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FAQ: TRAVEL IN FRANCE Net-Letter *February 1998*

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Archive-name: travel/france/net-letter
Posting-Frequency: first days of each month (and 15th if major modifications)
Original-Author: (Thierry E. Toniutti)

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Or at the French Travel Gallery (

Number: N49.- February Edition 1998
Since November 1994.
New or updated info : (+)


	T R A V E L    I N    F R A N C E    N E T - L E T T E R 



	I - A selection of Cultural and Musical and other events in Paris
	   this month (+)

	II - How to make your Hotel Reservation in France,
	    Passport & Visas.

	III - Arriving in Paris and how to get to your Hotel 

	IV - General information for students and teachers

	V - Helpful hints and practical pointers

		1 - Public Holidays
		2 - Voltage
		3 - Lost property
		4 - Conversion Tables
		5 - How to make a phone call 
		6 - Rent a car
		7 - Duty free shopping
		8 - Learning some French online (free)

	VI - Transportation

		1 - Transportation in Paris
		2 - Taxis in Paris
		3 - Airports in France
		4 - Rail Transportation 

	VII - Useful phone numbers

	VIII - List of some Ambassies 

	IX - Bonjour Newsgroup 

* All phone numbers are specified for local calls for international calls
see "How to make a phone call" section.


=> I - Some Cultural, Musical and other events in Paris (+)

	<<<>>> E X H I B I T I O N <<<>>>

	140 paintings until June.
	From 10 am till 5 :30 pm . Closed Monday.
	Musee Marmottan - Claude Monet
	2 rue Louis Boilly - 16th district
	Ph :

	MANET, MONET, La Gare Saint Lazare
	From February 12th till Mai 17th,
	At Musee d'Orsay, from 9 :00 am to 6 :00 pm
	on sundays, 10am to 9 :45 pm on thrusday and
	10 am to 6 pm the other days.
	Quai Anatole France in the 7th.
	Ph :

	From February 13th till Mai 11th
	130 Roman paintings from the XVII and XVIIIth centuries.
	Open from 9 am till 5 :15 pm, closed on tuesdays
	Louvre Museum (Sully) Cour Napoleon, pyramide du Louvre
	In the 1st district . Ph :

	<<<>>> C O N C E R T S <<<>>>

	CONCERT AUX CHANDELLES (Vivaldi, Haendel, Purcell)
	Les Trompettes de Versailles on February 7th and 14th at 8:30 pm
	and February 22nd at 4:00 pm at the Church
	Saint-Julien-Le-Pauvre, 23 quai Montebello
	in the 5th district.

        PARIS ORCHESTRA (Roussel, Brahms)
	directed by Theodor Guschlbauer
	on February 5th and 6th at 8:00 pm 
	at Salle Pleyel, 252 rue du Faubourg St Honore
	in the 8th district. Ph: 

        PHILHARMONICA ORCHESTRA (Ligeti, Bartok, Scriabine)
	directed by Esa-Pekka Salonen
	On February 8th at 5:00 pm at Theatre du Chatelet
	1 place du Chatelet in the 8th. Ph:


	<<<>>> O P E R A <<<>>>


	TRISTAN ET ISOLDE (Richard Wagner)
	Directed by James Conlon
	on February 4, 14, 18, 21 and 27th at 6:00 pm 
	and February 8th at 2 :30 pm.
	Opera National de Paris Bastille 
	2, bis Place de la Bastille in the 12th. 

	CARMEN (Georges Bizet)
	Directed by James Conlon
	on February 16, 20, 23, 26 and 28th at 7:30 pm 
	Opera National de Paris Bastille 
	2, bis Place de la Bastille in the 12th. 

