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Traveling to Paris Dec 23 to DEc 27th and could use some advice

Someone suggested that I use this website and have found this forum to be very very informative. I know now to get the museum pass not the Paris Pass ( Thanks) We are a family of 4 with two teenagers.
That being said, I still have some questions and who appreciate suggestions?

1) Euro conversions: Wait until I get to PAris or convert in the US?

2) Transportation: taxi or shuttle? If Shuttle, any recommendations?

3) Cell Phone: Do you recommend getting an international pre-paid cell phone? where would I get one in paris?

4) traveling in the evening, recommend taxi to get back to apartment?

5) Museums admissions: As I look at various museums, it appears that under 18 is free entry, correct?

Thanks for your thoughts and advice.

Posted by
8889 posts

1) Currency conversions. It is generally accepted (lots of posts) that the easiest and cheapest way to get a currency is from cash machines (ATM) in the country, using your normal ATM card (NOT credit card).
Cash Machines are available at all airports. That said, many people feel more comfortable, especially on a first visit, to have some local currency in their pocket when they land, "Just in case". In that case get €200 in cash from your bank before you leave.
Credit cards are not always accepted for small amounts, cash is usually prefered.
Make sure you have told your bank you are going to be using your cards in Europe, otherwise they are liable to assume they have been stolen and block them

2) Transport for what? To and from the airport (assuming CDG) you have a choice of taxi or RER (express suburban railway) then possibly changing to the métro.
Using a taxi for travel in Paris would be expensive, and you have to find one. Métro or bus is usually better and cheaper.

3) If you have a GSM phone it should work in Europe, ask your company. Otherwise cheap pay-as-you-go phones cost about €20.

4) Taxi or métro

Finally, a lot of places (attractions, shops restaurants) will be closed over Christmas.

Posted by
8293 posts
  1. As above, use ATMs to get euros.

  2. A shuttle for 4 will probably cost more than a taxi from CDG. A taxi will be about 60 euro, give or take, plus a bit extra for the luggage.

  3. Getting back to your apartment in evenings: Are you asking this question with safety in mind or convenience? The metro will do nicely at night. Fear not.

Two websites to help you: tomsguidetoparis.com and parisbytrain.com

Posted by
16883 posts

As a single traveler, I take metro and bus in Paris during all the hours they run. The late-night taxi rides I've taken within the city center cost under 10 euros. A longer taxi ride, like Bastille to Tour Eiffel, costs about 20 euros and traffic can also affect the total. If you buy a "carnet" of 10 metro tickets (for the price of 8), your group can have some metro tickets handy, but also spring for the taxi option when you find yourselves near a taxi stand. Taxis are required to take 4 people, even if they prefer 3.

Yes, most museums are free for under-18s and most allow them to use the pass-holder entrance together with you, when you have the Musuem Pass. Rick's guidebook mentions that the Arc de Triomphe and Army Museum are the two major exceptions to this rule, so that you do stop at the ticket window of those two sites to get free child tickets.

These resources will give you more detail on money and phones, but won't contradict the advice above:
http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/money
http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/phones-tech

Posted by
2081 posts

albertcortez40,

its been several years since I've been there and i fly solo, so take it as you see fit,

  1. I would wait until you land to get some local currency, Note that if you need a lot of $$$, there maybe a limit as to how much.

    1a. you may want to let you bank(s) know you will be traveling so they dont put a hold on your card.

  2. I took the Metro from the airport. No issue. If that is what you are asking.

  3. If you have a cellphone, check if its "quad band" capable. Also check with your local provide and see what they can offer. If you have a quad band unlocked phone, you can most likely buy a SIM there to use. Making calls is usualy not the issue, using data is. So figure out what you want and go from there.

  4. If you're going to party till the sun rises, you may not have a choice. Note i took the Metro all the time and walked all around day and night, but not till 0300 or later since i need my beauty sleep. I used some common sense and didnt do stupid things to find trouble or get into it and didnt have any issues.

  5. dont know since I'm way over 18.

have lots of fun and enjoy the heck out of Paris.

note. If you want "coffee" to go, good luck finding places with lids. The only place that i found with lids was Starbucks. In Paris and my guess, France, they all sit down to enjoy their coffee. I decided to do the same and remember what it was like to "sit back, enjoy a good cup of coffee" and enjoy life.

happy trails.

Posted by
1775 posts

Hi - is this your first trip? Are you west coast? East coast

I asked, because if this is your first trip and especially if it's been a long travel day, sometimes that will influence decisions.

  1. We always start with a bit of local currency - see what your bank can do for you.

2.We taxi in to town and metro back to the airport. Coming from the west coast, we prefer to catch our bearings and then on subsequent days use the metro.

  1. Whose your cell phone provider? Some phones are already euro-compatible or will give you a loaner. Otherwise, Google French cell phone providers and you'll find what you need. I bought one in Paris - all my commands are in French. it's good language practice.

  2. We used the metro/RER at all hours, but never later than midnight.

Have a great trip!