Have an upcoming trip to Paris, Athens, Berlin, Istanbul, Madrid, or Rotterdam? Lucky you! Looking for a travel guide? You could choose one of the 500 guides that already exist about the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and Champs Elysées . . . . or you could look for your alternative in Indie Guides.
I’m calling this app the hipster of travel apps for a reason. It won’t give you the mainstream tourist destinations by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, you’ll get what resembles a “list of addresses scribbled on a piece of paper by a local you meet on a night out”, in effect, a true local guide. The Indie Guides offer a user only 50 addresses in the above six cities (as well as Tokyo in March, and Rome later in April), that are all chosen by local creatives. You see the under-explored sides of all of these major cities, including live music venues, art workshops, galleries, none of which you’d easily stumble upon.
I downloaded the Paris guide myself to check it out. I really liked the layout of it. It’s very easy to use and simple to follow. It allows you to filter what you might be looking for by either boutiques, where to go out, cultural spots, where to eat, or where to drink. Once you select somewhere, you can read a description and review of the spot, and then get the essential information you need, like how to get there via what metro stop, as well as opening hours and contact information.
Indie Guides claim that the normal touristy neighborhoods won’t necessarily be covered, and that “some are located outside the limits of the maps you can find in a tourist office”. This was true for Paris! Tourists love the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, and the Latin Quarter, but there’s not a single suggestion in any of these spots. However, Montmartre is covered just because of the diversity of shops and things to do there. This is really what I think I like most about the guide. Even locals could use it to rediscover their city. In a place as large as Paris, it can be difficult for a local to know the ins and outs of every neighborhood. But with a guide like this, it can help residents discover new parts of their city and break out of their usual comfort zone. I think for this, if nothing else, the app is really great. That being said, it would absolutely help any tourist feel like a local when they use it on a trip.
The site claims that by using Indie Guides, one can “meet people and have experiences that will leave a real impression on your trip.” I honestly have complete faith in this claim. I’m certainly excited to watch it expand into other cities and continue to grow. But in the meantime, I personally can’t wait to start using it to discover more of what Paris has to offer.