As you may or may not know, Paris is organized into 20 arrondissements – districts of the city. Businesses and hotels often advertise their location in terms of their arrondissement. Travel and guide books often organize their information on Parisian sites and eateries according to the districts in which they can be found.
While having a map that lists street names and metro stops is essential for getting around Paris, it’s helpful to know in what arrondissement these streets and stops are located.
Three times this fold-up map of mine has accompanied me to Paris. It’s a great little map – and readable, which is important to aging eyes. However, I’ve repeatedly cursed its lack – no indication of arrondissement. Until today.
You see, today I’m sitting with the map planning a route, when all of a sudden my focus changes and out pops the subtle outlines of the districts and their numbers, too. Apparently they’ve been there all along – softly printed in the background – waiting for me to wake up and discover their existence. Much like those ‘magic pictures’ of recent years where meaningless dots give way to full blown 3-D images, if you can only learn to see.
And so, I take back every bad word I ever said about the makers of this map. And I own my own ignorance in missing the obvious and not seeing what was right there in front of me all along.
And, if you are interested, I can tell you that it happened right smack dab in the middle of the 16th arrondissement!