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Paris Beneath a Veil of Rain

While today’s reprieve from the Paris rain of earlier this week is welcomed, the city has a mysterious way of looking equally as beautiful perched beneath a gray sky and the cover of drizzling rain. Wonderful photographer Rebecca Plotnick shares her stunning rainy Paris images today. Enjoy! -Erin

HiP Paris blog. Paris beneath a veil of rain. Three essentials for Parisian rainy days: a cute umbrella, proper footwear, and a cozy place to watch the rain fall over the rooftops.

“Paris is the most beautiful in the rain.” Woody Allen had it right in Midnight in Paris. Take a walk down rue Montorgueil near Les Halles or Rue Lepic in Montmartre and you can easily feel like you have stepped onto a movie set.

Cobblestone streets, flower shops bursting with colorful blooms, café chairs perfectly aligned, and beautiful dressed Parisians. Out of nowhere the clouds open up and it begins to rain. This is a regular occurrence in Paris, so I find it best to carry an umbrella no matter what the forecast has planned for the day.

Some prefer to sit back and relax, enjoying watching the rain fall while sipping a coffee or tea at the closest café. If you are lucky, you can find a terrace that covers you from the rain but still gives a front-row view of people walking, umbrellas agape. You can either stay inside and avoid the rain or embrace it, love it, and dance in it. The magic happens in Paris when the rain begins to fall.

HiP Paris blog. Paris beneath a veil of rain. Going to a museum is a great way to escape the rain, but bring your umbrella- you won't be the only one with this idea!

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Paris by Boat: Discovering the French Capital’s Beautiful Waterways

Exploring Paris by boat

Edhral

Paris is a city easily explored by foot, with seductive small streets and cobblestoned alleyways inspiring you to extend your stroll just a little longer. However, some of the most enchanting views of Paris can be seen from water level, and those who are looking to rest their weary feet will be rewarded by a fun way to explore the capital’s waterways and gardens. Luckily, there is a wide variety of options for those who are ready to take sail and see the city in a new way. Here are a few options for families, groups of friends, and adventurous travelers.

Exploring Paris by boat

Cristian Bortes

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Stories of Love in Paris: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Romantic Paris: Celebrate Valentine's Day in the City of Love with Selections from

There’s no question that the city of Paris exudes and encourages love, in its many forms. This passion can manifest any time of year, but it’s certainly intensified around Valentine’s Day. This year, the theme of this varied amour is explored in many of the pieces in the new anthology, That’s Paris, a lovely collection of short stories. With an entertaining forward by Stephen Clarke of A Year in the Merde fame, the 24 fun, funny, and touching pieces of both fact and fiction are organized in sections ranging from, “What’s Love Got to Do with It” to “Becoming Parisian.” In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we’re going to visit some of the city’s most romantically charged locations through a selection of the works from the book.

Romantic Paris: Celebrate Valentine's Day in the City of Love with Selections from

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The Four Best Bike Rides Spanning the Paris City Limits

HiP Paris Blog, Best Bike Rides, thausj, olivier jean

thausj; Olivier Jeannin

A bicycle provides the perfect tempo for exploring a city. You can get from point A to point B faster than you would walking, but it’s slow enough that you get to take in the scenery in a way that riding a bus or metro never allows.

HiP Paris Blog, Best Bike Rides, Isabel Miller-Bottome, Ile de la Cite 3Isabel Miller-Bottome

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10 Reasons to Love August in Paris

HiP Paris Blog, August in Paris, Isabel Miller-Bottome plages, pause

Paris Plages/Pause Cafe, Isabel Miller-Bottome

For those who cherish the peaceful atmosphere resulting from the mass exodus of holiday-goers, August is Paris’ most prized month. In the past, I haven’t always embraced this sentiment, mainly because I love the charge of the city. I adore the hustle and bustle of the busy streets; the fashionable Parisians strutting down the sidewalk, chatting over a glass of wine or coffee on café terrasses, and shopping in the stylish boutiques. However, perhaps these August-lovers have it right? Here are 10 reasons to convince any reluctant critics (myself once included) why August is the best month to be in Paris:

HiP Paris Blog, August in Paris, Isabel Miller-Bottome, reuilly, vosges

Jardin de Reuilly/Place des Vosges, Isabel Miller-Bottome

1. There’s so much going on for free

Free movies, free concerts, free exercise lessons, free…! Your social calendar will be packed with the outdoor cinema screenings at la Villette or the Clair de Lune festival, pétanque or dancing at the Canal de l’Ourcq, running on Les Berges, and more. It might just be the best month to be in Paris on a budget, and since the weather tends to be nice you can save on dining costs by picnicking.

