An adventure in Paris
Courtesy of Paris Eiffel Tower News and Monument Paris.
Welcome to Paris! This page has been designed especially for you who may be visiting Paris for the first time. We wanted to give you some friendly advice on how to prepare for your arrival, and some ideas for interesting things to do during your stay in the City of Light. Enjoy!
Once you have rested from the stress of the journey trip and settled in to your comfortable room, you are ready to go on an adventure through the streets of the capital! But before you set foot outside, make sure you dress comfortably for the occasion.
Tout d’abord, chaussez-vous bien. Apprêtez-vous à marcher longuement, car vous vous arrêtez très souvent pour découvrir un tas de détails intéressants. Vous savez comment une journée de shopping en magasin peut vous ruiner les jambes… S’arrêter, repartir, s’arrêter de nouveau… Bref, si vos pieds ne sont pas bien chaussés, préparez-vous à souffrir.
For example, visiting the Eiffel Tower means queuing for 30 minutes for the ticket, then several minutes waiting for the elevator, an hour of trampling on the floors of the Tower, and more time waiting to come down… So you will need a good pair of shoes, and too bad for fashion if you need to sacrifice beauty for comfort!
The weather in Paris can be temperamental: a sunny morning can quickly turn very cloudy accompanied by a gentle cold wind. For our Canadian friends accustomed to the weather in Montreal, the climate in Paris can seem very mild. But for our visitors from the south of France, it is useful to know that apart from May to September, Paris is not hot. So do not hesitate to bring a sweater and a good windbreaker in your luggage.
And in any case, do not forget your umbrella, it may become your best friend in the streets, especially if you want to take pictures of the city… rain and camera lenses do not mix.
You are now ready to go out, well equipped for the occasion. Some useful tips:
Avoid taking a taxi during the day and notably in the morning before 11am and in the late afternoon from 4pm to 8pm. The streets are packed, and taking a taxi during these hours is sure to entail helplessly watching the meter run. Take the metro; it’s easier, cheaper and very fast. Here is a map of the Paris metro (click the image).
The price of taxi rides: the meter displays the fare and one of three letters: A, B or C. If you are in central Paris or on the Boulevard Périphérique, the A rate applies during the day from 6am to 8pm, and the B rate during the night until 6am. When you leave the inside of Paris, the driver will turn on the B rate during the day and the C rate from 8pm. If you are far away from Paris, the C rate applies at all times. You will pay extra for every piece of luggage you load into the boot of the car, and if you take the taxi from an airport. Do not try to hail a taxi on the street if you are less than 100 metres from a station: taxis cannot pick up passengers near a train station; they must go to the front of the station itself. So stay away from the station, or get the taxi from the station.
Restaurants begin to get busy around 12.15pm and stay busy until around 1.30pm. At night they get busy at 7.30pm and do not usually get quieter before 10pm. If you do not want to wait to eat, dine early, between 6pm and 7pm or book. Warning: Restaurants rarely serve between 2pm and 6pm, at these times you will have to go to a Brasserie: they serve at any time.
Enjoy a drink on the terrace of a café and watch Parisians and foreign passersby: what a pleasant past-time! But know that your drinks are often charged at premium prices compared with inside.
Now you are armed with these tips, you are ready to conquer the asphalt. We can move on to places that we advise you not to miss.
Paris attractions and monuments:
The “Grande Dame” of Paris was built for the Universal Exhibition of 1889, held to commemorate the centenary of the Revolution. The tower is approximately 350 metres high! Admission (elevator to 2nd floor): EUR 9 for adults, EUR 5.30 for children under 12 years. Opening hours: 1st January-13th June: 9:30am to 11pm daily. (for more active guests, the access stairs are open from 9.30am to 6pm), 14th June-31st August: 9am to midnight every day.
