Paris, Île-de-France, France
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Curious about other cultures: language, food, drink, fashion, philosophy, psychology.
Trying to make the best of it.
Ask for my couch about one week in advance.
Always give the profile of the person who comes with you.
Fill it with age, places you lived, languages, studies, passions.
What common interest do we have other than traveling, meeting people or work?
What do you like? Museum, architecture, wandering, partying, etc.
A working phone is essential to exchange SMS, avoid calling me.
I'm close to be a tourist guide for Paris with all the visits I've done with guests ;)
I go to international meetings for language exchanges.
I like picnics, help to organize some.
Foreign languages and psychology.
I can teach the languages I know, French cuisine, computer science.
I'm learning hip-hop dance and to play ukulele.
My flat is located at Porte de Vincennes (http://maps.google.fr/maps?q=Porte+de+Vincennes,+Paris&vpsrc=6&t=m&z=12) on the central metro line 1, in the East of Paris, 15 minutes by metro from Paris centre, Louvre.
I live alone and work at home.
The apartment is a 20 m2 studio so one room where we all sleep plus separate kitchen and bathroom.
Note that you'll find it small if you don't live in a crowded city.
The sofa bed has a comfortable 140x200cm mattress with bedsheets and blankets.
I have my own bed on the other side of the main room.
I go to bed rather late.
No pet and no smoking.
I can host at least two days.
Please don't bring a present but you can bring/buy some food/drink (chocolate, tea, beer, etc.).
Read how to write a couch request (http://couchwiki.org/en/How_To_Write_A_Couch_Request).
If you cannot find a couch, join then post in the Emergency Group (https://www.couchsurfing.com/groups/paris-last-minute-emergencies-only-72h-or-less).
Cheap accommodations: AIJ Paris (http://www.aijparis.com), Bastille Hostel (http://www.bastillehostel.com), Jules Ferry (http://www.hifrance.org/auberge-de-jeunesse/paris--jules-ferry.html), St-Christophers (http://www.st-christophers.co.uk/), Air BnB (http://www.airbnb.com).
Next are some useful information for you to enjoy your stay in Paris.
BASICS: GUIDE, WIFI, TOILETS, FOOD, POST OFFICE
First read the Wiki Voyages about Paris (http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Paris).
There is Tourist Information Centres (http://en.parisinfo.com/practical-paris/our-welcome-centres) where you can get free maps, guides and ask questions.
For a French sim card I recommend you to order it on simyo.fr (http://simyo.fr) and give the address of your host.
You can find free computer with internet or Wi-Fi at the library which has its entrance on the opposite side of the Modern Art Museum (http://www.bpi.fr/en/practical_information2/services_provided/internet_and_wifi.html) building aka Pompidou.
There is a PARIS_WI-FI_ (http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=fr&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.paris.fr%2Fpratique%2Fparis-wi-fi%2Flocalisation-des-points-wi-fi%2Frub_7799_stand_29274_port_17981) near parks, townhalls, libraries or museums. Fill in the form, tick the checkbox, click "Me connecter" and then you can use it for 2 hours renewable.
Free wifi can also be found at Roissy Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports but only 15 minutes; Cafe or fastfood like Starbucks, McDonald's, Quick; some stores like Apple, FNAC; some metro and RER stations (http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http://www.iphon.fr/post/WiFi-gratuit-dans-le-m%25C3%25A9tro-Parisien-%253A-liste-des-stations-couvertes); few malls including Le Printemps Haussman, Citadium Haussman, Citadium Les Halles, Passage du Havre, Forum des Halles, Beaugrenelle, Palais des Congres.
There is not so many internet cafe in Paris, a good one is at Gare de Lyon metro line 1. Le Meilleur des Mondes, 4 Rue Michel Chasles 75012 Paris. Opening hours Monday-Friday 9:00-23:00, Saturday 10:00-20:00, Sunday 15:00-23:00.
Try also Manga Café (http://www.mangacafe.fr), 11 bis rue des Carmes 75005 (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=11+bis+rue+des+carmes+Paris),10:30am-8pm except Monday and Thursday 2pm-8pm, 4 euros per hour with drinks and mangas.
I have made a map of public free toilet booths (http://batchgeo.com/map/464ed2e2a1f209eef077ca34ccfbec42), opening times 6am-10pm.
There is drinkable water fountains (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_des_fontaines_Wallace_de_Paris) in the streets and parks.
