11-09-2006, 11:25 AM
- Join Date
- Dec 2006
Paris, FranceMessage Edited by LL_Editor on 05-30-2007 03:45 PM
Paris Travel Guide
It is impossible not to fall in love with Paris. The city'speople are stylish and flirtatious, its architecture seductive, itsrestaurants and nightlife devoted to the pursuit of pleasure andits streets are scattered with dreams.
There is no 'best time' to visit Paris; in every season the cityis always alive. Summer days are spent lazing on the banks of theSeine, sipping coffee at a sidewalk caf, or idling in oneof the city's many gardens or forests. In autumn afternoons thebrisk walk from the Eiffel Tower through the Parc du Champ de Marsand up to the glittering Champs Elyses is accompanied witha carpet of leaves crunching underfoot. Winter nights induce a warmglow ice-skating in the outdoor rink at the Hotel de Ville, and inspring the passions of performers fill the air outside the PompidouCentre and the nose is tickled with the subtle scents of floweringgardens.
There is an otherworldliness to this city, where beauty andelegance are favoured over purpose and practicality. Centuries ofurban development have the appearance of having being mastered by asingle hand with a strong sense of balance, contrast andaesthetics. The views from the Eiffel Tower or Sacr Coeurreveal hundreds of iconic attractions for the snapshot visitor, butthe best way to see this city is by tucking your map back in yourpocket and allowing yourself to get lost on its streets andavenues, discovering the city for yourself.
However long you spend in Paris, on departure you will know youare sure to return.
Time: Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 between last Sunday in March and last Sunday in October).
Electricity: Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. European two-pin plugs are standard.
Money: The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in France. Currency canbe exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and some large hotels,though you will get a better exchange rate at the ATMs. Majorcredit cards are widely accepted, as are travellers cheques,particularly in major tourist destinations. Foreign currency is notaccepted.
Language: French is the official language.
Entry requirements for Americans: United States citizens must have a valid passport. A visa is notrequired for a stay of up to three months.
Entry requirements for UK nationals: British nationals must have a valid passport. A visa is notrequired for passport holders endorsed British Citizen. Visaexemption is for three months for passports endorsed BritishNational (Overseas), British Overseas Territories Citizen, BritishOverseas Citizen, British Protected Person, or 'holder is entitledto readmission into the UK', or 'holder has the right of abode inUK'. In all other cases, a visa is required.
Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians must hold a valid passport for entry to France.
Avisa is not required for stays of up to three months.
Entry requirements for Australians: Australians must have a valid passport. No visa is required fora stay of up to three months.
Entry requirements for South Africans: South Africans must have a valid passport and a Schengen visafor travel to France.
Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish nationals must have a valid passport, but no visa isrequired.
Entry requirements for New Zealand nationals: New Zealand nationals must have a valid passport. No visa isrequired for a stay of up to three months.
Passport/Visa Note: Visitors are advised to hold a return or onward ticket and proofof financial means. The borderless region known as the Schengenarea includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark,Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, TheNetherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. All thesecountries issue a standard Schengen visa that allows the holder, inprincipal, to travel freely within the borders of all.
Embassy or Consulate in US: French Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 9446000.
Embassy or Consulate in UK: French Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7073 1000.
Embassy or Consulate in Canada: French Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 789 1795.
Embassy or Consulate in Australia: French Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6216 0100.
Embassy or Consulate in South Africa: French Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 425 1600.
US Embassy or Consulate: US Embassy, Paris: +33 (0)1 4312 2222.
UK Embassy or Consulate: British Embassy, Paris: +33 (0)1 4451 3100.
Canadian Embassy or Consulate: Canadian Embassy, Paris: +33 (0)1 4443 2900.
Australian Embassy or Consulate: Australian Embassy, Paris: +33 (0)1 4059 3300.
South African Embassy or Consulate: South African Embassy, Paris: +33 (0)1 5359 2323.
