1 / GENERAL
Paris is the capital of France, and it is also the largest city (by far!)
Population: over 2.2 million (12 million if you include the Paris region in its entirety).
Density: 21289 inhab./km2
Name of inhabitants: "Parisians".
Districts: Paris is one of the few French cities which has to be divided into districts (along with Lyon and Marseille). There are 20.
Region: Ile de France
Postal Code: from 75001 to 75020
2 / TRANSPORT
Don't worry! Paris is a city where it is easy to get about, again, it is not very large, you can cross it very quickly. You have a great selection of transport options at your disposal: the bus (more than 100 lines), different trains (the Metro has 16 lines, plus the RER, etc.), taxi, car and even the bicycle rental network "Velib" which covers all of Paris and also some neighbouring cities.
Paris has a large bus network. There are more than 100 lines available. You can go anywhere in Paris by bus.
Our opinion: The bus is very convenient but it should be avoided during peak hours because there are a lot of people on the roads and traffic can slow down considerably so avoid travelling by bus from 8am to 10am and later on in the day between 5:30PM and 7PM.
We strongly recommend that you have a map of the bus routes as the network is very dense, so it is very complex even for a Parisian! You can also go to a subway station and ask for a free map at the counter! Here is a plan to download or print
Price: 1 ticket costs about € 1.70, this price may vary depending on the destination, you can also benefit from reductions by buying multiple tickets or by buying a travel card for the day or week (ask locally).
For further information (the official website of the RATP, the company in charge of the bus network) www.ratp.fr
- TRAIN (Metro, RER, Transilien and mainline)
The train network in Paris is very dense. Each type of train has a specific purpose.
1 - The Metro (more than 16 lines) is the ideal form of transport for getting around Paris. Some lines also extend to the towns surrounding Paris. You never need to wait long for a train (they usually run every 2 to 5 minutes depending on the line and the time of day).
Our advice: This should be avoided at peak hours because it can get very crowded and your trip will be less enjoyable. So do not take the Metro between 8AM and 9 AM in the morning or between 6PM and 7PM in the evening.
We recommend that you also look out for pickpocket who, according to the RATP regularly target the Metro. They will most likely try to steal from tourists (who carry cameras, money and mobile phones). So be careful but don't get paranoid about it, in reality it's relatively rare to be targetted.
Map of subway lines
Other information: www.ratp.fr
Price: 1 ticket costs about € 1.70 You can also benefit from reductions by buying multiple tickets or buy buying a travel card for the day or week (inquire locally). Rates here
2 - The RER (Réseau express régional/Regional Express Network)
This can be used for travelling to Paris but it will be especially handy for travelling to towns outside Paris (e.g. to go to Disneyland or if the place where you're staying is a bit away from the city).
RER trains cover longer distances in a minimum of time. This has to be set against the fact that the ticket price is a little higher than the Metro (except if you stay in Paris itself). It is difficult to give a price range as each route is different. You will therefore need to ask locally at the ticket desk in the train station.
Our advice: If you take the RER out of Paris, you need to pay attention to the final destination because the branches are divided. There are lighted noticeboards on the station platforms to let you know which stations each train stops at. If you are at all unsure, do not hesitate to ask other travellers, regular users of the RER are very well informed on this subject.
3 - Transilien and TER
Both trains are operated by the SNCF company, you can use them if you want to go some distance away from Paris. These trains are useless if you stay in Paris. They can be useful if you are far from Paris.
4 – Mainline trains - SNCF lines
These trains cover most of France, so you can go to towns far away from Paris very quickly. For example, it is possible to reach the city of Marseille in 3 hours (this is the line which currently has the fastest train).
In terms of prices, it will depend on your route. In certain circumstances, an airline ticket can amount to the same price. You must therefore ask at the time.
Timetable and reservations: www.voyages-sncf.com
Low cost train tickets: www.idtgv.com and www.ouigo.com
- AIR TRANSPORT
There are 2 airports located close to Paris and another one located near enough for the low cost airlines.
1 - Airport Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG), also known as Roissy Airport, is located 23km North-East of Paris and is the largest airport in France. If you come from abroad, there is 90% chance that this will be your place of arrival.
More information: www.aeroportsdeparis.fr
2 - The second is called Orly airport and is located 14 km south of Paris. It is generally used for domestic flights or flights to Spain, Tunisia, Morocco and some other destinations.
More information: www.aeroportsdeparis.fr
3 - Paris Beauvais Airport is actually located quite far from Paris, it is located about 70 km away. Chargeable shuttles are available for travellers to the capital. This airport is only reserved for low cost flights (Ryanair and Easyjet).
