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dec 04 2009

Paris: How to connect with travelers and locals

Meet locals, get in on the game. In this case, boule (Meg Zimbeck/Flickr)

One of the challenges of visiting Paris, especially when going solo, is finding a way to interact with other people despite the language barrier. In this blog series, we'll be offering tips and suggestions to help you connect.

EnjoYourParis

Launched by two twentysomething French men, Remi Brichant and Guillaume Giler, this new website is designed to help both visitors and Parisians.

How does it work? Visit EnjoYourParis (in either French or English) to create a free profile. You'll be asked to indicate what sort of events you're most interested in attending. You'll then receive a weekly email with a roundup of possibilities. As student Laura Carroll wrote in this review, "after a quick e-mail confirmation, I was informed of a slew of events. Do I want to (Re)discover Saint Germain des Pres with Soundwalk? View the latest exhibition, Elles, at the Pompidou? Yes, and yes!"

The idea was inspired by Giler's own travels as a student in Australia — a trip that started out lonely but improved dramatically after he managed to meet local friends. Back in France, he and Brichant created this site a way for new arrivals (both temporary and permanent) to crack the tough nut that is Paris. Rather than simply inform readers about upcoming events, it organizes outings based on individual interest. Their video teaser sums up the friendly spirit of the venture.

Another recent outing included a visit to the Mexican wrestling bar La Lucha Libre. "Join us in that very special bar, with a wrestling ring in its basement, to have a couple of mojitos and other cocktails, and, for those who dare, wear the special inflatable sumo costume and fight on the ring ! That for sure will be a night you'll remember!"

More traditionally French outings are also in the mix, like an autumn picnic that was recently reviewed by the Associated Press. "On a recent evening, they brought out the pastis, some water to mix it with, fruit juice and Coca-Cola for an international happy hour al fresco. With the Eiffel Tower in the background, people opened snacks and bottles and started chatting."

The upcoming calendar includes art exhibitions, an organic market lunch, concerts, and much more. To check them out and register for events, visit EnjoYourParis. And please let us know about your experience!

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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