PARIS — Overview

Paris is the capital of France and is its most visited city. It is found on the river Seine and includes the two islands of Île Saint-Louis and Île de la Cité. Three of the most famous Parisian landmarks are the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. The Historical axis is a line of monuments, buildings, and thoroughfares that run in a roughly straight line from the city centre westwards. This line begins with the Louvre and continues through the Tuileries Gardens, the Champs Élysées, and the Arc de Triomphe which is at the centre of the Place de l’Étoile. In the 1960s, this line was extended further west to the La Défense business district dominated by the square-shaped Grande Arche. Two of Paris’s oldest gardens are the Tuileries Garden and the Luxembourg Garden. Paris has many things to offer even the most discerning visitor and it rarely fails to please.

Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements or districts. The first one is in the centre and the others spiral outwards in a clockwise direction. Most of the famous tourist attractions can be found in one of the central 8 arrondissements. The arrondissements are in numerical order: Louvre; Bourse; Temple; Hôtel-de-Ville; Panthéon; Luxembourg; Palais-Bourbon; Élysée; Opéra; Enclos-St-Laurent; Popincourt; Reuilly; Gobelins; Observatoire; Vaugirard; Passy; Batignolles-Monceau; Butte-Montmartre and Ménilmontant.

Getting There
There are several ways to arrive in Paris. Many people arrive by air and there are two airports in Paris. The main airport for international travel is Charles de Gaulle or Roissy Airport which is found 23 km northeast of Paris. There are several trains or buses you can catch to get here.
To find out more information about trains and buses to Charles de Gaulle Airport visit the following website at:
http://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr/ADP/en-GB/Passagers/Access-maps-car-parks/Paris-CDG/Access/public-transport/public-transport.htm

Paris-Orly Airport is found 13 kilometres south of Paris and was the main airport for many years. It has flights to and from many cities in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean, North America and Southeast Asia. It is the busiest domestic airport and the second busiest for international travel. The airport is linked to Paris by train and then you take a shuttle bus to the airport from outside the station. The trains run every 20 minutes and the journey takes around 25 minutes.
To find out more information about the train and shuttle bus to Orly Airport visit the website at:
http://www.ratp.fr/en/ratp/c_21903/orly-airport

You can also arrive in Paris by train if you are travelling from within Europe or from the UK. It can often be quicker and more cost effective. Paris has six major train stations serving both domestic and international destinations. These are: Gare du Nord which is the hub for trains travelling from the UK, Northern France and Northern Europe. The Eurostar train arrives at Gare du Nord from London. Gare de Lyon is a destination for trains from Lyon, Aix en Provence, Marseille, the French Riviera, Geneva, and Italy. Gare d’Austerlitz serves destinations in southwestern France (Toulouse, Bordeaux), the Loire Valley, and Spain. Gare Saint-Lazare serves Normandy and England (non-Eurostar). Gare de l’Est is the hub for trains coming from Eastern France (Strasbourg, Alsace), parts of Germany, Luxembourg, and central Eastern Europe. Gare Montparnasse is mostly reserved for fast trains serving Nantes and Bordeaux.
For information about travelling to and from Paris by train visit the following website:
http://www.voyages-sncf.com/billet-train

It is also possible to arrive in Paris by ferry and train between the UK and France but it will take you around 9 hours and can cost more than the Eurostar. You will need to take a train from London’s Charing Cross Station or Victoria Station to Dover which run every 30 minutes and the journey time is 1 hour 50 minutes. You will need to allow at least 65 minutes in Dover between your train arrival and planned ferry departure as there is a 45-min check-in for the ferry. Just buy your London to Dover train ticket at Charing Cross station on the day of travel as there is no advance reservation. On arrival at Dover Priory station you will need to take a bus or taxi to Dover Eastern Docks where the P&O and SeaFrance ships leave. Ferries sail every hour or two and the crossing time is 1 hour 30 minutes. You can book online in advance or just buy a ticket at the port. Once you arrive in Calais you will need to either walk or take a bus to Calais Ville station to then take a train to Paris but make sure you allow at least 60 minutes in Calais between the ferry arrival and the departure of the train to Paris. There are relatively few trains between Calais or Boulogne and Paris.
For more information about the trains and ferries visit the following websites: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk
http://www.poferries.com
http://www.seafrance.com/cs/Satellite/uk?packedargs=site%3DSF_Pax_Uk

You can also travel by bus from many European cities as well as the UK. This is possibly the cheapest option for those on a budget but it will take some time.
For more information about buses visit the following website: http://www.eurolines.co.uk/coach/index.aspx

Getting Around
Paris is a great city to walk in and this is the best way to discover all those hidden spots that are the very essence of this city. If the distance between places it too far or if you are not much of a walker then the excellent Métro system is the way to go rather than taxis or buses which can get caught up in the very busy Parisian streets. It is very easy to use and is relatively inexpensive. A single ticket will cost around €1.70 but you can save money by purchasing a carnet of 10 tickets for €12.
For more information about the Métro and other train services in Paris visit the website: http://www.ratp.fr

If you are going to be in Paris for a few days and you will be using a lot of public transport then you may want to consider the ‘Paris Visite’ travel card. This is valid for 1 day in zones 1-3 for €9.30 or zones 1-6 for €19.60. 2 days in zones 1-3 for €15.20 euros or zones 1-6 for €29.90. 3 days in zones 1-3 for €20.70 or zones 1-6 for €41.90. 5 days in zones 1-3 for €29.90 or zones 1-6 for €51.20. These all must be consecutive days and you can travel on the Métro or the regional lines, bus lines and the Montmartre funicular.
For more information about the ‘Paris Visite’ travel card visit the following website: http://www.ratp.fr/en/ratp/c_21894/paris-visite

Traveller's Tip

If you are planning to visit a few museums in Paris an excellent buy is the Paris Museum Pass which gives you free entry to over 60 museums and monuments in Paris. One excellent advantage is that you won’t have to queue which is great in the busy summer months. You can buy the pass online or at one of the museums that you want to visit.
For more information about the pass visit the website at: http://en.parismuseumpass.com