Dreaming of A Trip to Paris?

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About the city of Paris

France receives more tourists than any other country in the world, and its incomparable capital city is one of its biggest draws. Paris is a showcase of France’s great reputation for good food, fine wines, high fashion, impressive architecture, and both classic and cutting-edge art. Paris has a 2016 estimated population of 2.2 million inhabitants, and a 2019 greater metropolitan area population estimated at nearly 11 million.

When is the Best Time to Take a Trip to Paris

Spring (April-June) and fall (September to early November) are the most pleasant times for traveling to Paris. During these months the weather is mild and the city is less packed with tourists. The summers can be hot and crowded. Winters are cool but rarely below freezing.

Clothing for a Trip to Paris

Two of the most important items needed on a trip to Paris are an all-weather coat and a comfortable pair of shoes. For day to day wear, opt for clothing that is comfortable but chic. Of course classy restaurants, clubs, and upscale social events call for more formal dressing. Women should consider packing a little black dress/cocktail dress as some restaurants have a dress code or may leave one feeling underdressed if one’s attire is too casual. When visiting any religious site, please refrain from wearing sleeveless shirts and shorts, as they are frowned upon at such places.

Culture

Language

French is the official language and it is highly recommended to learn at least some very basic phrases to be able to greet and take leave of others courteously, and to ask for prices and sizes. Here is a suggestion for an excellent French phrasebook to help. Parisians often have busy lives and like most people can be brusque with those they perceive as inconsiderate, discourteous, or wasting their time. It is best to try to start any interaction with at least a greeting in French (“bonjour” if appropriate time of day, and always when entering a shop) before asking if the other person speaks English.

Greeting and interacting with Parisians

In social situations shaking hands is a customary greeting, and women often touch cheek to cheek and do an air kiss (“la bise”). Most tourists however will not need more than a handwave greeting and bonjour. People that you interact with such as shopkeepers or wait staff should be addressed as monsieur or madame.

Although a sizable percentage of Parisians smoke, smoking is banned in public spaces.

 

Sightseeing on a Trip to Paris

Paris, the City of Lights, is a huge metropolis with many attractions, all within reachable distance thanks to the highly efficient public transportation system. The city boasts more than 80 museums and 200 art galleries.
Get the Paris Museum Pass, which gives access to more than 50 monuments and museums.

Some Noteworthy Attractions:

Notre Dame–site of many noteworthy events in France’s long history and largest cathedral in Paris; famous gargoyles. Undergoing renovations after recent fire

Disneyland Paris The most popular amusement park in Europe

Sacré-Cœur (Basilique du Sacré-Cœur)— Roman Catholic Basilica at the top of the hill of Montmartre, one of the best views of the city

The Palace of Versailles– the principal royal residence in France from the late 17th century until the Louis XVI and the French Revolution

The Louvre— the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Liberty Leading the People,  the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and other priceless treasures

The Eiffel Tower– quintessential symbol of Paris

Centre Pompidou– the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe
Musee D’Orsay-Art museum on the left bank of the Seine, with an emphasis on French impressionism
Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie– this is purported to be the largest science museum in Europe. Planetarium, submarine, IMAX.
Les Invalides– military-related museums and monuments, burial place of Napoleon
Arc de Triomphe– one of Paris’ most famous monuments, located in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle at the western end of the Champs-Élysées.
Sainte Chapelle– medieval Gothic Chapel, breathtaking stained glass
Tour Montparnasse– the only skyscraper in Paris, with incredible views
Pantheon– building in the Latin Quarter which serves as a mausoleum; amazing architecture; burial site of Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Emile Zola, Louis Braille, Marie and Pierre Curie, and others.

 

Shopping

Although service tax is included in the bill, a modest tip might be considerate. You can always leave a euro note or your change as a tip.

Electricity

220-volt, 50-cycle AC current.

Getting There

Air France is the top French airline.  Paris – Charles de Gaulle Aiport, also known as Roissy Airport, is the largest airport in France, and is located 23 km north of the city. There is bus, taxi, hotel shuttle, and limousine service available at the airport for transport into Paris.  For getting around the airport, there is a free interterminal shuttle train called CDGVAL, which links all the terminals as well as the parking garages within 8 minutes, and which runs every 4 minutes from 4 am to 1 am.

Further, there are two railway train stations that connect to the airport.  One is at the Roissypole complex, where an RER (commuter/rapid transit) Line B train station (Aeroport CDG 1) is located. Service is available to and from Paris here, and trains run every 15 minutes from 5 in the morning until midnight. Note: this station is not located at terminal 1, as the name might suggest, but at the CDGVAL shuttle train stop for terminal 3.  The second train station is Aeroport CDG 2 TGV, which is located beneath terminal 2 of the airport.  Both an RER Line B train stop with service to Paris, as well as a TGV intercity high-speed rail station are located here.

The other major international airport that offers flight services to Paris is Paris-Orly, which is located 13 km south of Paris.  There is a quick and convenient Orlyval shuttle train between different areas of the airport. The Orlyval shuttle also connects to the Antony RER line B train station, permitting travel into Paris.  (One can also take a shuttle bus from the airport to Pont de Rungis RER line C stop and travel from there into the city). Other transportation options here include bus, metro, and tram service, and hotel shuttles.

 

Currency

Euro (EUR; symbol €) = 100 cents. The Euro comes in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins come in denominations of €2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents

 

Opening hours at restaurants

Restaurants are generally open from around 11:30 – 2pm for lunch and 7-10 pm for dinner.
Tap water is generally considered safe for consumption. In Paris there are elegant sculpted public water fountains called Wallace fountains that distribute potable water, mostly located along the most-frequented sidewalks.