Photo taken August 2017 vs Photo taken 2006
Private tours of with Jean-Manuel Traimond
Our clients rave about Jean Manuel
Not your usual guide... Very hard to get... Expensive but worth it!
Jean Manuel will show almost everything in Paris and around, he tailors tours around the client's wishes, he provides no transportation whatsoever (take cabs or metro), not very good at logistics, but terrific with almost any type of client. Never takes charge of children alone. Performs at his best in the evenings.. (Orsay and the Louvre now open on Wednesdays and Fridays).
Very interesting tours...
NAUGHTY LOUVRE Yes, the Louvre is a naughty place, for those who know where to look. How could French artists not celebrate romance and pleasure ? Jean-Manuel Traimond, author of the “Guide érotique du Louvre et du musée d’Orsay” will show you all the risqué visual puns, the sensuous statues, the unexpected details, the stories-behind-the-stories...Best on the Wednesday and Friday evening openings of the Louvre. Treasure hunt and quiz available.
A GOURMET TOUR OF THE LOUVRE The French love food. The Louvre is the largest French museum. The inescapable conclusion is, the Louvre is full of food. Follow us, and you will discover why it would be a good idea for oysters to pump iron, why rabbits are the friends of the blind, why mushrooms are the world champions of romance, and why we can eat tomatoes without fearing death. Best on the Wednesday and Friday evening openings of the Louvre. Treasure hunt and quiz available.
JUST MONA. Just Mona ! No Tuesdays. Best on the Wednesday and Friday evenings.
A ZOO IN MY MUSEUM Why is the rhinoceros Ze King of Ze Moustache ? What do a giraffe and NASA have in common ? Do grizzly bears really practice dentistry ? Why is it a good idea to throw pearls back into the sea ? Come and hear the answers !
Best on the Wednesday and Friday evening openings of the Louvre. Treasure hunt and quiz available.
HERE COMES THE SUN ; THE RESTAURATION OF THE APOLLO GALLERY IN THE LOUVRE Here is the Artist-King’s motionless Opera : all arts play their part, from gilding to sculpture, from painting to tapestry, and even from architecture to jewellery, for the Apollo Gallery is where the French keep what remains of their Crown Diamonds. Welcome to the world of solar gold, flying damsels, recycled crowns and eternity trumpets ! No Tuesdays. Quiz available.
MONA LISA UNBOUND, Rather, Jean-Manuel unbound, as he will show you what he likes best in the Louvre. A treat ! Friday evenings.
SOME WEDDING ! “The Wedding at Cana” by Veronese. Gorgeous ! No Tuesdays.
VINDICATING THE DA VINCI CODE…OR NOT ?
One thing is certain ; by following our witty, tongue-in-cheek hunt for the mad albino killer-monk, the cryptic cryptex and the fairly French Maria-Magdalena, you will learn a great deal about history, religion, and, last but not least, fable. Through the Louvre (booking necessary), and Saint-Sulpice Church (not during services). Treasure hunt and quiz available.
GREEK MYTHS : THE REAL McCOY Greek myths were never meant for children, but are now mostly taught to children. Well, here the real stories are coming ; brace yourself !At the Louvre. Treasure hunt and quiz available.
THE LOUVRE, PALACE OF FRENCH KINGS From Philippe-Auguste in 1200, to Napoleon III in 1852, the list of French crowned heads who added to the Louvre is long : their achievements are a feast for the eye and mind. Whenever the Reception Apartments of Napoleon III are opened.
MISTER OSIRIS, I PRESUME ? Egyptian rooms of the Louvre. What about a 2500 years old piece of bread ? Or learning how to order a window in Egyptian, how to help a cow give birth or why some Egyptians bred cats on an industrial basis ? A quiz & games lovingly cooked…
Louvre ; French medieval paintings/ French Renaissance paintings / French classical paintings / Monsieur Poussin /French XVIIIth century paintings / Monsieur David / Napoleon in French Art /Monsieur Géricault / Monsieur Delacroix / French XIXth century paintings at the Louvre/ Portraits of French Kings at the Louvre / The Art of the Portrait.Only when French paintings rooms are opened/ French Sculptures/ All’Italiana/ No Tuesdays The Art of the Still Life. Only when French and Dutch paintings rooms are opened./ What to look at when you look at a painting ? / What to look at when you look at a sculpture? Both can be done at either the Louvre or Orsay.
