News You Can Use

photo, bike police, petit carrousel By the Petit Carrousel on Sunday.

Hikes, Freebies, Strikes and Taxis

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 2. July:–  I've fallen behind with news you can use but I see it's July and I hear those planes landing at Roissy by the dozens. Here are a few items to make your day. I'm not saying 'make it better' or cheaper. It depends on where you are coming from.

It's Still a Good Deal

July is the traditional month , along with January, for raising the prices of items like electricity and gas, train fares, telephone rates and métro tickets. True to historical form the RATP has hiked the fares again, to 1.50€ for single tickets and to 11.10 for a carnet of ten tickets. As compensation you can now use a ticket and transfer between buses and trams and keeping switching within a period of 90 minutes, but there is still no cheap transfer between the métro and buses. Maybe the good news is that Paris' transport is still less than MTA fares in New York. Note that many ticket kiosks in métro stations no longer sell tickets. The job is done by vending machines which accept cash or cards. Up to you to figure the machines out. Finally, some stations are closed for renovations. The RATP is not on strike.

All You Can Ride for 29€

Paris by bike can be a good way to get around if you don't mind the traffic and the bike belongs to someone else, like, for example, the city. The Ville de Paris had 20,000 bikes made in Hungary and will be stationing these at 750 points around the town beginning 15. July. Paid in advance, a year's use of a Velib' bike costs 29€.

photo, snack kiosk, champs elysees Champs–Elysées handy snacks.

But nothing is without a catch these days. The bikes are available 24/7 but only the 1st 30 minutes are included in the annual subscription. Beyond that it's1€ more for the next 30 minutes, 2€ for the next slice of 30 minutes, and then it jumps to 4€ thereafter. It takes about 15 days to get your Velib' smart card, and it works together with a bank account that debits all those 30–minutes slices. Without offering details, there are apparently one day and one week deals too. These are called abonnement Courte Durée.

Nearby Dungeon

Those who find the Bastille to be somewhat of a disappointment might be interested in the authentic and newly renovated Château de Vincennes. This 12th–century pile of stone is the real thing and much more impressive than the Bastille ever was. It includes a hunting lodge, a royal manor, and a state prison, plus a royal chapel. But the best part is that you can get to see all this for the mere price of a métro ticket. To see the inside, the fare is 7.50€. Open from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 13:15 to 18:00. After August closing time is 17:00. At the Tour du Bois Avenue de Paris in Vincennes. Métro: Château de Vincennes. InfoTél.: 01 43 65 29 19.

WiFi As Free As Air

Up until now if you wanted to get online in Paris you were pointed towards a cybercafé, usually full of young men focused on World of Warcraft. Starting in mid–July the Ville de Paris will be offering free access to the Internet via 400 WiFi hotspots distributed around the city at 260 locations. These will be located in institutions open to the public, such as public libraries and museums. Access will also be offered outside, such as on the parvis of the Hôtel de Ville, the Champ de Mars and the Montsouris park. The service will be available from 7:00 to 23:00, except in locations that close earlier. Depending on the signal strength and location, you might be able to access this free WiFi in your hotel room, provided you bring your own WiFi–capable computer.

photo, downstream ile de la cite, sundayLounging on the island.

Festival Paris Cinema

This starts tomorrow on Tuesday, 3. July, and the cat's eyed Charlotte Rampling is its lady president, figurehead or icon. The deal with Festival Paris Cinema is the entry price of 4€ for all films. With a rich and diverse program in many participating cinemas, and at some other odd sites around town. There will be some premiers, some fawning, some famous folks like directors – even actors! – some outdoor shows, some fireworks, some big deals – and a lot of movies. The whole thing continues until Saturday, 14. July.

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