Paris: Our new city page
Budget Travel's new Paris city page—currently in beta—lets you post questions, recommendations, photos and more.
One completely new feature we've developed: If you're going to Paris soon, or you're just back, you can comment, ask questions, or leave recommendations and tips for other travelers—and you may hear back directly from our editors in real time, or at regularly scheduled intervals. If they do, you'll see a lime green "editor" button identifying their response.
Also on our Paris City Page, if editors see a consensus forming around a particular topic—like apartment rentals, for example—they may assign a story and post the results in our "We're Listening" box.
We're still adding features (like our interactive map), and we'll be rolling out pages for Rome, London, NYC, and San Francisco, all coming soon.
In the meantime, we're working on fixing little bugs we see in certain Web browsers, and we're busy adding features—including our map of affordable Paris hotels, restaurants, and shopping venues near major tourist attractions in the near future.
Paris: Top 5 free things to do in November
The only thing better than visiting Paris is being able to enjoy free events in Paris. Here's a round-up of activities for the cozy month of November. Fall foliage in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont The city's wildest, hilliest park is exploding with autumn colors right now. Take an exhilarating urban hike around the the park's lake and cross the newly reopened suspension bridge to reach the waterfall. If that works up an appetite, you can stop inside the park at Rosa Bonheur, which has recently transformed from a simple drinks place to a full-on (affordable) restaurant. Parc des Buttes Chaumont, 19th arrondissement. Dysfashional exhibition at the Passage du Désir, (through November 29)This free art show has lured some of fashion's most cutting-edge designers into a pop-up exhibition space near the Canal Saint-Martin. Works from Pierre Hardy, Maison Martin Margiela, and Gaspard Yurkievich are displayed until the end of the month, when this show packs up and heads to Berlin. Passage du Désir, 85-87 rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin, 10th arrondissement, 011-33/1-56-41-36-04 Clotilde Dusoulier at WH Smith (November 17) The author of the popular Chocolate & Zucchini site (who has written for Budget Travel Paris Tasting Tour and the aptly titled "My Paris Is Better Than Yours") will be celebrating her 6th "blogiversary" and discussing the editorial work she did for I Know How to Cook, the bible of French home cooking by Ginette Mathiot that was just released in the U.S. The food-love fest will begin at 7 p.m. WH Smith, 248 rue de Rivoli, 1st arrondissement, 011-33/1-44-77-88-99. Azar Nafisi at the Village Voice Bookshop (November 20) The author of the international bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran will discuss her new book, Things I've Been Silent About. The memoir presents Nafisi's personal story about growing up in Iran against the background of her country's political revolution. The reading will begin at 7 p.m. Village Voice Bookshop, 6 rue Princesse, 6th arrondissement, 011-33/1-46-33-36-47 Paris Movie Walk at Shakespeare & Company (November 25) Michael Schuermann, the author of Paris Movie Walks, will lead a free tour of his favorite cinematic haunts. The walk will explore Notre Dame Cathedral and the Rive Gauche, with Schuermann describing classic films such as An American in Paris, A Bout de Souffle, and Before Sunset (which was partly shot at Shakespeare & Company) The walk will begin at 4 p.m. at the bookstore and will last for 60 to 90 minutes. Shakespeare & Company, 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 5th arrondissement, 011-33/1-43-25-40-93. BONUS "NEARLY FREE" EVENT Return of la Flèche d'Or (November 23) The Flèche d'Or, before it closed in early summer, was every broke music lover's best friend. After months of sound-proofing, the city's best free venue will reopen, only not exactly for free. Entry for the first show—Evan Dando from the Lemonheads, Chris Brokaw, and others—will cost 8€ ($12), but that includes one free drink. Subtracting the 6€ cost of the drink, that makes the entry almost free… at least close enough to qualify for our list. La Flèche d'Or, 102 rue de Bagnolet, 20th arrondissement. Check out Budget Travel's new Paris guide
The easternmost part of the U.S. is...
… Point Udall, on St. Croix, part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and thus the easternmost point of U.S. owned territory. Special thanks to My Budget Travel member Margate for reminding us of this fun fact. For trip planning advice, check out Budget Travel's Nonstop Caribbean tool. Save time on your getaway by flying right to the beach.
