During the coldest week in February (hovering around 2°C) my little hot water heater finally expired after a dozen years of loyal service. I called “my guy” that Friday afternoon who came by and quoted €600 to replace it the next day, cash only. But the owner, who is responsible for paying for the new water heater, wanted a facture (the invoice, with VAT). I found EasyBallon (“ballon d’eau chaude” is the hot water tank) through my energy company DirectEnergie, an alternative to EDF/GDF. EasyBallon is a company that does just one thing: fix or replace your hot water heater.
Updated on Monday, April 4, 2016 by Heather Stimmler-Hall
How someone who knows nothing about the world of knitting, sewing, notions and needlecraft discovers the international "kniterati" and the New Zealand expats who have written the difinitive insider's guide to the fiber arts community in Paris.
This is an exceprt and summary of a much longer article published on Medium titled What You Don’t Know About TripAdvisor: How the World’s Largest Travel Monopoly Ultimately Hurts Travelers & Small Businesses
It’s no secret that most travelers will eventually end up on TripAdvisor when planning their vacation. It has become the Google of the travel world, where people go for honest, unbiased reviews of hotels, restaurants, sights and activities by fellow travelers. Except the information on TripAdvisor is anything but honest and unbiased, and it’s only getting worse. If you’ve only seen the good side of TripAdvisor, be prepared to swallow the red pill. Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to vacation planning, especially in expensive destinations like Paris, so this in-depth article will attempt to show you what’s behind the curtain (the summary is first if you just want the main points). The purpose isn’t to rant, but to provide information travelers can use to make better decisions when planning a trip, and to raise awareness in general about how TripAdvisor’s profit-driven practices affect both travelers and small businesses.
Updated on Monday, February 29, 2016 by Heather Stimmler-Hall
Have you ever seen a flag or symbol while walking around Paris that you didn't recognize? Here’s a little primer on the ones my tour clients ask me about most often. Some are fairly common and others may be unknown to even regular visitors to France.
By Secrets of Paris contributing editor Bryan Pirolli
Trust is a tricky thing when traveling. Between the stories from your cousin Kathy, your new Lonely Planet, and those endless lists printed from the web, it’s hard to know which sources get it right when it comes to a destination. It’s especially difficult for a place like Paris and its endless amount of blogs, books, and websites.
How can you actually trust anything you read? This was a central question in my PhD thesis at the Sorbonne (don’t worry, I’m not about to get all academic on you here). The answer, however, was relatively clear after an online questionnaire with over 230 people and multiple interviews with writers and tourists in Paris: Travelers don’t ultimately trust any single source.