Discover Paris' Hidden Gems...

Visit a Mansion in the Paris Marais Neighborhood - Hotel de Soubise

You always dreamed of entering one of the French Aristocrats' homes in the Paris Marais neighborhood. Let’s do it! Let’s pick one of the most beautiful ones, the Soubise Mansion, with its original, beautifully restored Rocaille interiors. It will be a breathtaking journey into the home of an ageing Prince marrying a young Aristocrat in the early 18th century. It will show us how he went about to seduce his young wife with interior decorations she simply could not resist… to do so he employed the artists and craftsmen who had worked for King Louis the XVth at Versailles… But the mansion has even more to tell: its origin goes back to the Middle Ages….

1.5 to 2-hour visit - Reservation ahead of time required by the site

Art Deco Interior Design, Modern Architecture and Furniture, Art of the 30's at the Musée des Années 30

You love New York’s 1920-1930's architecture, the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Tower, just to name the most famous ones? 

During the Roaring Twenties very important things were happening on the Parisian cultural scene, too. Just think of Hemingway and Gertude Stein who chose to reside here during this time: Paris was simply the place to be. It is in Paris, that Picasso and Matisse were discovered and Cubism emerged. It is in the Paris area that Corbusier and his friends developed the Architecture and Furniture designed for the people of the avant-garde. In Paris, the 1930's even have their own Museum. If you are eager to learn more about the Art, Architecture and Interior Design during this important period between the two World Wars, this small Museum is a must and complements the Modern Art shown at the Pompidou Center.

1.5 to 2-hour visit - Reservation ahead of time required by the site

Sorbonne and Montagne Sainte-Geneviève Ramble

This is a walk through the history of the legendary University that once was and has become again one among other Universities and Colleges (one of which was until the 20th c. the College of the Irish!) in the Paris Latin Quarter. By the way – why is it called Latin Quarter? How come even today someone with a degree of a Grande Ecole is more valued in certain domains, than a colleague with a University degree? What do the French mean, when they talk about the French cultural exception? You might be curious to learn whether there is anything left from the Middle Ages when the Sorbonne was founded? And what has Sainte Genevieve to do with the mount behind the Sorbonne? You will get to understand all this and much more.

1.5 to 2-hour ramble

Ramble on the Royal Way...

...that leads us to "Paradise", to the court of Desire, to Little India, to the Parisian Prado and ends under one of the Parisian Arches of Triumph

You may know of the many passageways the Paris of the early 19th c. was covered with. They were meant as shortcuts to quickly get from one neighborhood to the other, passing between buildings. Some of them were covered and turned into market places lined with stores and still are today. There are the famous ones, sleekly renovated. But there are many others, more authentic because located in busy neighborhoods where we can feel the original atmosphere of lively bartering (still) going on. You will hear the history of a Paris neighborhood where tourists don’t usually go, because they have simply never heard of it. I will mention a king here and there, point out some architectural features, some artwork placed on our path, and urban planning in action… for example, we will see a former female prison turned into one of the biggest public media centers the city recently inaugurated. In short, I’ll take you on a trip that leads us up and down in history without ever leaving the bustling 21th c. Paris and its inhabitants from all origins, as it has always been.

1.5 to 2-hour ramble

There is not only Notre Dame...

Ramble through the various expressions of Gothic architecture. Because the Paris area is considered the birthplace of the Gothic style, the City of Light is the place to observe how during the Middle Ages churches grew bigger, higher, while at the same time losing their heavy appearance, their darkness... We will learn what allowed the builders of the 12th c. to suddenly open up walls and insert gigantic stained glass windows, and what their motivation was. We will understand why the French Revolutionaries decapitated - by mistake - the sculpted kings on Notre Dame’s Western facade. Have you ever seen a palm three-shaped column? Did you know that the Sainte-Chapelle was conceived as a huge jewel case? We will observe flamboyant Gothic decorative elements on a Civilian building. The ramble ends outside an 11th c. steeple so you can even better appreciate the enormous changes operated by the masters of the Gothic era. We will slowly come back to the present in the neighborhood where Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir used to sip their café in the 1950's and up, at the Café de Flore, and where writers and musicians, like Boris Vian used to hang out…

1.5 to 2-hour ramble