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Paris

Eating pain au chocolat bought at the local bakery. Relax after a day visiting the latin quarter or Haussman boulevard in your b&b in Paris. Dreaming in front the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysées ... Wake up your mind at Le Louvre and Orsay.... Hunt for bargains at the flea market or goodies in the Marais...
Top it off with a stroll along the Seine ! Hotels for families in Paris can be a challenge to discover but with a spunky spirit Paris will inspire both youngest and olders.

City Guides

Celebrations

Chinese New Year: end January - beginning February

The Chinese community in Paris, for the most part resident in the 13th "arrondissement", holds its New Year celebrations. There is a spectacular and colourful parade, with dragons, music and traditional costumes.

Paris Marathon: early April

Bringing together as many as 30,000 participants, representing over 70 countries, to cover the famous 42.195 km around the most prestigious points in the capital: from the avenue des Champs-Elysées to avenue Foch, via Bastille, Nation, Vincennes, the Tuileries gardens, etc.

Foire du Trône funfair: end March to end May

The "Foire du Trône" was once known as the Gingerbread Fair. It used to be held, from 1957 to 1965, on the cours de Vincennes and took the name Foire du Trône from the nearby avenue du Trône, framed by two columns, that links the place de la Nation to the cours de Vincennes. A huge and celebrated funfair, situated nowadays on the Reuilly field in 12th "arrondissement", it offers big wheels, spectacular and thrilling rides, traditional roundabouts (wooden horses, dodgems, etc.), haunted houses, shooting ranges to win cuddly toys, sweet stalls, waffles…

Gay Pride: last weekend in June

Lesbian, gay, bi and transgender parade in the streets of Paris. Fun, themed and colourful floats on a background of festive electronic music.

Canal en fête: last weekend in June

This "green alternative" celebration has as its setting the Canal Saint-Martin. A mix of musical events, street theatre, toy-swaps for kids, attic sales, a village of associations, big and small, who protect the planet.

Foire Saint-Germain: early June to early July

A rich programme for the 6th "arrondissement": antiques, books, ceramics, poetry, exhibitions, and also theatre and world music and classical concerts and French "chanson".

La Goutte d'Or en fête: end June - early July

Art festival celebrating cultural and ethnic diversity in this neighbourhood in the 18th "arrondissement", defined by boulevard Barbès, rue Ordener, boulevard de la Chapelle and rue Stephenson. On the agenda: theatre, exhibitions and raï, reggae, rap, gospel or classical concerts. This district's name dates back to the15th century: at the time its vineyards produced a white wine known as "Goutte d'Or" ("drop of gold").

Lavagem do Sacré Cœur: early July

Procession through Montmartre and ritual washing of the steps of Sacré Cœur, organized by the Brazilian community of Paris. This event is inspired by the festival of the patron saint of Salvador da Bahia. Participants in this joyful procession, with traditional music and costumes, are all dressed in white and carry flowers.

Fête de Ganesh: early September

The Indian community of the 10th and 18th "arrondissements" celebrate Ganesh, the elephant-headed god, protector of the home and bringer of luck and prosperity. Don't miss this exotic and colourful traditional parade, accompanied by musicians, dancers and rituals.

Fête de l'Humanité: second weekend in September

Popular festival organized by the Communist party and the newspaper "L'Humanité", which takes place in La Courneuve, in the north of Paris. Cheap snacks and varied concerts (rock, rap, world music…).

Techno Parade: mid-September

Electronic music fills the streets of Paris for this big parade. The young and young-at-heart come here to dance around the numerous floats.

Fête des Vendanges: 1st or 2nd weekend in October

Montmartre holds its harvest festival for its little square of vineyards and the arrival of the latest vintage. An opportunity for a cheerful celebration.

"Nuit Blanche" (Sleepless Night): early October

Visits of artistic and cultural Paris… by night. Museums stay open and interesting happenings occur all over Paris.

