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Guidebook Updates for France

When we learn of critical changes to the information in our guidebooks on France, we post them here. (Of course, it's still smart to reconfirm critical transportation and sightseeing details locally.) Armed with a Rick Steves guidebook and these late-breaking updates, you're set for a great trip!

Across France

For books printed before November 2019, the following may apply:

  • Eurail Select Passes are no longer being sold (but similarly priced Global Passes still are) — see our 2019 rail-travel update.

For books printed before January 2019, the following may also apply:

  • French hotels recently won the legal right to undercut Booking.com and Hotels.com prices on their own hotel websites; virtually all hotels can offer lower rates than a site like Booking.com if you book directly. If you find a cheaper offer on a third-party site, let the hotel know, and they'll usually adjust their direct booking rate.
  • Baggage check services near train stations are becoming more common throughout France (through hotels, tourist information offices, and small shops). Day-trippers should always ask about available baggage check services at the tourist information office.
  • The speed limit for two-lane D and N routes is now 80 km/hour unless the road has a divider separating the lanes, in which case it's 90 km/hour.

For books printed before November 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Parking meters now require your car's license plate number, and more tickets are being written for those who overstay their paid parking time.
  • The website for the United States embassy in France is now https://fr.usembassy.gov.

For books printed before January 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Now that the one-country France rail pass is a Eurail-brand pass, France pass options no longer include a senior discount or consecutive-day version. It may also mean that travelers with this pass no longer have priority for TGV fast-train seat reservations over travelers with multicountry passes…but the details are yet to be finalized.
  • Tickets for high-speed TGV trains in France are now often available as far as four months out (instead of three months). As always, advance-purchase discounts for TGV tickets can get snapped up weeks ahead.

For books printed before January 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Baggage check may be unavailable across France (in compliance with heightened security measures).
  • The US Consulate in Nice has closed.

Aix-en-Provence

  • The Brunet Chocolatier mentioned in the "Aix-en-Provence Walk" and noted for its macarons has closed. (A different shop has opened at that location but sells very few macarons.)
  • A fire destroyed the historic Les Deux Garçons restaurant.

Alsace

For books printed before January 2019, the following may apply:

  • The Strasbourg cathedral has shortened its daily midday closure to 11:15–12:45 (previously 11:15–14:00).

For books printed before January 2018, the following may also apply:

Arles and nearby

  • The Arlaten Folk Museum plans to reopen in 2020 after a multi-year renovation. The museum will showcase traditional culture and folklore of Provence and is slated to be one of Arles’ top sights.

For books printed before November 2019, the following may also apply:

For books printed before November 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Travelers who plan to visit two or more museums should consider the Pass Avantage sightseeing pass, which covers all monuments and museums in town and offers a discount at the Fondation Van Gogh.
  • The recommended market in Eyguières (near Les Baux and St-Rémy) pops up on Tuesday mornings, not Friday mornings.

Avignon and nearby

  • The Patrick Mallard pastry shop mentioned in the "Discovering Avignon's Back Streets Walk" has closed.

For books printed before November 2019, the following may also apply:

  • The Oscar restaurant in the La Roquette district has closed.

For books printed before November 2018, the following may also apply:

Basque Country

  • The former Termibús bus station has been renovated and is now called Bilbao Intermodal station. It’s now an underground transit/bus center and has a new website: www.bilbaointermodal.eus.
  • In St-Jean-de-Luz, restaurant La Ruelle has closed.
  • In Bilbao, Gran Café El Mercante has closed.
  • Ouibus is now BlaBlaBus. Their website is www.blablabus.com.
  • In San Sebastián, the funicular to Monte Igueldo is now open daily year round.
  • In San Sebastián, Hotel Arrizul Center is now Hotel Arrizul Beach and its email is now info@hotelarrizulbeach.com.
  • Recommended guide Agustín Ciriza no longer provides transportation on his tours, and doesn't offer surfing trips. Through 2020 he charges €180 for two-hour city tours of San Sebastián, and a baseline of €15 per person for group hikes in the area, including along the Camino. His website is now at www.agustinciriza.com, and his email address has changed to info@agustinciriza.com.

