Month: April 2009

Marseille Travel Guide – Deals

Quick Links:

A – Overview

B – City information

C – Attractions & Things To Do

D – Family Fun Attractions

E – Events & Entertainments

F – Marseille Travel Deals

A – Overview

Known as the heart of the Mediterranean, Marseille is the oldest city in France. This bustling metropolis with more than a million inhabitants, is France’s second-largest and its premier port. Marseille is a place of unique sounds, smells, and sights. It is a dynamic city, as cosmopolitan now as when ancient Phocaeans first founded it as an international shipping port 2,600 years ago.

The topography of the area has changed over the centuries: originally the port extended to what is now the Centre Bourse. Until the middle of the nineteenth century, all of the town’s marine activities took place here.

Today, pleasure boats are moored beside fishing boats, and every morning the fishermen sell their catch at the renowned local fish market. The town hall, situated on the right bank, looks onto the Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica which dominates the south bank and provides a panoramic view of Marseilles.

The attractions of the city are largely concentrated around the port, including the opera house, museums, galleries, theatres, monuments (such as Pharos Palace, various forts, St Victors Abbey) as well as the Panier district where the ancient Phocaeans first settled. Beside the Hôtel-Dieu, which dates back to the 18th Century, and the Accoules bell tower constructed between the 17th and 19th Centuries, is a stairway typical of old Marseilles that leads directly into the Panier district.

Place de Lenche is where the Greek agora (meaning marketplace) of the ancient city once stood. The area still bustles with life in the market, restaurants and theatre. At the summit of the old town is Place des Moulins which in the 16th Century was home to fifteen windmills making flour. Both the windmills and the warehouses were demolished three centuries later. It retains the tranquility of a village square, with its fountain and local school.

The Vieux Port, the old harbor, is especially colorful, in contrast to the somewhat dreary industrial dockland nearby. It is also the destination of many North and sub-Saharan Africans, who, along with the Italians, French, Lebanese and Armenians, create a lively mix of races and creeds, that have always harmonized.

Marseille is the most important port in the Mediterranean. The major imports include petroleum, wine, fruits, and olive oil. New industry has recently come in: Eurocopter, the world’s largest helicopter maker and Comex, a marine and nuclear engineering group are recent additions to the economic life of Marseilles.

Marseille today actually occupies twice the amount of land space as Paris. In spite of the difficulties inevitably associated with life in a large city, it is bustling, always fascinating, and unlike any other in France. The arts are coming alive in Marseille! An abandoned, former cigar factory has been named La Friche la Belle de Mai, and has opened recently as a 164,000 square foot space entirely dedicated to dance, theater, music, film, visual arts, and literature. There are rooms for rehearsals, performances, workshops, a radio station, and lounges for conversation.

The city is a showpiece: a medley of brilliant white stone rising above a picture perfect seaport framed by enormous neo-Byzantine churches. The winding alleyways of the old town reveal ancient buildings painted in broad strokes of saffron and robin’s-egg blue. It provides the perfect setting for its film industry, because there is nothing artificial about Marseilles. The town is filled with real beauty and raw energy. In 1998 the World Cup was held in Marseille with four players on the winning French team being natives of the city.

Marseilles will always be known for its beaches, for its 35 miles of gorgeous coastline, and for its superb bouillabaisse. It is emerging now as a dynamic creative center for musicians, filmmakers, theater directors, and fashion and furniture designers. The exciting story of this new Marseilles is now unfolding. What a perfect time to visit!

B – City information

Population:
807,071 in the city center; over 1,000,000 if the surrounding area of the city is included.

Departement:
Bouches du Rhône

Location:
On highway A7 and route N7; 479 miles S of Paris, 116 miles SW of Nice, 19 miles S of Aix-en-Provence

Time Zone:
Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour. The French equivalent of daylight saving time lasts from around April to September, which puts it 1 hour ahead of French winter time. Depending on the time of year, France is 6 or 7 hours ahead of U.S. eastern standard time.

Dialing Code:
The zone prefix for Marseille is 04. Dial the full 10 digit number (which includes this prefix) for local calls. The country code is 33. (use the country code only when calling Marseille from another country).

Currency:
Currency is the Euro (EUR). The notes are in denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 euro. The denominations of coins are 2 euro, 1 euro, 50 euro cent, 20 euro cent, 10 euro cent, 5 euro cent, 2 euro cent, and 1 euro cent. The easiest method of securing cash at the best exchange rate is to make withdrawals using a US credit card from the ATM machines found at the major banks and stores.

Customs Regulations:
Tele 01 43 12 22 22 for information Mon.-Fri. 9-3.

Climate:
The Mediterranean coast has the driest climate in France. Most rain falls in spring and autumn. Summers are comfortably dry. Provence experiences le mistral (a cold, violent wind from the French and Swiss Alps that blows south down the Rhône Valley). It most often blows in winter, sometimes for a few days, but sometimes for up to 2 weeks.

Average Temperatures (In Fahrenheit):

  High Low
January – March 59F 35F
April – June 79F 46F
July – September 84F 63F
October – December 68F 37F

National Holidays:
In France, holidays are known as jours feriés. Shops and many businesses (banks and some museums and restaurants) close on holidays, but hotels and emergency services remain open.

New Year’s Day Jan 1
Easter Sunday (varies) and Easter Monday
V-E Day in Europe May 8
Whit Monday mid May
Ascension Thursday 40 days after Easter
Bastille Day July 14
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Aug 15
All Saints’ Day Nov 1
Armistice Day Nov 11
Christmas Dec 25.

Business Hours:
Most banks are open Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 4:30pm. Many, particularly in smaller towns or villages, take a lunch break at varying times. Hours are usually posted on the door. Most museums close 1 day a week (often Tuesday), and they’re usually closed on national holidays. Usual hours are 9:30am to 5pm. Some museums, particularly the smaller ones, close for lunch from noon to 2pm. Most French museums are open on Saturday; many are closed Sunday morning but open Sunday afternoon. Offices are, in general, open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, but always call first. In some small stores, the lunch break can last 3 hours, beginning at 1pm.

Drugstores:
In France they are called pharmacie. Pharmacies take turns staying open at night and on Sunday; the local Commissariat de Police will tell you the location of the nearest one.

Electricity:
In general, expect 200 volts, 50 cycles, though you’ll encounter 110 and 115 volts in some older establishments. Adapters are needed to fit sockets. Many hotels have two-pin (in some cases, three-pin) sockets for electric razors. It’s best to ask your hotel concierge before plugging in any appliance.

Emergencies:
In an emergency while at a hotel, contact the front desk to summon an ambulance or do whatever is necessary. But for something like a stolen wallet, go to the police station in person. Otherwise, you can get help anywhere in France by calling tel. 17 for the police or tel. 18 for the fire department (pompiers).

Mail:
Most post offices in France are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 7pm and Saturday from 8am to noon. You can exchange money at post offices. Many hotels sell stamps, as do local post offices and cafes displaying a red “tabac” sign outside.

Newspapers/Magazines:
Most major cities carry copies of the International Herald Tribune, USA Today, and usually a major London paper or two. Nearly all big-city newsstands also sell copies of Time and Newsweek

Safety:
Those intending to visit the south of France, especially Marseille, should exercise extreme caution: robberies and muggings here are commonplace. It’s best to check your baggage into a hotel and then go sightseeing instead of leaving it unguarded in the trunk of a car, which can easily be broken into.

Taxes:
As a member of the European Union, France routinely imposes a value-added tax (VAT) on many goods and services. The standard VAT on merchandise is 20.6%. Refunds are made for the tax on certain goods, but not on services. The minimum purchase is 1,200F ($204) for nationals or residents of countries outside the EU

Telephone:
You’ll find public phone booths in cafes, restaurants, post offices, airports, and train stations and occasionally on the streets. Pay phones accept coins of 1/2F, 1F, 2F, and 5F; the minimum charge is 1F (15¢). Pick up the receiver, insert the coin(s), and dial when you hear the tone, pushing the button when there’s an answer.

The French also use a télécarte, a phone debit card, which can be purchased at rail stations, post offices, and other places. Sold in two versions, it allows you to use either 50 or 120 charge units (depending on the card) by inserting the card into the slot of most public phones. Depending on the type of card you buy, they cost 41F to 98F ($6.95 to $16.65).

When calling from outside France, dial the international access code for your country, the country code for France (33), and then the last nine digits of the number, dropping the 0 (zero) from the area code.

Tipping:
All bills, as required by law, are supposed to say service compris, which means that the tip has been included.

Getting There:

By Air
The Marseille airport 04-42-14-14-14, 18 miles north of the center in Marignane, receives international flights from all over Europe. From the airport, blue-and-white minivans (navettes) make the trip from a point in front of the arrivals hall to Marseille’s St-Charles rail station near the Vieux Port for a low one-way fee. The minivans run daily at 20-minute intervals, 6:20am to 10:50pm. St. Charles Train Station: 3hr. 50 minutes from Paris by TGV (high speed train).

By Train
For rail information and schedules 08-36-35-35-35. The city is the terminus for the TGV bullet train, which departs daily from Paris’s Gare de Lyon (trip time: 4 3/4 hrs.). Local trains from Paris arrive almost every hour. Marseille has especially good train connections to and from Italy.

By Bus
Buses pull into the Gare Routière, on the place Victor Hugo 04-91-08-16-40), adjacent to the St. Charles railway station.

By Automobile
Take the A7 autoroute into Marseille.

Districts of Marseille:
There are 111 different districts in Marseille, of which the following are the most frequently visited:

Le Vieux Port
The old port is one of the best-known parts of Marseilles and its streets are lined with restaurants and cafés. In the mornings, fishermens wives auction off their wares in the fish market opposite the boats.

La Canebière
This is the most famous road in town. Along it you will see shopping streets such as Rue St Ferréol, and the Musée de la Mode, the Musée de la Marine, and the Opéra.

Le Panier
A walk through this popular district, close to the old port, takes you around the Provençal pedestrian streets lined with multi-colored buildings. The Clocher des Accoules, la place des Moulins, la Vieille Charité and la Major are all rich in history.

La Joliette
The Joliette docks are the long red brick buildings along the motorway footbridge. The 4 blocks of buildings were built in the nineteenth century and the interiors have been completely renovated. The Musée des Docks Romains charts the history of the port of Marseille.

La Plaine
In Marseille, Place Jean Jaures is also known as La Plaine. This huge square has a market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and a busy shopping area at other times. In the adjacent streets, there is a wide choice of restaurants, bars and pubs.

Le Cours Julien
Just along from La Plaine, le Cours Julien is where young people like to go as there is a good variety of cafés, cabarets and fringe theatres such as Chocolat-Théâtre. For concerts there is Espace Julien. There are many antique shops and clothes boutiques.

Castellane
Bars and cinemas such as César and the Prado keep this square at the end of the Rue de Rome busy day and night.

Le Prado
People come to the Prado to see the buildings that line the main road, the Boulevard Périer and the Rue Paradis. The Parc Borély and its castle provide one of Marseilles biggest open spaces. The racecourse here is also very popular.

Endoume
This district is dominated by Notre Dame de la Garde. The name La Bonne Mère (literally ‘the Good Mother’) comes from the enormous statue of the Virgin Mary on top of the bell tower. This church is an important site for pilgrims.

La Corniche
The Corniche (coastal road) winds along the Mediterranean coast . Upscale villas are located in this district, as is the Musée d’Art Contemporain. From all directions, you can admire the open sea.

Longchamp
Palais Longchamp is a favorite place for walks.You can also visit the Musée Grobet Labadié, the Musée des Beaux Arts and the Muséum d?Histoire Naturelle – the natural history museum which used to be a zoo and has been converted into a park

C – Attractions & Things To Do

Sightseeing Tour
Histobus (L’)
Espace info RTM 6-8, rue des Fabres
Rue des Fabres
Marseille, 13001
Neighborhood: 1st arrondissement
+33 4 91 91 92 10
Métro: Vieux-Port
Take a sight-seeing tour of Marseilles through the old port and the old town Panier district. The bus tour takes in 28 of the cities monuments, accompanied by a running commentary from your driver, who knows the city and its history. Buses depart from the Vieux-Port (the old port). If you are arriving by métro, come out of the station on the same side as the sea, opposite the town hall. Disabled access is available.

Abbaye St-Victor
Place St.-Victor
04 96 11 22 60
Metro: Vieux-Port
Daily 8:30-7:15
Founded in the 4th century, this abbey grew in influence in the ancient world. It was built above a crypt from the 5th century foundation of the church. The basilica, an example of Romanesque architecture, looks out from its vantage point on a ledge above the sea. The Saracens destroyed the first structure, so the abbey was rebuilt in the 11th century and fortified against further onslaught in the 14th. Its crudely peaked windows indicate the transition from Romanesque arches to Gothic points.

Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde
Rue Fort du Sanctaire
04 91 13 40 80
7am-8 pm
Free admission
Metro: Vieux-Port; Bus: 60
This Romanesque-Byzantine style church stands on a limestone rock perch overlooking the southern side of the Vieux-Port. It was built in the 19th century and topped by a 30 foot statue of the Virgin.