Smoke

If you've been to Europe before, you know how smoky it can be. Well, the tide is turning on it being a smoker's paradise. France has announced it will ban all indoor smoking in public places including museums, bus and train stations, government offices, and shops starting in February 2007. And like California and other places in the U.S, restaurants, cafes, and nightclubs will be affected as well. They have until Jan. 2008 to comply with the ban. Violators will face stiff fines as the restrictions intend to be enforced. In fact, fines will be 75 euros (£50) for individuals and 150 euros for the owner of the establishment. It will remain legal to smoke on the street, in hotel rooms, and in private homes.

Apparently, passive smoking kills about 13 people a day in France, and 60,000 deaths a year are linked directly to tobacco consumption. 5,000 deaths are linked to passive smoking. Another interesting development is that the government will help defray the costs of anti-smoking treatments, such as the patch. And even though many of the French smoke, opinion polls suggest 70% support the ban. It should be noted that several countries have already taken similar measures. Where are the continents biggest smokers? Greece, Cyprus and Portugal.

Holidays

French public holidays
These correspond to French national holidays or to religious holidays from the Christian calendar.

  • 1 January: New Year's Day
  • Between 22 March and 25 April: Easter Monday
  • 1 May: Labour Day
  • 8 May: Victory 1945
  • 20 May: Ascension
  • 30 May: Whit Monday
  • 14 July: Bastille Day
  • 15 August: Assumption Day
  • 1 November: All Saints' Day
  • 11 November: Armistice 1918
  • 25 December: Christmas Day

Museums and monuments are more likely to be closed on 1 January, 1 May and 25 December. Be sure to check beforehand.

Tipping

The bill please!
In France, all prices shown include tax and service (the latter is around 15% of the total price). However, if the service has been particularly good, you may wish to leave a tip in order to show your appreciation. As a general rule, the amount is 5 to 10% of the total bill.

Weights and measures

The system of measurement used in France, as in the majority of European countries, is the metric system, and temperatures are expressed in degrees Centigrade. But if you come from the United Kingdom or the United States, some of these units of measurement may be a little less familiar, and if so, you'll find our conversion tables useful. It's worth noting too, that in France decimals are indicated by a comma and not a point, as in English-speaking countries.

Metric system
Conversion tables for the most common weights and measures
Metric UK / USA

  • 1 gramme (g) 0.0353 ounce
  • 1 kilo(gramme) (kg) 2.204 pounds
  • 1 centimetre (cm) 0.393 inch
  • 1 metre (m) 3.281 feet / 1.093 yard
  • 1 kilometre (km) 0.621 mile
  • 1 centilitre (cl) 0.021 US pint / 0.0176 UK pint
  • 1 litre (l) 0.264 US gallon / 0.220 UK gallon
  • 1 litre (l) 2.1 US pints / 1.76 UK pint

UK / USA Metric

  • 1 ounce (oz) 28,349 grammes
  • 1 pound (lb) 0,453 kilo(gramme)
  • 1 inch (in) 2,540 centimetres
  • 1 foot (ft) 0,304 metre
  • 1 yard (yd) = 3 feet 0,914 metre
  • 1 mile (mi) = 1760 yards 1,609 kilometre
  • 1 US pint (pt) 0,473 litre
  • 1 UK pint (pt) 0,568 litre
  • 1 US gallon (gal) 3,785 litres
  • 1 UK gallon (gal) 4,456 litres

Some examples:

  • A baguette of bread: 250 g = 8.825 oz
  • A half of beer: 25 cl = 0.52 US pt or 0.44 UK pt
  • Eiffel Tower: 324 m = 1063.04 ft
  • Champs-Elysées: 2 km = 1.24 mi

Electrical and Video norms

Do your suitcases contain the latest electronic gadgets or electrical appliances that you just can't do without? Do you plan to treat yourself to a video souvenir, in the form of a cassette or DVD? Remember that electrical and video standards may well be different from those adopted in your own country. Here are a few tips to help you avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Electricity
In France the norm is 220 volts, with a frequency of 50 Hz, while in the United States or Canada, for example, it is 110 volts for 60 Hz. Voltage and sockets vary from country to country and so an adapter and also a transformer will be necessary… Make sure you bring these with you, or else you might risk kissing your favourite electric razor or hairdryer goodbye, not to mention blowing the electricity in the whole hotel! If you've forgotten to bring these important accessories, you'll be able to find them in electrical goods and DIY stores or hypermarkets. Most major hotels can also provide them. For information, French plugs are equipped with two round pins.