For books printed before December 2018, the following may also apply:

  • In Bilbao: The tourist information office's bus tour is no longer running.
  • In Pamplona: The Fort of San Bartolomé interpretive center is now free to visit.
  • The Basque Bondissant shuttle between St-Jean-de-Luz and La Rhune is no longer running.
  • In San Sebastián: The Bernardo Etxea restaurant has closed.
  • In Lekeitio: The Hotel Aisia Lekeitio has closed.
  • In St-Jean-de-Luz: The Muscade Tarterie restaurant has closed.

For books printed before July 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Euskotren services between San Sebastian and Bilbao no longer serve the Atxuri station in Bilbao. The new terminus is Matiko station, but a more convenient stop is at Casco Viejo station (shared with Metro lines 1 and 2, and walking distance to tram line).

Burgundy

For books printed before November 2019, the following may apply:

  • The number for the Transco bus connecting Beaune to the Route des Grand Crus is now #113.
  • The Domaine des Anges guesthouse in Puligny-Montrachet has closed.
  • The number of the bus serving Cluny, Macôn, Chalon-sur-Saône, and is now bus #701.
  • Château de la Rochepot is closed through 2019, and possibly longer.

For books printed before January 2019, the following may also apply:

  • Château de Guédelon has new opening hours: July–Aug daily 10:00–18:30; Sept–June Thu–Tue 10:00–18:00, closed Wed; closed early Nov–mid-March and weekends in March.
  • The Hertz car rental office in Beaune is at 52 Route de Serre (+33 3 55 87 05 50).
  • Sensation Vin in Beaune has moved to 2 Rue Paul Bouchard, and its €35 1.5-hour class includes 7 wines (not 8). It's now closed on Sundays in winter.
  • Appellation Chocolat in Pommard is closed Sun–Mon.

Brittany

For books printed before November 2019, the following may apply:

For books printed before January 2018, the following may also apply:

Chamonix

For books printed before January 2018, the following may apply:

  • The new website for booking reservations on the Aiguille du Midi lift is www.montblancnaturalresort.com. Reservations are no longer accepted by phone. There is no longer a €2 fee to reserve in advance.
  • Hôtel les Crêtes Blanches is now called Le Génépy.
  • The Refuge-Grand Hôtel du Montenvers has been renovated and now has a new name: Terminal Neige/Refuge du Montenvers.
  • Hôtel Aiguille Verte has closed.

Chartres

For books printed before November 2019, the following may also apply:

  • Malcolm Miller does not offer tours of the Chartres Cathedral on Sunday in August; Anne Marie Woods no longer leads tours of the cathedral, but other guides are available Mon–Sat at 14:45 from May to September (no tours Sunday). To book a tour, email visitecathedrale@diocesechartres.com.

For books printed before October 2018, the following may also apply:

Châteaux near Paris

For books printed before November 2019, the following may apply:

For books printed before January 2019, the following may also apply:

  • Vaux-le-Vicomte is no longer open on weekends in winter, except for special holiday weekends around the Christmas season (weekends only, Dec–early Jan 11:00–18:30).

For books printed before May 2018, the following may also apply:

  • The Château d'Auvers has re-opened, following an extensive renovation, with a new theme: "Visions of Impressionists."

Dordogne

For books printed before November 2019, the following may apply:

  • Local guide Angelika Simeon, who leads tours to prehistoric caves, now charges €195 for a half-day tour.

For books printed before May 2018, the following may also apply:

For books printed before January 2018, the following may also apply:

French Riviera

  • The website for Le Grand Tour Bus (hop-on, hop-off) is www.nicegrandtour.com.
  • In Nice, the Lignes d'Azur info desk at 17 Rue Thiers has closed, but there is a Lignes d'Azur info desk in Nice's main train station. Office hours are now generally Mon–Fri 7:30–17:30, Saturday until 15:00, and closed Sunday.
  • The combo-ticket for Villa Kérylos and Le Trophée des Alpes is no longer available.
  • Transportation to Le Trophée des Alpes from Nice has changed. Bus #116 leaves from the Vauban tram stop except on Sundays, where it departs from the Pont St. Michel tram stop.
  • In Nice, airport buses #98 and #99 have ceased operations. Instead the T-2 tram line runs between the airport and Port Lympia.