HiP Paris Blog, August in Paris, Palmyre, Lucernaire 5,4

Le Lucernaire, Briag Courteaux

2. You can actually get a table en terrasse

I noticed the other day when scoping out the cafés on rue Montorgueil at the peak of lunch hour that there were a surprisingly large number of tables available. And same luck at apéro; we had our pick of the usually highly coveted tables. Next I plan to try some of the notoriously tough-to-get-into venues like le Perchoir; perhaps we’ll have repeat good fortune.

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Les Berges: Paris’s New Playground by the Seine

HiP-Paris-Blog-Didier-Gauducheau-Les-Berges-1-lead+

Early fall has always been my favorite season in Paris. Residents return for “La Rentrée,” tanned and smiling (at least for now) after les grandes vacances and itching for some quality terrace time in their still seasonal summer looks.

HiP Paris Blog, Didier Gauducheau, Les Berges

Kids go back to school (hence the smiling parents), the weather is often lovely and the energy in the air is palpable. There’s always a lot happening – from restaurant openings to new exhibitions and film releases.

HiP-Paris-Blog-Didier-Gauducheau-Les-Berges-3rd

One of my favorite discoveries this rentrée is “Les Berges,” the newly pedestrianized waterfront that spans the Left Bank from the Pont de l’Alma to the Musee d’Orsay. Continue Reading »

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Fighting the Pounds: The Perils of Jogging in Paris

Jogging along a Paris bridge (Kevin Bongart)

As a very keen runner, I realized that Paris – with its pavement café culture and lax attitude towards dogs’ toilet habits – might not be the ideal place to train. However, little did I know the numerous obstacles I would have to overcome each time I pulled on my trainers and switched on my iPod.

The tourists: map-reading, awestruck or, worse still, love-struck, they tend to look at the sky, the ground, into each other’s eyes or up at elegant Haussmannian buildings. However, they are rather less aware of what’s going right next to them (i.e. me charging past) and happily straddle the pavement two or three abreast.

The cars: do not expect them to stop willingly. Ever. The art of a good Parisian runner is judging if, with a little acceleration, you can whiz by before the lights change and the engines rev back into action.  For a Brit accustomed to polite codes of roadway courtesy and to giving cheery waves as cars patiently wait, I admit that this was initially quite a shock.

Dodging city life, jogging along the Seine (D’Alk)

The bikes: Equally unwilling (or unable) to stop, but doubly dangerous as often manned by:

A) Unsteady, inexperienced Parisians whose idea of physical exercise is a gentle Sunday stroll to the boulangerie for fresh croissants.

B) Tourists.  Having read the above, imagine the chaos when they haul themselves on to a heavy, unwieldy and highly unsexy Vélib (hire-and-drop bikes dotted at strategic points around the city). Don’t be misled by quaint wicker baskets and slim steel frames that adorn postcards and appear in films like Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain!

Philippe Charles

The beggars: Do they really think I carry around loose change in my skin-tight running trousers? Apparently so.

