Paris fascinates me – I have been there only once, for a few days in 2007, when we stopped off on our way to cycle in Provence, and it captivated me – utterly and completely. Since that first visit, I have longed to return and finally my dream will come true in May. I have been consumed over the last few years with reading about Paris – fiction, non-fiction, newspaper and magazine articles, Facebook sites and blogs. It occurred to me that there will be others who feel the same as me, so I thought I would share some recent finds that might be useful for first time visitors, and those with unfinished business like me. Some of my finds contain useful snippets of information and others are more in-depth, so I keep a travel journal beside me when I read, recording useful information as I go. Others are books I simply read for pleasure, absorbing as much of a feel for Paris as I can. Finally, there are those things I come across by serendipity…
- Appearing recently in a local Sunday paper, is this article written by expat New Zealander Margot Burton. She provides hints on what to do and see in Paris.
- Some great suggestions appear in one of my favourite blogs, Eurocheapo – Paris here we come : 14 reasons to go in 2014. Bryan Pirolli’s blog posts on this site are always excellent and his personal blog is worth a visit too – it is well-written and informative – check out his Parisian favourites, for instance. Also see the Paris essentials list on Eurocheapo.
- Theadora Brack’s recent post on visiting Clignancourt (a huge Parisian flea market know as Les Puces) is a great read. I have seen Parisian flea markets referred to often in all my reading, so I feel I need to see one for myself. Theadora’s blog is informative, eloquent, quirky and fun, with some great photography. View it for information on shopping, museums, monuments and much more. You can find more about Les Puces here.
- Timeout Paris is another great site and even better there are free apps available.
- Tripomatic trip planner – if you are staying four days like us, have a look at this suggested itinerary or plan your own.
- The Paris Pass, while it is a commercial site, has useful suggestions on what to do in Paris, depending on how many days you have to spend there.
- Check out some video material recently made available on Rick Steves’ new-look website – these are episodes from his TV programmes – Paris: Regal and Intimate and Paris: Embracing Life and Art. Bearing in mind these programmes are made for the American market, they are informative, and provide tips which may appeal to many English-speaking travellers.
- Search “Paris” on the Conde Nast Traveler website- there is a wealth of stuff to explore there.
- Explore some Facebook pages featuring Paris – there are numerous ones to choose from so you should find one or two to suit your interests. I like David Lebovitz - he is informative, provides good links and features food! His blog also features many tips for visitors to Paris.
- Books featuring Paris - I particularly enjoy those written by expats as their thoughts and experience resonate, and offer an insight into the Parisian way of life from a non-Parisian point of view. Some of my favourites include: Almost French by Sarah Turnbull, The Most Beautiful Walk in the World, by John Baxter, and chapters on Paris in Peta Mathias’ French Toast, and Vicki Archer’s My French Life. Currently, I am reading Edward Rutherfurd’s Paris – it is a mission as it weaves centuries of Parisian history with fiction, and it is daunting because of its length, but nonetheless, it is gripping and I will persevere.
The above are just a few examples of some really useful information you can find if you have access to the Internet and/or a good bookshop or library. I can while away hours reading material I find, and frequently do. But soon I hope to while away an hour or two here again – in Les Tuileries…..