Health: French hospitals and health facilities are first class. British,and visitors from other EU countries, are entitled to heavilydiscounted medical treatment and medicines on presentation of aEuropean Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Otherwise doctors andhospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.Medical insurance is advised. Pharmacies will provide some firstaid, but charge for it. Rabies also occurs occasionally. InFebruary 2006, France confirmed its first cases of bird flu; allaffected birds have been culled and precautionary measures taken.The risk is low for travellers, but close contact with domestic,wild and caged birds should be avoided, and all poultry and eggdishes well cooked.
Tipping: Most restaurants and hotels automatically add a 15% servicecharge so a tip is not necessary, although another 2-3% iscustomary if the service has been good. If service is not includedthen 15% is customary. Taxi drivers expect 10-15% of the fare andhairdressers 10%. Hotel staff generally receive 1.50 a dayand tips of 1 are given to washroom and cloakroom attendantsand museum tour guides. Tour bus drivers and guides are alsotipped.
Safety: Following the London and Madrid bombings, security has beenheightened particularly in the transport sector. A group called theAZF claim to have a number of explosives on railway tracks timed todetonate at future dates, and although the authorities have askedthe public to be vigilant, they have issued no further warningsagainst using public transport. Unattended luggage left in publicplaces will be removed or destroyed by security staff. Whilegenerally safe, visitors to France are advised to take precautionsagainst petty theft and to ensure their personal safety. Thievesand pickpockets operate on the metro and around airports. Theftfrom cars is prevalent, particularly in the south, aroundMarseilles, and in Corsica. A Corsican nationalist group FLNC havebeen responsible for a series of bomb attacks on public buildingsand holiday homes in Corsica and visitors should take care,particularly in Ajaccio the capital, and other town centres.Several recent cases of burglary have been reported while visitorswere asleep in their caravans or motorhomes and motorists are askedto avoid parking in isolated or darkened areas of camping sites orparking lots. Tourists are advised to conceal bags and purses evenwhen driving, and to never leave valuables unattended in the car.Bag snatching is also common, particularly on public transport andin shopping centres, and visitors should also be vigilant ofluggage while loading bags into and out of hire cars at airports.Clashes between youths and police occurred in October/November2005, with renewed violence in 2006, which included attacks onpublic transport and caused numerous injuries to civilians.Visitors should be cautious if travelling to Paris around the timeof the anniversary of these riots, as further violence ispossible.
Customs: French culture is of paramount importance to the French and inan increasingly Americanised world they feel duty-bound to protectit. It is appreciated if visitors can speak a few words of French;they do not respond well to being shouted at in English. While thefood is second to none, Americans will find the service in manyrestaurants sloppy; waiters can appear rude (particularly in Paris)and take their time. This is just the way they are. Traditionalgames such as ptanque (similar to lawn bowling butplayed on gravel) are popular in village squares, but the nationalsports are soccer, rugby and cycling. From February 2007, smokingin public places will be banned and heavy fines will beimposed.
Business: Business etiquette is important in France. A smart, fashionable,sense of dress is common as the nation prides itself on hautcouture. Punctuality is not always observed though and the'fashionably late' tactic may be applied. A handshake is the commonform of greeting for men and women upon first introductions. Titlesare important and the person is to be referred to as 'monsieur'(Mr.), 'madame' (Mrs.), or 'mademoiselle' (Ms.). Meetings usuallyoccur over lunches, and the French are known to enjoy food.Business hours are generally 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday.
Communications: The international access code for France is +33. The outgoingcode depends on what network is used to dial out on (e.g. 00 forFrance Telecom), which is followed by the relevant country code(e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). Other codes are used if usingdifferent networks. The area code for Paris is (0)1. Most publictelephones accept phone cards, which are available in newsagents.Most hotels add a surcharge to calls; the cheapest way to callabroad is often with a phone card. The local mobile phone operatorsuse GSM networks and have roaming agreements with mostinternational mobile phone companies. Internet cafes are availablein most towns throughout France.
