Even in Paris, a capital city famed for its gastronomy, it takes a little planning in order to have the most amazing culinary experiences. Here are some hints on how to avoid the tourist traps, navigate the ‘dining rules’, and eat like a local in some of my favourite and best local restaurants in Paris.
The Musée d’Orsay is organising a series of balls to celebrate their exhibition the “Spectacular Second Empire”. Some of the balls are masked! You can spend the day learning the Polka (if you can count to 3 you can dance this) or the Quadrille from the members of the Association Carnet des Bals. Take part in the ball in the afternoon just as Emperor Napoleon III and his wife Eugenie would have, all within the spectacular surroundings of the Musée d’Orsay.
I was really looking forward to the Magritte exhibition ‘La Trahison des Images‘ at the Centre Pompidou. 5 differently themed rooms (flames, shadows, curtains, words and the body in pieces) bulging with paintings from this amazing Surrealist painter who was deeply interested in Philosophy. The art bit is at the bottom 😉
“Horses are wonderful partners with whom one can create poetry.” Bartabas
On achève bien les Anges (we shoot Angels) is a spectacular theatrical event, perfect for the run-up to Christmas but don’t miss it as it closes on 31st December. I have tickets for the end of November and I am so excited I want to keep crossing and uncrossing my fingers and toes and am having trouble even thinking about writing this!
How do you choose the best guided tour of Paris for you? There are hundreds of ways of finding out all about Paris, some free and some not so free. You can take a tour whilst walking, running, riding a bike, motorbike or a segway, taking a bus, a tuk tuk, a boat or whilst sitting down in a comfy seat watching a theatre performance to name but a few.
But if you only have an hour or three, here are my Top Choices for having fun and finding your best guided tour of Paris :
I love walking so for me this is the best : A great, and (technically) FREE choice is www.discoverwalks.com Take one of 5 trips round the Marais, Montmartre, ‘Parisian Landmarks’ The Left Bank (the South side) or the Islands with a young, bilingual Frenchman or woman, vividly – dressed in pink waistcoats or shirts so you can’t lose them. These are not history lessons, they are full of facts, very funny anecdotes and stories about current events. Great fun. Your guides exist on tips.
If you are a lot more energetic you could sign up as for the FREE running tours on Wednesday mornings at 10am. Your guide is Luke, an Australian, and you can meet him at the pointy end of Ile de La Cité opposite the Statue of Henri IV (right by one of my favourite restaurants, the Taverne Henri IV). Just turn up or sign up to his Facebook page. Please don’t think for one moment that I have done this, I have just got some mad friends!
Gorgeous guests Jeff and Laura suggested I tell all of you about the Left Bank Scooters who will take you on a 3 hour journey around Paris; one of you on the back of a motorcycle and the other in a sidecar, helmets etc provided. Both of them are tall but neither of them said they felt crushed and they came back raving, they loved it. These tours are only offered in the Winter months, from November to the end of March and for the braver, they offer Vespa scooter hire too.
Finally, so many of you have watched and adored the Theatre show “How to become a Parisian in one hour”. It is not a guided tour but it does guide you through how to understand the Parisians, their foibles and how we need to behave to get along in Paris. It was created and is performed by a Frenchman, Olivier Giraud, in English and has been a smash hit for years. A laugh a minute tho a little on the blue side perhaps. The theatre show is every Friday – Monday night and tickets cost from €24 – ask if you want me to book for you. And it is not far, go to Galeries Lafayette at the bottom of the hill and turn right!
I hope this will give you food for thought as to how to find the best guided tour of Paris for you and your family, whether it is your first trip or not and I look forward to your comments.