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    Paris – a brief overview

    With its leafy boulevards, quaint cafés, cobbled lanes and bell-tinkling cyclists, Paris succeeds at the impossible: making a major European capital feel like a cosy provincial town. How does it do it despite being graced by more famous landmarks than any other city and despite the legions of tourists who visit? Perhaps the secret lies in its reverence of tradition,

    its love of the past and the unerring rhythms of its less showy backstreets where local cafés, new wave bistros and markets still serve their local neighbourhoods. Whatever it is you’ll soon be seduced, even ‘in the summer, when it sizzles’ and ‘in the winter, when it drizzles’, as Cole Porter famously put it.

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    Top 10 sights in Paris

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    Paris, Sacre Coeur, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Travel Guide

    Musée de Louvre

    Portes des Lions
    75001 Paris
    France
    Tel: 01 4020 5317
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Sat-Mon and Thurs 0900-1800
    Wed and Fri 0900-2145

    The vast Palais du Louvre is the world’s most visited museum with over 35,000 artworks, including the world’s most famous – Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

    Notre Dame

    Parvis Notre-Dame, Place Jean-Paul II
    75004 Paris
    France
    Tel: 01 4234 5610
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Mon-Fri 0800-1845
    Sat-Sun 0800-1915

    This masterpiece of French Gothic architecture is the spiritual hub of Paris and the literal hub of the country (all French roads are measured from here). Come for its sublime soaring buttresses, glittering rose window and a rooftop tour of its gruesome gargoyles.

    Sainte Chapelle

    8, Boulevard du Palais
    75001 Paris
    France
    Tel: 01 5340 6080
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0930-1700

    Built by Louis IX for his personal collection of holy relics. More beautiful by far are the ‘walls’ of richly coloured stained glass which bathe the interior in an unearthly glow.

    Centre Pompidou

    Place Georges Pompidou
    75004 Paris
    France
    Tel: 01 4478 1233
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Wed-Mon 1100-2100

    When it was inaugurated in 1977, the ‘inside-out’ Pompidou Centre revolutionised the idea of museums transforming them into popular places of cultural exchange. It still delights visitors with its modernist art collection and forecourt filled with buskers and mime artists.

    Montmartre

    Montmartre
    Paris
    France
    Show on map

    Topped by the iconic Sacré Coeur and home to a roll call of famous artists and writers (many of them buried in the cemetery here), this boho neighbourhood retains an irrepressibly vivacious atmosphere.

    Musée d’Orsay

    62, Rue de Lille
    75007 Paris
    France
    Tel: 01 4049 4814
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue-Sun 0930-1800

    Sky lit from above the upper floors of this museum are a glimpse of Impressionist heaven, lined as they are by all the great pieces from Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cézanne, Van Gogh and Matisse.

    Jardin du Luxembourg

    Jardin du Luxembourg, 6e
    75006 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0815-2200 (summer)
    0815-1700 (winter)

    This park is Paris’ top spot for sunbathing on a sunny day, with chairs lined up on the sunny side of the palace’s citrus-filled Orangery.

    Musée Rodin

    79 rue de Varenne
    75007 Paris
    France
    Tel: 01 4418 6110
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue-Sun 1000-1745

    This sublime sculpture park and museum – filled with the bronze and marble sculptures of Rodin and his mistress Camille Claudel – is one of the city’s most tranquil and romantic spots.

    Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine

    1, Place du Trocadéro
    75016 Paris
    France
    Tel: 01 5851 5200
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Wed-Mon 1100-1900

    Dry as it might sound, this museum of architecture offers a superb view of cathedral architecture. The spectacular views of the Eiffel tower are just a nice bonus.

    Maison Européenne de la Photographie

    5-7, Rue de Fourcy
    75004 Paris
    France
    Tel: 01 4478 7500
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Wed-Sun 1100-2000

    The home of modern photography features cutting-edge temporary exhibitions and blockbuster retrospectives from big names such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, David Hockney, Annie Leibovitz and Andy Warhol.

    Good to know

    Country information

    Country overview

    You could spend a lifetime’s worth of holidays in France and still not feel as though you’d done the country justice. It remains the planet’s most visited tourist destination, meriting this lofty standing with an almost overwhelming mass of historical treasures, storybook landscapes and cultural idiosyncrasies. The teeming glam of Paris makes for one hell of a centrepiece, matching any city on the planet for ambiance, individuality and set-piece sights.

