Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Internet access in Paris

I figured that three months would not be enough time to figure out the bureaucracy of France Telecom and who knows who else to get internet access in our apartment. I was trolling around the internet and stumbled across this awesome tool that shows both public (i.e., free) and paid WiFi locations world-wide.

I zoomed into Paris and "our street" and was surprised and happy to see two free WiFi locations near our place. One is at the little restaurant a couple of doors down from our apartment - awesome! In case you ever want to check out WiFi access where you'll be traveling here's the tool that I used: http://www.jiwire.com/.

I was pretty hopeful at the outset that getting easy WiFi access wouldn't be too hard. Afterall, I do have previous experiences with this in Paris...


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Thursday, February 12, 2009

One of my goals - pictures, and lots of them...

I've been really interested in geotagging my pictures so I recently picked up a couple of Eye-Fi cards. Basically, when I take a picture using my Canon 30D, the Eye-Fi card tags the picture with GPS information as to where the picture was taken.

Once you have a geotagged image it can be uploaded to Panoramio where the image can be superimposed on top of a map. Then, anyone searching for a particular monument or the like can easily pull up pictures taken in that location.

One of the goals I have is to document the area we'll be living in. There are a ton of pictures of the musée du Louvre and the other Parisian tourist attractions but very few where we are going to be situated and that's only a few steps away from the Louvre.

You can see what Panoramio has for our area of Paris by clicking here - remember, we are on rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

French is french, isn't it?

Last night I had an interesting instant message conversation with my colleague Anthony Moillic who works in Quest's Paris office. I vaguely remembered that the English phrase "draft beer" was different in Canadian French versus French French. When I was growing up in Montréal and Ottawa I remembered seeing signs in taverns advertising bière en fût - draft beer. However, the last time I was in Paris I recalled it being called something else.

I happened to have a call with some other Quest colleagues in Ottawa and asked them. Both the anglophones and the francophones said they'd only ever used "bière" (beer) or bière froide (cold beer). One friend jokingly said "The only word I've ever used is Molson - spoken like a true Canadian!

Of course, Anthony said it wasn't really referred to as bière en fût. I remembered "pression" and asked Anthony if that was it. Despite my mis-spelling in my instant message to him I had it right.

Since leaving Canada ten years ago I have barely spoken a word of French. I've forgotten so much. I'm really hoping that I will make up for that while we're in Paris. That said, I know there are a lot of words and phrases that are different between the two countries. Hopefully that won't cause me too many problems. I certainly don't want to resort to: Monsieur, une Heineken s'il vous plait!

In case you're interested, there's an interesting Wikipedia article on Quebec French (le français du Québec) that goes into some of the history of how the languages diverged.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Where's your apartment in Paris?

I get asked this a lot so I thought I'd include a Google map of the area we'll be staying. We'll be steps away from the Musée du Louvre and many of the best attractions in Paris. We made the decision to pay a bit more for this location rather than being located in a more distant suburb. There's a wealth of restaurants, cafes, museums, shops and markets all around us.

In addition, a number of subway lines are also quite close by including the #1 which is a direct shot out to the Quest Software office at La Défense. After all, who needs a car in Paris?

View Larger Map

Monday, February 9, 2009

At least one of us is going to Paris...

I booked Kathie's ticket to Paris (and back) finally. I've been looking for a good thing to spend my Aeroplan (Air Canada) points on. Interestingly enough, it was only an additional 15,000 points for Kathie to fly to Paris and back in business class versus coach. I'm sure she'll appreciate that.

Now, I expect I will not receive the same "class" of treatment as my gracious employer will be footing the cost of my ticket - something which I am very grateful for regardless of "class"!

Ah, Paris in the spring...!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Only one left to tell...

Today I "broke" the news to the last person I needed to tell about going to Paris. So, the only one left to tell, who won't be coming for a visit, is ...