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Experiencing Paris

Before You Leave

If you don’t already have one, get a passport. If you already have a passport, make sure it will not expire while you are overseas studying. As a precaution, it should be valid for at least six months after your travel. You should seriously consider scanning a copy of your passport and emailing it to yourself as well as someone who will NOT be traveling with you.

What To Pack

Power and Computers

Laptop

As you probably know, voltage and outlets are different in Europe (220 Volts). You will therefore need the proper adapter to use electronics (including laptops, camera/phone chargers, shavers, etc.). If your device can run at the higher voltage (the back of the power supply will tell you how many volts it can withstand), you can use just a plug adapter; otherwise, you will need a voltage converter (sometimes called a transformer). Either can be bought at electronics or travel stores in the US or online, or at electrical and hardware stores in Europe. Carefully consider your needs for appliances when you travel in Europe, however, especially the high wattage ones. Hair dryers are a special case, as their power requirements are enormous. If you want to be a good citizen, consider leaving all hair appliances at home. Also, there is the possibility that they may get fried if you are not careful. If you can't, make sure you buy a heavy-duty converter that will handle as much as 2000 watts (2 kilowatts).

It is advisable to determine which countries you'll be traveling in and then choose the plug adapters you'll need for those specific countries.

Although it is not necessary to bring a computer for your classes, most students do. Do not have your computer shipped to you. It will be seized by customs, and then sent back after much delay and expense. Most modern laptops will automatically sense voltage changes and adapt; you may only need a plug adapter--check your owner's manual or the back of your computer or charger. Otherwise, you will need to bring an adapter or converter, if necessary.That is applicable to all other electronic devices that you transport with you as well (cell phones and camera chargers, etc.)

Please also note that Tulane does not offer any printing for study abroad program participants.

Telephones

cellphone

If you want to bring a mobile phone, you should make sure it is equipped to operate on European frequencies. This is not recommended, as is it the most expensive way to communicate with the States. Ask your US phone provider what the international charges are, and carefully consider if using your US phone in France is an appropriate expense.

You may also consider using your phone from the States and purchasing a SIM card in France to insert in your phone. Again, if you bring your US mobile phone, bring an adapter or consider purchasing a charger in France that is compatible with your US phone.

Clothing

clothing

Paris is a beautiful city, and when the weather permits it, there is no better way to appreciate the architectural beauty than to walk around for hours! That being said, weather in Paris during the month of July can be extremely unpredictable ranging from 60F to 90F. The most important things to bring are: (1) a good pair of walking shoes, (2) a sweater or sweatshirt, (3) an umbrella, and (4) a light jacket (preferably one that’s rain resistant). In Paris, you will likely be doing much more walking than you usually do in the States.

Remember, weather is unpredictable! It can be chilly on Bastille Day! You may need woolly socks and a jacket to watch the fireworks, or it may be sweltering hot and you’re wearing T-shirts and shorts.

Additionally, students must bring business casual attire for visits to the courthouse and other such occasions. Moreover, those who will be working as interns at local law firms should have professional and/or business casual attire appropriate for a law firm.

Money

money

You are advised not to bring travelers checks. Your ATM card should work in the ATM in the city, and Visa and MasterCard are accepted almost everywhere. Check with your bank to see what sort of foreign transaction fees, if any, are charged so you can plan accordingly. If your card does not have a “chip,” you may also want to ask your bank to replace it with one that does, as this is a common added security measure and some European card readers are only equipped to read this type of card. Please be advised that, as a security measure, you must call your credit card provider or ATM issuer to inform them of your summer itinerary.

If possible, try to travel with 50€ ‘emergency’ cash as a back up to pay for RER tickets, food in the airport, etc.

Things You Might Not Expect

Cafe 

Wait staff are often happy to practice their English with you. You may find that service providers in the more touristy sections of Paris speak very good English!

Although service is included (compris) at most places, usually French people do leave a small tip.

France is known for strikes. Summer is usually quieter but it is possible there may be some active strikes during our stay. You will be informed in case of a transportation strike.

Many museums and some services (hair salons, theatres, fast food eateries, etc.) offer a small discount with a valid student ID. Please note that many such discounts also require the student to be under a certain age (usually 26).

There are MANY U.S. fast food franchises in Paris—from KFC to Subway—throughout the city.

Differences between Paris and a U.S. City:

Air conditioning is not that common in France. Thus, it may be warm inside. Moreover, there is NO A/C at most buildings, nor is there A/C in public transportation (Metro, RER, bus, etc.) and most businesses.

Cars don’t always yield to pedestrians, even if pedestrians have the “right-of-way.” As such, students should be extra cautious when crossing streets.

The public transportation DOES NOT run 24 hours a day.

Once You Arrive

Transportation

Around Paris

Metro

Despite some inconveniences (crowded rush hours, possible strikes, no A/C) the subway (‘Metro’) in Paris is the best and fastest way to get around town.

The Paris Metro has the most closely spaced subway stations in the world, making it incredibly easy to get around. Trains run from approximately 5AM to 1AM between most stations Sunday through Thursday. The Metro stays open an hour later on Fridays, Saturdays, and on nights before a French public holiday, when the service ends at 2AM.

Single-ride tickets can be bought for 1.60€ at the Metro machines or on the bus. Metro tickets may also be used on certain sections of the RER trains, any of the buses in Paris, and on certain sections of the Tram. Local newsstands, tabacs, or the metro stations, sell a 10-pack of tickets (un carnet), that is cheaper than 10 individual single ride tickets; a carnet costs approximately 11.40€.

 

You may buy Metro passes, Passe Navigo, for various durations: monthly, weekly, and weekend. Monthly passes start on the first of the month and run through the last day; the monthly and weekly passes follow the calendar (i.e. start the first of the month or on Monday, respectively) and are not flexible or prorated.

Bus

There are many buses in Paris. You can use the same ticket as for the subway. Buses do not run as late or as often as the Metro/RER but if you've got the patience, the bus one of the best ways to get around—and see—Paris!

Bicycles

Since July 2007, a system of rental bikes has been operating in Paris. The public bicycle rental program, called Vélib, has stations all over the city. You can pick up a bike at one station and leave it at another one. Using this service requires a deposit on your credit card that will be returned when you finish using the service. Please be careful when you bike in Paris

KTEL (2241 0 27706-75134): KTEL buses travel to the regions in the Eastern side of the island.

Taxis

TAXI signs in Paris indicate where to wait for cabs. Taxis, however, may be difficult to catch in the summertime, especially at night, when lots of people are waiting at the taxi stands.

Organization

Paris is divided into 20 districts called “arrondissements.” The arrondissement is indicated in the zip code (for example 75005 for the 5th district, 75116 for the 16th). The CIUP is located in 75014, the 14th arrondissement. Most street signs in Paris can be found on the buildings rather than on sign posts.

Free maps of Paris should be available in most Metro stops.

Important Phone Numbers

City Authorities:
Police: 112
Police (Emergency): 112 or 17
Emergency Medical Services: 112 or 15
 

Medical Services:

Ambulance/Medical Emergency: 112 or 15
American Hospital: 01.47.47.70.15
24-hour pharmacy: 01.42.25.49.95

Tourist Information and Assistance:

Tourist Services: 01.43.46.14.14
Paris Customs Office: 01.40.40.60.35

Culture

 

The easiest way to get places is…the METRO.

Paris is an eating and drinking culture…hanging out in cafes is a national pastime.

There are many fun and inexpensive (sometimes free!) events going on in Paris during the summer, try to do some research before you arrive.

Several national museums are FREE the first Sunday of the month throughout the year.

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