City Extras: Paris

Paris with Grey Border - small

The Concise and Opinionated Guide to the City

Grab the 2021 edition here.


New Vax Pass Now Needed In France!  September Update 2021

The new digital health pass with QR Code is now available to American citizens traveling to France but the method of application has changed. This has just been announced on September 3, 2021. Read on for more information.

First, there is some good news today. The new French ‘digital health pass’ is now recognized and accepted for scanning in all of the European Union countries!

A new online application for non-European citizens must now be accessed and submitted through their new website, even if you already sent in a request by email. It seems they were so overwhelmed by emails that they had no choice but to create a website to manage it all. Below is the official letter to travelers inviting them to create a profile on the new site which is indicated there through the link below. Once that’s done, you then begin the official submission of your proof of airline tickets, passport, and CDC vax card:

Dear Sir or Madam,

We are sorry to inform you that we are currently receiving a very large number of requests and will not be able to process them all. We remind you that a negative result of an antigen test taken at a pharmacy, available all over France, grants the user a health pass that is valid for three days (72 hours).

We inform you that a new application is available online for foreign citizens here:

Have your three pics ready before your start: Passport / CDC Card / screenshot of your airline tickets.




IMPORTANT:  For those “re-entering” the USA in the coming months- September 2021

If you’re a Covid vaccinated or antibodied American citizen and you go overseas, please know that you must still prove you are “virus free” in order to be allowed back into the United States. This can be done by showing proof of a negative Covid test that was taken within 48 hours of your departure flight home. If your test turns out to be positive for any reason (including test malfunction etc.) be prepared to quarantine in the country you were trying to leave until you test negative. (For some folks this might mean bringing a larger quantity of prescription medication, just in case!)

We are mentioning this because it is in effect now (July 2021) and few travelers seem to know about it. More information can be found on the government’s CDC website here. Look for the paragraph, “Before You Arrive in the United States”

Luckily, the Covid test is now quite easy to find at most pharmacies in Europe (not sure about elsewhere) but is not given for free to foreign travelers. You will have to pay for the test which currently ranges from around 29 euros to 47 euros.  We hope this changes soon because it is clearly an overreach.  American citizens should always be allowed to return home.


In Focus: Where to have breakfast if you don’t love what your hotel is offering – June 2021

    For something smaller than a big breakfast, you can’t beat Au Petit Versailles du Marais, an exquisite bakery on Rue Tiron -just steps from the busy Rue de Rivoli. They have indoor and outdoor seating, and one of the best apricot croissants you ever sank your teeth into. The coffee is top notch too, making this the perfect spot to start your day, especially if you are staying in the Marais district on the Right Bank. For a similar treat on the Left Bank, we like Bertrand’s at 10 Rue Lagrange, 75005.  They have a fantastic selection and make one of the best cappuccinos we’ve had in Paris. Both of these patisseries are too busy to bother with having a website and both are closed on Sundays.



Taxi Clues for Paris – March 2020                                                          

  • There are fixed taxi rates between Paris and its airports… to and from the Right Bank is €53; to and from the Left Bank is €58. An extra cost for luggage handling is normal.
  • Official taxis come in many colors but all of them will have a sign on top of the vehicle displaying “Taxi Parisien” that can light up, and a working meter inside showing the cost as you go. If the vehicle’s sign is lit up then it is available for hire. For your own safety DO NOT take unlicensed taxis. Pretending to be an official driver of some type is the easiest way for criminals to prey on unsuspecting tourists.
  • If you call a taxi (or if your hotel or restaurant calls one for you) its meter will have started running from the moment the car started to come get you. Don’t be alarmed if you get in and already see a cost on the meter! Because it will already have the initial hire fee totaled in there, it might seem like a large sum. This is normal so don’t panic.
  • Be sure to have cash on you as not all Paris taxis accept credit cards. Even when they do, the fare must be €15 or more to be allowed on a credit card. 
  • The general fee is €7.10 and the cost increments that follow will vary depending if it’s after 5pm or on a Sunday. They are between €1.07 per km. and €1,58 per km.  In addition, there will be extra fees for groups larger than three people, and large items at the rate of €1 per piece.
  • No tip is expected.
  • Paris taxis will stop if you hail them, providing they are available of course. If no taxis seem to want to stop for you, it might be because you’re hailing them within a close distance of an official taxi queue. If you believe you might be near one of these then you had best go and look for it.  Here is a list to help you find one:

Locations – Paris Taxi Queues: