Meet the contestants: The 2023 Paris Bucket List team

The 2023 Paris Bucket list was published this week! It’s our annual tradition to give ourselves things to do in this city, but also to help YOU find new things to do.

A quick reminder: these aren’t 50 new things in Paris. Rather, they’re 50 activities that a collection of Parisian friends want to tick off their own lists.

In this blog post, you can meet these Parisians and learn why we all chose our activities.

Let’s start with a quick re-look at the list.

The podcast episode

Now let’s meet the contenders.

Oliver Gee: The Reigning Champ

  1. Visit the Paris aquarium – I want to see if it’s any good and see what’s the fuss is about.
  2. Have a drink at the Serpent à Plume bar – Everyone who talks about it makes it sound like the coolest, hippest place.
  3. See the Phillipe Auguste arch entrance for the Bièvre river – This is where two of my treasure hunt fascinations of the city meet
  4. Go to Disneyland – The fact that so many people love it so much intrigues me.
  5. Run in the Paris Marathon – This is crazy as I’m not a runner but I want to give it my best shot in April.

Lina: The Stockholm Sting

  1. Climb the Arc de Triomphe – It’s a typical “first time in Paris” thing to do and I’ve never done it.
  2. Dine at the Jules Verne restaurant – Because why not climb the Eiffel Tower for lunch?
  3. Support a marathon runner – see Oliver’s No.5 🙂
  4. Take a millinery course – I’ve always wanted to learn how to make hats and what better place than Paris?
  5. Hold an art exhibition – I want to have an art exhibition in Paris…. and I might already have some plans…

Gillian Bird: The Ambassador

Gillian is from Adelaide and has served as the Australian ambassador to France since 2020. She also lived in Paris for a few years in the early 80s while working in the department of foreign affairs. Here’s her list.

  1. Climb the Eiffel Tower – Believe it or not, despite looking at it every day, I have never ever gone up the Eiffel Tower.
  2. Read in the Bibliothèque Richelieu – Such a fabulous building; I’ve visited and eaten at the wonderful café but really should properly experience the atmospheric reading room.
  3. Eat at Le Doyenné restaurant – Australian owner/chefs who got best restaurant of the year award from Fooding magazine; just outside Paris.
  4. Visit Le Musée Marmottan – A lovely little known gem of a museum that I haven’t visited since I was posted here in the 1980s. Just waiting for the Monet Water Lily paintings to be returned from the Joan Mitchell/Monet exhibition at Fondation Louis Vuitton
  5. Visit Le Louvre – Unbelievably, I have never visited, despite living in Paris on several occasions; see number 1 above!

Comte de Saint Germain: The Count

Comte de Saint-Germain calls himself the Parisian immortal, he’s 2,200 years old and enjoys long walks through the catacombs (you can click here to see the time he guided me through them). He offers historical Paris audio walks throughout the city and you can follow him on Instagram @walks.paris to see his adventures.

  1. Have a cocktail at Cravan – I love cocktail bars, it’s one of those places I learned about thanks to the Paris Countdown, and both the guy and the place sounded cool. So next time I’m in the 16th – which is extremely rare- I’ll try it!
  2. Go under the Maison du Fontainier to see the 17th century pools that used to split the water supply between the King, the Church, and the people of Paris. As you may know from my tours, I’m a bit obsessed about underground water in Paris, and I haven’t walked the dry part of the Medici Aqueduct since it got replaced by the Montsouris réservoir. Only visitable when specific associations schedule tours
  3. Visit the necropolis under the July column at Bastille – I recently saw its windows lit up, from below, while I was on a moving péniche as part of an immersive theatre piece along the Canal Saint-Martin. I want to pay my respects to the revolutionaries of 1830 & 1848: if Haussmann happened, it’s because of their very effective barricades! It’s only open to guided tours of 18 people, 4 time slots per week.
  4. Have dinner at MoSuke –  Mory Sacko’s famous restaurant inspired by Malian, Japanese & French cuisine in the 14th. I had a first taste at his temporary restaurant Edo at the Palais de Tokyo, and there was potential, but the logistics were just not great. So I’m eager to try his cuisine in a stable, proper location. It’s fully booked months in advance, there’s a waiting list, but they release last minute tables on Instagram, so as I’m also in the 14th, I hope I manage to grab one in 2023
  5. Find the Grange Batelière – the mythical river turned sewer under the 9th arrondissement. It was on my list for 2022, I didn’t make it, so time to try again! May be illegal, may be dangerous, may be a red herring, we’ll see

Molly Wilkinson: The Baker

Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef Molly Wilkinson gave us five food-themed activities. Molly hosts private pastry classes in Versailles, and online, to help you become an at-home pastry chef, you can see her wonderful creations on her Instagram @mollyjwilk

  1. Do a food tour in Paris: I’ve never done one in Paris and it’s such a fun way to discover new places! What’s going to be difficult is finding one that is fantastic (not touristy) and shows places that I’ve hopefully not been to before or maybe don’t know of.
  2. Take a cooking class at the Ritz: Well because it’s the Ritz 😀 The fun thing about working in the culinary world is that you’re always learning – I’ve looked at their classes before and am super intrigued! That or Alain Ducasse but I’ve already taken one of his… they’re by actual chefs that work in his kitchens!
  3. Do a chocolate class at Edwart Chocolat: This has been on my list to do FOREVER. Edwart is one of the newer more interesting chocolate shops in Paris with unusual flavors. I heard they offer classes in their tiny kitchen in the back, and I want to do it! Especially if that means eating lots of chocolates.
  4. Enjoy a brunch at the Ritz: this is NEW as of 2022! As soon as I saw unlimited madeleines and cakes at the Ritz, I wanted to go! It’s sold out almost every Sunday for this year already.
  5. See inside the kitchen at Poilâne: I love the bread and the unique history of this bakery. I’ve seen a couple of people go down to see the old kitchen in the original location and oh… what a dream that would be! It also seems pretty difficult to get access to so… fingers crossed!

