If you are about to arrive or have just arrived to IHES, there are a certain number of questions you may have and hopefully some of these will be answered here.
Below is a short list of extra curricular activities which might not receive sufficient attention in your typical high brow academic discussions.
Apart from the IHES lunch, one can find all the necessities in the town of Bures.
These facilities all operate according to French tradition. In particular, they are all closed on Sunday after 1 p.m., so there may be problems if you plan to arrive on a Sunday evening. Moreover, except for ATAC and the cafes, these stores are closed between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., and the bakery is closed on Mondays (bread is then sold at the Petit Casino).
However, if you are looking for anything other than the basic necessities, you will almost surely need to go into Paris.
The train tip takes about 35 minutes and trains run every 15 minutes until 10 p.m. and every 30 minutes thereafter. The last train to Bures leaves Luxembourg at about 12:30 a.m.
The cost of a one way ticket to or from Paris is 24 FF. You can also buy a one day pass which is valid for the RER and the Metro.
If you decide to go regularly, then you can buy a Carte Orange, which is a 565 FF pass allowing you to take any RER or Metro for a month.
When you take the RER to Paris, you may want to get off at Luxembourg, which is in the Quartier Latin, i.e., near the IHP and Ecole Normale or equivalently, at St. Michel. Another possibility is the Gare du Nord for trains going to England, Germany, etc.. Finally, one can take the Bures RER all the way to Charles de Gaulle airport, a trip which takes about one and a half hours, or to Orly airport which takes 20 minutes.
For more information, check out the RATP web site. The RATP runs the RER B from Bures to the Gare du Nord, and the Paris subway.
The RER B from the Gare du Nord to Charles de Gaulle airport is not run by the RATP but by the SNCF . This can be important, as the SNCF actually has strikes, while the RATP only has work slowdowns.
The most convenient way to get around Paris is to take the Metro, see the MAP. However, you may find it more enjoyable to just walk around.
There is a canonical jogging path along the Yvette, which passes right by the Residence de l'Ormaille. More challenging possibilities include running up to the plateau.
There is an Olympic sized swimming pool (50 meters long with lanes) in Orsay about 1 km from the Ormaille. The fee is 34 FF and schedules are posted at the Scientific Building of IHES.
There is a volley ball court at the Ormaille, and volley balls games are an Institute tradition. The season begins in early Spring and last till fall. The games are extremely informal and are organized a few hours in advance. They are usually held a few hours before sunset and last until no one can see the ball or people get tired, which ever comes first.
Paris is one of the best places in the world to go roller skating.
There are miles and miles of well paved streets and sidewalks, mostly
on flat ground. On Friday evenings and Sunday mornings, there is
an organized roller skating tour of Paris, including a (roller skating)
police escort. This ride can include up to 30,000 people and is closed
to all traffic.