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Paris
"City of Lights"
Country: France
Region: Europe
Eiffel Tower
More Information:
CS Group Wikipedia Wikitravel
City-Ambassadors:
Julien, Marianne, Florine, Karim, Freddy, Pierre, Anaïs




Paris is the capital of France and (by far) the country's largest city. It is situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Ile-de-France region (also known as the "Paris Region"; French: Région parisienne). The city of Paris within its administrative limits (largely unchanged since 1860) has an estimated population of 2,215,197 (January 2010). The Paris unite urbaine (or urban area) extends well beyond the administrative city limits and has an estimated population of 10.4 million (in 2009). The Paris aire urbaine (or metropolitan area) has a population of nearly 12 million, and is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe.

Paris a big city with more than 58,000 CouchSurfers which makes it the biggest city on CouchSurfing Worldwide!




Contents

HISTORY OF PARIS

Paris is more than 2,000 years old. Gauls of the Parisii tribe settled there between 250 and 200 BC and founded a fishing village on an island in the river that is the present-day "Ile de la Cité", the center around which Paris developed. But now it is supposed that the initial settlement was west of present Paris where the Nanterre municipality is nowadays.

Known as Lutetia (Lutece) in ancient times, Paris was conquered by Julius Caesar in 52 BC, and existed as a regional center under the Romans and in the early Middle Ages. In 987, HUGHES CAPET, Count of Paris, became king of France, and under his successors, the CAPETIANS, the city's position as the nation's capital became was established. Often characterized as spirited and rebellious, the people of Paris first declared themselves an independent commune under the leadership of Etienne Marcel in 1355-58. The storming of the Bastille in 1789 was the first of a series of key actions by the Parisian people during the FRENCH REVOLUTION. Paris also played a major role in the revolutions of 1830 and 1848. In 1871, during the FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR , the city was besieged for four months until it surrendered. After German troops withdrew, French radicals briefly established the COMMUNE OF PARIS. During World War I the Germans were prevented from reaching Paris, but they occupied the city during World War II from 1940 to 1944. Paris was again the scene of violence during the student riots of 1968.

Paris today maintains its importance, character, and charm, though its appearance is being transformed by structures such as the CENTRE POMPIDOU and by the ambitious Grands Projets building program carried out under the presidency of François Mitterrand. In addition to the arch of La Défense and the Bastille Opéra, Mitterrand's projects include the renovation of the Louvre by architect I. M. Pei and the famous and controvertial pyramid, the complex of La Villette on the northeastern edge of the city, and, in the southeast, the Bibliothèque de France, the new computer-age national library.

Planning for Paris and the Paris Basin regions includes consideration of large land areas in the Seine River valley all the way to the mouth of the river. New towns, parks, industrial locations, and expanded functions of existing towns are contemplated for this corridor on both sides of the Seine.

More informations about the History of Paris on the wikipedia:Paris !

WHAT TO VISIT? / TIPS / EMERGENCY CONTACTS

Paris is administratively divided into 20 districts, called "arrondissements". Each district has his own deputy townhall. You can find bellow a webpage for each district which shows you what to visit in each of them, the tips to know about each district(free Internet/Wifi access, nice & cheap places to eat, the nightlife).

To have a first view of Paris, have a look (preferably full screen) to this beautiful video "Paris vu du Ciel" (Paris seen from the sky) by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, which is displayed on City of Paris website: www.paris.fr. This website (also available in English and in Spanish) is worth visiting: it is full of useful tips about Paris.

Free museums

Some museums are free every day, some on the first Sunday of every month, and some at other times. Municipality run museums are free for visiting their permanent exhibitions, national museums (Louvre, Orsay, etc.) are free for long term residents of the UE under 26 years old. This includes all students with a valid student card in a European country, with photo and date of birth: no need to be European, living currently in Europe is enough . Many reductions for students, jobless, senior citizens... Check the tourism office list (French) for details.

More information

TRANSPORTS

Airports

The main Charles de Gaulle international airport[1] in Paris has three terminals. Terminals 1 and 3 are located close to eachother and the free "CDG-VAL" shuttle train connects travellers between Terminal 1, 2 and the "RER" (commuter train) station. How to get from Paris-CDG to Paris center. The secondary Paris-Orly airport is also very well connected to Paris center (Orly-Val + RER and bus). How to get from Paris-Orly to Paris center.

The third airport used to reach Paris is Beauvais airport (60 km from Paris center). Used only by low-cost companies. You will find information about how to get to Paris center from the airport on Beauvais airport shuttle webpage

Metro / Bus / Tramway / Local Train

Most public transportation (regional train RER / Tramway / Metro / Bus) are managed by RATP (Paris transport authority). Some RER and suburban trains (called Transilien) are managed by SNCF (national French railway company).

Here are the tips

  • Always better to get a pass on Mondays as Paris weekly passes are valid for a calendar week (from Monday to Sunday). Thus this will make you save some money if you can plan your arrival a bit before the weekend.
  • Plan RER (map of the RER (express metro = commuter train) which give you access to the Surburban Members), Zone 1 to 4: Starting from one of the city in those zone, it takes maximum 40 mn to reach Paris.CLICK HERE FOR THE MAP.
  • Last Metro : the last trains leave from both terminals around 0:30am. Depending where you want to take it on the line you have to calculate at what time the last train will start from your station. Fridays and Saturdays night last trains leave one hour later (i.e. 1:30am).
  • Night buses: there is a night buses service called "Noctilien". They start from teh center of Paris (mainly from the Châtelet area) and have routes that go well into the various subburbs.

Passes

There are some public transport passes in Paris: Weekly, Monthly and yearly:

  • Weekly: Good idea if you stay from 3 days. (or 2 days and if you took the subway a lot).
  • Monthly: Think about it if you re planning to stay over 2 weeks.
  • Yearly: :D

There is also a pass for 3 days for three zones. When travelling between UK and Paris the international train usually costs less and is friendly to the environment. Never take a pass at the Airport! (Only "Zone 1" to "zone 5" pass). Instead, take a single way to the station of your host (don't use automat, ask the kiosk for a ticket), and from there, take a pass. Ask your host in which zone he is living and ask for a pass "zone 1 - Zone X (of your host)"

BE AWARE THAT PARIS IS SMALL AND THAT MOST OF THE TIME YOU WILL BE WALKING AND NOT USING MUCH OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. FOR THAT REASON AND IF YOU ONLY STAY IN PARIS FOR A SHORT PERIOD (UNDER A WEEK) JUST BUY A BUNCH OF 10 TICKETS CALLED "CARNET" (CHEAPER THAN BUYING THEM ONE BY ONE) AND THAT SHOULD BE QUITE ENOUGH AND CHEAPER THAN PASSES.

Map of the Local Train's (RER) & Metro's and Tramway's Network

Metro are lines 1 to 14. RER are lines A to E. Tramways are lines T1 to T3.


You can also see a comprehensive map of RER network.

Le Velib (The Bicycle)

Velib web site

Vélib is a "free" bike system that anyone can use in Paris, provided one has a credit card with a chip. BUT if you do not understand the rules, it may be very expensive instead of being almost free. Here's what you should know in order not to get trapped by the Vélib' system :

In order to use Vélib' bikes, you have to allow the Velib system to debit your bank account with the cost of your subscription AND of each travel you'll do with a Velib bike during your subscription time. The subscription fee is cheap : 1,7€ for 24h, 8€ for 1 week, or 29€ for 1 year, and during your subscription time, you can use a bike as many times as you want (but only one at a time, of course). Each travel will be charged to you according to its duration : it can be free, for a short travel, or outrageously expensive for longer travels.

By "travel", you should understand the time spent between the moment you pick up a bike from a Velib' service point and the moment you drop it off at another Velib' service point. (There are hundreds of Velib service points, everywhere in Paris Watch the Map)

Each time you pick up a bike, the central computer of the Vélib' system starts metering the time you keep the bike with you, until you drop it off at any Vélib service point. Here's how the cost of your travel will be worked out : - the first 30 minutes are free - the second half hour costs 1€ (even if it's not entirely used : for instance, a 31 min travel will cost 1€, exactly like a 59 min travel) - the 3rd half hour costs 2€ - the 4th half hour costs 4€ - each of the following half hours costs 4€

For example, if you pick up a bike at 7:02 am, and ride it all around Paris, fastening it to trees whenever you take a stop in order to visit a monument or have a drink, and then drop your bike off at a Velib service point at 22:35 at night, here's what will be charged to you : the travel time will be 32 half hours (real time included between 15h1/2 and 16h), which will cost

0 + 1 + 2 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4.... = 119 € !

