The French public transport system is very efficient, fast and frequent. The best travel ticket to buy for a visit in Paris is a Paris Visite TravelCard.
General Questions on how to use a Paris Travelcard
What is the Paris Visite Travelcard?
The card is specially designed to be good value for tourists to Paris or business people on short stays. It allows you to travel around the entire network for a limited number of days, so you don't have pay for a monthly pass for example, or use a large number of single tickets. The Paris Visite Travel Pass is a product of RATP, the Paris Transport Authority, for which Hello Paris is the authorised UK distributor.
How does the Paris Visite Travelcard work ?
The actual card is a little white ticket. Your Paris Visite travelcard is valid from the first time you insert the ticket into the automatic barriers at the Metro/RER stations or when validating it on the buses. From this point on the card is valid for the number of calendar days printed on the card. Each day begins at 05:30 and ends at 05:30 the following day, so if you start to use, for example, your three day card at 12:30 on a Thursday, your card will be valid until 5:30 on Sunday morning.
I have received a booking confirmation with dates on it which do not match my travel date. How does that affect my Paris Visite Travelcard ?
It does not. This is simply a piece of paper for your records and the date is that at which we recorded the booking. Your Paris Visite Travelcard starts working on the day you put it through the validation machine in Paris.
There's space to write some kind of number and dates on the Paris Visite Travelcard. Am I supposed to do that ?
This will depend on your ticket and is for inspection purposes only. If the ticket has a space for your name (Nom - surname & Prenom - first name) you will need to fill in these details and then put the date from and to on the line below in the spaces provided. We do advise that you don't fill these in until you are just about to use them just in case your dates change.
I have received a map with discount vouchers with the Paris Visite Travelcard. Do I have to have the actual Travelcard with me to use it ?
Yes you do. The vouchers are only valid upon presentation of a current Travelcard.
I have bought a Paris Visite Travelcard but my trip was cancelled. Can I get a refund?
Yes you can as long as you return the travelcards in perfect condition, not written on, not damaged in any way, and free from marks. You will be charged £5.00 for administration fees and original postage will not be refunded.
I have bought a Paris Visite Travelcard but I haven't used it. Can I use it on another trip?
Yes you can. The Paris Visite Travelcard is not dated and has no expiry.
I have bought a Paris Visite Travelcard for several days but have only used the 1st day. Can I use the rest of the days on another trip ?
No you can't. The Paris Visite Travelcard multi days only work as consecutive days and are counted as such from the first day of use.
What happens if I find my Paris Visite Travelcard does not work when I am in Paris?
The cards have a magentic stripe on the back, so you need to try to keep it away from mobile phones. If it doesn't work you can take it to an RATP ticket desk and get it exchanged for free.
Airport transfers from Charles de Gaulle CDG (aka Roissy) and Orly ORY
What ticket do I need to travel from CDG Airport to central Paris ?
You need a single RER Paris to/from CDG airport. This ticket allows you to travel from CDG airport to any station in central Paris once. If you need a return, buy two tickets. These tickets are the same whether you use them one way or the other.
How frequent are the RER trains from CDG to Gare du Nord ?
They run about every 10-15 minutes, but the frequency depends on the time of day travelling and the day of the week.
How do I find the RER station in Charles de Gaulle Airport?
The RER stations are well sign-posted in the airport. There are RER stations at Terminals 2 and 3 only. To get to one of these from Terminal 1 you can take the CDGVAL automated train, which operates between all three terminals and 2 car parks. They are free to use and run frequently. When you reach Terminal 2 or 3 look for the signs for 'Paris par train' and RER to find the RER station.
How can I buy a single journey metro ticket ?
The single metro tickets available are in books of 10 single tickets. These are the tickets you need if you go from one station to the other for instance. If there are several of you you can share the book of 10 single tickets. We do not however sell a single ticket on its own. These tickets do not expire and can be used anytime in the future.
If you have ordered an immediate PDF voucher, what you need to do?
You will need to click on the link displayed at the end of your order, once you have paid and been redirected back to our site. This will open up your PDF voucher which you will need to print out and take with you to the venue. If you forget to click on this link, or can't find your printed out copy, you can always log back into your account and reprint the voucher.
If your electronic vouchers for bookings have not arrived in your email inbox, what you need to do?
If your emailed vouchers have not arrived in your email inbox, make sure you check your Spam and your Junk folders in case the e-mail did not make it to your inbox. If you still cannot see your voucher(s), email us on firstname.lastname@example.org with your order number and we will check immediately for you. (Monday to Friday 9am to 5.30pm).
For orders of material tickets under £50, these are sent by Royal Mail signed for both UK and Europe depending on the country.
For countries outside UK and Europe, or not part of the Royal Mail international signed for scheme, materiel tickets are sent by courier only.
Going to a Parisian Cabaret during your trip to Paris?
For the cabaret shows, do you eat in the same room as the show?
Will I get in wearing jeans, trainers, shorts or t-shirts?
The answer to this is no - if you arrive for any of the Cabaret shows dressed in these clothes you run the risk of being refused entry.
Is there an age limit for the Cabaret shows?