    But the real beauty of France, in many ways, lies in the seemingly endless list of travel treats elsewhere. The country’s natural gifts are striking, with white sands, hulking mountains and fecund swathes of rolling countryside. It’s a land that has inspired dreamers and drinkers, revolutionaries and artists, gastronomes and geniuses.

    Geography

    France, the largest country in Western Europe, is bordered to the northwest by the English Channel (La Manche), to the northeast by Belgium and Luxembourg, to the east by Germany, Switzerland and Italy, to the south by the Mediterranean (with Monaco as a coastal enclave between Nice and the Italian frontier), to the southwest by Spain and Andorra, and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The country’s loose six-sided shape means it often gets referred to by the informal nickname “L’Hexagone”.

    The island of Corsica, southeast of Nice, is made up of two départements. France is home to an astonishing range of scenery, from the mountain ranges of the Alps and Pyrenees to the attractive river valleys of the Loire, Rhône and Dordogne, and the flatter countryside of Normandy and the Atlantic coast.

    The country has some 2,900km (1,800 miles) of coastline.

    Away from the mainland and Corsica, there are a number of French-administered overseas departments and regions outside of Europe. These include Guadeloupe (an island in the Caribbean), Réunion Island (located in the Indian Ocean just east of Madagascar), French Guiana (on the northeastern coast of South America), Martinique (another island in the Caribbean) and Mayotte (an island in the Mozambique Channel).

    General knowledge

    Key facts

    Population: 62814233

    Population Density (per sq km): 114

    Capital: Paris.

    Language

    French is the official language. There are many regional dialects, but these are rapidly declining, with the exception of Basque, which is spoken as a first language by some people in the southwest, and Breton,which is spoken by some in Brittany. Many people speak at least some English.

    Currency

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

    Electricity

    220 volts AC, 50Hz. Two-pin plugs are widely used.

    General business opening hours

    Generally Mon-Fri 0900-1200, 1400-1800.

    Public Holidays

    Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2014-December 2015 period.

    2014

    New Year’s Day: 01. January 2014
    Easter Monday: 21. April 2014
    Labour Day: 01. May 2014
    Victory Day 1945: 08. May 2014
    Ascension Day: 29. May 2014
    Whit Monday: 09. June 2014
    Bastille Day: 14. July 2014
    Assumption: 15. August 2014
    All Saints’ Day: 01. November 2014
    Armistice Day: 11. November 2014
    Christmas Day: 25. December 2014

    2015

    New Year’s Day: 01. January 2015
    Easter Monday: 06. April 2015
    Labour Day: 01. May 2015
    Victory Day 1945: 08. May 2015
    Ascension Day: 14. May 2015
    Whit Monday: 25. May 2015
    Bastille Day: 14. July 2015
    Assumption: 15. August 2015
    All Saints’ Day: 01. November 2015
    Armistice Day: 11. November 2015
    Christmas Day: 25. December 2015

    Enjoy

    Nightlife in Paris

    ListMap

    Cosmopolitan Paris has an eclectic and fun nightlife scene ranging from Champagne swilling on the Champs-Élysées to basement jazz clubs, kicking cabaret halls, secret supper clubs

    and sweaty DJ dens. With a diverse immigrant population and lots of vibrant subcultures, the music scene is particularly rich.

    Le Batofar

    Port de la Gare
    75013 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    Quirky clubbing on a bright red tugboat in the Seine.

    Le Lido de Paris

    116Bis avenue des Champs-Élysées
    75008 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    The Lido’s Bluebell Girls and extravagant cabaret easily rival the Moulin Rouge.

    Le Divan du Monde

    75 rue des Martyrs 18e
    75018 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    Cross-cultural venue featuring rock parties and French chansons in Pigalle.

    Le Fumoir

    6, Rue de l’Amiral Coligny
    75001 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    Top-notch cocktails and a vintage mahogany bar opposite the Louvre.

    Le Balajo

    9, Rue de Lappe
    75011 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    Come for salsa classes, tea dances and weekend DJs at this 1930s ballroom.

    Enjoy

    Restaurants in Paris

    ListMap

    Foodies hot-foot it to Paris for good reason. This gourmet capital has everything you could want from chandelier-lit

    palaces to historic bistros and immigrant-driven world cuisine. Make sure to book ahead for weekend dining.

    Le Dôme

    108 boulevard du Montparnasse
    75014 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Beautiful art deco bistro with bow-tied waiters and impressive seafood platters.

    Le Comptoir du Relais

    9, Carrefour de l’Odéon
    75006 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Gourmet bistro fair with a creative twist from chef Yves Camdeborde.

