PARIS FAQ'S

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

Paris is serviced by two airports: Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport (the major hub airport) and Orly Airport.

If you have not booked a private transfer with us then you have a few options. From Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG), there are three terminals that are some distance apart from one another. A free train called the CDGVAL connects all three to the two train stations. The quickest way into central Paris from the airport is the fast RER B (www.ratp.fr) metro line, which leaves every 7-8 minutes and takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes to central Paris, and RER B stops at several central Métro stations, including Châtelet-Les-Halles and Saint-Michel–Notre-Dame. A single ticket, which can be bought at the machines in the stations at the terminals, costs about €12.

There is also the Le Bus Direct , which operates three routes from the airport to the center of Paris ( www.lebusdirect.com). The first (line 2) stops at Port Maillot, Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, and Trocadéro, with a terminus at the Eiffel Tower; the second (line 3) links CDG to Orly airport; while the third stops at Gare de Lyon with a terminus at Gare Montparnasse. You`ll find good Métro connections from all stops. Depending on the route, a one-way trip costs about €12 to €22 adults and children age 4 and over (children 3 and under travel free), and e-tickets can be bought in advance online (valid for 1 year from purchase); trips take about 1 hour and 20 minutes, depending on traffic. Buses leave every 30 minutes between roughly 5 am and 11:40 pm.

The Roissybus (https://www.ratp.fr/en/titres-et-tarifs/airport-tickets) departs every 20 minutes from the airport daily from 6 am to 12:30 am and costs about 12€ for the 70-minute ride. The bus leaves you in the center of Paris, at the corner of rue Scribe and rue Auber, near the Opéra.

Note: Be careful when using buses to get to CDG. There are frequent traffic jams on the motorways leading to the airport - the Air France bus normally may need 50 minutes to get to CDG, but it may take 1½ hours as well. Your best bet for arriving on time with the buses is to take them very early in the morning or during other times when there isn`t much traffic.

The flat rates for a taxi from Roissy into the city are €50 Right Bank, €55 Left Bank, not including supplements (€1/item of luggage, 20 percent extra 5 pm-10 am and holidays). Taxi stands are outside each of the airport`s terminals. Alternatively, Uber functions in France, with flat rates of about €45 to €50 in an uberX car (www.uber.com).

If you`re arriving in Orly airport you will most likely take a combination of services. To get to the center of Paris, take the 8-minute monorail OrlyVal to the RER station `Antony` to get RER B into the center. The collective travel time is about 40 minutes. Trains run between 5:30 am and 11:30 pm; the one-way fare for the OrlyVal plusthe RER B is about €12.50 for adults, €6 children ages 4 to 10, free for children 3 and under.

Le Bus Direct operates one route (line 1) from the airport to the center of Paris (www.lebusdirect.com), leaving from both Orly terminals every 20 minutes between 5 am and 11:30 pm, stopping at Gare Montparnasse, Trocadéro, and Charles de Gaulle-Etoile. The fare is about €12 one-way for adults, €7 children ages 4 to 11, free for kids 3 and under. E-tickets can be bought in advance online (valid for 1 year from purchase). Depending on the traffic, the journey takes about 1 hour.

The Orlybus (www.ratp.fr/en/titres-et-tarifs/airport-tickets), which leaves every 15 minutes between 5 am and 12:30 am, links the airport with place Denfert-Rochereau, a 30-minute trip that costs about €8.70 for both adults and children.

The flat rates for a taxi from Orly to central Paris are €30 Left Bank, €35 Right Bank, not including supplements (€1/item of luggage, and 20 percent extra 5 pm-10 am and holidays). Uber offers a flat rate of €35 for the Left Bank and €40 for the Right Bank in an uberX car (www.uber.com).

This information was accurate when it was published (2019), but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

How do I get from the train station to my hotel?

Paris is serviced by numerous domestic and International rail lines and multiple train stations. France has invested heavily in its rail system making the train a great way to get around for both long and short distances. The SNCF, the national rail company, has networks of commuter and local trains that connect smaller towns and villages to the larger cities and crossroads. Please check the links below for additional information regarding transportation from your arrival station. If you have not booked a private transfer with us then you will find Paris is well connected by Metro, train and bus.

Paris Train Stations: Austerlitz - Bercy - Charles de Gaulle - Est - Lyon - Montparnasse - Nord

How do I get around Paris using the Métro? Is the Métro safe?

The Métropolitain (Métro) is an extensive transportation network that runs throughout Paris and a short distance into the adjacent suburbs. Not only is it safe, it is one of the most efficient and reliable transportation systems in the world. We strongly urge you to try it in order to get a taste of the true Paris of Parisians. Of course pickpockets can be an issue, especially for tourists, so pay close attention to your bags, wallets and purses on the platforms and in crowded Métro cars.

