Useful Paris

Questions and answers

1. Where can I catch the RER B at Charles de Gaulle airport ?
2. How much does a taxi cost from CDG airport, or from Orly ?
3. Where can we leave our luggage if we only leave Paris at the end of the day?
4. Tips ?
5. Taxes and VAT refund ?
6. Sunday ?
7. On average, what are the opening times ?
8. On which website can we book our tickets in advance ?
9. Where can I buy cheap tickets for shows ?
10. What are the bank holidays ?
11. What can we do January 1st in Paris ?
12. What's the weather (temperatures, weather forecast, etc) like in Paris ?
13. Postal service ?
14. Security and pickpocket ?
15. What are the traps to be avoided ?
16. What is the electrical voltage in Paris ?
17. Can we drink tap water ?
18. How to phone France from abroad (international phone calls) or local ?
19. Health and medical emergency ?
20. Which bars show sport games on TV ?

1. Where can I catch the RER B at Charles de Gaulle airport ?
To get to Paris with public transports from Charles de Gaulles airport, it is advised to take the RER B.

If you arrive in Terminal 1 or 3, you must go to the RER station called "Aéroport Charles de Gaulle". This station is accessible with a free shuttle CDGVAL from Terminal 1 (6 minutes to get there) or walk it (less than 500 meters) from the 3rd Terminal.

For Terminal 2 the station is called " Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 2 TGV". It is accessible with moving walkways for Terminals 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F. From Terminal 2A and 2B you can walk it but it is advised to take the bus shuttle N1. For Terminal 2G take the shuttle N3, from door 4 of Terminal 2C (the shuttle N3 works everyday from 5h30am till 11pm, and it will take you 10 minutes to get there).

2. How much does a taxi cost from CDG airport, or from Orly ?
To leave the airport, taxis are available at the arrival terminal and at your disposal in the exit zone just after baggage pickup. The cost will depend on when you take it and whether the traffic is light or heavy. Generally, count on about €50 from CDG, and about €40 from Orly, outside rush hour which, as anywhere, takes longer and is more expensive. When leaving, if you’d like to take a taxi to the airport, we can arrange that for you. All you have to do is let Giovanni know when you’d like to be picked up, whereby he will order it ahead of time have it waiting for you the day of your departure.

3. Where can we leave our luggage if we only leave Paris at the end of the day?
If you are leaving Paris at the end of the day and that a late check out is not possible (if new lodgers are arriving the day you leave) you might not want to be bothered with all your luggage to make the most of your last day in Paris. In order to do so, you can deposit your luggage in a checkroom (automatic or manual) which you will find in train stations indicated below.

Rates
Prices change according to the size of the locker, 3.40 to 7.50 euros for a maximum of 72 hours for automatic checkrooms. Manual checkrooms are more expensive and will cost you 4.50 euros per luggage for 24 hours.

CAUTION : Make sure you have the right amount of money because lockers only accept coins. And as a safety measure, we recommend that you take anything valuable with you.

- Gare du Nord : automatic and manual checkrooms
Level -1, next to car rentals, on the taxi exit side
Open 7D/7 from 6h15am till 11h15pm, including bank holidays

- Gare Montparnasse : automatic and manual checkrooms
Level +1
Open 7D/7From 7am till 11pm, including bank holidays

- Gare de l'Est : manual checkrooms
level -1, central hall facing the toilets
Open 7D/7 from 6am till 11h45pm, including bank holidays

- Gare de Lyon : automatic checkrooms
Level -1, towards exit place Henri Fresnay
Open 7D/7 from 6h15am till 10pm, including bank holidays

- Gare d'Austerlitz : automatic checkrooms
Access cour muséum door 27
Open 7D/7 from 7am till 11h30pm, including bank holidays

4. Tips ?
In France, the service is included on the price indicated on the menu and on the bill in restaurants. Depending on the quality of the service, you can also leave a tip to the waiter, in cash on the table. It is up to you to decide but one generally leaves 1 or 2 for a bill inferior to 50 euros (50 centimes for a drink in a bar). In a quality restaurant, if the service pleased you, leave 5% of the bill in addition.

CAUTION : When you pay the bill with a credit card, foresee a few coins for the waiter. The tip cannot be added to bill payed by credit card.

5. Taxes and VAT refund ?
In France, VAT (value added tax) is applied to all goods and services; its amount varies according to the goods (2.1% up to 19.6%). In restaurants, museums or shops, the prices indicated are all tax included. Since 1st July 2009, Restaurants benefit from a VAT reduction down to 5.5%, which should show with a slight price fall on menus.

