Paris guide

Paris guide


Territorial organization of France and Paris

France consists of (~100) departments, each having a (mostly two-digit) designation. Paris is the department 75. Paris itself consists of 20 arrondismants. Louvre is located in the first arrondismant, while the others continue spirally around the first in clockwise direction. A smaller number of the arrondismant means that it's located closer to the centre of Paris. France also owns DOM/TOM - DOM are the oversea departments (Martinique, Guadeloupe, Réunion) while TOM are oversea territories (France Polynesia, New Caledonia...). 2.2 million inhabitants live in Paris, while in Paris with neighborhoods (departments 92, 93, 94) there are about 10 million inhabitants.


Due to the closeness of the Atlantic Ocean the climate in Paris is very mild. Short rains are not unusual. The snow is very rare. In the summer it can get quite hot.

The phone

All phone numbers in France consist of 10 digits, the first two denoting the "region": 01 for Paris, 02-05 for 4 distinct parts of the France, 06 for cellular phones. For *any* phone call in France all 10 digits have to be dialed.

How to get to Paris

... by plane

Paris has two big international airports, Charles de Gaulle and Orly.

Charles de Gaulle airport

Charles de Gaulle (CDG, also known as Roissy, by the name of the nearby city) is located 23 km north of Paris. From CDG one gets to the centre of Paris by RER (suburb railroad). Free airport bus ("navette") connects various terminals of CDG. Navette also stops at the RER station on the airport, from where RER line B goes to the centre of Paris (Châtlet station). When boarding the RER from Paris to the airport one has to take into account that not all line B trains go to the airport. On CDG there is a local bus station too (close to the RER station), but using these buses is usually a bit too complicated for tourists. In front of the terminals there are taxis waiting.

Orly airport

Orly (ORY) is located 14 km south of Paris. Planes connection Paris and the rest of France mostly land in Orly. Orlyval/RER combination connects Orly with the centre of Paris. Orlyval is a particular train connecting Orly with the RER station Antony. On Antony one has to switch to the RER line B (in direction CDG or Mitry-Claye) and get off at the station Châtlet in the centre of Paris. In front of the terminal there are a taxis waiting.

... by train

France has an excellent rail network. Fast TGV trains run on long-distance tracks (with a speed of up to 320 km/h, on test runs even up to 550 km/h). The best way to travel among cities in France is by train (not by bus like in some other countries). There are several train stations in Paris: Gare St. Lazare, Gare du Nord, Gare de l'Est, Gare d'Austerlitz, Gare Montparnasse. From each of these stations trains serve a specific part of France.

... by bus

International Eurolines buses have a terminal near the metro station Gallieni (metro line 3).

... by car

Paris is surrounded with an internal ring road - Periferique, and an outer ring road passing through suburbs of Paris. Periferique is a road with 3 (sometimes 2) lanes in each direction and a series of exits named "Porte". Next exit and the exit following the next are displayed on the roadside tables. In the rush hours the traffic on the Periferique is very intense. There are numerous underground parkings in Paris. When driving in Paris it's important to take care of motorists that run at high speed among stopped cars (usually at red traffic lights). The Etoile square (where Arc de Triomphe is located) is best avoided at any time - there are 12 avenues arriving at Etoile!

Transport in Paris


Metro is the underground (in some segments it runs above the ground) train that covers the whole Paris. It has 14 lines, each marked with a particular number and color. The last stop of each line denotes the sense of the trains at metro stations. Single, daily, weekly and other types of tickets are available. They can be bought in kiosks at metro stations. A single ticket is valid from the entrance to the exit of the metro system. When changing between lines 6 and 12 it's wise to use the Pasteur station than Montparnasse station because at Montparnasse there are in reality two metro stations connected with a long underground tunnel. The line 1 is the touristiest line and pickpockets are to be expected in it. Numerous "musicians" show up in trains and perform their shows, expecting a few coins. The entrances to the metro from the roads of Paris are marked with letter "M".