You can buy `T+` tickets at the green `Vente` (sale) machines at the stations. More and more stations now accept foreign credit cards (but only those with a smart chip) or bills, but not all, so be prepared with change in order to save time. Most stations have a `guichet` (ticket window) where you may use your credit card or bills to purchase tickets, but these are starting to diminish and have become harder and harder to come by. A single trip costs €1.90 with unlimited transfers (correspondances) between lines per one trip. A Packet (carnet) of 10 tickets costs €14.90. A RATP tickets are valid on the Métro, bus, tram, and RER.

A special transit pass for tourists called Paris Visite offers unlimited travel in zones on buses, Métro, and RER, and discounts on some attractions, but aside from the ease of having an unlimited pass to jump on and off buses and Métros, its usefulness is limited. Keep in mind that Paris is a very walkable city, and you will most likely do a lot of walking. In the end, a cheaper packet (carnet) of 10 tickets typically works out the best, and these tickets can be shared.

Each Métro line is coded by number, color, and name of the stations at the ends of the line. For your trip, you will need to find out which direction you should take, direction is indicate by giving the final station. You will need to know the end station in order to find the right platform since tracks usually run between separate platforms, not on either side of one. Trains run from about 5 am to 1 am. On weekends and the evenings before holidays they run until 2 am. ALWAYS keep your ticket. An agent may ask to see it at any time, and there are heavy fines for being without a stamped one.

How do I get around the city using other public transportation?

Paris boasts one of the world`s safest and most efficient public transportation systems, which includes trains, trams and buses. Trains usually arrive on time; buses are well-appointed and clean, and commuter express (`RER`) trains service the city's most important stops in record time.

RER commuter trains hours vary, but on average trains run from 5:15 am to midnight or 12:30 am (www.ratp.fr). These trains connect the suburbs to central Paris and provide a fast way to get around the city and to and from the airports. The RER has 5 lines: A (red on the Métro map), B (blue), C (yellow), D (green) and E (lavender). Each line has at least one `hub` station on the Paris Métro where you can catch the RER. You may use your Métro T+ ticket to ride both the RER and Métro within Paris. Most basic tickets cover Zones 1 and 2. When traveling farther outside the main city limits and past Zones 1 and 2 into the other 6 zones, the cost depends on the distance you are traveling. Be careful navigating the RER; it is slightly more complicated than the Métro because of the fare differences and service directions. ALWAYS keep your ticket. You will need it at the end of your trip to go through the exit turnstiles, and an agent may ask to see your ticket at any time.

Paris and its suburbs are served by an extensive bus network, which is a scenic way to experience Paris, compared to the Métro. The T+ tickets that work for the Métro and RER (within Paris) also work for buses, but you cannot transfer from a Métro to a bus or vice versa. However, bus-to-bus transfers can be made with one ticket for 90 minutes after the ticket is stamped (validated) with the time on the first bus. Paris buses are marked by a two digit number and suburban buses are marked by a three digit number. Bus schedules are varied with some lines running only during the day, while others extend well into the evening, and only a few running on Sunday. Generally, they run from 5:30 am to midnight. You have to signal to the bus driver when your stop is approaching by pushing a red button, located on various seat poles and labeled with `pour ouvrir appuyer,` (press to open door) which will illuminate a red `arrêt demandé` (stop requested) sign at the front of the bus. Always pay attention to the stops as the bus approaches them since sometimes your stop may not be announced. IMPORTANT - It is common courtesy to say `Bonjour (used in the morning and afternoon) or `Bonsoir` (used in the evening) to the bus driver. And ALWAYS keep your ticket. An agent may ask to see it at any time, and there are fines if you cannot produce a correctly-stamped one.

There are four tramway lines that run around the edges of Paris and you can use the T3 to travel in the outer 13th, 14th and 15th arrondissements. Tramway stops are indicated by the letter `T` displayed on a pole. The same T+ tickets for the Métro, RER and bus work for the tramway. Again - ALWAYS keep your ticket to display if requested.

For further information on public transportation refer to Getting Arround

How do I call/hail a taxi?

Rarely will a taxi pull over when you try to hail one. Your best bet is to proceed to one of the city`s taxi stands (marked by square blue signs, with `taxi` in white letters). Taxis that are available to pick up passengers have a long green or white light on the roof while taxis that already have passengers or are on call have a small orange light. The flag-drop charge is €2.60 and the minimum fare for any ride is €7; if you have more than four people in your party, you`ll also be charged 4€ for each additional passenger (a driver is not obliged to accept more than three passengers). Taxis can be called, but they will charge for the distance traveled to pick you up. The central number for all taxi companies is 01-45-30-30-30.

Taxis are cheaper at night when there are no traffic jams to be expected. There are not as many taxi cabs as one would expect, and sometimes finding a taxi can be challenging. In the daytime, it is not always a good idea to take a taxi, as walking or taking the metro (See: Métro) will be cheaper and, depending on traffic, faster. If you know you will need one to get to the airport, or to a meeting, it is wise to book ahead by phone (see below).

Remember if a taxi is near a taxi stand, they`re not supposed to pick you up except at the stand where there may be other people in line ahead of you. Taxi stands are usually near train stations, big hotels, hospitals, major intersections, and other points of interest, and are marked with a blue and white `TAXI` sign. Also, there is no obligation to tip your taxi driving, however it is typical to round up €0.50 to €1.

