Every year I get paid to visit Paris. I always find something new about the city to explore. And I have my old favorites…sipping excellent coffee in Cafe Danton on the Boulevard Saint-Germain…browsing through the stacked books in the Shakespeare & Company, once a haunt of writers like Hemingway and Ford Madox Ford…or strolling in the Luxembourg Gardens…
I’ve been studying French since I was 14 and I love this culture.
I desperately wanted to live in France…to spend time exploring it…but I had no idea how to make this passion pay. So I concentrated on other things and became a certified life coach.
Then, in 2004, I had an idea. I organized a creativity workshop that traveled to France where we filled a journal with our experiences…sketches and notes, recipes and memories.
That was the beginning. Now I get to spend time in my favorite city every year. I’m lucky to be paid to indulge my passion for Paris and all things French—and call this “work.” I earn anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 per trip just for showing people the places I love.
One of my favorite jaunts is in the 12th arrondissement where the 2.9-mile Promenade Plantée, above the Ateliers de Viaduct is a welcome green space in the midst of the city. The former elevated railroad track is now a planted garden with wonderful views onto mansard roofs. At street level, I can browse a row of artisan studios…peeking in the windows, or popping in to visit with an artist.
Near here is the Marché d’Aligre, an open-air vegetable, fruit, and flower market with a nearby flea market. I bring my groups along and encourage them to discover it at their own pace. And in this neighborhood, it’s always a good idea to pop over a few streets and get Madeleines—little French cakes—at Blé Sacré, a renowned pastry shop on a quiet city square.
Another favorite is La Bague de Kenza pastry shop in the Belleville neighborhood near Pere Lachaise cemetery. The displays are stunning and sampling of the cookies is a must.
Sweet tooth satisfied, I take my tour to the art studio of Paris artist Marcus McAllister who hosts a weekly salon in his studio to show his art and his process…which includes detailed and gorgeous journal keeping. My tours have a creative slant so folks really enjoy this.
This year, I’m adding a visit to the newly renovated Picasso museum. Picasso’s work and life offer inspiration for the participants on my creativity tour. Your tour will have its own flavor and its own special characters you can introduce to your participants.
We end the day with an aperitif debrief at La Fée Verte, an adorable absinthe bar near Bastille. There, we perform the ritual around absinthe, with the water dispenser, the sugar cube, and the slotted absinthe spoon. Doing this in an art nouveau bistro is a true French treat.
At the end of our week together, we embark on a boat cruise along the Seine at dusk. It’s the perfect way to love and savor the city…floating by…all lit up…
What about your favorites? Get a piece of paper now and jot down some of your beloved travel spots, throwing in a few new spots you’d like to visit. I bet you will see the start of a unique itinerary for a tour you could lead.
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