Right about now the blog takes a break from its usual duties– scouring the sprawling TvB contact network to find the next “yo”–to focus on one of mankind’s highest pursuits, vacationing! While I still find that bronze-age travel books can be enormously helpful, there are some really useful apps, blogs, and websites that should be on every traveler’s mobile gadget.
Favorite Paris Web Sites
This year I return again to Paris, far better informed than on my last visit thanks to a few excellent Paris web sites and blogs. Reading them on a somewhat regular basis allowed me to pretend a little that I was in very outer banlieu. Anyway, I’ve been bookmarking selected posts and articles over the last few months. Here are some of the ones on my short list:
Spotted by Locals — Paris from an insider’s point of view with posts on restaurants, neighborhoods, off-the-beaten path museums, less known city views, food markets, and lightly touristed sites written by informed locals. In addition to the website, they also have a downloadable, location-based iPhone app. I road tested the SbL app on my last visit, and it’s worth the $3.99 to get the Paris maps and reviews on your device.
David Lebovitz — Former pastry chef at La Panisse, Lebovitz lives in Paris and blogs and writes–check out his My Paris Kitchen–about all things food. His blog is not just about restaurants, though he’s got a can’t-miss list, but also about great shops and markets to buy the right stuff–either prepared or raw ingredients–for your own Paris meal.
Paris by Mouth — This blog takes the view that Paris is more than a few ossified food monuments. Want to get the latest on food markets (btw: check out Aligre), where to experience Paris’s revived coffee scene, or how to be a Parisan flexitarian? Then PbM is your site. J’adore leur liste des bars à vin!
Le Fooding — Another good restaurant site.
Un Jour de Plus a Paris — There’s more to Paris than food–there’s history, culture, civilization, and the greatest walks in the world. A good site for work procrastination and trip planning.
Favorite Paris Apps
I became very dependent on food apps during my last visit, and since then I’ve discovered more appware to help get around and enjoy the city. Chapeau tip to Spotted by Locals for a bringing a few to my attention:
Patricia Well’s Guide to Paris — Wells is a former NY Times food writer and editor, and is now her own brand– writer and teacher with her own successful Paris restaurant app. I have it on my iPad, and it has become one of my go-to resources for daydreaming about amazing meals. Plug in an address or view the city map to find the Wells approved bistro, cafe, or wine bar in your quartier. I just checked the iTunes store, and it was last updated in May 2014, so you’re getting the latest reviews. Well worth the $4.99 price tag.
A Food Tale — An iPhone-based Paris food app for those who don’t want to lug around a tablet. Less content than Patricia Well’s but practical: geo-aware and totally free.
RATP–Official Paris Metro App — The Paris Metro is awesome. Sorry NYC, but this is a world-class system that’s clean, reliable, and you’re never very far from a station. To help you find the nearest Metro–it’s geoware–this free iPhone help you plan route, this official app
Why not take along the original software, books? Here’s what’s on my reading list:
An Hour From Paris (Annabel Simms) — Explore the Ile de France countryside around Paris.
Walks Through Lost Paris (Leonard Pitt) — Remnants of pre-Haussmann Paris can be spotted with help from this book
The Invention of Paris (Eric Hazan) — Street-level history.
Paris to the Moon (Adam Gopnik) — New York writer moves to Paris with his family.
Blue Guide: Paris (Delia Gray-Durant) — The truth is the Blue Guides were the original travel software. Their Paris book is the only tablet-size information dispenser you’ll need. Everything else is la sauce.