How do I get around using Uber?

Uber (www.uber.com) is available in Paris, just download the smartphone app and enter your credit-card details. Once you`re logged on, you enter your location and your destination. No money changes hands, and the cost of your journey is pre-calculated according to its `real` distance, so you`re not penalized if you have to make a detour. While you wait, the screen shows the whereabouts of your ride in real time, as well as the car`s number plate, the driver`s name, and his/her photo. When traveling abroad, it`s reassuring to know who will be driving your Uber, and for central Paris, you rarely have to wait more than 5 minutes for an Uber to arrive. Generally speaking, Uber is cheaper than standard taxis as well.

Is Paris a walking city?

In our opinion, Paris is best explored on foot! The City of Light, which is divided into 20 arrondissements (or neighborhoods), spiraling out from the center of the city, is a compact masterpiece of sprawling boulevards, inviting parks and romantic squares. Although Paris is the second largest city in Europe, it was made for wandering, and the French have a lovely word for a person who wanders the streets: le flâneur, one who strolls or loiters, usually without a destination. In Paris the streets beckon, leading you past monuments, through arches and down narrow alleyways. As a flâneur, you become attuned to the rhythm of the city, and no matter how aimlessly you stroll, chances are you'll end up somewhere amazing. Of course, a sensible pair of walking shoes is highly recommended; and when you want a lift, public transportation is easy and inexpensive.

Is Paris a dangerous city? Are there certain areas I should avoid?

Paris is generally a safe city to travel. Overall crime rates are very low, and violent crimes are rare, especially when compared to rates in American cities of similar size. Just be careful of petty crime like pickpockets, who tend to target tourists. Certain areas to be especially careful are Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, St-Michel, Centre Pompidou, Versailles, and Sacré-Coeur, in the major department stores, and on the Métro. Take precautions and be vigilant at all times and don`t take more money with you than necessary, you’re your passport secure and concealed, and ensure that your bag is firly closed at all time. When in doubt, stick to the boulevards and well-lit, populated streets. In an emergency, call tel. 17 or 112 from a mobile. The Préfecture de Police has 94 stations in Paris.

Also, around the major sites it is quite common to be approached by a young Roma girl or boy and asked if you speak English. It`s best to avoid these situations, and, in any incident that might occur, by shaking your head and walking away.

In cafes, bars, and restaurants, it`s best not to leave your bag under the table or on the back of your chair. Keep it between your legs or on your lap to avoid it being stolen. Never leave valuables in a car.

Are there long lines at the museums? Does it make sense to buy a museum pass?

A Paris Museum Pass can save you money if you`re planning serious sightseeing, but it might be even more valuable because it allows you to bypass the lines. There might be a minimal wait for security purposes. It`s sold at the destinations it covers and at airports, major métro stations, and the tourism office in the Carrousel du Louvre. Additionally, investigate alternatate entrances at popular sites (there are three at the Louvre, for example), and check when rates are reduced, often during once-a-week late openings. Also, national museums are free the first Sunday of each month. There are many within Paris, including the Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, and Centre Pompidou.

What are some possible day trips from Paris?

A visit to a nearby Chateau makes for a great day trip. In addition to going to Versailles, why not try Vaux-le-Vicomte, Fontainebleau or Chantilly. In the Spring and Summer it is nice to visit the Monet Foundation in Giverny. Rouen, Reims, Chartres and Troyes are nice as well.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency of France is the Euro. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for euros upon arrival. Currency exchange desks can be found at the airport and many locations throughout the city. For more detailed information, consult our guide to tipping in France by clicking here.

Are Parisians rude if you don't speak French? Will many people speak English?

The Parisian reputation for rudeness is undeserved. Parisians take manners seriously and exchanging formal greetings is the rule. Informal American-style manners are considered impolite. That being said, English is widely understood in Paris, and is common in all the tourist areas; however, beginning an exchange with a simple `Do you speak English?` (Parlez-vous anglais) will get you on the right foot, as will learning a few key French words. Always say `bonjour` when entering a shop or café and`'au revoir` when leaving. When speaking to a woman over age 16, use `madame` and for a young woman or girl, use `mademoiselle`. Men of any age go by `monsieur`. Always say please (s`il vous plait), thank you (merci) and excuse me (pardon or Excusez-moi) if you accidentally bump into someone.

Where is the `Rive Gauche` (Left Bank)?

The left bank is actually located on the south side of the Seine river. It is referred to as the left bank, because when floating downstream this is the part of Paris that is to your left.

Is a boat cruise on the Seine a good way to see the city?

Many of the city`s best sites are along the Seine, so a boat cruise is a nice way to see the city while taking a little break from walking. These short river cruises allow you to take in many of the highlights of the city – the Louvre, the Eirffel Tower, the Musée d`Orsay, Notre Dame, etc. The Batobus is a good option for traveling along the Seine, as it`s a hop on - hop off system without a guide. For regular boat cruises the best is probably the Vedette de Pont Neuf, leaving from the western tip of Ile de la Cite.

