Adeline Marchand is the owner of Esprit de Paris, a unique tour guide service offering visitors the opportunity to experience Paris from the eyes of a local and to be truly immersed in Parisian culture. Having grown up in the trendy, creative and historic Paris neighborhood of Upper Marais, Adeline shares her expertise and understanding of Parisian life in a way that cannot be found on the standard tour bus.
Adeline has a master’s degree in 18th century French history from the Sorbonne with a focus on the Grand Tour, an aristocratic rite of passage in addition to having educated herself through experiences with the curator of the Louvre Museum, working with collectors at the International Contemporary Art Fair and even assisting writer Olivier Cadiot and director Ludovic Lagarde at the Festival of Theater in Avignon.
She enjoys sharing her passion and knowledge of the City of Lights with visitors with a strong awareness of what it’s like to be in a foreign country having traveled throughout the world herself. Her goal is to allow tourists to become locals during their holiday while catering to their particular interests.
Recently, I had the opportunity to ask Adeline more about her company and she kindly provided me with additional insight.
Europe Travel: How long have you had your business, and what made you decide to start your Parisian tour company?
Adeline Marchand: I started my business of private tours of Paris two years ago. My father, who used to work for an American multinational banking corporation, started a new life a few years ago, and created a Bed & Breakfast in our family house, in the Marais (the historical center of Paris), Bonne Nuit Paris. One day, he told some of his clients that I studied history at the Sorbonne. The mother and her daughter, who were from the USA, asked me if I could go around the area with them to give some explanations about the buildings, and to make them “feel” and understand the city. And I had a lovely time! The cultural exchange is very exciting for me.
Europe Travel: Do you cater to specific types of tourists?
Adeline Marchand: I receive travelers from the USA, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand – all types of travelers make it an interesting experience for me. I appreciate and understand the couples, the families, and the women traveling alone. I have noticed that people who travel often are more open to alterity; they often seem to be more curious and they will ask very respectfully how things work here (in Paris) instead of trying to get what they have at home. I particularly enjoy spending time with teenagers on their own because they are very receptive. It often happens that parents frequently ask me to introduce Paris to their teenagers.
Europe Travel: What are some of your more unique tours?
Adeline Marchand: I try to make each and every one of my tours unique! Far from the traditional tourist route (unless it’s a client’s request), my clients gain entrée into the authentic life of real Parisians and feel more like a local. In Rome, it is said that you need seven generations to be considered as a real Roman! With Esprit de Paris, my clients will become a little more Parisian in a few hours…
Europe Travel: What might tourists expect to get out of your tours that they may not be able to experience with others?
Adeline Marchand: My tours are exclusive because my clients will discover the essence and soul of Paris, this special way to be sophisticated but nonchalant. I will try to reveal the mentality and customs of the French. The cultural and intellectual life of Paris needs context and history to be fully appreciated. We will visit private mansions, museums, secret places, lovely gardens, cafés, and I will help tourists to discover the cultural heritage, lifestyle, sophistication and creativity of Paris.
Europe Travel: Which of your tours tend to be the most popular?
Adeline Marchand: It is the Marais tour and the Château de Versailles tour. They are my favorite tours too! I have been raised in the Upper-Marais, a very creative, trendy and historic area, said to be shabby chic. So I know its charming places and their secrets… And I received a master’s degree in 18th century French history, which the period when the Château de Versailles was inhabited by the King and the Royal Court. I love this time of sophistication, pleasure, refined decadency and violence.
Europe Travel: Do you recommend a particular time of the year that might be best for travelers visiting Paris?
Adeline Marchand: Paris is the most visited city in the world because each time of the year is wonderful! It rains, although lightly, often in Paris, and the city is still charming. We take an umbrella and life goes on! And the color along the riverside is amazing on a rainy day!
In spring, summer, and autumn, the monuments are really crowded, but you can enjoy the liveliness of the terrace of the café and experience the favorite hobby of the Parisian: people watching. Each Parisian has the feeling of being someone important. Self-confidence, conviction, enthusiasm and a mysterious allure, that’s the characteristic of the Parisians.
Europe Travel: What are a few of your favorite spots in Paris?
Adeline Marchand: The Pont des Arts offers one of my favorite views. I love the Ile Saint Louis for the charm and the quietness of the riverside. The Place des Vosges is incredibly beautiful and this is where I spent my teenager years.
As far as bars, restaurants, and clubs, it is continually changing in Paris. Parisians are like bees with flowers! I have dinner in the 7th or the 17th arrondissement that tend to offer very good restaurants and then I go out in the 2nd, the 3rd, and the 6th arrondissement (various districts of the city).