es kill ya do wee-fee ee-see?

So if you’re in Paris and Internet-less like I am most of the time, here’s a handy guide to WiFi hotspots in Paris.

First off, there is a list of WiFi hotspots in Paris at cafes-wifi.com (French), or type in your address or zip code anywhere in the world and get a few places at free-hotspot.com. But I have no idea how you’ll get to those if you’re Internet-less! I don’t even know how you’ll be able to read this. Whatever, just save a copy of the search results to your computer and you should be golden.

Secondly, the whatever governmental in-charge people in Paris are trying to blanket the city with WiFi, starting with municipal sites, like mairies (the mayor’s offices for each arrondissement), libraries and parks. Yay! Two places I have already confirmed with it are the Parc Monceau and the park next to the University of Paris dorms at RER Cité Universitaire. I’ve heard that service is still a bit spotty in the bigger parks, but most bibliothèques already have it, apparently. They’re open until ten or eleven in the evening, so take advantage of them when you can.

It’s kind of annoying to have to do it all the time, but there’s WiFi available in virtually every McDonald’s you visit. I usually go to the one hidden in an indoor shopping complex off the Champs-Elysées (better known as the place where that guy makes all the bird whistling noises in the front). It’s underground, so you don’t have to look too lame, and the seats are pretty comfy, plus they’ve got tons of power outlets (very rare!).

Other known locations for free WiFi are the Centre Pompidou, Starbucks, and the Columbus Café chain (it’s sorta like Starbucks…). A lot of other cafes have WiFi too; just look for the WiFi sticker affixed on the window somewhere near their front entrance, or just ask a waiter, “Es kill ya do wee-fee ee-see (Est-ce qu’il y a du wifi ici – Is there WiFi here)?”. Actually, you should probably make sure a cafe has WiFi BEFORE you order something and not assume that you can surf the Internet while you imbibe; I’ve been to the cafe across the street from my apartment multiple times, ordered something, and THEN asked about WiFi. (€2.70 for each demi-tasse de cafe and it’s STILL broken. Argh!)

And always make sure that your laptop is fully charged before you venture out looking for WiFi. Parisians apparently know the consequences of public goods, and therefore it’s hard to find plugs for free electricity, even in McDonald’s. (Don’t forget to bring your charger and French plug adapter just in case though.)

That’s about it. Too easy? Ah, but my next post will be about Couchsurfing– or, how to house young backpackers out of the goodness of your heart while making sure that no one too sketchy stays with you.

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What?

This is a blog of things place-related, by a cash-strapped Stanford grad who's lived in various places and writes about life. She's currently looking for a job in Manhattan or the Bay Area.

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