Hello, could you tell us about yourself…
Hello, my name is Françoise., I am 46 years old. I have been working for Promenade des Sens® for about 2 years… I have many interests, ranging from baroque beak flute to contempory art workshops for children at the Grande Halle de la Villette… One could say that all my activities are related to art. Add to that studies in History and History of art and you have a guide who is passionate about her work. My meeting Marie-Bénédicte and Promenade des Sens® have added a really interresting twist to the mix, for Promenade des Sens® has an eye for trends and addresses, for clothing as well as for food, and discovering them spices up in unexpected ways the classic style of visiting. I think you can explore the city in a much better way if you approach what makes it alive : the artisanat, the shops and the people who create them.
Talk to us about your endeavor with Promenade des Sens® and Marie-Bénédicte…
What struck me first when I met Marie-Bénédicte were her lively blue eyes, the look of a passionate person, like me ! I immediately understood that this quest around crafts, around what’s good and beautiful, reveals the identity of a neighborhood and allows the present to cast a different light on the past. One make History shine through these stopovers, with shop-owners communicating readily about what they’re doing and their originality. In terms of good addresses, that’s really what this is all about. MB would never recommend addresses whose owners, notwithstanding the quality of their products, have that lordly attitude which still contributes to give our capital the poor image we all are aware of. You know what they say : “Paris, sure, but without the Parisians !” The visits with Promenade des Sens® tend to break this image and, on the one hand, reassure the Parisians about what makes their city like no other, and, on the other hand, send a message to the provincials saying that they’re welcome ! As for our foreign customers, they’re just delighted to live a true cultural experience, and to have a real feel of our art-de-vivre.
What are Marie-Bénédicte’s addresses that you prefer sharing with your customers ?
I’m pretty much inclined, from my background, towards any artistic crafts, and we sometimes, on a tour to M, a potter whose work mixes originality and tradition in an astonishing fashion. Through her work, we get a better understanding of what compelled artists to come to M in the beginning of the 20th century, a kind of village ambiance alive with creators from all over.
I also love doing “time jumps” and bring a group from the refined and old fashioned ambiance of some of our covered passages to the amazingly futuristic ways one can taste products and food. Seing the amazed reactions of our surprised customers is one of the greatest rewards of the job ! One of my favorites is a shop in the Marais neighborhood which always has its doors wide open, managed (or owned) by an energetic women; (naturopathe would be probabley best translated by natural remedies physician) by formation, she sells natural beauty products, perfumes and fragrances which embalms her shop… no allergies whatsover with her products; moreover, she can advise you on skin problems or ways to evacuate stress
Generally, whoever, I truly like all artisans and shop-owners with whom we work because they fit this ambiance of authenticity and talent that I like to convey.
Do you have any stories to tell us?
One of the things that never fails to amuse me in the course of our visit is to capture a public that is not always “with us”, so to speak. During one of our customized tour, a customer who had learned, while on an company-event tour, that Promenade des Sens® could customize something specific for her and her familly, ordered a tour of the passages couverts for a family of 5 (grand-parents, parents, and child aged 5). I was kind of worried that there would perhaps be too much walking for the kid… but I didn’t have too! Punctuating the visit of historical and architectural landmarks by regular stops to delicious and at times out of the ordinary shops had brought the child to wonderland. He/she claimed, at the end of this 2-hour visit, that it was the best visit he/she had ever made in Paris. All the aldults who were there had kept his/her spirit up and the cheese and caramel tasting had enchanted him/her!
Lastly, what words would best describe this adventure and the reasons why you would recommand Promenade des Sens®
A visit with Promenade des Sens®is without a doubt:
- a visit adapted by MB for each request and adapted by a fine team of guides!
- A lively and cultural discovery of neighborhoods we think we know but whose lesser-travelled corners we ignore
- tasty surprises with good products we are proud to represent, helped by shop-owners ready too answer any question.
- Discoveries of creators: jewelry, clothing… in workshops that we also can visit.
- Emotion through works of art that hide in small places, well or not-so-well kown
Interest is renewed at each step, at each encounter. This make each visit a novel experience.