NAUGTHY ORSAY Orsay, too ? You bet ! Orsay closed on Mondays. Treasure hunt and quiz available
UNDERSTANDING IMPRESSIONISM One of my greatest hits, this enlightening tour of the Musée d’Orsay makes everyone, and I mean everyone, understand how impressionism came to be, why it made such an impact, and most importantly, what it is that artists are trying to do when they paint. Booking indispensable. Orsay closed on Mondays. Treasure hunt and quiz available.
Post-impressionism at Orsay/Portrait at Orsay / Still-Life at Orsay
A LETTUCE A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY
POMPIDOU CENTER MODERN ART MUSEUM This museum of modern art, the largest of its kind in the world, has such extensive collections, the displays rotate every eighteen months. Be prepared for surprises such as the artistic lettuce, the counting man, the felt piano or the secret, very secret, box. Only afternoons. Treasure hunt and quiz available, highly recommended.
LESS KNOWN MUSEUMS
WHAT TASTE DOES TO MONEY OR, THE JACQUEMART-ANDRÉ MUSEUM
Monsieur André and Madame Jacquemart spent most of their adult lives building this unsung wonder, meant to house both their lives and their sumptuous collection. He had money, she had taste. Now, one does not know what to admire the most, the jewel or the jewel-box ! Treasure hunt and quiz available
FURNITURE TO FURNISH YOUR MIND
NISSIM DE CAMONDO Simply France’s best collection of French eighteenth-century furniture after that of the Louvre. And it is in the eighteenth century that French furniture reigned supreme. Treasure hunt and quiz available.
A MAN TO LOVE
PICASSO MUSEUM This museum is a highly efficient machine to change Picasso-haters into Picasso-lovers. For those who are already Picasso-lovers, its name is spelled “Paradise”. Treasure hunt and quiz available.
RODIN MUSEUM The perfect introduction to the life and work of the man who single-handedly invented modern sculpture. In one of the most pleasant gardens of Paris. Treasure hunt and quiz available.
CHERCHEZ LA FEMME A very French approach to two great museums, two great artists ; MM. Rodin & Picasso, whose attitude to women could not have been more different, saw their lives and works changed by the ladies they met. Treasure hunt and quiz available.
BOURDELLE MUSEUM One of the best places to understand what sculpture is all about, as it was the studio of this disciple of Rodin, and author of most of the sculptures in the Trocadero gardens. Treasure hunt and quiz available. Free entrance.
MARMOTTAN A jewel of a museum. And not just because of Impression, soleil levant, and other Monet masterpieces : it also houses Berthe Morisot works, beautiful Empire furniture and a stunning collection of medieval enluminures. Treasure hunt and quiz available.
MUSEE MAILLOL No gold, no marble, no ancient walls, no fortune thrown at it : only endless, effortless talent. A very small, very good museum, which will instantly appeal to anybody with an eye. Booking essential. Small groups only, rooms being very narrow.
MUSEE CARNAVALET A far richer museum than it is generally given credit for, this treasure trove of furniture, Révolution Française memorabilia, Paris trivia, etc. is not only very, very satisfying, but also an opportunity to enjoy Jean-Manuel’s French approach to French history. Treasure hunts and quiz available. Free entrance.
MUSEE DE LA LIBERATION Extremely moving museum about the Résistance, the Libération and the concentration camps. Much too somber for small children.
ATELIER BRANCUSI Western sculpture counts three towering geniuses : Michelangelo, Rodin and Brancusi. Here is the reconstitution, within inches, of Brancusi’s studio in Montparnasse, with all his masterpieces and the exact pedestals he made for them.
