The number of nights spent in Paris hotels hit a record in 2011, the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau said on Monday, with a big jump in visits from China.

"/> The number of nights spent in Paris hotels hit a record in 2011, the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau said on Monday, with a big jump in visits from China.

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Paris hotels post record year for reservations

The number of nights spent in Paris hotels hit a record in 2011, the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau said on Monday, with a big jump in visits from China.

Paris hotels post record year for reservations
Taber Andrew Bain

In total, visitors spent 36.9 million nights in the French capital last year, a 3.1 percent increase from 2010.

Business visitors and tourists from new markets contributed significantly to the success, the office said.

Average occupancy rates in Paris reached 79.5 percent, up 2.3 percent from 2010, and average income per room, a key industry benchmark, rose 10.3 percent to 126.6 euros, it said.

French visitors accounted for 37 percent of hotel nights in 2011, but the bureau forecast that visits from nationals would drop in 2012 due to the poor economic outlook for France.

International visitors were mostly from the United States (3.6 million nights), Britain (2.4 million) and Italy (1.8 million).

Nights spent in Parisian hotels last year by Chinese visitors jumped by 21.6 percent to 407,000. The increase over two years was 63 percent, the office said.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro

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