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

  • 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 January 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Rail passes that cover France now also cover Eurostar trains between Paris and London.
  • 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 multi-country 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.

For books printed before April 2016, the following may also apply:

For books printed before January 2016, the following may also apply:

  • To buy advance train tickets with a credit card at the SNCF website, select "USA" as your ticket collection country (must use a credit card enabled for "Verified by Visa" or "MasterCard SecureCode"). For more advice on buying French train tickets, see France Rail Passes and Train Tips.
  • The phone number for the US Consulate in Marseille is +33 (0)1 43 12 47 54; after business hours call their Paris office at +33 (0)1 43 12 22 22.

Aix-en-Provence

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

  • L'Epicerie Chambres has closed its B&B and now operates only as a restaurant.
  • The restaurant L'Epicurien has moved to a location outside the old center (tel. +33 (0)6 89 33 49 83).
  • L'Epicerie Restaurant is under new ownership and has been renamed "Les 3 Ormeaux."
  • Pavillon de la Torse is no longer operating as a chambre d'hôte.
  • The square in front of the Palace of Justice is under renovation until sometime in 2019; until then, the square's produce and flea market has moved to the area around Cours Sextius, Rotonde, and Cours Mirabeau (Tue, Thu, and Sat mornings).

Alsace

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

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

  • The Unterlinden Museum in Colmar has reopened after a multiyear restoration, and has new hours: daily 10:00–18:00, Thursday until 20:00. The Isenheim Altarpiece has moved back to the museum from its temporary location in the Dominican Church.
  • With the final link complete in France's newest high-speed rail line, Strasbourg is now just a two-hour train ride from Paris.
  • The tourist information office at the Strasbourg train station has closed.

Antibes

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

  • The Picasso Museum is no longer open until 20:00 on summer Wednesdays or Fridays.

Arles and nearby

  • 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 Arlaten Folk Museum plans to reopen in 2019 after a multi-year renovation.
  • The recommended market in Eyguières (near Les Baux and St-Rémy) pops up on Tuesday mornings, not Friday mornings.

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

  • The main bus station has moved back (after a year near the train station) to its old location on big Boulevard Georges Clémenceau. (Some buses do still stop at the train station.)
  • Mas du Petit Grava accommodations near Arles has closed.

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

  • In Les Baux, there is no longer parking below the village: Drivers must use the €5 parking near the village or the small free lot at Carrières de Lumières.

Avignon and nearby

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

  • Zeste deli has closed.
  • The express bus between Avignon and Vaison-la-Romaine has been discontinued.

Basque Country

  • In Bilbao, the tourist information office's bus tour is no longer running.
  • The Basque Bondissant shuttle from St-Jean-de-Luz to 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).

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

Bilbao

  • The bus station is under renovation. Arrivals and departures are just beyond the construction site, in the ground floor of an adjacent building temporarily housing a ticket office, WCs, lockers, and a cafeteria (look for helpful attendants to guide you). The tram stop called "San Mamés" is on the road just below the station and construction site — look for the steel CTB sign and follow the EuskoTran signs (not the escalator that leads to the Metro).
  • The Fres Co restaurant has closed.
  • Café La Granja restaurant has closed.
  • Pensión Roquefer hotel has closed.

For books printed before August 2015, the following may also apply:

Bilbao

  • Alhóndiga Bilbao culture and leisure center is now called "Azkuna Zentroa."
  • The Tryp Arenal Hotel has closed.
  • La Deliciosa restaurant on Jardines street has closed.

Beaune & Burgundy

  • The Hertz car rental office in Beaune is at 52 Route de Serre (tel. +33 (0)3 55 87 05 50).
  • Appellation Chocolat in Pommard is closed Sun–Mon.

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

For books printed before January 2016, the following may also apply:

  • The Pass Beaune, which offered discounts at most key sights in Burgundy, no longer exists.
  • Palais des Gourmets' Salon de Thé in Beaune has closed.