IMPORTANT : Foreign nationals, not residing in a country of the European Union can ask for the repayment of the VAT for touristic purchases, the same day, for an amount superior to 175 Euros. On your request, the shopkeeper must establish a note of sales for exportation (two pages signed by the seller and the buyer), which enables you to ask for the repayment of the VAT at the Tax refund counter of the shop, or at the Detaxe position (in Orly and Roissy airport) before checking in your luggage with your visa and the concerned goods in the three months following the purchase.

6. Sunday ?
French particularity for a wile now, the closure of shops on Sundays tends to disappear. Restaurants, museums and many shops welcome you all week long. To buy your groceries, note that most of the supermarkets are open on Sunday mornings until 1 pm.

In 2009, the French Government has decided to suppress the compulsory Sunday rest ; in Paris, many shops should be open 7D/7.

7. On average, what are the opening times ?
If every business, museum or administration are free to fix their opening times, here is an average, and for your information only, a range of opening hours in Paris:
- restaurants serve at lunchtime from 11h30am till 3pm, the evening from 7pm to 11pm
- shops are open from 10am till 7pm with sometimes a break at lunchtime between 12pm and 2pm. In Paris big shops are open from 10am till 8pm nonstop.
- banks are open 5 days a week on average, Tuesday to Friday, from 9am till 5pm. Plus an additional day on the Monday or Saturday.
- Parisian museums are open everyday (except on a few bank holidays) between 10am and 7pm. Some evenings museums can stay open till 9pm.
- administrations are open Monday to Saturday from 9am till 5pm.

For more informations, you may contact l'Office de Tourisme or the service you are interested in.

8. On which website can we book our tickets in advance ?
To book your tickets in advance, we advise you to go through the website FNAC.com that sells tickets for shows, games, exhibitions and priority tickets for major museums. You will be able to choose the event you wish to see and also the time and date if your booking a priority ticket.

9. Where can I buy cheap tickets for shows ?
Operas, gigs, plays, cabarets, Paris offers a wide range of different shows that are sometimes a little too expensive. To allow you to save money on your budget, here is a good tip to buy tickets cheaper. Thanks to Kiosque Théâtre, tickets on the same day are sold half price. The Kiosque Madeleine, facing 15 place de la Madeleine in the 9th district, is open Tuesday to Sunday from 12:30pm till 8pm (4pm on Sundays).

CAUTION : The number of tickets being limited, we advise you to get there early enough if you don't want all the shows to be sold out !

10. What are the bank holidays ?
France has eleven bank holidays in a year, but not all of them are stood off, specially in touristic places such as Paris. Some of them - linked to religious ceremonies (Easter, Ascension, Pentecost) vary with the years. Here is a detailed list :

- 1st January : "new year"
- Easter Monday : (every year the following Easter day - 25th April for 2011)
- 1st May : "Working feast"
- 8th May : Victory of the allies during world war two (8th May 1945)
- Thursday of the Ascension (39 days after Easter - 2nd June for 2011)
- 14th July : French national feast
- 15th August : Assumption day
- 1st November : All Saints' day
- 11th November : Armistice of the first world war (11th November 1918)

Naturally, public transport are still on however, some shops maybe closed on those dates.

11. What can we do January 1st in Paris ?
Before celebrating new year's eve, you need to know that 1st January is a day off in France, most of the shops will be closed on that day. So don't forget to get a few supplies the day before (food, bread, etc). You also need to know that most museums are closed on that day, with a few exceptions that we highly recommend :

- Galeries nationales du Grand Palais
Open from 9am till 10pm

Luxembourg Museum
Open from 9am till 6pm

- Musée du quai Branly
Open from 11pm till 7pm

- Centre Pompidou (national museum for modern art)
open from 11am till 9pm

- L'Institut du Monde Arabe
Open from 10am till 6pm

- Pinacothèque de Paris
Open from 2pm till 6:30pm

12. What's the weather (temperatures, weather forecast, etc) like in Paris ?
To know about the weather forecast of your holiday in Paris, the Paris weather section will inform you of temperatures and precipitations according to months and seasons.