    Chez Janou

    2 rue Roger Verlomme
    75003 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    Earthy Provençal dishes on pretty Place des Vosges.

    Bistroy Les Papilles

    30, Rue Gay-Lussac
    75005 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    Market-driven dishes accompanied by fabulous wines from its own cellar.

    La Cabane à Huîtres

    4, Rue Antoine Bourdelle
    75015 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

    Oysters, foie gras and smoked duck in a wooden-style oyster cabin.

    Discover

    Calendar of events

    Marathon de Paris

    7 April 2015
    Website

    Venue: Streets of Paris.

    How many marathons provide a cheese and wine break in the last five miles? This playful event is loved by marathon runners for its, well, Frenchness. It takes in some of the finest cityscape of Paris and is a fun event to watch, if you have already hung up your sneakers. The marathon starts approximately at 0900 on avenue des Champs-Elysées and finishes on avenue Foch.

    French Open Tennis (Roland Garros)

    24 May – 7 June 2015
    Website

    Venue: Roland Garros Stadium.

    France’s first national men’s competition was held in 1891 with the ladies’ following in 1897 and international players in 1925. Since then, the French Open or Roland Garros Tournament (named after a French engineer and fighter pilot shot down during WWI) has developed into a major tennis event. It is one of the four tournaments that make up the Grand Slam championships (together with the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.)

    Fête de la Musique (Musical Fair)

    21 June 2015
    Website

    Venue: Various venues.

    This fabulous event has free concerts throughout Paris (and the rest of France), in the streets and various venues, such as Sainte-Chapelle, the Musée d’Orsay and Palais de Justice. It is open to any performer, amateur or professional. All the events are free and can take place in museums, train stations or just on a street. Whether it’s an orchestra, choir, opera or rock band, there’s always something going on.

    Festival Paris Cinéma

    4 – 11 July 2015
    Website

    Venue: Various.

    France’s premier film festival is a glamorous affair with events taking place at 15 venues across the city over two weeks in July. More than 30 French films are premiered as well as dozens of international offerings. It attracts high-calibre film stars and directors from around the world. A guest always ‘chairs’ the festival.

    Bastille Day

    14 July 2015
    Website

    Venue: Various locations and Champs-Élysées.

    France’s principal national holiday is held every 14 July with festivities and fireworks to commemorate the storming of the Bastille in 1789. It is officially called the Fête Nationale (The National Celebration). The best places to catch the fireworks is the Eiffel Tower and there are parades up the Champs-Élysées.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.

    Enjoy

    Hotels in Paris

    ListMap

    As one of the most visited cities in the world, Paris has an excellent range of accommodation with budget and mid-range hotels concentrating in the Marais and around Bastille.

    At the top end expect anything from exquisitely designed boutique hotels to 100-room palaces.

    Le Relais des Halles

    26 rue Pierre Lescot
    75001 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    A romantic boutique hotel furnished with luxe fabrics, art and Bose stereos.

    Residence Foch

    10 rue Marbeau
    75016 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    Beautiful Haussman property where traditional décor is given a humorous modern twist.

    Les Trois Poussins

    15 rue Clauzel
    75009 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    A small, quiet, artful 19th-century hotel well located for Montmartre.

    Le Vingt Prieuré

    20 rue du Grand Prieuré
    75011 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    Minimally styled contemporary digs on the Right Bank of the Seine.

    Jack’s Hotel

    19 avenue Stephen Pichon
    75013 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    Category: Cheap

    Charming small hotel with a friendly front desk on the Left Bank.

    Discover

    Endless opportunities for lovers’ trysts

    ListMap
    Travelguide, Travel Guide, Lufthansa,Paris, Stadt der Liebe, romantisch

    Paris, the capital of romance. Sure, it’s a cliché. But it’s also a legend lovers from all around the world have been keeping

    alive for centuries. We show you the best spots for holding hands in Paris

    Parc de Bagatelle

    Route de Sèvres à Neuilly
    75016 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    This park is anything but a bagatelle; in fact, Louis XVI’s brother laid down this lovely green area in 1775, and it is absolutely huge. Later owners added to it continuously until 1905, when the city of Paris acquired the park and planted an extensive rose garden. It’s a wonderful place, especially in good weather, where peacocks stroll and strut and rain tumbles from grottoes. But be sure to allow plenty of time for your visit because the park is a little way out of town.

