Paris - Useful Information
When you are in Paris, you are well provided for in terms of
tourist information. The first stopping point is probably the reception desk at your hotel. Not only are the staff
likely to be very helpful and knowledgeable, but most hotels also hold a stock of literature, with ideas for places
to visit during your stay.
Further afield, the Office of Tourism is a good place to visit, both to get information and to make local bookings
for you, and it operates through a number of Information Centres. The local town halls (there is one for each
arrondissement) are also helpful, and they will hold pamphlets, which give information about all the local
activities you can get involved in. I have found the one at Hotel de Ville to be very good, and in addition to
their permanent office, they have a temporary kiosk in the square outside during every vacation period.
Banks and Cash Withdrawals
The major banks are open every day from 9am to 4.30pm, except
Sundays, Mondays and public holidays. There are ATM cash machines all over Paris, so if you have an international
Visa or Mastercard/Eurocard, you should be able to get cash out (euros) without any problems 24/7.
If you want to exchange your local currency or travellersfor euros, you will find facilities at the large banks,
and at local airports and stations, as well as many bureaux de change located in the popular tourist
spots. These are open outside normal banking hours, but their rates will usually be more expensive.
Duty Free Shopping
If you live outside the European member states, you may be able to take
advantage of tax free shopping. You can get a refund of 12.5%, but you have to be over 15, spend over 175 euros and
obtain the correct "Tax Free Shopping France" receipts. You have to get these stamped at customs, then you can
return the receipts and claim the tax back. It sounds attractive, but it's definitely not a simple process.