Musée D’histoire De Marseille (Marseille History Museum)
Centre Bourse, entrance on rue de Bir-Hakeim
04-91-90-42-22
Admission charged.
Mon.-Sat. noon-7.
This modern, open-spaced exhibition presents Marseille’s history through its treasure trove of archeological finds. Highlights include ancient metallurgy, Gallo-Roman pottery making, and shipbuilding. There is a section dedicated to medieval Marseille, and some background on the influence of Louis XIV and Vauban on the city. There is a recovered wreck of a Roman cargo boat, its 3rd-century wood amazingly preserved, and the hull of a Greek boat dating from the 4th century BC.

Centre De La Vieille Charité (Center of the Old Charity)
Designed as a hospice for the homeless, this superb example of 17th- and 18th-century architecture stands at the top of Le Panier (the basket).
Under this complex’s extensive roofs are two excellent museums.

(1) The larger is the:

Musée d’Archéologie Méditerranéenne (Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology)
Centre Bourse, square Belsunce
04 91 90 42 22
Metro: Vieux-Port
Admission charged; children under 11 free
An amazing archeological garden where excavations are continuing. The many exhibits span ancient Mediterranean civilizations from ancient Egypt, Cyprus, Greece and Rome. These include a sizable collection of ceramics, bronzes, funeral stelae, amphorae, and sculptures. There are also mummies, hieroglyphics, and gorgeous sarcophagi in an authentic tomb-like setting.

(2) The second museum is:

Musée d’Arts Africains, Océaniens et Amérindiens
(Museum of African, Oceanian, and American Indian Art)
2 rue de la Charité
04-91-14-58-80.
Admission charged.
May-Sept., Tues.-Sun. 11-6; Oct.-Apr., Tues.-Sun. 10-5.
Has a very good and quite dramatic collection of masks and sculptures.

Musée des Beaux-Artes
04-91-14-59-30
Admission charged. Children under 12 free.
June 15- Sept. 15: Tues-Sun. 11-7; Sept. 16-June 14: Tues-sun. 10-5
Metro: Cinq av. Longchamp or Réformés
This museum is housed in a northern wing of the Palais Longchamp. Its displays include a splendid array of paintings from the 16th-19th centuries. Among these are works by Corot, Davis, Rubens, and Miller. Sculptures are featured as well. One room is devoted to the works of Honoré Daumier, born in Marseilles in 1808.

Musée Cantini
19 rue Grignan
04 91 54 77 75
Admission charged. Free for seniors and children 10 and under.
June-Sept Tues-Sun 11-6; Oct-May Tues-Sun 10-5.
Metro: Estrangin Préfecture
The museum is devoted to modern art, with notable works by Derain, Balthus, Ernst, Masson, and Marquet. It also displays works by young international artists.

Musée Grobet-Labadîe
140 bd. Longchamp
04 91 62 21 82
Admission charged. Free for children under 11
June-Sept Tues-Sun 11-6; Oct-May Tues-Sun 10-5
Métro: Réformés
This private collection was given to the city in 1919 and includes Louis XV and Louis XVI furniture along with an excellent collection of medieval Burgundian and Provençal sculpture. Other exhibits are 17th century Gobelin tapestries; 15th-19th century German, Italian, French, and Flemish paintings and 16th and 17th century Italian and French porcelain.

Musée de la Faïence
In the Chateau Pastré
157 av. de Montredon
Admission charged. Children under 11 free.
June-Sept. Tues-Sun 11-6; Oct-May Tues-Sun 10-5
Métro: Réformés
One of the largest collections of porcelain in France. Its pieces date from Neolithic times. Most are representative of the 18th and 19th centuries. The museum is located about 3 miles south of the center of Marseilles in a manor house built in 1864.

Maison Diamantée (Diamond House)
The name is the result of the museum’s beveled-stone façade. The collection includes beautifully carved wooden furniture, crèches and santons, and 19th-century clothes. Of particular interest is a display of locally made playing cards; Marseille was one of the medieval ports of entry for playing cards from the East. Check with the tourist office for new hours. rue de la Prison, 04-91-13-89-00 info.

Eglise Orthodoxe Russe Saint-Georges
16, rue Clapier
Marseille, 13001
Neighborhood: 1st arrondissement
métro: Réformés
This church is situated in the centre of Marseille in the Saint-Charles district, near the train station of the same name.
On Saturdays, Vespers takes place at 5.30pm. On Sundays, the Slavonic liturgy starts at 10am and the French at 2pm (apart from on the first Sunday of every month). During the week, the liturgy is at 10am.

Errahmaniya
4, rue du Bon Pasteur
Marseille, 13002
Neighborhood: 2nd arrondissement
+33 4 91 55 57 38
métro: Jules Guesde
This mosque is situated in the Grands-Carmes district, in the north of Marseille.
The Islamic service begins at 10am on Sunday.

Arts and Entertainment:

Théâtre National de la Criée
30, quai Rive-Neuve
Marseille, 13007
Neighborhood: 7th arrondissement
+33 4 91 54 70 54
+33 4 91 54 27 17
This theatre takes its name from an old fish auction, which was once situated here. Since 1981, this highly respected cultural landmark has been an important cultural center of the city. The programming is of good quality.

Espace Julien
39, cours Julien
Marseille, 13006
Neighborhood: 6th arrondissement
+33 4 91 24 34 15
+33 4 91 42 67 82
All types of music are represented here from rap to rai, jazz to rock. The auditorium has 1000 seats alongside the 150 seater cafe. In the heart of the plain, this up to date area caters for all tastes. There are concerts throughout the year.

Shopping:

Vieux Port and the streets surrounding it are filled with fascinating shops and boutiques.

Art Galleries:

Galerie Cargo
55 rue Grignan
04-91-54-84-84
Where paintings from international artists are exhibited and sold.

Galerie Roger-Pailhas
61 cours Julien
04-91-42-18-01

Galerie Wulfram-Puget
39 rue de Lodi
04-91-92-06-00
Antiques from around Provence are sold here.

Antiquites Francois-Decamp
302 rue Paradis
04-91-81-18-00

Fashion:

The local fashion industry is booming. The fashion center is found along Cours Julien. Much of the clothing reflects North African influences, although there is an array of French styles as well.

Folklore & Souvenirs:

Especially popular are the santons (carved wooden creche figurines). The best place for acquiring them is just above the Vieux Port, behind the Theatre National de la Criee. All the souvenir shops along the pedestrian rue St-Fereol, running perpendicular to La Canebiere, sell replicas of handcrafts from Old Provence, including the cream-colored or pale-green bars of the city’s local soap, savon de Marseille.

Ateliers Marcel Carbonel
47 rue Neuve-Ste-Catherine
04-91-54-26-58
More than 600 figures, available in half a dozen sizes.

La Savonnerie du Serail
50 bd. Anatole de la Forge
04-91-98-28-25

Food & Chocolate:

Amandine
69 bd. Eugene-Pierre
04-91-47-00-83
A photograph or a work of graphic art can be reproduced in various shades of chocolate on top of a delicious layer cake in any flavor you specify in advance.

Puyricard
25 rue Francis-Davso
04-91-54-26-25
Traditional pastries and chocolates with another location at 155 rue Jean-Mermoz
04-91-77-94-11
The treats available here include chocolates stuffed with almond paste (pate d’amande) or confits de fruits, along with a type of biscuit called une Marseillotte.

Le Four des Navettes
136 rue Sainte
04-91-33-32-12
It opened in 1791 and is dedicated to perpetuating the city’s most cherished medieval myth and guarding the secret of how the pastries are made. The boat-shaped cookies are sold by the dozen.

Nightlife:

Brasserie Vieux-Port New-York
33 quai des Belges
04-91-33-91-79
Members of Marseille’s arts community gather here to chat with friends.

Escale Borély
avenue Mendès-France
A waterfront development south of the town center. There are in this area about a dozen cafes as well as a variety of restaurants.

L’Assiette Marine
04-91-71-04-04
A seafood restaurant with a separate bar area where fresh oysters, clams, and chilled lobster are served.

Café de la Plage
in the Escale Borély
04-91-71-21-76
A 35-and-under crowd dance and enjoy life.

Metal Café
20 rue Fortia
04-91-54-03-03
Where 20- to 50-year-olds listen to recent releases from London and Los Angeles.

Trolley Bus
24 quai de Rive-Neuve
04-91-54-30-45
Is best known for its techno, house, punk rock, and retro music.

Pêle-Mêle
8 place aux Huiles
04-91-54-85-26
A many-faceted bar/disco/cafe and host of occasional live music.

La Cave à Jazz
rue Bernard-du-Bois
04-91-39-28-28

Bar Eden
7 rue Curiol
04-91-47-30-06

O.M. Café
3 Quai des Belges
04 91 33 80 33
Owned by a former Olympique Marseille soccer goal keeper; it is decorated in blue and white, the team colors. Soccer matches play on the TV, and fans pack the terrace.

Le Chocolat Théâtre
59 cours Julien
04-91-42-19-29
A cabaret that presents broad humor, and occasional political satire.

New Can Can
3-5 rue Sénac
04-91-48-59-76
An enormous venue that’s everybody’s favorite dance emporium Thursday to Sunday, from 11pm – dawn.

D – Family Fun Attractions

Théâtre de la Girafe
Parc Longchamp, 43, rue Béranger
43, rue Béranger
Marseille, 13001
Neighborhood: 1st arrondissement
+33 4 91 87 32 22
métro: Cinq-Avenues
On the grounds of the old zoological gardens of the town, in the giraffe house called Suzie, a group of puppeteers from Bulgaria produce shows through different personalities. For children aged between 2-8 years old.
There are 2 shows a week in French. Reservations suggested. Disabled access is available.

Parc Longchamp
Boulevard Longchamp
Marseille, 13001
Neighborhood: 1st arrondissement
+33 4 91 64 15 75
Formerly the site of a zoological park, these gardens are situated behind Longchamp Palace – the sumptuous architectural masterpiece from the Second Empire built to commemorate the arrival of water in the city, and now home to both arts and science museums. The wealth of waterfalls, fountains and sculptures create a truly magical atmosphere, intoxicating every visitor with surroundings reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance. It is the perfect place to find relaxation. The Marseilles Observatory in Place Leverrier which holds regular planetarium shows is also nearby.

Préau des Accoules (Le)
29, montée des Accoules
Marseille, 13002
Neighborhood: 2nd arrondissement
+33 4 91 91 52 06
Métro: Vieux-Port
Admission: Free
This museum is situated in the Panier district, near the foot of the Montée des Accoules. It is housed in an old religious college dating back to the 17th century and is entirely dedicated to children. Both recreational and educational activities are organized to teach children from as young as four about art in all its forms.

Pacific Palissades
Port de la Pointe-Rouge
Marseille, 13008
Neighborhood: 8th arrondissement
+33 4 91 73 54 37
At “Pacific Palissades”, in the small village of la Pointe-Rouge, children over 7, can go out on sailing day trips.
For the more adventurous, wind-surfing is also available.

Parc Borély
134, avenue Clot-Bey
Marseille, 13008
Neighborhood: 8th arrondissement
+33 4 91 25 26 34
Métro: Rond-Point-du-Prado
This magnificent 54-hectare park to the south of the city was designed by landscape gardener Alphan. Water is a major feature here, not least of which is the lake and the ponds where you can go rowing. An eighteenth-century country house stands in the heart of this open space, complemented beautifully by a garden “à la française” and a nineteenth-century landscaped park. Other points of interest include botanical gardens with a rose garden and tropical greenhouse (admission: 10F (EUR 1.52)).
Children love coming here to feed the ducks, take the go-carts for a spin, or watch the model boats sailing on the lake.
Admission: Free

E – Events & Entertainments

Monte Carlo Motor Rally
The world’s oldest car race.
For more information, call 92-16-61-66
Usually in mid-January.

February:

Fête de la Chandeleur (Candlemas)
Basilique St-Victor, Marseille
A celebration in honor of the arrival in Marseille of the three Marys. A procession brings the Black Virgin up from the crypt of the abbey.
For more information, call 04-91-13-89-00
Early February.

April:

Féria Pascale (Easter Bullfighting Festival)
Arles
This is a major bullfighting event that includes not only appearances by the greatest matadors but also abrivados and bodegas (wine stalls).
For more information, call 04-90-18-41-20
Easter.

Festival des Musiques d’Aujourd’hui (Festival of Contemporary Music)
Marseille
This festival presents the works of very young French and European composers in music and dance.
For more information, call Experimental Music Groups of Marseille at tel. 04-91-39-29-00
April 29 to May 12.

May:

La Fête des Gardians (Camargue Cowboys’ Festival) Arles This event features a procession of Camargue cowboys through the streets of town. Activities feature various games involving bulls, including Courses Camarguaises, in which competitors have to snatch a rosette from between the horns of a bull. For information, call 04-90-18-41-20
Early May.

Cannes Film Festival
Movie madness transforms this city into the kingdom of the media-related deal, with daily melodramas acted out in cafes, on sidewalks, and in hotel lobbies. Great for voyeurs. Reserve early and make a deposit. Getting a table on the Carlton terrace is even more difficult than procuring a room. Admission to some of the prestigious films is by invitation only. There are box-office tickets for the less important films, which play 24 hours.
For information, contact the Direction du Festival International du Film, 99 bd. Malesherbes, 75008 Paris (tel. 01-45-61-66-00; fax 01-42-66-68-85)
Two weeks before the festival, the event’s administration moves en masse to the Palais des Festivals, esplanade Georges-Pompidou, 06400 Cannes (tel. 04-93-39-01-01)
Early to mid-May.