More information: www.aeroportbeauvais.com
To connect with or go to these three airports, there are different means of transport are at your disposal. Here is the list www.france-hotel-guide.com
- CAR (Rental and taxis)
We must say, motoring in Paris is a sport in itself! If you are not in the habit of big cities, find some other way to travel, other means of transport are much cheaper and much faster. The evening is the only time you can move easily and without congestion. The city of Paris is badly designed as far as going by car is concerned, between the bus lines and the deliveries, going by car quickly becomes a nightmare.
Car Rentals: For the more adventurous, a system of public car rental is available. It is called Autolib and its concept is quite original. There are “access points” throughout Paris and also in nearby cities, where there are cars freely available to hire. You can hire a 100% electric car for only 10 minutes or for much longer if you wish.
In short, Autolib is an original means of transport and it is also a non-polluting one as the cars are all 100% electric. This makes them a good gesture for the planet!
More information about prices for Autolib and information on how it works
There are of course other "classic" car rental agencies like Avis, Europcar, Sixt and many others.
Taxi: We'd like to tell you right away, taking a taxi is very expensive. The minimum price is 5 Euros (even before going in), and at this price, you will not even get 500 meters!. You can find them fairly easily in the special taxi "terminals".
Caution: It is quite difficult to find a taxi for hire on the street, you can find yourself waiting a long time.
Sample rate: somewhere between €55 and €65 for a trip between Paris and the airport Roissy Charles de Gaulle (CDG)
Use a bicycle is a very good way to get around Paris. If weather conditions permit then it is very enjoyable to enjoy the beauty of Paris by bike.
The city of Paris has developed a little bike network service, which is called "Velib". You will find terminals all over Paris as well as in neighbouring cities. This service is not free but then, of course, it is not very expensive! This is the right plan at the right price if you want to visit Paris and enjoy the great outdoors!
More information about renting a Velib
Fees and tariffs
3 / WHEN TO GO?
Paris is magical no matter what the season, Every moment of the year has its advantages and disadvantages, here we tell you about some of the most interesting times!:
- Summer and especially the month of August: This is probably our favourite time! Firstly, taking a vacation in August is a very French tradition and Parisians often take advantage of this month to take leave, with the result that Paris becomes "empty", there is less traffic, it is less crowded, and there is a significant improvement on comfort, when going by transport and for sightseeing (you do not have to wait in long queues).
Secondly, the weather in August is very nice, it's hot but it certainly is beautiful! What could be more beautiful than to stroll along the banks of the Seine and enjoy a soft luminosity right up to 10 o'clock at night while having a drink?
Finally, it is advantageous to book a hotel in August, there are fewer people in Paris, so hoteliers seek to bring in the tourists by offering great promotions to fill rooms. So you'll save!
- The spring (mid-March to June): This is undoubtedly the sunniest period in Paris. It is often more beautiful in spring than in summer, there is also less heat and this is no small benefit in a big city like Paris. The downside? Well this period is very busy, hence all hotels are quickly booked full and you will find yourself in the most expensive time of year. Obviously there are years where you will see less sun, and yes you can't have it all, the climate in Paris can be quite capricious, but this does not detract from the charm of this wonderful city...
- The period of Noel/Xmas (all December): A visit to Paris at this time is an enchantment, you can enjoy not only the Christmas decorations, but above all the most beautiful lighting that can be found all along the Champs Elysées. Each year, the City Hall surpasses imagination to create a magical atmosphere. Also on the Champs Elysées, you can enjoy a Christmas market of hundreds of small chalets with typical products.
The Place de l'Hôtel de Ville (near rue de Rivoli) also offers a wonderful discovery in the shape of a free, open-air ice rink. If you pay a visit the capital in December, you must absolutely not forget to stroll in front of the window of the galeries Lafayette department stores on the Grands Boulevards. It is a magical moment!
Finally, the hotel rates are also very low toward the end of December, you can easily find good deals to spend a weekend in the city and do your last-minute Christmas shopping.
4 / INFORMATION AND USEFUL ADDRESSES
Paris Tourist Office: www.parisinfo.com
Emergency numbers: 112 (in the Euro area, 112 redirects to the numbers 15,17,18,115 and 119)
Fire Brigade: dial 18
Samu (medical emergencies): dial 15
Police: dial 17
Missing Children: call 116
Public Transport (bus, Metro and RER) www.ratp.fr
Bicycle Rental "Velib" www.velib.paris.fr
Rental of electric cars "Autolib" www.autolib.eu
Taxis in Paris:
Airports in Paris: www.aeroportsdeparis.fr
Museums and attractions :
The Eiffel Tower: www.tour-eiffel.fr
The Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris: www.notredamedeparis.fr
The Basilica of the Sacré Coeur: www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com
The Louvre: www.louvre.fr
The Museum of Contemporary Art "Centre George Pompidou (Beaubourg)" www.centrepompidou.fr
The National Library of France (BNF): www.bnf.fr
The Grand Palais museum: www.grandpalais.fr
The Musée d'Orsay: www.musee-orsay.fr
The Musée du Quai Branly: www.quaibranly.fr
5 / BUDGET IN PARIS
Prices shown below are indicative, they are based on a hotel room for two people (double). Rates may vary depending on the season.
