paris Travel Guide
Tax day is here, and you're probably excited...but not because you love sifting through receipts and credit card statements. You're excited because you're getting a fat refund. Probably. The economy may be on its way back up, but you should try to stretch that tax refund as far as you can...like with a little "you did a great job last year" tripa Tax Refund Vacation.
If you haven't yet had the opportunity to fall in love with the Paris, know that spending some extra cash on a trip to the City of Light is worth it. If you have been to the French capital, then you know what we're talking about and it's high time for a return trip.
Not only does the city have a laundry list of landmarks, from the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Elysees to the Louvre and Latin Quarter, but both new and return visitors don't have to be told that the culinary delights alone are tempting enough to deserve a trip.
There are many traditions and tidbits over in Paris, and one of the most famous might just be attaching a padlock to a bridge and throwing the key into the river to symbolize everlasting love. Locking your love in a city known for affection and romance is all fine and dandy, but apparently the act might do a little bit of damage to the bridge and environment. Things are safe for now but there’s a group looking to unlock—if you will—this type of thing, as they aim to protect the Seine and the bridges that span it.
No Love Locks was born to save the bridges, as two women desire to protect and to prolong the city’s beauty—free from locks. At first we kind of thought this was a little unnecessary, but as we read their story—and their description of the locks as a creeping fungus—we kind of see their side of things.
We’re not here to cause panic and have you choke on your macaron, baguette, or cotton candy, but Paris had a problem a little under two weeks ago when an usual amount of smog rolled in and blanketed the city.
Concerned officials went as far as to throw open the turnstiles to public transportation, offering free rides on subways and buses for three days in hopes of improving air quality and easing congestion throughout the region. It wasn't just the pollution, though. According to the BBC, some unique weather patterns made things that much worse, resulting in an Air Quality Index of 185 that put Paris on par with Beijing.
Why, it's cotton candy.
While strolling by the Eiffel Tower last month, we kept seeing flashes of pink popping in and out of the crowds of tourists surrounding the landmark. When we got closer, we were able to see that the pink was actually cotton candy, which was for sale at the concession stand on the side closest to the Seine. Granted, it was mostly kids eating the cotton candy, but we spied a few adults picking at the pink as well.
Things are still every much on the drawing board, but we couldn’t be more in favor with the plans for some of the forgotten metro stations over in Paris. For one reason or another some of these stations haven’t been doing the public transportation thing for quite some time, and now one group is looking to upgrade and update things into a little bit of an urban oasis.
As part of the city’s current race for mayor, one candidate is proposing new ideas to utilize some long forgotten bits and pieces of city real estate. She envisions swimming pools, nightclubs, and art installations, as the city would bring these deserted spots across the city back to life—and better than ever.
Reports over the last few months have indicated that baguette sales are down across the board in France, so much so that the French Bakers' Lobby launched a campaign in an attempt to get people to fall back off the wagon.
The campaign and its slogan (“hey there, did you pick up the bread?”) pretty much says it all about the state of the situation. According to the BBC, two factors have contributed most to the downturn in bread consumption: 1) The French are sitting down less and eating more meals on-the-go and 2) In an effort to cut costs, many bakeries are now using frozen bread instead of making it fresh.
Airport Lounges / Airline Lounges / Paris Travel / CDG / American Airlines / Admirals Club / Cathay Pacific / Oneworld / → All Tags
Roissy Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport in Paris doesn’t have the best reputation for a number of reasons. There's the confusing layout, poor signage, and brusque French staff to name a few. Escaping to an airline lounge can help make many a journey more pleasant, and over the last few years the improvement works at CDG have included new lounges for both American Airlines and Cathay Pacific, two options for those flying with any Oneworld alliance partner.
We recently flew through Paris and had a chance to explore both lounges to see what’s what. The good news is that no matter which of the two you find yourself in, they are a major improvement from before. Literally next door to each other, both are now exterior facing and have windows for walls, giving views across the apron and one of the runways. The left door leads to the Admirals Club, and the right to the Cathay Pacific First and Business Class lounge.
Bike Sharing / Biking / Velib / Paris Travel / Bicycling / Active Travel / → All Tags
Here in the US, the bike sharing thing is still catching on, as even spots like New York City are getting used to pedal power. However, Paris is pretty much and expert, as their bike share system—Vélib'—has been doing its thing since around 2007. Unfortunately bike sharing may have caught on too well, as the Paris system is going through a rough patch.
It’s not just bicycle theft that’s a problem, as vandalism is also to blame for the city’s dwindling pedal population. According to Le Monde there were around 9,000 bikes damaged, stolen, or uh—misplaced—just last year alone. They’re expensive to repair and replace as well, as new bikes cost around €650 per vehicle. All in all the city thinks it spent like €1 million just last year to keep things rolling.
Things are getting pretty hot over the pond in Europe with rising mercury not offering much relief. With highs edging over 30℃ (around 90℉), Paris has at least found the solution for the throngs of tourists sweating throughout the city to snap a few pics in front of the Eiffel Tower or eat a croissant.
The relief comes in the way of the Seine River that cuts the city in two halves. No, Parisians are not recommending to jump in the river to cool off, instead city engineers are using the cooling properties of H2O to ease soaring temps in some of the Paris' hottestliterally and figurativelytourist attractions all the while considering Mother Nature. Essentially, the Seine acts a giant, city-sized swamp cooler reducing temps and making buildings more bearable to explore.
Tour de France Travel / France Travel / Paris Travel / CDG / Museums / Architecture / Sports Travel / → All Tags
Now that the world's most popular cycle race has kicked off, 3-week-long the Tour de France is inspiring us to think back on our own travels throughout France. From soaking up the sun in St. Tropez to finding the best pan au chocolat on the streets of Paris, we're taking our own Tour de France, Jaunted-style.
This weekend rounds out the one of the most grueling cycling races on the planet. As the peloton fights for air in the Alps, we will focus our attention on the final stage of the race from Versailles to Paris that sees the fastest racers feverishly pedaling from the outskirts onto the streets of the French capital.
Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.
A sepia-tinted photograph of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. It's an image that's nearly as old as photography itself, and recently has seen a resurgence thanks to photo sharing networks such as Instagram and Pick (Japan's version of Instagram).
The photo above is one from the 1940s, likely taken by an American soldier in Paris after the liberation. Sadly he didn't follow it with a selfie, but cameras of the age weren't exactly selfie-friendly quite yet.
Kitty cats. They rule the internet and, whether we realize it or not, pretty much the world too. Ever noticed how cats sometimes stake out the coolest spots in a city? This new featureTravel Catfocuses on exactly that. Submit a photo to be featured by tweeting or Instagramming it to us (details below).
Travel Cat spotted in: the Cimetière des Chiens (dog cemetery) in Paris, France
This week's Travel Cat is from reader Virginia Jones, who encountered this chat noir in Paris' pet cemetery, "paying her respects to dear Lick."