    Le 1728

    8 Rue Anjou
    75008 Paris
    France
    Tel. +33-1/40 17 04 77
    Show on map

    Just a stone’s throw from the Madeleine church, you will find the Le 1728 restaurant. The name denotes the year in which Antoine Mazin, Louis XV’s court architect, erected this Classicist villa with opulent salons in which Madame de Pompadour felt right at home. Here,  dinner soon becomes a journey back in time to the 18th century, as head chef Géraldine Rumeau serves her tuna tartare and rack of lamb on seasonal vegetables beneath chandeliers, frescos and golden stucco. Le 1728 even has discreet separés tucked away for lovers.

    Musée de la vie romantique

    16 Rue Chaptal
    75009 Paris
    France
    Tel. +33-1/55 31 95 67
    Show on map

    The name says it all: The “museum of romantic life”  is a truly sentimental place and a genuine insider tip for visitors to Paris – not just for its famous artworks, but also for some superb fruit tarts. A tea room has moved into the conservatory beside the rose-covered villa and offers delicious treats beneath shady trees. Visitors communicate in whispers here so that no one out on the street will discover the existence of this wonderful place.

    Hotel Particulier Montmartre

    Pavillon D
    23 Avenue Junot
    75018 Paris
    France
    Tel. +33-1/53418140
    Show on map

    Avenue Junot has to be one of the most charming streets in the city. But at house number 23, there’s a large gap. The Hotel Particulier Montmartre has done a good job of concealing itself – at the end of a narrow street, behind a black gate. You have to ring the bell to gain admittance to this gem of an old mansion set in its own garden. Back in the day, it was the home of the Hermès family, then a banker lived here, and today guests can choose from five exquisite suites, all done out by artists.

    Hotel Thoumieux

    79 Rue Saint-Dominique
    75007 Paris
    France
    Tel. +33-1/47 05 49 75
    Show on map

    At Hôtel Thoumieux, reincarnation really is the operative word: A trio of experts, Michelin star cook Jean- François Piège, star architect India Mahdavi and cult hotelier Thierry Costes, took on the old building and transformed it into an hôtel de charme. With its colorful, patterned wallpapers, leopard skins on the beds, four-star service and excellent gourmet restaurant, this hotel places the emphasis on exquisitely styled comfort, and with just 15 rooms, the atmosphere is still intimate.

    Les Ombres

    27 Quai Branly
    75007 Paris
    France
    Tel. +33-1/47 53 68 00
    Show on map

    “Les Ombres” means “the shadows,” and here it refers to those of the Eiffel Tower. Located on the roof of the museum of world cultures at Quai Branly, Les Ombres is certainly not the best eatery in town, but it definitely does offer the best view of the city’s iconic landmark. Designed by star architect and Pritzker Prize winner Jean Nouvel, Les Ombres is encased entirely in glass, so when you look up as you tuck into your salmon carpaccio, you see the sky. As the waiters at Les Ombres often like to take their time, guests can admire at their leisure the spectacle that occurs on the hour, every hour, when the Eiffel Tower illuminations turn it into a thousand twinkling stars.

    St. Martin Canal

    Quai de Valmy & Quai de Jemmapes
    75010 Paris
    France
    Show on map

    The neighborhood around 
St. Martin canal has shed its down-at-heel image to become a cool place for insiders. But the 19th century metal bridges, which either curve high above canal and locks or are raised and lowered to let ships pass, remain as popular as ever with romantics. In the summer, they come here to picnic, in winter, the place provides the perfect background for black-and-white pictures – to say nothing of autumn. Nowhere in Paris could the light be more beautiful than by this canal leading down to the Seine.

    La Conserverie

    37 Rue du Sentier
    75002 Paris
    France
    Tel. +33-1/40 26 14 94
    Show on map

    The Yves Klein Blue walls set the tone, and heavy drapes, velvet furnishings in dark red and dark green along with flea market finds complete the picture, creating a dimly lit, plushy atmosphere. This bar hidden away in a quiet street in the wholesale textile district Sentier is well worth a visit, not just for the decor, but also for the superb cocktails and excellent wines it serves.

    La Kiss Room

    Rue Vieille du Temple 78
    75003 Paris
    France
    Tel. +33-1/42 72 69 93
    Show on map

    This windowless, soundproofed 10-square-meter hotel room is not so much about kissing; it’s actually an artistic experiment. Concept artist Mathias Kiss’ installation is a pop-up hotel room lined throughout with mirrors and located in the store room of Café La Perle. The room will only open for 1000 nights and closes on October 9, 2016. Each guest may book a single night only (750 euros) to experience an artistic (or even an erotic) happening.

