Need to get online fast? Since international roaming 3G and 4G is expensive, many travelers opt out from using their phone data to surf the web while abroad. Luckily, Paris counts hundreds of free WiFi hotspots, thanks to cafes, restaurants and bars increasingly offering the service and the Paris municipal government setting up free WiFi zones in many of the city's parks, squares, public libraries, city-run museums and other spots.
This makes it easier than ever for visitors to connect, whether for just a few minutes or a longer period. During the summer months, it's not unusual to see people sprawled out on chairs or benches at the Jardin du Luxembourg or the Jardin des Plantes with laptops on their knees, working or updating their social media accounts with pictures from their trip. It's certainly not taboo to do so, these days, so go ahead and get wired!
Read related: Most Beautiful Parks and Gardens in Paris
To quickly locate a free Paris WiFi hotspot nearby, look for the Wifi signal sign in parks, gardens, squares and around major tourist attractions. You can consult a full list of these areas here.
The easiest way to locate a municipal wifi network nearby is to first determine what Parisian arrondissement (district) you're currently in. You can find out by looking at a street sign on the corner of the nearest building; the arrondissement number is indicated below the street name.
Next, consult the above list to find networks in your area: if you're in the 3rd arrondissement, you'd search for wifi zones under "75003"; if you're in the 13th arrondissement, narrow down listings under "75013", and so on.
How to Connect to the Paris City Wifi Network (in Designated Surfing Zones Only)
To access the Paris Municipal WiFi server, make sure to follow these easy steps:
- Make sure you're in one of the city's free WiFi zones, and select the "PARIS_Wi-FI_" network from the list of available networks that displays on your screen.
- A sign-up screen should now pop up. If it doesn't, Launch your habitual Internet navigator and type in any web address.
- A prompt will appear (in French) to accept the terms and conditions and fill out some personal information. Check the box, fill in the required details, then click "ME CONNECTER".
- You will now be able to surf for up to 2 hours, after which point you'll need to reconnect by following the same steps. Note, however, that Paris city WiFi hotspots are only available during the day.
Free Hotspots in Cafes, Bars, and Global Chains
For a handy list of private wifi connections outside the city's own network, including free hotspots in bars and cafes, there are a few useful sites and articles you can consult.
This map shows hotspots all over the city, with useful breakdowns of outdoor networks, cafe hotspots, and other types of locations; it also specifies whether there's a password required for a given hotspot. While it may not always be perfectly up-to-date, it's nevertheless an excellent resource.
Time Out Paris has a useful feature on some of the best cafes in the city for hooking up to wifi: places where you can stay for more than a few minutes, enjoying a good cafe au lait and catching up with your email or plotting out your next adventure.
Meanwhile, over at Culture trip there's a great article on some of the city's most work-friendly cafes: spots where you regularly see freelance writers and consultants hard at work. These are especially useful addresses for those times when you desperately need to plug in your laptop for an hour or two and get some work done, or catch up on pressing correspondence.
Also make sure to check out our guide to the best cafes in Paris for students: most of these places have free wifi connections, too.
Finally, several global chains, including and McDonald's and Starbucks, offer reliable free wifi in most if not all of their locations in Paris. The Belgian fast-food chain Quick routinely offers free connections in their locations as well, including the flagship location on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées.