Paris is a wonderfully vibrant and cultural place, if not a little bit expensive in places, but let this not dishearten you. It is incredibly easy to get around, with the Metro being easy to use as well as being cheap and clean (compared to London!). Paris is famous for it's food, and there is a large selection of restaurants to choose from, as well as some spectacular architecture and some of the greatest art collections in the world.
Citizens of the EU as well as 31 other countries including Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Norway can stay for 90 days without a Visa, it is advisable to check if you will need a Visa, these can be got from a French Consulate in your own country. British people will need an E111 Medical Form, which is available at any Post Office. Travel insurance is recommended, and other countries should check what their medical position is. It goes without saying that you will need your passport, be sure to carry copies as well. France is in the European Union and uses the Euro. Changing money is very easy in France, traveller's cheques are recommended, although Visa and American Express is accepted almost anywhere and there are ATMs in most main areas. The weather in Paris is comparable to that of London.
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Passengers travelling by air, arrive at the Charles de Gaulle airport, this is served by the Metro and quite often transport to hotels is provided. The Eurostar also connects Paris (Gare du Nord) with London and the rest of Europe, you should check local listings for up to date travel times and costs. Although flying is becoming just as cheap as rail these days it is worth looking out for Eurostar weekend special packages that include hotels in the price, you can often get travel and accommodation for as little as £100 for 2 nights depending on how budget you want to go.
Paris is easily walkable but it is also served by an excellent Metro system, it is clean and very reliable. It is recommended you buy a book of tickets (carnet), which represents very good value for money (10€30) and gives you 10 rides. Last trains run to about 1.30am on the weekends.
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Le Regent Montmartre - Clean, reasonably cheap hotel in a great location near Anvers Metro in Montmartre. Rooms start from 75€ a night and breakfast served between 7.30am and 10am
Here are some useful hostel names:
BVJ Paris/Quartier Lation
Young and Happy hostel
Auberge International de Jeunes
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Places to visit
ILE DE LA CITE
Pont Neuf - Oldest bridge in Paris
Notre Dame - Recently renovated, you can climb to the top of the tower.
La Chapelle - Amazing stained glass windows that will take your breath away
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The Louvre (via pyramid, Cour Napoleon 1st) - Houses one of the greatest collections of art in the world including the Mona Lisa. Cheaper after 3pm.
Place de la Concorde (1st/8th M.Concorde) - Largest square in Paris
Bibliotheque Nationale Richelieu (58 rue de Richelieu 2nd) - French national library with no books! Used for exhibitions and prints, check listings.
Palais-Royal (Pl du Palais Royal, 1st) - Impressive gardens
Le Grand Rex (1 bd Poissonniere, 2nd) - Built in 1932, this is a 2800 Art Deco cinema, which hosts tours giving an insight into film production.
Hotel Drouot (9 rue Drouot, 9th) - France's secondary art market ranging from medieval manuscripts, Rococo furniture, paintings, wine and much more. People are welcome to browse this 'free' exhibition.
Porte St.Denis/Porte St.Martin (Corner Rue St.Denis/BD St.Denis,2nd/10th and 33bd St.Martin, 3rd/10th) - Triumphal gates which were originally the entry parts to Paris.
Gare du Nord (18 rue de Dunkerque, 10th) - 19th Century train station with impressive architecture, also the Eurostar terminal.
Centre Pompidou (Rue St.Martin, 4th) - This famous 'inside-out' building is one of the best places to see contemporary art.
Place de la Bastille - Where the prison in 1789 was stormed by the forces of the Plebeian revolt. It is traditionally the symbol of revolution, and street balls take place every 13 July.
Arc de Triomphe (PL Charles de Gaulle) - Centre piece of Paris' grand ease-west axis from the Louvre. It has stands at 50m tall, 45m wide surrounded by one of the craziest traffic roundabouts in the world! Entrance is by a subway, you'll be relieved to hear! Please note that it now costs €10 to go up the Arc.
Cimetiere de Montemarte (20 av Rachel)
Sacre-Coeur (35 rue du Chevalier-de-la Barre, 18th) - Very attractive church, with spectacular views of Paris, best visited at night, be warned their are many steps to climb!
Musee de l'Eroticisme (72 BD de Clichy, 18th)
Moulin Rouge (Pigalle)
MCM Cafe (Pigalle)
Parc de la Villette (Av Corentin-Cariou, 19th) - Giant arts and science complex
Cimetiere du Pierre Lachaise (BD de Menilmontant) - Tightly packed tombs in tree lined avenues including the tombs of Delacroix, Ingrez, Bizet, Chopin, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison (follow the graffiti!)
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Institut de Monte Arabe (1 Rue des Fosses-St.Bernard, 5th) - Jean Nouvel's blend of high-tech steel and glass with Arab influences. The design is based on the principle of camera apertures, using photo-electic cells to adjust automatically depending on the daylight. It houses a collection of Middle-East art, archeological finds, exhibitions, a library and a cafe.
Le Pantheon (PL du Pantheon, 5th) - Suofflot's neoclassical design.
Institut de France (23 quai de Conti, 6th) - Classical Baroque building (1663-84)
Les Invalides (Esplanade Des Invalides, 7th) - Designed for Louis XIV as a military hospital for the wounded. Houses the Musee de l'Armee, which has a collection of wartime paraphernalia.
Musee d'Orsay (1 Rue de la legion de Honneur, 7th) - Originally a Beaux-Arts train station designed by Victor laloux for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. It is now a very impressive skylit Impressionist gallery.
Eiffel Tower (Champ de Mars, 7th) - Built in 1889 for the Expo Uni on the centenary of the revolution. It offers, as you would expect, awesome views of Paris.
Les Catacombes (1 PL denfort-Rouchereau, 14th) - A collection of Subterranean passages that have existed since Roman times. In the 1780s, overcrowded cemeteries were transferred here, as well as victims of the Terror. Be warned it can be quite a morbid experience!
Paris Expo (Porte de Versailles, 15th) - Vast exhibition centre
La Grande Arche de la Defense (92400 Paris da Defense) - Modern architecture which was built to complete the axis of the Champ Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe.
Stade de France (Rue Francis de Pressense) - Frances national sports stadium, which hosted the 1998 World Cup Final, in which France were victorious.
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Musee de l'Orangerie (Jardin Des Juileries, 1st) - Contains the famous 'Water lilies' by Monet, closed until the end of 2001.
Musee Marmottan (2 Rue Louis-Boilly, 16th) - Claude Monet
Musee National Picasso (5 Rue de Thorigny) - Well worth a visit
Musee Rodin (Hotel Biron, 77 Rue de Varenne)
Musee de la Curiosite (11 Rue St.Paul, 4th) - Museum of magic
Musee du Vin (Rue Des Eaux, S Sq Charles Dickens, 18th)
Fondation Cartier Pour L'Art Contemporain (261 BD Raspail, 14th) - Designed by Jean Nouvel
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Chartier (7 Rue du Fbg-Montmarte) - Budget eatery which was originally a working man's soup kitchen. The waiters famously write the bill on the tablecloth! Its worth spending more than €10 on a main course otherwise you'll end up with a rather small unapitising meal.
Au Petit Bistro (Rue Mouffetard - Latin Qtr) - Excellent value Frecnh Bistro on touristy street with 2 set menu options (€13,5 & €23,50). Wine only €18 with 3 courses to choose from. Menus available in English.
Restaurant Tibetain (Rue Lepic, Montemartre) - A suprising jewell amid the Pigalle/Montemartre tourist enclaves. This tiny but homely restaurant serves tasty wholesome curries with rice and dumplings. Make sure you try the Tibetan bread
Polidor (Rue Monsieur Le Prince) - Almost the Chartier's female equivelant, instead of black ties waiters you are waited on by attentive black tied women serving a predominantly local crowd. Good affordable rustic dishes are available and at €11 the Beef Bourginon is recommended. The Polidor is housed in an old building dating back to the 19th Century, lunch served till 2.30pm.
Vins de Pyrenees (25 Rue Beautreillis) - Just down from where Jim Morrison popped his clogs, this beautifully rustic restaurant in an old wine warehouse with good helpful service. Especially recommended is the Assiette du Vins Pyrenees, a mixed starter for two and the Marmite en Pecheur au Curry, a melt in the mouth fish curry.
Bar de Balto (Rue de Rochechauard) - Small, very cheap cafe bar, ideal for an early morning coffee
McBrides Irish Bar (St.Denis) - Worth avoiding like the plague unless you need to know the football scores or watch a football game. Pints nearly £8!
Le Pub St.Hilaire (Rue Valette) - Nice friendly bar popular with a young crowd. Happy hour 5-9 every night, pool tables upstairs
Vieux Chene (Rue Mouffetard) - Old Style cheap studenty bar with oak panels in heart of the Latin Quarter.
Cafe Cheri (Blvd Vilette, Belleville Metro) - Cool, studenty pub in heart of the Belleville area serving up cheap drinks and cool DJ nights
Le Sencerre (35 Rue des Abbesses) - Atmospheric bar with live music just down from Montemartre, also has outdoor seating/heating
Jungle Montemartre - Coop, hip music bar with Afro-Caribbean vibes. The Rum Ginger punch at only €3 makes it very easy to stay a while getting intoxicated to cool jazz fusion sounds. We were treated to a free shot when we left.
Bottle Shop - L Shaped bar with wooden tables that gets busy in the evenings. Popular with expats and students.
Cafe Progress (Montemartre) - Nice, trendy corner bar serving cheap dishes and snacks, can get very busy.
Info supplied by Andy Webb