Duty free: Travellers from non-EU countries over 17 years entering Francecan bring in the following items duty-free: 200 cigarettes, or 100cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250g tobacco; 1 litre of spirits withalcohol content 22% and over, or 2 litres of dessert wine orsparkling wine not exceeding 22% alcohol volume, and 2 litres oftable wine; 50g perfume or 250ml eau de toilette; gold jewellerynot exceeding 500g; 500g coffee; 100g tea; and other goods to thevalue of 175 per adult or 90 for children under 15years.
12-31-2006, 11:27 AM
- Join Date
- Dec 2006
Re: Paris, France
You talk about Paris, but France is country roads, with picturesque villages at every hilltop or hidden in every valley. XIIth century churches with frescoes, spectacular renaissance chateaux, joie de vivre, an art of life. In short, so much you cannot discover remaining in Paris.
The Loire Valley is the birthplace of France, where French history began. The kings of France didn't establish themselves in the capital until Henri IVth, late 16th century. The royal court was in Chinon, Blois, Amboise etc, in North Western France.
The best place to discover this unique and true part of France is as a private guest of the Comte and Comtesse de Vanssay, in their ancestral home, Chateau de La Barre, now open to the pubic as a luxurious and exclusive B&B, with possibility to enjoy a candlelit 4 course dinner in their grand dinning hall with them.
You will be welcome as family friends, and given invaluable information on all the sites worthy of visiting, many secret tips, a wine tasting course if you wish and much more.
Visit the website on: www.chateaudelabarre.com
02-24-2007, 03:05 PM
Re: Paris, France
There are lots of wonderful restaurant in Paris. We just got back from Les Ambassadeurs at the Crillion Hotel to celebrate my birthday. The restaurant boasts 3 Michelin stars, yet the fixed price 4-course lunch menu at 70 Euros is affordable. The chef, Jean Francois Piege was the second in command under Alain Ducass at the Plaza Athena. He is both a performer and a composer. He epitomizes the very best of French lifestyle and talent which he embellishes with his unique flourish. He creates sensations which go beyond pleasure like the Blanc a manger doeuf/truffe noir, or le caviar dAquitaine/nage corsee/langoustine, Oeuf coque sans coque/celery/truffe/ecrivisse or still Pigeonneau desosse/fois gras/jus dolive. The food was absolutely outstanding and the accompanying wines superbe.
There is also the Ritz Espadon Restaurant, a truly remarkable setting which you are unlikely to ever forget. And the food is exquisite. They have 2 Michelin stars and their fixed price lunch menu is at 63 Euros. Michael Roth is the chef in command and I trained under him. On Mondays and Thursdays, the Ritz Escoffier cooking school offers cooking demonstrations for about 50 Euros where the chef demonstrates a 3-course meal and you get to taste the dishes afterwards, in case you or your wife might be interested to assist at a cooking demonstration. www.ritzparis.com
Another lovely high class Restaurant is the Grand Vefour. The Grand Vefour is one of the oldest restaurants in Paris. The 18th century dcor of this elegant restaurant, respendent with gilt-edged mirrors and chandeliers, was once admired by Bonaparte, Victor Hugo, Colette, Malraux and Cocteau. The chef, Guy Martin, carries on the tradition of the Grand Vefour, with his sublime raviolis de foie gras a lemulsion de crme truffee tourte dartichauts et legumes confits nd sorbet aux amandes ameres served with the finest French wines. We dined there once in the company of Parker, the famous wine authority. The Grand Vefour offers a 3 course lunch menu for 78 Euros.
Then there are some of the BASSERIES you shouldnt miss.
