Paris Basic Information
If the lyrics to 'Lady Marmalade' is the only French you know, then you're going to need to do a bit of research and take some language lessons before your Paris holiday. We can't really teach you all of your bonjours from your bonsoirs, but we can let you know about some of the basic information that may come in handy.
Australian passport holders travelling to France for less than 90 days do not need to apply for a visa. Travellers staying longer than this time must apply for a long-stay visa. Please be aware that this information is only a guideline and subject to change. For the latest visa requirements, contact your local Embassy or Consulate of France before you go.
France is a part of the European Union and uses the Euro as currency. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and the Euro changes constantly, so keep an eye on the exchange rate and purchase Euros when the rate is at its best. For safe spending it is also recommended to bring a credit card. If you don't have a credit card, a travel money card such as a Cash Passport may be the ideal solution as the card allows you to transfer money onto it in Euros and access it with a much lower fee than a typical bankcard.
Don't bother dieting on your Parisian holiday. The pastries will win. They do every time. In addition to tasty morsels of croissants, macaroons and cakes, French food is famous for its love of rich sauces and cheeses. The French version of a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, the croque monsieur, is cheesier than a '90s boy band, while the traditional dishes of duck confit and steak tartare are worth trying just to say you did. Despite the legends, frog legs are relatively hard to find in Paris although snails, or escargot as they are called locally, are common and quite delicious if you love garlic - but not ideal to dine on if you're on a date. Bon appetit!
Paris isn't the type of city that rages. Rather than a Jager shot and a moshpit, Paris is more of a fine wine sipped slowly type of city. Think jazz, soulful hip hop and electro over doof-doof techno beats and corner cocktail bars over superclubs. That's not to say Paris doesn't have its fair share of pulsating nightclubs. They just tend to be smaller, more exclusive hangouts where getting through the door will require some fast-talking French. Laidback nightlife can be found in the unpretentious Latin Quarter while St Germain's bars are a little more upmarket. For lively drinks among chatty locals, Rue Oberkamf is home to a wide range of venues from cocktail-friendly belle époque cafes to indie live-music venues made for dancing.