Notre Dame de Paris
Construction began in the year 1163 and was completed 200 years later, around 1345. The cathedral can accommodate over 6,000 worshipers. Admission is free of course, but if you want to climb the tower, it will cost about 6 Euros. The architects did not plan for an elevator, sorry, so those with a heart condition should abstain from taking the path to heaven… Opening hours: 8am to 6.45pm daily. Guided tours: 9.30am to 6.45pm daily. Masses: 8am, 9am, noon, 6.45pm.
The Champs-Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe
Only the section of the Champs Elysees from Place de la Concorde to the Grand Palais deserves its nickname of “most beautiful avenue in the world”. The rest of the avenue is lined with shops and restaurants, which are often too expensive. Try the side streets. Do not forget to visit the Arc de Triomphe at the top of the avenue, built in the mid-eighteenth century to commemorate Napoleon’s victories. The entry cost is about 6 Euros, and free for children under 12 years. Opening hours: 9.30am to 11pm daily from April to October, and 10am to 11pm daily from November to March.
Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur
The Romano-Byzantine basilica crowns the Montmartre hill. Begun in 1875, construction was completed in 1914. Admission is free, but access to the crypt and dome incurs a fee (about 5 Euros). To save your legs if you are a little tired, you can take the funicular, a little tram. From Anvers metro station, start to climb the hill via rue Tardieu. The funicular station is there. Until the nineteenth century, Montmartre was a village outside of the confines of Paris’ fortifications. The film Amélie Poulain gives you an overview of the place, which you must visit, and not just because it has no less than 7 museums!
Les Invalides Church
The Les Invalides hospice building was started in 1671 by the order of Louis XIV, who wanted a home for impoverished soldiers and the seriously injured from his many wars. The work was completed quickly, but he then added a church. The work took a total of thirty years. You can visit the church, several museums, and the tomb of Napoleon 1st, whose body was returned from St. Helena in 1830. Admission is 6 Euros, and free for children under 12 years. Opening hours: October to 31st March: 10am to 4.45pm, April to 30th September from 10am to 5.45pm.
Saint Germain des Prés/Latin Quarter
This area, whose history is closely linked to the cultural and artistic life of our city is bounded on the north by the Malaquais dock and to the south by rue du Four. To the west, rue des Saints-Pères is on the border with the seventh arrondissement and rue de Seine is at the crossroads of the la Monnaie and Odeon districts. This area is both a strategic place in the cultural life of Paris where artists’ studios, libraries and museums are plentiful, and a fashionable place where it is good to be seen.
Place des Vosges
It was Henri IV who ordered the construction of the famous square, which was completed in 1612, two years after his assassination by Ravaillac. Initially named “Place Royale”, it was renamed “Place des Vosges” by Napoleon 1st, who wanted to pay homage to the inhabitants of the Vosges department for their speed in paying their taxes. The square is remarkable both by its style (it is lined with 36 buildings dating back to its construction), in which stands the statue of Louis XIII.
Walking in Paris
Paris offers a number of interesting itineraries for those who enjoy walking. You can follow the waterways (the Quays of the Seine, of course, but also the Canal St Martin) or even the old route of the railway from Strasbourg, 17km long taking you 15 metres in height to the heart of the 12th District (Coulée Verte). You can also spend some quality time relaxing in one of the green spaces in the capital: the Jardins du Luxembourg, Buttes-Chaumont, Montsouris, Georges Brassens Park. Do not forget to discover the gardens of the fourteenth district. And if you want history and architecture, stroll in St Germain des Prés and next to the Church of St. Sulpice.
A lively and interesting city
These are just a few of the walks you can do in Paris. To discover the capital, guests can enjoy free access to the Members Only section of the Paris Eiffel Tower News website, which has a lot of information on the capital.
The site is written in English, but it has many pictures and you can send your loved ones electronic postcards with pictures of Paris. Entrance to the site is through the thank you page you see right after you have made your booking with the hotel.
The hotel staff want to be of service to you during your stay in Paris.