Travel information

Shopping, tourism and sightseeing

The three Most Luxurious Shopping areas in Paris

The Champs Elysées is the most well-known shopping avenue in the world, where the top luxury and high street brands compete with restaurants and cafés for the custom of pedestrians, who stroll the tree-lined pavements, extending from the majestic “Arc de Triomphe” towards the “Place de la Concorde”. At the bottom of the Champs Elysées, a left turn leads to the “Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré”, and a right turn takes you into “Avenue Montaigne”, two of the most exclusive addresses for luxury and fashion.

The “Palais Garnier” Opera House, “Place de l’Opéra”, is at the center of a shopping district extending from “Boulevard Haussman” (with the world-famous “Galeries Lafayettes” and “Le Printemps” department stores) down to the “Louvre Museum” and the “Rue de Rivoli” through “Avenue de l’Opéra”, and to the “Rue de la Paix” and “Place Vendôme” (one of the most prestigious destinations for high-end jewelry).

The Left-Bank of the Seine has its own hub for luxury shopping, spreading from the very chic “Le Bon Marché” department store to the oldest church in Paris, “Saint-Germain-des-Prés” in the Latin Quarter, through a network of charming back streets which harbor international brands and confidential designers alike.

The 10 Most-Visited Sites in Paris

Notre Dame de Paris is one of the finest cathedrals in Europe, with views from the bell towers dominating the charming « île de la Cité »

Chateau de Versailles is home to the magnificent royal palace and gardens of the “sun king” Louis XIV, and of French kings until the 1789 French revolution

Eiffel Tower – Symbol of the Paris skyline, the tallest of its kind, built for the 1889 Universal Exhibition

Le Louvre is one of the world’s largest museums, home to the “Mona Lisa”, and a historic royal palace

Champs Elysées and Arc de Triomphe form an awesome sight, with the largest triumphal arch in the world dominating one of its most famous avenues

Sacré-Coeur basilica – perched on the picturesque hill of Montmartre, offers a splendid view of Paris

Quartier Latin - from Saint-Germain-des-Prés to La Sorbonne, the Luxembourg Park and the Pantheon, stroll the charming back streets of the old Paris student quarters

Georges Pompidou center is a famous post-modern building housing the museum of 20th century art

Orsay Museum of 19th century painting, has one of the largest impressionist collections in the world

Disneyland Paris offers the fairytale Disney experience for the whole family just outside Paris

Popular Sightseeing Tours, Passes

A Seine River Cruise on a “bateau-mouche” offers spectacular views of the “City of Light”

Paris Bus Tours cover the main monuments of Paris. One can get a “hop-on and hop-off” pass

Paris Pass can provide priority access to transport, museums and monuments, tours (“Paris City Pass”), or simply to museums and monuments (“Paris Monument Pass”) – check the official Paris pass website

Tourist information can be found on the official Paris tourist office website.

Money, Safety, Organization

Currency, Money, Tax refund

The currency of France is the Euro.

Major international credit and debit cards, including Visa, Mastercard American Express and Diner’s Club are widely accepted in Paris. In case of losing your credit card, immediately contact the emergency hot-line to cancel the card: Visa Toll free: 1-800 847-2911 Mastercard-Eurocard Toll-Free: 1-800-627-8372 American Express Toll Free: 1-800-327-1267 Diner’s Club Toll Free: 1-800-234-6377

Cash can be withdrawn at ATM/Bancomat machines all around Paris, but bank charges are may be significant. Commercial banks do not offer currency exchange services. Bureaux de Changes at airports and train stations charge prohibitive rates or commissions. The best service for currency exchange is a reliable down-town company: Universal Money Exchange, on the Champs Elysées, does not charge any commission. Please call +33 (0)1 42 25 19 01 or look up our currency exchange page.

Money transfers can be made to and from Paris by going to a money transfer agent representing one of the large international transfer networks. One of the most reliable down-town services can be found at: Universal Money Exchange, on the Champs Elysées. Please call +33 (0)1 42 25 19 01 or look up our money transfer page.

Tax refund can be obtained in downtown Paris. If you are a citizen from a country outside the European Union, you have a right to refund of the purchase tax (all purchase prices in France are inclusive of a purchase tax, the “VAT”, which can be up to 20%). Before traveling back, you can either apply for a tax refund to be repaid by transfer (several weeks, sometimes several months) after leaving the European Union, or you can receive your tax refund immediately in downtown Paris from a reliable tax refund agent such as Universal Money Exchange, on the Champs Elysées. Please call +33 (0)1 42 25 19 01 or look up tax refund page.

Health/Medical Emergencies, Insurance and Safety

The Emergency SOS number 112 is a free, pan-European phone number across Europe. It can be used in case of serious medical problem, any fire or life-threatening situation (crime).

