Today an interview with Pierre Bismuth, Spotter for our Paris cityblog.
How do you like being a Spotter? Do you have a nice Spotters-story?
The first time I heard about Spotted by Locals was in 2008, in an article from the French newspaper, Le Monde. I found it very smart and very amusing as I went out a lot at that time, and before.
So I sent an e-mail to Spotted by Locals to become a spotter! You (read: Sanne van Poll) replied that you were full but you kept my e-mail address. When I received an e-mail from you last June, I was delighted, and very enthusiastic about becoming a Spotter. Since then, I hope that the spots I write about are appreciated by our readers.
Why Paris? What is a must do when you visiting Paris? What is not?
As I was born in Paris, and practically always lived there, it was obvious to write about spots in Paris. Indeed, when I was a teenager, I found it would be great to be the mayor of this city!
I found Paris beautiful and very accessible, because it is a little city, very walkable. It is always a pleasure to lift up your eyes and discover some wonderful buildings, new restaurants, monuments, museums you’ve never been in before.
And every district or quarter has their own charms. For instance, I live in the 14th district of Paris, which is not the most funny nor most trendy quarter. But it is so nice to live there, near the Parc Montsouris, especially when you have children. And if I want fun, with the underground, everything is reachable in less than 40 minutes. That’s priceless.
If it is the first time in Paris, I think the most beautiful place to go is on the shore of the Seine, in St Michel. In the summer, you can have a picnic here and enjoy Paris Plage just as if you were at the beach.
Can you describe a perfect day in your city? Which spots (that you wrote about!) would you visit?
A perfect day was like 2 days ago, when my brother-and-law and I decided to go with 6 of our children and nephews to a fun fair located in the Grand Palais, on the Champs Elysees. It was just funny to ride the sometimes very shaky merry-go-rounds under the magnificient glass roof of this momument, and very pleasant to see the amazed bunch of children running everywhere and laughing out loud! Besides, we managed between two pancakes, trhree ice creams and one barbapapa to sit and drink a glass of champagne ! Just perfect.
More generally, the perfect day in Paris is the one when you let Paris lead your way! At one moment, the City will touch you and fill you with joy and happiness, and this moment is specific to each of us. It can be when you discover the historic Paris of the Latin Quarter, or in Avenue Montaigne, with all the luxury boutiques of French designers, or in Montmartre, home of Amélie Poulain, the famous french movie
Which prejudices about Paris are true? Which ones are not?
As I was born in Paris, I can assure you that none of the prejudices about Paris are true ! I’m so pleased to live in Paris that I’m not sure I’m kidding. It is true that one can think that Parisians are a little bit aggressive, but it is because you have to juggle between work and children and sports and going out! So I’m trying to make of Paris a city as nice as New York, and I always try to help people looking at a map to ease their way through the streets of Paris.
Also, one thing about Paris is that you can eat very well, but sometimes very badly. That is the reason why I’m write a lot about restaurants because I think it is a pity for a tourist to eat in France in a very bad and often expensive restaurant.
And I think it is a great experience to go and eat in a Michelin star restaurant, like Alain Senderens, to taste the area for which France is known worldwide !
Finally, one always complains about strikes in France and with the underground, and as I travel exclusively by metro, I can assure you that this is a legend, and that it is very rare that there is a strike in the underground (the RER is another story).
Check out all articles by Pierre Bismuth and the other Spotter interviews.