13. Postal service ?
No doubt you will want to send post cards to your relatives to let them know about your stay in Paris. To do so, you can buy stamps in a post office (and/or stamped envelopes) or a book of 10 stamps in any tobacco shop. The price for a stamp is 0.58€ and allows you to send a letter up to 20 grammes in France; for international, the minimum price is 0.75€ for a 20g letter. Remember to ask for an adapted stamp according to the destination and weight of your mail.

For more information, consult the official website of la Poste.

14. Security and pickpocket ?
Rest assured ! Paris is a particularly safe city day and night. Furthermore, all our flats are located in very prestigious districts of Paris where security is complete.

To avoid all risks - like theft by a pickpocket - here are a few precautions you should take, especially in the Parisian underground, which is by the way very safe :
- always keep an eye on your bag that you should not be carrying on your back;
- fully close your bag ; pickpockets are very agile to slip a hand without anyone noticing.

15. What are the traps to be avoided ?
Do not be fooled! For a few years now, immigrants from eastern Europe try to trick tourists in the streets of Paris. They spot tourists by the way they look and try to trap them. To avoid this, never talk to them (even if they strongly insist) and completely ignore them no matter what they have to say or "offer".

The most famous rip off is known as the "Golden ring". You could be walking by the river Seine or in a garden, a woman comes by ans suddenly drops to your feet. She picks up what seems to be a golden ring and congratulates you: "it's your lucky day". Her aim ? To sell you this scrap of worthless metal. Do not talk to this person and keep on walking with an eye (or a hand) on your wallet. After a few tries she should leave you alone...

16. What is the electrical voltage in Paris ?
In France like in Europe, the voltage for plugs is between 220 and 240V. You will find electrical adapter in most supermarkets (like Monoprix).

17. Can we drink tap water ?
In Paris, tap water is perfectly drinkable and of good quality. No need to buy bottles of water, unless you prefer sparkling water. In a restaurant, don't waste your money and simply ask for "une carafe d'eau". And if the waiter proposes to order a bottle of still water (Evian, Vittel, etc), just kindly refuse the offer !

18. How to phone France from abroad (international phone calls) or local ?
In France, phone numbers are always 10 digits long. Numbers on landlines will always begin with 0 followed by a territorial code (1 to 9). For Paris, for example, all the phone numbers will start by 01 or 09 (ex: ParisFlatRent's phone number is 09 53 03 11 00). For mobile phone, the numbers will start by 06 or 07.

To phone France from abroad you must take away the first 0, but you have to add the international code (+33 or 0033) before the number. Thus, to phone 09 53 03 11 00, you must compose 0033 9 53 03 11 00 (or +33 9 53 03 11 00).

19. Health and medical emergency ?
In Europe, in case of an aggression or a medical emergency, a unique phone number is at your disposition : 112.

For small symptoms and minor injuries, a pharmacist can give you a medical advice and/or deliver a few drugs. On our interactive Google map, we have located for you the drugstores close to your apartment. If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to consult a doctor, in order to obtain a complete diagnosis and/or a prescription to buy medicine. Good to know, every general practitioner are on medical duty practically everyday with no need for an appointment. To obtain the detail contacts of doctors close to your flat, consult the directory's website for professionals : PagesJaunes.fr

Furthermore, no vaccine is needed to travel in France.

20. Which bars show sport games on TV ?
In Paris, numerous bars and pubs have a huge TV screen for those who like to watch field games, like football-soccer, rugby or cricket. Here are a few places we have selected for viewing in a « very British atmosphere », for instance, the World Cup Football :

- Le Players : 161, rue Montmartre - 75002 Paris
Our opinion : a good ambiance, nice staff, and over 20 gigantic screens ! Drinks of course, are available, but also food, such as burgers, pizza, tapas, etc. A must !
Website: http://www.leplayers.com/

- Café OZ Châtelet : 18, rue Saint-Denis - 75001 Paris
Our Opinion : This Australian bar is very crowded when there is a match, which attests to its great success – it’s a shame one cannot eat something !
Website : http://www.cafe-oz.com/

- Hall's Beer Tavern : 66, rue Saint-Denis - 75001 Paris
Our opinion : A huge selection of beer at affordable prices and the cooking is traditional, classic ("French family cooking"). The games are broadcasted on very large screens.
Website : http://www.hallsbeer.com

Please take note : When there is a "big" match, we advise you to arrive early, otherwise there’s no room left, and of course, it goes without saying, you should eat or drink on the premises in order to benefit from the TV screen. In order to find bars and pubs which transmit the game of your favorite team, rendez-vous at AlloMatch.com