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first-hand impressions after 1 weekend in Paris (October 2000).

All buildings in central Paris are made in the same manner (Houssmann style with simple facades, small balconies and mansards). 
travel.org/france.html - Welcome to FRANCE

France is a wonderful place. I want to come there again and spend more time. Probably to rent a car for couple of weeks and drive from North to South. 

Central Paris is just a big museum. French generate more than 30% of their National Income from tourists. There are approx. 60 mln people living in France - and there are more than 60 mln tourists visiting France every year. And, of course, most of the tourists come to Paris.  Thus in Central Paris you see ONLY tourists and people serving them. 

France and Paris

Central (old) Paris is surrounded by big, new Paris - approx. 12 mln people living in normal modern buildings. 

www.paris.org/Maps - maps
www.paris.org/Maps/Map3 - very good interractive map
www.paris.org/Metro - transportation maps
  (Metro, RER (trains)

Really striking in Paris was to meet so many familiar names of streets and places. Pigalle, Montmartre, Notre-Dame, Palais Royal, The Louvre, etc. Names which I've known from my childhood from reading books by Alexander Dumas, Victor Hugo, and others. Today they are the names of subway stations.

Bookseller's Stalls
I found the nature (trees, grass) very similar to Russian (I am from Russia). And, after so many years thinking about going to Paris, I found that Paris is not that far - just several hours away.

If you've been to Europe - you will not find anything unusual. People are people everywhere.  Wearing the same clothing, using the same computers, riding the same Chinese scooters.

Food in France is much better than in America - this is for sure. Coffee with milk is excellent. Wines, of course. Any meal, even a simple salad, is a piece of art. People like to talk about food, to take time eating and enjoying spending time during the meal.  Fast food is not common. At the same time most of people are really thin. I haven't noticed fat people in France (although in USA they are quite common).

Another thing which was unusual for us - the size of cars.  In USA we've got many big cars (like Lincoln Town Car) and many SUV (Jeeps).  In Paris all cars are very small (micro, not mini).  SUVs or limousines don't exist (we haven't seen them in 2 days we've spent there).
www.renault.co.uk - Renault
www.peugeot.co.uk - Peugeot


Garik Saakian
mobil phone (33)609-57-27-80
On advice of a friend we used personal services of a Russian guide.  He lives in Paris and his name is Garik Saakian. Look at his picture on the left. I made this picture of him near the Louvre. Garik stands in front of his car.  It is a nice comfortable van in which he was driving us around.

His services happened to be very good and pricing very reasonable - next time I will call him again. He made hotel reservations (excellent choice), met us at the airport, helped us to settle, showed places to eat and shop, gave us a 5 hour tour of Paris driving us around the town and showing all the famous places. He is very intelligent and knows France and its history very well - which makes conversations with him really educational and interesting. 

Bal du Moulin Rouge
Eifel Tour


Notre-Dame - inside
Useful links home - top of the page -

www.visitparis.com/ - good site
www.paris-anglo.com/ - good site about Tourism in Paris
www.adp.fr/ - Aéroport de Paris website
www.france.com/travel/hotels/PHG.html- select hotel in Paris
www.webscapades.com/france/paris/metro.htm - metro (subway), hotels, etc.

Paris (many stations not shown; Osamu Abe; original?)
Paris (interactive map of François Vaillant)

www.reed.edu/~reyn/transport.html - Subways - all over the world - by Robert Reynolds
Paris 1998 World Cup visitors' guide (thanks to Bernard Hanquez for providing the scanned map)
Paris 1998 World Cup visitors' guide to reaching Stade de France (download of Paris Tourisme map)
Paris 1998 World Cup visitors' guide to reaching Parc des Princes (download of Paris Tourisme map)
Paris Meteor line (thanks to Bernard Hanquez for providing the scanned map)
Paris Meteor line (14) download from RATP official posting (thanks to Bernard Hanquez for update information)
Paris in 1940 (thanks to Bernard Hanquez for providing a scanned copy of this wonderful map; the reverse side and some comments by Hanquez also appear in the "scanned items" section accessible through the menu above)