	<<<>>> S H O W S <<<>>>

	On February 23rd at 8 :00 pm
	Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy
	8 boulevard de Bercy in the 12th disctrict.
	Ph :

While in paris, you can also get information by phone calling
the 24 hour Leisure Information Line from the Tourist Office
of Paris at (in English - normal toll phone)


II - How to make your Hotel Reservation in France via WWW and E-mail 

At the French Travel Gallery & Hotel Reservation Center you will able
to make a hotel reservation request through the Web with correspondance
in English via email. If you have already selected an hotel from
a guide book ot just need suggestions, visit the Hotel Reservation 
Center at : ( )

Also "Hotels in France Index" search engine is at your disposal
for queries at : ( )


Visas: Nationals of the EU, the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Israel do 
not require visas to visit France as tourists for up to three months. 
Except for people from a handful of other European countries, everyone 
else must have a visa. Tourist visas cannot be extended except in emergencies.


III - Arriving in Paris and how to get to your Hotel

You are now north-east of Paris if you landed at Charles de Gaulle
Roissy Airport, south-east if you arrived at Orly Airport.
There are different ways to get into the city, but first, check if you
have change in French Francs with you, if not, get some inside the
Airport terminal.

Now you can take a cab, waiting in line outside of the main entrance
of each terminal. The cost will be 120 to 250 Francs according to
destination, time and traffic conditions. Tip is minimum 10 %.
There also buses that can take you to Paris (not at your hotel), check
inside in Airport terminal.
For Limousine service, you will find a "Voiture de Classe" waiting
outside (written on the windscreen). Be sure to ask for the price to
avoid any misunderstanding.

	Checking into your hotel :

During the busy season and because of the late check out time, if you
arrived in Paris in the early morning, you might have to wait to check
in. The check out time is usually at noon, so your room may not be
ready yet. Just mention "politely" to the receptionist how tired you
feel and your room should be ready shortly.
But if you have enough energy to stay up a few hours more, then leave
your luggage at the hotel, go to a "Cafe" or "Brasserie" nearby and
enjoy your first day in Paris with a nice breakfast.
Then...goodnight !



Sorbonne International Relations Office
17, rue de la Sorbonne, 75005 Paris
Ph: fax :

Centre d'Information et de Documentation Jeunesse
101, quai Branly, 75740 Paris Cedex 15
Ph: fax:

Alliance Francaise
101 Boulevard Raspail, 75270 Paris Cedex 06
Ph: fax:

French Cultural and Linguistic Attaches within the French Embassies




The major public holidays in France are :
January 1st, Easter, Easter Monday, Ascension thrusday, May 1st (labor
Day), May 8th (end of World War II), Whit Monday, July 14th (bastille
day), August 15th, November 1st, November 11th and Christmas.
On those days, banks, shops and almost everything else will be closed.
Make sure you have enough money and while riding in the country side a
full tank of gas.


Most of France has switched to 220-230 volts AC, although a few parts 
may still run on 110-115volts. Current alternates at 50 cycles, not
the 60 in use in the United States of America.
If you are bringing shavers, travel irons, hair dryers or whatever,
take along a voltage transformer. Remember the outlet prongs are
shapped differently also.


If property is lost in a subway or bus, go immediatly to the terminal 
point of one or the other, and you may find it there.
Otherwise, 48 hours later, call :
The Lost and Found Office
Prefecture de Police
Bureau des Objets trouves
36, rue des morillons 75015 Paris, ph :;,
Metro: Convention
Open daily, except Saturdays, Sundays and vacations, 8:30 am to 5:00 
pm.Tuesdays and Thrusdays till 8:00 pm.
Anything lost will be returned to this office. It is wise to report to
the district Commissariat de Police if you know exactly where you lost
the item in question. If found you will be required to pay 4% of the
item's value for the service. Lost property is held for one year and 
one day.

	4- Conversion Tables
	at ( )

	5 - How to make a phone call

To call abroad from France you will have to dial 00,
then the country's code followed by the phone number.
To call Paris from a region of France or vice-versa, just dial direct
the 10 figures number. You will do the same to call a region from 
another region.
To call within a region or a region from another region just dial 
direct the 10 figure number.
Some Rates :

	USA/CANADA - 2.97 Francs per minute
	JAPAN/AUSTRALIA - 6.55 Francs per minute
	UK/NETHERLANDS - 2.47 Francs per minute

(To avoid any misunderstanding ask for the rate of Tax on phone calls 
at the reception desk of your Hotel).

