Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014... and now what?

I have definitely been absent for a while. 2013 turned out to be a complicated, crazy year full of twists and turns.

For 2014, I look forward to a return to, well, calmer waters. I have plans to spend the summer in England, teaching in both London and Oxford. I hope to take a bookbinding class, starting to learn a new skill... an "old school" kind of one.

I am also continuing my attempts to de-clutter my house and life, to get and stay healthy, to develop and strengthen my personal community, and to be more creative on all levels.

What's new, then, in the Pearl 2014 blog?

Recently I've been asked by no less than five friends to give them advice about what to see and do, where to stay and eat, and similar questions about Paris. Not surprising, really, since I've lived there twice (1999 and 2008) and visited multiple times since 1981. I know the city, although I am always learning more. Most importantly, I give great advice about things to do and see and buy while there.

I've decided to post my favorite 50 tips about visiting Paris. This will include information about travel, hotels, cafes and restaurants, shopping, museums and monuments, and even day trips. Since my travel budget was usually small, most of these will be inexpensive (verging on cheap), but some will be splurges worth every euro. I'll also point out etiquette along the way, manners and attitudes that will keep you from standing out as an Ugly American.

To my mind,the whole point of visiting someplace away from home is to engage with that place and its culture--not your own reproduced. Travelling broadens us because we aren't at home and can't act like it.

I'll also include a list of movies, books, and music that you can use to prepare yourself for visting Paris, or simply to indulge in a virtual visit.

This means every week will see a new tip plus new materials about Paris. So if you can't visit in person, you can still enjoy the City of Light.