What time do Parisians usually eat? Do I need to make reservations to fancy restaurants in advance?

Parisians usually eat lunch anywhere between 12-2pm and dinner between 7:30-11pm. France has a distinction between different sorts of eateries and their hours vary accordingly. A `Brasserie` is a café-restaurant that is open from about 7am to 8-11pm and serves hot food all day. A bistro or restaurant is only open over lunch and then again as of 7 pm. Many restaurants are closed on Sundays. Most upscale restaurants do require a reservation, and depeding on the restaurant, may require booking weeks or even months in advance.

Where can I pick up necessities like bottled water and toiletries?

Paris has many little convenience stores where you can purchase supplies and there are supermarkets throughout the city. The nicest chain is `Monoprix`, where you can buy food as well as cosmetics, toiletries, household supplies and clothing. Other chains are `Franprix`, `Carrefour Market` and `G20`.

What are the best areas for shopping?

Parisians luxuriate in shopping! Window shopping is one of this city`s great cultural experiences; the French call it lèche-vitrine - literally, `licking the windows`. The Marais is home to small unique designers around Abbesses (southwest of Sacre Coeur), along Canal Saint Martin or Saint Germain des Pres (which also has very high end shops). Haute Couture boutiques are mostly on rue de Faubourg Saint Antoine or Avenue Montaigne. Affordable European chain shops can be found along Rue de Rivoli.

The Champs-Élysées, while ceding some of its elegance in recent times, remains the city`s, if not the world`s, most famous avenue. Like New York`s Times Square, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées inspires boldness with such designer shops as Balenciaga, Chanel, Christian Dior, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Louis Vuitton. Make no mistake, this is Paris shopping at its finest!

How do I get around by bicycle in Paris?

Vélib', also known as vélos libres (public bikes) or vélos à libre service (open-service bikes), is the city`s system of rentable bikes, which operates automatically 24 hours and 7 days a week. Users borrow a bike from one station and return it to another. Prices are reasonable (7 day rental for €8 and 1 day rental for €1.70), the service is eco-friendly, and, as the website says, lla ville est plus belle à vélo` - the city is more beautiful by bike. All users must be 14 years or older.

The English version of the website (www.velib-metropole.fr/en) explains how everything works. The one big catch is that to use the machines you must have a credit or debit card with a chip in it. Helmets are not provided, so if you want to use a helmet you must bring one along. Note: Cyclists no longer always have the right to ride in the bus lanes; check for road signs. Also, before you ride, download the app on your phone, so you don`t waste precious time looking for a place to check in or check out.

Alternatively, you can rent a bike from, which typically costs around €12 for half a day and €15 for a full day, but they do require a safety deposit of at least €250, depending on the type of bike you rent. Electric bikes are also available for a cost of around €20 for half a day.

If I have a car, where can I park?

Our advice about driving in Paris, Don`t! It can be extremely frustrating due to traffic and the aggressive tactics of other drivers. To make matters worse, streets and directional signs are extremely hard to follow. Parking is also extremely hard to come by and you`ll find yourself driving in circles to find a spot. Another hurdle is feeding the parking meter. All parking is metered Monday – Saturday from 9 am – 8 pm (parking is free on Sundays and from 8pm to 9am). You cannot use coins in the parking meters anymore, you must pay with either a chip-enabled credit card or via the PaybyPhone app (www.paybyphone.fr). If you pay by card at the parking meter, you`ll get a print-out ticket that you must put on your dashboard. If you pay via the app, you don`t have to do anything in particular except state where you are parked; the traffic police have a device to see you`ve paid from the car`s license plate. Parking in the most central arrondissements (1 to 11) costs about €4 per hour; in the outer arrondissements (12 to 20) it`s around €2.40 per hour. It is also worth noting is that you can only stay in one spot for 2 hours.

Alternatively, you can try one of the many underground parking lots, indicated by a sign with a white `P` on a blue background; parking in one of these is between €2.60 and €4 per hour, or between €20 and €30 for 24 hours.

Driving Rules: The French drive on the right side of the road. At junctions without signposts indicating the right of way, cars coming from the right have priority. When entering a roundabout (rond point), you do not have priority; once you are on, be sure to signal when you are about to turn off.

Is it safe to drink the water in Paris?

Yes, the drinking water is safe. To order tap water in a restaurant ask for une carafe d`eau. Drinking fountains, like the iconic, green Wallace fountains, are dotted all about the city and you`ll find drinking water taps in almost every park. Paris even has fizzy water fountains in certain green spaces (like the Jardin de Reuilly) designed to persuade people to no use plastic bottles and fill up from taps instead.

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?

In an emergency, call 112. For a medical emergency and/or ambulance, call 15. For the police, call 17.

Most Parisian hospitals have 24-hr. emergency rooms. For addresses and information on all Paris` public hospitals, visit www.aphp.fr.

