Friday, April 20, 2007
Prepping for Paris: The Maps
Since I’m the designated navigator for this upcoming Paris trip, I decided that I needed to arm myself with maps. To avoid looking like a tourist with one of those large maps or local free ones, I decided to try and find some that were pretty compact and discreet, were waterproof, fit nicely in a purse, yet would make it very easy for me to get around. Here are some of the better options I found:
The Red Map:
Pro: The easiest on the eyes, with pastel colors and clear font, this map lists quite a few of my favored shop locations (by map quadrant), museums, churches, parks, hotels, and neighborhoods.
Con: Metro stops aren’t listed by name but are shown on the map by colored dots.
Pocket Pilot: truly a pocket map; tiny and folds up into a small square.
Pro: Metro Stops are very easy to read and find as they are punctuated by a blue box. Handy bits of information are on the map, top sights, city statistics, climate, useful phrases, tips on public transport, etc. The major department stores like Printemps and Galeries Lafayette and hotels are clearly marked as well.
Con: Other than the tiny font, I see myself using this frequently because of its small size and Metro stop information.
Streetwise:Paris: The most highly reviewed of the maps on Amazon.com; I don’t think the reviews are padded as I’ve always heard positive things about Streetwise.
Pro: Folds up nicely, is probably the most detailed map available. Great if you find yourself lost on a small street as it will most likely be on this map. Has a detailed Paris Street Index so you can quickly find out where you are on the map. Also marks taxi stands with a large T; taxi stands are the preferred mode to catching a taxi. The New York method of flagging a cab down is apparently not appreciated here. Lists some hotels, the major museums, sites, by quadrant.
Con: Because of the level of detail, looking at it can be a bit of headache. Metro stops are there, but you have to look very hard as they are not highlighted; however, there is a great overview map of the Metro system.
Pro: I was drawn to this map because it lists out landmarks, eateries, and shops by their name directly on the map. So if I start to get hunger pangs in the midst of walking along the Champs Elysees, I need only to take this map out and take a glance to find out where the nearest café or McDonalds (in the event I’m craving a little taste from home) is.
Con: Because it is a full-map fold, this map will make you look like a tourist unless you figure out a way to fold it compactly beforehand to show the area you will be in.
Which one is the best? The verdict will be in upon my return (if I can find my way back that is).