Taxis are abundant in Paris, if you know where to look. While it is possible to flag one down in the street, it may not be especially effective in the rain or if there is a holiday or metro strike. You will have more of a chance to get a taxi at a taxi stand, which resembles a bus stop, but is marked Taxi or Tete de Station. Simply wait in line for the next taxi or if it is a stand with a call button, press the button and ask for a taxi. The stands are usually marked on city maps. Be wary of non-official taxis as they are usually non-regulated and the fees may be onerous.
Parisian taxis have a white Taxi Parisien light on the roof. Most taxis have the modernized capability of illuminating the sign with a greed LED light when it is available and a red LED light when it is occupied. It is much more clear than the old system where only a small white light was illuminated.
Most taxis will not take more than three people, but at the discretion of the driver, may allow four adults to ride for an additional charge. There are additional charges for large packages and more than two pieces of luggage if placed in the trunk. Do not be surprised if the fare meter indicates a certain sum and then the driver adds a few euros more. It really is for the luggage and it is not a gratuity. Feel free, however, to tip if the driver helps you take your luggage to the door, or upstairs or if the driver was particularly helpful in pointing out of the sites or providing other useful information.
Drivers have the right to refuse to transport a pet. Rates are posted in French and English. Be sure that the meter is set at the appropriate rate.
Once you are settled into the taxi, do not be afraid to use your French, even if your conversation skills are limited. Taxi drivers, in general, are quite loquacious and consider yourself lucky indeed if you are on the receiving end of such genuine French conversation. Quite a number of drivers are able to say a few words in English and will be happy to practice on you.
You can also call a taxi, but note that the meter starts at the time the taxi leaves its station. Two of the larger services are Taxis Bleus (3609 with an automated 24 hour ordering system in French, or online reservations and information at http://www.taxis-bleus.com, and Taxis G7 (for an operator who speaks English, call 01 41 27 66 99) at the short number 3607 with an automated ordering system in French or online at http://www.taxi-G7.com). Both companies have smartphone applications so that you can order a taxi from your phone.
Not all taxis accept payment with credit cards, however you can request a taxi that accepts credit cards when you order by telephone.
Taxibabyseat.com is a company that specializes in transporting families with children. They provide carseats and booster seats and even play children’s music during the trip. Reservations must be made in advance through the website (http://www.taxibabyseat.com – version available in English) or by telephone at 06 08 57 75 83 and you must request the baby equipment at the same time. Fares are slightly higher, but you can get a quote in advance.
The taxi trade has seen rising competition recently from companies like Chauffeur Priveand Uber. These companies, once you download their applications onto your smartphone and register your credit card with them, enable you to find a car in real time, know the price of your trip in advance and requires no exchange of money with the driver as your credit card is automatically charged. You choose the type of car, which affects the price. For more information on these services, visit their applications or websites: