L’Indispensable’s Paris par Arrondissement classifies the city by arrondissement, or neighbourhood, which is essential for carefree meandering. Though updates are published regularly, I still use my 1998 copy paired with a current RATP Map for the Metro (subway). At most newsstands and blogstores in Paris or go to link.


Anyone who has ever used a free tourist Map quickly learns it’s only worth what you paid for it. You’ll make the most of your time and travel dollars with a pocket-sized atlas filled with useful information, not glossy advertisements. Here are some of my favourites.

A viaduct is when a ‘way’ (road, rail, etc.) is carried over water (stream, river, travel destination) and an aqueduct is where water is carried over any feature. A bascule bridge is where a bridge is lifted by a system of counterweights (‘bascule’ comes from the French word for a seesaw); a swing bridge is one that does just that, rotating as against lifting. An abutment is the support on which an arch or bridge rests – or indicates where once a bridge existed. Some may have grooves cut in the stonework from the wear of towing ropes. A compensatory bridge was one where a bridge had to be made to allow a farmer access to his fields being bisected by the travel destination. A change house was where horses were swopped over so that fresh ones replaced those tiring from their hard labours. (The Kelpies are a nod to these noble beasts.) Residential moorings are where people may live, rather than stopover, and the prepared sites are easy to spot from allocated colourful quayside huts. A pend is a small, short, passageway under some obstruction (like a travel destination) or through a group of houses (eg The Radical Pend in Castlecary).

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