Monaco Grand Prix
Hundreds of cars race through the narrow streets and winding corniche roads in a surreal blend of high-tech machinery and medieval architecture. For more information, call 01-42-96-12-23.
May 13 to 16.

Le Pélerinage des Gitans (Gypsies’ Pilgrimage)
Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer
This festival is in memory of the two Marys for whom the town is named (Mary, the mother of James the lesser, and Mary Salome, the mother of James the greater and John). A model boat containing statues of the saints and a statue of St. Sarah, patron saint of Gypsies, is taken to the seashore and blessed by the bishop.
For more information, call 04-90-97-82-55
Last week of May.

June:

Festival de la St-Eloi (St. Eloi Festival)
Maussane-les-Alpilles
For this festival, wagons are decorated and raced in the Carreto Ramado, followed by mass, a procession in traditional dress, and a benediction. Special events are held and local produce and handcrafts sold.
For more information, 04-90-54-52-04
Mid-June.

Festival Aix en Musique (“Aix in Music” Festival)
Aix-en-Provence
Concerts of classical music and choral singing are held in historic buildings, such as the Cloisters of the Cathédrale St-Sauveur and the Hôtel Maynier d’Oppède.
For more information, call 04-42-21-69-69
Throughout June.

Festival d’Expression Provençale (Festival of Provençal Language)
Abbaye St-Michel de Frigolet, Tarascon
At this festival, homage is paid to the region’s language with works by Provençal writers that are acted in French and Provençal.
For more information, call 04-90-95-50-77
Late June to early July.

Reconstitution Historique (Historical Pageant)
Salon-de-Provence This pageant held in honor of Nostradamus includes a cast of 700 in historical costume and is followed by a son-et-lumière at the Château d’Empéri.
For more information, call 04-90-56-77-92
Late June to early July.

July:

St-Guilhem Music Season
St-Guilhem le Désert, Languedoc
This festival of baroque organ and choral music is held in a medieval monastery.
For information, call 04-67-63-14-99
July to early August.

Festival International d’Art Lyrique et de Musique d’Aix
(Aix International Festival of Opera and Music)
Palais de l’Archévèche and Cathédrale St-Sauveur, Aix-en-Provence
This highly prestigious festival presents operas, particularly of Mozart, as well as concerts and recitals.
For more information, call 04-42-17-34-34
Throughout July.

Bastille Day
Celebrating the birth of modern-day France, the festivities in the south reach their peak in Nice with street fairs, pageants, fireworks, and feasts. The day begins with a parade down promenade des Anglais and ends with fireworks in the Vieille Ville. No matter where you are, by the end of the day you’ll hear Piaf warbling “La Foule” (The Crowd), the song that celebrated her passion for the stranger she met and later lost in a crowd on Bastille Day.
Similar celebrations also take place in Cannes, Arles, Aix, Marseille, and Avignon.
July 14.

Nuit Taurine (Nocturnal Bull Festival)
St-Rémy-de-Provence
At this festival, the focus is on the age-old allure of bulls and their primeval appeal to roaring crowds. Abrivados involve bulls in the town square as “chaperoned” by trained herders on horseback; encierros highlight a Pamplona-style stampeding of bulls through the streets. Music from local guitarists and flaming torches add drama.
For more information, call 04-90-92-05-22
Mid-July.

Grand Parade du Jazz (Nice Jazz Festival)
This is the biggest, flashiest, and most prestigious jazz festival in Europe, with world-class entertainers. Concerts begin in early afternoon and go on until late at night (sometimes all night in the clubs) on the Arènes de Cimiez, a hill above the city. Reserve hotel rooms way in advance.
For information, contact the Grand Parade du Jazz, c/o the Cultural Affairs Department of the city of Nice (tel. 04-93-92-82-82; fax 04-93-92-82-85)
Mid-July.

Festival d’Aix-en-Provence
This musical event par excellence features everything from Gregorian chant to melodies composed on computerized synthesizers. The audience sits on the sloping lawns of the 14th-century papal palace for operas and concertos. Local recitals are performed in the medieval cloister of the Cathédrale St-Sauveur. Make advance hotel reservations and take a written confirmation with you when you arrive. Expect heat, crowds, and traffic.
For more information, contact the Festival International d’Art Lyrique et de Musique, Palais de l’Ancien Archévèche, 13100 Aix-en-Provence (tel. 04-42-17-34-34; fax 04-42-63-13-74)
Mid- to late July.

Les Chorégies d’Orange
Orange
One of southern France’s most important lyric festivals presents oratorios and choral works by master performers whose voices are amplified by the ancient acoustics of France’s best-preserved Roman amphitheater. For more information, call 04-90-34-24-24
Mid-July to early August.

Festival d’Avignon
One of France’s most prestigious theater events, this world-class festival has a reputation for exposing new talent to critical acclaim. The focus is usually on avant-garde works in theater, dance, and music by groups from around the world. Mime, too. Make hotel reservations early. For information, 04-90-82-65-11 or fax 04-90-82-95-03. Edwards and Edwards can order tickets to virtually any of the musical or theatrical events at the Avignon festival, as well as other cultural events throughout France. Its address is 1270 Ave. of the Americas, Suite 2414, New York, NY 10020 (tel. 800/223-6108)
Mid- to late July.

Festival de Marseille Méditerranée
This festival features concerts and recitals of music and song from the entire Mediterranean region. Theater and dance are also presented, along with special exhibitions in the city’s main museums.
For more information, call 04-91-99-00-20 or fax 04-91-99-00-22
Second 2 weeks in July.

Fête de la St-Eloi (Feast of St. Eloi)
Gémenos
Some hundred draft horses draw a procession of traditional flower-decked wagons. Folk troupes also perform.
For more information, call 04-42-32-18-44
Late July.

August:

Fêtes Daudet (Daudet Festival)
Fontvieille
At this festival, mass said in Provençal is held in the avenue of pine trees. There’s folk dancing outside Daudet’s mill and a torchlight procession through the streets of town to the mill.
For more information, 04-90-54-67-49
Mid-August

Féria de St-Rémy (Bullfights)
St-Rémy-de-Provence
This event features a 4-day celebration of bulls with abrivado and encierro (see the Nuit Taurine entry above), branding, and Portuguese bull fighting (matadors on horseback).
For more information, call 04-90-92-05-22
Mid-August.

September:

Fête des Olives (Olive Festival)
Mouriès
A mass is held in honor of the green olives. There’s a procession of groups in traditional costume, an olive tasting, and sales of regional produce.
For more information, call 04-90-47-56-58
Mid-September.

Féria des Prémices du Riz (Rice Harvest Festival)
Arles
Bullfights are held in the amphitheater with leading matadors, and a procession of floats makes its way along boulevard des Lices; there are also traditional events with cowboys and women in regional costume.
For more information, 04-90-18-41-20
Mid-September.

Journée de l’Olivier en Provence (Day Celebrating the Olive in Provence)
Salon-de-Provence
This event is attended by producers of olive oil, Marseille soap, olive-wood articles, booksellers, and pottery and earthenware makers. Special events are held in the history center.
For more information, call 04-90-56-27-60
Late September.

Perpignan Jazz Festival
Musicians from everywhere jam in what many visitors consider Languedoc’s most appealing season.
For more information, call 04-68-66-30-30
Late September.

November:

Marché aux Santons
Tarascon
Craftspersons from throughout Provence congregate in this medieval village to sell their santons (carved representations of saints).
For more information, call 04-90-91-22-96 or fax 04-90-91-03-52
Four days in late November. This event is supplemented, sometimes with the same sellers, who move to the Foire aux Santons in Marseille, held between November 27 and December 31.
For more information, call 04-91-13-89-00 or fax 04-91-13-89-20.

December:

Fête des Bergers (Shepherds Festival)
Istres
This festival features a procession of herds on their way to winter pastures. There are cowboys, a Carreto Ramado, a blessing of the horses, an all-night Provençal party with shepherds and Provençal storytellers, and folk troupes.
For more information, call 04-42-55-51-15
First 2 weeks in December.

Foire de Noël
Mougins
Hundreds of merchants, selling all manner of Christ- mas ornaments and gifts, descend on Mougins in Provence, to herald in the Christmas spirit. December 11 and 12.

Midnight Mass
Fontvieille
A traditional midnight mass, including the pastrage ceremony, the presentation of a new-born lamb. There’s a procession of folk troupes, Camargue cowboys, and women in traditional costume from Daudet’s mill to the church, followed by the presentation of the lamb.
For more information, call 04-90-54-67-49
December 24.

Noël Provençal (Provençal Christmas)
Eglise St-Vincent, Les Baux
The procession of shepherds is followed by a traditional midnight mass, including the pastrage ceremony, traditional songs, and performance of a nativity play.
For more information, call 04-90-54-40-20
December 24.

Fête de St-Sylvestre (New Year’s Eve)
nationwide
Along the Riviera, it’s most boisterously celebrated in Nice’s Vieille Ville around place Garibaldi. At midnight, the city explodes. Strangers kiss strangers, and place Masséna and promenade des Anglais become virtual pedestrian malls.
December 31.

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Nice Travel Guide – Deals

Quick Links:

A – Overview

B – City information

C – Attractions & Things To Do

D – Family Fun Attractions

E – Events & Entertainments

F – Nice Travel Deals

A – Overview

Nice (pronounces Nees) stretches over a coastal plain opening southward onto the Mediterranean, bounded from East to West by a succession of wooded hills. In the background, rise the first magnificent peaks of the foothills of the Alps, some reaching over 9000 feet above sea level. This spectacular city is the capital of the French Riviera and the largest city between Genoa and Marseille

 

Modern Nice stands on the same spot in the hills overlooking the sea that was originally selected by the Greeks and subsequently the Romans for settlement. In the intervening years, the city has spread down to the flat land along the water. Sheltered to the east and the west by outcroppings of rock, and with the Maritime Alps to the north, Nice has an ideal climate with mild winters and perfect summers.

 

Nice is also France’s fifth largest city, and the top cruise ship port in France. Almost 200,000 passengers use the Port of Nice-Villefranche annually. Located in Southern Europe at the southeastern extremity of France, Nice is a privileged crossroads between the Alps, Provence, Corsica and Italy.

The French Riviera is not only famous for its coastline, and its incomparable weather. The ski resorts in nearby mountain villages have steadily gained in popularity over the years. Guaranteed sunshine, pristine snow and mountain peaks are all within easy reach of Nice.

Easily accessible to Nice are the towns of Eze, Vence, Grasse and St. Paul. The route in their direction is one of olive groves and pine woods stretching for miles down to the shore. Foothills are carpeted with flowers in the light that inspired generations of painters from Renoir to Matisse to Picasso.

For many, the Riviera offers all the grandeur of bygone days: casinos, stately hotels, villas, and historic sites. Hotel Beau Rivage is where Henri Matisse lived and painted. Now a gentle, low-key resort, life thrives in Nice amid pure air and sun above the blue of the Mediterranean, and modern art museums flourish.

As long as anyone can remember, the French seaside Riviera was Europe’s foremost resort. Graced by palms, beaches and sub-tropical flowers, the Azure Coast (Côte d’Azur) ranked for over a hundred years as the preferred first class travel destination.

In the mid 20th century the Riviera additionally became known as the place where the bikini got its start, and a whole new leisure lifestyle evolved. Mid-July to early September now marks the high season, when stars of the entertainment world arrive for sun and sports from golf to horse racing.

It is easy to get around the Riviera with its excellent rail service, luxury buses, and car rentals. In Nice, just a few blocks from the Promenade des Anglais is the colorful “old town” with open-air market for shoppers, and restaurants with hearty Niçoise cuisine at moderate prices.

Centrally located, Nice is 77 miles south of Paris, and 20 miles northeast of Cannes.

From the Nice airport, (the second largest in France), trains and buses travel the entire coast. Because of its brilliant sunshine and relaxed living, artists and writers have been attracted to Nice for years. The city has, on average, 300 days of sunshine a year.

It also has 5 miles of marvelous beaches, many attractions of interest to families with children, and the relaxed lifestyle that makes it the perfect place for a family vacation. The French and Italian influenced cuisine can also be described as “sunny”. The favorites range from seafood, salads, stews, grilled fish and meat, to delicious pancakes and fine wines.

Shopping in Nice is exciting as well. In addition to quality department stores there are hand crafted and embroidered items and many fascinating antique shops.

Nice has a selection of dynamic theaters, concert halls, and an opera, as well as nightclubs, a casino, a variety of cabaret restaurants and live music bars. Local festivals are always popular, especially Carnaval et Bataille de Fleurs and the annual Jazz Festival.

Acres of parks and gardens, filled with paths for walking and cascades of brightly colored flowers, add to the warm welcome, joyful spirit, and many reasons to visit and revisit this city without equal

B – City information

Population: 345, 892; over 3.2 million visitors annually

Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour: Time in Nice is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in New York.(7 hours ahead of central time in Chicago, etc.)