	6 - Rent a Car

First, let's take a look at some important information about renting 
a car in France. 
Rates include maintenance and oil. Special conditions for "rent it 
here, leave it there". Unlimited public liability and property 
insurance and comprehensive coverage against loss of the vehicle by
fire and theft. The renter is responsible for collision damage to the
rented vehicle up to a certain limit according to car categories.
You may get an optional insurance for any collision of the renter's 
esponsability for an additional daily charge.
Gazoline is not included in the rates. The price may vary slightly by
region. The renter must be in possession of a valid driving licence
for at least one year. Minimum age is 23 years old and 21 for credit
card holders.
For any rental in France, you can ask for a reservation at the 
reception desk of your hotel or contact the central reservation
of a car rental company.

	7 - Duty free shopping
Visitor to France may have the French value added tax deducted from
goods bought in the country. In France, VAT is called "taxe sur la
valeur ajoutee" TVA, it goes up to 20.6% or 22%. Note that not all
shops apply the duty free sales system.

Who benefits from the duty free sales ?
any person, 15 years old and over who is resident abroad when 
purchasing the goods and travelling through France for less than six
months. At the time of purchase you must be able, as a foreigner, to
prove your identity. These facilities do not apply to embassy staff
and similar categories, students and trainees, immigrant workers who
are resident in France.

Everything can bought duty-free except foods either solid or liquid,
tobacco, medecines, fire arms (however, smooth bore shotguns and range
rifles, firing guns and small hand guns may be bought duty free),
works of art, collector's items and antiques. Nevertheless, you may
buy tax-free contemporary works of art in certain cases. Information
is available from "the Comite Professionnel des Galeries d'Art"
located 83, rue du Faubourg Saint Honor' in the 8th district, phone
number is
Also private means of transport, cars, boats, planes and the
corresponding spares and equipment. However, car radios and cassette
players as well as sports articles such as bicycles, sailing and
surfing boards, may be bought free of tax.

Finally purchases of a commercial nature such as those made in large

You can claim duty-free allowances at the time of purchase, the
assistant will give you an export sales invoice, "bordereau" in
French, made up of three pages, which you sign and have validated.
The purchases, inclusive of tax, from any single store must, at least
amount to 4 200 Francs per item either single or made up of differents
parts if you are resident in the E.E.C, 2 000 Francs whatever the
amount if you are resident in any other country.

	8 - Learning some French online for Free 

You will now be able to learn some French for Travel for free,
what you need is only Realaudio player that you'll be able to
Now it's up to you, Bon courage !!!
	URL :


VI - Transportation

	1 - Transportation in Paris

The different metro lines have numbers and are identified by their 
numbers and by the name of their terminals. There is now only one
class of carriage in the metro but still two in the RER. The Regional
express, metro lines called RER are identified by a letter.
The metro and RER runs from 5:30 am to 12:30 am approximatively.

Buses run from 6:30 am and the last bus usually leaves the terminal
between 8:30 and 9:30 pm. A few lines run until half past midnight.
This is indicated at the bus stops.
There are also some night bus routes linking "Chatelet" to the main
gates of the city of Paris and vice versa between 1:00 to 5:00 am
every hour.
They are called "Noctambus" and the lines are indicated with letters
instead of numbers for day-buses.

In "Montmartre" district, there is a special bus called
Montmartrobus" (line64). It cost is the same as for other buses.
You can buy tickets by the unit from the bus driver on the us. The
tickets books are sold at subway stations, at some bus terminals and
by registered retailers like some tabacco shops and bookshops.
Remenber, you need only one ticket to use the metro but you may need
several tickets on buses depending on the number of sections you run.
In paris you will need 1 to maximum 2 tickets.

The "Montmartre" Cable railway takes you up to the "Sacre Coeur" with
the same ticket as the metro or buses, this ticket is sold by the unit
or can be taken out from a ten ticket booklet.

