Saturday, May 16, 2009

Moving On Up: Maps

Anyone who knows me well knows that I get lost easily. In other words, I can lost in my hometown. In September, I brought the following with me to Paris, ready to battle the directionally challenged aspect of my being:

It's a Paris City Moleskine. A notebook with Paris maps and blank pages for taking notes and writing deep thoughts. Back then, it was a great tool. I had one small convenient notebook for writing addresses and directions and for finding places.

But I've outgrown the notebook. I no longer need any of the information written inside. The old addresses and shopping lists aren't doing me much good. The maps aren't always accurate. Oftentimes they don't name those little pedestrian streets of which Paris has a million. The metro map is missing the last stop on Line 14.

Okay, so no one visiting Paris needs to take Line 14 to its final stop. Which is why the book is really useful for a tourist or newcomer. I, however, needed something more serious. Enter this:

Tourists carry fold-out maps. Parisians carry l'indispensable (the essential) Paris Pratique. It's a book of maps separated by neighborhood. It lists all the metro stops, bike stations, one-way streets, and all sorts of other handy info. It's small, thin, and slips easily into a purse or decently sized pocket.

The problem with my Paris Pratique is its age. It's the 2009 edition, aka too new. It's clear that I haven't been living here long, because the corners aren't worn, the pages arent frayed, and the cover isn't warped. It's getting there. My Paris Pratique got rained on a bit, so some of the pages are a tad-bit water damaged. I'm proud.

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