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Greetings all -

Over the years, here at Wandering France we have tried (and failed) to find a user-friendly cell phone option – or any option. There was the never-to-be-forgotten Rail Europe calling card fiasco at the train station. Turns out the calling card did not work on public phones, i.e., where one would expect to use it. There was the attempt to rent a cell phone at the airport and the earnest young man basically refusing to let me have it because, in his view, I wasn’t going to be in Paris long enough. His heart was pure, but I still did not have a phone. There was the valiant attempt to connect with Verizon AND Apple to unlock the iPhone, but turns out I needed a sim card. I do not live in a big city or even near one. On-line can only do so much. And you still have to make it work.

Yes, the iPad is great and gets one almost there, but what if there is no wireless and you absolutely have to speak, in person, to someone, right now, say, for example, oh just offhand here, to pick an example entirely at random, the landlord in Old Town Antibes to get the key to our beautiful apartment and we had missed each other?

And, of course, there is the cellular service international charge trap. Yes, I know to turn off the cellular service and go only with WiFi. Let me clarify: I know that now.

And the winner is: Insidr. Everyone is writing about this service. I checked out the website. Sign up on-line to rent a smartphone (29 euro for a weekend, 45 for a week, 6/day for longer trips). They will deliver it to you, in Paris. Your phone comes with international and local calling and texting capabilities. It serves as a WiFi Hotspot. According to the very happy reviewers, it works all over France. It is preloaded with Google Maps for select areas in Paris, plus a currency converter, translator, and an app that connects travelers to local tour/trip guides. The Apps are MeeTrip or Trip on Demand (Tod). It even provides people to call via WhatsApp (“Angel Insidrs”) who will share tips and advice via messaging, any time. Excellent when you’re hungry and it’s 3 a.m. in Paris. In August. On Sunday.

http://www.insidr.paris/#insidr-paris

To France!

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Yes, the jewelry on the Red Carpet is always stunning, but Oscar Night only happens once each year. Paris, however, is a year-round display of the best of the jeweler’ art. When in Paris, check out the windows on the Place Vendome on the Right Bank. And for your enjoyment, one of the most glorious pieces ever, plus a little lagniappe for those of more modest tastes.

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A mere 1500 rooms and 130 acres of gardens, Château de Fontainebleau astounds and amazes. Check the map. The huge Château is dwarfed by green.

Zoom in an out if you wish. It’s immense. Imagine its “humble beginnings” as a hunting lodge. Imagine the wealth disparity between the French and their royalty that spurred the revolution. Imagine the artists and architects, the best of their times. A visit is a history lesson for the ages.

What’s new? The restoration of the Turkish Boudoir, 7 years of it, has now resulted in an interesting glimpse into the life of Marie Antoinette, for whom it was built in 1777 by the Rousseau brothers.

“All of the originality and preciosity of the so-called Turqueries, together with their modernity, reach their full expression here: with exceptionally harmonious décor and furniture, an extraordinarily rich choice of materials and patterns borrowed from the original repertoire, not to mention the lighting effects created by the moving mirrors and transparent fabrics.”

Travel Toolbox for Château de Fontainebleau

Compare prices on Fontainebleau hotels.

Fontainebleau Official Facebook Page

Top Rated Book: In the Forest of Fontainebleau: Painters and Photographers from Corot to Monet

Find a tour of Fontainebleau

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First, here at Wandering France, we wish for peace, family, friends, and feasts, whatever your holiday of choice.

Second, at our Thanksgiving celebration, someone wondered what the image of American (U.S., specifically – not making that mistake) food might be to the French.

Herewith, the Thanksgiving store and storefront in Paris, Right Bank.

Multi-culturally,

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france size map
France: Size Compared to the Continental United States

Here’s a little map overlay with the country of France placed under a map of the Continental US state boundaries. The total area of France is 211,209 square miles, making France slightly smaller than two Colorados. France is smaller than the state of Texas at 268,820 square miles of area.

The average population density of France is 120.56 people per square kilometer, last measured in 2013. For the same time period, the United States was last measured at 34.56 per square kilometer.

The population of France is currently around 63 million people. For historic population and future population predictions, see Population Pyramid

According to the US Census Bureau’s population clock, the estimated 2015 United States population (July 2015) is over 321.3 million. California has the largest state population of 39 million, almost 2/3 that of France.

Paris, the capital of France, has a population of 2.34 million people, slightly more people than those who occupy Houston, Texas which has the fourth highest population among cities in the United States.

Looking for a folding map of Paris you can buy online? Longitude Maps has a Paris and France map bundle by National Geographic. Artwise Paris, France might also fit the bill.

You may also be interested in comparing prices on Hotels in Paris

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