Tourist information for Paris
Places of interest in Paris
Left Bank (Rive Gauche) - Flowing along with the Seine as it heads toward
the sea, its left bank will be found on the left. At Paris, the river flows roughly
westwards, cutting the city into two halves; north and south. Left Bank has come
to mean more than simply a geographical region of the city and can now refer to
a particular style of life, fashion, or even `Look'. Some of its famous streets
are Boulevard Saint Germain des Prs, Saint Michel, and Rue d'Ulm.
Right Bank (Rive Droite) - Opposite the Left Bank, and generally refers to
the northern half of the city. However, like the Left Bank, and due to its association
with places such as Place Vendome, the Right Bank can now be used to refer to a
level of elegance and sophistication now found in its more bohemian sister to the
south. Its most famous street is undeniably the Champs Elysées, but there are others
such as Rue de la Paix, Rue de Rivoli, and Av Montaigne.
Arrondissement - Paris is divided up into twenty 'arrondissement'
or districts. The 'First' is in the centre of the city, and the others are
laid out in a clockwise manner about this. As these are such a basic unit to the
city, they are constantly referred to in guides and literature; almost always using
simply their associated number (1er, or 2em etc). The Louvre is in the First, the
Arc de Triomphe is in the Eighth. You can determine the arrondissement of an address
from its postal code. The last two digits of a Paris address give the arrondissement;
75018 is the eighteenth for example. The exception to this rule are addresses with
the word 'CEDEX' appearing in them.
The Latin Quarter - a Left Bank region in the 5th arrondissement so named
because it has been the center of the Paris's university life for over seven
The Marais - Comprised of roughly the 3rd and 4th arrondissements (Right
Bank) it is a quartier which has retained many small streets and hints at how Old
Haussmann - Baron Haussmann was responsible for the significant urban planning
project of 1852 - 1870. The twenty arrondissements date from this time. Haussmann
constructed many of the major boulevards, involving widespread demolition of the
old sections of the city.
Metro - the Paris subway is extensive and serves nearly every corner of the
city. The last trains are around 00h30.
RER - Rseau Express Regional; similar to the Metro except that it also serves
the outlying suburbs and regions of Paris. In the centre of the city, the distance
between RER stations is more significant than for the Metro; an advantage if you
want to go larger distances quickly - even in the centre of the city.
Bateaux Mouches - This is the name given to tourist boats which ply the Seine.
Literally translated it means the 'fly boats'. The name probably comes from
the district of Lyon - 'La mouche' - the place where such boats were commonplace
before they were in Paris. Others claim the name comes from one of the companies
('Bateaux-Mouches') owning these tourist boats, and named after its owner/founder:
Mouche. There are of course other companies proposing boat tours of Paris: 'Vedettes
du Pont Neuf'' and ``Bateaux Parisiens Tour Eiffel'' but Bateaux
Mouches has come to mean all such tourist boats in general.