GETTING THERE: Air France, Pan Am and TWA fly to Paris, all with equivalent fares. The best bets are the fares modeled on Air France's "Visite" ($649 round trip, weekdays out of New York). These require no advance booking, but require a 14-day to two-month stay abroad. If you're flying on a round-trip ticket, ask the airline or travel agent to issue the return half in French francs. It's much cheaper, because of the exchange rate.

GETTING AROUND: The subway is the easiest way to get around the city. Metro stops for the Beaubourg are Les Halles, Rambuteau, Cha telet, Ho tel de Ville; for the Palais Royal area -- Palais Royal or Bourse; for the Marais -- St. Paul or Bastille.

WHERE TO STAY: Luxury -- The Meurice, 228 Rue de Rivoli, phone 260-38-60, from $140 double; medium-priced best bet -- Sofitel Bourbon, 32 Rue Saint-Dominique, 555-91-80, $90 double; small hotels (around $40-$50 double) -- Ducs d'Anjou, 1 Rue Saint-Opportune, 236-92-24; Agora, 7 Rue de la Cossonnerie, 233-46-02; Les Deux Iles, 59 Rue Saint-Louis-en-l'Ile, 326-13-35.

GUIDEBOOKS: For hotels and restaurants, try the august "Michelin Red Guide" or, if you can read even a little French, "Le Guide de Paris," the hefty hardback French version from Gault/Millau, which has information on everything -- galleries, eateries, baby-sitters, shopping. A charming new guide is "The Food Lover's Guide to Paris," by Patricia Wells, published by Workman Publishing.

Museums, monuments and places of interest are all listed, complete with opening and closing hours, in the indispensible "Michelin Green Guide," available everywhere in Paris.