No there is no limit.
What is the food like in France?
What kind of food is available in France?
All kinds of different food from around the world are available in France, especially in the larger towns and cities. So, if you miss food from home, don’t worry. Of course, France is famed as the home of haute cuisine and authentic French food is widely regarded as some of the most delicious in the world. The French take great pride in their food from a simple buttery croissant, fresh from the bakery, for breakfast to an extravagant, lingering three-course lunch accompanied by several glasses of wine.
What is French cuisine?
French cuisine is famous the world over. Traditional French food includes dishes like cassoulet (a slow-cooked bean stew with juicy pieces of duck and pork sausage), coq au vin (chicken cooked in red wine) or just a simple steak au poivre avec des frites (peppered steak with French fries). French food is traditionally enjoyed with a glass of one of the country’s celebrated wines.
French fries are a very popular food in France. They are often served with roasted chicken (poulet-frites), with mussels (moules-frites, a Belgian recipe) or in a fast food restaurant! They can be eaten with ketchup or mayonnaise. But are French fries actually French? In fact in France they are most often thought of as Belgian. Some people also claim that they were originally from Spain or from the Netherlands. French, Belgian or Spanish Fries? Who knows?
Currency used in France and Europe
What is the currency used in France?
The currency used in France is the Euro. Since 2002 the Euro has been the currency of 12 countries in Europe, including Germany, Italy and Spain. This means that when you cross the border there’s no need to change any money!
Can I use us dollars in Europe?
US dollars are not accepted in most shops and businesses in France. However, some hotels, shops and restaurants, especially in tourist centers may accept US dollars at an agreed exchange rate.
Can I use travelers cheques in France?
Traveler’s cheques in US dollars can be exchanged in banks or exchange offices (known as Bureau de Change in France). American traveler’s cheques in US dollars or Euros are acceptable almost everywhere and often receive better exchange rates than cash. Very few businesses will accept them as payment, except for some hotels in tourist centers.
Can I use my credit cards in France?
Using credit cards in France is probably the easiest way to pay. Nevertheless, in smaller shops and in rural areas some businesses may not accept credit cards, so make sure you carry some cash. As well as paying directly for goods, credit cards can be used to withdraw cash from ATMs at very good exchange rates, saving you another trip to exchange money.
Don't miss your visits !
What time zone is France in?
France’s time zone is GMT+1. This is adjusted to GMT+2 between the end of March and the end of October. So, in real terms, that means that the time in France is 5 hours ahead of New York and 8 hours ahead of Los Angeles. Traveling through several time zones can lead to jet lag, so remember to keep well hydrated on the plane and take it easy when you arrive.
Health problems during your vacation ? You are in the right country.
How is the health care system in France?
The French health care system is excellent. In fact, it was voted the best health system in the world by the World Health Organisation in 2000. You can expect to receive just as good care as back at home.
Do I need a medical insurance to travel in France?
Travel insurance, including medical insurance for France, is advised for all holidays. It is best to consult your medical insurance provider in the US to confirm whether the policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as medical evacuation and repatriation. Doctors and hospitals often require payment on the spot for treatment.
France facts: do the French speak English?
Can I speak english in France?
In France the official language is French. All over France and particularly in areas popular with tourists many people are able to speak English. So, English speakers in France will have no problem enjoying their holiday. However, although many French people speak very good English, they are proud of their own language and appreciate it when visitors make an effort. Getting hold of a phrase book and learning a few greetings and how to ask for things will go a long way to making some French friends and enriching your trip!
What you are allowed to take or bring back during your vacation
What French customs regulations should visitors should be aware of?
French customs regulations prohibit the transportation of meat and dairy products for personal consumption, as well as certain plants and plant-based products. Only firearms used explicitly for sport are allowed into the country. These must be accompanied by documentation and surrendered at port of origin to customs officials. Only limited quantities of ammunition are allowed. As a visitor to France you may be able to claim a tax refund (on VAT) for eligible goods you take home. This is most easily done at duty-free shops, often found in airports, who simply don’t charge you tax in the first place. In other cases you can apply to receive the refund by mail. However, requirements and paperwork are complicated and should be put into motion before leaving France.
What am I allowed to bring back with me from France?
US customs have many regulations regarding the transport of food and plants into the country. Although many items are permitted, there are some types of food prohibited by regulations. Check before you pay out a fortune for that delicious wheel of camembert!
What are the advantages and how to use it
Does the Paris Museum Pass really avoid queues?
It does. Lucky holders of the pass have a different entrance at all the included venues except the Towers of Notre Dame. It can save hours at the more popular museums.
How many museums should I visit to have my money’s worth?
A 2 day Paris Museum Pass is currently around £40. The price of a museum entry ticket is around £11 or more so by the time you have visited 3, you have had your money’s worth. But more to the point, you haven't queued for hours at any of them!
Do children need the Paris Museum Pass?
No, most museums in and around Paris are free for children under 18 with a few exceptions which are not part of the main tourist museums. They are also free for everyone between 18 and 26 who are EU passport holders.
Are they any reduced prices for OAPs?
