Paris, the City of Light, is an ideal place for your first foreign adventure. The French Youth Hostel Assn. (Federation Unie des Auberges de Jeunesse, or FUAJ) can help you with economical introductory packages.
The FUAJ City Break Paris packages provide accommodation in shared rooms at your choice of two Paris youth hostels for two, three or four nights (breakfast included), plus a three-to five-day transportation pass, a Musees et Monuments card (valid for three days for entrance to many of the city's sites) and a voucher for a cruise on the Seine River.
Packages for the Leo Lagrange Youth Hostel (also known as the Clichy Hostel) include two nights' accommodation and a three-day transportation pass for about $98; three nights' lodging and a four-day transportation pass for $112; or four nights and a five-day transportation pass for $137. The hostel's address is 107 Rue Martre; telephone 011-33-1-4127-2690. It can accommodate up to 350 people in rooms with two to six beds. The second hostel offering the packages is Le d'Artagnan, which, with 439 beds, is one of the largest youth hostels in France. It is at 80 Rue de Vitruve, tel. 011-33-1-4032-3456. A two-night package with a three-day travel pass costs $105; three nights and a four-day transportation pass are $121; and four nights with a five-day pass are $150.
For details and maps of all federation hostels, visit the Web site http://www.fuaj.org or contact the FUAJ National Office, 27 Rue Pajol, 75018 Paris; tel. 011-33-1-4489-8727, e-mail email@example.com . To book a package, you must fax your request to 011-33-1-4489-8749 two weeks before your arrival. There are 186 FUAJ hostels in France, including two other locations in the Paris area. All provide economical lodging in shared rooms, segregated by sex.
The FUAJ is affiliated with Hostelling International (http://www.iyhf.org). Non-HI members can stay at FUAJ hostels but must pay a small additional fee. To purchase the packages, however, you will need HI membership ($25 annually for adults). Information is available in the United States at tel. (202) 783-6161 or online at http://www.hiayh.org.
For information on other budget accommodations in Paris, visit the Paris Tourist and Congress Office at 127 Avenue des Champs-Elysees (http://www.paris-touristoffice.com). The city publishes travel literature in English for students and young visitors. Other budget accommodations are student residences, available during school vacations. For example, FIAP Jean Monnet offers a good value with hotel services, at 30 Rue Cabanis, tel. 011-33-1-4313-1700, http://www.fiap.asso.fr.
Paris is a great walking city, but you'll find the subway (Metro) is a fast, easy and economical way to get around. Purchasing 10 tickets at a time is the cheapest way to travel on the Metro.
Some theaters offer discounts for people under 26. There are also discount ticket kiosks on Place de la Madeleine and in front of the Montparnasse railway station, where half-price tickets are sold the day of the performance.
Outside Paris, if you have a car, look for Formule 1 (http://www.hotelformule1.com) and B & B hotels (http://www.hotel-bb.com). Both are economical hotel chains with locations on the edge of cities. Generally, rooms have a double bed, a loft bunk and a color TV. At Formule 1, bathrooms are shared.
Youth rates are now available for both first-and second-class France Rail Passes (http://www.raileurope.com). Travelers under 26 can buy three days of unlimited train travel within one month for $150 first class, or $130 second class. Up to six more days can be added for $24 per day, first class, or $20 per day, second class. Tickets must be purchased before you travel abroad.
Visit http://www.franceguide.com, which includes a Youth Corner with helpful links and information geared to travelers aged 15 to 26.