PARIS VISITE PASS : visit and go around Paris with Paris Visite Pass 
that gives you the right to an unlimited number of trips on all types 
of Parisian transport,(metro, RER suburban trains, Ile de France SNCF 
trains, Trams...) and you can even save up to 35 % on the price of 
some sites. It costs from 50 to 300 FrF depending of number of days 
(2,3 or 5) and zones(3 or 5). On sale at main metro station, RER and 
SNCF stations, Paris Tourist Office and at Orly or Roissy CDG Airports 
and at ( )

ROISSYBUS :The direct shuttle between Paris and Charles de Gaulle 
Airport in 45 minute, on average. Departure every 15 minutes from 
Charles de Gaulle airport (1,2 and T9) and Opera (rue Scribe 9th 
dist.).	On sale (40 FrF) on board.
ORLYBUS : The direct shuttle between Paris Denfert-Rochereau (14th 
dist.) and Orly Airport in 30 minute, on average. Departure every 13
minutes from Orly West, Orly South and Denfert Rochereau.
On sale (30 FrF) on board.

ORLYVAL : With a single ticket, ORLYVAL system gives you direct access 
from Orly Airport to the Paris public transport Network.
Frequent departure from Orly West and South. It's always the same and
respected time of travel, for example Arc de Triomphe/Orly : 38 min. 
or Chatelet/Orly : 30 minutes.

Don't forget to keep you ticket for inspection as well as the map of
Paris with all subway lines indicated at the entry of each station and
on each platform.

Watch out for pick-pockets and hold on tight to your purse anywhere 
in Paris !

For further information on the Paris transportation Services call from
6:00 am to 9:00 pm and ask for an English speaking 

If you need an itinerary with the metro in Paris 
you can get it at :

	2 - Taxis in Paris

Taxis stands are generally located at streets corners, outside raiway
stations or official buildings and of course at air terminal airports.
They can be hailed in the streets. Fares increase at night and early
in the morning.

They take no more than 3 passengers exceptionnaly 4, and have limited
space for luggage (European cars!). Fares between airports and Paris
are about 120 to 250 Francs according to destination, time and traffic
conditions. Tip is minimum 10 %.

For your information there are three rates :

There is always a minimum amount of charge and different rates :
The rate with the letter A is charged for inside Paris
from 7:00 am till 7:00 pm.
The rate B inside Paris from 7:00 pm till 7:00 am,
and rate B all day sundays and holidays.
The rate C is valid only at night in the surburbs, and during the day
in "Haut de Seine, Seine St Denis and Val de Marne" departments when
the taxi doesn't come back with the client. Additional charges at
stations, for luggage and animals.

To put in a claim, write to the Prefecture de Police, Service Taxis,
36 rue des morillons 75732 Paris Cedex 15 (don't forget to mention the
licence plate, date and time).
As in New York and every big city, cab drivers are a little bit rude
most of the time (some are exceptional!). Don't pay attention to them
just enjoy your ride in the city !

	3 - Airports in France

	- PARIS - Orly Airport (South and West) (14 km south)
	- PARIS - Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport km N/E)
	- AJACCIO , Campo dell'oro Airport (8 km S/E)
	- AVIGNON , Caumont Airport (8 km S/E)
	- BASTIA , Poretta Airport (25 km south)
	- BEZIERS , Vias Cap d'Agde (15 km East from Beziers/10 km from Agde)
	- BIARRITZ , Bayonne-Anglet Airport (3 km N/E)
	- BORDEAUX , Merignac Airport (12 km west)
	- BREST , Guipavas Airport (11 km east)
	- CALVI , Sainte Catherine Airport (7 km S/E)
	- CLERMONT-FERRAND , Aulnat Airport (7 km east)
	- GRENOBLE , Saint-Geoirs Airport (39 km N/W)
	- LILLE , Lesquin Airport (8 km south)
	- LIMOGES , Bellegarde Airport (10 km west)
	- LORIENT , Lann-Bihoue Airport (8 km west)
	- LOURDES-TARBES , Ossun (10 km north from Lourdes, 7 km south Tarbes)
	- LYON , Satolas Airport (25 km east)
	- MARSEILLE , Provence Airport (30 km N/W)
	- MONTPELLIER , Mediterranee Airport(8 km S/E)
	- MULHOUSE , Mulhouse-Bale Airport (25 km S/E)
	- NANTES , Atlantique Airport (10 km south)
	- NICE , Cote d'Azur Airport (6 km west)
	- NIMES , Arles-Camargue Airport (8 km south)
	- PAU , Pyrenees Airport (13 km N/W)
	- PERPIGNAN , Rivesaltes Airport (7 km N/W)
	- QUIMPER , Pluguffan Airport (8 km west)
	- RENNES , Saint-Jacques Airport (7 km south)
	- SAINT ETIENNE , Boutheon Airport (15 km north)
	- STRASBOURG , Entzheim Airport (15 km S/W)
	- TOULON-HYERES , Le Palyvestre (21 km east Toulon, 6 km north Hyeres)
	- TOULOUSE , Blagnac Airport (10 km west)