For books printed before November 2019, the following may also apply:

  • Bus route #81 has changed. It is now route #15.
  • The Nice Tram #2 now goes from the Nice airport to the city center at Jean Médecin, where visitors can transfer to Tram #1.
  • In Nice, the Coco & Rico restaurant near the Promenade des Anglais has closed.

For books printed before October 2019, the following may also apply:

  • Cruise lines now provide a shuttle boat right from the cruise dock at Port of La Seyne-sur-Mer (near Toulon) that takes passengers directly to Toulon's central waterfront (free or €10, depending on cruise line, 20 minutes).

Inland Riviera

For books printed before November 2018, the following may apply:

  • In Vence, the hours for the Chapel of the Rosary have changed. The chapel is now open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10:00–12:00 & 14:00–18:00, and Wednesday and Saturday 14:00–18:00 (only until 17:00 Nov–March). It is closed Sunday and Monday, and from mid-November–mid-December.
  • Bus #600 directly connects Cannes and Grasse.

Languedoc-Roussillon

For books printed before January 2018, the following may also apply:

Loire Valley

  • The Amboise tourist information office no longer stores bags.

For books printed before January 2019, the following may also apply:

  • Touraine Evasion no longer runs a high-season direct shuttle from Amboise to Chenonceau. Its other routes, including group tours that connect both Chambord and Chenonceau in one day, still run.

For books printed before January 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Détours de Loire bike rental has a new website: www.detoursdeloire.com.
  • Traditional riverboat cruises in Chinon are only available in July and August, and only at 11:30.
  • Construction at the Château d'Azay-le-Rideau is complete and the sound-and-light show is back on. In July and August, the château is open until 23:00. If you are going there by public transit, take an SNCF bus (to the town center) rather than the train.

Luberon

  • In Bonnieux, Hôtel le Clos du Buis’ email should be contact@leclosdubuis.fr.
  • At the Abbey Notre-Dame de Sénanque, it is no longer required to visit via French-only tour from 11:00-17:00. Visitors can now tour the abbey freely Mon–Sat 9:30–11:30 and 13:00–17:30, Sun 14:00–17:30. A videoguide is now provided. 
  • In Joucas, La Terrasse is now closed Monday.
  • In Roussillon, La Treille is now closed Sunday.
  • In Roussillon, Hôtel la Clé des Champs’ email should be contact@hotelcledeschamps.com.
  • In Rousillon, Le Clos de la Glycine has new contact information: www.leclosdelaglycine.fr, contact@leclosdelaglycine.fr.
  • In Roussillon, the Ochre Conservatory has new hours: daily 10:00–12:00 & 14:00–17:00 or 18:00, July-Aug 9:00–19:00; closed mid-Dec–mid-Feb.
  • In Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, La Prévôté has a new email: reservation@la-prevote.fr.
  • In Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, hotel Sous l’Olivier has closed.

For books printed before November 2019, the following may also apply:

  • The Mas del Sol guesthouse near Bonnieux has closed.

Lyon

For books printed before November 2019, the following may apply:

  • Restaurant de Fourvière has closed.

For books printed before January 2019, the following may also apply:

For books printed before January 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Bistrot de St. Jean restaurant is now called "Cosy Corner."

Mont St-Michel

For books printed before January 2019, the following may apply:

  • There is no longer any baggage storage available at Mont St-Michel.

Normandy

For books printed before November 2019, the following may also apply:

For books printed before January 2019, the following may also apply:

  • Bayeux offers two choices for car rental. Hertz is the only one that allows you to drop off in a different city and is open daily, but it's not very central (Mon–Fri 8:00–20:00, Sat–Sun 8:00–12:00 & 14:00–17:00, Route de Cherbourg, +33 2 31 92 03 26). Renault Rent is better for local rentals and is just below the train station on the ring road at the Renault dealership (Mon–Sat 7:30–19:30, closed Sun, 16 Boulevard Sadi Carnot, +33 2 31 51 18 51).