Average Temperatures and Rainfall

 

Low

High

Rainfall

January

35F

50F

1.7″

February

36

53

1.3

March

41

59

1.7

April

46

64

1.7

May

52

71

1.8

June

58

79

0.9

July

63

84

0.4

August

63

83

1.3

September

58

68

2.4

October

51

68

3.0

November

43

58

2.7

December

37

52

2.6

When to Go

Nice has the advantage of an exceptional micro-climate. Although the city opens onto the sea, Nice is protected from the wind by the surrounding hills and the Estérel mountains to the west, and the north-western barrier of the Mercantour Alps. The sea breezes give a mild climate in winter and reduce the heat in the summer.

It is not unusual to lunch outdoors in the Cours Saleya in a T-shirt in February, while the rest of France is shivering in the cold

 

June and September are the best months to be in the region, as both are free of midsummer crowds and the weather is summer-balmy. June offers the advantage of long daylight hours, while lower prices and many warm days, often lasting well into October, make September attractive. Try to avoid the second half of July and all of August, when almost all of France goes on vacation. Don’t travel on or around July 14 and August 1, 15, and 31, when every French family is either going on vacation or driving home. After All Saints (November 1), though most of thesurrounding region closes down for winter, Nice thrives year-round.

New Year’s Day 1st January

Easter Monday April (date varies)

Labor Day 1st Monday in May

Victory in Europe 1945 (VE Day) May 8

Feast of the Ascension Thursday in June (date varies)

Whitsun early June (date varies)

Bastille Day July 14

Assumption August 15

All Saints Day November 1

Armistice Day November 11

Christmas December 25

 

Business Hours

Bank hours vary from branch to branch, but are usually open weekdays, generally from 8:30 to 5. Most take a one-hour, or even a 90-minute, lunch break.

Gas Stations Gas stations on the autoroutes are usually open 24 hours.

Museums & Sights

Museum hours are irregular with seasonal variations and a tendency to change often. Usual opening times are from 9:30 or 10 to 5 or 6, but many close for lunch (noon-2). Most museums are closed one day a week (Monday or Tuesday) and on national holidays. Check museum hours before you go.

Shops

Large stores are open from 9 or 9:30 until 7 or 8. Smaller shops often open earlier (8 AM) and close later (8 PM) but take a lengthy lunch break (1 to 4 or 4:30) in the south of France

Customs & Duties

Arriving in France

There are two levels of duty-free allowance for travelers entering France: one for goods obtained (tax paid) within another European Union (EU) country and one for goods obtained anywhere outside the EU or for goods purchased in a duty-free shop within the EU.

Electricity

The electrical current in France is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC). French electrical outlets have two round holes (“female”) and a “male” ground; your appliances must either have a slender, two-prong plug that bypasses that ground, or a plug with two round prongs and a hole.

 

 

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy (2 rue St-Florentin, Paris, 1, 01-43-12-22-22 in English; 01-43-12-23-47 in emergencies, métro Concorde, weekdays 9-3; 12 bd. Paul Peytral, Marseille, 04-91-54-92-00, weekdays 8:30-12:30 and 1:30-5:30 and until 4:30 on Friday).

Emergencies

In case of fire, hotels are required to post multilingual emergency exit maps inside every room door.

Ambulance ( 15).

Fire Department ( 18).

Police ( 17).

If your car breaks down on an expressway, go to a roadside emergency telephone (yellow boxes) and call for assistance. If you have a breakdown anywhere else, find the nearest garage or contact the police (dial 17).

Language

Although many French people, especially in major tourist areas, speak some English, it’s important to remember that you are going to France and that people speak French. However, at least one person in most hotels can explain things in English.

Even if your own French is terrible, try to master a few words. A simple, friendly “bonjour” (hello) will do, as will asking if the person you are greeting speaks English (“Parlez-vous anglais?”).

Money

ATMs

ATMs are one of the easiest ways to get cash. Banks usually offer excellent, wholesale exchange rates through ATMs.

To get cash at ATMs in France, your PIN must be four digits long. You may have more luck with ATMs if you are using a credit card or a debit card that is also a Visa or MasterCard, rather than just your bank card. Note, too, that you may be charged by your bank for using ATMs overseas; inquire at your bank about charges.

 

Currency

The unit of currency in Nice is the Euro (EUR). Under the euro system, there are eight coins: 2 and 1 euros, plus 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents. On all coins, one side has the value of the euro on it and the other side has the national symbol of one of the countries participating in monetary union. There are seven notes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros. Notes are the same for all countries.

Taxes

All taxes must be included in posted prices in France. The initials TTC (toutes taxes comprises – taxes included) sometimes appear on price lists but, strictly speaking, are superfluous. By law, restaurant and hotel prices must include 20.6% taxes and a service charge. If they show up as extra charges on your bill, complain.

Tipping

The French have a clear idea of when they should be tipped. Bills in bars and restaurants include service, but it is customary to round out your bill with some small change unless you’re dissatisfied. The amount of this varies: anywhere from 50 centimes/8 European cents if you’ve merely bought a beer, to 10 francs/EUR1.50 after a meal. Tip taxi drivers and hairdressers about 10%. In some theaters and hotels, coat check attendants may expect nothing (if there is a sign saying Pourboire Interdit – tips forbidden); otherwise give them 2 francs to 5 francs/30 European cents to 76 cents. Washroom attendants usually get 2 francs, though the sum is often posted.

Telephones

The country code for France is 33. All phone numbers in France have a two-digit prefix determined by zone: Nice, in the southeast, has the prefix 04.

Numbers beginning with 08 are either toll-free or toll calls (with an additional charge on top of making the call). To make calls in the same city or town, or in the same region, dial the full 10-digit number.

Directory & Operator Information

To find a number in France, dial 12 for information. For international inquiries, dial 00-33-12 plus 11 for the U.S., 44 for the U.K.

Another source of information is the Minitel, an on-line network similar to the Internet. You can find one – they look like a small computer terminal – in most post offices. Available (free for the first three minutes) is an on-line phone book covering the entire country.

International Calls

To call out of France, dial 00 and wait for the tone, then dial the country code (1 for the United States and Canada, 44 for the United Kingdom, 61 for Australia, 64 for New Zealand) and the area code (minus any initial 0) and number. Expect to be overcharged if you call from your hotel.

Long-Distance Calls

To call any region in France from another region, dial the full 10-digit number (including the two-digit prefix).

Public Telephones

Most French pay phones are operated by télécartes (phone cards), which you can buy from post offices, métro stations, and some tabacs (tobacco shops. Coin-operated pay phones are scarce, existing only in cafés (whose proprietors can set their own rates) and post offices. Phone cards are accepted everywhere else. The easiest but most expensive way to phone is to use your own Visa card, which is accepted in all phone booths and works like a télécarte.

 

Arriving & Departing

 

By Air

Most airlines fly to Paris and have connecting flights to the south of France on domestic airlines. The one exception is Delta, which has frequent nonstop flights to Nice from New York. Air France serves Nice daily from Paris and London.

Paris’s Charles de Gaulle/Roissy (CDG) ( 01-48-62-22-80 in English; www.adp.fr) has daily flights to Nice.

Paris’s Orly (ORY) ( 01-49-75-15-15; www.adp.fr) has daily flights to Nice.

 

The Nice-Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE) 7 km/41⁄2 mi from Nice, 04-93-21-30-30; sits on a peninsula between Antibes and Nice. There are frequent flights between Paris and Nice on Air Liberté, AOM, and Air France as well as direct flights on Delta Airlines from New York. The flight time between Paris and Nice is about 1 hour.

 

Flying time to Paris is 71⁄2 hours from New York, 9 hours from Chicago, 11 hours from Los Angeles, and 1 hour from London.

 

Trains arrive at Gare Nice-Ville, avenue Thiers 08-36-35-35-35. From there you can take frequent trains to Cannes, Monaco, and Antibes, with easy connections to virtually anywhere else along the Mediterranean coast

Visitors who arrive at Aéroport Nice-Côte d’Azur 04-93-21-30-30) can board a yellow-sided bus, known as the navette Nice-Aéroport, which travels several times a day between the railway station and the airport. They operate every day from 6am to 10:30pm or until the last incoming flight arrives, no matter how delayed. A taxi ride from the airport into the city center is considerably more costly. Trip time is about 30 minutes.

Transfers Between the Airport and Town

 

By Bus

 

A city bus makes the run to and from the train station all day, leaving from both terminals every half hour.

By Car

A8 flows briskly from Fréjus to Cannes to Antibes to Nice to the resorts on the Grand Corniche.

 

By Train

Nice is the major rail crossroads for trains arriving from Paris and other northern cities and from Italy, too. This coastal line, working eastward from Marseille and west from Ventimiglia, stops at Cannes, Antibes, Monaco, and Menton. To get from Paris to Nice (with stops in most resorts along the coast), you can take the TGV, though it only maintains high speeds to Valence before returning to conventional rails and rates. Night trains arrive at Nice in the morning from Paris, Metz, and Strasbourg.

 

The Chemin de Fer de Provence (Provence Railroad; Gare du Sud, 33 av. Malausséna, 06000 Nice, 04-97-03-80-80) leads from Nice to Digne and makes a local stop at St-André-les-Alpes, about 20 km (12 mi) north of Castellane, the eastern gateway to the Gorges du Verdon.

 

SNCF (88 rue St-Lazare, 75009 Paris, 08-36-35-35-35, France’s national rail service, is fast, punctual, comfortable, and comprehensive.

 

Getting Around

 

Most of the local buses in Nice create connections with one another at their central hub, the Station Central, 10 av. Felix Faure 04-93-16-52-10, which lies a very short walk from the place Masséna.

Bus nos. 2 and 12 make frequent trips to the beach.

Long-distance buses between Nice and such long-haul destinations as Monaco, Cannes, St-Tropez, and other parts of France and Europe depart from the Gare Routière, 5 bd. Jean-Jaurès 04-93-85-61-81.

You can rent bicycles and mopeds at Nicea Rent, 9 av. Thiers 04-93-82-42-71), near the Station Centrale. From March through October, it is open daily from 9am to noon and 2 to 6pm (closed Sunday November to April.

 

By Bus

Local buses cover a network of routes along the coast and stop at many out-of-the-way places that can’t be reached by train. Timetables are available from tourist offices, train stations, and local bus stations (gares routières

 

In Nice, the Sun Bus is a convenient way to cut across town. Bus drivers give change and hand you a ticket, which must be validated.

 

By Car

The best way to explore the secondary sights in this region, especially the deep backcountry, is by car.

 

By Train

You can easily move along the coast between Cannes, Nice, and Ventimiglia by train on the slick double-decker Côte d’Azur line, a dramatic and highly tourist-pleasing branch of the SNCF lines that offers panoramic views as it rolls from one famous resort to the next.

C – Attractions & Things To Do

Districts of Nice

Old Town (Vieille Ville)

Until the 1970’s Nice’s Old Town was a decaying slum seldom visited by tourists. Today it is one of the liveliest, most colorful neighbors in the city, and is constantly filled with visitors. Interesting old houses, baroque churches, and 17th-18th century civic buildings have been restored.

Cimiez

Set above the town center, this was a residential area for the wealthy in Roman times, and remains so today. The Romans called it Cemenelum. Cimiez was the capital of the Maritime Alps province. Within the district, a Roman site has been excavated revealing the remains of an amphitheater and Roman public baths. Housed in a nearby archeological museum are the treasures uncovered there.

Seafront (Promenade des Angláis)

Early in the 19th century the English discovered the mild winters of the French Mediterranean coast. As thousands flocked to Nice and surrounding area, afternoon strolls became fashionable. The rocky footpaths bordering the sea proved unacceptable for strolling ladies and gentlemen. In 1820, Reverend Lewis Way took the matter in hand and inspired construction of a sweeping promenade planted with palm trees and flowers. Thus was created “The Englishman’s Walk” (Promenade des Angláis).

Masséna

Elegant, arcaded Place Masséna is located behind the Promenade des Angláis, and is considered by many to be at the heart of the city. In the center of the square is a sparkling fountain from which broad boulevards, lined with designer stores, extend. On both sides of the square run more than a mile of gardens. Among these are the Jardin Albert I and the Promenade du Paillon, a stepped garden filled with azaleas, camellias and aromatic pines.


Attractions

Museums

Note: There is free admission offered to the museums of Nice on the first Sunday of each month.

Carte Musées Côte d’Azur is a pass which entitles the holder to visit 62 museums on the French Riviera for the price of the pass.

Or buy a Carte Passe-Musée from the local tourist office in Nicefor a 3-day pass, or 140 F or a 4-day pass. There are no reductions for students or children. It will allow you admission into seven of the city’s largest museums.

Anatole Jakovsky International Museum Of Modern Art

Château Sainte-Hélène, Avenue de Fabron

04 93 71 78 33

10 a.m. – noon and 2 – 6 p.m., closed Tuesday and some holidays

Admission charged

Opened on 5 March 1982 in the former residence of the perfumer François Coty, this Museum owed its existence to the large donation by Anatole and Renée Jakovsky: 600 paintings, drawings, engravings and sculptures retracing the history worldwide of Modern Art from the 18th century to the present. Works by Bauchant, Bombois, Rimbert, Séraphine… Croatian, Haitian, Brazilian artists… completed by a rich State collection from the National Museum of Modern Art Centre Georges Pompidou.