RER is the suburb train system in Paris. RER lines are marked with letters A-E. RER trains are not as frequent as metro. On RER stations there are displays with the lists of incoming trains and their estimated arrival times. Inside Paris, the same tickets are used for metro and RER. Unlike metro, RER operates in various zones (concentric circles around the centre of Paris), tickets for higher zones being more expensive. Tourists mostly use RER to get to the airports and to Versailles.


Paris (including the suburbs) is covered with a dense grid of bus lines. Although there is a map of local bus lines on bus stations, tourists often find it difficult to use buses in Paris. Particular bus lines operate at night.


All taxies in Paris have a "Taxi Parisien" sign in the roof, along with three lamps - A, B, C. These lamps are lit while a taxi is transporting passengers, denoting the tariff a taxi is currently applying (A being the cheapest). The tariff depends on whether the taxi is driving inside or outside of Paris, at day or night. The applied tariff is also displayed on taximeters. When a taxi is free, "Taxi Parisien" mark on its roof is lit. Stickers with tariff details are attached to their windows (prices vary a bit among different taxi-companies).


One modern tram exists in the southwest suburb of Paris (line Issy-La Defense).

On foo

Tourists should be aware that vehicles in Paris often don't stop on marked crossings (as they should).

Paris sightseeing

Arrondismant in which a particular site is located is marked in the brackets.

Map of Paris

Arc de Triomphe (VIII)

Arc de Triomphe is located in the middle of the big roundabout Etoile, at the western end of Champs Elyssée. Arc de Triomphe is reached through a tunnel (the same tunnel used to reach the local metro station). It's possible to climb to the top of the arch - the view from the top is superb.

Bois de Boulogne (out of Paris)

This big park, (officially "forest") located west of Paris, is the favorite weekend destination of Parisians. There are walking paths, artificial lakes and restaurants in it.

Champs Elysées (VIII)

The most famous avenue in Paris is located between squares Etoile on the west and Concorde on the east. Presidential Palace is located near Concorde, and south of Champs Elysées, between avenues George V and Montaigne, there are numerous *very* expensive boutiques.

Concorde (VIII)

The big square, with lots of traffic, located between Champs Elysées and park Tuileries (west of Louvre). On the northern side of Concorde there is one of most luxuriant hotels in Paris. To cross Concorde on foot in one hip is an art of survival!

Eiffel tower (VII)

One can climb to the second floor of the tower on foot or use the elevator to reach the third floor. Usually there is a long line for the elevator (and that's the more expensive option). Anyway, already from the second floor one can hardly see where the interesting buildings in Paris are (due to its height).

Galeries Lafayette (IX)

A shopping center with a multitude of très chic boutiques, located near Opera. Bring all your credit cards, you'll need them.

Hôtel de Ville (I)

This beautiful building is where the mayor of Paris and the city council are located. Sport facilities (in accordance with the season) are often installed on the square in front of it.

Hôtel des Invalides (VII)

Hôtel des Invalides is a military museum. Napoleon is buried in it. A little further is the bridge Alexandre III, probably the nicest bridge in Paris.

La Defense (out of Paris)

La Defense is the biggest business quarter in Paris (in reality it's not Paris but nearby towns Puteaux and Courbevoie). La Grande Arche is located here, a rectangular building with a big rectangular "hole" in the middle.

Latin Quarter (V)

Latin Quarter once belonged to students (Sorbonne is located here), while today it belongs to numerous Greek and Turkish taverns that cater for tourists. I would rather recommend the Hypopotamus restaurant chain (there is one on Champs Elysées too).

Louvre (I)

If there's a place in Paris where crowds are guaranteed, it's in Louvre. This enormous museum is located in the very centre of Paris. If someone wants to get overrun by the crowds, he only has to try to approach the painting of Mona Lisa. Below Louvre there's a block with a dozen self-service restaurants.

Moulin Rouge (XVIII)

This famous cabaret is located on Pigalle. Usually there are two shows every evening. The prices are high but the spectacle is a must-see. A few similar cabarets exist in Paris (like Lido). For a more erotic experience try Crazy Horse.

Notre-Dame (IV)

Notre-Dame is a church located in the centre of Paris, on the islet Île de la Cité. It's possible to climb on the roof of the church. Notre-Dame is also a favorite destination for Parisian pickpockets!

