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Practical Paris

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Getting around

Paris has a roughly circular shape, the centre and origin of which is the Île de la Cité. The former Lutetia, now Paris, grew concentrically around the « île », and the Seine, which flows from east to west, cuts the city into two almost equal halves. The right bank refers to the northern half of the city. The official outer limits of the city are the various gates of Paris. It would hardly be possible to see the end of the urban fabric if it wasn't for the communication routes of the Boulevards Extérieurs and of the « périphérique » (ring road) which surround the city. Paris does not have a north-south axis as clear as that of the Seine.

To get around in the city, you will need a general map, which includes a plan of the metro (underground), and which can easily be found at all tourist information points. We will sometimes refer to the Quartiers (Neighbourhoods), quite a vague idea generally focusing on a geographical landmark, which may be a building or monument, the Opera, the Bourse (Stock Exchange), the Palais Royal, the Louvre,… or a square: les Invalides, Concorde, l'Étoile, etc... This is the convention generally used by the omnipresent road signs. We can also use the names of the metro stations, which indicate smaller reference areas.

However, we have organized this guide by « arrondissements » (districts), the official administrative division (which is almost 100% the same as the postal districts). The arrondissements are like small towns within the city, with their own atmosphere.
Each of you reading this will adopt your own route, depending on the time that you have available to discover the city, on your interests and your obligations. In the description of each arrondissement, you will find walks, cultural Paris and shopping Paris. We hope you enjoy discovering Paris !!!