Secrets of Paris

Inside this Issue:

* The Changing Face of Paris: What to Expect When You Return
* Latest Volunteer Opportunities in Paris
* Unique Tours: The Many Sides of Black Paris (and How to Find Them)
* Debate: ‘Françaises, Français’: Could the French Language Be LessS?
* RATP App Makes Buying Transportation Tickets Easier & Cheaper
* Virtual Ballet Masterclass by a Paris Etoile
* Groceries Delivered in 15 Minutes for (Some) Parisians
* Bob: The Tiny Dishwasher for Your Tiny Parisian Flat
* Electric Scooter Rental w/50-Second Battery Swap
* Join the Secrets of Paris Community on Steady!

Springtime in Paris…

Paris is enjoying unseasonably warm weather this week (25°C/77°F), but it will dip back down to the usual Spring temperatures by the weekend, so everyone is out at the parks (like Luxembourg Gardens, pictured above) trying to soak up some Vitamin D. With the hospitals overwhelmed by Covid patients, we’re still not allowed to go further than 10km from home to slow the spread, and schools will close now for most of April, but the “vaccinodromes” will soon open and the government now predicts all adults will be able to get vaccinated by the end of June, so there’s some optimism (you can find the latest Covid updates here). In the meantime, I keep updating the Best of Virtual Paris for those of you currently unable to get to Paris.

Stay healthy on this home stretch! – Heather

The Changing Face of Paris: What to Expect When You Return

Although the residents remain under lockdown, the visitors kept away, and the museums and cafés closed, Paris has not stood completely still. Renovations, transformations, and massive urbanization projects continued despite the pandemic, and many new places are scheduled to open when…well, as soon as they’re allowed! Here’s a taste of what awaits us when Paris finally reopens (and a few places you probably missed in 2020).

Latest Volunteer Opportunities in Paris

For those of you in France right now, I’ve updated the links for the many volunteer opportunities available in Paris, adding a few specifically for English speakers (such as English Pour Tout Le Monde). Helping hands are always needed, especially during a pandemic!

Recommended Reading: The Many Sides of Black Paris (and How to Find Them)

Julia Browne, who founded Walking the Spirit Tours in 1994, writes about guiding travelers through the history of Black Paris in this article for AFAR Travel Magazine. Don’t hesitate to book a tour with Julia when you’re in Paris!

RATP App Makes Buying Transportation Tickets Easier & Cheaper

So now that paper metro tickets are going the way of the dodo, so is the tedious process of standing in line at a ticket window or automatic machine to recharge your Navigo card or even get a single ticket for the metro or bus. The RATP app, available for iOS or Android phones, actually allows you to purchase and load tickets to use directly from your phone, and even upload to your Navigo pass (if your phone has NFC). It’s free, in English, and seems to work on most phones (although it did take me a few tries to get it to load onto my card, at least I could do it from the comfort of my home, not a drafty metro station or the long line at the airport RER window). Not only that, a 10-ticket “carnet” is only €14.90 instead of €16.90 if you buy it through the app. It also helps you find the best route, and lets you know the crowd level in the metro at any given moment. A handy app to test before you actually need it.

Debate: ‘Françaises, Français’: Could the French Language Be Less Sexist?

Of all the debates going on in French politics at the moment, this France24 article taking the supposedly enlightened Académie Française to task caught my eye. As someone who STILL mixes up “le” and “la” after 25 years of living in France, I’m all for a bit more language neutrality, lol! Either way, you’ll learn something new about the history and evolution of the French language.

Virtual Ballet Masterclass by a Paris Etoile

Online masterclasses by celebrities have really taken off since the pandemic, so it’s no surprise an “Etoile” from the Opéra de Paris Ballet Corps, Dorothée Gilbert, has started her own. For €150 for a year of access, you get the insider secrets of a prima ballerina – en français – that you can follow from home. “Over 8 hours of exclusive content, unlimited access on smartphone, tablet and computer, for all ages and all levels. New content posted regularly.”

Groceries Delivered in 15 Minutes to (Some) Parisians

A new speedy grocery service launched in 2021 is gaining in popularity in Paris, where after starting in just two neighborhoods, is now available in about 70% of the city. Cajoo uses small “warehouses” throughout the city to stock and deliver – via salaried employees on the company’s electric bikes – essential groceries to Parisians within 15 minutes every day from 7:30am-12:30am. Products include locally-sourced artisan products alongside more typical brands you’d find in any convenience store, fresh produce, wine and beer, dry goods, frozen foods, some organic items and vegan burgers, and also personal hygiene, first aide, baby and pet food, and some personal safety items including masks, hand gel, and even condoms (no excuses now, eh?). I’m a tad bummed they haven’t expanded into the 13th quite yet, but they’ve got most of the west side of town covered, and they’re growing monthly. Perfect for when you need a few post-curfew ingredients for dinner delivered tout de suite!

Bob: The Tiny Dishwasher for Your Tiny Parisian Flat

It’s cute, it’s eco-friendly, it does your dishes, it’s made in France, and it’s called Bob! What’s not to love? You don’t need a water hookup to use this in your apartment or motorhome or anywhere you have a sink (or even a bucket) for the outflow. And since it uses less than 3 liters of water per cycle, (5 times less than washing by hand), you don’t have to feel guilty for using it even if you’re just one person! There’s also a UV sterilization option. Be careful of the fakes out there, order the real Bob on the official Daan Tech website (€348, free delivery, pick from a dozen colors).

Electric Scooter Rental w/50-Second Battery Swap

Zeway is a new electric scooter rental concept in Paris which addresses the issue of battery charging. I don’t have a scooter, but apparently hauling a battery around with you to recharge (and waiting hours for a full charge) is one of the down sides of using an electric scooter. Zeway has a swap system in 40 locations throughout Paris, where you basically trade your battery for a fully-charged one in less than a minute (you can also charge it chez toi as usual). Scooter subscriptions are €130/month (3-year subscription), or €175/month (1-year subscription), including unlimited battery swaps, insurance and repairs. Take a test drive before signing up.