Paris is of course the City of Lights, it has that romantic ring about it, it's vibrant, full of life, elegant, sexy, dynamic, quiet, introvert, the Seine, the Eifel Tower, the Louvre, Montmartre, painters, artists, dance, the Moulin Rouge, Le Crazy Horse, Sacre Coeur, the Notre Dame, in fact, I could fill this whole page with superlatives, but even then I would not be able to describe the essence of Paris. There is but one way to experience Paris and that's to go there and spend some time, at your leisure. Don't think you can see Paris in a day. You do need at least a week to get the feel of the city. And that is a definite minimum.
- Money: Euro (€ 1.00 equals about US$ 1.32).
- Voltage: 220 V
- Calls to Holland: 1931 -
- Time compared to GMT +1
Transport: Underground (Metro), bus, train, tram, taxi.
Health: No special requirements.
Activities and tips: To start, get your self a public transport card, valid for at least a few days. You will find it invaluable. You can get it at nearly all Metro (underground) stations, There are several sorts: The Carte Orange is the most economical, used by most Parisians. They are valid for a week or a month. 1 - 5 Zones would see you through most of Paris. You can get them at the Metro stations, but also at most tobacco shops.They seem expensive, but remember you can travel through Paris without restriction, by Metro, bus or tram or train. For a week you pay € 25.70. A whole month would be € 51.50. Another way is to buy a Carnet. That's a booklet of 10 tickets for 10 trips and will cost you € 10.70. Whatever you do, hang on to your used ticket! You can travel anywhere with one ticket in the Metro, but once you go up to the surface and leave the station, you may have to produce it. If you can't, it means an immediate fine of € 35,00. There is also a card called the Paris Visite card. No photo needed. It can be bought for 1, 2, 3, or 5 consecutive days, starting on any day of the week. That opens up all public transport for you, but also the RER (the Transilien SNCF trains) and sightseeing busses and trams. Zones 1 - 3 include Paris and the nearby suburbs, while zones 1 - 5 include Paris and surounding areas like Versailles, Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports and Disneyland. Also available at the stations. You will find the Metro the most comfortable and efficient means of going around in Paris (and that is usually true for all cities in the world that have an underground!).
There is also a museum card, which opens up the doors to at least 70 museums, including the Louvre, Orsay, Arc de Triomphe, modern art, Notre Dame, Pantheon, Rodin, Saint Chapelle, etc. Again valid for 1, 3 or 5 days. Most of these cards and other tickets can be bought online (La Conciergerie Paris Museum Pass. and even sent to your hotel. The Museum Card is only worth it if you really visit many museums or special buildings, as the price is not exactly cheap: a one day pass costs you US$ 25.20 and a pass for 3 days will set you back US$ 50.40. Please note: price is in US$!)
Whatever you do, enjoy yourself at least one day at the biggest fleemarket in the world. The Puces (fleemarket) de Saint-Ouen, at Porte de Clignancourt (near the Gare du Nord) is open on Saturday, Sunday and Monday between 07.00 and 19.00 hours. It is the most extensive fleemarket between cloudscrapers in the world, Items from food to antiques. It is the most picturesk of Paris. There are more fleemarkets, but this one is the top of tops. 0h yes, try one of the boat trips on the river Seine. Especially at night, this trip will be remembered for a long time! You can embark at Pont de l'Alma (right bank), or Pont d'lena (left bank), Pont-Neuf at Square du Vert-Galant, Pont du Suffren, Quai du Point-du-Jour or at Rue d'Athenes. I could tell you where to eat, but in Paris there is no need. You can eat just around the corner or even next door. No matter where you stay. You can find quite a few cheap hotels in the region directly under the Sacre Coeur, like the hotels Porte de Versailles, Armstrong, De L'Europe, Cecil etc. There are many within walking distance from the Gare du Nord, one of the biggest railway stations of Paris. The hotels are simple (2 star), but good and reasonably cheap. And always within walking distance from a Metro station. Usually you will be able to get breakfast, but no other meals. But I bet you can find a small restaurant or snackbar within a 100 yards from your hotel. It has an advantage: it gives you the chance of sampling different tastes and dishes! Naturally there are umteen fastfood restaurants galore in Paris. No need to tell you that. And I don't think there is any need to tell you to visit the standard sights of Paris, like the Eifel Tower, Montmartre with its artists, etc. Just go anywhere and enjoy Paris!
Weather in Paris
Info from Lonely Planet
French Tourist Office
Tourist information on Paris
Info from traveldocs on France
Copyright © 1998-2010 Luuk Francken
Created: September 29, 2005. Updated: mei 29 2011