At BT, we know the important role that images play in conveying an experience and the ability of a single photograph to launch a life-changing trip. But it's not just glossy travel magazines that can provide those images. In the last couple of weeks, I've been searching for art for the walls of my new apartment, which has primarily meant stalking the continually refreshed selection of works up on Jen Bekman's amazing affordable-art site 20x200. As expected, I've seen lots of stuff that would make great décor, but what surprised me was how many of the pieces made me want to buy a ticket somewhere, immediately. Like Hosang Park's aerial photographs of Korean parks and public spaces, which remind me of the joys of having a window seat on a flight. Or the simple eloquence of Liz Kuball's "Untitled (Santa Barbara) (2009)," in which a bushy, fruit-laden citrus tree hanging over the wood of a backyard fence says as much about the place—the simultaneous moodiness and inherent cheer—as a much busier photograph could. Many of the pieces also have great commentary from the artists that illuminate the places their works focus on, and the artists' unique perspectives on them. Mike Sinclair's "Rodeo Stars, Strong City Kansas" tells the story of a multi-generational rodeo family and its community. It's also just a completely charming photo. Here's what Mike says about his subject: "These portraits show the Roberts family—the father, E.C., and three of his five children: Gerald, Margie and Ken. All three children were world champion rodeo riders. The display is located just outside the rodeo grounds in Strong City, Kansas, where E.C. started his first rodeo in 1937. There's been a rodeo in Strong City ever since. Held in early June, when the bluestem grass on this part of the prairie is its greenest, the rodeo is Chase County's biggest event of the year. People come from as far as Abilene and Wichita. On Saturday morning a parade starts at Cottonwood Falls, the county seat, and travels one mile north on Highway 57 to Strong City, ending at the rodeo grounds. After the rodeo, there's a dance at Ken Roberts' old place east of town. Wooden tables and folding chairs brought up from the church circle the outdoor concrete dance floor. Beer and barbecue is for sale. The year I was there, proceeds went to re-roof the town's collapsing opera house. The dance lasts well past midnight. One couple told me that after the dance they always drive the 30 miles home on back roads with their headlights off, guided only by moonlight." If that doesn't inspire you to seek out a new travel destination—well, maybe not the part about the locals driving around with no headlights—then I don't know what will. Note: New limited-edition prints go on sale on 20X200 each Tuesday and Wednesday at 2pm EST. Check back often for art—and trip ideas! MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL It's Still Worth It: 20 Travel-Inspiring Photos Shopping: Souvenir Savior
Belize travel tips from a pro
Few travel writers know Belize like Joshua Berman, who's most recently written for us about its specialty chocolate tours. Berman's just out with an updated edition of a travel guide to Belize from the travel publishing house with the best reputation for Latin America coverage: Moon. We recently spoke with Berman about all things Belize. Q: What has surprised you most in your research on Belize? A: Two things that have never ceased to amaze me: (1) how much sheer geographical, biological, and ecological diversity there is in an area smaller than the state of Massachusetts, and (2) how so many distinct cultures—more than eight languages spoken!—exist in a population of only 300,000. It's truly hard to fathom this until you see a group of typical Belizeans chatting on a street corner. You'll see Creoles, mestizos, Rastas, Chinese, Mennonites—or all of the above—chatting in one easy circle. Q: So, where's the best place to hang in a hammock? A: Out of range of falling coconuts. Seriously, it's a documented cause of death. Otherwise, I like to hang my hammock on Glover's Reef Atoll or anywhere along the Macal River in Cayo. Q: What's a great nature appreciation experience to have in Belize? A: I think the Lamanai archaeological site packs the most natural bang for your buck. Not only are there vines, orchids, and fig trees carpeting 1,000-year-old Maya pyramids and more recent colonial sugar mills, the journey to and from the site includes a phenomenal birding trip up and down the New River. My advice: Always take the night hike, no matter how tired you are from the day's adventures—I've seen more wildlife during guided nighttime nature walks and boat rides than on day trips. Q: What's the best way to get off the beaten path in Belize? A: Easy—buy a bus or plane ticket from Belize City to Punta Gorda (PG). Tourists rarely include southern Belize in their itineraries, even though there are fantastic accommodations there, from homestays to luxe. There are upland villages, ruins, and caves in Toledo—plenty to do to make it worth the trip. Q: Tell us about the 8th edition of the Belize guide book for Moon. A: There is a new list of voluntourism and other less-than-traditional ways to visit Belize. These are alternative travel opportunities which include field research and volunteer programs, and trips specifically for teachers and veterinarians. Travelers can work directly with botanists, archeologists, and marine biologists, or help out with community projects like housing construction and trail building. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL On the Chocolate Trail in Belize