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New York Times, the 10th and the Louvre

July 30, 2010

Built in 1672, the monument is the site of a former gate through the walls of fortified Paris.

Last week the New York Times published a piece by Benji Lanyado in the travel section entitled “Europe without Hotels,” and of course, began with Paris. The story was mostly about services like AirBnB.com, one of a plethora of short term apartment rental websites that are popping up and taking over the hospitality industry.

Although it’s worth reading for the information therein, I have a couple of bones to pick about this article.

First and foremost, it makes no mention of this Times article, which discusses exactly the topic of short-term rentals and how the government considers them illegal. He even mentions, briefly, that this is the case, but does not talk about the other article at all. Okay, so we would call that editorial oversight, whoops.

However my main issue with the article is this quote: “Not bad for an entire apartment with a full kitchen and bathroom, less than 10 minutes by foot from the Louvre.”

The inscription "LUDOVICO MAGNO" translates as "To Louis the Great," referring to Louis XIV

This guy had an apartment on Rue du Faubourg St. Martin, a great street in the same arrondissement as I was living in, the 10th. In fact, it is parallel with my street, la Rue du Faubourge St. Denis, but two blocks farther east. It wishes it could be as cool as my street. We have more markets, better cafés a better people watching scene, and a much better triumphal arch, la porte de St. Denis (pictured above) than the crappy Porte de St. Martin. But my prejudices are unimportant, because my street is farther west, therefore closer to the Louvre, and there’s no way to reach it, by foot, in 10 minutes. My guess was approximately 20 minutes, possibly a minute or two less while walking like a  New Yorker.

But who cares what I think, Google maps knows everything:

If you click the larger map, you’ll see the directions from my apartment, to the Louvre. Over a mile. Maybe if you have a horse, or take a Velib could you make it in ten.

Grinning for I.M. Pei's bombastic pyramids.

Okay, so not such a big deal, but it shows that the reporter did not try to walk to the Louvre, and neither did this chef guy from his apartment. These kinds of small details are what travelers pick out when they try to walk to the Louvre as a rainstorm is threatening, and then get angry because ten minutes into their walk, they get drenched.

But Paris is lovely, even when it’s raining!

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