Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Insider's Guide To Paris - L'introduction
Spring has sprung in the City of Light! Want to know how I can tell? Could it be the rows of daffodils that have flowered in the local park? The blossoms that have appeared on the cherry trees on Boulevard Richard Lenoir? Or is it that subtle shift in the attitude of the locals from permanently-annoyed to just-plain-pouty?
Actually, it's none of the above - the reason I know that winter is officially over here in Paris and that summer is on its way is because the city is starting to fill with tourists.
Credit crunch, credit schmunch. The global recession is clearly not having too much effect on people's Paris travel plans. And why should it? Afterall, Paris is the perfect destination, no matter how dark the economic clouds or how wild the global financial storm.
And because I hate to see a fellow foreigner fumbling around in the cross-cultural wilderness, and because it pains me to see tourists being treated awfully by service-averse Parisians, I have decided to share with you my very own "Insider's Guide To Paris".
This is but a taster of the complete guide that comes with the latest edition of my book, 'A Town Like Paris'.
Over the next few weeks/months, I will be posting on this blog extracts from My Guide to Paris -- and lacing the posts with updates and errata, for those of you who already have the guide and want to make sure it is still kosher.
And so, without any further ado, I humbly present my guide to getting the most out of the City of Light ... Enjoy!
Extract 1 of Bryce's Insider's Guide To Paris
Anyone can pull a guidebook off a bookstore shelf, learn a rudimentary French phrase or two and declare themselves ready to be launched on the City of Light.
But to really get under the skin of Paris, you need to have lived and breathed it. You need local knowledge.
To properly understand the Parisian, to get a handle on what makes him tick, you need to have undertaken years of intensive, on-the-ground research. Entire days must be given over to the singular activity of lazing in a terrace café, sipping Sancerre and watching the world go by. You have to be prepared to drop everything and commit yourself to a daily (and nightly) regimen of bar-hopping, brasserie hanging and restaurant haunting.
It takes the dedication of an Olympic athlete, a Teflon-coated liver and the constitution of an ox.
But because not all of us have the luxury of time to spend years splayed at the altar of hedonism, I’ve gone and done all the hard work for you.
With the selflessness of a saint, I have dedicated countless hours (not to mention euros) to the arduous task of separating the Parisian wheat from the tourist chaff, so that you don’t have to.
That’s a whole lot of runny crème brulées, sub-standard steaks, desperately unhip bars and overpriced cafes I have saved you from.
All that is left for you to do now is to pull up a chair at the moveable feast, roll up your sleeves and tuck in.
But before we get underway, permit me a few disclaimers.
Firstly, if traditional, tourist Paris is what you are looking for, there’s a good chance this guide is not for you. If, on the other hand, you want to scratch a little beneath the picture postcard façade and discover the Paris that I have come to know and love, then read on.
Secondly, getting the most out of this guide will require somewhat of an adventurous spirit. Some of the destinations are well and truly off the well-trodden tourist track. But then, that’s the whole point, isn’t it?
Coming up next .... a selection of my favourite places to eat ...