Event coordinated by the Hepatitis B Foundation

Visiting Paris

Visitor Information

PARIS is Europe's most fantastic city, a place that has everything for the traveller or visitor. Whether you visit Paris on a day trip, Paris in the Spring, Paris for a week or for far longer, this is a city that has it all! Museums, theatres, shops, fantastic histParis is a city with a proud and very ancient history. Originally founded in the third century BC, on an island in the middle of the Seine, it was the capital city of a tribe known as the Parisii, who gave it their name.

In Roman times, the city expanded beyond the islands in the Seine, and became known as Lutetia.

During the decline of the Roman Empire, northern France was overrun by a Germanic tribe called the Franks, whose new kingdom - part of the Holy Roman Empire -  became known as West Francia, with its capital at Paris.

Many of the great buildings of Paris, such as the Louvre and the Panthéon, date from the 17th and 18th centuries when royal power in France was at its peak. Yet the "shape" of modern Paris was largely determined in the mid 19th century, when a radical city-planner, Baron Haussmann, was given the job of opening up the old city with its narrow twisting streets. Haussmann designed a city criss-crossed by broad tree-lined boulevards, flanked by spacious apartment buildings – which is essentially the Paris we know today. The Eiffel Tower was added for the Universal Exhibition of 1889.

  Though the city walls are long gone, central Paris is now known as "Paris intra-muros", or Paris within the walls, which is the area with almost all the main tourist attractions.  Where there once stood city walls, there is now the "boulevard périphérique" or inner ring road, clearly visible on the map. Beyond that the modern city of Paris extends in all directions exhibiting historic monuments and a beautiful riverscape .

AIR

 If you are arriving by air, you will be flying into one of Paris’ two international airports.

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is the major international airport servicing Paris and located 23km northeast of Paris

Paris Orly Airport, is an international airport located partially in Orly and partially in Villeneuve-le-Roi, 13 km south of Paris, France. It serves as a secondary hub for domestic and overseas territories flights of Air France

GETTING DOWNTOWN

To get from Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) to the city centre of Paris, you have three transfer options, train, bus or taxi. One cheap transfer option is taking the regional RER train. This takes around 50 minutes to reach the city and costs only 10€.

The RER Trains from Charles de Gaulle Airport to city are running every 10-20 minutes from the airport starting from 5 am until 12 15 am. You can get the train from the Arrivals Terminal 2 and 3.

Bus tickets cost from 11.50€ and journey time is around 70 minutes. There is also the Le Bus Direct, a faster service that is direct, but costs 17€. The fastest way to reach the city centre is by taxi. A taxi from Charles de Gaulle airport to Paris is charged by a flat rate and will cost you 60€.

BANKING

Regular banking hours in France are 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday. Some branches may close over lunchtime, usually between 12.30pm and 2pm. For cash withdrawals, automatic cashpoints (ATMs) operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Banks are closed on public holidays.

CURRENCY

France is a member of the European Union and one of 23 countries in the region that uses the euro (abbreviated €) as its national currency. One euro is divided into 100 cents and there are seven notes in circulation, available in denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 (rare) and €500 (rare).

There are also eight coins in circulation in denominations of €1 and €2, then one, two, five, 10, 20 and 50 cents.

To find the current exchange rate for the euro, visit www.xe.com

Bank debit or credit cards are the most convenient means of getting cash at the many 24-hour automated banking machines (ATMs. Many Canadian businesses will accept major credit cards such as Visa, Master Card, and American Express.

FOOD & BEVERAGE

French cooking is considered to be the most prestigious and respectable cuisine in the world. With its formal techniques, appreciation for fresh ingredients and simple flavors, pride in presentation, and rich and colorful history. One of the reasons is because chefs in France use only the freshest, local ingredients available to them. The culture does not rely on preservatives and artificial flavorings in their kitchens, in the way many other countries do.

You can buy alcohol in any supermarket, convenience store or wine boutique (but only until 10pm; 8pm in places where consumption is forbidden after 4pm). Some restaurants only have a license to serve alcohol with food. Minors are not admitted into bars. In France, minors are defined as anyone under 18 years of age.

ELECTRICITY

The standard French electricity voltage is between 220V and 240V, the typical voltage for much of Europe. However, this is significantly higher than in many countries, including the United States an adapter will be required.

LANGUAGE

Of the languages of France, French is the sole official language according to the second article of the French Constitution. French, a Gallo-Romance language, is spoken by nearly the entire population of France.

SMOKING LAWS

Smoking is generally prohibited in indoor public places and workplaces; however, in some of these places, owners or managers may create designated smoking areas. Smoking is prohibited in most forms of public transport, with exceptions for taxis and outdoor places on commercial watercraft.

TAXES

In France, the Value Added Tax (VAT) for most goods and services you are likely to buy is 20%. That's the amount automatically added to most purchases including restaurants, hotels, and consumer goods.

TIME ZONE

Central European Time (CET)

TIPPING

Tipping is not required by etiquette in restaurants, but if you enjoyed your meal, it's nice to leave 5 - 10%. If you really enjoyed the meal, or plan on returning to the restaurant and want the wait staff to like you, 15% is a generous tip.

WEATHER

Paris in September offers comfortable to cool temperatures during the afternoon and early evening hours with cool to chilly late nights and early mornings. Daytime high temperatures tend to be in the low-mid 22-23C (70s F) early in the month falling into the 18-19C (mid-60s F) near the end of the month.