The main branch of the Paris Tourism Office is in the north wing of the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall), entrance at 29 rue de Rivoli, 4th, M° Hôtel de Ville. Open daily 9am-7pm (from 10am November through April), closed December 25th. There are brochures and maps freely available, and a gift shop on the left selling all sorts of “Made in Paris” gifts. In November 2019 they also started offering half-priced theater tickets for shows the same evening (Tuesday 12:30pm-6pm to Sunday 12:30pm to 3:45pm, payment by credit card only).
The multi-lingual 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 that provide tourist information, last-minute accommodation assistance, transport and museum pass sales, and bookings for shows or excursions:
- Bureau d’Accueil Gare du Nord: near train platforms 7-9 (international arrivals) open daily 8:30am-6pm (closed January 1, May 1, December 25).
- Point Partenaire Open Tour Auber: (shares a location with Open Tour) 13 Rue Auber, 9th M° Opéra or RER Auber, open daily 9am-6:30pm (until 9pm in summer).
- Point Partenaire Kiosque Open Tour Champs Elysées: kiosk at 125 Ave des Champs-Elysées, 8th, M° George V, open daily 10am-8pm.
Everyone knows I’m not a huge fan of the Paris Tourism Office. Why?
- They got rid of their information phone line (so now you have to go online to get an answer).
- 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 will only list businesses which pay to be members of the Tourism Office (I did this for a year and thought it wasn’t worth what they charged). Anyone can be a member if they pay the fee for the promotion. There are no actual standards or guarantees of quality.
- 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 knowledgeable about Paris unless you want to buy a ticket to something. 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?”
Other Tourism Offices
The Explore France (www.france.fr) 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.
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.
See the Paris Resource Guide for more information on planning your trip to Paris.