Paris remains an eternally popular destination and for good reason. To find out what’s new in the city of light, Peter sat down with GirlsGuideToParis founder Doni Belau.
Peter Greenberg: I know that you’ve lived in Paris. It’s always such word of mouth when people are going to Paris. Everybody has their favorite restaurant, their favorite jewelry store, their favorite shop, their favorite hotel, but I always like to talk to the locals. I like your website because it actually tells me your local secrets.
Doni Belau: We have about 10 writers on the ground so we always have insider info. We’re not telling people to go to the Eiffel Tower. We try to find sort of out of the ordinary, insider, off the same old beaten down ideas. We cover everything from hotels to culture, to chocolate. It’s topics both women and men can enjoy.
PG: So the Girls Guide to Paris is not just for girls, it’s for everybody.
DB: That’s right. We say it’s girls, but it’s for women 18-88 and those who love them. I actually get a lot of emails and phone calls from men planning a trip with their girlfriend or wife. It’s Paris, exactly. Everybody loves Paris.
PG: Doni, when did you move to Paris and why did you move to Paris?
DB: We bought an apartment actually back in 2000 and it was just love at first sight.We actually have a house now in Bordeaux that I go back and forth from. I designed a job around what I love to do, which is to be in Paris to sort of search out the fabulous things to do there. There’s an endless list of interesting things going on, restaurants opening, etc.
PG: Can you give me one or two really fun insider secrets to Paris that girls and the men who love them needs to know?
DB: I recommend people going to hammam, a Middle Eastern bath. The original hammam is the Mosque de Paris and that’s a really fun afternoon. You feel like you’ve taken a trip to North Africa as you go into all the different steam rooms and then they give you a big scrub down which is called a gomaj, then you end in a massage. Then you can sit in their tea room and have some couscous. They even have a little shop at the Mosque. But there’s a bunch of different hammams that we list our website.
Of course, you can also eat your way through Paris. There are so many exciting new restaurants/wine bars. I just recently went to Frenchie, which has been talked about a lot, but there’s Septime. It’s sort of the restaurant of 2011. It’s only open Monday through Friday. You just have one set menu so you don’t have to order and their one 3-course meal is absolutely fantastic. I think it’s a great trend.
PG: I find it’s interesting that you mention a restaurant that’s not open on Saturdays.
DB: I know. Isn’t it interesting? A lot of the good restaurants are not open on the weekends because if you’re a really hot place you want the weekend off. Typical French.
PG: I know. If you want the hot places you go to GirlsGuideToParis.com.
Are you traveling to Paris this year? What’s on your agenda?
For more of Peter’s Paris favorites, check out:
- Romantic Paris Vacations … With The Whole Family
- Off The Brochure Travel Guide: Paris, France
- Le Tramway & Beyond: Paris Transportation Tips
- Ask the Locals City Guide: Paris, France
By Peter Greenberg For Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio