One of Europe's truly timeless cities, home to the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre-Dame – not to mention fantastic food...
... cutting-edge fashion and beautiful architecture – Paris needs no introduction. Easily accessible from London, it’s our nearest biggest-hitting neighbour, a real force in the fields of culture, art and cuisine.
Arriving at Paris Orly
Paris Orly Airport is in the communes of Orly and Villeneuve-le-Roi in the south of Paris, about eight miles (13km) from the city centre. The airport is well connected to the city and there are numerous options when it comes to getting into town. The quickest of these is to get the train. The Orlyval light railway connects the airport to the RER B train line via Antony train station, from where it’s easy to transfer to a train into the centre of the city. The airport also connects to the RER C line, another of the city’s main train lines, with a shuttle from both Orly terminals to to Pont de Rungis – Aéroport d'Orly station, where it’s easy to catch an onward train.
It’s also easy to catch a bus from the airport into the city centre. Most conveniently, the line 1 runs between the airport and several sites in central Paris, including the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Elysées. The Orlybus runs between the airport and Denfert-Rochereau, a station in the Montparnasse district towards the centre of town.
Taxis are another convenient form on onward transport from the airport; they assemble outside exits L and B. If you’d rather drive yourself, several car rental firms have outlets at arrivals.
The most famous of Paris’s public transport options is the Métro, the iconic rapid transit system. Generally, trains run 0530–0040 between Monday and Thursday, and 0530–0130 Fridays to Sundays.
The city’s bus network is another great way of getting around. Buses run all the way across the city and beyond, and generally operate 0630–2030, although some routes run until 0030. The bus service is much more limited on Sundays than on other days of the week. The Paris Visite pass costs under €6 per day and allows for unlimited travel across the city’s public transport system. Otherwise, single trips on the Métro and bus begin at €1.90.
As with most major world cities, it’s very easy to find a taxi in Paris. They are recognisable by the ‘Taxi Parisien’ sign on the roof; all taxis are obliged to run on a fixed fare of €1.06/km in the city centre.
If you'd rather drive yourself during your stay, or if you're heading out of the city, book your car hire in advance with London City Airport and you can pick up your car at Paris Orly and get straight on the road.
Le Marais: for art galleries
The upmarket neighbourhood of le Marais has long been one of Paris’s wealthiest neighbourhoods, home to beautiful historic architecture and, in the past, luminaries including Victor Hugo and Jim Morrison. Today, the district is the site of many of the French capital’s prominent art galleries. These include the Musée Picasso, housed in the grand, 17th-century Hôtel Salé, and the Museum of Jewish Art and History, which tells the story of the history of Jewish people and culture not only in Paris but across Europe and North Africa from the medieval period onwards.
Bastille: for shopping
No Paris neighbourhood has been as central to French history as the Bastille, the site of a former prison where the French Revolution was kickstarted in 1789. The prison was destroyed in the process – today it’s a square, the Place de la Bastille – but there’s some fantastic shopping to be had in the streets leading off it. From second-hand bookstores and vintage fashion outlets to antique stores and high-end boutiques, there’s no shortage of options in this part of town when it comes to picking up a one-of-a-kind gift or souvenir.
Canal Saint-Martin: for eating
The neighbourhood around Canal Saint-Martin, which runs off to the east of the River Seine, is perhaps best known to non-French audiences from the early-noughties film Amélie. Today, it’s one of the capital’s trendiest areas, popular in no small part due to the prevalence of superb yet affordable canal-side restaurants. Areas like this see a constant stream of new restaurant openings, and you can be sure you’ll find cuisines from every corner of the earth represented; it’s an especially nice place to enjoy a leisurely long lunch on a summer’s day. For the classic Canal Saint-Martin experience, head to Chez Prune, the fashionable café which put this district on the map.
Voltage: 230 V
Time zone: Central European Time (GMT +1) and Central European Summer Time (GMT +2)
Languages: French (English widely spoken, but don't count on it)