Some places are engraved in our memories and, despite the passing of time, our recollection of them remains particularly vivid. They become reassuring, unique landmarks that never o out of style. Au Pied de Cochon is undoubtedly one of those brasseries, a true symbol of Parisian gastronomy. Au Pied de Cochon, 6 Rue Coquilliere -74001 Paris, Tel: 01 40 13 77 00, Open every day 24/24, Metro: Chatelet-Les Halles, Menu 40 Euros,
If the spirit of the Left Bank still has any meaning, it is surely at the Le Petit Zink. Le Petit Zink, 11 Rue Saint-Benoit, 75006 Paris, Tel 01 42 86 61 00, Metro Mabillon, Menu 43 Euros, Open every day till midnight.
Voltair once said of the Le Procop: wit alone could substitute for an invitation. With this caliber of patronage, does Le Procop, a flagship of French culture and gastronomy for more than three centuries, need any further introduction? Le Procop, 13 Rue de lAncienne Comedie, 75006 Paris, Tel: 01 40 46 79 00, Metro Odeon, Menu 45 Euros, Open every day 11:30 AM to 2:00 AM,
A small farmhouse in the heart of Paris, just a few steps away from the Champs Elysees? This might come as something of a surprise. Long ago, when it was still in the outskirts of the capital, Parisians used to go carousing at the Fermette Marbeuf, away from the noise and chaos of the city nearby. It has retained much of its freshness from those days, especially in its Art nouveau dcor, which boasts graceful plant motifs, curves and scrolls. It was rediscovered by chance in 1978 when the restaurant underwent a renovation and is now listed in the national heritage inventory! La Fermette Marbeuf, 5 Rue Marbeuf, 75008 Paris, Tel: 01 53 23 08 00, Metro: Alma Marceau, Menu 50 Euros, Open every day
L Alsace one of the most beautiful regions in France, as everyone knows. It is also a restaurant which is well known in the capital, an institution if every there was one, and an undisputed figurehead of the Champ- Elysees at the corner of Rue Marbeuf. It is a quintessential Alsation brasserie and has for many years been a favourite haunt of Parisians, who come to appreciate its warmth and bonhomie around the clock. LAlsace, 39, Avenue des Champs-Elysees, 75008 Paris, Tel: 01 53 93 97 00, Metro: Franklin Roosevelt, Menu 42 Euros, Open day and night,
A magical location, a simple name, sumptious dcor straight out of the 19th century and a perfect welcome: have you guessed where you are? Of course, its the Grand Caf, right off the place which defies the ageing process and remains eternally young and always at the height of style. And if a good meal could be said to put on a show, the Grand Caf is the most beautiful theater: with its colored marble walls, warm paneling and garnet hangings, it is a happy blend of classic 1900 style and the Art Nouveau of Hector Guimard. Foreign visitors who make up half of the clientel, come here to soak up the atmosphere of the classic Paris of the boulevards, full of flourishing hotels, cinemas, fashionable boutiques and luxury shops. In short, the quartier de lOpera. Le Grand Caf, 4 Boulevard des Capucines, 75009 Paris, Tel: 01 43 12 19 00, Open 24/24hrs, Metro: Opera, Menu: 42 Euros, Open day and night.
Brasserie Lipp This is the Brasserie that everyone loves to hate. However, its clientele of entertainment personalities and politicians keeps returning for the straightforward brasserie food. The dishes include herring in cream and for dessert a monumental millefeuille pastry. Ask to be seated downstairs where the action is. Upstairs is referred to as Siberia. Brasserie Lipp, 151 Blvd Saint Germain, 75006 Paris, Metro: Saint Germain des Pres, Tel: 01 42 22 06 57 Open 11:30 am to 1:00 am daily, www.brasserielipp.com
02-24-2007, 03:13 PM
Re: Paris, France
If you want to see a lot of the museums while you are in Paris, it might be wise to purchase the 3-day Museum pass. One day Pass is 15 Euros, 3 consecutive days are 30 Euros. This pass gives you free and no waiting in line access to 60 museums in Paris and surrounding areas. These passes can be purchased at all major Metro stations, the Paris tourist office and Bateaubus stops. I would also suggest you purchase a 3 day Visitor pass for Metro and buses which gives you unlimited access to Paris transportation.