Brittany

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

Chamonix

  • Both sections of the Aiguille du Midi cable car are currently closed for repairs, and may remain closed until as late as July 6, 2018. Fortunately, the Planpraz and Brévent/Flégère lifts plan to open for the summer a little ahead of schedule.

For books printed before January 2018, the following may also 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.

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

  • For the Mont Blanc panoramic gondola, which connects the Aiguille du Midi (France) to Helbronner Point (Italy), you must now have your passport in hand to buy a ticket (not covered by the Chamonix region's Multipass card).

Chartres

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

  • Longtime cathedral guide Malcolm Miller now has an understudy, American expat Anne-Marie Woods, who leads a separate cathedral and crypt tour daily.

Châteaux near Paris

  • Vaux-le-Vicomte is no longer open on weekends in winter, except for special holiday weekends around the Christmas season (weekends only, December–early January, 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."

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

  • There is no longer a shuttle bus going through the gardens at Chantilly. Horse shows are no longer daily. Dates of horse shows are posted online.

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

  • Day-trippers using the train to reach Vaux-le-Vicomte or Fontainebleau should purchase a regional Mobilis ticket, which covers any travel within a day in the greater Paris region. The ticket (€16.60 for an all-day ticket in zones 1–5) covers the Métro rides to and from the train station and round-trip train fare (for Fontainebleau, it also includes the bus to and from the château), saving you about €9 total.
  • Travelers can now get from Paris to Vaux-le-Vicomte by train and bus seven days a week (runs until November 2): Take the TER train from Gare de l'Est to Verneuil-l'Etang (runs hourly, takes 35 minutes), where a shuttle bus, timed to meet train arrivals, connects to Château Vaux-le-Vicomte (20 minutes, €5, not covered by Mobilis card). Travelers can still take a train from Paris' Gare de Lyon to Melun station and take a taxi to Vaux-le-Vicomte, but the shuttle bus from Melun to the château has been discontinued (making the Gare de l'Est–Verneuil-l'Etang route the better way to go).

Côtes du Rhône

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

  • Les Coquelicots restaurant in Suzette has closed. (There is currently no restaurant in Suzette.)
  • Hôtel de Provence in Orange has closed.

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

  • The express bus between Avignon and Vaison-la-Romaine has been discontinued.

Dordogne

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

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

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

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

  • Tickets for the Lascaux II replica caves are now available online at www.lascaux.fr.
  • Grotte de Font-de-Gaume's same-day tickets are limited to 52 a day — arrive as early as possible.
  • Rates listed on our books for local guide Angelika Siméon are for two people; prices may go up if adding people to your group. Current rates: €155/half-day, €245/day, tel. +33 (0)5 53 35 19 30, mobile +33 (0)6 24 45 96 28, angelika.simeon@wanadoo.fr.
  • The Moulin la Grangère B&B in St-Emilion has closed.

Inland Riviera

  • 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.

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

  • The Grasse train station is currently under construction, and may be closed for part of 2018; during this time, there will be no train service from Nice, Antibes, or Cannes.
  • The FUNIX shuttle bus between the Grasse train station and town center is no longer operating. Instead, travelers can take public bus #5 (runs every 40 minutes).
  • Bus #510/511 between Vence and Grasse now also runs on Sundays (four times a day).
  • The Villa Jean-Honoré Fragonard in Grasse will be closed for most of 2018.

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

  • The Frog's House B&B in St-Jeannet has changed its options for the off-season: From November through February, it is only available as a house rental at one set price per week, with a maximum capacity of 15 people.

Languedoc-Roussillon

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

Loire Valley

For books printed before January 2018, the following may 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.

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

  • At Cheverney, the dogs at the kennel are now fed daily at 11:30 (no public feedings on Tue and Sat–Sun off-season — mid-Sept–March).
  • Hôtel le Clos d’Amboise now offers a 10 percent discount to Rick Steves readers who book directly with the hotel via their website, email, or phone (+33 (0)2 47 30 10 20).