BUT if you only use Velib bikes to go from a place to another, and drop them off at Velib service points each time you stop somewhere, and provided each trip lasts less than 30 minutes, you can use as many bikes as you want, for free (except for the 1€ or 5€ of subscription).

PHONES

Public phones in Paris streets do not use coins, even if you can still find some in bars or hotels. Instead, you must buy a card from a newspaper agent or shop. They cost about €7. Keep this in mind if you need to contact your host.


COUCHSURFERS

There are 8 city CS ambassadors in Paris: Annick et Jérôme, Anaïs, Julien, Marianne, Florine, Karim, Freddy and Pierre

Meetings

There are regular meetings. A weekly meeting is held every Monday from 8pm at the Lions Bar, 120 rue Montmartre, metro Chatelet (line 1) or Bourse (line 3). You can find a location map [2].

Regular other local meetings take place a few times a week (going for drinks, picnics and various events) - go check the Paris group to find out! This group is popular amongst Parisian members so it might be a good option to get in touch with the Parisian CS community, get any information/tips you need and plan ahead for a trip in the beautiful "City of Lights". You can find the whole schedule here

CS Paris big annual event is the Paris Rendez-Vous which takes place on the third week-end of July. The 5th edition was a blast and we're impatiently waiting for you for the 6th one (July 20th-24th, 2012) !

Couchsearch Tips

== Paris is one of the smallest capital in the world ==

London : 1,600 km2 / Roma : 1,300 km2 / Berlin : 900 km2 and Paris.... 105 km2 ! And it is probably the first destination in the world for tourists.

That's because we, Parisians, make a strong distinction between "Paris" (105 km2 and 2.2 million inhabitants) and "la banlieue" (the suburbs, 2,700 km2 and 8.2 million inhabitants). The suburbs extends over 7 "departements", which are often refered to: it is common to hear "I live in the 93...". Departements 92, 93, and 94 constitute the "Petite couronne" (inner circle) and surround Paris itself (departement 75). Departements 77, 78, 91 and 95 constitute the "Grande couronne" (outer circle) and are made of both a part of suburbs and also a big deal of countryside. These 8 departements (Paris, Petite couronne and Grande couronne) together are the region Ile-de-France (12,000 km2 and 11,7 million inhabitants). See more (and a map) on the Ile-de-France Region website.

CS members living in the heart of the city receive every day tons of requests.

When looking for a couch don't hesitate to ask CSers living in the suburbs!! The Parisian public transport system is one of the most efficient in Europe which means you can stay 50kms away from Paris and still make it to downtown in half an hour. Metro lines go as far as zone 2 i.e. cities bordering Paris (Saint Mandé, Vincennes, Boulogne, Courbevoie, Montreuil, etc.). Suburban members getting far less requests than central ones your chances to get positive answers will rise dramatically. Flats are bigger, there are houses, gardens, forests, woods, castles, all this 20' from the centre ! Its cool ! And it's Parisian life too (2 million inside, 9 millions in suburb : we live together !). Many CS profiles indicate precisely how long it takes to downtown.

To give a rather quick example, you should search for members in Ile de France and by latest login dates. Those two criteria combined will offer you a big choice of nice members outside of Paris.

As the new couchsearch engine still doesn't work really well, we advise you to keep using the old one: http://www.couchsurfing.org/mapsurf.html?form=advanced


BASED ON EXPERIENCE TIPS (using the old couchsearch engine)

Select the advanced mode of the couchsearch

Select Maybe, yes or definitely has couch ( if the city is big, the case for Paris, try first Yes definitely )

Select Member with picture

LAST LOGIN : 3-7 days is plenty for Paris as it is a big community

Results per page : 100 (25 is selected by default)

Order by : NEWEST ACCOUNTS ( Newly joined members are always more eager to host )

dont mention the city in the field, rather select it via the menu. continent / country / region / city !

LAST AND IMPORTANT TIP :

If the city is small sized, expand your research around it.