The most famous macarons chefs are: Pierre Hermé (innovative), Gérard Mulot (newcomer), Sadaharu Aoki (japanese flavours), Jean-Paul Hévin (chocolate), Ladurée (traditional).
Here are two cheap small supermarkets in the very center.
Dia - 6, rue de Beaubourg, 75004 (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=6,+rue+de+Beaubourg,+75004), M-Sa 9am-9pm
Dia - 80, rue de Rivoli, 75004 (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=80,+rue+de+Rivoli,+75004), M-Sa 9am-9pm
Big supermarkets are outside Paris but you can use metro to get there.
Centre Commercial bel-est, Bagnolet (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Centre+Commercial+bel-est,+Bagnolet), M-Sa 08:30-22:00
Centre Commercial Les Quatre Temps, Puteaux (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Centre+Commercial+Les+Quatre+Temps,+Puteaux), M-Sa 09:00-22:00
Post offices are closed around 6pm, Saturday afternoon and all Sunday.
Only one is always open at 52 rue du Louvre, 75001 (http://maps.google.fr/maps?q=52+rue+du+Louvre,+75001).
To exchange money you cannot go to banks but special places called "bureaux de change".
Always compare the rate on their website with the official rate.
A recommended one is Merson, 33 rue Vivienne, 75002 (http://www.or-change-numismatique.com/index.php?lang=an).
VISITING, EATING AND BUYING
The city of Paris proposes very nice strolls that you can download as pdf (http://www.paris.fr/loisirs/se-promener-a-paris/the-paris-heritage-strolls/rub_9642_dossier_89893_port_24046). You can also walk through covered passages (http://www.paris.fr/english/visit/paris-walks/covered-passages-in-paris/rub_10085_stand_120829_port_25281).
On the first day, I recommend you to start with the 3.5 hours inexpensive (you give what you want) New Europe tour of Paris (http://www.newparistours.com/daily-tours/paris-free-tour.html).
Try also Notre-Dame free visit (http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/Visits-organised-by-the-Cathedral).
For the 14 July fireworks around 11pm, try pont de l'Alma and when finished go to the metro station Franklin Roosevelt on line 1 and you will avoid most of the crowd but still have a very nice view. There is no firework on New Year.
One of my favorite spot in the center of Paris is on the Ile de la Cite island, at the tip, in front of the Pont des Arts (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=48.857388,2.340063), you also can watch the sunset.
A good place to be in the evening is Polyglot free meetings (http://PolyglotClub.com/france/ile-de-france/paris) on Tuesday and Thursday 8pm-midnight in a bar and Friday and Saturday in a nightclub 8pm-5am with around 100 foreigners and Parisians who help each other to learn languages.
I recommend you the following bars with live bands and less pricey before happy hour, usually 9pm. Check their website for the music before to go.
- linternational.fr, 5-7 rue Moret 75011, Metro Menilmontant
- lesdisquaires.com, 4-6 rue des Taillandiers 75011 Metro Bastille/Ledru Rollin
- lecavernclub.com, 21 rue Dauphine 75006, Metro Saint-Michel
For night clubs see soonnight.com (http://www.soonnight.com/paris/sortir-paris,4.html).
The biggest department store is Galeries Lafayette at 40 bd Haussmann, 75009 Paris, Metro 3 or 9 Havre-Caumartin and you can go on the rooftop to see the Opera.
In the same street, Printemps building at the 64, go to the last floor and enjoy the panoramic view for free, there is even benches and a self-service restaurant. Mo-Sa 9:35am-8pm, Th 10pm.
Most of the museums are free for permanent collections if you are European and less than 26 years old. The first Sunday of every month the permanent collections are free for everybody.
See the list of Free Paris museums (http://en.parisinfo.com/discovering-paris/themed-guides/paris-for-free/low-cost-culture/free-admission-and-good-deals-in-museums-and-monuments-in-paris).
Louvre museum is free Friday evening from 6pm to 9:30pm for permanent collections for everyone under 26 year old whatever your nationality.
Main museums/places are:
- Louvre closed Tu, 9am-5:30pm 11 euros, W and F open until 9:30pm
To avoid queue, use the underground entrance at Musee du Louvre station on line 1.