    Good to know

    Best time to visit

    Today: Monday, 22.12.2014 11:00

    overcast

    temperature


    9°C


    48°F

    wind direction

    south

    wind speed

    8.75 mph

    humidity

    91%

    7 days forecast

    Tuesday

    23.12.2014

    10°C / 6°C

    50°F / 43°F

    Wednesday

    24.12.2014

    11°C / 5°C

    52°F / 41°F

    Thursday

    25.12.2014

    10°C / 3°C

    50°F / 37°F

    Friday

    26.12.2014

    6°C / 2°C

    43°F / 36°F

    Saturday

    27.12.2014

    6°C / 2°C

    43°F / 36°F

    Sunday

    28.12.2014

    9°C /

    48°F / 32°F

    Monday

    29.12.2014

    2°C / -2°C

    36°F / 28°F

    Climate and best time to visit Paris

    Music ushers in the summer with the Fête de la Musique in June and the city starts to show off its legendary beauty beneath sunny skies. By July, a one-kilometre stretch of the Seine has been transformed into a sandy beach complete with sunbeds and parasols. Even better city residents pack their bags for the coast so the city is yours for the taking. Balmy days linger on into September and October, when the city revives with a full calendar of exhibitions, concerts and cultural events.

    Climate & best time to visit France

    France has a temperate climate in the north; northeastern areas have a more continental climate with warm summers and colder winters. Rainfall is distributed throughout the year with some snow likely in winter. The Jura Mountains have an alpine climate. Lorraine, sheltered by bordering hills, has a relatively mild climate. There’s a Mediterranean climate in the south; mountainous areas are cooler with heavy snow in winter.

    The Atlantic influences the climate of the western coastal areas from the Loire to the Basque region where the weather is temperate and relatively mild with rainfall throughout the year. Summers can be very hot and sunny – sunburn can be a risk if you’re unprepared. Inland areas are mild and the French slopes of the Pyrenees are renowned for their sunshine record. A Mediterranean climate exists on the Riviera, and in Provence and Roussillon. Weather in the French Alps is variable. Continental weather is present in Auvergne, Burgundy and the Rhône Valley. Very strong winds (such as the Mistral) can occur throughout the entire region.

    Climatic variations – and in particular the long summer holiday period – mean that mainstream tourism in France peaks in July and August. If you’re visiting the country at this time, prepare to face higher-than-usual demand at major sights, attractions and coastal resorts. There’s likely to be plenty of queuing involved – some roads may even get clogged at particularly busy times.

    By contrast, visiting during the low season – from October through to February or March – is not only far quieter, it also sees a drop in costs. This doesn’t apply to ski resorts, of course, which see peak demand over the winter months. 

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    15 °C

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    2 °C

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    -3 °C

    26.6 °F

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    68 °F

    -4 °C

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    60.8 °F

    -12 °C

    10.4 °F

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    56 mm

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    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

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    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    86 %

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    71 %

    73 %

    73 %

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    79 %

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    absolute maxabsolute minØ absolute minØ absolute minrelative humidityØ depositdays with deposit > 1mmsunshine duration
    Jan15 °C-14 °C6 °C0 °C86 %56 mm111.9 h
    Feb21 °C-14 °C7 °C1 °C81 %46 mm102.9 h
    Mar25 °C-5 °C12 °C3 °C76 %35 mm115.1 h
    Apr30 °C0 °C15 °C6 °C69 %42 mm96.0 h
    May34 °C0 °C19 °C9 °C71 %57 mm117.5 h
    Jun37 °C4 °C22 °C12 °C73 %54 mm98.1 h
    Jul40 °C8 °C24 °C14 °C73 %59 mm87.8 h
    Aug35 °C7 °C24 °C14 °C74 %64 mm77.1 h
    Sep33 °C2 °C21 °C11 °C79 %55 mm86.0 h
    Oct28 °C-3 °C15 °C7 °C85 %50 mm94.1 h
    Nov20 °C-4 °C10 °C4 °C87 %51 mm92.0 h
    Dec16 °C-12 °C6 °C2 °C88 %50 mm91.5 h
    year40 °C-14 °C15 °C7 °C79 %619 mm1115.0 h
    Good to know

    Phone calls & Internet

    Telephone/Mobile Telephone

    Dialing Code: +33

    Telephone

    Card-only telephones are common, with pre-paid cards bought from post offices and tabacs; coin boxes are being phased out throughout the country. International calls are cheaper between Mon-Fri 1900-0800 and all day Sat-Sun. Calls can be received at all phone boxes showing the sign of a blue bell. Information in English and other languages can be accessed by pressing the button with a two-flags icon.