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PARIS FAQ'S

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

Paris is serviced by two airports: Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport (the major hub airport) and Orly Airport.

If you have not booked a private transfer with us then you have a few options. From Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG), there are three terminals that are some distance apart from one another. A free train called the CDGVAL connects all three to the two train stations. The quickest way into central Paris from the airport is the fast RER B (www.ratp.fr) metro line, which leaves every 7-8 minutes and takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes to central Paris, and RER B stops at several central Métro stations, including Châtelet-Les-Halles and Saint-Michel–Notre-Dame. A single ticket, which can be bought at the machines in the stations at the terminals, costs about €12.

There is also the Le Bus Direct , which operates three routes from the airport to the center of Paris ( www.lebusdirect.com). The first (line 2) stops at Port Maillot, Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, and Trocadéro, with a terminus at the Eiffel Tower; the second (line 3) links CDG to Orly airport; while the third stops at Gare de Lyon with a terminus at Gare Montparnasse. You`ll find good Métro connections from all stops. Depending on the route, a one-way trip costs about €12 to €22 adults and children age 4 and over (children 3 and under travel free), and e-tickets can be bought in advance online (valid for 1 year from purchase); trips take about 1 hour and 20 minutes, depending on traffic. Buses leave every 30 minutes between roughly 5 am and 11:40 pm.

The Roissybus (httpss://www.ratp.fr/en/titres-et-tarifs/airport-tickets) departs every 20 minutes from the airport daily from 6 am to 12:30 am and costs about 12€ for the 70-minute ride. The bus leaves you in the center of Paris, at the corner of rue Scribe and rue Auber, near the Opéra.

Note: Be careful when using buses to get to CDG. There are frequent traffic jams on the motorways leading to the airport - the Air France bus normally may need 50 minutes to get to CDG, but it may take 1½ hours as well. Your best bet for arriving on time with the buses is to take them very early in the morning or during other times when there isn`t much traffic.

The flat rates for a taxi from Roissy into the city are €50 Right Bank, €55 Left Bank, not including supplements (€1/item of luggage, 20 percent extra 5 pm-10 am and holidays). Taxi stands are outside each of the airport`s terminals. Alternatively, Uber functions in France, with flat rates of about €45 to €50 in an uberX car (www.uber.com).

If you`re arriving in Orly airport you will most likely take a combination of services. To get to the center of Paris, take the 8-minute monorail OrlyVal to the RER station `Antony` to get RER B into the center. The collective travel time is about 40 minutes. Trains run between 5:30 am and 11:30 pm; the one-way fare for the OrlyVal plusthe RER B is about €12.50 for adults, €6 children ages 4 to 10, free for children 3 and under.

Le Bus Direct operates one route (line 1) from the airport to the center of Paris (www.lebusdirect.com), leaving from both Orly terminals every 20 minutes between 5 am and 11:30 pm, stopping at Gare Montparnasse, Trocadéro, and Charles de Gaulle-Etoile. The fare is about €12 one-way for adults, €7 children ages 4 to 11, free for kids 3 and under. E-tickets can be bought in advance online (valid for 1 year from purchase). Depending on the traffic, the journey takes about 1 hour.

The Orlybus (www.ratp.fr/en/titres-et-tarifs/airport-tickets), which leaves every 15 minutes between 5 am and 12:30 am, links the airport with place Denfert-Rochereau, a 30-minute trip that costs about €8.70 for both adults and children.

The flat rates for a taxi from Orly to central Paris are €30 Left Bank, €35 Right Bank, not including supplements (€1/item of luggage, and 20 percent extra 5 pm-10 am and holidays). Uber offers a flat rate of €35 for the Left Bank and €40 for the Right Bank in an uberX car (www.uber.com).

This information was accurate when it was published (2019), but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

How do I get from the train station to my hotel?

Paris is serviced by numerous domestic and International rail lines and multiple train stations. France has invested heavily in its rail system making the train a great way to get around for both long and short distances. The SNCF, the national rail company, has networks of commuter and local trains that connect smaller towns and villages to the larger cities and crossroads. Please check the links below for additional information regarding transportation from your arrival station. If you have not booked a private transfer with us then you will find Paris is well connected by Metro, train and bus.

Paris Train Stations: Austerlitz - Bercy - Charles de Gaulle - Est - Lyon - Montparnasse - Nord

How do I get around Paris using the Métro? Is the Métro safe?

The Métropolitain (Métro) is an extensive transportation network that runs throughout Paris and a short distance into the adjacent suburbs. Not only is it safe, it is one of the most efficient and reliable transportation systems in the world. We strongly urge you to try it in order to get a taste of the true Paris of Parisians. Of course pickpockets can be an issue, especially for tourists, so pay close attention to your bags, wallets and purses on the platforms and in crowded Métro cars.

