Getting there: Two major airports serve Paris — Charles de Gaulle, 16 miles to the northeast, and Orly, 10 miles to the south — and America's major carriers are among the airlines that use them. Paris also can be reached by train, including the channel tunnel train from London, which arrives at the Gare du Nord.
Getting around: The Metro is a wonder, a reliable and speedy way around the city. There are 368 stations; no building is more than 550 yards from a station. Tickets cost 8 francs each, though a better deal is a pack of 10 (a carnet) for 52 francs (about $7.50). Children under 11 are half-price (tariff reduit). The metro runs from 5:30 a.m. to 1:15 a.m.
There are also numerous tourist buses that operate around the city, allowing passengers to debark at attractions. L'OpenTour's yellow-and-green double-deckers cost 165 francs (about $23) for adults for two days, 70 francs (about $10) for children. Tickets can be purchased on the bus.
Lodging: There are hotels everywhere in Paris, many of them small. Each is officially rated on a four-star scale; in many one-star hotels, you might expect to share a bathroom and do without elevators. As you go up the scale, the lodgings become more luxurious.
Dining: There is McDonald's and there is the homegrown version, Quick. There is Hippopotamus — a chain that is kind of French take on Bennigan's. It, too, has hamburgers. And then, there are the myriad cafes, bistros and restaurants. Some even offer children's menus. Don't expect hot dogs on the menu; you'll find them at the many sandwich stands around town.
Currency: Of late, the franc's value has hovered around 14 cents. You'll notice that most prices also are quoted in euros, though the multinational currency is not yet in circulation, and will not be until Jan. 1. At the moment, the value of the euro is about 90 cents.
Museums: Check their hours. Some are closed Monday, others on Tuesday. Most are free to anyone under 18. The Carte Musee admits adults to more than 70 museums and attractions in and around Paris, and frees you from having to stand in line for tickets. It is available at most of those venues in increments of one day (80 francs), three days (160 francs) or five days (240 francs.
Entry: No visas necessary.
Information: The Paris Pages, useful information about the city: www.paris.org
The French government tourist office: www.franceguide.com