	4 - Rail Transportation 

Long-distance train services in France are operated by the SNCF;
most "regional" trains are operated by SNCF on behalf of regional 
authorities according to DIFFERENT rules, tariffs etc.  Details of 
regional train services are not widely available outside France
(Info on Minitel "3615 TER"). For info on public transport in the 
Paris area, consult or Minitel "3615 RATP".

Applicable to travel wholly on SNCF network (summary only - 
check if in doubt): Info + Reservations via Minitel "3615 SNCF" 
or phone: + No Web service in Europe at present.

Basic non-TGV 2nd class fares depend on the distance by rail as 
follows: (rounded up to a whole number of French francs, plus any 
terminal charge)

Distance   constant +  NEW price per km
<   8  km     6.45  +   0.2586
  9 -  39     2.37  +   0.8840
 40 -  79    12.41  +   0.6336
 80 - 149    17.47  +   0.5838
150 - 249    29.97  +   0.5001
250 - 389    43.24  +   0.4471
380 - 599    60.39  +   0.4033
600 - 899    83.19  +   0.3654
900 - 1299  111.76  +   0.3338
> 1300 km   142.49  +   0.3098
First class non-TGV fares are approx. 50% higher, except during
July and August when a flat extra charge of 50 FRF is made. (Non-TGV
first-class coaches have a yellow stripe just below roof level);
TGV fares (including the compulsory reservation, which can be made up 
to the scheduled departure time) are on a separate scale for each 
route. 	E.g. Paris - Lille, 258 km, 2nd class: non-TGV 179 FRF, TGV 
211 FRF.
Various discounts are available for advance purchase (Joker) etc.
50% discount for children over 4 and under 12 years old.
0% discount on 2nd class fare for pet animals (29 FRF in a
basket/cage)Any discount does NOT apply to the following charges
(payable also by pass-holders where applicable):
Seat reservation fee (included in published TGV fares): 19 FRF
Couchette (bunk in compartment with 6 sleeping-berths) 
res/supplement: 89 FRF
Terminal charge (at 200 modernised stations): 2 - 6 FRF
Ticket validity: 24 hours from start of journey 
(i.e. time *you* STAMPED it)
Longer break of journey permitted only if specified when buying
the ticket.
If your TGV arrives over 30 minutes late, you are entitled
(on application) to a travel voucher for the price of your 

NOTE: Before starting any journey, you must always STAMP your SNCF 
ticket in the orange "composteur" machine at the track access point.

Paris Airport access:
There are two adjacent rail stations sharing a single ticket office in 
Terminal/Aerogare 2 at the main international airport "Aeroport 
Charles-de-Gaulle Roissy" (Paris CDG). One is the terminal of RER 
(express metro) Line B3, with frequent trains to central Paris via 
Gare du Nord, Chatelet, St-Michel, Denfert-Rochereau etc., some of 
which continue via Antony where there is a connection by automatic 
metro to the other main airport, Orly. The other is on the new 
high-speed line linking Lille and certain other stations in northern 
France with Lyons and certain stations in southeast France. Travellers 
to these parts of France will generally find that direct TGV services 
from this station are quicker than travelling via central Paris, and 
vice versa.

