Capital of France and center of government, business, and culture. Population: more than 2 million residents (city), almost 11 million (metropolitan area). Territory: 436 sq mi (1129 sq km.). Prominent industries: finance, insurance, manufacturing, exporting, and technology. France levies a value-added tax of 19.6% on most goods. Non-citizens of the EU can recoup a portion of this tax by filling out a form obtained from the store and filing the request with Customs before leaving France.
Air travel into Paris is coordinated at two airports: Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and Orly. To get to town from the airport, consider a taxi (€34-60) or the RER train, whose lines connect the city proper to the suburbs (less than €10). Another option for travel into Paris is a shuttle bus, which costs roughly the same as the RER and takes about the same amount of time.
Paris lends itself easily to pedestrian traffic, and major tourist sites lie clustered in several central arrondissements. The Metro (subway) boasts abundant stations, easily understood routes, and costs about €2 per trip. It runs from 5:30am till 1:15am daily, although not all individual trains follow this broad schedule. Short-term travelers should inquire about special transportation passes at any Metro station.
A few of the most prominent French papers include Libération, Le Figaro, and Le Monde. More specialized publications include La Tribune, Paris: l'Officiel des Spectacles, Le Pariscope, and the International Herald Tribune, an English-language option.
Conventions & Tourism
Main Visitor Center 25-27 rue des Pyramides Hours: Nov-May Daily 9am-8pm, Nov-Mar Daily 11am-6pm METRO: Palais Royal/Musée du Louvre
For the most part, all gratuities are included in bills, so you don't have to worry about computing tips, especially in restaurants. However, it's often acceptable to leave a few coins for servers as an added gesture.