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Paris “The City of Lights” is the capital and largest city of France, ranked amongst one of the most important and influential cities in the world. It is situated on the River Seine, in Northern France, and at the heart of the Ile-de-France Region.
Ernest Hemingway, the US Author wrote “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
City of Paris, within its administrative limits largely unchanged since 1860, has an estimated population of 2 million-200 thousand but the Paris metropolitan area (5,600 square miles) has a population of nearly 12 million and is one of the most populated and multi-cultural metropolitan areas in Europe. Nearly 20% of its total population were born outside of France.
Administratively the city is divided into twenty municipal “arrondissement” or areas which spiral clockwise outward from the most central one, 1st.arrondissement.
Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations receiving 45 million tourists annually, 60% of whom are foreign visitors.
Paris has been building its transportation system throughout history and continuous improvements are ongoing. Evidence of plans to build the “metropolitain” existed as early as 1845, but the first line (using wooden Metro cars) was not completed until July 19th. 1900. Since then the Paris Metro has become Paris’s most important transportation system with 300 stations connected by 133 miles (214 km) of rails, comprising of 16 lines. Now roughly 6 million people use the Metro each day. Because of the short distances between stations the Metro was to slow to be extended further into the suburbs, as was the case in most other cities.
Maps of the Metro Network are available free of charge at the ticket offices, and large-scale maps are also displayed on the platforms and at the entrance to each station.
The Metro operates every day from around 6am to 0.30am. Times of the first and last trains vary depending on the point along the line you are departing from.
A single Metro ticket costs 1.60 Euros (US$ 2.00), and can be used for one journey (up to 2 hours) including all connections. White-coloured tickets can be purchased singly or in a book of 10 (“carnet”) for 11.40 Euros (US$ 14.50), at the ticket offices or machines in metro stations, and also in some tobacconists. Keep hold of your ticket until you have completed your journey, as you may be asked to show it if tickets are being inspected. If you cannot produce proof of payment for the ticket inspectors, you may risk paying a fine. This ticket, valid for Zones 1 and 2, allows you to travel anywhere in Paris, and even beyond, since it will take you to the end of each metro line, even if it is located in Zone 3 (as for example La Défense on line 1).
You can also choose a weekly or monthly “Carte Orange” pass, and other kinds of travel pass valid for unlimited travel during 1 or more days. These can be purchased from the ticket offices or machine in the stations, their prices vary depending on the travel zones covered. You will need a passport-sized photo for these passes, obtainable from the photo booths in some metro stations (make sure you have the correct change).
ParisVisite Cards (TravelCards) are available for unlimited, unrestricted trips and are valid for 1, 2, 3 or 5 consecutive days in Zones 1-3 or 1-6. Please note that each day starts at 05:30 am and ends at 05:30 am the following day. These cards can be purchased from the ticket offices, and are made personal by the necessary accompanying non-transferable card provided at the same time)
As of November 1st.2009 the cost of the ParisVisite Card range from 9 Euros (US$ 11.50) to 49.40 Euros (US$ 62.75) dependent on the number of days and Zones you want to include.
For further detailed up-dated general & fare multilingual information visit www.ratp.info
The International telephone Country Code for Paris and France is 33, followed in the main by the Area Code for Metropolitan Paris: 1 although some "9" now showing up.