Shakespeare and Company, on the St.-Germain to Notre Dame trip.
Everyone seems to have an iPhone app lately, and more are coming out each day. When we started to put ours together, there were about 10 Paris iPhone apps, but only months later, now that ours have gone live, there are hundreds. So it’s hard to stand out.
But as you download numerous free ones and a few others that you’ve purchased, you have to really think about the best use for apps. I believe that they normally involve something you need to find or experience when you are out and about, or something really cool, like the flashlight app or Shazam, which never ceases to amaze me. If I hold up my iPhone in a crowded restaurant when I can’t figure out who sings the song that’s playing, Shazam will tell me in a matter of seconds. That’s pure genius. I wouldn’t, however, recommend Shazaming (is that a word?) every song that comes on the radio as you drive across the French countryside, even if you are as bored as I was. That’s not the smartest thing to do.
Anyway, what we’ve done at Girls’ Guide is simply to bring to you and your iPhone our popular Girls’ Guide walking trips. Our motto has always been, Why lug around a heavy guidebook when you can download and print out a few pages and take one of our interesting and off-the-beaten-track walking trips? Well, you can still do that if you don’t have an iPhone, but if you do have a Steve Jobs special, you can simply buy our new apps in a variety of groupings. And there is no doubt that a walking trip is one of the best uses of the iPhone app platform. I hope you don’t mind if I go on to brag a bit about our apps. I only feel entitled to do so because they took more than nine months to deliver, and it was more work than birthing my two kids, so I am kind of a proud mommy bragging about her newborn babes. Please forgive me.
Jean-Charles Rochoux, on the pastry and chocolate trip.
The Paris highlights package includes our most popular trip, the chocolate and pastry trip, as well as our walk-and-shop-the-Marais trip (with more than 60 shop stops) and our stroll from St.-Germain to the Louvre, which guides you through a secret passageway and reveals I. M. Pei’s pyramid in its most perfect frame.
An antiques store along the rue du Cherche Midi.
Next up, we’ve put together a shopping and sightseeing combo, which includes a stroll along the rue du Cherche Midi; a shopping trip of the rues St.-Dominique and Grenelle in the 7th Arrondissement; a stroll from St.-Germain to Notre Dame; a walk around the Marais, and another around Pigalle and Montmartre. This set is enough to keep you busy for an entire week and only costs $4.99. That’s a real bargain when I think about how many months of work went into these—and the pictures are gorgeous!
The St.-Severin church, on the St.-Germain trip.
Let’s face it: two of the main reasons you go to Paris are sightseeing and shopping, right? This package of five different trips will take you shopping along the ancient streets of the Marais as well as St.-Germain, leaving you time to stop and taste some pastry here and there, and relax in a gorgeous square. Included is an extensive trip of charming Montmartre and Pigalle, as well as the 9th Arrondissement, a very trendy, up-and-coming area that few tripists visit. Plus, our path to Notre Dame winds you through some of Paris’s oldest and smallest streets, into what we think is the best English bookstore in the world.
The Monge market, on the gourmet trip.
Our last package of trips is for the foodie: three walking trips for gourmets who love to taste and smell Paris—our pastry and chocolate trip, a quick gourmet trip and a more extensive gourmet trip, which covers a much larger and altogether different area. We see from comments on our Facebook page and our articles that food reviews and discussions are always the most popular subjects we talk about. You understand what we do: while there is a lot of great food around the world, there is nothing that matches French food, particularly in terms of pastry and chocolate as well as the care and dedication that go into presenting the richness of France’s gourmet history, whether that be at an épicerie, a fromagerie or a butcher shop. From the farmer to the shop owner, the French invest pride, thoughtfulness and care in the ingredients they use. It’s also true that these are qualities the French have been concerned about for centuries, long before they came into vogue.
Any of these little baskets of Paris iPhone apps would make a great gift for yourself or anyone with an iPhone who’s off to Paris soon. Bon voyage!
Editor’s note: Of course we highly recommend our own iPhone apps. Each has a basket of walking trips and is a great value, too.