Food delivery is nothing new in Paris, but the choices used to be pretty slim unless you happen to adore pizza, sushi, or tandoori chicken. Now there's a new generation of services offering delivery of food we actually want, whether it's from popular restaurants, gourmet home-cooked meals, or just breakfast in bed. And of course, there's an app. Being lazy just a whole lot easier...and just in time for the chilly season when all we want to do is snuggle up inside! Here are just a few of the latest ones that look appetizing.
Last week, when the temperatures in Paris briefly took a dive below 50°F, I finally got a chance to pop into the newly-opened Le Peloton, a café run by Christian Osburn and Paul Barron, founders of the city's popular Bike About Tours.
I had just finished a walking tour of the Marais and needed to thaw out, so I thought I'd just try a cup of their locally roasted Belleville coffee, but when I sat down at the large counter, the first thing that caught my eye was the apple tart. "Freshly baked!" said Christian. It's okay to eat dessert before lunch if it's home-made, right? I also had a bottle of their Luscombe hot ginger beer (as in spicy, not warm), another weakness of mine. The cold removes all of my resistance, I'll admit it!
Le Peloton is located in the Marais district on a quiet street between Rue de Rivoli and the Seine, just behind Hôtel de Ville. Most of the seats are around the bar, so as people came in and sat down for a coffee, it was easy to chat. It's not the kind of coffee house where people hide in a corner with their laptop. While Christian performed barista duties, Paul welcomed a group of cyclists who finished up their Bike About Tour at the café. These expats (from the US and New Zealand) started Bike About Tours ten years ago, so we often cross paths on our respective tour routes around Paris.
I'm always impressed when anyone can start a small business in Paris and make it work, but their tours also happen to be really good! (and I sincerely hope you'd trust me before you'd trust TripAdvisor, but they are #1 there, too) So many other bike tour companies hire guides who either barely speak comprehensible English or are so new to Paris they have no knowledge of the city beyond the Wikipedia text they've memorized (yes, I've been spying; I'm the one pretending to to be checking my phone when a bike tour stops for "commentary").
Much like Secrets of Paris, this grassroots tour company gives a real insider's look at the city (and Versailles and Champagne, too), keep their groups small, and avoid the typical generic Paris tour circuits followed by most bike tours. They also support the international charity, World Bicycle Relief, which I think is awesome. And now they're keeping Parisians well-caffeinated! For the moment the only snacking options are baked goods made fresh locally (pies and cookies), but they hinted they might look into waffles. Who doesn't like waffles?
Le Peloton Café
17 rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 4th
M° Pont Marie or Hôtel de Ville
They're currently open Tuesday-Sunday 9am-5pm, but since they're less than a month old they may adjust that as needed, so check the Facebook page.
Cycling and coffee fans can also read the excellent article in Sprudge, In Paris, Exploring Coffee by Bicycle.
If you usually rely on the maps on your smartphone or tablet to get around Paris, you've probably had moments where it simply won't load. I have 4G, yet I always seem to be in the metro on my way across town and I can't zoom in enough to find the street I need. Then there are all of you visitors who don't want to deal with roaming fees, but don't always have access to WiFi. My Plan B is the tattered little Paris par Arrondissement map booklet that's always at the bottom of my bag.
But now you can use the completely free Maps.Me app to get detailed, offline maps of not just Paris, but every city in the world, big or small. You can zoom in quickly, no long delays and grey screens. You can see all sorts of points of interest, museums, gardens, restaurants, metro stations, etc. It's part of the OpenStreetMap project, and allows users to contribute information to improve the maps.
Available on all mobile platforms including iPhone, Android, Blackberry: http://maps.me
I still highly recommend carrying an actual print map somewhere on you when traveling, because there's nothing worse than knowing your smartphone battery is dying and having to choose between taking more photos, finding your way to your hotel, or being able to order an Uber to get you there!
Three completely different neighborhoods, but very similar dining experiences: laid-back bistros, excellent food, amazing value.
We've had a rainy fall in Paris. In fact, we've had a rainy year. And for those of us who spend a lot of time walking around outside for hours at a time, a good pair of waterproof shoes is essential, and nothing is better than a cute pair of rubber boots, or 'wellies', as the Brits call them (aka Wellington boots).
Is it me or is Paris flaunting its naughty side this fall? The Fragonard Amoureux: Galant et Libertin (Fragonard in Love: Suitor and Libertine) exhibit at the Musée du Luxembourg displays the discreetly erotic works of this illustrious 18th-century French master, including the famous Rococo painting, The Swing. Open daily through January 24, reserved time/date entry €13.50, or open skip–the-line ticket for €20.