__In a Medical Emergency in France, call the number 15 (from any landline or mobile phone) for a “SAMU” ambulance to the nearest hospital Accident & Emergency service.

In case you need a quick outpatient diagnostic or treatment, at any time of the day or night, you can call SOS Médecins on 01 47 07 77 77 or 0820 332 424 (a private company for doctor home calls), or the emergency dentist service, SOS Dentistes on 01 43 37 51 00.

Useful other medical links: Hertforf British Hospital Charity, American Hospital of Paris

Check your travel and medical insurance before you travel. If you are citizen of a European Union country, make sure you hold a valid (free) European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Check if your travel insurance company includes local emergencies, medical repatriation, lost baggage, and flight cancelation. One frequently used multi-risk travel insurance service is Europe Assistance.

Pharmacies/Chemist/Drug Store: Pharmacies are generally open from Monday to Saturday from 08:30 to 19:30, although some close between 12:00 and 14:00. At least one local duty pharmacy (“pharmacie de garde”) will be open at night, on Sundays and public holidays in each area. Its details are advertised on every pharmacy’s front door.

Security Advice. Pickpocketing and purse snatching can occur in major tourist areas, department stores and public transport. Advice is to carry a handbag under the arm, to avoid carrying valuables in back pockets, or backpacks in public transport, and limit the use of a desirable mobile phone in public. Carrying cash in a money belt can also be useful. Also, it is advised to carry separately a photocopy of your travel documents, so that you have a proof of identity should you lose your valuables. Reporting a crime/theft can be done by calling the police phone number 17.

Opening Times, Transportation

Opening times: Most shops are open from 9:00 to 19:00 Mondays to Saturdays. They usually close on Sundays, except for food retails, which are often open on Sunday mornings and close on Mondays. However, most shops are open 7 days a week in the popular tourist areas. Restaurants tend to close at 23:00. Check opening times and days for museums, as some of them close on Sundays, Mondays, or Public Holidays.

On Public Holidays, government buildings will be closed, as well as post offices and some museums and businesses. Public holidays fall on the 1st January, Good Friday and Easter Monday, 1st May, 8th May, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, 14th July, 15th August, 1st November, 11th November, 25 and 26th December.

Post offices are scattered around Paris. They usually open from 9:00 to 18:30 Monday to Friday, and close at midday on Saturdays. Only one post office, the Paris-Louvre Post Office (52 rue du Louvre 75001) remains open 24 hours a day.

Public transport: The same tickets can be purchased to travel on the underground “metro” lines and on the buses, which cover Paris extensively. Daily and weekly Travel Cards are also available at local metro stations.

Paris taxis can be hailed or booked. They are free if the sign on their roof is green. Taxi fares include a minimum charge, plus a distance charge on the meter, plus supplements for luggage and airport trips. You can call for bookings the largest taxi network, G7, on 01 47 39 47 39.

Motorbike taxis can be found, for instance, at Paris Moto Taxi.

“Vélib” is the biggest 24 hours-a-day, bike self-service in the world, run by the Paris Town Hall. You can borrow a bike at one of Paris’s 1,800 stations, located within every 300m of walking distance, and visit the whole city on a bike, simply by registering on-line.

Tipping in French restaurants is at your discretion, as a service charge is usually included in the bill (“service compris”). However a small tip can be left on the table at your discretion. Hotel staff will expect a tip. So will taxi drivers (around 10%).

UME's currency exchange activities are authorized and regulated under the authority of the Banque de France, of the ACPR and of the French Customs Office. UME is certified ISO 9001:2008 for all of its activities.

Cours interbancaires - Spot rates • USD 1 € = 1,2355 USD • GBP 1 € = 0,8847 GBP • Pour seule information - For information only • CHF 1 € = 1,1710 CHF • CAD 1 € = 1,5996 CAD • Pour un taux - For a quote : Contact +33 (0)1 45 63 99 28 • JPY 1 € = 1,3172 JPY • CNY 1 € = 7,8040 CNY • Cours interbancaires - Spot rates • USD 1 € = 1,2355 USD • GBP 1 € = 0,8847 GBP • Pour seule information - For information only • CHF 1 € = 1,1710 CHF • CAD 1 € = 1,5996 CAD • Pour un taux - For a quote : Contact +33 (0)1 45 63 99 28 • JPY 1 € = 1,3172 JPY • CNY 1 € = 7,8040 CNY • Cours interbancaires - Spot rates • USD 1 € = 1,2355 USD • GBP 1 € = 0,8847 GBP • Pour seule information - For information only • CHF 1 € = 1,1710 CHF • CAD 1 € = 1,5996 CAD • Pour un taux - For a quote : Contact +33 (0)1 45 63 99 28 • JPY 1 € = 1,3172 JPY • CNY 1 € = 7,8040 CNY •