anamericaninparis.com
Click here to return to Menu

FLASH UPDATES

and other stuff that doesn't fit in anywhere else

Paris now has over 10,000 bicycles at 750 stations around the city and you can use one and drop it at another station. The first 1/2 hour is free, then it's a euro, then 2 euro etc. Not good for an all day outing - you would do much better renting a bike for that - but great for seeing various sites, making short sightseeing trips. For info and a list of stations (now in French but soon to be in English, go to: http://www.velib.paris.fr
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
A must see - Memorial de la Shoah. A Memorial to the 76,000 French Jews including 11,000 children killed during the Holacaust. To enter, ring the bell. It's free and unbelievibly beautiful, moving. You can spend hours there. 17 Rue Geoffroy l'Asnier 75004 Paris, France
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
There's no more smoking in Paris restaurants. What a pleasure. No more clouds of smoke to walk through. And they said it couldn't be done.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
People are always asking what they should do about buying train and bus tickets. Here are the costs of various tickets. Understand this can change at any time.

1 ticket good for 1 ride on a bus or one series of rides on the metro and RER within Paris as long as you don't leave the station. About 1.7 euro

Pack of ten tickets, called a "carnet" (an cahr-nay), with each ticket providing the same as above. About 12.7 euro

The Navigo Pass. You pay a one-time charge of 5 euro for your Navigo card and plastic frame This can be kept and reused over and over for years. The pass is charged by inserting it in a machine by the metro cashier booth. It costs 19.15 euro for the week, Monday through Sunday, for unlimited travel. Use it in the metro and buses as much as you want. You can hop on and off buses and trains even if you're just going a few blocks, especially if the weather's bad or you're tired. If you had to pay each time you'd think twice. You will need a photo of your face, size, about 1 x 1 1/4 inches.

So, by buying a carnet you'll save 5 euro over the cost of ten individual tickets. Buying the Navigo will be about the same cost as 15 tickets purchased with a carnet. Anything over 15 rides is gravy. So if you plan to take more than 15 rides between Monday and Sunday the Carte Orange is your best bet. Also remember the psychological aspect, hopping on and off buses and trains even if you're just going a few blocks, especially if the weather's bad or you're tired. If you had to pay each time you'd think twice.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Hotel Continental Paris on rue Castiglione is no longer; it's now "The Westin." The Grand Hotel Intercontinental remains the same.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Always some kind of strike, as usual. Funny cartoon in the paper: Man and wife are looking out their apartment window at a huge crowd of students yelling and screaming and hoisting protest and strike signs and the guy says: "They don't even have jobs yet and they're striking."
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jeans, jeans, jeans. I'd estimate that 75 % of the people I saw wore jeans. The times they have changed.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
La Samaritaine, a wonderful department store with some of the best views of Paris from their roof, is closed and will remain so for many years, probably through 2010 or so. There were questions of safety of the building.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Believe it or not (and it is hard to believe) L'Orangerie is open.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The museum pass has changed. Instead of being sold for 1, 3 or 5 consecutive days, it is now for 2, 4, or 6 consecutive days. For more information go to: http://www.parismuseumpass.fr/flash/hp_fr.html
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Paris has become much more expensive with some changes. Prices are up all over, restaurants are charging more, some have eliminated the prix-fixed menu and just have a la carte, others went from three courses to two. Not all have changed but enough have to make it noticeable. Of course, the drop in the dollar doesn't help but the French are feeling the pinch also.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The French Tourist Office on the Champs Elysees has closed permanently. Check the "Guide to Paris" for locations of the new ones.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you're interested in taking a guided tour of Paris a bit differently than normally, and you're into Segways, they now give precisely that. A tour on Segways for about 5 people at a time and lasting 5 hours. Tel: 011-33-1-56-58-10-54
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
You can now receive a cash refund for your VAT while still in Paris, without waiting for it to be credited on your credit card. Get the paperwrok from the store and go to the Cash Refund Department on the 2nd floor of Les Trois Quartiers on Blvd de la Madeleine corner of rue Duphot. Take the escalator up - you'll be in a store called Madelios - turn left - walk about 30 feet and on your right will be the Cash Refund Department. Give them the paperwork and they will give you the cash on the spot. HOWEVER, you still must go to customs at the airport and have them stamp the forms and then mail them in from the mailbox there. If they do not receive it in 21 days your credit card will be charged that amount and a 10% service charge added.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you're shipping packages to France, especially for an extended stay at in an apartment, I suggest you read this. I received it from Emily at Just France, an apartment rental agency.

"My client was going to Paris for a one-month stay, and shipped a package of personal effects to the apartment she'd rented. Our clients have often done this in the past, and have never run into any trouble. However, the French Poste has recently contracted out a part of their operations to a private company. Duties have risen to upwards of 30%. (In the case of my client, 45%.) This private company handles all packages arriving in France from the U.S. They have packages that arrived in January and have yet to be processed and delivered. As a result, my client owes duty, taxes and "fees" on a small box of used clothing; if she doesn't pay up her package will be destroyed (not returned to the States).

We will be cautioning our clients to not entrust anything to the French Poste's international package handlers. It's better that they take it as baggage and pay the airline surcharge.

Please note, this is a new system. Our Parisian contact, who is ALWAYS in the know, didn't know about this until she personally went down to the customs office. It has not been announced or publicized in any way, as far as I can tell. It's been an awful, very expensive headache for my clients."
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Click here to return to Menu