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Home Exchange Paris

Ooh La La,  a Vacation Home Exchange in Wonderful,  walkable Paris

Photo Source: flickr, Mark Mitchell
 What is it about Paris that makes it the most popular tourist destination in the world?
History? Culture? They are deep and rich in Paris.  But the city also has a big measure of that compelling something extra, the quintessentially French joie de vivre (joy of living).

You hear it in the music that drifts across the left bank on summer evenings and in the playful laughter of young people. You smell it in the aromas from bistros,  creperes  and sidewalk cafes, or in unhurried dinners with haute cuisine and fine French wines on the menu.  You see it in the drawings and brush strokes of would-be Renoirs and Chagalls creating in public places, and in the flowers and landscape of sweeping gardens and parks.

For all its romantic images and urban sociability, Paris is still an enormous city with typical big-city problems, not the least of which is horrendous rush hour traffic. But Paris works hard to keep Paris a people place and the air of romance alive.

Home Exchange Property #0702 – Paris
2-bedroom flat in popular St. Germain area

Paris has always had walkable areas -- certain neighborhood streets devoted to pedestrian and bicycle traffic only. The Latin Quarter, for example, features a few pedestrian-only streets lined with bars, restaurants and shops. On Rue Montorgueil, one of the oldest market streets in Paris, fish mongers, green grocers and other food shops come together sans cars in a small village atmosphere. And the many parks of Paris warmly invite strollers.

In recent years, Paris has made an effort to increase and improve its walkability by reclaiming some areas and streets that motor vehicle traffic laid claim to. An historic traffic roundabout with a monument centerpiece, Place de la République, was transformed from a circle of traffic snarls and fumes to one of the biggest all-pedestrian squares in the city. Some of the surrounding roads were incorporated into the new 3.4 hectare plaza creating a peaceful space with trees, water features, lighting columns,  and a new café pavilion. 

 A 1.4 mile stretch along the Left Bank that was previously car territory has been transformed into a pedestrian-only promenade with gardens, restaurants and music.

Home Exchange Property #0717 

Exploring Paris by foot is always fun -- if you know where you’re going. You can walk from the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysees to Notre Dame Cathedral along a route that takes you by some of the chicest stores and restaurants in Paris, the Place de la Concorde, the Petit Palaise and the Grand Palaise, major monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Musee d Orsay, Tuileries Gardens, the Louvre, and the Latin Quarter. But one wrong turn and you’ll wind up where countless tourists have wound up – lost. Fortunately, for the walking explorer, there are aids to keep that from happening.

Guide books and maps are readily available. Don’t leave home without one.  And now, if you have a smart phone, iPhone, iPad or other tablet-type computer, you can tap into a ”Paris Walking Tour” application that uses GPS technology to show your current location, nearby attractions, and how to get to them. It’s free and doesn’t need to be downloaded or installed, but it does require Internet access.  This is a great app to bookmark in your browser. Learn more about it at

Home Exchange Property #0062 -- Paris 

If you prefer a more personal experience, book a walking-tour guide to show you the way and share anecdotes, stories and insider information on restaurants and nightlife. One of the more popular tour companies, Discover Walks, offers free 90-minute walking tours comparable to a jolly Parisian friend showing you around (donations and tips are appreciated).  Discover Walks also offers specialized tours, including a French cooking class, at reasonable rates.  Learn more at

Maybe walking is not your thing and you just want to go from Point A to Point B without all the sightseeing in between.  Then make friends with the Paris Metro, one of the most extensive subway systems in the world.  It’s convenient, efficient and economical. An astonishing 6.75 million Parisians and visitors use it every day.

IVHE Home Exchange Property #0061
For a comprehensive and critical guide to Parisian attractions, dining establishments, nightlife, and things to do, visit

The International Home Exchange properties in Paris are cozy apartments or studios  within walking distance of some of the city’s major attractions. Find out more about each one by clicking the property # links.  If you are not a member of IVHE and would like to learn more about it, visit us at

Here’s to Paris --  city extraordinaire, city of joie de vivre.

Blogsmith: Mike DiPrima


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