by Mark Albert
Top Travel Tips in Two Minutes
Love it? Live it!
A man using his paint brush to draw the Eiffel Tower along the Seine River in Paris, France
An Opera Lover’s Weekend in Paris: from The Voyage Report contributor Terry Anzur
A Chateau in Normandy to Rival Hearst Castle; from The Wall Street Journal
When Mark stayed in Paris, just steps from the world-famous Louvre museum, he stayed in this marvelous, cozy Airbnb flat. If there’s a more perfect location at this price, we haven’t found it. –>Use this link for $40 off your first Airbnb stay.
International airports span France. In Paris, Charles de Gaulle (CDG) is the main airport. All major transportation services are available, including trains, subway, trams, rental cars, tour groups, and drivers for hire. River cruises are also plentiful.
Paris Metro: http://parisbytrain.com/paris-metro/
Airport “RER” train into Paris: http://parisbytrain.com/charles-de-gaulle-airport-cdg-to-paris-by-train/
Many Parisian restaurants will give you the cold shoulder if you show up for a reservation. So if you find a restaurant you like, stop in or call to set up a reservation for the next day or later during your trip.
In Paris, the last two digits of the zip code will tell you what arrondissement (district) your destination is located in.
Also, unlike most major cities, there are free public restrooms on the streets of Paris. Look for the single stall units set back about 50 feet from an intersection. The door opens when you press the button — and don’t forget to hit ‘lock’ once you’re inside!
If you’re planning on visiting the gorgeous Palace of Versaille, be aware that it’s an all-day trip made by train or car. Lines can often be quite long, so check the palace’s website calendar before you go. The palace and Marie-Antoinettee’s estate are closed on Mondays, so predictably Sundays and Tuesdays often see higher lines and attendance; July and August are the busiest months. Try going Wednesday through Friday, arriving either before 10a, or after 3p (for an abbreviated visit). Guided tours give visitors more access than usual to “less known” spots in the palace. Tour prices are a reasonable $8 (€7), and reservations are required; they can be made online, by phone, or in person. The tour price is on top of the admission price to the palace, which starts at $21 (€20) and rises based on the types of activities you’re interested in. Due to security requirements, no large bags are allowed on the estate.
If smog clouds the iconic Paris skyline when you visit, you may get a free metro ride. Occasionally, bad air quality results in the city encouraging public transpiration by temporarily lifting the fare. The Washington Post explains how to check.
If you plan to use metro for several days, buy a ticket book or pass, instead of buying individual tickets, so save 30%-40%. And you always get a free subway connection when taking the RER train into Paris from Charles de Gaulle airport.
What do you like to do in France? Share your favorite tips and tricks in the comment section below!
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