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Facts and Practical Information About Paris

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A view of the Seine river in Paris France

A view of the Seine river in Paris.

©Photographie Michel Hasson.

Key Paris Facts and Figures:

Paris is the political, cultural, and intellectual capital of France, and is also the single-most visited city in the world. It has drawn waves of immigrants, expatriate artists and intellectuals, and global traders for centuries, attracting by virtue of its vibrant economy, rich political and artistic history, unusual number of noteworthy tourist sites, outstanding architecture and cultural life, and overall high standard of living. Situated at the crossroads of Europe and in close range of the English channel and other strategic places for military and trade, Paris is a true powerhouse in continental Europe.

  • Population: Approximately 2.24 million people, according to the 2010 census (approx. 3.6% of France's total population

  • Average yearly high temperature: 16 degrees C (60.8 degrees F)

  • Average yearly low temperature: 9 degrees C (48.2 degrees F)

  • Average visitors per year: Over 25 million

  • High tourist season: Approximately March through September, with peaks in the summer. The Christmas season is also especially popular among visitors.

  • Time zone: Paris is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and 9 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.

  • Currency: Euros (Universal Currency Converter)

Paris Geography and Orientation:

  • Elevation: 27 meters (90 feet above sea level)

  • Surface Area: 105 square km. (41 square miles)

  • Geographical Situation: Paris is located in Central Northern France, at the heart of a region (departement) called Ile de France. The city does not border any major body of water and is relatively flat.

  • The famous Seine river cuts through the city center East to West. The Marne river flows through suburbs east of Paris.

Orientation Tours

  • Paris boat or bus tours can help you get oriented on a first trip, and also offer a relaxed and pleasant first encounter with some of the city's most important monuments and places.
  • Companies such as Paris Trip offer orientation tours (Buy direct)

Paris Layout:

Paris is divided into sections North and South of the Seine, more commonly known as the Rive Droite (Right Bank) and Rive Gauche (Left Bank), respectively.

The city, often described as being shaped like a snail shell, is broken into 20 districts or arrondissements. The first arrondissement is at the center of the city, near the Seine river. Subsequent arrondissements spiral out clockwise. You can easily find out what arrondissement you're in by looking for street plaques on corner buildings.

The Boulevard Périphérique, Paris' beltway, generally marks the boundary between Paris and its near suburbs.

Tourist Welcome Centers in Paris:

The Paris Tourist Office has welcome centers around the city, providing free documentation and advice to visitors. You can find maps and pocket-sized guides to Paris sights and attractions at one of the welcome centers. See a list of Paris tourist offices here.

Accessibility Issues:

On average, Paris rates poorly for accessibility. While major efforts are underway to improve accessibility in the city, travelers with limited mobility may find the city difficult to get around in.

The Paris tourist office website offers a list of popular Parisian sights and attractions that are accessible.

In addition, the following Paris Metro and bus lines are accessible to people with limited mobility or disabilities:

  • Metro line 14, RER Line A
  • Bus lines 20, 21, 24, 26, 27, 30, 31, 38, 39, 43, 53, 60, 62, 63, 80, 81, 88, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96.

Taxis are required by law to accept passengers with wheelchairs.

For more information on accessibility, visit and bookmark this page: How Accessible is Paris?

More Essential Information for Travelers:

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