THE LADY WITH THE UNICORN CLUNY MUSEUM In the former residence of the Head of the Cluny Order, a great many treasures saved from indifference and vandalism : the Lady with the Unicorn tapestry, the Pope’s Rose, several waffling irons, the monk Theophilus who signed his soul away, a collection of combs fished from the Seine, etc. Treasure hunt and quiz available.
THE SECOND WORLD WAR AT THE ARMY MUSEUM
NAPOLEON AT THE ARMY MUSEUM
DISTRICTS AND NEIGHBORHOODS
THREE MUMMIES IN A BOAT, being my twisted take on the Cherche-Midi area, all quite unexpected, ending with a tour of the surprising, and free of charge ! Musée Bourdelle.
BOATS, BOOKS AND BARRELS, being a leisurely walking discovery-cum-quiz of the mysterious lands of the 12th arrondissement. Pith helmet and machete recommended.
NOOKS & CRANNIES A tour through the passages couverts of Paris, where you can find amber and myrrh, where you can sit on the same bench than Bonaparte, where you can read books whose alphabet is unknown to anyone but their author and, last but not least, where the pacifist cannon can be found. Best in the afternoon. Treasure hunt and quiz available
SINS AND SPLENDORS OF MONSIEUR HAUSSMANN, a tour of the gorgeous but sinful Opéra built by Monsieur Garnier in a district planned by Monsieur Haussmann. If so wished, the splendid Jacquemart-André museum, built at roughly the same time and meant to be a tit-for-tat to the Opéra Garnier can also be visited from the architectural point of view. Treasure Hunt and quiz available.
FROM LATIN QUARTER TO LATIN LOVER An impish tour of the very heart of the French soul through a tour of the very heart of Paris, the Latin Quarter.
NO ALLIGATORS IN THAT SWAMP Gustave Eiffel and Hector Guimard have something in common than being French & famous, but what ? Charles V and Henri IV have something more in common than just a crown, but what ? Answers will be found in Paris oldest Jewish district and newest gay district, Le Marais. Which translates as The Swamp.
PARIS BIZARRE Would you believe it, the Père-Lachaise cemetery, is actually one of the most charming places in Paris and home to the uncertain angel above Oscar Wilde’s grave, the oft-vandalized grave of Jim Morrison, the corpseless grave, the fertility man, the atheist’s monument, the lionized man and countless others. Any day, almost any time. Treasure hunt and quiz available
Not on Sundays
St Etienne du Mont. Paris is full of beautiful stained-glass windows : those of St-Etienne du Mont, poetical and funny, were saved from destruction and then, uniquely, set at eye level.
St Sulpice. Made famous by the « Da Vinci Code », this church deserves a better fate : come and see why.
St Eustache, St-Merri. The two churches of Paris’ Les Halles district are worth a trip : the unique architecture of one, the unique decoration of the other, their troubled history…
St-Gervais-St-Protais, St-Paul-St-Louis. The two main churches of the Marais do surprise visitors, with self-cannibalism, unexpected stained-glass windows and even more unexpected sculptures.
St-Serge, St-Alexandre-Nevski. Dive headlong with us in Old Russia or more precisely in the cathedral of Western Europe’s Orthodox and then in the Orthodox seminary of Paris.
Miraculous Medal, Lazarists Fathers Chapel (where St-Vincent de Paul is buried)
St-Séverin St-Julien-le-Pauvre_ St-Pierre de Montmartre, Sacré-Cœur_ Mosquée de Paris
BLUE BONES La Basilique St-Denis, burial place of French kings.
Here is the first architectural structure deserving the name « gothic », the only medieval prime minister on a French stained-glass window, Louis XVI in Renaissance briefs (marble briefs, however) and a very naked Queen.