The dogs: They rule supreme in Paris. I’ve even heard that there are more dogs than children in the city. I digress. I have learned to steer clear of all canine specimen after various incidents involving barking, biting (well, some very close calls) and being tripped up by leashes as unconcerned owners look on nonchalantly as if to say, “Bon, if you will insist on donning that ridiculous running outfit and puffing around in a rather ungainly manner, you can’t expect to not get caught in a couple sticky situations…” Continue Reading »

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24 Hours Paris: Marsha Moore’s Alternative New Guide Book

Little Brown Pen Montorgueil Paris CobblestonesLittle Brown Pen – Rue Montorgueil

When Marsha Moore contacted me in April about her upcoming Paris guide book 24 Hours Paris, (note: To order 24 Hours Paris, click here), I was interested, but too busy to delve into it at the time. Little did I know, the timing could not have been more propitious. Not easily impressed by most travel guides, I had low expectations for 24 hours London, which I had on hand (thanks to Marsha’s generosity) for my first trip there in 8 years. Nevertheless I was rapidly wooed as Marsha successfully and succinctly helped me explore London’s cool, hip, lesser known areas and sites.

Paris, mind you, is another cup of tea (or should I say café au lait). My 17+ years here have me well acquainted with what the city has to offer, but I am always on the lookout for new things to do. Marsha’s 24 hours Paris truly digs into the depths of the city and unearths things that many a long term resident have yet to discover. Marsha even managed, along with mentioning many of my favorite Paris restaurants, shops, spots and events, to provide me with some new ideas and inspirations!

Encouraged and intrigued, I decided to interview Marsha to find out more about the woman behind the guides, the origins of her innovative concept and where she is planning on taking it all next!

Paris Guide 24hrs Marsha Moore View SunsetMarsha Moore

Q: Why did you decide you wanted to write guide books?

When I first moved to London from Canada six years ago, there was so much to do here that it was a bit overwhelming. I’d read all the guide books and think: where should I start? So, along with Prospera Publishing, we started to think about a new kind of guide, a guide that would provide a kind of ready-made itinerary for activities around the clock – where you would only need to turn to the hour you were free, and just take your pick! That’s how the concept for the 24 Hours series began. We decided to start off with London since it’s where we were based, then move on to Paris since it’s such a popular tourist destination. We’ve had a great response so far!

Q: How would you say your guide sets itself apart from other more conventional city guides?

Traditional travel guides group their content by activity – shopping, drinking, etc. The 24 Hours series groups its content by time. It’s particularly useful during the nighttime hours, if you’re looking for something to do at 4 a.m., for example. Instead of flipping through a whole book to find a restaurant that’s open all night, you can quickly scan the 4 a.m. chapter. Also, we include lots of off-the-beaten-track activities for both locals and tourists – like anti-drawing classes or midnight movies – to help explorers take advantage of everything a city has to offer!

Promenade planteeLisa Weatherbee – Promenade Plantée

Q: What are your favorite things to do and see in Paris ?

I love the Promenade Plantée. It’s such a unique feeling – walking through trees and plants, even though you’re surrounded by buildings in the heart of the metropolis. The Bastille Artists’ Market is also one of my favorites, because I really like that you can talk to the artists directly and get some insight into their creative process. And as a writer, the Georges Brassens Market, where over 60 booksellers gather on the weekend, is paradise! If I can sneak one more in, the cruise on Canal St-Martin is also a great way to explore some of the more hidden parts of Paris. Continue Reading »

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Totally Seine in Paris – Getting Around by Boat

As sunny days gain hold in Paris, an excellent, and somewhat secret, transportation alternative shines through. Linda Donahue, HiP Paris friend and founder of Parisien Salon, details a sun-and-scenery-filled metro substitute: Paris by boat!

View of the Seine - Erica BermanPhotos Erica Berman

A few years ago, during one of Paris’ notorious strikes, the metro and the buses were shut down for nearly a week. After a few days of going à pied, I realized I needed to figure out some alternative transportation to get across the city to the Marais. That’s when, after years of getting around Paris, I discovered the Batobus. It was a revelation.

Batobus Paris is a hop on, hop off shuttle service on the river, offering eight stops along both the left and right banks: Tour Eiffel, Musee d’Orsay, St-Germain-des-Pres, Notre Dame, Jardin des Plantes, Hôtel de Ville, Louvre and Champs-Elysees. You can buy a one-, two- or five-day pass that lets you get on and off the bus as many times during operating hours as you’d like. There are no guided commentaries offered, but it’s as good a way to sightsee as any other. Continue Reading »

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