We want to help you enjoy your stay in Paris and France as much as possible. Print out these tips and bring them with you. You'll be happy you did…

  1. Why did the waiter smirk, laugh and click his heels when you left a tip?

  2. It's because the waiter was already planning his evening with your money. Most foreigners don't realize that French restaurants include a 15% Service Compris in the price of their food. A small token of 5 or 10 FF is appropriate for good service, but nothing more.

  3. How in the world do the telephones work?

  4. Almost all French telephones work with a télécarte. They look exactly like credit cards and have a small memory chip on one end that slides into the phone. They come in the amounts of 50 and 120 units and can be purchased almost anywhere-our Tourist Office, Métro ticket offices, newsstands, Tabac stores, post offices and some hotels.

  5. Is there really a secret entrance to the Louvre museum?

  6. Although it's not actually a "secret", the best way to enter the Louvre is not through the Pyramid. If you're coming by Métro, get off at the Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre stop (line 1), and use the entrance directly from the platform. If you're coming on foot, put the Pyramid to your back and look across the plaza towards the Tuileries Gardens. On both the left and right are stairwells (next to angels on pedestals, photo) that lead to the underground entrance. Take the stairs here and bypass the lines above.

  7. Where can you find out about other cool things in Paris beside our bike tours?

  8. If you're on our tour, you will be sure to visit our Private Tourist Office. We'll have all the info you need to make your Paris stay exciting and complete. The city of Paris also has its main tourist office at 127, Avenue des Champs-Elysées (just next to the Arc de Triomphe).

  9. Is Jim Morrison getting kicked out "The Door"?

  10. No, evidently he's staying put-and you can visit him over in the Père-Lachaise cemetery (Métro line 2-Philippe-Auguste). The lease on his gravesite was up in 2001 and many wanted him removed because some visitors deface surrounding headstones. But rumor has it that the French government designated it a cultural heritage site and so he's staying put in Paris.

  11. Post cards-sending greetings to the loved ones.

  12. Stamps can be bought at any post office (obviously) and Tabac stores (look for the word "Tabac" on the outside). Prices are 4.40 FF for the US & Canada, 3 FF for the Irish & UK and 5.20 FF for the Aussies & Kiwis. For international mail, use the slot to the right on the post box.

  13. Any Monet lovers in the group?

  14. The impressionist artist Monet lived less than an hour north of Paris by train. Your Eurail/Europass will get you there. Go to Gare St. Lazare (train station) and catch one to Vernon. Then grab a cab or bus over to his house across the river. If you have a strange fetish for Oriental women you'll love this place!

  15. The greatest invasion in the history of warfare!

  16. The D-Day beaches are a must see for any history enthusiast. Walk along the landing beaches, visit German bunkers and simply try to imagine the enormous task faced by the Allies on June 6, 1944. Take the train from Gare St. Lazare to the city of Bayeux in Normandy. Inquire at the Tourist Office in the city center for the best way to visit all the historical sites from that great and terrible day.

  17. The Métro can be expensive.

  18. Tickets can be purchased individually for 8.5 FF, but a carnet (book of 10) is only 61 FF. Split one with your friends. Do not buy a day pass-it is way to expensive. Hold onto your validated ticket until you actually leave the station-don't get caught without one and be forced to pay a fine on the spot.

  19. What is the difference between the Métro and the RER?

  20. Be sure not to confuse the Métro and the RER. The Métro is the Paris subway system. It stays within the city and always stops at every station on the line. The RER is the suburban train system used mostly by commuters and does not necessarily stop at all stations.

    There are 14 Métro lines in Paris. To determine which way on the Métro you should travel, you should look at the end station of the line in the direction you wish to travel. The name of the end station is the direction (in French) that you should travel on that particular Métro line. An individual ticket for the Métro is always 8.5 FF and allows you to travel for as long and as far as you like until you actually exit a station through the security doors.