Archaeology Museum Of Nice–Cimiez

160, Avenue des Arènes

04 93 81 59 57

10 -noon and 2 – 6. 1 April – 30 September; 10 – 1. and 2 – 5: 1 October – 31 March, closed Monday and some holidays

Admission charged

Founded by Augustus in 14 BC, Cemenelum was, from the 1st to the 4th century, the capital of the Alpes Maritimae province. You can visit the amphitheatre, the public baths (3rd century AD), see the paved streets and the Palæochristian Episcopal Group (5th century AD).

The Museum, inaugurated in January 1989, offers collections ranging from the Bronze and Iron Age (1100 BC) to the Dark Ages: ceramics, glass, coins, jewelry, sculptures, and tools.

Asian Arts Museum

405, Promenade des Anglais – Arénas,

04 92 29 37 00 – fax 04 92 29 37 01

10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (6 p.m. in summer), except Tuesday

Admission charged

Designed by the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, in the heart of Parc Phœnix, in a subtle architecture of glass and steel, this museum offers classical works and contemporary creations. The tea pavilion evokes the aestheticism of the Zen ceremony.

Cathédrale Orthodoxe Russe St-Nicolas à Nice

Av. Nicolas-II From the central rail station, head west along av. Thiers to bd. Gambetta; then go north to av. Nicolas-II. Off boulevard du Tzaréwitch

04-93-96-88-02

May-Sept, daily 9-noon and 2:30-6; Oct-Apr, daily 9:30-noon and 2:30-5

Admission charged.

Ordered built in 1903 by Tsar Nicholas II, in memory of his son, Nicholas, who is buried on the grounds. This is the most beautiful Orthodox edifice outside Russia and is the perfect expression of Russian religious art abroad. It dates from the belle époque, when some of the Romanovs frequented the Riviera. The cathedral is richly ornamented and decorated with many icons. It is crowned by ornate onion-shaped domes. Church services are held on Sunday morning.

Centre Du Patrimoine (Prieuré du Vieux-Logis)

59, Avenue St Barthélemy

04 93 84 44 74

Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and 1 Sunday each month, 3 – 5 or by appointment for groups

Admission free

A late medieval interior reconstructed in a 16th-century home with collections of 14th, 15th and 16th-century objects.

Fine Arts Museum (Musée des Beaux-Arts)

33 av. des Baumettes

04-92-15-28-28

Tues-Sun 10am-noon and 2-6pm

Bus: 3, 9, 12, 22, 23, or 38

Admission charged.

The collection is housed in the former residence of the Ukrainian Princess Kotchubey. There’s an important gallery devoted to the masters of the Second Empire and belle époque, with an extensive collection of the 19th-century French experts. The gallery of sculptures includes works by J. B. Carpeaux, Rude, and Rodin. Note the important collection by a dynasty of painters, the Dutch Vanloo family. One of its best-known members, Carle Vanloo, born in Nice in 1705, was Louis XV’s premier peintre. A fine collection of 19th- and 20th-century art is displayed, including works by Ziem, Raffaelli, Boudin, Renoir, Monet, Guillaumin, and Sisley.

Franciscan Museum, Church And Monastery Of Cimiez

Place du Monastère

04 93 81 00 04

daily 10 a.m. – noon and 3 – 6 p.m., except Sunday and holidays.

Admission free

A re-creation of the life of Franciscan monks in Nice from the 13th to the 18th century intended as an illustration of the spiritual and social message of Saint Francis of Assisi through paintings, sculptures, engravings, illuminated manuscripts, frescoes, reconstructed chapel and monk’s cell, prayer-books on parchment.

Matisse Museum

164 Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez

04 93 81 08 08

open 10 – 6 1 April – 30 September and 10 – 5 1 October to 31 March, closed Tuesday and some holidays. For annual closing: contact the Museum.

Admission charged

This completely renovated 17th-century Genoan-style villa in the heart of the olive grove in the Gardens of Cimiez houses the personal collection of the great Fauvist painter who lived in Nice from 1917 until his death in 1954.

Works from all periods of his life offer a comprehensive panorama: from the first paintings made in 1890 to the famous gouache cutouts, 236 drawings, 218 engravings and the complete presentation of the books illustrated by the artist.

Marc Chagall National Bibilical Message Museum

Avenue du Dr Ménard, corner of Boulevard de Cimiez

04 93 53 87 20

10 – 6 : 1 July to 30 September and 10 – 5 October to June (without interruption), closed Tuesdays

Admission charged

Biblical scenes illustrated in 17 large paintings, sculptures, stained glass windows, mosaics and tapestries, 205 preparatory sketches, 39 gouaches (1930), 105 engravings (1956) and 215 lithographs.

Museum Of Art And History (Palais Masséna)

65, Rue de France and 35, Promenade des Anglais

04 93 88 11 34,

Check first, as this museum has been closed for renovations

In a splendid Empire setting, the museum houses collections of late Gothic “Primitive” painters from Nice and Europe, from the 15th to the 18th centuries, regional porcelain and faïence and a department reserved for local painters: watercolors, Napoleonic Empire, Masséna, and Garibaldi among others.

Museum Of Contemporary And Modern Art

Promenade des Arts

04 93 62 61 62

10 a.m. – 6 p.m., except Tuesday and holidays

Admission charged.

This original architecture (four grey marble towers linked by transparent walkways) and a major permanent collection trace the history of the European and American avant-garde since the early 1960s.

Naval Museum

Tour Bellanda (Castle Hill)

04 93 80 47 61

10 – noon and 2 – 7. 1 June to 30 September and 10 a.m. – noon and 2 – 5 p.m. 1 October to 31 May, closed Monday, Tuesday and some holidays

Closed from mid-November to mid-December.

Admission charged

Located in Tour Bellanda, a listed historic monument, this museum has a large collection of weapons, models of boats, instruments of navigation, engravings and paintings on the theme of the sea.

Palais Lascaris

15 rue Droite

04-93-62-72-40

Tues-Sun 10am-noon and 2-6pm

Bus: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 14, 16, or 17

Free admission

The baroque Palais Lascaris in the city’s historic core is intimately linked to the Lascaris-Vintimille family, whose recorded history predates the year 1261. Built in the 17th century, it contains elaborately detailed ornamentation. An intensive restoration undertaken by the city of Nice in 1946 brought back its original beauty, and the palace is now classified as a historic monument. The most elaborate floor is the étage noble, retaining many of its 18th-century panels and plaster embellishments. A circa-1738 pharmacy, complete with many of the original Delftware accessories, is on the premises. Every Wednesday between 2 and 4pm, the museum presents programs of appeal to children, inviting craftspeople to show the details of how they accomplish their art forms through live demonstrations.

Terra Amata Human Paleontology Museum

25, Boulevard Carnot

04 93 55 59 93

open daily 10 – noon and 2 – 6 , except Monday and some holidays.

Library by appointment 8:30 – 5

Reconstruction of a prehistoric (Acheulean) occupation site, plaster casts, documents on the site of an elephant hunters’ camp in Nice 400,000 years ago.

Theatre De La Photographie Et De L’image

27, boulevard Dubouchage

04 93 80 11 00

free entrance from 10-12 and from 2-6

Closed Mondays and certain holidays.

The “Théâtre de la Photographie et de l’Image” in the heart of Nice in the building which formerly housed the “Théâtre de l’Artistique”, has maintained its charm and elegance of the Belle Epoque period. Its mission is to collect photographs of Nice and its region by researching ancient documents but also sending photographers to “report” on the city’s human, urban, historic and industrial heritage.

Villa Arson

20, Avenue Stephen Liégeard,

04 92 07 73 73,or 04 92 07 73 80

daily 1 – 7 July – September and 1 – 6 October – June. Closed Mondays October – June

Splendid 18th-century villa, surrounded by contemporary architecture of concrete and pebbles. This site covers acres of terraces and gardens housing the National Art School and a Contemporary Art Center and residence for artists

D – Family Fun Attractions

Marineland

306 avenue Mozart – RN7

06600 Antibes

04 93 33 82 72

7 days a week all year round.

A marine show featuring dolphins, killer whales and sea-lions and sharks .

Palais Lascaris

15 rue Droite

04-93-62-72-40

Tues-Sun 10am-noon and 2-6pm

Bus: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 14, 16, or 17

Free admission

Every Wednesday between 2 and 4pm, the museum presents programs of appeal to children, inviting craftspeople to show the details of how they accomplish their art forms through live demonstrations. ( to see if these are presented only in French. )

La Jungle Des Papillons

306 avenue Mozart -RN7

06600 Antibes

04 93 33 82 72

all year round from 10am.

Discover the world of a real reconstructed tropical jungle.

Adventure Golf

Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday, bank holidays and school holidays from 10am to 6pm

in summer, every day from 10am to late.

306 avenue Mozart – RN7

06600 Antibes

04 93 33 82 72

Aqua – Splash

306 avenue Mozart – RN7

06600 Antibes

04 93 33 82 72

mid-June to mid-September, from 10am to 7pm.

The Riviera’s largest aquatic park : 1 giant swimming pool (1000 sqm.) 1 sea-water wave

pool; 1 swimming pool for toddlers; 1 enchanted river and 12 giant toboggans.

La Petite Ferme Provencale

306 avenue Mozart – RN7

06600 Antibes

04 93 33 82 72

all year round, from 10am

Life on a 1-hectare farm. Shows with the animals: puppet theatre: ponies, miniature golf: workshops and activities.

Antibes Land

RN 7 – Route de Biot (face Marineland)

06600 Antibes

The realm of merry-go-rounds and other attractions.

from June to September, every day from 3pm until 2am (July and August)

Parc De Loisirs De Barbossi

RN 7 – Domaine de Barbossi

06210 Mandelieu–la Napoule

04 93 49 64 74

Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday, bank and school holidays from 10am to midday and from 1.30pm to 7pm.

Roundabouts and funfair attractions.

Koaland

Parc de la Madone

5 avenue de la Madone

06500 Menton

04 92 10 00 40

all year round except Tuesday (except during school holidays)

Summer : from 10am to midday and from 2pm-7pm

Other periods: from 10am to midday and from 3pm to midnight

Mini–golf, mini–karting, goats, and a mini–jungle.

Parc Zoologique Du Cap–Ferrat

117 bd du Général de Gaulle

06230 Saint–Jean–Cap–Ferrat

04 93 76 04 98

all year round

Summer: from 9.30am to 6.30pm

Winter: from 9.30am to 5.30pm

Zoo and botanical park

E – Events & Entertainments

Events

January

Nice

A large funfair is held in Luna Park with rides and attractions for the delight of young and not so young spectators every year. (Palais des Expositions, esplanade de Lattre de Tassigny).

New Years Concert (Acropolis).

Concert Lyrique at the Opéra.

Salon du Lycéen et de l’Etudiant (Trade Fair for students) (Acropolis).

Salon Bionazur, (Trade fair of natural and organic produce)

Salon du Mariage (Acropolis).

February

Nice

The Nice Carnaval draws visitors from all over Europe and North America to this ancient spectacle. This “Mardi Gras of the Riviera” begins sometime in February, usually 12 days before Shrove Tuesday, celebrating the return of spring with parades, floats (corsi), masked balls (veglioni), confetti, and battles in which young women toss flowers.. Climaxing the event is a fireworks display on Shrove Tuesday, lighting up the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels). King Carnival goes up in flames on his pyre but rises from the ashes the following spring.

March

Nice

Nice International Trade Fair. (Palais des Expositions, esplanade de Lattre de Tassigny – Port)

Finish of the Paris-Nice Cycle Race (Promenade des Anglais.)

Nice International Semi–marathon.

(Promenade des Anglais).

Concerts (Acropolis).

Nice Boat Show.

Plant Festival (Parc Floral Phœnix).

Festin des Cougourdons. A traditional festival with local folklore and decorated “cougourdons” which takes place every spring. The interesting shapes of these gourds grown in the area, lend themselves to a wide variety of interpretations …

Printemps des Poètes

April

Nice

Nice Tennis Tournament .

Symphonic Concerts (Opéra).

Journée Chevalet (day of easels) (Jardin Albert 1er)

Nice International Dog Show.

Rallye de Tunisie.

Nice International Semi-Marathon

Egg-hunt (Parc Floral Phœnix).

Printemps des Musées

May

Nice

La Fête des Mai

With this festival, probably the oldest folk tradition in Nice, every Sunday in May; dancing, picnics, folk dancing brighten up the Cimiez gardens and amphitheatre.

Fête de la Cuisine

The cooking of Nice is highlighted in the city’s restaurants.

Symphonic Concerts (Acropolis).

Art Jonction International, Contemporary Art Fair

(Jardin Albert 1er).

June

Nice

Sacred Music Festival (Churches in the old town).

Fête de la musique, free concerts throughout the city.

Salon du Livre (Book fair) (Jardin Albert 1er).

Fête de la Mer

Every year the fishermen of Nice celebrate Saint Peter’s day. The festivities open with mass in the Gesù church, followed by a processsion all the way to Les Ponchettes beach (in front of old Nice) where a boat is burned in honour of their patron saint.

Fête de la St–Jean (dancing and bonfires) (Carras).

Pan Bagnat Festival .

July

Nice

Voucalia, Festival of Mediterranean Polyphony and Traditional Music .

 

Nice Festival du Jazz, occurs for a week in mid-July.A roster of great jazz artists perform in the ancient Arène de Cimiez. For information and tickets, contact the Comité des Fêtes, Mairie (town hall) de Nice, 5 rue de l’Hôtel-de-Ville, 06000 Nice 04-97-13-20-00).

