Paris Tourism Offices

The main branch of the Paris Tourism Office is on 25 Rue des Pyramides, 1st, M° Pyramides, Tel 08 92 68 30 00 (€0.34/minute). Open Mon-Sat 10am-7pm, Sunday 11am-7pm. There are brochures freely available, but you usually have to ask for maps or the handy"Paris for You" miniguide. 

The bilingual website, www.parisinfo.com, has practical information, current event listings, and basic info for accommodation, museums, nightlife, shopping, children’s amusements, and transportation.

There are also a few welcome centers run by the Paris Tourism Office, called Bureau d'Accueil, that provide tourist information, last-minute accommodation assistance, transport and museum pass sales, and bookings for shows or excusions:

  • Bureau d'Accueil Gare de Lyon: M° Gare de Lyon, open Monday-Saturday 8am-6pm.
  • Bureau d'Accueil Gare du Nord: Beneath the glass roof in the Ile-de-France zone, M° Gare du Nord, open daily 8am - 8pm.
  • Bureau d'Accueil Opéra – Grands Magasins: (shares a location with American Express) 11 Rue Scribe, 9th M° Opéra or RER Auber, open Monday-Saturday 9am-6:30pm.
  • Bureau d'Accueil Tour Eiffel: Between the East and North Pillars, M° Bir-Hakeim, open daily March 25-October 31, 11am-6:40pm.
  • Bureau d'Acceuil AnversOn the median strip, facing 72, Boulevard Rochechouart, 18th, M° Anvers, open daily 10am-6pm.

Heather's Rant

Everyone knows I'm not a huge fan of the Paris Tourism Office. Why?

  • They charge to talk to them on the phone (€0.34/minute) -- the first minute being a recording -- and aren't particlarly quick about answering questions.
  • They aren't allowed to recommend anything or have an opinion. If you want advice on a hotel or a restaurant, they simply give you a list of all of them. I realize this is to be "impartial", but it's not very useful for travelers looking for more than a glorified Yellow Pages.
  • They charge a fee to book your hotel room, which is really only handy if you've arrived and can't find a room anywhere (and/or don't want to have to deal with the hotel reception).
  • If you just want a "Paris for You" guide, you usually have to stand in a long line. Why they don't put these out (along with maps), I have no idea. Most people don't even know to ask for these useful resources.
  • Finally, I don't know what they study in tourism school these days, but the people working at the Paris Tourism Office just don't seem very knowledgable about Paris. Once I called to ask which Paris bars serve Absinthe, and the person on the phone didn't even know that the liquor was legalized in France since 1988. "So I guess you don't know about those bars, then?"

I welcome anyone at the Paris Tourism Office to change my mind (but on your dime -- call me!)

Other Tourism Offices

 

The Maison de la France ( www.franceguide.com ) is the country’s official government tourism office, with locations all over the world. Check out their website for the latest promotions, practical info and to request brochures. This is a good resource for visitors who will be traveling throughout France, or those who simply want to keep up with the latest cultural news and events. They publish a free annual magazine, France Guide, available through their website.

Montmartre (18th arrondissment) has their own little tourism office, called the Syndicat d’Initiative de Montmartre, at 21 Place du Tertre. They sell great maps of the Butte (excellent for exploring the tiny back streets) and often have bottles of the rare Clos du Montmartre wine made with grapes from the neighborhood vineyard.