    The RER is completely different. There are 4 RER lines labeled A, B, C & D. They crisscross Paris in different directions and extend far out into the Paris suburbs. The RER will always stop at all stations on their lines that are within the city limits, but once it leaves Paris, they may or may not stop at your desired station. To determine if the RER will stop at your station, look for the large, lighted signs hanging above all RER platforms. On these signs are the names of all possible stops in your direction. An illuminated light next to a station name means the next RER train that passes will stop at all lighted stations. This is very important when taking the RER B line to the airports. Make sure the airport stations are lighted-otherwise you might miss your plane! Ticket prices for the RER differ depending on the distance you're traveling. We suggest you ask at the ticket office. And be sure to hold onto your ticket because the RER system requires you to re-insert them to exit.

  21. I'm going to miss my plane!

  22. Make it easy on yourself. Take the Air France bus out to the airport. For Charles de Gaulle airport, get yourself to Avenue Carnot just next to the Arc de Triomphe. Buses leave every 20 minutes. For Orly airport, go to either Gare Montparnasse or the Air France building near Les Invalides. You can buy your bus ticket at our Private Tourist Office.

  23. "No bread? Let them eat cake" at Versailles.

  24. Take the RER C5 line to Versailles. You can visit Marie Antoinette's private village, see the King's bedroom and walk down the Hall of Mirrors just like in the old days. If you go on Sunday, beware of the crowds, but the fountains are well worth it.

  25. Where is the most romantic place in Paris?

  26. There are many choices, but our favorite is the Pont des Arts. The wooden planked, wrought iron, pedestrian bridge (photo) spans the Seine between the Louvre and the Academie Française. Go there at sunset with a bottle of wine and puckered lips. Relax as Paris lights up around you and enjoy watching people stroll by for hours.

  27. Why are bike tours better than bus tours?

  28. Do you seriously want to wear headphones, listen to boring commentary in 10 languages and be at the mercy of a hurried driver? Enough said.

  29. What's up with all the dog poop?

  30. Paris is sometimes infamous for the overwhelming number of "land mines" left on the city's sidewalks. Local legend states that it is good luck (although we don't believe it and certainly don't recommend it) to step in it with your left foot. You be the judge!

  31. The lines are longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall.

  32. Avoid those lines by climbing the Tower. Usually two Tower legs are for elevator riders and two are for those that want to burn off the breakfast pastries. You can climb to either the first or second level, but to get to the very top, you must catch the elevator from the second level.

  33. Why do Canadians insist on displaying the famous Maple Leaf, eh?

  34. It is an old Canadian proverb:

       Americans are proud of what they are-Americans.

       And Canadians are proud of what they are not-Americans.

    We have a special bike covered with Maple Leaves for our Canadian friends.

  35. Paris is the capital of fashion!

  36. If you want to shop in Paris, a visit to the Printemps is a must. They mix basic, all the rage and never-seen-before fashions for everyone. Also discover brilliant ideas for the home, find fabulous cosmetics and enjoy the gigantic perfume department.

  37. Is our bike tour part of the Tour de France?

  38. No, but we strive to be in the shape of 1999, 2000 and 2001 winner, Lance Armstrong. We hope to see him take #4 in 2002. Go Lance!

  39. Where is the best view of the Paris rooftops?

  40. You absolutely must go to the 56th floor of the Montparnasse Tower. From here you will have so many breathtaking views, you won't know which direction to look. This building is cheaper and much more centrally located than the Eiffel Tower. And of course you get a fabulous view of the Tower itself-difficult to do if you're standing on it. And the lines are non-existent too!

  41. Man's Best Friend can be found in Paris.

  42. That's right. If you were not a human, you should want to be a Parisian dog. They have practically as many rights as we do. And don't be surprised to see them in restaurants, grocery stores and on the Métro. In fact, some upper-scale restaurants have actual "dog menus" from which you can order special bones, biscuits, treats and the like for your pooch.

  43. Why does it seem that the French have a lot of time off?

  44. The French workweek is 35 hours and each employee typically has 5-7 weeks of vacation per year. The French government implemented the 35-hour workweek in 2000 in order to encourage employers to hire more people and lower the unemployment rate from the current 11%.
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