Paris 411 – Paris, France

American Embassy

If you lose your passport, a visit to the American Embassy is necessary to get a new one. First, file a police report and then bring the report as well as a photocopy of your passport and a few passport-sized photos of yourself to the embassy.

The American Embassy is located at 2 rue St. Florentin in the 1st arrondissement (metro: Concorde) and is open from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. from Monday to Friday, except for French and American holidays.

The American Embassy web site has information on services and procedures.

Foreign Exchange

There are foreign exchange offices on just about every major thoroughfare in Paris. They are open during business hours; though don’t be surprised if some are closed for lunch or for a holiday. If you need money for that last glass of côte du Rhône one night, the ATMs of local banks can provide you with money from your bank account at any hour. The local bank often charges a small fee in addition to the potentially hefty fee charged by your bank at home. Contact your bank to find out the exact surcharge.

The American Hospital

If you find yourself in need of medical care and anxious to talk to an English-speaking doctor, visit the American Hospital of Paris. It is located at 63, boulevard Victor Hugo in Neuilly, just outside of Paris proper. Take the metro line 1 to Porte Maillot, then get on bus #82. The Hôpital Américain is the last stop.

If you only have a cold, walk into any pharmacy (distinguishable by the green neon crosses outside of the shop) and describe your symptoms to the pharmacist as best you can. French pharmacists can normally suggest the right treatment for minor ailments.

Tourist Information

Since Paris is the world’s premier tourist destination, you will not have to look very hard for tourist information. The main office of tourism is located at 127, avenue des Champs élysées, near the Charles-de-Gaulle-étoile metro stop.

Places to Eat, Drink and Stay

These days of the strong euro mean that eating in fine restaurants is not as easy as it used to be. Good deals can still be found on prix fixe menus (sometimes also called a formule), where you pay a single price for 2 or 3 courses and wine. One can do especially well at lunchtime.

If you speak French, consider picking up a copy of Paris pas cher (roughly translated: Paris on the cheap). It’s an annual guide to the best values on everything from a meal out to a haircut.

Eating Out

While it’s been too long since my last trip to Paris for me to recommend a restaurant I am sure will be good, friends recommend Chez Ramulaud for an excellent traditional French meal at a great price (prix fixe menu at 35-50€).

Chez Ramulaud
269, rue du faubourg Saint-Antoine
Metro: Faidherbe

Night Out

In the style of the East Village of Manhattan, hip young Parisians have invaded the blue-collar 11th arrondissement. Stop by Café Charbon early into your evening (before the crowds make it uncomfortable) and then head to Cithea, where you’ll find live musical performances and DJs at very reasonable prices.

Café Charbon
109, rue Oberkampf
metro: Parmentier

Cithea
114, rue Oberkampf

Where to Stay

If you arrive in the summer, you may find that all of the places listed in your guidebook are full. This is especially true if you use one of the Lonely Planet guides. In my experience, the best course of action is to travel to a neighborhood that interests you and find a hostel/hotel that matches your budget. You may hit upon an amazing, wonderful place or, more likely, you will find a place that is acceptable. Rooms without en-suite bathrooms and showers are always cheapest and a good way to save money. France has a star system (1-4) to rate hostels/hotels. One star might be termed “acceptable,” 2 “economical,” 3 “comfortable” and 4 “luxurious.” If I am not already familiar with a hostel/hotel, I try to make sure it has at least a 2 star rating.

If you don’t mind being a little far from the center of the city, one of my favorite places to stay is the Hotel Dorée in the 18th arrondissement. It is located near Montmartre and Sacré Coeur in a predominantly African and Arab neighborhood. The owners are a friendly older couple. The husband enjoys painting and has decorated the rooms with his work. Because the hotel is somewhat outside the city center, the room prices are quite reasonable (double bed with shower is 64€).

Hotel Dorée

Indie
Rating
9

BUDGET $92 per day

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66 Boulevard Barbès. Metro Marcadet-Poissoniers or Barbès Rochechouart. The hotel has a web site, but it does not work well.

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  • Daniel Girard said at 2011-11-30T01:50:10+0000: allo