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Paris (1)      Paris (2)      Paris (3)     Paris (4)     Paris (5)     | Useful links | What's New

  Visiting Paris (3)  

There is another typically French open-air market along two narrow streets (rue Bayen and rue Poncelet) near the Ternes subway station where you can buy freshly-cooked French cuisine such as the traditional choucroute as well as tempting fish dishes cooked with fresh cabillaud, daurade, bar or lieu noir. You can even find the Spanish paella there. The Ternes market is open daily (morning and afternoon) except on Mondays. On Sundays it is only open in the morning.
Click on photo for a bigger version.

GENERAL INFORMATION FOR TOURISTS:
1. After being closed for renovation works for about five years with its reopening dates announced, then postponed, on a number of occasions, the Musée Picasso Paris finally reopened on 25 October 2014. Full details of its opening hours, etc. from its official website here. Please note that unlike other museums in Paris which are closed on Tuesdays, the Musée Picasso Paris is open on Tuesdays but closed on Mondays.
2. If you want to be in Paris during Paris Plage, a month-long yearly event along the banks of the Seine River as well as at Bassin de la Villette (near the Stalingrad underground station) you should try to plan your holiday to Paris to fall between mid-July and mid-August. Its sandy "beaches", numerous activities such as open-air dancing, music and free deckchairs are meant to make stay-at-home Parisians feel that they're on holiday. But there's no reason why you tourists cannot enjoy yourselves here too. A great place to bring the kids!
3. To be sure that the Catacombs at Denfert Rochereau is open go here to check from their official website.
4. On the first Sunday of every month admission is free to the National Museum of Modern Art at the Pompidou Centre (Beaubourg), the Louvre Museum, Musée Picasso, Quai Branly Museum and almost all the other museums.
Warning: Certain museums, like the Louvre (but not the Pompidou Centre), are only free on the first Sunday of the month from October to March. For the other six months of the year (April to September) it is not free on the first Sunday of the month. Be warned.
5. All markets (and almost all swimming pools) are closed on Mondays while all museums (the Pompidou Centre is considered as a museum) are closed on Tuesdays. (However the Musée d'Orsay, the Musée Picasso Paris and the Musée du quai Branly are open on Tuesdays and closed on Mondays.)

If you are looking for information on the interesting places to visit when you are in Paris, go to "What to do, Where to go in Paris" as that page is intended for tourists visiting Paris. This page deals with other aspects of Paris that even the locals might find useful.

CYCLING IN AND OUT OF PARIS:
If you are interested in cycling in Paris itself with the Velib read all about it here.
But if you are more interested in cycling out of Paris and into the countryside to escape from pollution then go here for an account of how you can go right up to Meaux even from Paris on bicycle.

WHERE TO EAT CHEAPLY IN PARIS:
Apart from the very expensive French restaurants, the tourist on an average budget can eat typical French dishes at what is called a brasserie. This should not be a problem as you can easily find them if you just keep your eyes open. Many of them double up as a café with its sidewalk tables in summer. However if you are after cheap food then you probably have to eat at one of the many Chinese and Indian restaurants that you find in every street. I have come to know of a few that are really for those on a tight budget. They too have a right to travel!
One of the cheapest you can get is the one that sells Thai dishes in the 18th district of Paris. It's called Maison Thai (click on the name for a full description). Here you can have a full meal (white rice with two Thai dishes) for only 4.50 euros. It is quite a small place so don't come at 13h00 or you will have to join in a very long queue!
Another equally cheap restaurant where you can have a meal with a starter, main dish, cheese and dessert for only 5 euros is what is called a "social restaurant" and is really intended for the socially underprivileged who are able to have lunch and dinner here every day for free. Read about it here.
While eating at good French restaurants or brasseries is a "must" for most tourists, those on a tight budget will be glad to learn that they can still eat well and cheaply in an expensive city like Paris by eating at some of the many Indian or Chinese/Vietnamese restaurants in Paris. But how do you know which are the good ones? I have handpicked a few for you here.
But if it is cheap Indian food you are after, the best area to go to is La Chapelle (NOT the same as Porte de La Chapelle) in the 10th district of Paris. Get down at the underground station of the same name and turn to your left as you exit the station. Once you cross over to the other side of the road you are right in the heart of Paris's Little India. You can be quite sure that any one of the numerous restaurants here will serve authentic (hey, by "authentic" I mean spicy!) Indian dishes and at quite reasonable prices too. The ones at the famous Passage Brady are watered-down versions of Indian curry meant for European palates. Their prices too are also targeted at tourists!
As for Indonesian food, the D'jawa Restaurant at 148 rue Montmartre (Monday-Friday 12h-14h30 and 19h-22h) or at 54 rue de Miromesnil (Monday-Friday 12h-14h30 only) is a good bet for those who can't afford to eat at the few (and therefore expensive) Indonesian restaurants in Paris. In fact it has its website here.


