I am one of those lucky people who gets to travel as part of their job. At least twice a month, a meeting, conference, interview, or some problematic situation takes my to some of Europe’s most beautiful capital cities. I have a favorite and it’s Paris. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, there is always something really cool happening there. It helps if you know your way around the city because like everywhere else in the world, if there are a lot of tourists there are a lot of traps. I know, technically speaking I’m not a tourist, I’m there working but still, I don’t know my way around and I’m only there a short time for each visit. Thats why I use the internet to help me.
Blogging and user generated content has really changed my traveling experiences. Now, with just a couple of clicks, I can find good exhibitions that I’m actually interested in by reading the reviews of likeminded people and most importantly where to eat. That’s the reason for my post today. Reading restaurant reviews has helped me to make informed decisions about where to spend my hard earned cash. I sometimes don’t trust people in hotels, especially in big chains because I always suspect they have some agreement with a local restaurant and they simply just ship the guests in, by the bus load. I prefer to rent an apartment because I like to be by myself. It has nothing to do with wanting the use the kitchen. I hate cooking and if I can avoid even making something as simple as a sandwich, I will. I eat out all the time, that’s why reviews are so important for me, because if I’m not a local, I don’t know where to go. And I would never trust a guide book (does anyone trust them anymore). But here’s one thing I noticed and you should notice too, stay away from the big tourist information sites you know the ones I mean. The sites that have user reviews for hotels, cities, monuments, sites, and restaurants. I think, it fact, I’m pretty sure that I lot of these are fake and are actually the company writing this about themselves. There’s no way of checking, but a lot of the reviews just don’t sounds like real people. If they sing the praises of the restaurant too much, it probably is not a real review. Remember, just because its online doesn’t mean its real.
So what do I use instead? Timeout is great – but make sure you read the reviews by users. Other Parisian based sities with good user reviews include – Paris by mouth and Parisianist. I use them a lot for all things food related. Enjoy, read the reviews and eat, eat ,eat.