Versailles: An Unofficial Guide

Versailles: An Unofficial Guide

The Palace of Versailles, approximately 20km south-west of Paris is one of the most visited sites in Europe, and is on everybody's to-do list while in the City of Lights. It is an absolutely spectacular place, and one of my favourite sites in the Paris region, but it's not the kind of place you should just pitch up to and wing it. 

Due to its size and popularity, a day in Versailles can easily descend into a disaster of long lines, bad timing, long walks in the dust and cancelled trains. 

As a tour guide I've spent thousands of hours in the town and estate, and I firmly believe that preparation is the key. So read on, because I'm about to share as much advice as I can. 

Read More

The Ultimate Paris Marathon Spectator Guide

The Ultimate Paris Marathon Spectator Guide

Watching the Paris Marathon isn't easy, even for a local. I was rushed, unprepared and even had to take a cab at one point. *shame*

Yet loads of people come to Paris from out of town to watch, so with this in mind, I've designed the perfect user-friendly Ultimate Paris Marathon Spectator Route. 

Read More

How I overcame my fears and spoke French on national TV

How I overcame my fears and spoke French on national TV

Speaking French is not a simple matter of flicking a switch and carrying on with life. It is inextricably related to feelings of legitimacy, falsehood, belonging and alienation. It is associated with anger and frustration, inadequacy, stupidity, and triumph. It is related to who and what I am, my place in the world around me and a constant negotiation and re-negotiation of meaning, intention and power. 

Read More

'Tours for people who don't want to do tours': an interview with Margaret River tour guide Sean Blocksidge

'Tours for people who don't want to do tours': an interview with Margaret River tour guide Sean Blocksidge

I had a lot of fun recently chatting with Margaret River tour guide Sean Blocksidge, who I interviewed for the inaugural issue of Your Margaret River Magazine. In 2010 he won Western Australian Guide of the Year, he’s been rated the #1 Thing To Do in Australia on Trip Advisor, and he once took Jeremy Clarkson on an adventure tour and lived to tell the tale, yet the journey hasn’t always been a smooth one.

Being a tour guide myself it was fascinating to get his perspective on the scene, and the story of his business, as well as  some insider tips for that even a locals will appreciate. 

Read More

Hey You! Yes You: meet Ellen, who has been up the Eiffel Tower over 700 times

Hey You! Yes You: meet Ellen, who has been up the Eiffel Tower over 700 times

Welcome to "Hey You! Yes You", a new series in which I'll introduce you to a new marvelous person that I have encountered here on Earth,  each with their own interesting story. 

For the first ever post of I have chosen a friend of mine here in Paris, Ellen. Ellen is a seriously talented musician and singer, who has just finished recording a to-be-named new album.  

By regularly coaxes the magic of unicorns out of her voice and into our ears on the Paris music scene. By day she works in one of the most beautiful places on earth: The Eiffel Tower. As a tour guide, and has been up the Tower more than a hundred times. Like, way more.

I thought it would be fun to ask her a few questions about what that is like. 

Read More

How To Be A Tourist (That Tour Guides Like)

How To Be A Tourist (That Tour Guides Like)

I’ve been a bicycle tour guide in Paris for more than two years, and this is a topic I’ve been thinking of writing about for a while. I resisted it because I’m not a fan of bitchsticles (bitchy-list-articles) and I couldn’t really see how this would interest anybody except me and my guide friends.

Then I realised something that changed my mind:

The tour you get depends on the tourist you are.

Read More