The regional tourism board—with multiple Arrivals-level kiosks at both Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports—can provide you with maps, brochures, and more the moment you touch down. Once you're in Paris, you can turn to the civic tourist information office. The main one is centrally located on Rue des Pyramides (near the Opéra), and four branch offices are stationed at the city's most popular tourist sights. Most are open daily; the Gare de Lyon and Gare de l’Est branches, however, are open Monday through Saturday only. These tourism bureaus have friendly, efficient, multilingual staff. You can gather info on special events, local transit, hotels, tours, excursions, and discount passes. You can also purchase museum passes and the coveted passports for Versailles, which enable you to avoid additional lines at the château. Extra kiosks pop up in the summer by Notre-Dame, Hotel de Ville, the Champs-Élysées, and Bastille.
Local Tourism Information
Office du Tourisme de la Ville de Paris Anvers. Across from 72 bd. Rochechouart, 18e, Montmartre, Paris, 75018. www.parisinfo.com.
Office du Tourisme de la Ville de Paris Gare de l'Est. Facing platform 1 and 2, Pl. du 11 novembre 1918, 10e, Canal St-Martin, Paris, 75010. www.parisinfo.com.
Office du Tourisme de la Ville de Paris Gare de Lyon. Hall 1, facing L & M platforms, 20 bd. Diderot, 12e, Bastille, Paris, 75012. www.parisinfo.com.
Office du Tourisme de la Ville de Paris Gare du Nord. Under glass ceiling at Ile de France section, 18 rue de Dunkerque, 10e, Stalingrad/La Chapelle, Paris, 75010. www.parisinfo.com.
Office du Tourisme de la Ville de Paris Pyramides. 25 rue des Pyramides, 1er, Around the Louvre, Paris, 75001. www.parisinfo.com.
Visit Paris Region. www.visitparisregion.com.
Besides the official tourist office websites en.parisinfo.com and www.visitparisregion.com, there are several other helpful government-sponsored sites. The Paris mayor's office site, www.paris.fr, covers all kinds of public cultural attractions, student resources, parks, markets, and more. On the French Ministry of Culture's site, www.culture.fr, you can search by theme (contemporary art, cinema, music, theater, etc.) or by region (Paris is in the Ile-de-France). The Réunion des Musées Nationaux hosts a group site, www.rmn.fr, that provides visitor info and exhibition updates for 20 member museums; most are in Paris proper, including the Louvre, the Musée Rodin, and the Musée d'Orsay.
A useful website for checking Paris addresses is the phone and address directory, Les Pages Jaunes (www.pagesjaunes.fr). Input a specific address, and you get not just a street map but a photo.
The team at Paris by Mouth (parisbymouth.com) dishes on the local food scene with help from expat writers like Alexander Lobrano. Also check Lobrano's site (www.alexanderlobrano.com) for his latest Hungry for Paris & France dining reviews and favorite Paris food links. Secrets of Paris (www.secretsofparis.com) has a free online newsletter with tips on dining, nightlife, accommodations, and sightseeing off the beaten path. Though not entirely dedicated to Paris, France Today (www.francetoday.com) and The Local (www.thelocal.fr) often cover Paris-related news, arts events, and restaurants. And, of course, there are all sorts of Paris-related blogs that can be great sources of information and travel inspiration. Some of our faves are Do it in Paris (www.doitinparis.com), a bilingual site focused on fashion, shopping, dining, and fun activities; and the Hip Paris Blog (hipparis.com), which combines a trendy array of Parisian pics with insight into food, arts, and local living. Professional pastry-chef-turned-author David Lebovitz left California to live (and write exquisitely about) the sweet life in Paris on his blog at www.davidlebovitz.com. French Word-a-Day (www.french-word-a-day.typepad.com) is an engaging slice of life, with a vocabulary bonus.