Esprit de Paris Tour Review
Paris is a seductive and enigmatic city. The mysteries of Paris whisper to you as you wander along cobble-stoned streets named in centuries past, peer into gated courtyards surrounding elegant salons, and hear the discreet laughter of Parisian couples sipping champagne in a local cafe. As a tourist, how can you step off the tourist treadmill of museums and monuments to experience the true essence of Paris?
A 26-year old Parisian local and graduate of the Sorbonne, Adeline Marchand has the answer. She created Esprit de Paris tours to share with Americans the effortless sophistication, cultural heritage and modern spirit of Paris.
Adeline Marchand of Esprit de Paris standing in the Place des Vosges.
On a recent tour with Adeline, we traveled by Velib, the comfortable, rental bikes that Parisians use to navigate Paris, to tour Adeline's childhood home, the chic and artsy Marais area on Paris' right bank.
Cruising through Paris on our bikes, we sampled rich, mouth-watering chocolates at a local chocolatier, shopped for the latest fashions in chic boutiques, toured off-the-beaten track museums, peeked into secluded gardens and learned about the history of the Marais. During the 3-hour tour, Adeline passion for her home and effortless ability to switch between discussing 18th century architecture, Parisian fashions, historical figures and cafe etiquette, gave us a unique perspective on Paris "past and present."
The major benefit we found from taking Adeline's tour is that she is a native Parisian - not an American expat like many tour guides. Her anecdotes and choice of which stores, gardens and buildings to tour gave us an insight into Paris manners, education, and culture that seems to be lacking in other tours.
When asked what she wished that Americans could take away from their visit to Paris, Adeline replied "I wish Americans would understand the spirit of Paris, the Parisian state of mind, and the essence of Parisian casual chic...French luxury is discreet...not ostentatious and not about money...in Paris what is hidden is the most desirable." Adeline's goal is to show you the hidden secrets of Paris and share with you the "joie de vivre" and "espirit de Paris."
Espirt de Paris Tour Information
Whether by bike, car or on foot, Adeline will design a tour around your specific interests. For a 3-hour private tour, the price is 150e for a small group. Adeline also offers themed tours such as:
Marie-Antionette Tour - One of Adeline's favorite tours, she explores her specialty, 18th century France. Walk back in time by winding through the maze of streets in the Marais stopping at private mansions from the 17th and 18th century. You'll learn about the history of this tumultuous time period and the aristocracy's passion for fashion and objects d'arts. On this 4-hour tour, you also indulge in a chocolate and a macaroon tasting.
French Kitchen Workshop - A hands-on cooking workshop with a Parisian chef in an exclusive glass-domed loft. You'll learn the techniques and secrets of producing gourmet French dishes with fresh, local ingredients. Classes are restricted to 10 people.
For more information on these and other tours, contact Adeline at her website Esprit de Paris.
Author: Cheryl Montgomery