A cup of coffee here costs only 45 centimes!
(Added on October 2, 2015) If you are really down and out and find that even one euro for a cup of coffee is too much (but even McDonald's or Quick charges at least 1.30 euro for a cup of coffee), you will be glad to learn that there is a place in Paris where you can have a real cup of coffee for only 45 euro cents. Not only that, you can stay in this clean, bright and spacious café the whole day if you like to read a novel or write a book and nobody will bother you. You might find people playing chess quietly at a corner and others reading the newspapers provided there. And if you should come in the morning for breakfast (it opens at 9 a.m.), you can have a complete breakfast (orange juice, croissant and coffee) for only 1.60 euro. The place is called Café des Petits Freres and is at 47 rue des Batignolles (at its corner with rue Bridaine). It is in fact run by a charitable association called "Les Petits Frères des Pauvres" and the workers here are practically all volunteers who will most likely serve you with a smile (I understand that they have a rotating system so it is unlikely that you will be served by the same person if you should return the next day). The nearest metro is Rome (take rue Boursault and third street to the right) and it's open Monday-Saturday from 9h to 12h30 and again from 14h to 17h (certain days to 18h) but closed on Tuesday afternoons. However during school holidays it is only open in the morning.

Rue St-Anne, the place to go for Japanese food

(September 4, 2015) I have received an email from Alice about my pages on Paris and as she has lots of interesting information to share I am reproducing it (with her permission) as I think it will benefit others too:

Hi!
I found your site very useful but there are some spots that I didn't find so I will list them in case you would want to go there or write about them:
Rue St-Anne: This street is full of restaurants where you can eat Japanese food. My favourite "canteen" here is Higuma at No. 32, where you can eat very good ramen. If you should come quite early (around 7.30 p.m., for example) you will be able to eat at the bar and see the chefs cooking right in front of you. There is also the K-Mart supermarket at No 8 where you can find a rich variety of Korean/Japanese foodstuffs. Then there is the famous Aki Boulanger at No. 16, which specializes in Japanese pastries but also sells traditional French breads. You might want to try their "melonpan", a famous Japanese sweet bun...or other matcha pastries.
Street markets: You mention rue Montorgueil and rue Mouffetard. Other interesting "street markets" where you can find cheese shops, wine merchants, etc. are at Rue Rambuteau and Avenue Secrétan where there is a really good cheese shop, with cheap but wonderful truffled Brillat-Savarin (5.50 euros for one quarter of a big cheese), the best that I know in Paris. The Marché Secrétan will re-open very soon, it is an old "Halle Baltard" so it is architecturally interesting (though it has been renovated) and there will be a "local market" with produce coming from outside Paris. If you go there you can also have a typical French café at Le Saint-Malo bar, but don't ask for a croissant! Just a quick, cheap and good coffee, and then you leave, that's how we do it!
Ethiopian restaurant: I also know a highly recommended Ethiopian restaurant called Massawa, located at 22, rue du Château Landon 75010. It costs 13€ a head, I think. You can also ask for a vegetarian meal only (I mention it as it seems to become trendy lately). The food is delicious and it is liberating to eat with your hands!
Bouillon Chartier: You didn't mention Chez Chartier at 7 rue du Faubourg Montmartre (metro Grands Boulevards). Is it because it is already too touristic? Actually, as a Parisian, I also like this place, where you can come anytime with 7 people and they will find you a table.


Thank you, Alice! - Webmaster

EVENTS IN PARIS:
  • Garage sales (boot sales) in Paris. You are likely to find a garage sale somewhere in Paris on any Sunday throughout the year!  More.
  • Yearly Ganesh procession. This unbelievable procession is usually held at the end of August or early September from Paris's Little India at La Chapelle. A metro ticket will take you to India for the day. Cool!  More.
  • Chinese New Year parade. The next Chinese New Year falls on Saturday February 28, 2017 (it will be the Year of the Rooster) so watch out for the parade in the Chinatown of Paris around that time.  More.
  • The 20 Kms of Paris run is usually held in October each year.  More.

How to pick out the pickpockets before they pick your pockets!

Men, beware of some young Romanian women who get very close to you in a crowded subway train. A number of them have been picked up by French police for pickpocketing but many more are still operating.
Women and old people, look around you before you use an isolated ATM machine on the roadside. Groups of 3 or 4 adolescents have been known to hang around ATM machines unobtrusively, observing the people using them. They will give the woman ample time to key in her PIN number and amount. Then they will rush out to harass her, who more often than not, is so surprised that she would just withdraw the card and leave, not knowing that the money would be coming out after that. In other cases (where you have not chosen the amount yet) they would simply touch a figure and validate it immediately and your card would come out in a twinkling, making you think that it is safe to remove it, since you have not yet typed in the figure. To be on the safe side, always use the ATM machines inside banks rather than those on the road pavement.  

