When walking in Paris, you may notice some oar shaped granite signs in front of houses and monuments.
Situated in front of less known attractions and historical houses, they display some information you may not find in paper guides :
- what is this, what was here...
- when was it built
- who lived here, when, ...
NB : the oar shape has been chosen after the Paris town symbol : a boat.
I can't help it : I looove this place... It would probably be different if many parisians were sharing my views over this quite peaceful place, where reading is more than a pleasure, and pretty similar to relaxing !! But, see, except from students, the place and its neighbourhood are strangely rather empty... You'll find it by strolling around the Metro station : "Bibilotheque National" on the 14th line (the purple one)..
Fondest memory: The red carpets inside the library were quite a surprise, as nothing, from the green of the trees to the yellow of the buildings' windows, could prepare you for such a bright colour...
The first thing you NEED to do in Paris is to get a map of all the streets and metro and stuff. You could go for a free map, but I chose to buy one in a small bookstore near my hostel. It was 7 euros, but well worth it. My map was a BOOK, not a folding map, organized first by the 20 Arrondissements and then a lot of suburbs and places like Bois de Boulogne after that. It also included a bus, RER and metromap.
I'd say: buy an book of maps instead of a foldning map any day of the week. You can have it in your bag and it's MUCH easier to pick up and look at without taking up the whole of the pavement...
Excellent bookstore in the Marais for gays
6, rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie
(Le Marais) 75004 Paris
Metro: Hotel de Ville
Tel: +33 01 42 78 88 30
Fondest memory: I got the best tips for clubs and activites from the staff and found all kinds of books, videos and information.
Didn't really know where to write this tip and it is after all a general one, so here it is:
During your stay in Paris, the best way to find out what is happening in the city is to buy "Pariscope." You'll find everything in it, movies, theater plays, exhibitions, restaurants, special events, etc.
You can buy it at any newspaper stand for less than 1 euro.
to find any address or phone number in paris and in france (write the name of the city where you are looking for an address in the field "Localité") according to activity ("activité")
in almost every country, you can find the yellow pages (les pages jaunes), so here is french address :
There are a bunch to choose from, for major European cities that are popular such as Paris, I like the Eyewitness Guides even though it is rather heavy to carry around. But it has glorious pictures and major attractions have diagrams so you can find the important stuff.
I bought a Cadogan guide for our recent trip and it had some interesting information written up very nicely.
I also brought a Michelin Green Guide on our recent trip, found at least one date error and several other things that didn't sound quite right.
I LOVE the Streetwise Paris laminated map, we carried it with us throughout Paris, it has landmarks, metro stations and RER stations all clearly marked and a listing of street names with coordinates. And it's laminated so if it's wet, your map stays dry even if you don't :-)
Buy The OFFICIEL DES SPECTACLES (0,35€) or UNE SEMAINE DE PARIS PARISCOPE ( 0,40 €) in any news agent. The second one has some pages in English.
You will find all the attractions of Paris and out Paris : museums, theaters, music halls, movies, restaurants (short guide on this matter), tours, bateaux mouches (boats on the Seine), monuments .
These magazines are updated and published each Wednesday.
Fondest memory: In the Offices de Tourisme (Visitor Centers) there are a free guide : TIME OUT issued each quarter. The tips are advertisements.
Favorite thing: You should buy the 'Pariscope' as soon as you arrive in Paris ou you could check it on the internet (www.pariscope.fr). It's a weekly guide that you buy at any newstand and it lists all cultural activities of the week. This way, you can plan your visits to temporary exhibitions and your evenings.
Favorite thing: If you are planning on staying in Paris for a long period of time, and you need housing, aplliances, used furniture, a job, etc etc... You can check the English speaking community classified ads magazine called FUSAC (France USA Contatcs), available for free in many pubs, or on-line at www.fusac.fr
Favorite thing: be a tourist! just buy a giude book and spend a week doing everything. besides seeing the obvious sites like the eiffel tower and notre dame, see the pantheon and explore the crypte: they have lots of cool dead people like voltaire. and also go to les invalides and find napoleon's horse.
have a really good guide book: Well, I think that the green Guide Michelin are the very best for France, you can get one for whole France and many of these more or less detailed.
They cost about 75 Francs (in tourist places a bit more) what is quite cheap compared to others and they are much better, very well structured, no fake info inside (what is not so seldom), good pics, good tips ...
This is the city map scanned from the Guide Michelin Paris
superb website to give you an idea of what you want to see.
Fondest memory: Walking in Paris is such a pleasure, very few city in the world offers this privilege.