Accommodation in Paris is expensive, and you don't get much value for what you pay. The same, in general, goes for food (fortunately, with many exceptions). This is why we kept the registration fee to a minimum (for a Paris conference):
When renting a Paris hotel room, you should be aware of the following facts (a kind of worst-case analysis, you shouldn't be hit by all these warnings at once, whereas at least one may well happen). 1: French people love their language and are hard pressed to speak another, specially English; thus, be prepared to be patient on the phone, or else speak French. 2: French people sometimes have brusque ways. It's part of their language, and most of the times their brusqueness is not meant to be rude, but it sure sounds this way to the untrained ear. 3: If you were thinking of reserving by e-mail instead of phone: this works in large establishments; however, you may well fail to receive an answer from smaller ones. If you don't speak French, our advice is to use both e-mail and phone. 4: If you find a very central hotel at 50 EUR/room/night, you probably reached the Hotel de Rouen in Rue Croix de Petits Champs. It's true it's not expensive and it's central, but it barely qualifies as a hotel. No problem if you're not squeamish and love brothel-like atmospheres (to the best of our knowledge, this is not actually a brothel, though. And anyway, what would we know about brothel atmospheres?). In the central arrondissements (i.e. neighourhoods) 1 to 8 you should expect to pay 120 EUR/room/night for a decent hotel, and don't set your decency standards too high. In other arrondissements you may well find decent accommodation going from 70 EUR/room/night. In any case, reserve your room well in advance. We are not reporting lists of hotels here because there's no shortage of them in Paris, just google "paris hotel" and you'll be on your way.
As France is one of the most celebrated culinary nations in the world (together with Italy, of course!), you obviously expect to eat well, cheap and aplenty, right? Wrong! Well, let's say that as most tourist capitals, there's a load of rubbish around the place. You can find cheap food, sure. And some of it is very good. But almost no cheap good food is French-style, unless the restaurant is in a well-secluded, out-of-tourist-bounds Paris spot. Most of your typical high street French bistrots will offer lunch and dinner menus as low as 10 EUR/person (15 more often), but the food is worth a little less than you've paid, so although you don't get poisoned, your belly is full and you sure paid very little, you still get cheated out of your tenner. A better way to eat cheap and good food is to forget you're in France and eat ethnic. Usually, Japanese-looking, Chinese-owned sushi bars, scattered around Paris, serve fresh fish, so if you like raw fish don't be afraid to eat it for less than 10 EUR: it's still fresh and won't hurt you. The menus usually include a miso soup that has almost no miso at all but tastes like a decent chicken oxo cube soup, and a cabbage salad with a faint moutarde de Dijon flavour. There's a couple of Afghani restaurants in Paris that are quite good (google "afghani restaurant paris"). If you are really dying for French food, you can look up the cheap but decent "Bistrot des Victoires" and "La Ravigote". We set up a list of restaurants near the workshop venue, displayed on a map.
French delegates should stop reading this page now
For international delegates, more warnings about...
A word of caution about the Parisian Bistrots: usually, the waiters make it a point of honour of, let's put it this way, not being totally polite. Specially if you go with a female friend (girlfriend? daughter? mother? grandmother?), there are significant chances that the waiters will try to chat her up. It's part of the culture. Warning your girlfriend in advance is a much more useful solution than challenging the waiter to a duel with your favourite scythe. More in general, France maintains that the proverb "the customer is always right" is a bunch of crapola. Often, you get the impression that the shop owner (whatever the profession) is extending you a great favour in selling you his wares, or services, and maintains that you should be grateful, rather than the other way round.
In France, you don't need to tip taxi drivers or restaurants. Waiters have salaries that are independent of tips. If you get treated politely in a Bistrot, this is exceptional treatment so you should tip, but you can keep it at a few coins, as there is no fixed accepted percentage.
The gne-gne-gnè strategy
If you get into verbal skirmishes with a French person in the street, whatever the reason, these are the rules: the first one who says, "gne-gne-gnè gne-gne-gnè gne-gne-gnè" wins the discussion (it must be really fast; do some practice in front of a mirror before actually using it, there's nothing sadder than a deflated, stuttering gne-gne-gnè; pronounciation: the gn sound in gne is similar to the English new rather than, say, agnostic). Some French people are known to do it to each other and also to unwary tourists, and you must be prepared for it: for if you're caught unawares and somebody does it to you, your brain shuts down for a moment, reboots itself so it can get into 5-year-old recovery mode, processes the ancient feeling of frustration when kids did this to you in early primary school, finally gets back into adult mode full of thirst for revenge, and (rightfully) pushes you to kill. Then of course you get sent to prison and you may never get out of France for the rest of your life. But if you're quick enough, and you're the first one to gne-gne-gnè the other, then you've WON the discussion and there's NOthing MORE to be said about it. That's IT. It's a devasTATING blow to the enemy. Except that French people are used to this so they recover pretty well.