For Paris you can easily look up for a couch 30-50 kilometers around it. Just make sure if you are unsure to have the public transportation map close by in an open tab. Here is the map ( [3] )

Emergency Couches Available

LAST MINUTE COUCH REQUEST IN PARIS

CHECK THE GROUP HERE

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY

  • Police Station:

Police-secours : 17
• 1st district: 01 47 03 60 00 • 11th district: 01 53 36 25 00
• 2nd district: 01 44 88 18 00 • 12th district: 01 44 87 50 12
• 3rd district: 01 42 76 13 00 • 13th district: 01 40 79 05 05
• 4th district: 01 40 29 22 00 • 14th district: 01 53 74 14 06
• 5th district: 01 44 41 51 00 • 15th district: 01 53 68 81 00
• 6th district: 01 40 46 38 30 • 16th district: 01 55 74 50 00
• 7th district: 01 44 18 69 07 • 17th district: 01 44 90 37 17
• 8th district: 01 53 76 60 00 • 18th district: 01 53 41 50 00
• 9th district: 01 44 83 80 80 • 19th district: 01 55 56 58 00
• 10th district: 01 53 19 43 10 • 20th district: 01 40 33 34 00

  • Health Urgency:

SAMU : 15

  • Hospital:

ARMAND-TROUSSEAU - 26, avenue du Docteur Arnold-Netter - 75571 PARIS Cedex 12 - Tel. : 01 44 73 74 75
BICHAT - CLAUDE-BERNARD - 46, rue Henri-Huchard - 75018 PARIS - Tel. : 01 40 25 80 80
BRETONNEAU - 23, rue Joseph-de Maistre - 75885 PARIS Cedex 18 - Tel. : 01 53 11 18 00
BROCA - 54-56, rue Pascal - 75013 PARIS - Tel. : 01 44 08 30 00
BROUSSAIS - 96, rue Didot - 75674 PARIS Cedex 14 - Tel. : 01 43 95 95 95
COCHIN - 27, rue du Faubourg Saint-Jacques - 75679 PARIS Cedex 14 - Tel. : 01 58 41 41 41
FERNAND-WIDAL - 200, rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis - 75010 PARIS - Tel. : 01 40 05 45 45
HOPITAL EUROPEEN GEORGES-POMPIDOU - 20, rue Leblanc - 75908 PARIS Cedex 15 - Tel. : 01 56 09 20 00
HOSPITALISATION A DOMICILE - 14, rue Vésale - 75005 PARIS - Tel. : 01 55 43 68 00
HOTEL-DIEU - 1, place du Parvis Notre-Dame - 75181 PARIS Cedex 4 - Tel. : 01 42 34 82 34
LA COLLEGIALE - 33, rue du Fer à Moulin - 75005 PARIS - Tel. : 01 44 08 30 00
LA ROCHEFOUCAULD - 15, avenue du Général Leclerc - 75674 PARIS Cedex 14 - Tel. : 01 44 08 30 00
LARIBOISIERE - 2, rue Ambroise - Paré - 75475 PARIS Cedex 10 - Tel. : 01 49 95 65 65
NECKER - ENFANTS MALADES - 149, rue de Sèvres - 75743 PARIS Cedex 15 - Tel. : 01 44 49 40 00
PITIE-SALPETRIERE - 47-83, boulevard de l'Hôpital - 75651 PARIS Cedex 13 - Tel. : 01 42 16 00 00
ROBERT-DEBRE - 48, boulevard Sérurier - 75935 PARIS CEDEX 19 - Tel. : 01 40 03 20 00
ROTHSCHILD - 33, boulevard de Picpus - 75571 PARIS Cedex 12 - Tel. : 01 40 19 30 00
SAINT-ANTOINE - 184, rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine - 75571 PARIS Cedex 12 - Tel. : 01 49 28 20 00
SAINTE-PERINE - ROSSINI - CHARDON-LAGACHE - 11, rue Chardon-Lagache - 75781 PARIS Cedex 16 - Tel. : 01 44 96 31 31
SAINT-LOUIS - 1, avenue Claude-Vellefaux - 75475 PARIS Cedex 10 - Tel. : 01 42 49 49 49
SAINT-VINCENT DE PAUL - 82, avenue Denfert-Rochereau - 75674 PARIS Cedex 14 - Tel. : 01 58 41 41 41
TENON - 4, rue de la Chine - 75970 PARIS Cedex 20 - Tel. : 01 56 01 70 00
VAUGIRARD - GABRIEL-PALLEZ - 10, rue Vaugelas - 75730 PARIS Cedex 15 - Tel. : 01 40 45 80 00

  • Fireman Station:

Sapeurs-pompiers : 18

  • Embassy:
  • Emergency Doctor:

SOS médecins (24h/24) : 36 24
Urgences médicales de Paris (24h/24) : 01 53 94 94 94
Garde médicale de Paris : 01 42 72 88 88

Pharmacie 24h/24:
84, av des Champs-Elysées 75008 - Tel : 01 45 62 02 41
6, place Clichy 75009 - Tel : 01 48 74 65 18
You can know the local pharmacie open during the night by calling the local district Police Station.

