Restaurant Tips -Eat a block or two away from tourist attractions to save some money
- Read the menu posted outside before going in
- Eat where other French people are eating because they must know something that tourists don’t
- Meat is cooked much less than what we are used to
- Cheese is served with everything
- Portions are smaller
- Mind your P’s and Q’s
- Ask for your bill when you are ready
- The bill will most likely include a service charge so you do not need to tip the server
Paris Nightlife Here are four ideas of places to go during the evenings while in Paris.
This café is located at the top of the Virgin Megastore.
Enjoy the view looking over the top of the store and also watch videos of the latest hit music.
Le Web Bar
This is an Internet bar with two floors of computers.
While you email your family, listen to some jazz music.
It is described as a trendy and sophisticated place.
Théâtre de Champs-Élysées
If you enjoy opera, ballet or classical music, you will love this theater.
It is described as being the “temple of music, art and architecture.”
Le Bal du Moulin Rouge
The can-can dance originated at the Moulin Rouge.
It has a rich history since it opened in 1889.
French Phrases Many of us do not know French, so here are some key phrases that you may find useful while in Paris!
Quelle heure est-il? = What time is it?
Je voudrais___s'il vous plait. = I would like___please.
Ca coute combien? = How much does this cost?
Vous fermez a quelle heure? = What time do you close at?
Parlez-vous anglais? = Do you speak English?
Prenez vous des cartes de credit? = Do you accept credit cards?
Je ne comprends pas = I don't understand
Merci, pardon, excusez-moi = Thank you, pardon me, excuse me
Shopping in Paris Most shops are not open on Saturday evenings or on Sundays. So, we may not be able to do much shopping unless we come along some shops or stores that happen to be open.
Paris is known for having lots of markets in which you can find anything imaginable. There are also many designer clothing stores as well as a vast array of fragrance stores that sell the best perfume. The most likely areas that shops will be open is in high tourist areas, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Lourve.
By Abbey Nelson The fun part about our day in Paris is that we get to decide what we want to do while we are there. The problem comes when you realize how much there is to do and see and how little time we have! How can you possibly pick and choose? We all want to make the most of our time while we are there. Hopefully the information presented in these pages will assist you in deciding what to see and what you will be content just reading about for now.
Getting Around: The Layout of Paris The Siene river divides the city into the left and right banks. There are 32 bridges in the city that link the left bank to the right bank also providing a link to the two islands in the middle. The names of these islands are Ile de la Cite which is the city’s birthplace along with the home of Notre Dame. And the other island is Ile St-Louis which is the site of many 17the century mansions.
The main street is avenue des Champs-Elysees which begins at the Arc de Triomphe and runs all the way to the place de la Concorde. Also from the Arc de Triomphe are 12 other avenues that radiate outward from it.
Paris is divided into 20 municipal districts called arrondissements. Each of these 20 districts has its own mayor, city police station, and central post office.
As far as finding addresses, the building numbers on those parallel to the Seine usually follow the flow of the river, from east to west. On the perpendicular streets, numbers begin low closer to the river and get larger as you get farther from the river.
Getting Around: Transportation Metro: most efficient and easy means of transport, everything is numbered and all of the destinations are clearly marked on the subway maps. Many of the larger stations have push button indicators that help you map out your route. When you get to the station, you purchase your ticket, insert it into the turnstile and then pass through. Some exits check for your ticket again so be sure to hold onto your ticket. Don’t be surprised if you encounter a ticket check on the trains or platforms as well. The metro begins running trains at 5:30 am and the last train is at 1:15 am. It is stated that the metro is reasonably safe, but always watch out for pickpockets.
Buses: Bus travel is slower than the metro. Since we only have one and a half days there, we’ll want to make the most of our time. The buses run from 6:30 am to 9:15pm and have limited service on Sundays. If you want to catch a bus, wait in line at the bus stop.
Taxi: Taxi’s are iffy. It will be close to impossible to catch one during rush hour. Hail regular cabs on the street that display “Libre” signs. You’ll have to watch out for rip-offs. Settle the tab In advance. Cab drivers without meters have been known to wait outside of nightclubs ready to pick up tipsy customers.
Attached at the end of these pages are Maps of both the Metro and Bus system.
Areas of Interest: The Latin Quarter We’ll start with the Latin Quarter because this is the area where we will be staying. It is located on the Left Bank of Paris. Here is some background info: It has been a place for Independent spirits since the 12th century. Its reputation began when a free-thinking teacher Pierre Abélard was driven out of the school of Notre Dame for challenging the churches teachings. Consequently he, along with 3,000 of his students and a following of other intelligent teachers began a school on the Left Bank of Paris. Word spread about the intellectual influx and many more students from all over Europe came to join in on the learning. The common language was Latin, and the community that grew up there was deemed the Latin Quarter.
This area remains the educational area. Within it is the University of Paris. It is full of fun shopping, bohemian accents, artists, bookstores, scholars, students, many tiny little restaurants and bistros and most of these amenities are designed with the student’s budget in mind. . . (ie. Cheap!!)
