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Paris Travel Essentials
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Valid passport required by all, except:
a) EU nationals holding valid national identification cards
b) Holders of national identification cards issued to nationals of Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland.
Passports must be valid 3 months beyond length of stay. You only need a valid passport as a U.S. citizen to travel to France. You are required to carry identification with you at all times when traveling in France.
Public phones in France require a telephone card, which can be purchased at any Tabac or post office (La Poste). La Poste is open 9-6 daily and 8-noon on Saturday.
Emergency telephone numbers throughout France:
24-hour ambulance: 15
Banks are generally open weekdays 9-4:30. Most banks are closed Saturday and Sunday and all holidays. There are many holidays too, so plan ahead. Traveler’s checks can be exchanged at the banks for better rates as well as at the change bureaus on the street.
Paying for services and goods is most convenient by credit card. The large grocery stores accept them, as well as most restaurants and many merchants. Visa is most widely accepted.
If you purchase goods at one merchant worth more than 200 euros, be sure to ask for a VAT refund form, which can be submitted to the customs official at the airport when you leave. A credit will be issued for VAT (value added tax - TVA in French) for a range of 13-20 percent.
Tipping: Almost all restaurants include tax and a 15 percent service charge with the bill. It is noted as "service compris". If you really appreciate the service and/or the meal, an additional tip is customary.
Electricity in France runs on 220 volt, 50 cycles AC current. If you bring electrical devices, you might need to have a transformer and plug adapter.
Tourist Offices / Information
Carrousel du Louvre
Place de la Pyramide Inversée
99, rue de Rivoli
Museum Passes are available for one, three, or five days, and which allow you to skip over lines waiting to get into the permanent collections of 70 museums and monuments in Paris and the surrounding area.
Jan 1 New Year's Day / Apr 5 Easter Monday / May 1 Labor Day / May 8 VE Day / May 13 Ascension Day / May 24 Pentecost. Jul 14 Bastille Day / Aug 15 Assumption / Nov 1 All Saints' Day / Nov 11 Remembrance Day / Dec 25 Christmas Day / Jan 1 2000 New Year's Day / Apr 24 Easter Monday.
Note: In France the months of July and August are traditionally when the French take their holidays. During these months, tourist areas, coastal resorts, especially in the south, are very crowded.