Obviously, youll want to visit the Louvre. It is open every day except Tuesday. If you have the Museum Pass, there is no need to stand in line, without it, try to avoid the lines by entering at the Porte de Saint Louis by the Seine. Also, remember, every first Sunday of the month, all Paris museums are free, with the exception of privately owned galleries. The Louvre does have a food court and you can find all sorts of restaurants and ethnic foods there. If you want to escape the crowd and need a rest, you can have a nice lunch in the "Grand Louvre" restaurant near the information desk. They serve nice food at a fixed price (Formule 29 Euro, Menu 37 Euro) and the setting is quite pleasant.
The Quay DOrsay Museum is closed on Mondays. Again, you can purchase your entrance tickets ahead of time to avoid standing in line in case you do not buy the Museum Pass. Again, there are two restaurants in the Museum. One upstairs on the top floor serves sandwhiches, etc. cafeteria style, the other on the 2nd floor "Belle Epoque Restaurant" is more refined and offers a rest away from the crowds.
Pariss newest Museum is Quai Branly (next to the Eiffel Tower Metro Alma) that displays African and Primitive art and is housed in a spectacular new building. I have not seen the inside yet myself.
One of my favorite museums is Musee Carnavalet. It is the Museum of the History of Paris. The museum is housed in Madame Sevignys Hotel Particulier with a lovely courtyard and an impressive statue of Louis XIV in the courtyard. Star exhibits are the Madame de Sevignys Gallery, Charles Le Brun Ceiling, Hotel dUzes Reception Room, Ballroom of the Hotel de Wendel, and some of Marie Antoinettes belonging from the Temple where she was imprisoned. The Musee Carnavalet is located at 23 Rue de Sevigne, Paris 75003, Metro Saint-Paul, Open Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 am to 5:40 PM.
In the same area as the Musee Carnavalet you will also find the Musee de Chasse, the Picasso Museum and the Cagne-Jaque Museum, and la Maison de Victor Hugo.
Also, you shouldn't miss the private Museum of Jacquemart-Andre, 158 Boulevard Haussmann, Paris 75008. It houses wonderful private collections of paintings, furnishings and tapisseries. It also has a nice intimate restaurnat "Le Cafe Jacquemart-Andre" and you can have lunch there for about 15.50 Euros.
Another gem of a museum is the Musee de Cluny, now officially known as the Musee de Moyen Age Therme de Cluny. It offers a unique combination of Gallo-Romain ruins, incorporated into a medieval mansion, and one of the worlds finest collections of medieval art and crafts. The museums name came from the Abbot of Cluny in Burgundy, who bought the ruins in 1330. The Musee de Cluny is located at 6 Place Paul-Painleve, Metro: Cluny, Saint-Michel, or Odeon, open We- Mo 9:15 AM to 5:45 PM
Not far from the Cluny Museum is the Pantheon and next to it is the Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont, Place Ste-Genevieve, Paris 74005. This church has one of the few still existing rood screens and one of loveliest I have ever seen. Dont miss it. Among others it houses the shrine to Ste Genevieve, patron saint of Paris, but also the remains of the great literary figures of Racine and Pascal. It also has some lovely stained glass.
02-24-2007, 03:18 PM
Re: Paris, France
The Lido www.lido.fr currently presents the its fabulous Bonheur Show. In a swirl of spangles and plumes, the Bluebell Girls put on a dazzling show, featuring dream costumes, incredible sets, spectacular water displays, an unbelievable ice skating act, and breath-taking special effects.
The Moulin Rouge, www.moulin-rouge.com
world-wide famous thanks to its French Cancan, and immortalized by the painter Toulouse Lautrec, has always presented sumptuous shows to its spectators. The current show Feerie is no exception. The concept is still the same at the Moulin Rouge: feathers, rhinestones and sequins, fabulous settings, original music and of course the most beautiful girls in the World.
