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In short, taxis are a good way to get around Paris. In years past getting a Paris taxi could be a bit of a challenge. You couldn't hail a cab on the street, but had to find a designated taxi stand and wait there until one of 15,500 Paris taxis arrived.
In recent years we've noticed a loosening of the rules and we often see people hailing a taxi on the street. We've done it ourselves
The official taxi stands still exist (look for the blue-and-white sign) where you can find a cab already waiting, or where you can wait for the next one. Many good map of Paris should indicate where taxi stands are — at Place Vitor Hugo, for instance. To spot an available taxi look for a cab with a bright light on top. That indicates the taxi is ready for customers.
At the airports and the train stations there are always taxi valets that wave the line forward and point you to your tax. It's very civilized, there's no crowding or shoving.
The meter starts at about 2.20€ and the minimum fare is 6.00€.
There's also something called an approach price. This applies when you arrange for a taxi to come to your hotel or apartment. You will be charged for the journey to get to you.
Taxis in Paris generally do not take credit cards, so be prepared to pay in cash. If you do want to try to pay with a credit card from the airport, always ask the cab driver if they accept les cartes de credit before you jump in. But, to avoid problems, try to make sure you bring about 100€ with you to Paris.
You can expect to pay anywhere from 65€ to 90€, it really depends on the traffic and exactly where you are going.
If you're travel from Charles de Gaulle to the northeast of Paris, such as the 19th Arrondissement, the taxi ride will be short and cost less than if you are travelling to the other side of Paris.
Fares are higher when traffic is slow, because the rate is based on both time and distance. Also, if you reserve a taxi in advance, you'll have to pay an extra reservation and pickup fee in addition to the fare.
However, it isn't necessary to book a taxi in advance — at the airport you'll find plenty of them at the clearly-designated taxi stands.
Don't do what a friend of ours did. (We won't mention any names, but you know who we're talking about, Joe.)
He accepted a taxi ride from a scam artist who approached him inside the airport, not at the official taxi stand. Our friend got to his hotel all right, but he managed to pay about three times the going rate! Always check to make sure the taxi has a meter and a visible taxi sign on the roof. And always find the official line up with the T taxi sign with the valet working the line. (This scam is only pulled at the airports and train stations.)
Many taxi drivers in Paris speak a little English, but it's always a good idea to have a pen and paper to write down the address. There are many similar sounding streets and you could wind up across town. (Especially if you have dubious French accents, like we do)
A good tip is to print out small slips of paper with the name of your hotel and the address (or your apartment address) before you leave home. That way if you are not confident in speaking French, you can politely hand the driver one of the slips, with a "Nous allons ici, s'il vous plait". (We are going here, please).
And, please, don't forget Parisian politness. Say "bonjour, monsieur" when you get in and "merci, avoir" when you leave.
There are no amateur taxi drivers in Paris, it's a serious profession.
All the drivers are professionals who have successfully passed exams controlled by the Paris police department. In general, we've found Paris taxis to be cleaner and the drivers more professional than in many other cities.
Taxis are required by law to charge for any passenger over three — the fourth and fifth passengers will be charged 3€ each. There is also an additional charge for pieces of luggage weighing over 5 kilos (11 pounds). There is no charge for wheelchairs. Remember, you don't need to tip your taxi driver in Paris, it's already included in the price.
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