- Super Budget: less than €50 (at this price don't expect any luxury, rooms will be functional but very basic, hotels in this price range are places to sleep, nothing more, if you have a little more money in your budget, keep reading).
- Budget: €50 to €70 (functional hotels, decent, rather basic).
- Mid Range: from €70 to €100 (at these prices you can start to look at better quality accommodation, you may come across beautiful boutique hotels for example).
- Chic: €100 to €150 (this is the sort of price range for the 3 and 4 star hotels, you will find beautiful, well-placed hotels for the price!).
- Very chic: from €150 to more than €500 (this sort of price range is charged by the 4 and 5 star hotels, for this you can expect a beautiful hotel, very well decorated, comfortable and generally very well located).
Take a look at our website to find a place to stay in Paris
The prices listed below are given as indicative they concern a meal for one person.
- To fill a hole: €5 to €15 (sandwich shops, fast food)
- Super Budget: less than €15 (usually lunchtime, in non-tourist area)
- Budget: €15 to €25 (at that price you can go to good little restaurants and have a starter and main course plus dessert).
- Mid Range: €25 to €35 (this is generally the price range for a good-quality set menu with a starter, main and dessert).
- Chic: €35 to €50 (this price point will allow you to enjoy French cuisine, just be careful to avoid tourist traps, you are going to pay these prices there for something pretty average).
- Super chic: More than €50 (for a menu priced over €50, you will be able discover sublime culinary creations!).
- Ticket-bus / metro: about € 1.70 (this rate goes up usually every 6 months).
- A taxi ride will cost between €15 and €40 (depending on the route, time and whether the journey takes place in or near Paris).
- Bike Hire "Velib": €1.70 for 30min, there is a subscription for the day, after more than 30 minutes away you pay extra for the time exceeded (tip: you can put your bike in a Velib station before the 30 minutes are up and take another one for 30min for free. Paris encourages people to do quick errands by bike rather than renting them for a long time).
6 / UNMISSABLE VISITS!
Paris is a very culturally rich city, it takes a long time to be able to discover it. Here is a list of places to visit and the priority if you do not have much time ahead of you.
The Centre Georges Pompidou (4th arrondissement - 19 Rue Beaubourg)
The City of Science and Industry (19th arrondissement - 30 Avenue Corentin Cariou)
The Grand Palace (8th arrondissement - 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower)
The Louvre (1st arrondissement - 34 quai du Louvre)
The Museum of Modern Art (16th arrondissement - 11 Avenue du Président Wilson)
The Musée d'Orsay (7th arrondissement - 1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur)
The Picasso Museum (3rd arrondissement - 5 Rue de Thorigny)
The Musée du Quai Branly (7th arrondissement - 37 Quai Branly)
The Rodin Museum (7th arrondissement - 79 Rue de Varenne)
The BNF-Mitterrand French National Library (13th arrondissement - Quai François Mauriac)
The Grand Palace (8th arrondissement - 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower)
Les Invalides (7th arrondissement 129 Rue de Grenelle)
Notre-Dame-de-Paris (4th arrondissement - 19 Rue Beaubourg)
Opera Garnier (9th arrondissement - 8 Rue Scribe)
The Palais Royal (1st arrondissement - 8 Rue de Montpensier)
The Panthéon (5th arrondissement - Place du Panthéon)
The Sacré Coeur (18th arrondissement - 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre)
The Eiffel Tower (7th arrondissement - 5 Avenue Anatole France)
Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) (4th arrondissement - Place de l'Hôtel de ville)
Buttes-Chaumont (19th arrondissement - 1 Rue Botzaris)
Jardin des Tuileries (1st arrondissement - Place de la Concorde)
Jardin des Plantes (5th arrondissement - 36 rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire)
Luxembourg Garden (6th arrondissement))
Parc de la Villette (19th arrondissement - 211 Avenue Jean Jaurès).
- Famous places:
The Bastille (11th arrondissement)
The Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe (8th arrondissement)
The Grands Boulevards (9th arrondissement)
The Place de la Concorde (8th arrondissement)
The Place des Vosges (4th arrondissement)
The Place Vendome (1st arrondissement)
Pont-Neuf (1st arrondissement)
Rue des Rosiers (4th arrondissement)
Rue Mouffetard (5th arrondissement)
Ménilmontant and Belleville (20th arrondissement)
Butte-aux-Cailles (13th arrondissement)
Ile de la Cité (1st arrondissement)
Ile Saint-Louis (4th arrondissement)
Le Marais (3th and 4th arrondissement)
Montmartre (18th arrondissement)
Montparnasse (14th arrondissement)
Latin Quarter / Saint Michel (5th arrondissement)
Saint-Germain-des-Prés (6th arrondissement)