No, the Paris Museum Pass has only one price. OAP’s do get reduced prices on entrance at each museums but have to queue to get in.
Does the Paris Museum Pass include any temporary exhibitions?
No, only permanent exhibitions are included
Are the days of usage, calendar days?
Yes they are so we suggest you start your visits in the morning to make the most of your pass.
Can we use the Paris Museum Pass any time?
Yes you can. You have to write the date yourself on it on the first day of use. From then on it is valid for 2, 4 or 6 consecutive days according to what you bought.
Can I visit the same museum several times with the Paris Museum Pass?
Yes you can, as many time as you wish during the validity of your pass.
The Paris open-top sightseeing tour
Where can I pick up the open top sightseeing tour?
The hop on hop off Open Tour sightseeing buses can be picked up from anywhere along the 4 routes the bus takes. The yellow route also stops outside the Gare du Nord. The Foxity bus is not hop on hop off and needs to be boarded at La Madeleine as indicated on your voucher.
What happens on the open top sightseeing tour if it rains?
If it rains it is possible to sit downstairs which is covered. Upstairs is open so if it is sunny you are able to sit outside.
Everything you need to know about boat cruises in Paris
Electronic vouchers have not arrived
If your electronic vouchers have not arrived in your mail box, make sure you check your Spam and your junk folders in case the e-mail did not make it to your inbox. If you still cannot see your voucher(s), email us on email@example.com with your order number and we will check immediately for you. (Monday to Friday 9am to 5.30pm).
Which direction do they go?
They go from the Eiffel Tower down the river towards Notre Dame, and back again
For the Lunch and Dinner cruises, when do you have to get there?
Boarding begins at 12:15 and leaves at 12:45 for the lunches and boarding starts at 19:45 and leaves at 20:30 for the Dinners, and they ask that you arrive no later than 15 minutes before the boat departs.
For the lunch and dinner cruises, will I be allowed in wearing jeans, trainers, shorts or t-shirts?
For the lunch cruise the answer is yes, so long as they are not ripped or ragged. However for the dinner cruise the answer is no. If you arrive for the dinner cruise dressed in these clothes you will not be allowed onto the boat.
What do the different names of the meals mean?
The different names mean the different parts of the boat where you will be sitting. Etoile Service is in the middle of the boat, Privilege service means you will be on the sides of the boat, and Premier service means you will sit at the front of the boat.
If I choose the Etoile service, will I still be able to see out?
The boats are covered in glass so you will be able to see out wherever you are seated.
Where do you pick them up from?
The Bateaux Parisiens are situated Quai Branly, which is just next to the bottom of the Eiffel Tower on the other side of the road. The Vedettes de Paris are on the other side of that same bridge.
Is there any refreshments on board the 1 hour cruises?
No, there is no bar or refreshment facilities on the 1 hour cruises of Bateaux Parisiens. On board Les Vedettes de Paris, according to what you have bought, you will have the refreshment stated.
You don't require a Visa for your holiday in Paris
How do I get a travel visa to Europe?
For travel in Europe US citizens do not require a visa if they intend to stay less than 90 days in each country, just a valid passport. If you plan to stay longer you can apply for the Europe travel visa, known as the Schengen visa, which allows you to move freely between 24 European Union countries (although this does not include the UK and Ireland). You should apply to the consulate of the country where you will be spending the majority of your trip prior to leaving.
Do I need a visa to visit France?
US citizens do not need a visa to visit France if they intend to stay less than 90 days. They simply require a valid passport. Visitors from the US wishing to stay longer than 90 days must apply for long stay visas to France at the appropriate French embassy before they travel. For long stay visas for France a passport valid for at least 3 months after the last day of stay is required.
What are the visa requirements for tourists in France?
French visa requirements are fairly accommodating for US tourists. Visitors wishing to stay for less than 90 days do not require a French tourist visa at all, just a valid passport. Those wishing to stay for longer than 90 days must apply for a long stay French tourist visa at the consulate before they travel. For long stay French tourist visas a passport valid for at least 3 months after the last day of stay is required.
Do I need valid us passports to travel in France?
US citizens require a valid passport to travel to France.
France Tourist Information : what's the weather like in France?
What is the climate in France?
The climate in France varies regionally. Roughly speaking the climate in Northern France, including Paris, is similar to the south of England with warm summers, cold winters and rainfall throughout the year. The south of France has a warmer Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. Finally, the climate in the south west is similar to the south but can experience heavy storms in summer.
What is the weather like in Paris?
The weather in Paris, like the climate in France’s northern half, is warm in the summer, with occasional heat waves, and cold in the winter, with rainfall throughout the year. Despite boasting some of the lowest rainfall levels in France, the city is famed for its sudden downpours – bring a jacket! Average temperatures in Paris range from 35 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit
What is the average temperature in France?
Just like the weather, average temperature in France varies regionally. In Paris average temperatures are as follows: winter, 40°F; fall, 50°F; spring, 55°F; and summer, 65°F. In the south of France it is considerably warmer. In Nice, for example, average temperatures are: winter, 50°F, fall, 55°F; spring, 60°F; and summer, 75°F.