It is always important to organise your trip in advance in order to ensure that your holiday is really special and enjoyable. But, this becomes even more important when you are visiting a capital city such as Paris which has hundreds of different attractions, distinctive neighbourhoods and the tastes of a traditional cuisine that needs to be sampled from top to bottom! For this reason, before setting off for Paris, the questions and queries to which you will want answers will be numerous. In this article, you will have the opportunity to find out about some of the city's curiosities, get some practical information and the chance to find an answer to all your questions so that you can organise your holidays in the best possible way.
If you are British or a citizen of the European Union, all you will need in order to stay in Paris is a valid passport or identity card. Unlike other European airports, in Paris the passport control is done shortly after disembarking from the plane. And for this reason, we would recommend that you always have your documents handy until you leave the airport building and arrive at your accommodation. In fact, it is advisable to keep them separate to make sure you don't lose them or let them get stolen. .
The level of security in Paris is very high and you will see armed patrols around all the typical tourist areas which have been provided to ensure everybody's safety in the most popular areas. In any event, you should always pay attention to your personal possessions when travelling on the metro. Bags and back-packs are fine, provided you ensure that they are not left open. This is a well-known fact wherever you travel in the world and particularly so in a vast city like Paris. As you are strolling around the streets, girls will approach you with flyers in their hands and will ask you if you speak English. Ignore them and just carry on walking. They will try and stop you to ask for money and you should also ignore any people who try to show you rings, bracelets or lighters and ask if they are yours. This is just a technique that is used to distract people whilst their partners in crime snatch your money. So, be warned: avoid them and be careful! This is particularly recommended in the area of Montmartre but also on the Champ de Mars where you will be accosted by people who try to put good luck bracelets on your arms. You should also be careful of these people because they will probably ask you for money or some change.
In Paris, the official language is obviously French. But, if you are an English speaker, you shouldn't have too many problems making yourself understood as we are talking about a multi-cultural city where you are likely to bump into people from all over the world. If you don't speak English or French, don't worry, because, you can make a tour of the city with one of our friendly and well-informed tourist guides. In order to book, you simply need to fill out the form on the page Paris Guide
Paris is a European capital city and as is the case in all capital cities, prices are undoubtedly higher than they are outside the city but, they are not significantly different from what you would be charged in Madrid or London, for example. In order to have a better understanding of the pricing you are likely to encounter, we are providing a short list below of typical examples of products and services that are in daily use:
Paris has a temperate climate when it comes to both the winter and summer seasons. This is due to the Atlantic currents which can often cause fresh breezes and some rain also in the summer months. The best seasons for visiting Paris are spring and autumn. In fact, during these two seasons, the temperature ranges from 16 to 20 degrees which is ideal for stolling around the city without feeling either too hot or too cold. We would also recommend visiting the French capital at Christmas time because the city is transformed with spectacular and magical illuminations as well offering numerous different types of events which liven up the dark evenings. In addition to this, when it comes to celebrating the end of the year, there are all sorts of concerts and spectacles with unmissable fireworks.
Commercial enterprises have different working hours depending on the area where they are located and the type of business. It is still possible to find supermarkets such as Carrefour or Fra Pain which are open until 22:00 whilst the smaller shops tend to close around 20:00. The markets which are typical of the city, normally only open in the mornings except for the larger ones such as the Marché des Enfants Rouges and the Marché d'Aligre which close between 19:30 and 20:00. The souvenir shops and restaurants stay open until late. In some areas of the city, for example in the Bastille district, they almost don't close at all! However, the airports close at night once the last incoming flight has arrived. The subway lines are open until 01:00 on weekdays and until 02:00 at the weekends, (Friday and Saturday nights). The Parisian Taxis work all night as well as the night buses (called Noctiliens) and the private Taxis to and from the airport which you can book on this page.
The main Public Holidays in the French calendar are as follows: New Year, Easter, the 1st of May and the 8th of May, (Victory in Europe Day), the 14th July, (Bastille Day), the 15th August, 1st of November, 11th of November, (Armistice Day) and the 25th December. During these holidays, many offices and commercial enterprises remain closed. The larger museums operate with reduced opening times and for this reason, it is advisable to buy tickets as far in advance as possible.
You won't find an actual historic city centre in Paris and the main attractions are quite spread out across the large area that encompasses the French capital. However, it does help to orientate oneself if you were to take into consideration that there are two small islands in the centre of the city, "Île de la Cité" and the "Île St-Louis",both of which are nestled in the River Seine. On the first island you will find the world famous Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Conciergerie and it is in this area where the history of Paris started, at a time when the city was still called Lutetia. It was back in those ancient times that the first settlements were made on the banks of the River Seine which are known today as the rive gauche (the left bank) and the rive droite, (the right bank).
Nowadays, there are actually 21 Arrondissements (administrative districts) in Paris between the rive droite and the rive gauche. But, on the rive droite, which, in earlier times was considered to be the more commercial and wealthier area of the city, you can now enjoy its typical districts and visit the large and imposingly luxurious avenues such as the Champs Elysées and the Avenue Montagne, the Arc de Triomphe, the area around Montmartre and the aristocratic Marais district. And then, on the left bank which was historically home to the less wealthy students and artists who congregated in Paris, you can visit the famous areas such as the Latin Quarter, the Montparnasse area and the wonderful Eiffel Tower.