Culture walks in Paris
Contact me to book a tour :
Montmartre in 1900, Cabarets & Artists : Art Walk - 2 hours - €50/person
Montmartre has occupied a unique place in the history of Paris. Known for its windmills & bucolic setting in the 1800s, it became (in)famous for its racy cafés, dance halls & cabarets where wealthy Parisians would go "slumming". During the Belle Epoque Montmartre's bohemian atmosphere attracted numerous struggling artists : Renoir, Picasso, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec....
On this Art Walk, we will discover the cabarets where these artists met, visit their homes & discuss their technique, their style of painting. Using archival photos we will see how they lived, how they partied...and how some of them died tragically young. We will even visit an Artist's market where you can buy original artwork directly from the artists.
Along the way, we will also discover the leafy winding picturesque streets that make Montmartre so uniquely charming. We will visit 2 of the remaining windmills in Paris as well as the city's only vineyard, ending the tour at Sacré Coeur. A charming & informative Art Walk.
Picturesque Montmartre Village
The Left Bank : Lost Generation of the 1920s - 2-3 hours - €50/person
There is a famous saying : “Everyone has 2 countries, their own & France”. This was especially true for numerous artists, writers & jazz musicians between the 2 World Wars, many of whom flocked to Paris not only for artistic inspiration but also to find themselves.
Known as the Lost Generation, these were men & women who had suffered through WW1, a war that had taken 18m lives. They were all between 20 and 30 years old & questioned the old regime as morally bankrupt – seeking to build a new system.
Eager to share ideas they would gather in the numerous cafés of the Left Bank. Many of these struggling artists & writers stayed in the area’s cheap hotels. In the 1950’s the “Beat Generation” followed in their footsteps & came to Paris in seek of inspiration.
We will visit the places where these people lived, worked & partied…bearing in mind that the bohemian Left Bank of starving artists & struggling writers has now given way to chic boutiques & high end bistros.
Hemingway & Beach at Shakespeare and Company Bookstore 1928
Hemingway's Haunts in Paris - 2-3 hours - €50/person
Hemingway spent his formative years in Paris. Surrounded by fellow authors such as James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound & F. Scott Fitzgerald, he transitioned from struggling journalist to seasoned novelist. This tour will take you to the places that Hemingway frequented, where he lived, worked & partied. Along the way I share documented research on his life & exploits, archival photos of Hemingway in Paris, and excerpts of his work.
From his first trip to Europe as a volunteer Ambulance Driver in WW1, to his final journey embedded with the American troops liberating France in WW2, I will share Hemingway's experiences in Paris, his lives, his loves, his work. We will visit his favorite bars and perhaps share a drink - you can even type a note on the typewriter he left in the Ritz Hotel.
Hemingway at age 19 in his Red Cross uniform
Harlem in Paris : Jazz Age of Paris - 2 hours - €35/person
After World War I, Paris was a magnet for African American musicians, writers, poets and performers, settling mostly in Pigalle.
By the late 1920s, there were over 300 jazz clubs, bars & theatres in Pigalle alone, many of them owned & operated by African Americans.
This tour relates the story of how Harlem came to Paris & introduced the French to Jazz.
The French quickly adopted this new style of music & still love it – the city has numerous jazz clubs where musicians from around the world play to enthusiastic audiences.
I would like to share with you the stories of the fascinating men & women who remade Paris into a Jazz mecca during the Roaring 20s.
The Harlem Hell Fighter's Orchestra
Covered Galleries : the 1st Shopping Malls - 2 hours - €40/person
The very first covered gallery was built in 1786, in the Palais Royal. The gallery was an early form of a shopping mall, a place where fashionable women could shop in an enclosed environment protected from the rain & cold, rather than having to go from one corner of the city to the next looking for shops through dark muddy streets.
Most were built during the first half of the 19th Century & by the 1850s there were 150 galleries in Paris. However they were for the most part abandoned when the department stores became popular in the late 1800s. By the 1950s only a dozen or so remained, many quite dilapidated.
They are now being lovingly restored as upmarket malls with glass ceilings for natural lighting & beautiful ornaments and decors.
They provide a uniquely historic way of seeing the boutiques of Paris.
The parks & gardens of Paris - this tour lasts 3-4 hours - €40/person
Paris is known as the City of Lights, but for Parisians it is also a city of parks & gardens. Every arrondissement has its parks, some small and intimate, others grandiose.
In total, the city has 1200 acres of green spaces, parks & public gardens, not including the two Bois (Forests). Lakes, waterfalls, belvederes, artfully arranged "faux ruins"... french landscaping is designed to be appreciated for its beauty & artistry.
Let me take you on a visit of the lesser known but beautiful gardens that Parisians love most !
Buttes Chaumont (Anna David Cooper)