In certain lines (especially Line 2 in the stretch between "Place de Clichy" and "Barbes Rochechouart") when the metro (underground or subway) is normally packed with tourists, office-workers and housewives, the pickpockets are eternally present. They like to be near the door so it's easy for them to make their getaway. If you are picked as a victim you have already been observed even before you stepped into the tube. When the "metro" arrives they will delay until the moment when you get in to go in just after you. Sometimes they work in pairs with one of them on each side of you. A favourite trick of theirs is to stop you from walking forward and distracting your attention by pretending that their ticket dropped in front of you. If that happens to you the first reaction should be to put your hand on your own pocket or wherever your wallet/purse is. Another favourite spot of theirs is on a moving escalator. When you are about to arrive at the top, the one in front of you will slow down to prevent you from advancing while his accomplice behind picks your pocket! So do watch out! Don't let the pickpockets spoil your holiday/stay in Paris. Outsmart them by picking them out before they pick your pocket!

1st Person Narrative: Modus operandi of a Parisian conman

Hi,
I have found your pages very informative and a great help in planning my recent trips to Paris.
However, to ensure your customers enjoy their trip to Paris please will you warn them of the following:
Last weekend I had a very bad experience at the Paris terminal when queuing for metro tickets. There is an awful problem at Gare du Nord with respect to con men and pickpockets and it would be very good if you could add a warning for future travellers to your website to be on guard.
My experience was that I was approached whilst queuing for metro tickets by a smiling French man who told me I could get tickets at a machine rather than wait for the long queue. He showed us the machine, and then returned a few seconds later and offered to help get the tickets. He distracted us from looking at the screen and quickly inserted his credit card to pay for the tickets. He then told us that the tickets that had been dispensed were the multi day passes we required and that they also included travel to Versailles. He asked my wife for money for the tickets saying that they were "80" (he didn't say 80 euros or francs). As my wife tried to work out the conversion rate he helped himself to 80 Euros from her hand and gave her the tickets. I asked my wife if she realised he had taken the equivalent of £54, she didn't. I looked round but he was gone. The tickets were two 1.30 euro single metro tickets.
Our daughter told us the same had nearly happened to her at the same spot last year. My neighbour had the same happen to him and told me he knows of other occasions when his friends have been cheated in the same way at the same place.
Please add a warning to future travellers to your website - the Assistants at the station appear to be aware of what is going on but do not wish to get involved.
Kind regards
- Barry (via email)


1st Person Narrative: An Englishman in Paris

I can remember when, at about 5 pm one pleasant evening my wife and I were gazing down on Paris from the Sacré Coeur and, having four hours left before departing from CDG, she suggested she would like one last look ( and maybe a coffee) at the Left Bank.
I - being the obliging soul that I am - attempted to drive down to the Latin Quarter at the height of the rush hour. I learned fairly rapidly that the French do not believe in 'road rage'. They do not shake their fists and go red in the face and honk their horns. But the principle on which they drive is to get the front of their car in front of any others. At this point, even in the Place de la Concorde or nipping round the Arc de Triomphe, you are considered to have 'won'. This does not apply to the Peripherique, where size is all and there is no tolerance by truck drivers of wandering Englishmen looking for the next exit to Houilles – Carrières-sur-Seine !
On our earlier visits to Paris I was interested (but not surprised) to see that the majority of Deux Chevaux had a battered look. It seemed to me that they were used more as 'Dodgem' (fairground) toys, where the owners had not heeded the fairground barker to 'Not ram other cars!'
As time went on and les francais became wealthier they abandoned their Deux Chevaux for much plushier Citroens and Renaults and seemed to take a great deal more care of them (or else the body repairers were getting more skilled). Now, there are more 2CVs in England than in France. There are two reasons for this :
(1) There is no cash bonus in the UK for trading in awful old cars
(2) The 2CV is the favoured transport of particular people. According to comedian Jasper Carrot, they are only driven by Vegetarians. Certainly it is popular with people who claim that they don't really believe in the internal combustion engine but have to move their family about nevertheless.
Lastly may I pay a tribute to French motor engineers, who are, in my experience, quite incredible.
I was motorcycling in France and happened to meet three Geordies (inhabitants of Newcastle). They could not understand why they were having difficulty making themselves understood. Apart from not having a word of French between them, being Geordies I, too, had difficulty understanding their English. A Swedish girlfriend once told me some Geordie expressions are almost pure Swedish! Oh! those Vikings.
However, we reached the town of Bourg-en-Bresse and their motorcycle engine stopped dead. It was a weekend but we found a small motorcycle garage. The old mechanic stripped down the engine in a flash and pronounced that a valve guide had broken. We would have to take it to 'Le grand garage' up the road. An engineer (dressed in a white coat!) took the offending object and asked us to return in two hours, which we did. The engineer, still in a pristine overall, handed us the newly turned valve guide, shook our hands and charged them a few sous.
We returned to le petit garage with the valve guide, where the old (and very greasy) mechanic fitted the guide, ground in the burnt valves, and reassembled the engine, good as new. On a Saturday! THIS IS NOT A FAIRY TALE! I can only surmise that when you are isolated in deepest France you really have to be self sufficient. I was simply amazed and I imagine many Parisians would be, also.
- Keith Paterson (Webmaster of Silverhairs).

Useful Links For Paris

The links below are aimed at making life easier for visitors as well as Parisians (opening hours of municipal swimming pools, public libraries, City Hall's evening classes, what's showing in cinema halls, garage sales, etc).