In the Crazy Horse show Taboo www.cometoparis.com/crazy-horse.htm you will discover the art of nude. Their brochure states: the only location in the world where the most beautiful girls in Europe are glorified by music and light.
I have seen all three shows, but I liked the Lido show Bonheur by far the best.
02-24-2007, 03:31 PM
Re: Paris, France
Paris, Capital of Fashion!
If you want to shop in Paris, a visit to the Printemps is a must. They have trend setting styles and designer names for women, men and children. The latest in home decoration. Exceptional perfume, cosmetics and body care departments and loads of gifts, accessories and souvenirs. They also have a free fashion show every Tuesday at 10am located in their auditorium on the 7th floor of Printemps de la Mode. I have been to their fashion show and it is quite interesting. Where else do you get to see a free high class fashion show? Reservations are required though. A little further on Blvd Haussmann is the famous art deco dept. store of Galleries Lafayette. Dont miss the wonderful art deco galleries and its spectacular coupola. Both the Printemps and Galleries Lafayette offer a 10% discount on all purchases when you present your passport
The Samaritain Department Store is currently closed for reconstruction and is expected to reopen in 2010.
There is also Au Bon Marche at Sevre Babylone which boasts luxury products in fashion, cosmetics, procelan and christal but its main attraction is it's separate food store callled L'Epicerie. Don't miss this wonderful grocery/delicatessen/wine store which sells food items and specialties from all over the world.
02-24-2007, 03:54 PM
Re: Paris, France
Nothing gives me more pleasure than to walk the streets of Paris. There is history and interesting sites every where you look. To profit more from your walking experience you might want to join some of the guided walks. There is an an excellent website pariswalking.com for your classic guided walks. They are well worth the money because you get a lot of extra information. I have been on many of them and the people leading the guided walks are very good. Another website on classic walks is: www.ClassicWalksParis.com that also gives guided bike rides throughout Paris.
02-24-2007, 04:19 PM
Re: Paris, France
Dear Margaret Anne de Vanssay,
I agree with you that the material summarized here is useful, but your comment about "Being European, I regret that many American travellers do not seem to have this basic knowledge essential to pleasant intercultural relations" does little to help "pleasant intercultural relations". I can assure you that equally many Europeans/French lack basic knowledge essential to pleasant cultural understanding. Le preuve.... Your comment certainly does little help Franco/American relations. It only shows that you think yourself superior to American travelers, yet you want their business in advertising your Chateau on this stite. Bravo....
03-19-2007, 07:53 AM
- Join Date
- Mar 2007
Re: Paris, France
Marais museums referred to in this post include one that is misspelled, it's the Cognacq-Jay. Also it is not widely known that this a FREE visit venue. I went there in Nov, 2006 and was thrilled to find it such a jewel. Do Go!! 8, rue Elzevir
04-10-2007, 04:57 PM
- Join Date
- Apr 2007
Re: Paris, France
I agree that Paris is wonderful and magical, at almost any time of year, with the exception of August where nearly everyone has holiday and closes! The one thing I have taken away from several trips is to speak the language, even if you only learn a few key phrases! This one thing will ensure that most people will appreciate the attempt, and you can even find that you receive a warm and welcoming treatment for your attempts. Know that when you go into a store, for instance, you should always greet the proprietor with a "bonjour, (sir or madam)", and ask before you pick up items.
We have also found that many peole see The Louvre, but may forget that there is a wonderful Rodin museum also, where many of the works are exhibited in the garden of the house, including some of Rodin's larger works. Well worth the visit. Definately buy the museum pass; it is well worth the money.
I can also say that Luxury Link provided us with a fabulous location in Provence; the Hostellerie Crillon le Brave. Fabulous and beautiful!