You can buy `T+` tickets at the green `Vente` (sale) machines at the stations. More and more stations now accept foreign credit cards (but only those with a smart chip) or bills, but not all, so be prepared with change in order to save time. Most stations have a `guichet` (ticket window) where you may use your credit card or bills to purchase tickets, but these are starting to diminish and have become harder and harder to come by. A single trip costs €1.90 with unlimited transfers (correspondances) between lines per one trip. A Packet (carnet) of 10 tickets costs €14.90. A RATP tickets are valid on the Métro, bus, tram, and RER.

A special transit pass for tourists called Paris Visite offers unlimited travel in zones on buses, Métro, and RER, and discounts on some attractions, but aside from the ease of having an unlimited pass to jump on and off buses and Métros, its usefulness is limited. Keep in mind that Paris is a very walkable city, and you will most likely do a lot of walking. In the end, a cheaper packet (carnet) of 10 tickets typically works out the best, and these tickets can be shared.

Each Métro line is coded by number, color, and name of the stations at the ends of the line. For your trip, you will need to find out which direction you should take, direction is indicate by giving the final station. You will need to know the end station in order to find the right platform since tracks usually run between separate platforms, not on either side of one. Trains run from about 5 am to 1 am. On weekends and the evenings before holidays they run until 2 am. ALWAYS keep your ticket. An agent may ask to see it at any time, and there are heavy fines for being without a stamped one.

How do I get around the city using other public transportation?

Paris boasts one of the world`s safest and most efficient public transportation systems, which includes trains, trams and buses. Trains usually arrive on time; buses are well-appointed and clean, and commuter express (`RER`) trains service the city's most important stops in record time.

RER commuter trains hours vary, but on average trains run from 5:15 am to midnight or 12:30 am (www.ratp.fr). These trains connect the suburbs to central Paris and provide a fast way to get around the city and to and from the airports. The RER has 5 lines: A (red on the Métro map), B (blue), C (yellow), D (green) and E (lavender). Each line has at least one `hub` station on the Paris Métro where you can catch the RER. You may use your Métro T+ ticket to ride both the RER and Métro within Paris. Most basic tickets cover Zones 1 and 2. When traveling farther outside the main city limits and past Zones 1 and 2 into the other 6 zones, the cost depends on the distance you are traveling. Be careful navigating the RER; it is slightly more complicated than the Métro because of the fare differences and service directions. ALWAYS keep your ticket. You will need it at the end of your trip to go through the exit turnstiles, and an agent may ask to see your ticket at any time.

Paris and its suburbs are served by an extensive bus network, which is a scenic way to experience Paris, compared to the Métro. The T+ tickets that work for the Métro and RER (within Paris) also work for buses, but you cannot transfer from a Métro to a bus or vice versa. However, bus-to-bus transfers can be made with one ticket for 90 minutes after the ticket is stamped (validated) with the time on the first bus. Paris buses are marked by a two digit number and suburban buses are marked by a three digit number. Bus schedules are varied with some lines running only during the day, while others extend well into the evening, and only a few running on Sunday. Generally, they run from 5:30 am to midnight. You have to signal to the bus driver when your stop is approaching by pushing a red button, located on various seat poles and labeled with `pour ouvrir appuyer,` (press to open door) which will illuminate a red `arrêt demandé` (stop requested) sign at the front of the bus. Always pay attention to the stops as the bus approaches them since sometimes your stop may not be announced. IMPORTANT - It is common courtesy to say `Bonjour (used in the morning and afternoon) or `Bonsoir` (used in the evening) to the bus driver. And ALWAYS keep your ticket. An agent may ask to see it at any time, and there are fines if you cannot produce a correctly-stamped one.

There are four tramway lines that run around the edges of Paris and you can use the T3 to travel in the outer 13th, 14th and 15th arrondissements. Tramway stops are indicated by the letter `T` displayed on a pole. The same T+ tickets for the Métro, RER and bus work for the tramway. Again - ALWAYS keep your ticket to display if requested.

For further information on public transportation refer to Getting Arround

How do I call/hail a taxi?

Rarely will a taxi pull over when you try to hail one. Your best bet is to proceed to one of the city`s taxi stands (marked by square blue signs, with `taxi` in white letters). Taxis that are available to pick up passengers have a long green or white light on the roof while taxis that already have passengers or are on call have a small orange light. The flag-drop charge is €2.60 and the minimum fare for any ride is €7; if you have more than four people in your party, you`ll also be charged 4€ for each additional passenger (a driver is not obliged to accept more than three passengers). Taxis can be called, but they will charge for the distance traveled to pick you up. The central number for all taxi companies is 01-45-30-30-30.

Taxis are cheaper at night when there are no traffic jams to be expected. There are not as many taxi cabs as one would expect, and sometimes finding a taxi can be challenging. In the daytime, it is not always a good idea to take a taxi, as walking or taking the metro (See: Métro) will be cheaper and, depending on traffic, faster. If you know you will need one to get to the airport, or to a meeting, it is wise to book ahead by phone (see below).

Remember if a taxi is near a taxi stand, they`re not supposed to pick you up except at the stand where there may be other people in line ahead of you. Taxi stands are usually near train stations, big hotels, hospitals, major intersections, and other points of interest, and are marked with a blue and white `TAXI` sign. Also, there is no obligation to tip your taxi driving, however it is typical to round up €0.50 to €1.