For books printed before October 2018, the following may also apply:

  • L'Arrivée de Giverny café in Giverny no longer offers bag storage.

For books printed before January 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Le Parvis restaurant in Rouen has closed.
  • Travel Coffee Shop in Honfleur has closed.

Paris

  • SoGymnase Comedy Club no longer offers shows in English.
  • The Paris by Night bus tour offered by Paris City Vision no longer uses the name GoBe.
  • Poilâne is now closed Sunday.
  • The Gérard Mulot pâtisserie at 76 Rue de Seine is now called Maison Mulot and is no longer closed Wednesday.
  • Dale Booth Normandy Tours email is now: dboothholidays@aol.com. Their new phone number is +33 2 14 16 66 14.
  • There is a new tourist information office at the Louvre, in by the Carrousel du Louvre shopping mall — just before the museum's security entrance. It is open daily 10:00–20:00.
  • There is a new tourist information office near the base of Montmartre’s funicular at 7 Rue Drevet. Its hours are Tue–Sat 10:00–13:00 and 14:00–17:00, closed Sun–Mon. The phone number is +33 1 42 62 21 21.
  • Puces St. Ouen tourist information office has new telephone number: +33 1 55 87 67 50.
  • Hôtel Eber-Mars is now Hôtel le Cercle-Tour Eiffel. Their contact information is now: tel. +33 1 47 05 42 30, www.hotelcercleeiffelparis.com, contact@hotelcercleeiffelparis.com.
  • SNCF Boutiques in the Luxembourg neighborhood have closed: 79 Rue de Rennes and 54 Boulevard St. Michel.
  • Grand Palais closed for renovation until 2023.
  • Fragonard Perfume Museum has a new address: 3 Square Louis Jouvet.
  • The Carnavalet Museum will reopen in early 2021 after a major multiyear renovation.
  • Cluny Museum is closed until at least fall 2021.
  • Bistrot Chez France's phone number is now +33 1 40 67 96 54.
  • For those visiting the Louvre with a Museum Pass, it's advisable to make a reservation in advance year-round. When making an online reservation, you must enter your Museum Pass number, however buying your Museum Pass before arriving in Paris is not necessary. Once a Museum Pass has been purchased in Paris, a reservation can be made online as late as the day of your visit, even in high-season (there does not appear to be a limit on reserved spots). While the new Museum Pass carries a one-visit-per-museum restriction (unlike the old pass), you can enter the Louvre three times, at the three different wings.
    Note that the Louvre is hosting a special Leonardo da Vinci exhibit this fall, which may impact their policies for all entries to the museum.
  • Café Delmas on Place de la Contrescarpe has closed.
  • Hotel Bosquet is now Hotel Relais Bosquet. Rick Steves readers can get a discount by booking online with code "RSDEAL."

For books printed before November 2019, the following may also apply:

