Saturday, March 19, 2016

I have a couple secrets

I have two new secrets for more successful pedestrian tourism in Paris. They're so simple, but beautifully effective. 


The first is my newest discovery: headphones. I just bought some cheap bluetooth headphones and they’re brilliant. Why? 

Two reasons:

Google Maps will give you directions orally. This way you don't seem like you're looking at directions on your phone.

The other reason is that, even if you're not using them for directions, they're a visual cue to any the annoying people trying to sell you stuff that you're not a tourist: you appear to be a Parisian out going for a walk (tip: if you decide to wear shorts or white sneakers they will not be fooled). Tourists don't wear headphones. So throw in some in and enjoy being left alone by everyone.

The Seine and the ‘quai’

My second tip is one I discovered last year and remembered this week. I use the Seine as a point of geographic reference and do everything I can to walk along it whenever possible and as much as possible. You can do what everyone does and walk along the sidewalk high up. Every time there is a bridge, you have to cross the street. You walk next to traffic. Of course there are things worth seeing when you do this, but if you’re trying to get somewhere, and have already seen these things, you should walk right along the ‘quai,’ the path closer to the water. There's no traffic, and it goes right under each bridge: you never have to wait at an intersection! It’s amazing how much time you save, and how much quieter it is! Some parts of the Seine have it on both sides, while others don’t have it at all. For some reason, only joggers and locals seem to use it as a thoroughfare.

Here are some pictures from today:

The Cordon Bleu’s new campus is a block away from me and under construction. It will open in 3 months.

Stocked up on some staples

I love that this isn’t a specialty item in France