    Mobile Telephone

    Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is excellent.

    Internet

    Public access is available at internet cafés in all large towns and cities.

    Enjoy

    Shopping in Paris

    Stadtführer, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Shopping, Einkaufen

    Key Areas

    Shopping in Paris is a highlight whether you’re in the market for high-luxury fashion or flea-market bargains. The Right Bank is the epicentre of Parisian fashion, especially the Champs-Élysées, the Golden Triangle between Avenue Montaigne and Avenue George V, Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, Place des Victoires and the Marais. The Marais is also good for street and vintage fashion along with Left Bank St-Germain des Prés.

    Markets

    Dive into Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen, Paris’ (and possibly Europe’s) largest flea market, or opt for the 500 stalls at the smaller Marché aux Puces de Montreuil. For food, you can’t beat the legendary Marché Bastille and the 19th-century, iron-and-glass Marché Couvert St Quentin. The former is open mornings only, the latter until 7.30pm.

    Shopping Centres

    Paris’ grands magasins (department stores) offer an excellent overview of the Parisian shopping scene. The best are Galeries Lafayette, Le Bon Marché and Le Printemps.

    Discover

    My Paris

    I love to stroll through Montmartre with its crowded streets, countless cafés, myriad shops, chalk drawings on the ground and artists selling pastel and charcoal portraits and paintings. Just around the corner from the hubbub of the busy squares, there are lots of narrow streets and squares that transport me back to the old Paris of bygone days.

    Melanie Baumann, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Travel Guide, Paris, Crewtipp

    Melanie Baumann (Purserette)

    Good to know

    Traveller etiquette

    Social Conventions

    Shaking hands and, more familiarly, kissing both cheeks, are the usual forms of greeting. The form of personal address is simply Monsieur or Madame without a surname and it may take time to get on first-name terms. At more formal dinners, it is the most important guest or host who gives the signal to start eating. Mealtimes are often a long, leisurely experience. Casual wear is common.

    Social functions, some clubs, casinos and exclusive restaurants warrant more formal attire. Evening wear is normally specified where required. Topless sunbathing is tolerated on most beaches but naturism is restricted to certain beaches – local tourist offices will advise where these are. A smoking ban for workplaces and public spaces has been in place since February 2007.

    Good to know

    Health

    Main emergency number: 112

    Food & Drink

    This being France, the only real problems posed by the local food and drink are mild stomach complaints resulting from overindulgence. Tap water is safe to drink (although you’ll find a huge amount of bottled water for sale too) and cooked food, assuming it’s come from a hygienic kitchen, is certainly no more risky to consume than that of any developed country. Some travellers steer clear of unpasteurised dairy products due to a perceived risk of disease, while others laud the same products for their perceived health benefits. If you’re at all unsure, it’s probably best to stick to what you’re used to.

    Other Risks

    Visitors to forested areas should consider vaccination for tick-borne encephalitis. There was an outbreak of canine rabies in 2008. For those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered. If you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay.

    In more universal terms, sunburn is perhaps the most common complaint among visitors to France, particularly over the summer months – temperatures are generally higher in the south but it’s wise to be cautious across the country. The usual precautions apply: use a generous amount of sunscreen and be sensible about how long you spend in direct sunlight. Be aware that a breezy day can sometimes mask high temperatures.

    If walking over a long distance in warm weather, it’s advisable to drink – and carry – plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing, including a sun hat. Blisters can be another problem for hikers. These can often occur if new walking shoes are being worn across a long distance. Ideally footwear should be worn in before the trip.

    Contractual physician of Lufthansa

    Marion Dr. Adler
    118 Avenue du Général-Leclerc
    75014 Paris
    France
    Tel. +33-63232-9566

    Please note that Lufthansa accepts no responsibility for the treatment nor will it bear the cost of any treatment.
    Good to know

    Getting around

    Public Transport

    Paris public transport system is operated by RATP (tel: 3246; www.ratp.fr). The 16-line metro covers the centre and is complemented by an extensive bus network. A weekly travel pass for zones 1 and 2 is usually the most cost-effective option. The Vélib’ bike system is another good option with over 1,500 stations across the city. To use a bike you need to open a Vélib’ account, which can be done at any station.

    Taxis

    Taxis can be hailed although it may prove hard and there’s an automatic surcharge. Otherwise pick one up outside one of the major hotels. To order, call Paris’ central taxi switchboard (tel: 01 4530 3030).

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