- Orsay closed M, 9:30am-5pm(+1h) 9 euros, 4:30pm-5pm(+1h) 6.50 euros but Th, 6pm-9pm(+45 min) Th 6.50 euros
- Pompidou closed Tu, 11am-8pm(+1h) 12 euros
- Musee du quai Branly closed M, 11am-6pm(+1h) 8.5 euros, Th, F, Sa open until 8pm(+1h)
- Catacombes closed M, 10am-4pm(+1h) 8 euros, go one hour before opening
There is a building occupied by artists, an art squat, in the center of Paris at the 59 rue de Rivoli. Closed Monday otherwise open from 1pm to 8pm, free entrance.
Vintage clothing shops are in Le Marais district.
- www.freepstar.com, 8 rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie and 61 rue de la Verrerie Paris 4e.
- Vintage, 32 rue des Rosiers Paris 4e
- La Belle Epoque, 10 rue du Poitou Paris 3e
- Mamz'elle Swing, 35 bis rue du Roi de Sicile Paris 3e
The best flea markets are at the North and South of Paris.
- Puces de Saint-Ouen (http://parispuces.com/), the biggest, Garibaldi M13, Porte de Clignancourt M4
sa-su-mo 10am-5:30pm, more information (http://tourisme93.com/document.php?pagendx=74)
- Puces de Vanves (http://pucesdevanves.typepad.com), 75014 sa-su 7am-1pm
av. M. Sangnier et av. G. Lafenestre - Metro Porte de Vanves M13 T3
If you go to restaurants, note that the service is already included in the prices so tips are not needed. A carafe of tap water doesn't cost anything but usually you will be tricked into buying mineral or sparkling water.
I recommend you the restaurants chain Gladines and Au pied du Sacré Coeur. It's a lot cheaper to go for lunch than evening or weekend.
Best city bus for sightseeing are bus 42 (Gare du Nord, Eiffel Tower, Hopital Pompidou) and bus 72 (Hotel de Ville, Trocadero, Porte de Saint-Cloud). Get on/off at Eiffel Tower, Hotel de Ville or Trocadero.
Try also Montmartrobus (http://www.ratp.fr/informer/picts/plans/pdf/bus_paris/h_montmartrobus.pdf) at Pigalle station, it costs only one ticket.
For boat I recommend Batobus (http://www.batobus.com/), 16 euro for a day ticket.
There is a website to search for public transport routes (http://www.ratp.fr/itineraires/en/ratp/recherche-avancee).
Metro stop between 1am (2am Friday and Saturday nights) and 5:30am.
You need then to use night buses that are not frequent and there is no map of them so you have to look on internet before.
For the metro/bus/tramway, the easiest is to buy tickets from a vending machine (credit card, coins and often notes) at the entrance of a station.
The one way ticket is 1.80 euro (1.41 euro if bought by 10) and lasts 1:30 and cannot be used between metro and bus/tramway.
If you stay just few days, you can buy 10 tickets for 13.70 euros or a 6.80 euros all-day ticket (called "Ticket Mobilis") every day and if you are less than 26 the 3.75 euros ticket (Ticket Jeunes Week-end) but only for Saturday, Sunday or national holiday.
For one week from Monday to Sunday there's one magnetic card costing 25.40 euros (ask the ticket office for "Navigo Decouverte", need an id picture).
There are luggage lockers in the following train/metro stations (http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=fr&tl=en&u=http://www.gares-en-mouvement.com/fr/generalites/): Gare du Nord, de L'Est, de Lyon, Montparnasse (credit card), d'Austerlitz. You will need coins and it lasts 24h, 6-9 euros. There is also counter but more expensive.
Paris Airports (http://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr/en/)
If you come from the airport, there's a lot of possibilities. The cheapest are city buses 350 or 351 (3 one way tickets) for CDG/Roissy and tramway 7 (1 ticket) for Orly. Once in Paris you can use the Metro with another ticket. From midnight you can use night buses like N143 or N31, N144 with again one way tickets.
Charles de Gaulle/Roissy Airport
Look for vending machine with "ILE DE FRANCE" written on top. They accept euro coins and smart-chip credit cards. There is one separate automated machine which changes notes in coins. Eventually there is ticket offices when open.
Terminals are linked either by pedestrian walkways, free shuttle, free bus.
