Le Havre (Paris), France
Le Havre is advertised as the port for Paris though it is 120 miles (2-3 hrs away). If doing a round trip cruise from Southampton that stops at Le Havre before returning, consider disembarking here and spending a couple of days in Normandy and Paris.
Where You're Docked
Ships dock at Le Havre cruise terminal which ia 1.5 miles from the center of town or the train station. There is tourist info, some small shops, internet and a café inside.
Money and Tipping
Going to Paris
If you want to take the train to Paris, it is a 2 hour journey to Gare St Lazare Station. It is around 2.5 to 3 hours by bus if you take a ship sponsored On Your Own tour. This typically leaves you with 5-6 hours which isn't a lot of time to see a city the size of Paris which has lots of popular attractions.
Trains leave roughly hourly from Gare du Havre and tickets costs upward of €30 for the round trip depending on when you book and how many seats are available. You can prepurchase tickets online up to a week in advance. Tickets need to be validated before boarding. France train company website http://www.voyages-sncf.com/
A shuttle may be offered to take you into town. The shuttle willl drop off at either the Volcano just south of City Hall or close to the mall, Espace Coty.
Car rentals may be available at the pier.http://cruiseportwiki.com/LeHavre?action=edit
A new tram system opened Dec 2012. This could save you a bit of walking if you want to go to either the beach or train station from the city centre. Tickets can be purchased at tobacco shops (Tabacs) or at machines at the tram stops.
Paris has an excellent and expansive metro system in addition to a commuter rail network, the RER. Try to pick up a tourist map which should have the stations listed. Your best value is to buy a Zone 1-2, one day Mobilis Ticket for €6.80 (Jan 2014) which will give all day access to the bus, metro and RER within the city center. Credit cards are accepted at ticket machines and at the counter but they must be smart card/chip and pin cards. Ticket machines generally take coins only though a few may accept bills. Single tickets are €1.70 and a book of ten €13.70 (carnet). You can also buy tickets at tobacco shops (Tabac) displaying a RATP sign. Don't lose your ticket since you will need it to exit and you may be subject to random inspections. The trick for riding the metro is to know the line number and the last station on the line to determine which direction to go. Some lines split off near the end. http://www.ratp.fr/en/
6 Hours in Paris
If you took the On Your Own Tour, you will be dropped off beside Place de la Concorde. Head to the metro stop Concorde at the north end of the plaza were you can buy a Mobilis Ticket. Take line 1 heading to La Defense and get off at either Franklin D Roosevelt or George V station. The first station will give you a longer walk along the Champs Elysees. Head towards the Arc de Triomph. To visit the Arc itself, use the underpass to get across the busy traffic circle. Next head to Charles de Gaulle Etoile station and take line 6 towards Nation and get off at Trocadero station. You should have a magnificent views of the Eiffel Tower from here which is your next stop. Walk towards it crossing the bridge over the Seine. There should be massive line ups to go up the tower but the lineups are usually shorter if you want to walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Ignore the gypsies in the area that ask you if you speak English and any person who accidentally "finds" a gold ring in front of you. After some time here, head east along the banks of the Seine to Pont de l'Ama RER station. Take line C east and get off at St Michel Notre Dame Station. Walk across the bridge to see Notre Dame Cathedral and continue over to the north bank of the Seine. You will be in front of Hotel De Ville (City Hall) and you can either walk to the Louvre or take the metro at Hotel de Ville line 1 to La Defense and get off at Louvre Rivoli stop. Walk through the grounds of the Louvre and you can either continue through Tuillerie Gardens back to Concorde or jump on the metro along the way at Palais Royal Musee or Tuilleire metro stops to save some walking.
If arriving at Gare St Lazare, take metro line 12 towards Mairie d'Issy to get to Concorde metro station.
You should realize you need several days in Paris to be able to actually enter sites like the Louvre and other museums. If you have more time, head over to Montmartre area (Metro Anvers) and visit the Sacre Coeur church. Your Mobilis ticket is valid on the small funicular here if you don't want to take the steps up to the church.
If you are staying in Paris for a few days, consider buying a Museum Pass which includes entry into Versailles Palace. Note that many museums are free the first Sunday in the month
Shopping & Restaurants
Le Havre has several malls. Espace Coty is in the center of town and there is a small central market, Halles Central, is just west of the volcano. There is another mall at Docks Vauban as well.
Supermarkets - There is a Monoprix supermarket in Espace Coty and a small supermarket in Halles Central.
McDonalds in Espace Coty has free wifi.
Been Here Before
With not much in Le Havre, consider going to Mont St Michel, Honfleur, Rouen or taking a tour to the D-Day beaches.
Paris Metro and RER
PDF version here http://parisbytrain.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/metro_geo.pdf
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