During the past few years, finding the Paris Office of Tourism wasn’t as easy as one might expect. I’m happy to report that the Paris Visitor’s Bureau is alive and well with branches in seven arrondissements.
If you stop in at the Office of Tourism, you can pick up a free map available in ten languages (French, English, Spanish, German Italian Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and Korean) I was also presented with the Paris For You (2007-2008) Walking Guide.
You’ll want to go to the Office of Tourism to buy your Museum Pass (the other option is the FNAC bookstore) which will allow you the possibility of cutting long lines at the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay. The Museum Pass is useful if your time in Paris is limited.
You can also find information in the Paris Metro. If you’re passing through the Place d’Italie Metro stop, look for RATPs Information Kiosque. It’s a mini computer that gives you weather reports and tells you what movies are showing in Paris. Depending on the Metro stop, you can also buy your Paris Visite transportation tickets or a line-cutter ticket for the Louvre (Champs Elysees, Palais Royal, Tuileries, Franklin D. Roosevelt stops).
These are the locations of the Paris Office of Tourism in Paris:
Around the Champs Elysees and the Louvre
The Main Welcome Center is located at 25 Rue des Pyramides.
Metro: Pyramides, Tuileries, Opera
Open daily: 9 am to 7 pm (June-October
10 am to 7 pm (November to May)
(For a main welcome center, the location isn’t so obvious. I actually stumbled upon the main office coming back from the Yves St. Laurent funeral services on Rue St. Honore at Eglise St. Roch).
Kiosk Champs Elysees Clemenceau
Ave des Champs Elysees/corner avenue Marigny
Only open April to October except May 1st and July 14th.
Espace du Tourisme d’Ile-de-France
Carrousel du Louvre
Place de la Pyramide-inversee
99 Rue de Rivoli
Metro: Palais Royal
Open Daily 10 am to 6 pm except Dec 25, Jan 1 and May 1.
72 Blvd. Rochechouart (9eme)
You should be able to spot this tourist bureau as soon as you walk out of the Metro (before you start walking up toward Sacre Coeur)
Metro: Anvers or Barbes Rochechouart
Open Daily: 10 am to 6 pm except Jan 1, May 1 and Dec 25.
Syndicat d’Iniative de Montmartre (another word for Tourist Bureau)
21 Place du Tertre
Open Daily: 10 am to 7 pm except May.
1 Place de la Porte de Versailles (15th)
Metro: Porte de Versailles. Gate A
11 am to 5 pm. Only open during trade shows and fairs.
Tourist Info at Train Stations
Gare du Nord
18 Rue de Dunkerque (10th) under glass roof of the new Ile-de-France station
M and RER B and D lines Gare du Nord.
Open daily 8 am to 6 pm excpet May 1st, July 14 and Dec 25.
Gare de L’Est
Place du 11 Novembre-1918 (10th) On the arrival side of the TGV international
– Rue d’Alsace side
Metro: Gare de l’Est.
Open daily 9 am to 5 pm except Sundays and public holidays. Opening times may change.
The Paris Tourism office has an excellent website in English as well as French. Current events, festivals and museum exhibits are constantly updated.
I found the staff at the main branch of the Office of Tourism to be very helpful. The intern who helped me was just beginning to practice her English so we spoke partly in French and English. Be sure to ask for a copy of the walking guide Paris For You – a walking guide for discovering Paris. It’s FREE!
All Paris tourist offices have maps, information, and travel brochures, and some also will make reservations at cheap hotels for you. Note that sometimes during the summer, you’ll find that the Paris TIs at the train stations come with long lines – because they’re the first information office many incoming tourists see, they make a beeline for that “information” sign. You can either plan a little extra time to wait and use the train station TI, or you can figure out your initial plans and visit one of the other Paris tourist information offices later in your stay.