- Bus 350 to Gare de l'Est 5:30am-9:30pm & Bus 351 to Nation 7:00am-9:30pm
every 15-20 min, about 1 hour, 3 one way tickets
Terminal 3-Roissypole: bus station
- www.easybus.co.uk, Palais-Royal metro line 1, every 30 minutes, 2 euros
- Roissy Bus (until 11pm, every 15 min, 1 hour) special ticket 10.50 euros
CDG T1 (gate 30 arrival), T2 (gates A9, D11), T3 (arrival) Opera
- RER B (until midnight, every 15 min, 40 min) special ticket 9.75 euros
once inside Paris you can use the Metro with the same ticket
- Bus N143 (from midnight to 4:30am, every 30 min, 55 min) 4 one way tickets
CDG T1 (gate 12), T2 (gate F2), T3 (gare routiere) -> Gare de l'Est
From Orly Sud airport, take the tramway 7 (one ticket, 30 min, 5:30am-0:30am, Sunday 6:30am-0:30am, look for the vending machine) and go to the end station "Villejuif-Louis Aragon", which is a metro station on the line 7 that will get you anywhere in Paris with another one way ticket.
Beauvais Airport (http://www.aeroportbeauvais.com/)
The bus from Beauvais airport to Paris subway costs 16 euros per person if you buy it online and lasts about 1:30.
You will arrive at "Porte Maillot" metro station on line 1.
You can use a city bicycle called "Velib".
The subscription will cost you 1.70 euros a day, 8 euros a week and 29 euros a year.
The first half hour is free then for the next half hour you must pay 1 euro, then 2 euros, then from the fourth half hour 4 euros.
If you can find a Velib parking before half an hour (quite easy) then you can park your bike and take a new one for a free half an hour again without paying anything. And so on.
You must agree to a direct debit pre-authorisation (not collected) of 150 euros from your bank account.
Inside Paris, parking spaces are free only from 8pm until 9am and on Sunday and holiday.
A not too expensive parking in the center of Paris (http://www.parkingsdeparis.com/EN/reservation-motorcycle-parking-space-parking-Forum-des-Halles-Rambuteau.html).
See the Hitchwiki (http://hitchwiki.org/en/Paris).
Campgrounds (http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=fr&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.parisinfo.com%2Fhotels-paris%2Fcampings-et-hebergements-de-plein-air-1%2F), only one is inside Paris and not so good.
For skating, there is 2 big events:
- Friday night, for advanced level, starting at 10pm at the foot of the Montparnasse Tower, 14th district and returning at the same place at 1am. See http://www.pari-roller.com/ (http://www.pari-roller.com/)
- Sunday afternoon, for beginners, starting at 2:30pm, at the Bastille, Boulevard Bourdon, 4th district and returning at the same place at 5:30pm. You can rent roller skates at "Nomades", 37 Boulevard Bourdon for about 10 euros. See http://www.rollers-coquillages.org/ (http://www.rollers-coquillages.org/)
For biking, try Paris Rando Velo (http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http://www.parisrandovelo.fr/).
Be careful that train tickets in France are a lot more expensive when you buy them at the last moment. Buy them at least one week in advance.
For the closest destinations you can use regional trains like RER and francilien (http://www.transilien.com/?siteLanguage=en).
For further destinations, use the national train company (http://en.voyages-sncf.com), cheaper fares are with ouigo (http://ventes.ouigo.com/search.aspx?culture=en-GB) and idtgv (http://special-offers.en.voyages-sncf.com/en/idtgv) trains.
-- Versailles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Versailles) palace and garden 21 km
-- Asterix Park (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parc_Ast%C3%A9rix) 30km
-- Disneyland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disneyland_Paris) 30km
-- Auvers-sur-Oise (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auvers-sur-Oise) Van Gogh house and castle 35km
-- Chantilly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chantilly,_Oise) castle and forest 48km
-- Vaux-le-Vicomte (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaux-le-Vicomte) castle 60km
-- Fontainebleau (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fontainebleau) castle and forest 67km
-- Giverny (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giverny) Monet's house 76km
-- Chartres (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chartres) Cathedral 88km
-- Reims (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reims) Cathedral 144km
-- Deauville (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deauville) closest seaside city 200km
-- Tours (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tours) is surrounded by lots of castles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%A2teaux_of_the_Loire_Valley) 240km
Mont Saint-Michel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mont_Saint-Michel) 300km
There are different routes for Mont Saint-Michel (http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Mont_Saint-Michel#Get_in).
I suggest you cheap IDTGV train (2:00, from 19 euros) Paris MontparnasseRennes then Keolis bus (1:20, 12.70 euros one way) RennesMont Saint-Michel
Closer cities are Pontorson or Dol de Bretagne that you can reach by train or bus then again bus to get to the Mont.
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