WORK IN PARIS

For English speaking jobs and work in Paris, check out JobsinParis

LOCAL MEDIA MENTIONS

Le Parisien, local newspaper, July 28th 2010

INTERESTING LINKS

MY PARIS

Index here at the places you like the most and where you are sure you will absolutely have a great time would it be for just hanging out with your guests or partying it up paris style till dawn.

  • WHERE TO EAT

1/ Le Bambou , Vietnamese Cuisine The best place in China Town (the 13th district) to eat Pho. To go there check the map. The only restaurant i saw people waiting outside when it was raining !
2/ El'Picaflor , Peruvian cuisine , check the map here. 3 course meal at 19.80€. try the pisco cocktail as an appetizer and you wont regret it.

  • WHERE TO EAT VEGAN & VEGETARIAN

1/ Le Potager du Marais , A very small, rustic, cozy Paris vegetarian restaurant. Serves traditional French cuisine in vegetarian, with 1 page of vegan selections. Open Mon-Fri 6-10pm, Sat-Sun lunch and dinner. Directions: From metro station Rambuteau, you see Rue Rambuteau from the exit, restaurant is on 50 meters on the left. 22, Rue Rambuteau, Metro: Rambuteau, near Centre Georges Pompidou and Picasso Museum).link & map
2/ Maoz Vegetarian, Maoz is part of a mostly vegan, falafel fast food chain. Has self-service salad and toppings bar. Location is south of the River Gauche. Wheelchair accessible. Open daily. 8, Rue Xavier Privas. (at Metro: Saint-Michel towards Notre Dame, 2nd street to the right).map
3/ Saveurs VegetHalles, Paris veg restaurant Saveurs Végét'Halles. Has an Oriental feel, and food is well presented. 95% vegan food, and 70% organic. Gluten-free available. Wheelchair accessible. Open 10.00-15.00 and 18.00-23.00. 41, Rue des Bourdonnais.link & map
4/ Tien Hiang, Small Buddhist vegetarian restaurant. Menu is in English and includes mockmeat options. No eggs or alcohol used. Average price per dish is around 5.5-7 euro, or around 7.5-10 euros for a 3-course. Accepts credit cards. Open Tue-Sun 11.30am-3pm, 6.30-10.30pm, closed Mon. 92 Rue du Chemin Vert, (75011) Metro Père Lachaise. link
5/ Green Garden, Small and cozy Asian vegetarian restaurant serving Chinese cuisine including some mockmeats. Operated by a meditation group who are strict vegetarians. 20, Rue Nationale, Paris 75013. link & map
6/ Loving Hut, Paris vegan restaurant opened in 2009. Part of international chain of veggie food restaurants opened by followers of Supreme Master Ching Hai, an advocate for vegetarian living. Serving Asian and French food, coffee, non-alcoholic beverages, and more. Open M-Sa 11:30am-3pm and 6-11pm. Accepts credit card. 92, Boulevard de Beaumarchais, Paris 75011. link & map
7/ Maoz Vegetarian 2, Maoz is part of a mostly vegan, falafel fast food chain. Has self-service salad and toppings bar. Location is south of the River Gauche. 36 rue saint andré-des arts 75006 map

for more veg/vegetarian options : Happycow

  • WHERE TO DRINK

1/ L'Objectif Lune, Quartier Bastille (Metro Line 1,5,8). If not the best Mojito and really cheap (3.80 euros during happy hours for all cocktails and 3 euros for a pint of lager). The bar opens at 6pm and the happy hours are over at 9pm. check out the location map

  • WHERE TO PARTY

1/ La Fléche d'Or, To enter this really cool place, you will be ask on opening day to pay 6 euros (against a voucher for a drink of the same price). To check the programmation, go Here and the closest metro is either Porte de Bagnolet or Alexandre Dumas. MAP HERE

  • WHERE TO SLEEP

1/ HostelWorld.com (search engine)
2/ Gomio.com (search engine)
3/ Hôtel Formule1
4/ St Christopher's Paris Hostel
5/ 3 Ducks Hostel
6/ BVJ Hotel
7/ Auberge de Jeunesse D'Artagnan
8/ find a roommate to rent a flat in paris for a week

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