Saturday, June 29, 2013

The way you do the things you do

There’s a thin line between having things just as you like them and falling into a rut. One certain way to shake things up is travel. The farther the better. 

This summer’s return trip to Paris did the trick. After an absence of eight years, I noticed many changes in the City of Light...and appreciated how easy planning had become, thanks to the Internet. 

Websites and Twitter feeds provided a wealth of suggestions about current schedules, best ideas, things to avoid, and places to visit, along with online reservations for restaurants and advisories about closures that could affect the day's plans. 

Some sites I found most helpful include the following:
  • AngloINFO Paris, on the Web and Twitter. While the site is geared toward expats, it works well for visitors, too. "Comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date info" on everyday life in Paris. 
  • Girls Guide to Paris isn't just for girls. This "all-encompassing online city guide" features a Travel Club and downloadable walking tours. On the Web and Twitter.
  • Elodie's Paris focuses on "what's hot, what's hip, what's happening -- from an insider at the Tourist Office." On Twitter...and the official tourist site.
  • Paris Walks offers daily two-hour walking tours, in English, of popular areas in Paris. No reservation needed; just show up at the designated meeting place at the posted time, pay your 12 euros, and off you go. An informative and entertaining way to hear history's backstory and peek into otherwise hidden courtyards and alleys. 
  • The Fork, an easy way to discover restaurants based on location or cuisine, with online booking and discounts from participating restaurants. 
For two weeks, I soaked up the sights, the culture, and the tastes of Paris. What made it even more special was attempting to live like a Parisian -- renting an apartment in a residential district, grocery shopping in the local market, riding the metro, and watching the neighborhood parents walk their kids to school. 

It was very much like the way I do things at home, only with a decidely French twist.

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