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Paris tips and information, Holidays, Gratuities

This page was designed especially for you who may visit Paris for the first time. The idea is to give you advices and help you prepare for this trip. 

Districts of Paris
Paris is made up of 20 arrondissements (districts) from 1 to 20. The first arrondissement is in the center of the city on the right bank. The arrondissements are layed out in the form of a spiral and turning clockwise. There is a direct relationship between the last two numbers in the Paris zip codes and the arrondissements. For example, an address with a zip code of 75012 (all Paris zip codes start with 750) is found in the 12th arrondissement, 75004 is in the 4th arrondissement. (an exception 75116 is one part ot the 16th arrondissement).

Gratuity
Your restaurant/cafe check already includes a 15% gratuity. But a gratuity around 5/10% is expected at restaurants. Your credit card receipt won't show any gratuity line.Taxi and guides of organised city excursions will appreciate a small tip very much as will taxi drivers. Don’t forget to tip the lavatory attendant !

Holidays/Festivities
Banks, government services, most museums and all department stores are closed on the following days: January 1, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, May 1 and 8, Ascension Day, Whitmonday, July 14 (Bastille Day), August 15 (Assumption Day), November 1 (All Saints Day), November 11 (Armistice Day), Christmas Day. 

Lunch and dinner
French people do lunch between 12:30 and 2:30 PM, and dinner between 7:30 and 10:00 PM. If you wish to avoid the crowd, lunch at 12:00 tops and dine out from 6:00 to 7:00 PM. Restaurants rarely serve between 2:00 and 6:00 PM. 

Currency Exchange
You'll find exchange offices in the all the touristic areas like avenue des Champs Elysees, near the Opera, St Germain des Pres etc. Rates and commissions may vary greatly. Examine carefully the "Comission free" agencies may be charging inflated rates. 

Street
There are three general rules to know regarding the orientation fo the streets: 
- The streets running perpendicular to the Seine (North-South) are numbered in starting from the Seine. 
- The streets running parallel to the Seine (East-West) are numbered in the direction that the Seine flows. 
- If you place yourself at the beginning of a street (next to the address #1) and look towards the other end of the street, the odd numbered addresses are on the left side of the street and the even numbered addresses are on the right.