Lyon

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

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

Mont St-Michel

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

For books printed before January 2016, the following may apply:

  • Mont St-Michel is an island once again, reachable by a new super-sleek bridge (rather than the old causeway that blocked the flow of water around the island).

Nice and nearby

  • In Eze-le-Village, parking will be a headache in 2019 as construction of a new underground garage will be underway. If possible, aim to arrive early or late.

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

  • Construction of a new tramway linking Nice with its airport (running parallel to, and a few blocks inland from, the Promenade des Anglais) will continue to cause traffic disruptions and rerouting of bus routes throughout 2017 and much of 2018. The tramway should begin service in late 2018 or 2019.
  • Bus stops for eastbound buses (to Villefranche-sur-Mer, Cap Ferrat, and Monaco) have moved to accommodate tram-line construction, and their locations may remain in flux for a while — ask your hotelier or at the tourist information office before heading out for the day.
  • Bus connections from Nice to Le Trophée des Alpes have changed: Buses #116 and #T-66 both now leave from the Vauban tram stop — except on Sundays, when riders need to catch bus #T-66 from the Pont St. Michel tram stop.

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

  • All of Nice's museums except the Chagall Museum now share the same €10 ticket (valid for 48 hours, €20 for seven days). The Chagall Museum is €8 (and well worth it).
  • The Russian Cathedral has reopened (after a two-year, €20 million renovation), and is open Mon 13:30–17:00, Tue–Sun 10:00–17:00. Services are held Sat at 17:00 and Sun at 10:00 (no tourist visits during services).
  • Bus #17 no longer runs from the train station to the Chagall Museum.
  • The US Consulate in Nice has closed.

 

Normandy

  • 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, tel. +33 (0)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, tel. +33 (0)2 31 51 18 51).

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.

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

  • Contrary to what's stated in some editions of our books, the museum holding the Bayeux Tapestry is closed in January.

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

  • The path from the American Cemetery to Omaha Beach has been closed for security reasons, and is unlikely to reopen. To get to the beach after viewing the cemetery, drivers should follow signs to Vierville-sur-Mer. At the waterfront roundabout, park your car and take a stroll on the beach.
  • All municipal museums in Rouen are now free.

Paris and nearby

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

  • Timed-entry reservations are required for the Notre-Dame tower climb, even with a Museum Pass. These can be secured same-day only starting at 7:30, either from the JeFile app or at ticket machines on site.
  • 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 (0)1 44 43 29 02.
  • Brasserie Aux PTT in the Rue Cler no longer offers Rick Steves readers a breakfast special.
  • L’Arrivée de Giverny café in Giverny no longer offers bag storage.
  • 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:

  • Certain rail passes that cover France now also cover Eurostar trains between Paris and London: the Eurail Global Pass, and three- and four-country Eurail Select Passes — but passholders must still book paid seat reservations. The single-country France Pass, and two-country Select Passes, do not cover Eurostar trains.
  • The last daily ascent of the Eiffel Tower is now the same time year-round (22:30 to the top and 23:00 to the lower levels, elevator or stairs).
  • You can now buy advance tickets for Sainte-Chapelle at either FNAC department stores or online.
  • You can now buy advance tickets for special exhibits at the Marmottan Museum (which are frequent) at either FNAC department stores or online.
  • You can now buy timed-entry tickets for the Catacombs online.
  • The Cluny Museum will be closed for renovation through mid-July 2018. This is a multiyear renovation, and you should expect changes and some room closures when you visit.
  • The Army Museum and Napoleon's Tomb is open daily – it no longer closes on the first Monday of the month. However, the Charles de Gaulle exhibit continues to be closed on Mondays.
  • The Architecture and Monuments Museum is now open on Mondays from 11:00–19:00.
  • The Grande Mosquée is closed to visitors on Fridays.
  • St. Sulpice Church has a new website.