Inspired by the great American jazz performances, this international jazz festival is one of a kind. Every year it draws the most famous soloists and bands to the incomparable venue of the Cimiez gardens and Amphitheatre.

Nikaïa : International Athletics Meeting

With this meeting, the city of Nice has obtained a leading place in the world-class athletic events calendar. Every summer, 20 000 spectators crowd into the Charles Ehrmann Stadium to attend a program of competitions with the world’s champions

Bastille Day Celebration July 14: Fireworks Promenade des Anglais.

Dancing.; Musical Entertainment (Théâtre de Verdure).

August

Nice

Ball for the Libération of Nice (Place Masséna).

International Summer Chess Tournament.

September

Nice

International Festival of Military Music (every 2 years)

Fête du patrimoine (heritage days)

Nice International Triathlon

Swimming 4 km (Baie des Anges)

Cycling 120 km (Haut Pays Niçois)

Foot race 30 km (Promenade des Anglais).

Historic Automobile Tour de France.

October

Nice

Fête patronale de la Ville de Nice Sainte Réparate

(Old-Nice).

Mushroom Exhibition (Parc Floral Phœnix).

November

Nice

Children’s workshops (Parc Floral Phoenix).

Rock and Mineral Show (Parc Floral Phoenix).

December

Nice

Bain de Noël – Christmas dip, the first Sunday after Christmas.

Nice International Chess Tournament .

Sailing : International Star Regatta.

Christmas Village (espace Masséna: jardin Albert 1er).


Arts and Entertainment

Concerts

Arènes De Cimiez

av. Arènes de Cimiez, Nice

Jazz and pop concerts are held during the summer.

 

Château de la Moutte

rte. des Salins, St-Tropez

Every July and August, Classical Music Concerts take place in the gardens

For ticket information, inquire at the St-Tropez tourist office

quai Jean-Jaurès, B.P. 183, St-Tropez, 04-94-97-45-21.

 

Acropolis

Classical music and ballet performances take place at Nice’s convention center

the Palais des Congrès

Esplanade John F. Kennedy, Nice

04-93-92-83-00

 

Festival De Jazz D’antibes-Juan-Les-Pins

04-92-90-50-00

Every July the Festival is held under ancient pines. It’s one of the oldest festivals in Europe and claims to have hosted the European debut performance of Miles Davis. More recent jazz greats gracing the tropical nights include Herbie Hancock, Kyle Eastwood, and Joshua Redman.

 

Festival De Musique De Chambre

In August, Menton’s takes place on the stone-paved plaza outside the St-Michel Church.

 

Nice Jazz Festival

04-92-17-77-77

In July, the Jazz Festival draws international performers from around the world for outdoor concerts in the Parc de Cimiez north of the center, the Matisse museum, and the Roman arena.

 

Salle Garnier

pl. du Casino, Monte Carlo, 377/92-16-22-99

This is the main venue of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, both worthy of the magnificent hall.

 

Opera

Opéra De Nice

4 rue St-François-de-Paul, Nice,

04-92-17-40-40

The season runs from September to June.

 

Theater

Théâtre Municipal Francis-Gag

4 rue St-Joseph, Nice

04-93-62-00-03

This venue offers independent theater productions of traditional and contemporary works.

 

Théâtre De Nice

promenade des Arts, Nice

04-93-13-90-90

headed by stage and screen star Jacques Weber, alternates productions imported from Paris with creative experiments of the Centre National Dramatique Nice Côte d’Azur.

 

Beaches

Nice’s seafront is home to at least seven different public beaches. None of them has sand; they are covered with gravel (often the size of golf balls). The rocks are smooth, but can still be difficult to navigate for people with poor balance or sensitive feet. Tucked in between the public beaches are the private beaches of hotels. Most of the public beaches are divided into two sections: a free area and an area where you can avail yourself of the chaise longues, mattresses, parasols, changing cabanas, and freshwater showers for a fee. Nude sunbathing is prohibited, but toplessness is common. Take bus nos. 9, 10, 12, and 23 from the center of town to get to the beach

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Paris Travel Guide – Deals

Quick Links:

A – Overview

B – City information

C – Attractions & Things To Do

D – Family Fun Attractions

F – Paris Travel Deals

A – Overview

A city rich in treasures from it’s historic past, Paris boasts many modern attractions as well. Paris is known for its famous buildings and works of art, its chic fashion scene and its modern literary, artistic, and intellectual ideals, and is a must for anyone wishing to experience the best of both contemporary and age old European culture. Paris is family friendly and is a city that welcomes people of all ages and backgrounds with open arms.

The capital of the nation and of the historic Île de France region, Paris is located in northern central France, across the English channel from Britain; 165mi southwest of Brussels; and 315mi west of Stuttgart. The city center, known as Intra-Muros, (within the walls), is bisected by the River Seine. Paris is divided into twenty zones or arrondissements that fan out in a circular pattern with the Louvre as the center point. The last two digits of the postal zip code of each zone indicate its location.

The area north of the river, the Rive Droite (Right Bank), includes the tree-lined Avenue des Champs Élysées, running west to the Arc de Triomphe. East of the avenue is the Musée du Louvre, the Centre Georges Pompidou and a lively district of museums, shops, markets and restaurants. Immediately south of the Pompidou Centre on the Île de la Cité is Notre Dame Cathedral. South of the river, in the area known as the Rive Gauche (Left Bank), can be found the city’s trademark, the Eiffel Tower. To the east, are the Saint Germain de Prés and Montparnasse districts, in which can be found Paris’s famous academic, artistic and intellectual enclave. The history of Paris has been both turbulent and exhilarating. From a shaky start, the kings of France gradually extended their control over their feudal rivals, centralizing administrative, legal, financial and political power in Paris as they did so. The autocratic Louis XIV made Paris into a glorious symbol of the preeminence of the State.

Napoleon I added to the Louvre and built the Arc de Triomphe. Napoleon III had Baron Haussmann tear down the extensive slums in the early 19th century and completely redesign the city center. Recent presidents have updated the skyline to include skyscrapers at La Défense, and have initiated projects such as the Tour Montparnasse, Les Halles shopping precinct, the space-age Parc de la Villette complex, the glass pyramid entrance to the Louvre, the Bastille opera house, the new National Library, and the conversion of the once closed railway station to the superb Musée d’Orsay.

Few cities can compare with the eclectic mix of cafés, bars and restaurants that line every street and boulevard of Paris. The city’s compactness makes it possible to explore on foot and experience the individual feel of the different quartier Paris is a real cinema capital, and the best Parisian music encompasses jazz, avant-garde, salsa and, currently, Europe’s most vibrant African music scene.

Parts of Paris don’t fit easily in any “category”. In fact, Parisians say that their city is just a collection of one hundred villages. Montmartre, rising up to the north of the center, has managed to retain an almost rural atmosphere with its colorful mixture of locals and artists despite the daily influx of tourists. Undisturbed by tourism, the dilapidated working-class quarters of eastern Paris offer a rich ethnic slice of Parisian street life and in direct contrast, technological wonder is paraded at the ground-breaking science museum constructed in the recently renovated Parc de La Villette.

Like most Parisians, you may find there’s enough in Paris to keep you from ever thinking about the world beyond. When you find you need a rest from the bustle of the city, however, there is the whole of the Ile de France to explore

B – City information

Population:
2.15 million in the city; 10.5 million in the Île de France (the suburban area around Paris)

 

Elevation:
27m (90ft)

 

Time Zone:
Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour: Time in Paris is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in New York.(7 hours ahead of central time in Chicago, etc.)

 

Area:
105 sq km (41 sq mi)

 

International Dialing Code:
All numbers for Paris and the outskirts of the city begin with 01 and have 10 digits. The country code is 33. (use the country code only when calling to Paris from another country). Calling cards can be purchased at tobacco stores, post offices and at main métro/RER stations in Paris to use in placing calls from public or private phones. To call the operator: dial 13. For directory assistance, dial 12.

 

Average Temperatures:

 

Month

High

Low

January

45F/6C

36F/2C

February

45F/7C

36F/2C

March

50F/10C

39F/4C

April

55F/13C

41F/5C

May

64F/18C

49F/ 9C

June

70F/21C

54F/12C

July

75F/24C

57F/14C

August

75F/24C

57F/14C

September

68F/20C

54F/12C

October

57F/14C

46F/8C

November

48F/9C

39F/4C

December

46F/8C

36F/2C

 

 

Local Seasons

Paris is at its best during the temperate spring months (March to May), with autumn coming in a close second. In winter, there are all sorts of cultural events to tempt the visitor, but school holidays can clog the streets. August is usually hot and sticky, and it’s also when many Parisians take their yearly vacations, so businesses are likely to be closed.

 

Emergency:
police: 17
fire: 18
ambulance: 15
Emergency calls are free from phone booths.

 

Currency

Currency is the Euro (EUR). The notes are in denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 euro. The denominations of coins are 2 euro, 1 euro, 50 euro cent, 20 euro cent, 10 euro cent, 5 euro cent, 2 euro cent, and 1 euro cent. The easiest method of securing cash at the best exchange rate is to make withdrawals using a US credit card from the ATM machines found at the major banks and stores.

 

Customs Regulations:
Telephone: 01 43 12 22 22 for information Mon.-Fri. 9-3.

 

National Holidays:
Jan. 1 New Year’s Day
Easter Monday (dates vary each year – Mar. or April)
April 30 Great Prayer Day
May 8 VE Day
July 14 Bastille Day
August 15 Feast of the Assumption
November 1 All Saints’ Day
November 11 Armistice Day
December 25 Christmas Day

 

Public rest rooms:
Restrooms are not difficult to find in most places. There is a small fee to use the facilities in train stations.

 

Electricity:
220 volt A/C). Most hotels have 110V shaver outlets. Plugs have 2 round pins or sometimes 3 pins in a vertical row. American appliances will need a plug adapter and will require a transformer if they do not have a dual voltage capability.

 

 

Visitors with disabilities:
Ease of access is improving. A well researched guide called Access in Paris is available at no charge from Access Projects, 39 Bradley Gardens, London W13 8HE. It deals with all aspects of travel and sight seeing.

 

Children:
Children under 4 travel free on French railways. Admission is free to museums for those under 18.

 

How to get around:
Paris is well equipped in the area of public transport, which is administered by the state owned company RATP. The easiest way to get around Paris is by the metro (subway) which runs daily from 5:30am-12:30am. Transportation maps are available at subway stations. Tickets can be purchased singly or in books of 10. They are available at the stations and from tobacconists and must be validated before boarding. It is also necessary to have the ticket available at the end of the journey. The best buy is a Paris Viste ticket which is valid for 1-5 days and can be used interchangeably on the subway, bus and rail service to some destinations. Buses run daily from 6:30am-8:30pm.
For information in English: 08 36 68 41 14.

Balabus

A special tourist bus(the Balabus) operates on Sundays and holidays from April-September, circling the main tourist sites.

 

Batobus

From May-September the Batobus takes passengers on sight seeing trips on the Seine. This boat runs between the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame daily from 10-7 with stops at the main attractions: 01 44 11 33 44.
Taxis can be hailed from the street or from one of the 470 stands around the city. An illuminated light on the roof indicates that the cab is available.

 

Air Travel
Flights arrive at either Roissy-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) (01 48 62 12 12 ) or at Orly (01 49 75 15 15). Most visitors arrive at CDG which is 14 miles north of Paris. Buses run frequently (every 12 minutes) and trains every 15 minutes from the airport to the city.
The same schedule of trains and buses operates from Orly airport, which is 8 miles south of Paris. A bus also runs every 20 minutes in both directions between the two airports. Metro, RER, Bus. RATP Information: 08 36 68 20 20
Note: Traffic drives on the right side of the road in France. Pedestrians should exercise extreme caution. Drivers assume the right of way and often do not look for pedestrians.

 

Additional Transportation Information
The preferred route from Britain to France is the Channel Tunnel (or Chunnel) between London (via Folkestone) and Paris (via Calais), a trip that takes only three hours. TGV services also link Paris with Amsterdam and Brussels.
Hoverspeed runs bus-boat-bus combos from London, but the convenience of the Channel Tunnel has a great advantage over the water route.. There are also ferries and hovercraft between Ireland and France. Euroline buses run from Paris to cities all over Europe.

 

Railway:
Train (SNCF) information
08 36 35 35 35
Paris is equipped with 6 major railway stations each of which is in charge of a particular area of France.

 

Limousine
International Limousines Tel : 33 1 53 81 14 14
Prestige Limousines Tel : 33 1 42 50 81 81
Executive Car Carey Limousine Tel : 33 1 42 65 54 20

C – Attractions & Things To Do

French words frequently used: rue (street) jardin (garden) palais (palace) musée (museum)

 

Musée du Louvre
9 Rue du Rivoli
Tel.: 01 40 20 51 51.
Direct access from Palais Royale metro station through the underground complex of shops and attractions
linking the Louvre to the Jardin des Tuileries.
9-6 Daily. (Closed Tuesday) Wednesday to 9:45pm.
Admission charged.
This enormous building was constructed around 1200 to serve as a fortress while the King was away on crusades in the holy land. It was rebuilt in the mid-16th century for use as a royal palace, and began its career as a public museum in 1793 during the French Revolution. As part of President François Mitterand’s futuristic grands projets in the 1980s, the Louvre was revamped and enlarged with the addition also of a 67ft. glass pyramid entrance. The museum is divided into seven departments ranging from Egyptian, Greek and Roman and Oriental sections through collections of paintings and sculpture, prints and drawings.  There is so much of immense value to see in the Louvre, that it is best to obtain a copy of the museum guide in advance and plan for several visits to specific areas over the course of one’s time in Paris.

