Travel Guide to Paris, France
Tipping is referred to as service in Paris. A service charge is usually levied and this is indicated by the words service compris. To confirm you can ask but use the word service, not tip. In this case, no tip is required but you can leave spare change. Taxi drivers expect tips of about 10% of the fare. Hairdressers will expect about 10% also. Porters, doormen, and room service can be offered a small gratuity.
Paris has four seasons, spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The average temperature in Paris is 12°C (53°F). In the summer temperatures are mild to warm and with occasional heatwaves which can exceed 30°C (85°F). Winters are very chilly and temperatures hover around freezing.
When to go
Paris in the spring is traditionally the best time if you want colorful blooms, vibrant streets, and café culture. Summer is great for festivals and open-air events but does get a little congested and unpleasant due to the fumes of traffic. The French summer holidays start July 15 and last until the end of August and at this time many Parisians leave the city to go on their holidays. This means that some shops and restaurants close at the time.
During spring and summer, hotel rates, air, and train fares are at their highest and of course, there are the crowds. In autumn the days get more chilly but hotels and travel become cheaper and the city becomes more festive in the run-up. The exception is during fashion shows that take place in September and October when finding a room can be very difficult. Paris is fun in the winter but it is very cold.
The Métro is the easiest way to get around, lines are color-coded and designated by numbers. There are 14 métro lines that extend into zones one and two in the center of Paris. Line 14 – métro Météor, runs from Gare St-Lazare to Bibliothèque François Mitterrand uses brand new driverless trains. Some stations are quite beautiful. Liege on Line 13 has fantastic tiling, Abbesses on Line 12 has beautiful murals and the Louvre on Line 1 looks like a museum. Transport maps are available at tourist offices, métro stations, and bus terminals.
There are 6 major rail stations in Paris (Gare du Nord, Gare de Lyon, Gare d’Austerlitz, Gare St Lazare, Montparnasse, and the Gare de l’Est) where trains depart for various destinations within France and other European countries. The Gare du Nord is the site for the cross channel train the Eurostar which connects France to the UK in under 3 hours.
Hail a taxi in the street or at taxi ranks found at airports, stations, and close to main road junctions. A white light displayed on the roof shows that the taxi is available for hire and an orange light shows the taxi is in use. Taxi ranks have telephones, so if there are no cars in the rank you telephone for one. The minimum charge for a taxi ride is €5.10, but make sure the meter is on otherwise you may have to haggle. Taxies also charge per item for any luggage stored in the boot and levy a surcharge at night.