If there are two things in this world I love, they are postcards and wandering. There's nothing more wonderful than getting lost, then finally realizing you know exactly where you are. So in dreaming up some cheap activities for a tourist or expat to Paris (or to anywhere!), I gathered inspiration from the fantastic site Dear Photograph and decided to go on a Postcard Hunt.
Here's what you do: browse any postcard stand and pick up a handful of postcards that speak to you, places that seem interesting and beautiful. (This will not be a challenge in Paris.) Usually on the back, along with the photographer's name, you'll find the location of the photograph.
Sacre Coeur, Montmartre
Pull out your handy Plan de Paris and look up the site. Then go there!
This is a wonderful way to connect with the city you're visiting, to make yourself explore and get a little bit lost, to open your eyes and see the city through the eyes of the past. You can see what's changed and what is still exactly the same after all these years. You can wonder about the people in the photos (so prevalent in Paris postcards), what they were up to, what happened to them, and about all the other people who have walked along that very spot between the moment the photo was taken and the moment you came to be standing in the very same spot.
As you can see, I'm a little obsessed with bridges. And now I'm obsessed with Postcard Hunting! There's a certain feeling of recognition, of being placed and grounded in the world when you find the goal of your wandering. Afterward, go find a little café, have a coffee in the sunshine and write on the postcards to your most-loved people back home about your little adventure.
Have you ever done something like this before? I'd love to see the results!