United States

Welcome to Washington

 

“It is architecture which first reveals a civilization,” stated the writer Jacques Ferron. So it should therefore be at Washington DC that the power of the United States of America should be revealed. Washington, showcase of American federalism, is certainly not the largest city in the country – that would be New York – but is the most imposing, even the most impressive, though it nestles in its tiny District of Columbia.

Neoclassical Washington, with its imposing official buildings, moves from the emotions of its memorials, such as the famous Vietnam Veterans Memorial, to the delights of its green and spacious districts. The federal capital, which rules over 50 states, rests on a cultural and artistic heritage that is out of the ordinary. In the centre, the White House, which is a must-visit landmark, is resplendent in the heart of a stylish district, a door which opens onto an America of legend. There’s also Lafayette Square, the Potomac River, the Lincoln Memorial and the Library of Congress with 30 million works, the National Archives, etc.

And the National Mall, a dreamlike view to a symbolic monument, the Capitol, seat of Congress. The National Mall, the green promenade 3 kilometres long which extends from the Potomac River to Capitol Hill, offers one of the most attractive walks in the United States. The Washington Monument, an obelisk erected to the glory of the first president, George Washington, will point the way to patriotism and the American dream… It is undoubtedly there that the nation’s heart beats. Incidentally, the Pentagon, towards Arlington, is not so far away.
However, a “lighter” city also takes shape on the lawns of the National Mall, because this place remains a living space in its own right where families come on a pilgrimage to relax and enjoy a picnic. The National Mall is, moreover, scattered with prestigious museums: the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institution, also nicknamed the “Nation’s Attic” because it houses more than fifteen museums including the National Museum of Natural History, the National Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum. Darker but nonetheless engaging, is the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), which clashes with the more fun National Geographic Museum, the back of the White House, the National Air and Space Museum and the Spy Museum.
Dedicate at least one evening to Adams Morgan, a lively multicultural quarter for night owls, located between 18th Street and Columbia Road. There is the same party spirit around the lively and trendy Dupont Circle where the real Washington is said to beat… It is in Georgetown, the oldest district, dotted with attractive, pastel-colored old houses, that you will taste the best cupcakes in the world. Stroll down the main street which marries luxury and vintage with taste and playfulness. Stop before the very select eponymous campus, Georgetown University, founded in 1789.
Outside of its striking monuments, the federal capital does not, however, forget shopping. Taking a turn round Union Station, a legendary station with spectacular architecture, can only surprise you. More traditional but still attractive, Eastern Market and Union Market offer a change of scene between farm foods and works of art. The sporty will appreciate the Washington Marathon and the very renowned and hotly contested Marine Corps Marathon. From the White House Easter Egg Roll at Easter to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in summer, not to mention Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday in winter, the attractive federal capital never loses an opportunity to buzz.

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When to go

Washington D.C. has as humid subtropical climate, with mild falls and springs, hot and humid summers, and cold winters with potential snowfall. Rainfall is even throughout the year with a level superior to London. The hottest month is July, with temperature that can reach 30°C, and the coldest is January when it can drop to -3°C.
The nicest season to visit Washington D.C. is generally during spring and autumn when the temperature is mild and the days are sunny.

Washington

  • Jan

    Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday, 18 January 2016

  • Fev

    Washington Jewish Film Festival, 24 February – 6 March 2016

  • Mar

    White House Easter Egg Roll, 28 March 2016

  • Apr

    Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, Spring Folkloric Festival, 22 April – 1 Mai 2016

  • May

    National Train Day, Train Themed Festival, mid-May 2016

  • Jun

    Smithsonian Folklife Festival, 29 June – 10 July 2016

  • Jul

    Independence Day in Washington DC, 4 July 2016

  • Aug

    Arlington County Fair, Summer Folkloric Festival, 17 – 21 August 2016

  • Sep

    National Book Festival at the National Mall, 3 September 2016

  • Oct

    Marine Corps Marathon, 25 October 2016

  • Nov

    Waterfowl Festival, Wildlife Conservation Event, 11 – 13 November 2016

  • Dec

    Christmas Market and celebrations, all of December 2016

​Transportation in Washington D.C. includes many options: local cabs, private drivers, rental car, metro, buses and bikes. Bus and metro are usually the most convenient options and can take you easily to the major landmarks of Washington D.C. Walking is always a good option since downtown Washington D.C. is quite compact in terms of distance.
Metrobus company operate six metro lines identified by a color code : orange, blue, yellow, green, red and silver. The lines run during weekdays from 5am until midnight. A ticket costs from $1.75 to $5.90 depending on the length of the trip.
Metrobus company operates also a huge fleet of buses running daily from early morning to late at night. Tickets can be purchased directly in the bus or from a vending machine for $1.75 (no change given).
Capital Bikeshare is the rental bike system of Washington D.C. offering over 2,500 bicycles in over 300 stations in the suburban area. The first 30 minutes are free.

There are approximately 7,200 ​licensed taxis that ​operate in ​Washington D.C. at different times of the day and night. You can hail them in the street, find them at a taxi rank or book them through one of Washington’s taxi firms.
The flag fall is a standard $2.00 and each additional sixth of a mile is $0.25. Tips of 15% is not included.

Washington International Airport (Washington Dulles) is​ located 42 km west from Downtown Washington D.C. The journey by car to the city center takes approximately​ 30​ minutes according to the traffic​ and will cost, by taxi, around $75 + charge and tips.​ Metered taxis are available and private transfers can be arranged at the airport.
Silver Line Bus company connects the airport to the Wiehle-Reston East metro station in about 15 minutes and will cost $5. The bus line 5A links the airport to the Rosslyn and L'Enfant Plaza metro stations. The airport is planned to be connected to the Washington D.C. Metro by 2020.

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