Prices and spending

Are you a saver or a spender? Paris is famous for its luxury products but the price range is extensive. Prices can vary but are displayed. Compare lists, menus, shop signs, and then make your choice. Make the most of special offers, twice-yearly sales, free admission days to museums, free entrance for cultural events… and remember, a coffee costs less standing at the bar than sitting down at a table.
Cost of living
The metro is one of the least expensive in the world. A book of 10 tickets will cost you approximately €20.
Here are some average prices for everyday consumer products:

  • 1 full-price museum admission: €10 to €20.
  • 1 sandwich: around €5.
  • 1 pizza: between €8 and €10
  • 1 small coffee: €3 at the bar, €5 sitting down
  • 1 full meal (starter, main dish, dessert, not including drinks): between €20 and €30 depending on the area.
  • 1 baguette of bread: €0.90
  • 1 beer in a café: €2 to €6
  • 1 seat at the cinema: €9

Hygiene

Public toilets
In Paris you will find 12 "superloos", open from 6am to 10pm, and 24 lavatories, open from 10am to noon and from 1pm to 6:15pm. These public toilets are free and clean themselves automatically after each visitor.
While cafés do not always welcome us using their toilet facilities without having a drink there, department stores offer free facilities. Shopping centres and arcades also usually have toilets, some free, some not. You have to pay to go to the toilets in railway stations (€0.40), but they are free at the airports.
You will also find supervised toilets in most of the large parks and gardens in the city.

Point WC, a new concept
A new upmarket concept of public toilets, Point WC, has made an appearance on the Champs-Elysées! For a modest sum, they offer impeccable hygiene and attractive decoration plus a range of "well-being" services. Boutiques, veritable concept stores, are also at your disposal, with a choice of "beauty and health products" and women's toiletries, as well as accessories for the smallest room, decorative objects, etc. To round off your relaxing stop, you will also find coffee and snacks to take away.

Communications

You can keep in touch with family and friends either by traditional methods or by using the latest technology. Making a phone call is as easy as pie: you'll find telephone booths in most places. Remember to send postcards, they are always much appreciated by those you've left behind… and you can also send a cyber card from our web site! For speed: an e-mail, cyber cafés even offer keyboards compatible with the Japanese system.

How to call France from France
All French numbers have 10 digits and begin with 0.
The prefix for Paris and Ile-de-France numbers is 01.
Mobile numbers start with 06.
Telephone calls are generally cheaper between 9pm and 9am.
Freephone and other specially-priced numbers begin with 08.
0 800 and 0 804, 0 805, 30 00, 31 44, 36 55 all denote a free service (N° Vert®).
Other special telephone numbers have specific tariffs from land lines. _ The price per minute must be indicated (€0.12/min; €0.15 /min or €0.30/min including taxes (TTC)).
There are also certain 4-digit numbers for emergencies or the speaking clock (3699) but, in general, these are trade numbers with surcharges.

Opening Time

You feel like having lunch at 3pm, visiting a museum or a monument after 8pm, or buying a CD at 11 on Sunday night…? In Paris everything is possible as long as you have the right information.