Bicycles: (see the SNCF leaflet "Train + Velo"):
 - may be taken free as accompanied baggage in the luggage van
   (fourgon) of certain non-TGV main-line  trains if the 
  traveller (un)loads it;
 - may be taken as accompanied baggage on all TGVs ONLY if folded or
  with wheels removed AND wrapped WITHIN not more than 120 cm x 90 cm.
 - may be sent separately as "registered baggage" for a fee of 135 FRF
  if boxed or 185 FRF if unboxed (this takes a few days).
 - travel free with you on most "TER" (Regional trains), with a few 
 - travel free OFF-PEAK on the "RER" network OUTSIDE central Paris
 - can be hired by the day at some SNCF stations.
NOTE: Prices for food and drink on board trains are usually 
MUCH higher
than off them, there are NO ice water dispensers - so stock up before 

(Special thanks to the contributor, Mr. Alan REEKIE, for this Rail
 Transportation section)


VII - Useful Phone Numbers

Office de Tourisme de Paris
127, Avenue des Champs Elysees - 75008 Paris -
Metro : Charles de Gaulle - Etoile.
Ph : 33-1-  Fax : 33-1- Telex : 645439
Open everdyday from 9:00 am till 8:00 pm except on May 1st.
Branch reception offices from May through september:
Eiffel Tower call (7th district)

- Credit Cards Lost or stolen


- Assistance

Europ Assistance Call
Mondial Assistance Call Toll free 0 800.40.04.00


VIII - List of some Embassies 

AUSTRALIA  -  4, rue Jean Rey - PARIS  -  15th D.  -
AUSTRIA  -  6, rue Fabert  -  PARIS  -  7th D.  -
BELGIUM - 9, rue de Tilsitt - PARIS - 17th D. -
CANADA - 35, avenue Montaigne - PARIS - 8th D. -
DENMARK - 77, avenue Marceau - PARIS - 16th D. -
FINLAND - 2, rue Fabert - PARIS - 7th D. -
GERMANY - 13/15 avenue F.Roosevelt - PARIS -  8th D.
GREECE - 17, rue Auguste Vacquerie - PARIS - 16th D.
HUNGARY - 5 bis, square avenue Foch - PARIS - 16th D.
ICELAND - 124, boulevard Haussmann - PARIS - 8th D. -
ITALY - 51, rue de Varenne - PARIS - 7th D. -
JAPAN - 7, avenue Hoche - PARIS - 8th D. -
LUXEMBOURG - 33, avenue Rapp - PARIS - 7th D. -
PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO - 22, bld Suchet - PARIS 16th.-
NETHERLANDS - 7/9, rue Eble - PARIS - 7th D. -
NORTHERN IRELAND - 35, rue du Fg St Honore -PARIS -8th
NORWAY - 28, rue Bayard - PARIS - 8th D. -
PORTUGAL - 3, rue de Noisiel - PARIS - 16th D. -
SPAIN - 22, avenue Marceau - PARIS - 8th D. -
SWEDEN - 17, rue Barbet de Jouy - PARIS - 7th D. -
SWITZERLAND - 142, rue de Grenelle - PARIS - 7th D. -
USA - 2, avenue Gabriel - PARIS - 8th D. -
UNITED KINGDOM - 35, rue du Fg St Honore - PARIS - 8th D. -

IX - Bonjour Newsgroup 

If you feel like sharing tips about your last stay in Europe, or if you
need any recommendations for your next trip to France, post a note in
Bonjour Newsgroup at the follwing URL :

Whether you're looking for a piece of porcelain from Limoges,
accomodations in France, a particular book or other item (a DS Citron, for
example?), someone can probably help you find it.


Rendez-vous for our next issue in the first days of March, au revoir !


For suggestion or comment Email to , thank you.

Copyright 1985-1997 Thierry E. Toniutti. This issue may be 
redistributed (highly recommended) provided that the article and 
this notice remain intact. This article may not under any
circumstances be resold or redistributed for compensation of any
kind without prior written permission from Thierry E. Toniutti. 
That includes publication by magazine or CD-ROM. 
But if you're interested, talk to me.

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