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

  • Eiffel Tower prices have increased following recent renovations. It's now €25 to ride all the way to the top, €16 for just the two lower levels, and €10 to climb the stairs to the first or second level.
  • 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 telephone number to book the Notre Dame Cathedral tower climb is +33 (0)1 53 40 60 80.
  • Sacré-Cœur's dome is open daily May–Sept 9:30–19:00, Oct–April 9:30–17:00, and a modest dress code is now being enforced).
  • 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 until 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.
  • Fauchon's Traiteur-Pâtisserie on Place de la Madeleine is closed through 2017.
  • The Pariscope events guide has ceased publication.
  • The sidebar cited in the fourth paragraph on page 558 of Rick Steves Paris 2017 can be found on page 555.

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

  • Because of legal challenges, Uber now operates only UberX and UberBlack in Paris, which means Uber is no longer much cheaper than taxis, and may be more at peak times of day.
  • The Rodin Museum is no longer open late on Wednesdays, but closes at 17:45.

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

  • A one-way ticket on the Eurostar train between Paris and London now runs about $225 for standard fare, $130 for "standard premier" fare, and about $380 for "business premier" fare.
  • Paris taxis have new flat rates to and from the airports:
    • Between Charles de Gaulle Airport and Paris' Right Bank: €50
    • Between Charles de Gaulle Airport and Paris' Left Bank: €55
    • Between Orly Airport and Paris' Right Bank: €35
    • Between Orly Airport and Paris' Left Bank: €30
      The fixed rate for booking a cab in advance is €7; €4 for immediate booking. Supplements for luggage have been discontinued; one additional surcharge for a fifth occupant can be applied to the fare.
  • The Air France buses that run between the airport and different points around the city are now called Le Bus Direct.
  • Tourists can now rent Vélib' bikes directly at the racks using a debit card, in addition to the chip-and-PIN and American Express credit cards that were already accepted.
  • Café Carlu, within the Architecture and Monuments Museum — once recommended as an ideal place to view the Eiffel Tower — is now closed.
  • In addition to its high-speed Paris–Brussels route, Thalys now operates a slower, cheaper train along the same route called IZY (2–3/day, 2.5 hours, tickets available online only, from €10 for standing room to €29 full fare, rail passes not accepted, luggage limits).

For books printed before April 2016, the following may also apply:

  • The Carnavalet Museum is closed for renovations through 2019.
  • The €22.80 Passe Navigo weekly card now covers all transit zones in the Paris region, which means that you can travel anywhere within the city center, out to the châteaux of Versailles, Vaux-le-Vicomte, and Fontainebleau, and to Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports. This all-zones Navigo now covers a far greater area than carnet tickets, but cannot be shared, and is most worthwhile for visitors who use it for regional trips, stay at least a full week, and start their trip early in the week for the weekly pass (or near the beginning of the month for the monthly pass). For comparison, two 10-packs of carnets — enough for most travelers staying a week — cost €29.80, are shareable, don't expire, but are only valid in the center of Paris.

For books printed before January 2016, the following may also apply:

  • The Richelieu entrance at the Louvre is no longer available to Paris Museum Pass holders.
  • Free street parking is no longer available in August (sacre bleu!).

Reims

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

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

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

Versailles

  • The "TRI" shuttle bus between the Versailles Château Rive Gauche train station and Trianon/Domaine may be referred to in signage as "Phébus." Most signage for the train station now reads "Versailles Rive Gauche/Château" train station.

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

  • The Queen's Wing of the Palace of Versailles is closed for extensive renovation, which means the Queen's Bedchamber and the Coronation Room are off-limits. Also, there are now two security checks, one at the gate outside the château courtyard and a second check before entering the building. But the fountain "spectacles" are running more frequently — you can now also see them on Fridays from late March through early May.

For books printed before April 2016, the following may also apply:

  • In the first printing of Rick Steves Paris 2016, a printing error caused the sleeping and eating recommendations to go missing from the Versailles chapter. Here's a downloadable PDF of the missing Versailles information.

For books printed before June 2014, the following may also apply:

  • Guided tours at the Palace of Versailles now cost €7, bringing the admission total to €25 with palace entry.

Verdun

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