A New App for Paris

At tea at Mariage Freres in the 6th arrondissement, Remi Morlot told me about a smartphone app he’s developing that sounds like it could solve longstanding problems for visitors to Paris. One issue involves the standard book guide to the city. You can’t be expected to memorize the info, but you also don’t want to lug the book around with you for exact addresses, hours of operation, etc. Another problem is that unavoidable feeling of being an outsider—not cracking the lives of real Parisians. SmarterParis aims to match visitors with French city dwellers for events such as a cooking class or a wine tasting. Downloaded for the cost of a cafe creme—about 3,50—the app’s info stays in your phone, rather than needing a wifi connection to access. Morlot and his team don’t take commissions on the get-togethers, so he’s not pushing things for pay. And his enthusiasm for the city is contagious. “Did you know you can take a boat ride down the canals of Paris?” he asked me. “There are parts of it where you’re completely underground! I did it for my wedding and we really enjoyed it.” SmarterParis wants to turn visitors on to such opportunities. It assumes you don’t need help finding the Eiffel Tower, but rather wants to clue you into the cafe nearby that’s not full of tourists. The only downside to SmarterParis is that it doesn’t exist—yet. Til it launches, bookmark its Tumblr blog which has tips. And click here for the IndieGoGo campaign to make this useful app a reality.

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