Practical information for visitors about Paris & France

Currency and payments

The local currency in France is Euro (EUR). All major credit cards are widely accepted in France.

For an ATM machine, look for the sign RETRAIT.

These 24-hour cashpoint machines are widely available and accept the following international ATM and credit cards: Visa, Visa Electron, EuroCard, MasterCard, Maestro, Cirrus and EC.

Banks are usually open on weekdays 9am–5pm.

In addition to banks, there are several foreign currency exchange points available around the city centre. See for example: 

WiFi

You can connect your laptop or mobile phone to a wireless network in many places throughout the city centre, in parks, in several cafes, restaurants and libraries.  

For free WiFi, Turn on your laptop, tablet or smartphone and select the Paris Wi-Fi network. Launch the browser and fill in the identification form and accept the terms and conditions of the service by selecting the box. Then click on “CONNECT”. You can now surf freely on the Internet, send and receive emails…”. There are plenty hotspots available in the city Also most hotels offer their guests a free internet connection. For the international research and education community, it is also possible to use Eduroam service while in Helsinki.

Map of Paris free wifi accesses

Tax free

Citizens of non-European countries are eligible for  upon leaving EU territory. Purchases must be made in shops displaying the Tax Free Shopping sign. The minimun total sum of purchased goods must be €40. Enjoy the best of Paris without duty-free formalities by buying in the duty-free stores of Parisian airports (Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly)

Brexit info

If you live in the United Kingdom (outside the EU), you are now eligible for the tax exemption! Think about it the next time you return to France.
If you are traveling to the UK, you can also benefit from duty-free in our airports (regardless of your nationality or country of residence).
However, international tourists will no longer be able to get VAT refunds in the UK.

Tipping

Tipping is not expected in France and a service charge is added in hotels and restaurants. French people do tip ( between 5 and 10 %) if they appreciated good service or delicious food. It is not obligatory to give a tip to the taxi drivers.

Climate and weather

The region enjoys a temperate climate, moderated by oceanic influences. The average temperature is 11°C and the average rainfall is 600 mm. The Seine and the Marne are the two main rivers that cross the region.

Summer in Paris is bright. Days are at their longest in the second half of June, when the sun stays above the horizon for 19 hours.

The evenings grow cool towards the end of September, and the days grow noticeably shorter as winter approaches. The crisp air is spiced with the colours of the splendid autumn foliage.

The winter begins in either November or December depending on the year. The temperature fluctuates either side of 0°C. The first snowfall makes the city look picture perfect. The average temperature between December and February is around 2°C. The coldest time of the year is usually during January. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Paris was 23.9 °C in Paris on December 10, 1879!

Spring arrives in Paris usually around April. The days grow rapidly longer and warmer, attracting people to the city while the nature blossoms all around.

Average temperatures in Paris
Entire year: the temperature generally varies from 2°C to 25°C and is rarely below -4°C or above 31°C.
Warmest month: July the average temperature is 20.5 °C, with a minimum of 14.7 °C and a maximum of 26.3 °C.
Coldest month: January, with an average minimum temperature of 2°C and maximum of 7°C.

For the latest weather forecast, see website  by Météo France 

Language

French is the official language. English is spoken not widely, though French people are tending to improve on that matter.

Electricity

Voltage: In France, the standard is 230 volts on a frequency of 50 Hz. Electrical sockets (outlets) in France ruled by the NF C 15-100 standard, also called C 15-100 standard, is the standard that regulates all low voltage electrical installations in France.

Time zone

The time zone in Paris is Eastern European Time (EET), 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).

Postal services

Post offices are open 10am–7pm (some offices even until 8pm) from Monday to Friday. And from 10am-1pm on Saturdays. Yellow mail boxes are available for collections on weekdays.

Stamps can be purchased at post offices, bookstores, newsagents, kiosks.

French postal services is named La Poste and has several offices throughout Paris arrondissements

Emergency number

There are three main emergency services in France: the medical service (SAMU), the fire brigade (sapeurs-pompiers), and the police (Police Nationale or Gendarmerie Nationale). In an emergency, you can call the following French numbers from any phone in France:

  • Medical service: 15
  • Police: 17
  • Fire service: 18

General Emergency number for police, ambulance and fire department is 112.

You should use the numbers above in a genuine emergency or life-threatening situation, such as for serious medical issues, fire-related incidents and to report crimes.

Mental health services in France

Mental health care in France can be accessed by contacting your GP, seeking help from a private counsellor or by contacting a mental health charity or organisation, such as those below.

  • SOS Help: helpline for English speakers in France offering help with emotional or practical issues. Call 0146 21 46 46 for help, or you can also check out the online advice.
  • Counseling in France: website offering directory of English-speaking counsellors and therapists in France.
  • Red Cross (Croix Rouge Ecoute): confidential counseling services in French. Call 0800 858 858 or get help online.

Pharmacy and medical care

In Paris 992 pharmacies are open on weekdays and about 120 on sundays, bank holidays, from 8am-9pm

Pharmacies are recognized by their green neon cross outside, which will be lit when the shop is open. They are not general service shops. All products have to do with health, such as prescription and over-the-counter medicine, skin preparations, suntan lotions, and tooth brushes. Most also carry homeopathic remedies.

Pharmacists are highly trained and extremely knowledgeable about medications. You can feel very comfortable asking advice on minor ailments and illnesses from your local pharmacy as they will be able to recommend reliable and appropriate treatment. They can also perform emergency first aid and recommend doctors. All medication is kept behind the counter, so be prepared to ask for what you need whether it is a head-ache pill, allergy remedy, or box of band-aides.

NameContactRemarks
Pharmacy Swann6, rue de Castiglione 75001 01.42.60.72.96English/American prescriptions and equivalent French dosages
Pharmacie Anglaise des Champs-Elysees62 avenue des Champs-Elysees 75008
01.43.59.82.30
Aprium Pharmacie Anglaise PARIS | Click & Collect – Scan Ordonnance (aprium-pharmacie.fr)
American and British pharmaceuticals and French equivalents. Open daily until midnight.
Pharmacie Dehry84 avenue des Champs-Elysees 75008
01.45.62.02.41
Open 24 hours. English-speaking staff.
Publicis Drugstore133 avenue des Champs-Elysees 75008
01.47.20.39.25
http://www.publicisdrugstore.com/#/pharmacie
Open 24 hours. All pharmacists are bilingual and speak about 10 languages between them all.
Pharmacie Europeenne6, place de Clichy 75009
01.48.74.65.18
Open 24 hours.
British-American Pharmacy1 rue Auber 75009
01.47.42.49.40
British and American products.
Pharmacie des Arts106 boulevard du Montparnasse 75014
01.43.35.44.88
English-speaking pharmacists. Open until midnight; Sunday until 10pm.
Anglo-American Pharmacy37 Avenue Marceau 75016
01.47.20.57.37
English-speaking staff.
Pharmacie de la Place de la Republique5 Place Republique 75003
01.47.00.18.08
La Pharmacie de la Place de la République (lapharmaderepu.com)
Staff speaks English, Arabic and Mandarin.
Pharmacie de la Porte Maillot68 Avenue de la Grande Armée 75017
01.45.74.17.31
Open 24 hours

Information on the coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone. Many expats find themselves separated from family and loved ones in their home countries. As a foreigner, it is also sometimes difficult to find critical information regarding coronavirus infection rates, local measures, and restrictions, and now, thankfully, vaccinations.

Embassies and services for foreign nationals in France

One of the world’s most popular destinations amongst tourists and immigrants alike, France is home to more than 600 foreign representations.

Consult the list of embassies and consulates in Paris
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