I have a job planning social events for a group of students/interns that come to Paris for the summer (one of the many side hustles). Every year, I stress out about where to take them. I want them to genuinely experience life in France, but I’m usually on a pretty tight budget and language barriers can become a real problem, so I am ALWAYS looking for cool stuff for my interns to do that are anglo-friendly and bougie but on budget. I thought that today, I would share a few cool things we’ve done over the last two summers to hopefully inspire a few additional cultural activities for you on your next trip to Paris.
- Wine Tasting at Les Caves du Louvre or O Chateau
Depending on your group size, there are a couple of very cool options here. Whenever my best gal pals come to visit, I book the “Tour de France of Wine at O Chateau.” This is a two-hour small group tasting, around 25 people, led by an English speaking sommelier who teaches you the basic what, where and why of wine for 55 euros. You get 5 wines and 1 champagne and in my experience, they are pretty healthy pours. I’ve done this two or three times, and each time the older women in the group (usually flight attendants for some reason) start to really let loose around glass 4 and you’re all in for a good, loud time. You can also just go to their wine bar and enjoy a wine flight (my personal favorite is the one from the Loire Valley) and charcuterie planches.
Another cool option to do with friends or as a group is to go to their interactive wine museum at Les Caves du Louvre. These two businesses are related but not the same, so be sure if you book one, you are going to the correct location. Les Caves du Louvre is self-guided (unless you are a group of 10 or more) and there are beautiful rooms dedicated to each sense. For 30 euros, you download their informational app, get to walk through the interactive displays, get to taste 3 different wines and get to take a silly photo in a photo booth and slap it on your very own bottle of wine. This same option is available for 19 if you’d like to forego the personalized bottle, but let’s be honest, who doesn’t want a wine bottle plastered with a princess photobooth photo of themselves on the front? Everyone wants that. Don’t even lie to me.
There is a reason that this show has been running for years. It’s VERY funny if you can laugh at yourself but mostly at French people. It’s especially funny if you have spent an extended amount of time in France and understand the French mentality. You know, the slow waiters, the rude people, the apathetic shrug accompanied with a pffffft. I like to bring the students here at the end of their 8-10 weeks in Paris because I think they can really appreciate the jokes about the lack of customer service and general French attitude. There are a few parts where it might be a bit little bit uncomfortable if you’re sitting with your mom/grandma/teacher/etc. (the bit about what Parisians are like in bed) but if you can take a little awkwardness along with your overall hilarity, this is a great show to see.
This place is really cool, it’s an old artists squat turned into a living, breathing artists studio. Artists set up a studio in one of the sections of this 5 story building located right in the middle of Rue de Rivoli. The artists invite you inside their world to see what they are working on, to get a glimpse inside their lives, for a chat, to sell you some art, or even just to share a moment. It’s free to go in and you can spend as much time as you want wandering through and enjoying the atmosphere. This is a great way to spend an afternoon.
A short 45-minute train ride away from Paris is the city of Reims, located in the heart of Champagne. There are plenty of vineyards that open their doors to tourists all year long, but if you’re looking for something a little different, we booked the Champagne and Chocolate tour from Bus en Vignes (you can also take this tour from Epernay). We met them behind Reims cathedral and got onto a massive purple tour bus that drove us through fields and out into the country, up to a spot where we could overlook the beautiful vineyards.
From there, we were taught the art of Sabrage (that awesome and also very terrifying party trick where you cut the bottle open with a giant knife) by the Vigneron behind Champagne Dellacourt, tasted a crisp and refreshing glass of their rosé champagne and then had a lovely time making tempered chocolate designs with the chocolatier from La Chocolaterie Thibaut. After that, we had a quick lesson about tasting the chocolate and the champagne together, which was the best part for obvious reasons. Then we hopped back on the tour bus to be dropped off right where we were picked up, had a lovely stroll through the cathedral and the town to the train station and were back in Paris before sunset. All in all, an absolutely fantastic day.
What are your favorite anglo-friendly and/or bougie on a budget Paris activities? Leave me a comment & let me know! I’d love to try out some new things for next summer!