Frequently asked questions
Need help? Find all practical advice and all the answers to your questions here!
Labels and logos
- What does the “Tourisme & Handicap” label denote ?
- What does the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau’s logo denote ?
- Rainbow ?
- Our four-legged friends
- Speak my language?
- What do I put in the safe ?
- Se perfectionner en français ?
- “Arrondissement” or “département” ?
- Smokers allowed ?
- High or low season
- Is it possible to hire a pushchair or a wheelchair?
How to make a hotel booking ?Top of page
To make a booking in Paris and the Ile-de-France region for the same day onwards, all you have to do is to log on to our online reservation service or simply contact a member of our reception staff at the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau. Using our detailed descriptions, we can help you find the accommodation that best suits your request.
Once you’ve made up your mind, make sure you check the precise terms and conditions of booking and cancellation to avoid any later misunderstandings with the establishment of your choice. Bookings made by telephone should be confirmed in writing (letter, fax, e-mail, voucher) mentioning the dates of stay, the type of room reserved and details of any services required (lift, disabled access, etc.) A verbal reservation is not guaranteed and has no legal value.
Finally, it is customary to confirm the booking by paying a deposit or by giving details of your banker’s card. Some establishments cannot accept payment by banker’s card or cheque. Either way, you should always be given an invoice when you settle your bill.
Hotel category/priceTop of page
Depending on geographical location, time of the year or major events taking place in the city, these prices may vary. They do not reflect any special offers or deals obtainable through travel agents.
On the basis of a double room, here is an idea of the price range per night in each category (not including breakfast):
|Ungraded (HT)||simple and basic||under €60|
|1*||basic amenities||€60 to €90|
|2**||basic amenities||€60 to €90|
|3***||good amenities||€90 to €120|
|4****||putstanding amenities||€250 to €650|
|5***** L||luxury||over €500|
These categories correspond to the classification awarded by the Paris Préfecture de Police and it is worth noting that an ungraded hotel (HT) or one without stars may also be an indication that the requested classification has not yet been completed. The authority meets twice a year, so the interim period can be anything up to six months. Room rates shown are inclusive of taxes (except for “tourist tax”): it is compulsory for them to be displayed both outside the establishment and in the rooms.
Where to buy tickets?Top of page
You can buy your tickets at the venue, either on the day or several days before. Depending on the venue, ticket offices may be open several weeks before the performance and some events sell out very quickly. All the relevant information pages on our web site tell you how to book according to the type of show : Buy tickets online.
You can also go through specialist agencies, which in exchange for a supplement enable you to book your place in the first ten rows and collect your ticket 30 minutes before the show, without having to queue. Telephone or online services of some ticket agencies are also a good way to book, often at competitive prices.
There are also some packages available where you can simplify your evening arrangements by booking your seats at a show and at a restaurant nearby all in one go, either to eat beforehand, or, as is usual in Paris, to have supper after the show.
Paris hotel receptionists also know what’s on and can make reservations on your behalf. Don’t hesitate to check with our welcome staff too, who can advise you for your evenings out. Welcome offices in Paris
Do I have to pay the “tourist tax” ?Top of page
Allocated to the development and promotion of tourism, this tax is also collected by many other countries (in Europe: Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Greece).
On 1 January 1994, the Paris City Council introduced this tax which is applicable to all forms of paid accommodation: hotels and apartments, furnished accommodation, camp sites, etc. Ranging from €0.20 to €1.50 per person per day, it is not necessarily included in the price of the room but its payment is obligatory for all excepting children under 13 years of age.
Electric adapters and plugsTop of page
In France the norm is 220 volts, 50 cycles, while in the United States or Canada, for example, it is 110 volts, 60 cycles. Voltage and sockets vary from country to country and so an adapter and also a transformer will be indispensable in order to keep your favourite electric razor or hairdryer in working order – not to mention to avoid blowing the electricity in the whole hotel!
If you’ve forgotten to bring these important accessories, you’ll be able to find them in electrical goods and DIY stores or hypermarkets. Most major hotels can also provide them. For information, French plugs are equipped with two round pins.
Watch out for pickpockets!Top of page
Like all big cities, Paris has its pickpockets.
These few words of advice will help you to avoid any inconvenience: always keep your identity documents and your wallet in sealed pockets, or, for ladies, in a handbag carried across your shoulder.
Try to keep the keys to your accommodation separate from your ID; avoid displaying the contents of your purse, and be particularly vigilant at rush hour when travelling on public transport (9/10am and 6/7.30pm).
Duty freeTop of page
Do you come from a country outside the European Union? And you’re over 15 years of age? Are you intending to spend a minimum of €175 on the same day in the same store?
If so, you can benefit from a tax refund.
- For a VAT (Value Added Tax) refund, ask for a Tax free Shopping France invoice when you shop in any major store or “Tax free for tourists” boutique. The amount to be refunded is shown under the heading “Montant de la détaxe”. You should have your invoices stamped at airport customs on leaving the EU and return the validated pink copies within three months using the stamped addressed envelope given to you at the time you made your purchases. N.B. Food, services, travel, photo processing, alterations and repairs are not eligible for a tax refund.