 

Centre National D’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou
Place Beaubourg
Tel.: 01 44 78 12 33
Wed.-Fri. and Mon. Noon-10pm. Sat., Sun. 10-10.
The Centre Georges Pompidou, displays and promotes modern and contemporary art. It is the most visited sight in Paris. Built between 1972 and 1977, the building features an ultra modern design in which the structural elements provide the building’s outer face. The structure has recently begun to age, prompting face-lifts and closures of many parts of the center. Woven into this restoration are several galleries in which to shop for works of art. There is also a free, three-tiered library with over 2000 periodicals, including English-language newspapers and magazines from around the world. A square just to the west attracts street musicians and colorful characters.

 

Notre Dame Cathedral
6 Place du Paris de Notre Dame
tel: 01 42 34 56 10
Sun.-Fri. 8-7 Sat. 8-12:30 and 2-7
Towers daily 9:30-6:30 April-Sept. (9:30-5 rest of year)
RER St. Michel Metro St. Michel
Cathedral: No admission fee. Tower: Admission is charged.
The city’s cathedral ranks as one of the greatest achievements of Gothic architecture. Notre Dame (the Cathedral of Our Lady) was begun in 1163 and completed around 1350. It stands on the Ile de la Cité, the oldest part of Paris. Notre Dame is the nucleus around which the capital city developed. The outside is as spectacular as the interior. The Cathedral is built to hold up to 9000 worshipers, but it is always packed with visitors during the times between church services. It is best to arrive early and allow enough time to walk around outside and inside in a leisurely way. The interior is dominated by enormous rose windows and a 7800-pipe organ that was recently restored. From the base of the north tower, physically fit visitors can climb to the top of the west façade and look above the cathedral’s gargoyles, and out over the city of Paris. Under the square in front of the cathedral an archaeological crypt displays the remains of structures from the Gallo-Roman and later periods.

 

Sainte Chapelle
4 Boulevard du Palais
tel: 01 53 73 78 50
9:30-6 (winter until 5pm)
Admission is charged.
Access through the Palais de Justice
Metro: St. Michel
Lying inside the Palais de Justice (law courts), Sainte Chapelle was consecrated in 1248 and built to house what was reputedly Jesus’ crown of thorns and other relics purchased by King Louis IX earlier in the 13th century. The vaulted roof was designed to be supported by thin pillars separated by long, narrow stained glass windows . A few buttresses reinforce the structure which appears to be all of stained glass with no walls. The expanse of 13th-century stained glass (the oldest in Paris), is best viewed from the law courts’ main gilded 18th century gate. Over 1000 scenes from the Old and New Testaments are depicted on the windows and give the impression of reading the Bible in pictures as one walks around the chapel.

 

Palais de Justice
4 Boulevard du Palais
9:30-4:30 (6 pm in summer)

This part of the old royal palace contains the courts of law and is under tight security. Following screening, visitors are free to walk along the long hallways and stop in quietly to observe the proceedings of cases that are in session. The matters being heard will, of course, be conducted in French. Civil cases are heard in the morning, while criminal trials begin in the afternoon after lunch.
 

Musée d’Orsay
1 Rue de Bellechasse
tel: 01 40 49 48 14
Closed Mon. Open Tues-Sun. 10-6 (Thurs. 10-9:45)

Admission charged.
Metro: Solférino
Spectacularly housed in a former railway station built in 1900, the Musée d’Orsay was reopened in its present form in 1986. Inside is a wealth of artistic treasures produced between 1848 and 1914. Most of the paintings and sculptures of the era of the Impressionists and post impressionists are found on the ground floor and the skylight lit upper level. The middle level has some magnificent rooms showcasing the Art Nouveau movement. For up to date programs of events.

 

Musée Rodin
77 Rue de Varenne
tel.: 01 44 18 16 10
9:30-5daily. Closed Mondays.
Admission charged.
Metro: Varenne

This outstanding collection of bronze and marble sculptures by Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel, is displayed in the Hotel Biron where Rodin lived from 1907-1917. Some of the works in bronze and marble are in the house, others are distributed around the shady sculpture garden in the back. The lovely setting is perfect for a sunny afternoon stroll. On the first floor of the house are casts used for Rodin’s most celebrated works – the statues of Balzac and Victor Hugo.
 

Eiffel Tower
Champ de Mars
Tel: 01 44 11 23 23
9:30am-11pm daily. (until midnight in summer)
Admission charged.
Métro: Trocadéro or Bir-Hakeim
RER: Champ de Mars Tour Eiffel
The tower was completed by 300 workers in just over two years from January 1887-March 1889. It contains over 12,000 metallic parts and two and a half million rivets! When it was completed, it was the tallest building in the world. The occasion of its creation was the centenary of the French Revolution. Named after its designer, Gustave Eiffel, it stands 320m (1050ft) high.
Initially intended as a temporary structure to be displayed at the 1889 Exposition Universelle, it was slated for demolition in 1909. However, during the Exposition nearly 2 million visitors paid to see it, and by the end of the first year 3/4 of the building costs had been recovered. By 1909 it was playing a new role as a radio telephone tower.
 Just southeast of the tower is a grassy expanse that was once the site of the world’s first balloon flights and is now used by teens as a skateboarding arena.

 

Avenue des Champs-Élysées
A popular promenade for the well to do residents and visitors of a bygone era, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées has long symbolized the style and love of life of Paris. Even though it is now lined with fast food establishments, car showrooms, and cinemas, the magic remains. It provides a stirring sight by day or in its night time illumination, to look down its broad expanse to the stately Arc d’Triomphe. The one mile long, 235 foot wide street makes an ideal place for evening walks and some window shopping.

 

Cimetière du Père Lachaise
Main entrance at Boulevard de Ménilmontant
Metro: Pére Laachaise
This is Paris’s largest and most visited cemetery. Within the manicured, evergreen enclosure are the tombs of over one million people including the composer Chopin; the writers Molière, Apollinaire, Oscar Wilde, Balzac, Marcel Proust and Gertrude Stein; the artists David, Delacroix, Pissarro, Seurat and Modigliani; the actors Sarah Bernhardt, Simone Signoret and Yves Montand; the singer Édith Piaf; and the dancer Isadora Duncan. The most visited tomb is that of The Doors lead singer, Jim Morrison, who died in Paris in 1971. A site plan is available at the main entrance to help locate the graves.
The cemetery was once the site of a fierce battle between Communard insurgents and government troops. The rebels were eventually rounded up against a wall and shot, and were buried where they fell, in a mass grave.

 

Place des Vosges
Musée Victor Hugo
6 Places de Vosges
tel.: 01 42 72 10 16
Daily 10-5:40. Closed Monday.
Admission charged.
Metro: St. Paul
In 1605, King Henri IV decided to turn the Marais district into Paris’ most exclusive residential area. Flanked by the Pavilion du Roi (King’s Pavillion) and the Pavilion de la Reine (Queen’s pavillion), the area was named Place Royale. His son, Louis XIII completed the project. None of the royal family ever actually lived there.
The remainder of the square is configured with 36 symmetrical houses each with a ground-floor arcade, steep slate roof, large dormer windows and vine covered walls. The first of the houses were built of brick, the rest were built rapidly and given timber frames and faced with plaster. The plaster was later painted to resemble brick. Duels, fought with strictly observed formality, were once staged in the elegant park in the middle which contains a statue of Louis XIII. From 1832-48 Victor Hugo lived at a house at No 6, which has now been turned into a museum. Cardinal Richelieu lived at No. 21. In 1800 the square was renamed Place des Vosges. Today, the arcades at street level are occupied by expensive galleries, shops, and cafes.

 

Les Catacombes
1 Place Denfert-Rocherau
tel.: 01 43 22 47 63
2-4 pm weekdays (closed Monday) also open 9-11am Sat., Sun.
Admission charged.
Metro: Denfert-Rocherau
In 1785, a solution was found to the overcrowded conditions in the city cemeteries. Beneath the city lay extensive remains of galleries that were associated with three ancient Roman stone quarries. The quarries, all in excellent condition, were cleaned and consecrated. They became cemeteries and are open for guided tours. The bones of the deceased are stacked neatly along the galleries on stone shelves. The tunnels, which were used by the Résistance during WWII as a headquarters, are south of the Seine.

 

La Défense
Tel.: 01 49 07 27 27
10-7 Daily (Grande Arche)
Admission fee for tour of the Grande Arche
Metro or RER: Grande Arche de la Défense
A short metro ride west of the center city, this entirely modern business district is surrounded by a ring road carrying through traffic, with underground linking roads leading to specific areas at various levels. A broad pedestrian avenue called the esplanade General de Gaulle, rises in steps from the Seine and gives access to several blocks of office buildings, apartment buildings, a huge shopping complex, IMAX theater and the CNIT international business center.

 

Disneyland Paris
Marne-la-Valle
Tel: 01 60 30 60 30
Open all year, but hours vary with the season
Admission charged. One two or three day passports available.
RER; Chessy – end of the line. Disneyland Paris is part of a huge resort that is one-fifth the size of Paris! There are six hotels, an area of wooded campsites, restaurants, shops, golf and tennis, and night entertainment. The theme park offers five main areas: Main Street USA featuring exhibits and rides recalling America of the early 1900’s; Frontierland, a reenactment of the frontier days in the US; Adventureland which has a pirate and buried treasure theme; and Fantasyland with rides and exhibits based on Disney film characters; and Discoveryland which focuses on space exploration, rockets, and beyond earth planetary adventures.

 

Versailles
Place d’ Armes
01 30 84 74 00
RER Versailles-Rive gauche
Daily (except Monday)
Admission free. Events every Sunday from May-October: telephone for details. The numerous fountains are turned on at 3:30p m on certain days.
Combined fountains and fireworks displays some Saturday nights in summer.
In 1661, Louis XIV, the Sun King, commissioned the building of a castle for himself on the site of a chateau built for his father in 1631. The project became the palace at Versailles. It took 50 years to design, build and landscape the property. The King and his court of 3000 people moved there in 1682, and it became the political center of France for the next 107 years. In 1789, the French Revolution caused changes to be made. The furniture was sold and the chateau fell into disrepair. In 1837, Louis-Phillippe converted it into a museum of French history. The castle was restored after World War I with the financial help of John D. Rockefeller. Versailles has slowly regained its original elegance.
The gardens were designed geometrically with the canal and the various ponds, flower beds and sculptures all blending in a harmonious pattern. The tour of the palace, the Trianons (lesser palaces) and the grounds could easily take a full day. Be sure to bring a camera as you will want to remember the wonders of this enchanting place.

 

Pariscope
11 bis rue Scribe
01 42 66 62 06
Fax 01 42 66 62 16
Summer: 9-9
Winter : 9-6
Admission charged.
Metro: Opéra

This award winning multimedia production shows the development of major cities and of Paris in particular. The 45 minute presentation uses 25 projectors and offers viewers headphones with a choice of translations in 11 languages. It is shown every hour on the hour.

 

Canal Saint Martin
The Saint Martin canal, running through the northeastern districts of the Right Bank, is one of Paris’s hidden delights. The 3mi waterway, parts of which are higher than the surrounding land, was built in 1806 to link the Seine with the much longer Canal de l’Ourcq. Its shaded towpaths specked with sunlight are a wonderful place for a romantic stroll or bike ride past locks, metal bridges and Parisian neighborhoods. It meets the River just south of the Bastille.

 

Sacre Coeur
34 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre
01 53 41 89 00
Summer: 9-7
Winter 9-6
Metro: Abbesses
Admission to church is free. Admission to dome: small charge.
Montmartre is the zone (village) occupying the highest hill in Paris, and Sacre Coeur is its dominant feature. There has been a prayer circle in place since the church was completed in 1914, so that there has never been a moment during those years when someone wasn’t in the church praying, day and night.

Opéra Bastille
Place de la Bastille
Metro: Bastille
Tel: 01 40 01 19 70
Guided tours
Admission charged for tour

The original use for the fortress known as the Bastille when it was built around 1370 was as a residence for Charles V. It was part of the fortifications just beyond the City Center on the Right Bank. During the reign of Louis XIII it became the state prison where both criminals and political dissidents were held. Some of the famous people once incarcerated there were the Man in the Iron Mask, the French finance minister, Fouquet and the philosopher, Voltaire. On July 14, 1789 there were a total of only 7 prisoners in the whole building, only one of whom was even vaguely connected with politics. The storming of the Bastille by the revolutionary forces was mainly symbolic of the fight of the common people of France for freedom from tyranny and for equality with their rulers. The Bastille was destroyed, and the seven prisoners released. Its fall sparked the spirit of freedom throughout the country. This event is celebrated annually on the square.
 

Arc de Triomphe
Place Charles de Gaulle
Tel.: 01 43 80 31 31.
Platform and Museum open 10-5 daily.