How do I get around using Uber?

Uber (www.uber.com) is available in Paris, just download the smartphone app and enter your credit-card details. Once you`re logged on, you enter your location and your destination. No money changes hands, and the cost of your journey is pre-calculated according to its `real` distance, so you`re not penalized if you have to make a detour. While you wait, the screen shows the whereabouts of your ride in real time, as well as the car`s number plate, the driver`s name, and his/her photo. When traveling abroad, it`s reassuring to know who will be driving your Uber, and for central Paris, you rarely have to wait more than 5 minutes for an Uber to arrive. Generally speaking, Uber is cheaper than standard taxis as well.

Is Paris a walking city?

In our opinion, Paris is best explored on foot! The City of Light, which is divided into 20 arrondissements (or neighborhoods), spiraling out from the center of the city, is a compact masterpiece of sprawling boulevards, inviting parks and romantic squares. Although Paris is the second largest city in Europe, it was made for wandering, and the French have a lovely word for a person who wanders the streets: le flâneur, one who strolls or loiters, usually without a destination. In Paris the streets beckon, leading you past monuments, through arches and down narrow alleyways. As a flâneur, you become attuned to the rhythm of the city, and no matter how aimlessly you stroll, chances are you'll end up somewhere amazing. Of course, a sensible pair of walking shoes is highly recommended; and when you want a lift, public transportation is easy and inexpensive.

Is Paris a dangerous city? Are there certain areas I should avoid?

Paris is generally a safe city to travel. Overall crime rates are very low, and violent crimes are rare, especially when compared to rates in American cities of similar size. Just be careful of petty crime like pickpockets, who tend to target tourists. Certain areas to be especially careful are Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, St-Michel, Centre Pompidou, Versailles, and Sacré-Coeur, in the major department stores, and on the Métro. Take precautions and be vigilant at all times and don`t take more money with you than necessary, you’re your passport secure and concealed, and ensure that your bag is firly closed at all time. When in doubt, stick to the boulevards and well-lit, populated streets. In an emergency, call tel. 17 or 112 from a mobile. The Préfecture de Police has 94 stations in Paris.

Also, around the major sites it is quite common to be approached by a young Roma girl or boy and asked if you speak English. It`s best to avoid these situations, and, in any incident that might occur, by shaking your head and walking away.

In cafes, bars, and restaurants, it`s best not to leave your bag under the table or on the back of your chair. Keep it between your legs or on your lap to avoid it being stolen. Never leave valuables in a car.

Are there long lines at the museums? Does it make sense to buy a museum pass?

A Paris Museum Pass can save you money if you`re planning serious sightseeing, but it might be even more valuable because it allows you to bypass the lines. There might be a minimal wait for security purposes. It`s sold at the destinations it covers and at airports, major métro stations, and the tourism office in the Carrousel du Louvre. Additionally, investigate alternatate entrances at popular sites (there are three at the Louvre, for example), and check when rates are reduced, often during once-a-week late openings. Also, national museums are free the first Sunday of each month. There are many within Paris, including the Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, and Centre Pompidou.

What are some possible day trips from Paris?

A visit to a nearby Chateau makes for a great day trip. In addition to going to Versailles, why not try Vaux-le-Vicomte, Fontainebleau or Chantilly. In the Spring and Summer it is nice to visit the Monet Foundation in Giverny. Rouen, Reims, Chartres and Troyes are nice as well.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency of France is the Euro. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for euros upon arrival. Currency exchange desks can be found at the airport and many locations throughout the city. For more detailed information, consult our guide to tipping in France by clicking here.

Are Parisians rude if you don't speak French? Will many people speak English?

The Parisian reputation for rudeness is undeserved. Parisians take manners seriously and exchanging formal greetings is the rule. Informal American-style manners are considered impolite. That being said, English is widely understood in Paris, and is common in all the tourist areas; however, beginning an exchange with a simple `Do you speak English?` (Parlez-vous anglais) will get you on the right foot, as will learning a few key French words. Always say `bonjour` when entering a shop or café and`'au revoir` when leaving. When speaking to a woman over age 16, use `madame` and for a young woman or girl, use `mademoiselle`. Men of any age go by `monsieur`. Always say please (s`il vous plait), thank you (merci) and excuse me (pardon or Excusez-moi) if you accidentally bump into someone.

Where is the `Rive Gauche` (Left Bank)?

The left bank is actually located on the south side of the Seine river. It is referred to as the left bank, because when floating downstream this is the part of Paris that is to your left.

Is a boat cruise on the Seine a good way to see the city?

Many of the city`s best sites are along the Seine, so a boat cruise is a nice way to see the city while taking a little break from walking. These short river cruises allow you to take in many of the highlights of the city – the Louvre, the Eirffel Tower, the Musée d`Orsay, Notre Dame, etc. The Batobus is a good option for traveling along the Seine, as it`s a hop on - hop off system without a guide. For regular boat cruises the best is probably the Vedette de Pont Neuf, leaving from the western tip of Ile de la Cite.

