Paris

Review: F is for France — making sense of its ways, A to Z

I came late to this amusing and informative book, I’m sorry to say. It’s an amazingly detailed compilation and exploration of what the French would call curiosités or choses insolites but it’s also a broad cultural overview. It’s an example of the best of a certain type of book designed to explain France to English-speakers. …

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Shaping the finale of Last Stop: Paris

TWO YEARS AGO, when I had hardly started the writing of Last Stop: Paris, I was casting about for a good location to set the climactic, resolving scene. I needed a crowded urban site (not hard to find in Paris) where I could set a car chase that ended in the Seine. At the time …

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“Voilà une semaine qui commence mal” – last words from the guillotine

I was walking through Place Dauphine on Île de la Cité when a bookstore display caught my eye — it was this book of “stupefying but true” prisoners’ last words before they ascended the steps of the “national razor.” Its title is “Shortcuts,” which is witty enough, but it’s the last little lagniappe that makes it really …

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Hot Time in the Old Town – Heat Wave in Paris

Paris in July is normally a comfortable place to be, with high temperatures around 70 degrees, sunny days, and an occasional rain shower in the afternoon – which is why many people carry tiny umbrellas all the time. But in recent years there have been all-too-frequent exceptions, with potentially fatal consequences in a country that …

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400 Reasons To Rent Your Bike In Paris

PARIS is a great city for walkers. For me, its tree-shaded avenues and elegant stone buildings always turn an afternoon promenade into a pleasant interlude, particularly when I stop often for a shot of expresso or a glass of Bordeaux. But when walking just doesn’t cover enough ground and the bus covers too much, it’s time to turn …

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A Passion for Paris – on Valentine’s Day

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the most romantic of cities than with the author and photographer Alison Harris, whose most recent book is Paris in Love, and her husband David Downie, author of the forthcoming A Passion for Paris and many other Paris books. The English-language service of France24 interviewed both of …

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Flyover tour of Paris on iOS

There’s a neat new feature in Apple’s MAPS app under iOS – Flyover. It’s available for several major cities, but of course I think the Paris one is the neatest. Open Maps on the iPhone or iPad and search for Paris. Under the city name you’ll see a line saying “3D Flyover Tour of Paris.” …

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The Eiffel Tower’s 30-million-euro facelift — and glass floor

At 125 years old, the Eiffel Tower is under almost constant painting and renovation, but the most recent has a crowd-scaring twist. The city has just spent 30 million euros updating the first floor, 180 feet above the ground. In addition to cosmetic upgrades and solar panels, part of the flooring was replaced with glass, …

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LOVE LOCKS, R.I.P.

Followup to my post of Aug. 30 For five years, lovers in Paris have demonstrated their eternal fealty by attaching padlocks to the Pont des Arts, an elegant old footbridge that connects the Louvre Museum to the Institut de France across the Seine, then throwing the key in the river — 700,000 of them so …

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Finding your way around Paris by public transit

Paris has one of the most advanced public transit systems in the western world. Subway trains (the métro) run every one or two minutes during rush hours, and only slightly less often at other times. Buses on the busiest lines stop every four to ten minutes, and they connect seamlessly with each other. It’s using …

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