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.