What time do Parisians usually eat? Do I need to make reservations to fancy restaurants in advance?

Parisians usually eat lunch anywhere between 12-2pm and dinner between 7:30-11pm. France has a distinction between different sorts of eateries and their hours vary accordingly. A `Brasserie` is a café-restaurant that is open from about 7am to 8-11pm and serves hot food all day. A bistro or restaurant is only open over lunch and then again as of 7 pm. Many restaurants are closed on Sundays. Most upscale restaurants do require a reservation, and depeding on the restaurant, may require booking weeks or even months in advance.

Where can I pick up necessities like bottled water and toiletries?

Paris has many little convenience stores where you can purchase supplies and there are supermarkets throughout the city. The nicest chain is `Monoprix`, where you can buy food as well as cosmetics, toiletries, household supplies and clothing. Other chains are `Franprix`, `Carrefour Market` and `G20`.

What are the best areas for shopping?

Parisians luxuriate in shopping! Window shopping is one of this city`s great cultural experiences; the French call it lèche-vitrine - literally, `licking the windows`. The Marais is home to small unique designers around Abbesses (southwest of Sacre Coeur), along Canal Saint Martin or Saint Germain des Pres (which also has very high end shops). Haute Couture boutiques are mostly on rue de Faubourg Saint Antoine or Avenue Montaigne. Affordable European chain shops can be found along Rue de Rivoli.

The Champs-Élysées, while ceding some of its elegance in recent times, remains the city`s, if not the world`s, most famous avenue. Like New York`s Times Square, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées inspires boldness with such designer shops as Balenciaga, Chanel, Christian Dior, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Louis Vuitton. Make no mistake, this is Paris shopping at its finest!

How do I get around by bicycle in Paris?

Vélib', also known as vélos libres (public bikes) or vélos à libre service (open-service bikes), is the city`s system of rentable bikes, which operates automatically 24 hours and 7 days a week. Users borrow a bike from one station and return it to another. Prices are reasonable (7 day rental for €8 and 1 day rental for €1.70), the service is eco-friendly, and, as the website says, lla ville est plus belle à vélo` - the city is more beautiful by bike. All users must be 14 years or older.

The English version of the website (www.velib-metropole.fr/en) explains how everything works. The one big catch is that to use the machines you must have a credit or debit card with a chip in it. Helmets are not provided, so if you want to use a helmet you must bring one along. Note: Cyclists no longer always have the right to ride in the bus lanes; check for road signs. Also, before you ride, download the app on your phone, so you don`t waste precious time looking for a place to check in or check out.

Alternatively, you can rent a bike from, which typically costs around €12 for half a day and €15 for a full day, but they do require a safety deposit of at least €250, depending on the type of bike you rent. Electric bikes are also available for a cost of around €20 for half a day.

If I have a car, where can I park?

Our advice about driving in Paris, Don`t! It can be extremely frustrating due to traffic and the aggressive tactics of other drivers. To make matters worse, streets and directional signs are extremely hard to follow. Parking is also extremely hard to come by and you`ll find yourself driving in circles to find a spot. Another hurdle is feeding the parking meter. All parking is metered Monday – Saturday from 9 am – 8 pm (parking is free on Sundays and from 8pm to 9am). You cannot use coins in the parking meters anymore, you must pay with either a chip-enabled credit card or via the PaybyPhone app (www.paybyphone.fr). If you pay by card at the parking meter, you`ll get a print-out ticket that you must put on your dashboard. If you pay via the app, you don`t have to do anything in particular except state where you are parked; the traffic police have a device to see you`ve paid from the car`s license plate. Parking in the most central arrondissements (1 to 11) costs about €4 per hour; in the outer arrondissements (12 to 20) it`s around €2.40 per hour. It is also worth noting is that you can only stay in one spot for 2 hours.

Alternatively, you can try one of the many underground parking lots, indicated by a sign with a white `P` on a blue background; parking in one of these is between €2.60 and €4 per hour, or between €20 and €30 for 24 hours.

Driving Rules: The French drive on the right side of the road. At junctions without signposts indicating the right of way, cars coming from the right have priority. When entering a roundabout (rond point), you do not have priority; once you are on, be sure to signal when you are about to turn off.

Is it safe to drink the water in Paris?

Yes, the drinking water is safe. To order tap water in a restaurant ask for une carafe d`eau. Drinking fountains, like the iconic, green Wallace fountains, are dotted all about the city and you`ll find drinking water taps in almost every park. Paris even has fizzy water fountains in certain green spaces (like the Jardin de Reuilly) designed to persuade people to no use plastic bottles and fill up from taps instead.

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?

In an emergency, call 112. For a medical emergency and/or ambulance, call 15. For the police, call 17.

Most Parisian hospitals have 24-hr. emergency rooms. For addresses and information on all Paris` public hospitals, visit www.aphp.fr.