5 ways to find a new-found love for Paris

I’ll admit, I grew a bit bored of Paris after visiting a few times for fun over the years and a couple of times for work in my past career. However, recently I gained a renewed passion for the city after having some fresh, unique endeavors. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Paris pro, these exclusive experiences will open your eyes to a different side of Paris and awaken your love for the City of Lights.

A private, behind-the-scenes look at a French bakery

Visit early in the morning while the bakers are still preparing their creations for the day. See the inner workings of a French bakery. Listen to the experts explain the history of the baguette. Watch the day’s baguettes and pastries in the making. And of course, taste, taste, taste! Just be sure you are visiting a boulangerie – i.e. a French bakery abiding by the 1993 French Bread Law (which specifies the weight, length, and ingredients a bakery must follow for their bread to be considered truly French).

Unlock secret rooms at Versailles

You may have visited Versailles in the past, but have you had an exclusive tour of rooms not open to the general public? Arrange for a private security guard to unlock hidden rooms at Versailles while a Versailles historian tells you stories about how the rooms came to be, who used the rooms, and fascinating, old stories about what transpired in those rooms… all while soaking in the sumptuous design and decor. Imagine seeing Marie Antoinette’s bathroom, the apartment of Louis XV’s mistress Madame de Pompadour, and part of The Royal Opera of Versailles. Just exquisite!

Making the macaron

When you’re ready to take another lesson, dive into baking the ever-favorite macaron. Chef Marthe will welcome you to her Parisian apartment, where she will give you a fun morning/afternoon of baking those delectable bites. She’ll walk you through the steps and then you’ll get to create and eat your own creations. This is another great one for family members of all ages or food-focused friends interested in a few hours of fun.

Composing your own French fragrance

Learn the secrets of French fragrances by creating your own. A private, perfume-making experience in Paris with a special perfumer Molinard over a glass of Champagne is a fab way to spend the morning. Take in the aromas of over 100 scents, identify the ones which are most attractive to you, and learn how to blend them to create a layered fragrance with more depth than if you were to try to mix these together on your own at home.

Not your typical walk through Palais Garnier

See the depths of Palais Garnier (l’Opera) through a truly back-stage and private tour. With a Palais Garnier expert, stroll through some areas open to the public (like the Chagall-painted ceiling of the auditorium); as well as areas not typically traversed by the general public (like the actual backstage and basement of the theater which houses extensive and large set change wheels and ropes).

Through this tour you’ll discover more about the thinking behind the architecture and hear about its fascinating history than you could imagine. Perhaps most captivating is seeing the underground water tank which inspired Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera. You’ll leave wondering… could there really be a phantom?

Tisha Neufville is a Luxury Travel Advisor and Founder of Neufville Travel. Neufville Travel is an independent affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso member.

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Comments (16)

  1. Brian says:

    Last week over dinner I asked an exceptionally well-travelled friend a question. “Of all the cities in the world where would you choose to live?”
    His instant, unthinking answer was Paris. Why do you need to find a new love for Paris? For most of us that love never fades.

    • Tisha Neufville says:

      I can totally understand that as I feel that way about NYC – my love for NYC never fades. However, after visiting Paris several times I wasn’t experiencing anything new until my most recent visit. What gave me the newfound passion for it was was new experiences, new vibe, etc. Thanks!

  2. Karen Morris says:

    Although a glass of champagne always appeals to me I’m not sure that it meshes in with the truly authentic experience of being a perfumer. As the piece says you may have over 100 scents to differentiate and you need a highly honed sense of smell.

    I’ve meet a couple of expert perfumers and they take great care of their “nose.” Not only do they avoid alcohol and tobacco they also steer away from spicy foods. In fact they exist on a very bland diet for the sake of their profession.

  3. Sue says:

    I like the idea of a private tour of Verssilles’ secret rooms. A few years ago I booked a Versailles tour online which worked well as we avoided some huge queues and went straight in. On the downside it was a very lengthy tour which went on for over 3 hours. Hopefully, the secret rooms tour will be a little shorter?

  4. Andy says:

    I’m a big fan of Paris, visiting every few years, so I thought that I knew the city pretty well though I had not come across these suggestions.

    I used to be too stingy to pay for guided tours but in recent years I’ve learnt that they give you so much more understanding and depth. They really are worth paying the money.

    What really appeals to me is the tour of the Palais Garnier, there’s no way that I could appreciate the importance of the place’s architecture and history by just looking around on my own.

    • Tisha Neufville says:

      I agree Andy! A tour with a fantastic guide can be well worth it – particularly for places like Palais Garnier.

  5. Zoe says:

    I’ve yet to find the time to be in Paris long enough to fall in love with the place for the first time. All I’ve ever had are some long weekends. At the moment I’m still ticking off all the mainstream sights. Maybe, one day, I’ll be ready to move on to these fringe attractions. They all look very tempting. Perhaps I’ll manage a week there in the spring.

    • Tisha Neufville says:

      Oh I do hope you can spend a week in Paris in the springtime Zoe. That would be such a lovely time of year to be there!

      Even if you don’t get to these fringe experiences during your next visit, it sounds like you visit often enough that you’ll get to them in due time.

  6. Did I miss it? No sources are listed to find these terrific tours? I’m wondering why not?

    • Tisha Neufville says:

      I am a luxury travel advisor, so I work on each client’s behalf to arrange experiences and tours like these (as well as hotels/resorts/villas) through my expert connections. The partner with whom I collaborate to arrange these experiences depends on each client’s needs, preferences, touring style, etc. Hope that helps!

    • Not really helpful. There are plenty of sources out there willing to their inside information without paying for it. Plain and simple.

  7. Dorota says:

    Great ideas! I visited Paris this year for the second time and I liked it much more than for the first time. Big difference was that now I speak French and have friends there so I could experience Paris more like a local. I need to try making a macaron with them next time ;) Cheers

  8. Emiliano says:

    Of all the countries that I’ve already visited, France will always be my favorite. It is a combination of good food, rich history, splendid architecture, and amazing people. And I appreciate fashion, too. I could not think of any country that will surpass the level of sophistication that this country possess.

  9. Nina Hobson says:

    I lived in Paris for nearly a year and half of me is so excited to read this post… but the other half is rather home sick!
    What wonderful insider tips here.
    It makes me upset when people just want to the Tour Eiffel and nothing else. The real Paris has so much more to offer.
    Thank you for these tips!

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