Shops
The majority of shops are open all day from 9am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday. Some smaller shops may close over lunchtime between midday and 2pm, or all day on Monday. Sundays and public holidays are the usual closing days, although there are some exceptions... During the week, the department stores all have one late-night opening day, known as a "nocturne" until 9pm. Supermarkets are open at different times depending on the neighbourhood, every day except Sunday, until 8, 9 or 10pm.
During the sales or in December just before the holidays, most stores, both large and small, may also open on Sundays. During the remainder of the year, take a stroll through the Marais or along the Champs-Elysées, where shopping is on the menu 365 days a year, sometimes even until midnight. In other districts more and more shops are opening on Sundays and holidays.
It's worth knowing that a good many smaller shops close for their annual holidays from mid-July to end-August.

Disneyland Paris

Paris with Kids, Disneyland Paris

With 2 Disney Parks, filled with more than 50 attractions, shows and parades, a day in Disneyland Paris will pulses racing among even the most seasoned thrill-seeker.

50 min from the b&b with two subway connections.

Jardin d'acclimatation

Paris with Kids, Jardin d'Acclimatation

All year
Nestled within the Bois de Boulogne, the 19 hectares of the Jardin d'Acclimatation provide fun for the whole family...
The Enchanted River, the Dragon, the Little Horses, Merry-go-round village, distorting Mirrors and a variety of playgrounds… there's something for everyone! Animal- and nature-lovers can head for the big Birdhouse, the farm animals, deer and even a family of bears or admire the kitchen garden overflowing with seasonal vegetables and fruit. Take a seat to watch the marionettes of the Théâtre de Guignol, the Théâtre du Jardin and the Cirque Phenix Jr, and let your children join in the fun and educational workshops.
Direct ride from the b&b.

LA VILLETTE

Paris with Kids, Cite des Sciences

All year round.
Your children keep asking you questions about themselves and the world around them, and you don't always have the answers. Don't panic: take them along to the Cité des Enfants at the Parc de la Villette's Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie!...
Geared to children, as its name indicates, the museum is packed with child-sized exhibits that are both educational and entertaining. The site is divided into two specific areas, one for 3-5 year olds and another for 5-12 year olds. The little ones can go on a voyage of discovery to perceive sound, image and movement.
They can build a house, compare themselves to various animal species and take part in lots of other fun activities. Older children can explore electronics, mechanics and human communication. With over 150 possible activities in store for them, you can be sure the kids won't be bored.
45 min from the b&b with one connection.

GRANDE GALERIE DE L'EVOLUTION

Paris with Kids, Galerie de l'Evolution

All year round.
Under the light of an enormous glass roof, you can enjoy a spectacular display of life-like animals, with look almost as if they are moving! This permanent exhibition educates visitors about the diversity of the living world.
08 min from the b&b, direct subway ride.

CENTRE DE LA MER

Paris with Kids, Centre de la Mer

All year.
Show me a butterfly fish! What does a clown fish eat? Have you ever seen a sea urchin? To have all the answers to your kids' questions about marine life, why not take the whole family on a trip to the Centre de la Mer?...
This educational museum reveals all the secrets of the deep through exhibitions highlighting the infinite variety of ocean organisms, plus tours of 7 aquariums housing tropical fish. For those who want to know more, they can join one of the fun and informative activities at the centre: a touch tank for close encounters with starfish, crabs and sea urchins; a detective game to seek out creatures and objects in the museum or the discovery of the hidden life of an aquarium. Remember to book on.
Direct subway ride from the b&b.

Palais de la decouverte

Paris with Kids, Palais de la Decouverte

All year round.
Are your kids fascinated by science and discoveries in the fields of astronomy, chemistry and biology? In order to provide answers to those endless questions on such vast subjects, why not take them along for a fun trip to the Palais de la Découverte?...
In the west wing of the Grand Palais, this establishment is both a scientific centre and a museum, aimed at all those - children and grown-ups alike – who are interested in science and its applications.
Direct subway ride from the b&b.

