What You Should Know Before Traveling To Paris
Visas and Passports
If you are a citizen of the European Union you will only need the national identity document (DNI) or the valid passport.
Citizens from other countries, which are not included in the European Union, should contact the embassy of their country of residence. In our section on necessary documentation for the trip, we explain in more detail the necessary documentation for the traveler who wants to visit Paris.
The official language
The official language of Paris is French, so in most establishments, museums and places to visit, people will address you in French. If you don’t have much knowledge of the language, or don’t master it at all, don’t worry; You will not have problems because in the tourist places things are translated. Keep in mind that whenever you are going to address a person, manners are very important, because in France “Si’l vous plait” (Please) and “excuse-moi” (Excuse me), are words that must be learned before travelling.
There are several airports
Before traveling, and before booking your flight, you should know that access to Paris can be done from different airports located approximately 20 km away from the city. The closest airports are Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport and Orly airport. For more information, we invite you to visit our article on transfers and airports
As in the rest of France, Paris has a high percentage of citizens who profess the Catholic religion, thus Paris is home to a large number of churches scattered throughout the city. One of the tourist activities in Paris is to visit important churches and cathedrals such as Notre-Dame Cathedral.
Although the main religion is Christianity, it should be noted that Paris enjoys being an open society, in which diversity of faiths is promoted. In recent years, and especially now, as in many other European cities, another predominant religion is the Muslim religion.
Since January 2002, the French franc ceased to be legal tender and currently the currency of Paris is the Euro. If you come from a country outside the European Union, where the Euro is not used as currency, you can go to banks or exchange offices to exchange currency.
Banks in Paris are usually open from Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with a two-hour break at noon that can vary depending on the branch. If you prefer to go to an exchange office, these are more prevalent in the city center or at the airport and are usually open every day of the week.
Going shopping in Paris is one of the activities most recognized by thousands of tourists, since the city is known for being one of the epicenters of fashion. Business hours may vary by establishment, most shops and museums are open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30am to 7:30pm with a break at noon. The hours of the shops in Paris also vary according to which area they are located; those closest to the Champs Elysées or to a tourist center can also open on Sundays.
Shopping centers and department stores, as in many other European cities, have continuous hours from 9:30 in the morning until approximately 8:00 p.m.
Public holidays and national/local holidays
- Easter and Easter Monday
- Ascension. Forty days after Easter
- The seventh Sunday after Easter
- May 1 due to labor day
- May 8 marks the victory of 1945, the end of World War II.
- On July 14, the Storming of the Bastille is celebrated, the beginning of the French Revolution. During these days you can enjoy parades and fireworks
- August 15th
- November 1st. All Saints
- November 11th. This day marks the signing of the Armistice of the First World War.
- Christmas and New Years
Paris plugs and electricity standard
In Paris the electricity standard is 220 volts. As far as the plugs are concerned, they are two parallel with a hole on them (Type E), so you will have no problem if you travel with devices made in Spain.
Weather in Paris
Paris enjoys a Mediterranean climate, which makes it a fabulous city to enjoy in spring or autumn. However, we recommend that you read our text on the climate of Paris to be able to choose the dates of your trip appropriately.
Paris, like many other European cities, can be considered quite safe. It is important that you keep in mind that it is safer to move around tourist areas and, if you go out at night, always be accompanied. It is advisable not to wander through streets with little traffic and/or poor lighting at night and to opt for public transport or another method of transport such as a taxi.
It is not advisable to walk around the Gare d’Austerlitz or the Port area, nor enter the Bois de Boulogne district. We remind you that, as in many other destinations, it is important that in all the neighborhoods and places you visit you have your belongings in sight and do not be forgetful with your valuables in bars, restaurants, terraces or in any other public place.
Due to the terrorist events of recent years in Europe, security measures have increased in museums, tourist attractions and places frequented by many people.
If you are a citizen residing in the European Union, you can request the European Health Card free of charge for a temporary stay within the member countries of the European Union. This social security card allows you to access the necessary medical services integrated within the conditions of the country of displacement. You must remember that this card is not valid if you travel to receive a specific medical treatment. Another condition to take into account is that you cannot apply for the card if you are unemployed, so you must purchase private insurance. In this link you can request your health card and check the status of application and/or renewal.
If you are a citizen from countries that are not integrated into the European Union, it is recommended, whenever you travel, to purchase medical or travel insurance to cover any need or mishap that may occur during your vacation.
The most important emergency telephone numbers in Paris are:
- Emergencies: 112
- Firefighters: 18
- Police: 17
- Ambulance: 15
Pharmacies in Paris are usually open from Monday to Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. These establishments are usually closed on Sundays and holidays, but in each area of the city you can find a pharmacy on duty called “service de garde” and it is usually indicated with a note in the shop windows. In Paris you can also find some 24h pharmacies:
- Pharmacie Des Champs Elysées.
Located at 84 Av. des Champs-Elysées
Phone: +33 145 620 241
- Pharmacie of the Place de la République.
Located at 5 Place de la République
Phone: +33 147 001 808
- Pharmacie Bastille.
Located at 6 Boulevard Richard Lenoir
Phone: +33 147 004 944