Areas of Interest: Panthéon In addition, you will find the pantheon at the heart of the Latin Quarter. The domed landmark was commissioned around 1750 as an abbey church, but because of financial problems the massive structure wasn't completed until 1789.
Two years later, the Constituent Assembly converted it into a secular mausoleum for the great men of the era of French liberty. After a further stint as a church, the Panthéon once again became a “secular necropolis.”
In the Panthéon are the graves of many which include Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Louis Braille, Emile Zola, Jean Moulin, René Cassin and Pierre et Marie Curie.
The Panthéon's ornate marble interior is rather gloomy-looking, but you get a great view of the city from around the colonnaded dome, which is visible from all over Paris.
Areas of Interest: Montmartre Montmartre is located high on the only hill overlooking Paris. It is an are that has long been famous for its artists. At the peak of this are is the glorious Basilica du Sacre Coeur. Near by is the Place du Tertre which is usually completely covered with tables and bright umbrellas and many artists.
Fun activities that you could do here (if you need a break from walking) is to get your portrait drawn. It would also be a nice place to sip on some coffee, munch on a croissant, and read Longitudes at one of the cafes which line every inch of the square.
This would be a great area to explore on your way up to Sacre Coeur.
Areas of Interest: Basilica du Sacre Coeur The first stone of this amazing French basilica was laid in 1875. The designer of the building died in 1884 with only the foundation having been completed. This set the finish date back a few years. In fact, it was not completed until 1914 and
consecrated in 1919 after World War I had ended. The final cost was 40 million francs. Since 1885, there has been continuous adoration and worship within the basilica.
The interior of the church contains one of the world’s largest mosaics, and depicts Christ with outstretched arms. The nearby bell tower contains the “Savoyarde”. It is one of the world’s heaviest bells weighing in at 19 tons.
There is a panoramic view from the top of the Dome reaching 30 kilometers in all directions.
Areas of Interest: Further Options
Tuileries Garden-Designed in 1664, the most central park in Paris, stretches from the Louvre to the Concorde Square along the Seine
Bateaux Mouches-tourist boats that float upon the Seine
The Catacombs of Paris-an massive maze of tunnels dug under the city. In 1786, all the bodies from Cimetiere des Innocents were exhumed and moved into these tunnels.
Vincent Van Gogh’s Apartment-54 rue Lepic in Paris's Montmartre district
Museums Galore: Musée du Lourve Perhaps the most recognized museum in Paris as well as the entire world, started out as the library of Charles V. Later the library was assumed by François I who began a new collection of art with 12 paintings from Italy. These included works by Titian, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci, the most famous being the Joconde - or Mona Lisa. The royal collection grew to almost 200 pieces by the reign of Louis XIII. Henri II, and Catherine de Médicis continued to expand the collected works, just as many others continued to contribute. When Louis XIV died in 1715, there were 2,500 pieces of art and objects. Until the Revolution, the collection of art could only be enjoyed by the members of the royal court. Finally, the idea of a museum (originating with Louis XVI) was realized on 10 August 1793. This museum was deemed Musée de la République and was open to the public.
During Napoléon’s reign, he greatly increased the collections by acquiring from the countries he conquered. However, most of these were returned in 1815 after his defeat at Waterloo. Under Louis XVIII the Venus de Milo was attained (for 6000 Francs) shortly after it was rediscovered on the Island of Melos in 1820.
In 1848 the museum became the property of the State. The Musée du Lourve received an annual budget devoted to obtaining new art, and the collections continued to grow. Private donations also increased the Museum's holdings.
In 1947 the impressionist paintings were moved to other galleries and as of 1986 can now be seen at the Musée d'Orsay.
Today, the museum boasts nearly 300,000 works, but only a fraction of these can be seen on display at any given time. The Louvre has wide-ranging collections organized into seven departments. These departments are housed in the three wings of the museum: Sully, Denon and Richelieu. The wings are respectively to the west, south, and north of the Pyramid.
Museums Galore: Musée d’Orsay The Musée d'Orsay began as a train depot in 1900 however as technology developed and electric trains were introduced, the station closed in 1939. The idea of a museum was introduced and it was registered as a listed building in 1978. The museum was opened in December 1986 and was dedicated to all artistic production from 1848 to 1914. In it you will find paintings, pastels, sculptures, furniture and objects d'art, photography and documentary objects that “reflect the richness and diversity of this era.”
Displayed on three levels, you will find all the artwork presented in the chronological order over the period going from 1848 to 1914. The museum of Orsay fills the space of time between the collections of the museum of the Louvre and those of the museum of Modern art of the Center George Pompidou.
On Sunday : 5 euros
Reduced Rate: 5 euros
France is divided by 5 zones for the telephone. The 2 first digits of a phone number tell you the area: 01 is Paris / 02 northwest / 03 northeast / 04 southeast / 05 southwest.
From the States, you don’t need to dial the 0. But once in France, you have to dial the 0. Phone numbers must have 10 digits (including the first 0), no exception – except of course the emergency numbers. Public phones in France require a telephone card, or they can often work also with a credit card. Check for the signs “Visa”, “Master Card”, etc…
Emergency Numbers and Safety 24 hour ambulance (called “SAMU”):15