  • At the Orangerie Museum, the Walter-Guillaume Collection on the bottom floor has been renovated and reorganized. The collection no longer presents the art chronologically. Rather, it now groups paintings by confronting artists.
  • 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant is reopening in 2021 after a renovation. They will offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a lounge bar for drinks and a light menu. The dining room is reserved for more serious eating (though lunches are more casual). Reserve long in advance, especially if you want a view (+33 1 72 76 18 46, toll tel. +33 8 25 56 66 62, www.restaurants-toureiffel.com). No jeans or tennis shoes at dinner.
  • Pompidou is under renovation until early 2021. During renovation the entrance has been moved to the back of the building (on Rue Beaubourg), and the escalators are likely closed.
  • Prices for the Paris Museum Pass have increased to €52 for a two-day pass, €66 for a four-day pass, and €78 for a six-day pass. The pass is still the best value of all the passes offered in Paris as most major sights will increase individual ticket prices accordingly. The pass still pays for itself with four key admissions in two days (for example, the Louvre, Orsay, Sainte-Chapelle, and Versailles). 
  • At the Arc de Triomphe, it is no longer required for Museum Pass holders with kids to wait in line for tickets.
  • The Sacré-Cœur's dome hours are now 8:30–20:00 (May–Sept) and 9:00–17:00 (Oct–April).
  • The Arc de Triomphe is no longer free the first Sunday of the month in October (now November–March).
  • The Louvre Wine Museum now closes at 18:00, and the phone number is +33 1 40 28 13 11.
  • The Rodin Museum now stays open until 18:30. There is no longer a separate entry time and cost for the gardens.
  • The Louvre is free the first Saturday of every month after 18:00, with extended hours until 21:45. The museum is no longer free the first Sunday of the month from October–March.
  • Online reservations for the Eiffel Tower are now available 60 days in advance.
  • From September until mid-June, the last ascent up the Eiffel Tower by stairs is at 18:30. For any trip up the tower that includes stairs — any time of year — tickets must be purchased on-site.
  • The Paris Museum Pass is activated at the time of first use and is time-based (not days-based). For example, a two-day pass gives you 48 hours of use from the time you first use it (e.g. if your first entry is at 13:00, you get 48 hours from 13:00).
  • The Paris Webservices has a new email address: reservation@pariswebservices.fr.
  • Bike About Tours' 3.5-hour tour meeting point has changed to Le Peloton Café, located in the Marais at 17 Rue du Pont Louis Philippe. Their additional May–Sept afternoon tour now runs at 14:30.
  • Opéra Garnier's morning guided tours in English that run July–Aug are now at 11:00 daily. Their updated contact information is +33 1 42 46 72 40 or 1 71 25 24 23, contact@cultival.fr.
  • The following SNCF Boutiques have closed:
    • 18 Rue du Pont Neuf
    • Musée d'Orsay RER station
    • 32/34 Rue Joubert (near Gare St. Lazare)
    • 19 Rue de Passy
  • The Thanksgiving store has closed.
  • The Marché de Saxe street market is only open Thursday and Saturday now (not Tuesday).
  • Stéphane Secco at 20 Rue Jean Nicot has closed.
  • Le Pré Verre has closed.
  • Café de Mars is now closed Sunday–Monday.
  • Cave à Jojo has closed.
  • La Poule au Pot is now closed Sat–Sun and has a new phone number: +33 1 47 05 16 36.
  • Autour de Midi et Minuit has closed.
  • Hôtel Prince has closed.
  • Following the 2019 fire, Notre-Dame Cathedral, as well as the Paris Archaeological Crypt, will likely be closed for several years. Access to the Ile de la Cité may also change while reconstruction is underway; check the tourist information office's updates page for the latest.
  • By 2021, paper tickets used on the Métro will be replaced with plastic Navigo travel cards, which cover transit on the Métro, public buses, and the RER/suburban train. Single-use tickets for buses and the RER/suburban train will likely remain available. There are two Navigo options:
    • Navigo Easy Card: Load euros onto your €2 Navigo Easy card and pay as you ride (€1.90/ride), or load the card with a 10-ride pass (€14.90) or day pass (€7.50 for Zones 1-2).
    • Navigo Decouverte Pass: This chip-embedded card costs a one-time €5 fee. When you buy, select from a weekly (€23) or monthly pass and ride unlimited during that time.
    You can buy your Navigo Easy or Découverte card at any staffed Métro station and at most tabacs
  • The tourist information office at Gare de l'Est has closed.
  • The Paris Sewer Museum is closed for renovation until January 2020.
  • Victor Hugo's House is closed for renovations through 2019.
  • Local guide Arnaud Servignat's correct email address is arnotour@icloud.com.
  • Paul Woodadge of D-Day Historian Tours is no longer leading tours.
  • Allan Bryson of First Normandy Battlefield Tours is no longer leading tours.
  • Parler Parlor conversation group has closed.