MUSICAL PARIS The 8000 pipes of St-Eustache’s gigantic organ and the stage of the Opera make for a pretty duet, singing all about vibrating columns, tenor compensation, the fine art of imitating coats of mail with wool, graphite and bone glue, and the finer art of leading a one-hundred strong choir from a hide-away in the Opera’s rafters.
MONUMENTS, PARKS, GARDENS
SENILE AND SENATE HAVE THE SAME LATIN ROOT, is a very personal tour-cum- quiz in the Luxembourg gardens, full of juicy tidbits and surprises. Any day.
THE REAL GARDENS OF THE SUN : VERSAILLES TRUE SYMBOLISM UNVEILED Versailles’ gardens do talk ; and until a new, sensational interpretation of them was given, we did not know what they said. Discover why Neptune’s fountain and its 99 jets are to the north, why Marcus Curtius leaps into the flames to the south, why the powerful Obelisk fountain is surrounded by bronze reeds, and why the Colonnade is made of eleven concentric circles. The Grandes Eaux, their pomp and mysteries await.
Only on Grandes Eaux days. Rental of horse carriage highly recommended.
PARIS BIRTHPLACE OF THE DINOSAURS, a somewhat strange tour of Paris Botanical gardens, the celebrated Jardin des Plantes, followed by encounters with Moslems, gladiators, and many significant others ! Any day
SEWER POWER No rats, no corpses floating belly up, no alligators, but plenty of false teeth, respiratory devices for small fish and a rolling stone that definitely gathers no moss in the 2100 kms of Paris sewers. Closed Thur-Fri, open 11-16
A FLEA IN MY MARKET This tour will reveal to you all the unexpected uses of church dust when bought by the pound, the likely actual amount of sales in the largest European flea market, and, contrary to all tenets of the cosmetics industry, how to turn the new into the old…Sat-Sun-Mon only. Treasure Hunt and quiz highly recommended
EIFFEL TOWER It is such an enormous monument that not even M. Eiffel himself knew exactly how many bolts were used : two and a half million, give or take a hundred thousand ! And, let’s see, how many airplanes flew under it, did elephants really climb it, what happened to the rash tailor ? I can also offer, for a much stiffer price, the possibility to visit the machinery and other normally hidden parts. Treasure hunt and quiz available. Any day. Two hours on rush days to reach the 3rd floor and come down.
CATACOMBS Six million dead Parisians lie in neat rows there, skulls and thighbones closer to the visitor, in this very small part of the 450 km of gypsum (the stuff out of which plaster of Paris is made) dug in two thousand years through the bowels of Paris and its region. Dark, silent, and fascinating. 83 narrow steep steps to be climbed. Weird opening hours.
MEET VICTOR, OR WE SWEAR THE PANTHEON IS FUN For history buffs, but only if they have a sense of humour !
BAGATELLE IS NO BAGATELLE, being a tour-cum-quiz in the most manicured bit of gardens in the Bois de Boulogne. Rose-lovers take note: 3000 different varieties ! Any day.
Conciergerie _Invalides _ Arc de Triomphe _Grévin
CEMETERIES, Montparnasse_ Montmartre_ PET CEMETARY OF ASNIERES
ALBERT KAHN GARDENS Four world climates in one elegant garden : one of the pleasantest curiosities of Paris
BERCY PARK_ ANDRE CITROEN PARC DE LA VILLETTE
Montmartre _Du Canal St-Martin aux Buttes-Chaumont _Belleville.
OUTSIDE PARIS : la Défense, Versailles, Fontainebleau, Barbizon, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Chantilly, La Malmaison, Giverny, Chartres, Rouen, Chambord, Chenonceau, Cheverny, Villandry, Mont St-Michel, Tapisserie de Bayeux, Mémorial de Caen, Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc, Arromanches, Lisieux, Nevers, Reims
Contact us for prices and reservation. Please advice your dates, how many people, ages of children. Advice if you need transfer to/from hotel or you wish to meet the guide at Louvre. Please specify your first and alternate dates.