The largest triumphal arch ever built in the tradition of Roman architecture was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806 as a tribute to his Grand Army. Construction stopped abruptly with the fall of Napoleon, but resumed eventually. The Arc was completed in 1836. In 1920 the unknown soldier was buried under it, and every evening at 6:30pm the flame is rekindled in memory of the war dead. A special service of remembrance is held each year on November 11

D – Family Fun Attractions

Paris is well known as a beautiful and culturally rich city, which could classify it as a city for adults. However, Paris also has much to offer children and families. Many museums organize special programs for children of different age groups. Among these are: Centre Georges Pompidou and Musée d’Orsay.

Disneyland Paris
Marne-la-Valle
Tel: 01 60 30 60 30
Open all year, but hours vary with the season
Admission charged. (One two or three day passports available.)
RER: Chessy – end of the line. Free shuttle bus from there (or walk the few feet to park entrance) Disneyland Paris is part of a huge resort that is one-fifth the size of Paris! There are six hotels, an area of wooded campsites, restaurants, shops, golf and tennis, and night entertainment. The theme park offers five main areas: Main Street USA featuring exhibits and rides recalling small town America of the early 1900’s; Frontierland, a reenactment of the frontier days in the US with a steam powered train, a petting farm, and Indian village; Adventureland which has a pirate and buried treasure theme; Fantasyland with rides and exhibits based on Disney film characters; and Discoveryland which focuses on space exploration, rockets, beyond – earth planetary adventures, and time travel.

Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie
Cité de Sciences
30 Avenue Corentin-Cariou
tel.: 01 36 68 29 36
Tues.-Sun. 10-6 (Sunday until 7pm)
Metro: Porte de la Villette
Admission charged.

Cité de l’Industrie
221 Avenue Jean-Jaures
tel.: 01 44 84 44 84
Tues.-Sat. Noon-6 Sun. 10-6
Metro: Porte de Pantin
Admission charged at each attraction.
LaVillette is a modern 35 acre park dotted with sculptures and fountains. It is devoted to science and music. The site once held the city’s slaughter houses, but was converted in recent years to something quite different! The Argonaute, a former French navy submarine, and now a naval museum provides not only instruction, but also a climbing delight for young visitors.
The main exhibition is called Explora. It is a vast science playground covering two whole floors and containing 18 sections. Among interactive subject areas covered are: space, the oceans, gardens of the future, the environment, automobiles, aeronautics, stars and galaxies, computer science, energy, rocks and volcanoes, medicine, health, sound, biology, and light games.
In the Space exhibit, a full sized reconstruction of a moon walk, a space station, and a satellite are found. A favorite display with children is a deep sea submarine in the Ocean area and another is the aeronautic exhibit with its Mirage Jet Fighter plane.
Next to the center is the Geode planetarium which holds a theater with a giant hemispheric screen. The Cinaxe Theater (which is a multisensory movie theater) is also in the complex. It uses 3D visual technology to simulate a voyage to the bottom of the sea and a virtual trip through its wonders.

Cité des Enfants
This is a science and nature interactive museum specifically for children ages 3-11 (one parent must accompany each child). Examples of activities in this extremely popular attraction are: in one room a group of young children are hard at work on a mini construction site, wearing plastic hard hats as they learn about machinery and methods of construction. In another area older children learn how to program a video game. An aquarium contains 200+ species of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and seaweed.
Nearby is the Cité de la Musique, a complex devoted entirely to music and home of the Conservatoire National de Musique. Over 4500 musical instruments are displayed in the museum.

Grévin Wax Museum
10 Boulevard Montmarte
tel.: 01 40 26 28 50
2-6pm
Admission is charged.
Metro: rue Montmarte
The museum contains not only life sized figures of famous people, but also vivid historical scenes from French history. Children will enjoy the “fun house” mirrors that distort the images of those who look in them.

Musée de la Marine (Navy Museum)
Place du Trocadéro
Tel.: 01 53 65 69 69
10-6 daily (closed Tuesday)
Admission charged.
Metro: Trocadéro
With the help of scale models and actual vessels, the museum gives the history of maritime transport from battleships to pleasure craft. Ships and ships artifacts of the explorers are included.

Musée de la Poupée
Impasse Berthand near 22 rue Beaubourg
01 42 72 73 11
Metro: Rambouteau
10-6 daily (closed Mondays)
Admission charged.
This charming little museum is not far from the Pompidou Center. It opened in June, 1994 and houses the private doll collection of a father and his son: Guido Odin and Sammy Odin. The 300 dolls on display are all posed in various tableau complete with furniture, little toys and other props.

Zoo de Paris
53 Avenue de St. Maurice
01 44 75 20 10
9-6 (summer) 9-5:30 (winter)
Admission charged.
Metro: Porte Dorée, Chateau de Vincennes
This is one of the largest zoos in Europe. The grounds are beautifully landscaped, and the animal habitats are very natural. A highlight is the 200 foot artificial mountain laid out to support several platforms which is home to herds of free ranging mountain goats.

Jardin du Luxembourg
RER: Luxembourg/ Metro: Odéon
A lovely park with beautiful lawns and gardens and a well equipped playground for children. There is even a sand pit for their enjoyment and a pond on which to sail toy boats. There are pony rides and puppet shows. For older visitors there are tennis courts.

France Miniature
08 36 68 53 35
Mar. – Nov. 10-7
Admission charged.
SNCF train from La Défense to Verniere them Sqybus no. 411. This remarkable attraction consists of 150 miniature sites of some of France’s most notable attractions. It took 53 architects and model makers over two years to build! Each model is in exact geographic context. All features of the exhibit are built to scale, including the cars, boats and people. In the summer evenings fireworks are offered. Please telephone for schedules and admission charge.

Parc Asterix
60128 Plailley
tel.: 01 36 68 30 10
10-6 daily ;weekend 10-7 (April-October)
Admission charged.
RER: Roissey, then shuttle service to the park.
This unique amusement park has the theme of the Astérix comic strips (created by Albert Uderzo) in which brilliant and crafty Gauls living 2000 years ago outwit their Roman conquerors. Astérix is the hero and has a sidekick named Obelix who is large and strong. In addition to the rides and exhibits in this adventure theme park there are activities for the whole family to enjoy that will fill more than a day. A favorite with parents is the Via Antiqua with its quaint shops. The Rue de Paris is the recreation of a medieval square with acrobats and jugglers and restaurants that all will enjoy.

Eiffel Tower
Champ de Mars
Tel: 01 44 11 23 23
9:30am-11pm daily. (until midnight in summer)
Admission charged.
Métro: Trocadéro or Bir-Hakeim
RER: Champ de Mars Tour Eiffel
Children will enjoy particularly the trip to the top and the excitement of looking out from that height. If you think you may ride instead of climbing up all the stairs, remember to go early and to go on a weekday ahead of the crowds to avoid the long waits for the elevators. On a clear day the viewing platforms offer visitors willing and able to wait in line for the elevators, a spectacular glimpse of the city and surrounding area. Just southeast of the tower is a grassy expanse that was once the site of the world’s first balloon flights and is now used by teens as a skateboarding arena www.tour-eiffel.fr

Bateaux-mouches
River cruises on the Seine river are a delightful way to sightsee for the whole family.

The Jardin des Plantes
Entrances – rue Cuvier, rue Buffon and Place Valhubert
Tel.: 01 40 79 30 00
7:30-8 (summer) Closed Tuesdays.
Admission charged.
Metro: Gare d’ Austerlitz
The park is an ideal place to spend a relaxing afternoon where the children can be free to move about and explore as you watch them from one of the many benches shaded by trees. There is a small zoo and extensive gardens. One of these is the Jardin Alpin containing over 2000 species of plants from the Alps to the Himalayas. The Jardin d’Hiver houses heavily scented tropical plants and flowers. There is also a maze to solve and an herb garden filled with medicinal plants.

Halle St. Pierre
Rue Ronsard
01 42 58 72 89
Mon.-Sat. 10-6
Metro: Anvers, Abbesses
Admission charged.
Located at the foot of the hill leading to Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, just to the right of the working carousel, is a large building that formerly housed the market. It has now been turned into a cultural center for children. Local mothers take their children there to watch puppet shows, to take part in art workshops, and to eat food in the family friendly café. There is also an art gallery for the children which features pictures that are especially appealing to children.

Pariscope
11 bis rue Scribe
01 42 66 62 06
Fax 01 42 66 62 16
Summer: 9-9
Winter : 9-6
Admission charged.
Metro: Opéra.
This award winning multimedia production is something children will tolerate and probably enjoy. The 45 minute presentation uses 25 projectors and offers viewers headphones with a choice of translations in 11 languages. It shows the development of major cities and of Paris in particular. It is shown every hour on the hour.

Jardin d’Acclimatation
Bois de Boulogne
01 40 67 90 82
Metro: Porte Maillot, Dsablons
Summer 10-7
Winter 10-6
Admission charged.
LePetit train is a mock steam train that runs Wed.,Sat.,Sun. every 15 minutes from 11-6 and every school holiday. from Porte Maillot station to the Jardin. The park covers 25 acres and is a children’s amusement park. It has a small zoo, a petting zoo, a hall of mirrors, a marionette theater, a golf course, roller coaster, riverboat ride, bowling, archery, mini motorbike course and two children’s museums.

Au Nain Bleu
406-410 rue St. Honoré (North of Place de Concorde)
01 42 60 39 01
Metro: Concorde, Madeleine
Mon.-Sat. 9:45-6:30
Paris’s greatest toy shop. Founded in 1836, it has a vast array of interesting toys and games of high quality.

Samitaine
19 rue de la Monnaie
01 40 41 20 20
Metro: Port Neuf, Chatelet
Mon.-Sun. 9;30-7 Thurs. 9:30-10:00
A huge department store on the banks of the Seine with the best toy selection of any store in Paris. There is a carousel for the children to ride when they tire of examining the enormous selection of toys.

Circuses

Cirque de Paris: A Day at the Circus
115 Blvd. Charles de Gaulle
tel:01 47 99 40 40
Fax: 01 47 99 02 22
Oct.-June Wed. and Sun. Lasts all day from 10-5 (show from 3-5)
Metro: Porte de Clignacourt
Admission charged.
In the morning children try their hand at circus skills and train with the clowns, magicians, trapeze artists and tight rope walkers. They then eat lunch with the performers and watch them prepare for and put on the afternoon circus performance. A favorite for birthday parties.

Cirque Tzigane Romanes
12 Avenue de Clichy
01 43 87 16 38
Metro: Place de Clichy
Daily at 8:30pm. Sept.-May Saturday 3 and 5
Admission charged.

 

Cirque d’Hiver
110 rue Amelot
01 47 00 12 25
Metro: Filles du Calvaire
Call for show times.
Admission charged.
Started in 1852, this was originally called the Cirque Napoleon. It is probably the most famous circus in the world. It now hosts a variety of visiting troupes.

Puppet and Marionette Theaters

Guignol du Jardin d’Acclimatation
Jardin d’Acclimatation Bois de Boulogne
01 45 01 53 52
Metro: Les Sablons
Take La Petit Train from Porte Maillot
Shows are on Wed.,Sat., Sunday at 3 and 4 pm

Marionettes des Champs-Elysées
Jardin des Champs-Elysées by the Rond Point
01 40 35 47 20
Metro: Champs-Elysées – Clemenceau
Shows Wed., Sat., Sun. at 3:00, 4:00, 5:00.

Marionettes du Luxemborg
Jardin du Luxemborg
Tel.: 01 43 26 46 47
Metro: Vavin, Notre Dame des Champs
Shows: Wed., Sat., Sun. from 3pm.

Marionettes de Montsouris
Parc Montsouris
01 46 63 08 09
Metro: Cité Universitaire
Shows: Tues., Sat., Sun. from 3pm.

Marionettes du Parc
Georges Brassens
Parc Georges Brassens
01 48 42 51 80
Metro: Porte de Venves
Shows: Wed., Sat., Sun. from 3pm

Carousels can be found at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, in front of the Jardin du Trocadéro, in Parc Moceau, at the foot of the stairway in front of Sacre Coeur, by the entrance to Metro St. Paul in Place des Buttes Chaumont , and in front of the Grande Arche de la Défense.

Activities
Paris’ s weekly entertainment pamphlets, Pariscope and L’Officiel des Spectacles, list up to date information in French on every imaginable outdoor activity. Look for listings on randonnées pédestres (hiking in groups), cyclisme (biking), escalade (rock climbing), parachuting, canoeing, squash, tennis and swimming, among others. Among uniquely Parisian activities, consider drifting lazily down the Seine or down one of the city’s canals in a boat. Rentals are available year round.

Publications Listing Activities and Events in English

The Paris Free Voice is a free monthly guide to Paris arts, entertainment and restaurants. Available at English-language bookstores and American restaurants and bars. More info

Irish Eyes is a free monthly guide to Irish arts, music, restaurants, bars and other events in Paris. Available in English-language bookshops and Irish restaurants and bars. www.easynet.fr/irish-eyes

Pariscope, the weekly Paris entertainment guide contains a six-page English supplement by the staff of the British Time Out guides. More info

(Figaroscope, the free weekly supplement of Le Figaro, is in French, but fairly easy to decipher and an excellent guide to what’s going on in the city.)

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