
10024 Athinaï

Foundation of Balkanic studies
International summer school
PO Box 10611
54110 Thessaloniki

General secretariat for continuing education
417, rue Akharnon

University of Crete
Education dept
74100 Rethymno

University centre for the recognition of diplomas and studies abroad
Leoforos Sigrou 112


Primary and secondary studies 

French-Hellenic School
Rue Trikalon et Chlois
BP 60050 Aghia Paraskevi
15301 Athens
Tel : (30 1) 63 95 420
Fax : (30 1) 60 03 460

French School of Thessalonika
2 Leoforos Stratou
54640 Thessalonika
Tel: (30 31) 82 12 31
Fax : (30 31) 84 12 83.

Working in Greece

Immigration dept
163 Alexandras av.
Tel : 30.1.646.81.03

State unemployment agency (oaed)
52 Pireos str.
Tel : 30.1.524.05.27

Chambof Commerce
Hellenic Chamber of Commerce
7 Akademias str.
Tel: 30.1.360.24.11


Short term :

Helenic youth hostel federation
4 Dragatsaniou str.
Tel: 30.1.323.41.07
or : 30.1.323.75.90


General secretariat for press and information
Information dept
10 Zalokosta str.
10163 Athens
Tel: 30.1.363.09.11
or : 30.1.363.00.31

Theatre, dance and music

Festival of Athens
4 Stadiou str.
Tel : 30.1.322.14.59
or : 323.23.71

Festival of Patras : or :

Festival of Epidaurus : 30.1.322.31.11

Festival of Philippes and Thassos :

The theatre of Lycabette : 30.1.322.14.59

Dimitria :

The festival of music and theatre of Ithaque : 30.674.32.795

The international cultural encounters of Delphes : 30.1.723.39.43

Audio visual

The Greek film festival of Thessalonika
Information from the Ministry of civilization
: 30.1.364.21.29

The short film festival :


Eommex-hellenic organization of arts and crafts companies
16 Xenias and Ebrou str.
11528 Athens
Tel: 30.1.771.50.02

Ministry of culture
Artistic festival's coordination dept
Tel. 30.1.324.60.64


Congress and conference centres

Athens College Theater
Stefanou Delta
65005 Psihiko
: (30 1) 671 75 23

Centre of Ionian studies
11 rue Lyssiou Plaka,
105 56 Athens
Tel: (30 1) 360 44 48

20 rue Academias
106 71 Athens
Tel: (30 1) 363 26 01

Esp panteios
School of political science Panteios.
136 av.Syngrou
17564 Athens
Tel: (30 1) 923 82 08

The Eugenidion Foundation
387 av.Syngrou
17564 Athens
Tel : (30 1) 941 11 81

Palace of Music
08 av.Vassilissis Sophias et Kokkali
115 21 Athens
Tel : (30 1) 729 06 37.



Hotel Grande-Bretagne*****
Constitution Square
105 63 Athens
Tel : (30 1) 331 4555

Divani Caravel Hotel*****
2 Vas.Alexandrou Ave
161 21 Athens
Tel : (30 1) 72 53 725.

Andromeda Athens Hotel*****
22 Timoléontos Vassoy ST
115 21 Athens
Tel : (30 1) 6437302.

Athens Electra Palace Hotel****
18 Nikodimou str.Plaka District
105 57 Athens
Tel : (30 1) 32 41 401




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