About a month ago my friend told me he was going to Paris. This automatically means it’s time for me to gather, double check links, and provide my on-going, never-ending excel spreadsheet of the must-sees in Paris and the surrounding areas.
You see, when my friends think of me, they immediately associate me with my adoration of all things French (cooking, hockey, dance, tea, you get the idea). I took French for 6 years and have been to France. Since my return from France, I think about going to France every single day. There is nothing I love more than the moment someone asks me or says “Jacqui, you were the very first person I thought about asking for recommendations for France.” Oui, mon ami, you’ve come to the right place.
Several years ago, Francophilia ran an article about the top ten mobile apps for France or Paris. This was back when Instagram wasn’t as enormously well-known as it is now. I immediately downloaded it. I had no real idea about what Instagram was or how it was going to profoundly change my existence. Instagram gave me something every day – a glimpse into Paris, France, and other countries with a mere hashtag. Every single day, the first thing I did was bring out my iPhone and immediately check #Paris, #Eiffeltower, #France, and the like. My day always started out with something I love so passionately. It was remarkable. It also has bridged the gap (temporarily) until I can return to France. It’s provided me with international friends. It’s made me smile and helped change my perspective largely on how I see things. It also inspired me to finally pick up a film camera (yes, a real film camera) and learn photography. I cringe every single time one of my old photos comes up on Instagram and I see I’ve used a flash when natural light would’ve been sufficient.
Again a new mobile app is upon us, that is, in fact largely life-changing. My friend that is now in Paris told me he was going to “Periscope” his Bâteau trip down the Seine. I cringe whenever someone recommends I download yet another app. I am constantly needing room for my thousands of photos, music, and “other” on my iPhone. Please, no, not another app. The day before his departure to Paris, I downloaded the app, begrudgingly. It is Paris, after all. I started messing around on Twitter and yet again, Francophilia mentions Periscope and Claire Waddington. She was “Scoping” the removal of the Love Locks from Pont des Arts. I had recently installed Periscope, so what better way to become familiar with it. I click the trusty little Periscope link that opens the app and boom.. video (I’m in Paris!!), Claire talking in her lovely New Zealand accent and then in perfect French to passersby, and new friends all chatting away. Claire patiently and steadily panning the camera for all the eyes across the world to see the Love Locks being removed, knowledgeably answering questions, saying hello to everyone that takes a moment to “say something.” Paris never seemed closer. All giddiness aside, I still had a Bâteaux ride to take with my friend. I promptly iMessage him to make sure he holds the camera still. The movement severely blurs the image. For all of us about to dedicate 1 hour and 10 minutes of our time to the gorgeous city of Paris tucked neatly into the Seine, it needed to be perfect, n’est-ce pas? He did brilliantly. For 1 hour and 10 minutes, ultimate perfection. It was like being miraculously transported just like Instagram so many years before.
In the past two plus days, I’ve made new acquaintances in Paris, watched the sun set in New Mexico, listened to a lovely Irish man named Paul O’Mahony recite Walt Whitman, watched La Tour Eiffel twinkle in the moonlight and dancers doing the Argentinian Tango on the Trocadero in the light of La Tour Eiffel, listened to various street musicians on the streets of Paris all because of technology. I am still in complete awe.
Periscope is something pretty incredible and it is utterly amazing to walk the streets of Paris with our own personal tour guide like Claire Waddington or hear Paul O’Mahony recite Walt Whitman. Each video that’s posted runs while it’s live and you can interact with the person doing the videotaping as well as the other members that are watching. Once the feed has finished, you can watch the stream for 24 hours and then it’s gone (unless the user saves it). If you have a twitter account, you just need the app and you’re set to go. I think this app is definitely worth checking out. I’d like to think of it as my own personal “Pariscope.”
To Claire, Euro, and Paul (and the others I’ve met most recently), this has truly been a remarkable experience. I look forward to seeing you all again very soon! Thank you for bringing more of Paris into my life. What are you waiting for… run don’t walk, and get Periscope!!!