Congratulations! You finally waded through all the offers and the fine print and selected an Internet provider for your new home in Paris. Not to be a wet blanket but it may take up to six weeks before everything is up and running. “But the last tenant had Internet service. Don’t they just have to flip a switch?” Maybe. Who knows really? In the meantime, you might want to know where to find free Wi Fi close to you.
Paris Wi Fi: The city of Paris has made a major effort to make Wi Fi available in parks and public buildings. This service (theoretically at 54 mb although perhaps more realistically operating at 8 mb) is offered in 260 locations: parks, libraries, town halls, and museums of the city of Paris. Connect with your laptop to the Orange network and you will be directed to an access page. Click on “SELECTIONNEZ VOTRE PASS,” fill in the form, accept the conditions of use, and you will be connected for a two hour session. After that time, you can continue using the Internet; you just have to fill in the form once again. Service is available only during regular operating hours, somewhere between 7 am and 11 pm, shorter for municipal buildings, longer for parks although gardens owned by the city of Paris also have closing hours.
Other options (plus sometimes the ability to plug in your computer to a power source) include McDonald’s and Columbus Cafe (where the coffee is presumably better, but certainly more expensive). At this writing, you must pay to access Wi Fi at most Paris Starbucks locations.
And if you need a computer too, check out Heather Stimmler-Hall’s list of her favorite Internet cafes on her blog, Secrets of Paris.
Note: If you’re trying to pirate service from a neighbor and you come across a network called Free, it’s not. Free is the name of a paying Internet service provider.
USA Today’s listing of over 3,000 Wi Fi hotspots in Paris (many in hotels and not all are free)
How to Find and Use Free WiFi in Paris (from David Lebovitz)