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Paris: the city you thought you knew

When I met Lane Rosenthal of Paris Off Script about a year ago, we discovered that we share a passion for the authentic, unexpected experiences in France. We complement each other, as she can't spend enough time in Paris, and I can't spend enough time traveling the rest of France! I am delighted to have her as a Guest Contributor. May I present Lane ... Je vous présente: Paris Off Script

I remember the first time I saw Paris. Do you? I fell hard in love with the city. As can happen with any powerful emotion like love, your life can change. Paris changed mine in ways I could not have imagined.

Originally from New York, I’m predisposed to like big cities. And Paris in some ways reminded me of my hometown. But there was more. On that first trip I remember waking every day feeling as if I were on a movie set.

Let me explain. I wasn’t a college student the first time I saw Paris. It took me much longer. I went to Paris to celebrate a big birthday that can only be described as solidly in that gray area called the middle of one’s life. My husband, who had been to Paris during college, left all the arrangements to me. We went for two weeks and stayed in the 7th arrondissement in a small hotel with a charming name and decent reviews that I’d found by combing through Rick Steves. The word that comes to mind is “authentic.” But the proprietor was helpful and friendly—we probably never would have found the Carnavalet on our own—and gave us a bottle of wine when we left, something I always thought reflected appreciation for the length of our stay. We saw all the big sites and walked. And walked, and walked, and walked. I drank it all in. Whenever my husband wanted to rest, I walked some more on my own.

A few years after that first magical trip, my daughter lived in Paris for three years. A fortuitous circumstance, for sure, that allowed me to visit frequently and for several weeks at a time. During those trips I saw Paris through the eyes of an inhabitant rather than a tourist, and planted the seed for Paris Off Script.

The idea was simple: show people the magnificent city beyond the touristy stuff, the city that most tourists, for one reason or another, never see. In the same way that New York is not limited to the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the Metropolitan Museum—all wonderful things for sure, but not really New York—the Paris I discovered was so much more than the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, and the Louvre.

Paris comes to life in its varied neighborhoods, in its lesser-known museums and churches, in places where you walk but have no idea of the human history that happened right under your feet. More than just “off the beaten path,” which is often used to describe something that isn’t, I decided Paris Off Script would be just that—“off script,” unusual, what the French call insolite.

Life intervened, but the idea percolated. Then, it wanted to be born. Today, Paris Off Script is for the discerning adventurer who travels for cultural engagement rather than tourism. My passion for Paris, where I spend three months of the year, helps me share stories with small groups of five people in all-inclusive* trips during off (script) seasons. Five days of unique itineraries are interspersed with special events hosted by bilingual locals I collaborate with, in everything from art to wine. It’s interesting, it’s fun, and it’s not the kind of trip that you’ll find in any guidebook.

Among my superpowers are creativity, curiosity, and thoughtfulness. Paris is a place where I find inspiration. My clients and I explore the city to discover what it means to lead a satisfying life. We see things with fresh eyes and forge new connections—with ideas, with other people, with ourselves.

Paris changed my life. Let me share this incomparable city and my passion for it with you!

Facebook and Instagram: @parisoffscript

*all-inclusive except airfare

Merci Lane Rosenthal for this fresh look at an amazing city!

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