Launched July 14, 1994 as a "collection of everything regarding the City of Light," Paris Pages provides a wide array of information not only about the city, but also about France in general through excellent linkages to the growing number of France-related web sites. Many screens have French and English versions. A metro map, current Opera and Ballet productions, and a Paris events calendar (searchable by month) are some of its useful features.
Created by Norman Barth, a California oceanographer, Paris also utilizes the talents of many others. The "How You Can Participate" page encourages readers to enrich the site with new projects. A French class at Pomona College recently contributed essays (in French) about La Belle Epoque.
Paris Pages are updated almost weekly with commentary on current topics such as strikes, how Paris commemorated VE day, and the presidential election.
The main screen is organized into four general sections (The City, Its Culture, Tourist Information, and Paris Kiosque) followed by
numerous other sections including Metro, Monuments, Museums, Schools, Bibliography, photos of French Classes, Special Expositions (including the 1944 Paris Liberation and the artwork on "tickets of Paris"). A Directory provides a comprehensive table of contents, What's New lists additions chronologically by date, and Other Links connects to other web sites.
The strengths of Paris Pages are its size (over 1000 pages), currency, continual additions, organizational features such as the Directory and What's New sections, good design and layout, clear and easy-to- read documentation on how to navigate and participate, and its wealth of related webs about France.
The drawbacks are that it doesn't have "everything" about Paris yet - e.g. hotel and restaurant listings are miniscule, a common failing of most city web sites. A good guidebook is still a must for the serious traveler, the bibliography lists many.
Paris Pages is highly recommended for all levels of French students to practice French in a new, fun way and learn about the city and country simultaneously. Faculty and others traveling to France should explore this site to see how Internet is changing the face of travel literature.
Coordinator of User Education and Archives
Western Oregon State College Library