The city of Paris has established a free wireless connection in a majority of it's parks, gardens, libraries and museums. The connection is available from 7am until 11pm and within the hours of operation of the corresponding landmark.
This site offers all the free Wifi hotspot locations in Paris:
Getting a one- or seven-day subscription
People who use the Velib' bikes more than five weeks a year are better off getting a yearly subscription for 29 Euros, which 198,913 people have done in the first year of operation. These are mostly people who live in Paris or the nearby suburbs, and they have the option of adding the Velib' function to their Navigo cards, so they can use the same card for renting bikes that they use for riding trains, buses or trams.
The rest of us can take out one- or seven-day subscriptions at the computer terminal which is found at most Velib' stations. You need a bank card or a credit card for this, preferably a European card with a chip in it. There have been problems with chipless American cards, but I have just downloaded the General Terms and Conditions from the Velib' website, and it says in Article 5.2 (3) that they accept AMEX and JCB cards.
It takes a few minutes to go through the procedure in which you agree, among other things, that they can take up to 150 Euros from your account if you fail to return a bike.
The young Portuguese ladies in this photo are taking out one-day subscriptions at Velib' station 10011 (or 10-11, the eleventh station in the tenth arrondissement) on rue du Château d'eau near Place de la République. I was happy to show them how to find the English-language menus and to answer the one question they had about the procedure. When it asked for a secret four-digit PIN number, they didn't realize that they were supposed to choose this number themselves, any four digits that they could easily remember.
According to the official statistics there were 277,193 seven-day subscribers and 3,683,714 one-day subscribers during the first year of Velib' operation, from July 2007 to July 2008.
Second photo: There are two sides to each computer terminal, and to subscribe to need to use this side that has a slit for your credit card and another slit where your Velib' ticket comes out when you have successfully completed the subscription procedure. Caution: it spits out your ticket very vigorously, so hold your hand by the slit to catch it, or look for your ticket on the ground nearby.
The Champs Elysees...
The beautiful Champs Elysees Avenue (with the Arc de Triomphe far ahead).... taken from the middle of it! :-) Hey, you gotta admit I risked my life for you to have this great pic! LOL I loved to walk from Place de la Concorde all the way to the Arc de Triomphe along the Champs Elysees... it's quiet, the sidewalk is really wide so there's plenty of space to walk peacefully, the views are really nice, and you start finding shops as you approach the Arc and the busier area of the avenue. It's a long walk, mind you, but I really enjoyed it and then I got to make some great pics and do some shopping when I finally arrived to where the action is ;)
Try Speaking French
I had been told by many that Parisians were rude (and that they don't like Americans), so I arrived with these prejudices. They were completely unfounded. I made an effort to speak French (however badly) and never had a negative experience. Once we asked a waiter if he could point us in the right direction of our hotel. He left the restaurant and walked us around the block so we could find it! I found the French to be very friendly.
French People = Chic + Super-Stylish
Some personal observations of these cool Parisians:
(1) Everyone in Paris really does the 'kiss-kiss' thing to greet each other. However, DON'T do it if you're a gentleman. Yes, men in Paris don't kiss each other. At least that's what I noticed. Anyway, my best friend and I were kissed more times in our week there compared to our entire life up to this point. haha.
(2) Oh...and NOBODY in Paris jogs. Try talking to a Parisian about the 'stairmaster' and they'd stare at you blankly. ;-)
(3) So, they stay thin with the help of nicotine and caffeine. For non smokers (like me), we DO need the 'Stairmaster'! :-(
(4) Nobody in Paris ever wear sweatpants. Horror of horrors - that would be too uncool for them! People here actually wear leather pants to the grocery store and it's probably the only city in the world where a young woman must wear a miniskirt in order NOT to be stared at. Do I look like I'm kidding?
(5) Condoms are called 'preservatifs' (hehe...) and are available from vending machines on the streets. Why don't these French people call condoms - condoms instead of PRESERVATIFS. Hm...