Le musee de la magie

Paris with Kids, Maison de la Magie

Dear visitors, step into the den of magic, the universe of the unreal! From card tricks to white rabbits, from magic trunks to vanishing tricks, everything you see here emanates as much from your own imagination as from reality... In the museum's seven rooms you will find a considerable collection of objects: magic wands and boxes, magicians' hats… as well as posters, engravings and ancient items that speak of the history of magicians. All kinds of surprises (all nice ones!) will pepper your itinerary and during your visit, experts are on hand to answer any questions you might have. Make sure you don't miss the regular shows that will delight, amaze and impress kids and grown-ups alike.
Direct subway ride from the b&b.

Les poupees des petites filles modeles

Paris with Kids, Poupees des petites filles modeles

From the 19th century, dolls have been a model for little girls to imitate. They have enabled them to discover sewing, knitting, putting together a wardrobe, cooking… and have played a part in them learning good manners.
And still today, baby dolls etc. are still an important part of the world of many children. The Musée de la Poupée gives the public the opportunity to plunge into this world of « model » dolls.

POMPIDOU MODERN ART

What to do in Paris, Pompidou

POMPIDOU, modern art center is situated in the Marais district ( direct ride, 4 subway stops from the b&b) it is the largest modern and contemporary art museum in Europe. It welcomes the biggest artists on the contempory scene

Louvre

What to do in Paris, Louvre

Formerly the residence of the Kings of France, the Louvre has, for two centuries, been one of the world's greatest museums. Its collections are divided into 8 departments: Oriental, Egyptian, Greek, Etrucscan and Roman Antiquities, Paintings, Sculptures, Art items, Islamic Art, and graphic art from the Middle Ages until 1848. Direct subway ride from our b&b.

sacre coeur

What to do in Paris, Sacre Coeur

Crowning the Butte Montmartre, this church was built from 1875 onwards as an act of penance after France was defeated by the Prussians in 1870. Before entering the Sacré-Cœur, enjoy the unrestricted view of Paris from the square in front of the basilica.
30 minutes from the b&b, two subway connections

The pere Lachaise

What to do in Paris, Pere Lachaise

The Père Lachaise is the biggest and best-known cemetery in the capital. The cemetery officially opened on 21 May 1804, when the first burial was held here. As you stroll along the leafy paths, you will come across the tombs of any number of famous people.
The list of those laid to rest here includes Honoré de Balzac, Guillaume Apollinaire, Frédéric Chopin, Colette, Jean-François Champollion, Jean de La Fontaine, Molière, Yves Montand, Simone Signoret, Jim Morrison, Alfred de Musset, Edith Piaf, Camille Pissarro and Oscar Wilde.
30 minutes from the b&b and 3 connections.

CATACOMBES

What to do in Paris, Catacombes

On the entrance is written « Arrête! c set içi l'empire de la mort » ( Stop! here is the empire of the dead) … the tone is set! Paris ossuary contains the overflow from the remains of corpes from the city'cemeteries that were emptied in the 18th century…
20 min from the b&b with one connection

NOTRE DAME DE PARIS

What to do in Paris, Notre Dame and Latin Quarter

The cathedral is the most viewed monument in France, It s the heart of the city.
Direct ride 4 stops from the b&b.

Musee Rodin

What to do in Paris, Rodin Museum

The Musée Rodin is located in the Hotel Biron, at the crossroad of the Boulevard de Invalides and the rue de Varennes. This 18th century hotel particulier is surrounded by a peaceful and romantic three-hectare green setting with underbrushes, ponds, rose gardens, lawns and flower beds. This French garden full of plants, trees and shrubs is scattered with sculptures by Auguste Rodin.
Direct subway ride from the b&b.

Musee d'Orsay

What to do in Paris, Musee d'Orsay

A national museum, situated on the left bank of the Seine in the former Orsay railway station, built in 1898. It was converted into a museum and inaugurated in 1986. The collections present Western painting and sculpture from 1848 to 1942, as well as decorative arts, photography and architecture. The Musée d'Orsay conserves and shows the largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings in the world This collection includes masterpieces like Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe and Olympia by Édouard Manet.
Direct subway ride from the b&b.