For books printed before April 2019, the following may also apply:

For books printed before October 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Street parking can now be paid with a credit card – it's no longer necessary to buy a parking card at a tabac.
  • The tourist information offices in the Opéra neighborhood (25 Rue des Pyramides) and in Montmartre (21 Place du Tertre) have closed.
  • The SNCF Boutique stores at 78 Rue Saint Dominique and 229 Rue du Faubourg St. Honoré have closed.
  • ADP information desks at Paris airports have closed.
  • Cobblestone Paris, an apartment rental company, now offers a 10 percent discount for Rick Steves readers in addition to two free river cruises (no minimum night requirement) – use code RSPARIS. They also have a new email address: bookings@cobblestoneparis.com.
  • The Canadian Consulate and Embassy has moved to 130 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. The phone number is +33 1 44 43 29 02.
  • Brasserie Aux PTT in the Rue Cler no longer offers Rick Steves readers a breakfast special.
  • The Vélib' Bikes system is being overhauled to offer lighter bikes, electric bikes, and an easier booking process; see their new website for updates.
  • City Sightseeing Tours has a new website.
  • The Peugeot dealership on the Champs-Élysées (at #136) has closed.

For books printed before May 2018, the following may also apply:

For books printed before January 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Eiffel Tower prices have increased following recent renovations.
  • It is no longer possible to purchase summit tickets from the second level of the Eiffel Tower. Visitors must now decide in advance the highest floor they want to visit. This is especially important for those choosing a second-level tour with Fat Tire Tours as they will no longer be able to go any higher with the ticket they provide.
  • "RER" trains are now just labeled…"train" in the Paris transit system. The rail network is consolidating its old terms ("RER," "suburban train," "subway," "tram express," "tramway," "TZen," "bus") and will use just four: train, subway, tram, and bus. However, travelers may still see "RER" on some maps and signage.

For books printed before November 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Musée en Herbe has moved to 23 Rue de L'Arbre-Sec.
  • The Picasso Museum is open Tue–Fri 10:30–18:00, Sat–Sun 9:30–18:00, closed Mon.
  • Sainte-Chapelle is open daily April–Sept 9:00–19:00, Oct–March until 17:00 (no longer open late on Wednesdays).
  • The SNCF has officially renamed the high-speed TGV trains "InOui," though currently both terms are in use.
  • The EasyBus has stopped running from Charles de Gaule Airport.
  • The tourist information kiosk at the Anvers Métro stop (near Sacré-Cœur) has closed.
  • Bike About Tours bike rental is open Thu–Tue 9:30–17:30, and is closed Wed and Dec–mid-Feb.
  • The National Maritime Museum is closed through 2021.
  • The Hôtel Valadon in the Rue Cler neighborhood is now called the Hôtel Cadran Coleur and has a new website and email address (www.cadranhotel.com, resa@cadranhotel.com).
  • Hôtel Saint-Louis has a new website and email address (www.saintlouisenlisle.com, info@saintlouisenlisle.com).
  • The Good Morning Paris B&B booking agency has closed.
  • The Pariscope events guide has ceased publication.

Reims & Verdun

  • Chambres d’Hôte Cathédrale in Reims has closed.

For books printed before November 2019, the following may also apply:

  • The Ligne 14/18 shuttle bus from Verdun to the battlefields is no longer running.

For books printed before January 2019, the following may also apply:

  • The petit tourist train running from Reims into nearby vineyards has been discontinued.

For books printed before January 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Bénédicte et Claude Philippon Chambres d'Hôte B&B is now called Chambres d'Hôte Cathédrale.

Versailles

  • At Versailles, visitors can now purchase timed-entry tickets for the following: either an €18 ticket (palace only), or a €20 Le Passeport pass (includes Trianon/Domaine; on Garden Spectacle days the pass is €27). The Paris Museum Pass does not offer a timed-entry option (so cannot be used in conjunction with these online timed-entry reservations).
  • The Phébus TRI shuttle bus has been discontinued.

For books printed before October 2019, the following may also apply: