"I have been to Germany and France."
Plain た form verb+ごとがあります。is the structure for saying that you have done something (more literally translated it's like "have the experience of doing).
日本料理を食べたことがあります。I have eaten Japanese food.
中国語を勉強したことがありません。I have not studied Chinese.
カナダに住んだことがある。I have lived in Canada (Plain form).
ロシアに住んだことがない。I have not lived in Russia (Plain form).
Here's Tae Kim on the topic: http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/genericnouns#Using_to_say_whether_something_has_happened
Does this mean Japanese has a perfect verb form- not that it is always a perfect verb- just often?
You can definitely leave out が in this sentence. It's not ungrammatical and very common. But with が should be the standard answer.
You will hear the omission of ga and ha in common speech, but it isn't correct grammar. You dont go to English 101 and expect slang to get good grades, either.
Yes but you need to learn the long forms first to know that something is being abbreviated when it happens.
What is wrong with mine ドイツとフランスに行ったことがありました。
One cannot use past tense ...mashita with ...koto structure?
this structure is always -たごとがある。to make ある past tense would be like saying you used to have had the experience of having gone to germany and france, but you no longer do, which is impossible (at least, not without time machines to go back and change the past). hth
So it's something like saying
"It was true that I've been to Germany"
It makes no sense to use past tense there.
because the original sentence does not have this type of "incoplete list of things や”
If the original sentence were "I've been to places like Germany and France", then your translation would be right.
When you use や to list some things, it's an incomplete list. When you use と, its a complete list.
I've been to europe。I've been to countries like France and Germany. (this implies, that you also visited more countries, but do not bother to list them all)
I've been to europe. I've been to France and Germany. A complete list of two things, does not imply, that there are more countries that you visited.