- In order to receive your tax refund if you are leaving the EU by train, it’s important to know that Paris train stations, unlike airports, do not have a customs office. In this case you need to call on a specialist company.
- You can also buy products that are already tax-free: the famous “duty-free” shops of which most are located around Opéra and Palais Royal offer you merchandise with tax already deducted, in particular luxury items like perfume and leather goods. This advantage is only for those resident outside the European Union, which is why you will be asked to produce your passport at the moment of purchase, and often your flight ticket too. Major department stores also have their “duty-free” services, as do the international zones at the airports.
What does the “Tourisme & Handicap” label denote ?Top of page
You will find this label on our web site to designate tourist sites and facilities providing access for disabled persons, taking into account 4 categories of disability: hearing, visual, mental and physical.
What does the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau’s logo denote ?Top of page
Members of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau (PCVB) are shown by the presence of our logo next to their name. This means that this trade professional participates in different promotional and hospitality initiatives led by the PCVB each year in order to greet and assist tourists.
Rainbow ?Top of page
The majority of hotels, cafés, restaurants and clubs aimed at a homosexual clientele are to be found in the first 4 “arrondissements” of Paris and in particular in the historical district of the Marais. These “gay-friendly” establishments sport a Rainbow sticker or flag to make them easier to spot.
Our four-legged friendsTop of page
When you make your hotel booking, don’t forget to ask if they are prepared to accept your pet, and if so, subject to which conditions. The charge can vary from hotel to hotel, but usually ranges from €5 to €15 per animal.
Be as precise as possible, because a hotel may refuse dogs over a certain size for example. As far as guide-dogs are concerned, they are accepted, by law, in all hotels and may also give rise to a supplementary charge.
An advanced search on our web site will narrow your choice down to those hotels who welcome pets.
Speak my language?Top of page
Not counting luxury establishments where the welcome and information are offered in several languages, it is compulsory for hotels with 2** and above to be competent in at least one foreign language, most commonly English. In most types of accommodation, English is used as a matter of course and you should have no difficulty in making yourself understood!
What do I put in the safe ?Top of page
Hotels and aparthotels may place safe deposit boxes at your disposal either in your room or at reception: very useful for keeping your jewellery and other valuables safe! You could also keep a copy of your identity documents here, helpful in case you should lose the originals. The hotel is responsible for valuables entrusted to them by their guests. In the event of theft or damage, the hotel’s liability is automatically incurred – although the level of compensation will vary.
It is interesting to note that if the theft or damage occurs in the hotel safe or at reception, when the client’s property has been personally entrusted to the hotel staff, the hotel takes full liability and any stolen objects will be entirely reimbursed. For individual safes in the rooms, in the case of theft, the cover is limited to one hundred times the nightly room rate.
Finally, if the loss or damage are the result of external causes (lightning for example) or negligence on the part of the client (door left unlocked), the hotel has the right to refuse liability.
Se perfectionner en français ?Top of page
You come from abroad and don’t speak French? In Paris, you will usually find someone who speaks a smattering of English, which is the leading foreign language studied at school in France. Numerous efforts are made to guide you in Shakespeare’s language, and even in German, Spanish, Italian or Japanese, particularly in the tourist areas, hotels, museums and monuments, public transport or department stores. Paris does everything to help you feel at home here.
In the different offices of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, you’ll find reception staff who speak different languages and multilingual publications.
You want to enjoy a long stay to perfect their French and learn more about our country. Individual or group, please contact one of the schools that teach languages effectively avoid the pitfalls of this notoriously difficult language ... Some even help you to organize your course.
“Arrondissement” or “département” ?Top of page
Among the addresses you will find in the pages of our web site, most are situated in one of the twenty “arrondissements”, or districts, of Paris (referred to by the postal codes 75001, 75002; etc.) and others, further afield, in one of the 8 “départements” in the Paris region (referred to by a 2-figure postal code, 60, 77, 78, 91, 92, 93, 94 and 95).
Smokers allowed ?Top of page
The majority of non-smoking rooms are available in hotel chains. As yet few hotels in Paris provide non-smoking rooms for their guests, so clients can smoke in their rooms at their discretion, except if there is a sign specifically prohibiting it. Hotels must ensure ventilation standards are complied with. As for the communal areas, breakfast room, reception and corridors: these are usually non-smoking. As a rule, youth hostels are entirely non-smoking.
High or low seasonTop of page
Excursion companies generally offer a wider choice of tours and more frequent departures during high season (between 1 April and 31 October). Cruises on the Seine river also operate more regularly and offer an extended timetable during this period.
Low season is between 1 November and 31 March.
Is it possible to hire a pushchair or a wheelchair?Top of page
That depends on the museum, it is best to make enquiries at each museum beforehand.