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27 July 2017

Tour Director Patrick Bade will lead our tour of Belle Epoque Paris. Writing from Paris, where he lives, Patrick shares his insights into some of the city’s hidden treasures, as well as some of the highlights of his upcoming tour, in a special blog post for ACE.

 


A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE ON PARIS

by Patrick Bade

Many people think they know Paris. After all, the centre of Paris is just two hours and fifteen minutes from the centre of London by Eurostar. But when you exit the Gare du Nord, you step into another world. The treasures of Paris are inexhaustible.

You could echo the words of Johnson and say “the man who is tired of Paris is tired of life”. Fighting through the crowds at the Louvre, the Orsay and the blockbuster exhibitions at the Grand Palais can be an exhausting experience, but there is so much more to discover in Paris – dozens of smaller museums that don’t attract the crowds.

My recommendations would include the Musée de Montmartre; the Museum of Romantic Life in an artist’s studio on the slopes of Montmartre; the Museum of Immigration, and the gloriously atmospheric and sinister Musée Gustave Moreau.

The fascinating Museum of the 1930s at Boulogne Billancourt rarely has more visitors than guards. On one occasion when I tried to book a group visit, the receptionist told me “Monsieur we are waiting for you with joy”.

A short distance away is the recently opened Musée Belmondo devoted to the beautiful sculptures of Paul Belmondo, father of the film star Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Our tour of ‘Belle Epoque Paris’ this October takes in some of the city’s finest sites. For sheer bling, the old Paris Opera, the Palais Garnier, has no rival in the world, and is home to one of the world’s most spectacular staircases.

Palais Garnier Paris

It is the only theatre in which the performance is always and inevitably upstaged by building itself.

Another highlight of this tour will be a walk up the second most spectacular staircase in Paris, entirely made out of the semi-precious stone onyx, in the palace of the notorious courtesan La Paiva, not usually open to the general public.

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