Vero from ‘France with Vero’: The expert

Tour guide extraordinaire Veronique from France with Véro shares with us her most awaited activities for this year. You can follow along her travels in Paris and beyond through her instagram @francewithvero.

  1. Visit the newly-restored crypt below the Colonne de Juillet – keeping my fingers crossed the stairs leading to the top will reopen to the public one day to enjoy one of the best view points in Paris
  2. See Alfons Mucha exposition at the Grand Palais Ephémère in March 2023
  3. Spend a sunny afternoon boating along the Marne river east of Paris with Charles Trénet playing in the background, and stop at a local “guinguette” for lunch, just like many Parisians used to do during the Belle Epoque.
  4. Enjoy a decadent goûter “à la Française” in the salon Proust, the Ritz Hotel
  5. Attend the annual outdoor movie festival “Film sous les Etoiles” at the Domaine de Saint Cloud, my old exercise grounds.

Shannon from ‘This French Life’

Shannon, the American born Parisienne gave us her top 5 things she hoped to experience this year. Shannon shares her love for all things Paris online, offers guides to the city and has quarterly magazines to bring a bit of France to you. You can find her Instagram here @thisfrench.life

  1. Stargaze at Sorbonne Observatory: While I think Paris is heaven on Earth, I recently discovered that you could observe the heavens from the Sorbonne! The university’s sizeable green dome is an observatory; the public can join tours to see the moons and planets from a telescope (diameter 153 mm, focal length 2300 mm). It is reached by crossing the central courtyard, where a sundial and the old chapel erected by Richelieu are still visible. Group participants are limited to 5. Cost 10 euros. 
  2. See the Ritz Bar astrological lantern open at 5:30 PM: Speaking of stars, I want to watch the Ritz Bar astrological lantern open at 5:30 PM. Inspired by the cosmos and the twelve astrological signs, Zodiac-themed cocktails are served under a glamorous golden dome. At exactly 5:30 PM each evening, the dome is the star of the show. It raises to reveal the bar and casts a map of the sky onto the ceiling above. A tribute to the Belle Époque, a period particularly devoted to the divinatory arts, this is a relaxed and refined way to start your evening in Paris. 
  3. Tour the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: I love all animals, and when I found out about the cats of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I just had to add this to my list. The building itself is magnificent and has an incredible history. But when rodents became an overwhelming nuisance, two cats were adopted, Nomi (short for Nominoé, the first king of Brittany) and Noah. Located on the Quai d’Orsay, this building is open to the public for free during European Heritage days. 
  4. See the Cluny Museum: Throughout the pandemic, teams worked hard to renovate the chapel of the Hotel de Cluny, the Gallo-Roman baths, a brand new reception area, a redesign of the exhibition routes, and improved accessibility with additional stairlifts and elevators. Just reopened in May 2022, I am anxious to see the changes to the museum and revisit old friends, like the Lady and the Unicorn tapestry.
  5. Go to a show at my fave venue, La Cigale: This venue is known for bringing in artists from around the world that are just about to hit it big. I have been lucky to see shows like Marcus King, Leon Bridges, and Andra Day before they hit it big. And while the venue reopened once Covid regulations were lifted, many artists were not yet comfortable traveling internationally. I am thrilled to see that the calendar at La Cigale is filling up again, and I look forward to enjoying live music under her roof built in 1887.

Pres Maxson: The music man

Below you’ll find Earful musician Pres Maxson’s list. You’ll be familiar with his music from the Paris Countdown podcasts and you can find more of his work on his Instagram @presmaxson

  1. Stay on Île Saint Louis
  2. Eat at either Le Meurice  or Train Bleu – in other words, something that blows my mind and isn’t a cafe
  3. Sing along and eat at Le Vieux Belleville
  4. Day trip to Rodin’s studio in Meudon
  5. Play pétanque – I’ve done this a lot in the French country side, but never in the city

Charlotte: The Guide

Charlotte is the Earful Tower’s head tour guide and also performs/produces theatre in Paris. You can find Charlotte on Instagram @charlotte__pleasants

  1. Try the hot chocolate at the Angelina cafe – because it’s world famous and it’s one of those Paris things I’ve never done
  2. Visit the Musée Forains – Hard to get into, but looks like a great underground museum to check out
  3. Hôtel de la Marine – newly reopened, looks gorgeous with superb views
  4. Cocktails at Little Red Door – (only if the line isn’t too long) to see what all the hype is about.
  5. See a play at the Odéon Theatre – I’ve just never been!

Paris: The Australienne Parisienne

Paris is an Earful Tower tour guide and team member. Here’s her bucket list items for this year.

  1. Ride the Paris helium balloon – I’ve tried two times already and each time it’s been cancelled due to the weather, hopefully I’ll have more luck this year!
  2. See a show at the Opera Garnier – I’ve always wanted to see an opera show and where better than the Palais Garnier?
  3. Picnic at Buttes-Chaumont  – A classic Parisian experience.
  4. Dine in the dark at Dans le Noir – It seems like a lot of fun to eat in total darkness.
  5. Walk a part of La Petite Ceinture – An interesting way to explore more of Paris.

And that’s everyone! A special thank you to the Patreon members who offered some of their own bucket list items to our add to our list.

Do you want to support this work? Buy one of our books below, or even better, become a Patreon member and unlock loads of Paris bonus content, including regular PDF itinerary guides to the city and bonus features from The Earful Tower.

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