In the News

The Locks on Paris’s Bridges Represent a Misunderstanding

The background on that whole crazy "locks on pedestrian bridges" thing: Symbols of undying love — though not in the view of Parisians — adorn Pont de l'Archevêché, in front of Notre Dame. ... On some of the city’s most iconic bridges, thousands of visitors left small padlocks, neatly attached to the metal railings. Once discreet, doing their deed at night, visitors soon acted in broad daylight, in pairs, photographing each other in front of their locks, and videotaping the throwing of the keys into the Seine. ... One night about two years ago, someone cut through the wires and removed all the locks on one of the bridges. ...Such a font of conversation topics, from the madness of crowds, the meaning of love, which side of the bridge is more popular and why the choice matters, and if there was any symbolism to the bike locks we saw chained in front of the ecole maternelle near our house.
In the News, Transports: Métro, Taxi, Trains and Planes

Free tuk-tuk taxis take to the streets of Paris

Has anyone seen this? How does it work?

A new fleet of ‘tuk-tuk’ taxis have taken to the streets of Paris this week, offering free journeys around the French capital.

The service is set to run seven days a week, using 24 tuk-tuks and stopping at 150 points on some of the most popular fixed bus routes in the city.

The service is operated by entrepreneur Kheir Mazri, who aims to cover costs by selling advertising on the side of the vehicles and by selling a variety of pastries, tea and popcorn to passengers during their journey.

To avoid competition with Parisian taxis, tuk-tuk drivers will not accept special destination requests.

Motorbike-powered tuk-tuks are a common sight in many Asian countries. If the service is successful in Paris, there are plans to expand nationally offering the service in cities across France.

[From Free tuk-tuk taxis take to the streets of Paris - The Connexion]
Books

French Lessons by Ellen Sussman, out July 5

Can't wait to read the newest book, by my friend and writing teacher, Ellen Sussman.   French Lessons is the book, and it's out July 5th.

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Knowing Ellen, my bet is that this will be a well-told sexy story, with plenty to learn about life and love from the three main characters. Hopefully, she'll make some allusions to the life we lived in the '90s when we were in Paris together.

For tourists only, Hotel and lodging, In the News, Understand France and the French

France awards new “palace” label to top hotels

I guess we all needed to be able to turn the hotel amp up to 11, which is essentially what adding "palais" to the old star distinction means. Of all the new "palais," we've only stayed at the Hyatt Vendome, which is certainly a wonderful hotel, but is it a palace? Like any expensive hotel the world over, it has it's over-priced closet rooms that overlook an airshaft, as well its million dollar a night arena-size apartments.

PARIS (Reuters) - France granted a few top hotels the right to call themselves a "palace" on Thursday, a label which distinguishes them from rivals and is designed to boost the country's profile as a luxury destination.

The eight winners of the accolade include Paris hotels Meurice and Plaza-Athenee, both owned by the Sultan of Brunei, as well as the Bristol hotel, owned by Germany's Oetker family.

and 39 rue de Vaugirard...

For tourists only

New Paris iPad app

When I lived in Paris, I used to have a green hunting jacket with a big pocket in back (for birds?) ... An interactive map pinpoints hotels, restaurants and other Parisian accommodations, which is convenient if you're staying, for instance, in the Marais and want to find a nearby cafe, bar, post office or Metro stop. ... To help navigate the streets of Paris, the iPad's GPS chip reveals your location on the map, which can flip over to reveal a color-coded Metro map. A new feature, Paris in Pictures, includes dozens of color photographs of Parisian attractions to provide inspiration for what to do while you're there.
Health and Safety, In the News, Transports: Métro, Taxi, Trains and Planes

Paris tourist warning: 53% of violent transit thefts tied to phones

53% of violent thefts in Paris m and transit métro and transit thefts involve smart phones, including the ubiquitous iPhone. City officials even call it the "iPhone effect."

This is easy to understand. My wife lost her iPhone on the Muni bus here in San Francisco. The thief scoped the riders near the door and as the bus doors opened, he grabbed the phone and ran out the door. The doors closed and she barely knew what happened. I could see this easily happening in Paris. On the other hand, your odds aren't so bad. If you're standing at rush hour, you're usually surrounded by ten other people staring at their little screens. Still, a word to the wise...


In the News, Transports: Métro, Taxi, Trains and Planes, Understand France and the French

Paris bid to ban SUVs?

Those French, so logical and practical, yet so infuriating to the American sensibility of freedom and waste. Ten years after the Hummer was introduced as the ultimate extension of small apartment masquerading as automobile, this seems like a sensible step, especially in cities where there are no mountains to climb or icy roads to navigate. Bulky, gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles (SUVs) could be banned from the chic but traffic-clogged streets of Paris within 18 months following a resolution passed by the city council.