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General Information

 Climate

A melody of colours and atmospheres, a symphony of contrasting skies and light. Every season pays tribute to Paris and highlights its charms, be it the sun caressing its pale façades, or the rain reflecting the night’s gleam. To the sweet music of romance or a festive beat, compose your own score for your trip to the city, depending on the time of year and the whims of the weather.

 Opening times

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.

 Public transport

The entire Parisian metro service will operate on Saturday evenings until 2.15 am from 23 December 2006, and on Friday evenings until 2.15 am from 29 June 2007. The Noctilien night bus service is adding 7 new bus routes to its network.

You can be sure to find a metro or RER train every day between 6am and 0.30am, wherever you might be along the line. The majority of bus routes operate from 7am to 8.30pm, some lines continuing until 0.30am. Then the Noctilien bus operates from 0.30am to 5.30am. As regards taxis, you’ll find them 24 hours a day.

The Parisian transport network has its rush hours: at the time when most residents of Paris and Ile-de-France set off for work, between 8am and 10am, and when they head home again, between 5pm and 8pm. Saturday is also a very busy day, as many Parisians use it for their shopping expeditions. It becomes increasingly difficult to find a free taxi on Saturday evenings, particularly after midnight, as Paris is out on the town!

 Money

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.

Euros

On 1 January 2002, along with 11 other Member States of the European Union, France adopted the euro currency. These notes and coins can therefore be used in any country belonging to the euro zone: France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. Since 1 January 2007, Slovenia has been the 13th member state to introduce the euro.

Banks, Exchange

There is a multitude of banks in Paris, both French and foreign. They are generally open from 9am to 5pm, or 6pm, from Monday to Friday, sometimes from Tuesday to Saturday. Certain branches may close at lunchtime, between 12.30pm and 2pm. Even though you may find some banks who will accept your currency in exchange for euros, you are more likely to come across exchange bureaux, which specialize in this type of transaction. Make sure you have some ID with you.