Palais Chaillot (XVI)

Palais Chaillot on the square Trocaderó is a place with the best view on Eiffel tower in Paris. If the fountains are working it's a scene to photograph.

Place Vendôme (I)

For bijoux shopping, this is a place to come to. If you want not to be far from the boutiques, on the other side of the square is hotel Ritz. It's the hotel that Princess Diana left trying to escape the paparazzi (and than unfortunately died in an accident under the square Alma-Morceau).


Tuileries (I), Luxembourg (VI) and Buttes-Chaumont (XIX) are some of numerous parks in Paris. There are metallic chairs in many parks and everyone can use them for free.

River Seine

Numerous tourist ships sail on Seine - they usually dock on Île de la Cité, near the bridge Pont Neuf. This part of the island is a popular destination for couples who want to sit (or even lunch) near the river. There are also restaurant-ships, but they are quite expensive.

Sacré Cœur (XVIII)

The basilica Sacré Cour is located on Montmartre Hill, just above Pigalle. One can reach the basilica on foot or by a small bus that runs from Pigalle, then through a winding street to the top of Montmartre. There's a big staircase in front of Sacré Cour and many tourists sit there and enjoy the great view over Paris. Many tourist restaurants are located near the basilica.

Versailles (out of Paris)

The easiest way to reach Versailles is to take RER line C, with destination Versailles Rive Gauche. In front of the castle there's a big parking. The queue at the entrance is usually very long. Behind the castle there's a nice park.

French departments: 01 Ain, 02 Aisne, 03 Allier, 04 Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, 05 Hautes-Alpes, 06 Alpes-Maritimes, 07 Ardeche, 08 Ardennes, 09 Ariege, 10 Aube, 11 Aude, 12 Aveyron, 13 Bouches-du-Rhône, 14 Calvados, 15 Cantal, 16 Charente, 17 Charente-Maritime, 18 Cher, 19 Correze, 2A Corse-du-Sud, 2B Haute-Corse, 21 Côte-d'Or, 22 Côtes-d'Armor, 23 Creuse, 24 Dordogne, 25 Doubs, 26 Drôme, 27 Eure, 28 Eure-et-Loir, 29 Finistere, 30 Gard, 31 Haute-Garonne, 32 Gers, 33 Gironde, 34 Hérault, 35 Ille-et-Vilaine, 36 Indre, 37 Indre-et-Loire, 38 Isere, 39 Jura, 40 Landes, 41 Loir-et-Cher, 42 Loire, 43 Haute-Loire, 44 Loire-Atlantique, 45 Loiret, 46 Lot, 47 Lot-et-Garonne, 48 Lozere, 49 Maine-et-Loire, 50 Manche, 51 Marne, 52 Haute-Marne, 53 Mayenne, 54 Meurthe-et-Moselle, 55 Meuse, 56 Morbihan, 57 Moselle, 58 Nievre, 59 Nord, 60 Oise, 61 Orne, 62 Pas-de-Calais, 63 Puy-de-Dôme, 64 Pyrénées-Atlantiques, 65 Hautes-Pyrénées, 66 Pyrénées-Orientales, 67 Bas-Rhin, 68 Haut-Rhin, 69 Rhône, 70 Haute-Saône, 71 Saône-et-Loire, 72 Sarthe, 73 Savoie, 74 Haute-Savoie, 75 Seine (Paris), 76 Seine-Maritime, 77 Seine-et-Marne, 78 Yvelines, 79 Deux-Sevres, 80 Somme, 81 Tarn, 82 Tarn-et-Garonne, 83 Var, 84 Vaucluse, 85 Vendée, 86 Vienne, 87 Haute-Vienne, 88 Vosges, 89 Yonne, 90 Territoire de Belfort, 91 Essonne, 92 Hauts-de-Seine, 93 Seine-Saint-Denis, 94 Val-de-Marne, 95 Val-d'Oise, 971 Guadeloupe (DOM), 972 Martinique (DOM), 973 Guyane (DOM), 974 La Réunion (DOM).

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