Good to know
Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG):
about 14 miles northeast of the city, is well served by the RER train network. From easily accessible stations beneath the terminals, take the RER B train to central Paris — about a 45min. ride to stations like Châtelet-Les Halles (about €10), where you can transfer to the Paris Métro lines. Buses run by Air France (from €15) and Roissybus (from €8.60) are less convenient, servicing few stops and usually taking longer than the train. A taxi to the city center costs upward of €86.
is only about 12 miles from central Paris. It does not lie directly on a main train line, but buses connect fliers to the Pont de Rungis station on the RER line C (about 10 min. and €2.50). The Orlyval shuttle train also takes you to the RER line B station Antony (8 min. and €7.40). From either station, trains to Paris take about 25 min. and cost €3.60 (RER C) or €6.10 (RER B). The Orlybus shuttle direct to Denfert-Rochereau station in Paris, takes 20 to 30 min. and costs €6.30, while Air France buses serve a number of other stops in the city (from €11.50). Taxis from Orly to Paris cost about €35, more in heavy traffic.
By law, your meal check includes VAT (value added tax) and a percentage charge for service. There's no obligation to tip beyond that, but you can show your satisfaction with a gratuity in the 5% to 10% range.
The snobby french?
Whoever started the rumors about Parisian hauteur got it grossly wrong. It's only a matter of approach. A crisp, correct salutation — "Bonjour" ("Good day") or "Bonsoir" ("Good evening") — followed by "Madame" or "Monsieur" almost always elicits attentive service or the assistance you seek.
Look for the art nouveau signs above ground that mark Paris Métro entry points. The Métro is convenient and quick, but with some of the stations being quite close together, you might risk missing how delightfully walkable the city is.
Paris offers unlimited travel on the Paris transit system, with a suite of ticketing options. The travel pass is called the ParisVisite. There are one- to five-day passes covering the entire Île-de-France transportation network, including the Métro, RATP buses, and RER trains — even the Montmartre funicular.
Métro and bus service ceases at about midnight. Taxis can be hailed on the street (lighted signs mean cabs are available for hire), or you can call for one by phone or get in line at one of the city's hundreds of taxi stands. Have cash handy (credit cards are rarely accepted) and tip the driver 10%. Tariffs are higher after 7 p.m. and on Sunday.
The Paris Museum Pass, which costs $46 for two days, gets you into more than 60 Paris attractions. It also lets you cut a few queues. If you visit at least a couple of sights each day, your pass will pay for itself.
Lingering over coffee or a glass of wine is a perfectly Parisian thing to do — waiters will respect you for it, rather than rush to turn over your table. Expect coffee to come espresso unless you order otherwise (and pay a premium). If you have to hurry, don't ask for coffee "to go" — it's not usually done — so just down your caffeine hit quickly at the bar.