A few months ago, “111 Museums in Paris That You Should Not Miss” was published. I co-wrote this book with my good friend James Wesolowski. The first time I held our book in my hands, I was overwhelmed with emotion, realizing our work had come to fruition. Seeing it displayed with our names on the cover page of the book in the Louvre Museum bookstore and across countless museums stores and bookstores in the US and the UK, filled me with a sense of pride.

It felt surreal to me. Our names in the Louvre!!! We had made it!

Many friends have asked me how I came to write a guidebook about museums in Paris. It all began with a bit of luck—or one of those serendipitous moments in life that take you by surprise when you least expect it.

James and his wife, Karen, both Americans, were in Paris for a summer holiday, as they often visit the city. I went to university with Karen, so we’ve known each other for a long time, although we hadn’t seen each other very often. Life, work, marriage, and kids have a way of taking us on different journeys. One day, over lunch with Karen and James, Karen mentioned, “James has something to ask but he’s intimidated and afraid to ask.” I was surprised that James would feel intimidated, but I was curious to hear what he had to say. James then asked if I would like to work on a guidebook of “111 Museums in Paris that You Should Not Miss.”

Without a moment’s hesitation, I said yes!

I was curious about why they thought of me for this project, so I asked them “why me?” They had noticed my passion for the arts, which could be traced back to my upbringing in France and my days enrolled in drawing and art history courses in New York and Paris. Additionally, my recent decision to return to Paris after spending two decades in New York was a testament to my enduring connection to my French roots and my love for the arts. I could not resist to ask the question “why James?”. James seizes every opportunity to explore both the well-known and hidden facets of Paris, eagerly immersing himself in French culture through its museums. Karen works for a German publisher renowned for the “111 Places You Should Not Miss” international guidebook series yet lacks a Paris Museums edition. She believed the 111 museums in Paris that you should not mess would appeal to the publisher. She also believed this endeavor perfectly matched my interests. And indeed, it did: My fascination with museums knows no bounds, whether I’m in Paris, New York, or any other city.

Bourse de Commerce

I had no idea what it took to write a book or how to go about it, but I love challenges, and this one was particularly enticing. Naturally, my next question was:  what are these guidebooks really about and why 111? Karen explained to me that the titles were launched by Emons Verlag in 2008 and had grown to encompass almost 600 titles in multiple languages, celebrating over 4 million copies sold worldwide. What sets these guidebooks apart is their dedication to unveiling the hidden facets of each destination. They delve into the less trodden paths, the stories untold, and the neighbourhoods that brim with life, all of which reveal the true essence, history, and flavor of a place. You won’t find the usual tourist traps or generic travel advice here. Authors offer an insider’s perspective that guides you to the secret spots and hidden gems, alongside the most beautiful sights.

Authors offer an insider’s perspective that guides you to the secret spots and hidden gems, alongside the most beautiful sights.

The question of “Why 111 Places?” finds its answer in the charming city of Cologne, Germany, where the series is published and where the number 11 is considered auspicious. This is highlighted by the city’s Carnival celebrations kicking off each year on November 11th at precisely 11:11 am. However, limiting the guides to only 11 places would hardly scratch the surface of what these destinations have to offer. Thus, they added another ‘1’, creating a collection of 111 must-see places for each book.

Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration

Following the realization that these guidebooks were not just literature but doorways to unforgettable adventures, the task ahead suddenly became real. With the thrill of agreeing to co-author “111 Museums in Paris That You Should Not Miss,” a wave of questions and uncertainties began to flood my mind. How do we even begin to identify and select 111 museums in Paris, a city bursting with cultural treasures? How would we approach these institutions, and what would be our first step in this monumental task? At that moment, I found myself navigating through uncharted territory, overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the project ahead. Yet, in the midst of this whirlwind of excitement and trepidation, I chose to let my joy overshadow the barrage of questions swirling in my head, deciding to shelf my million inquiries for another time. This decision marked the first step into a journey that promised to be as daunting as it was exhilarating.

This decision marked the first step into a journey that promised to be as daunting as it was exhilarating.

In my next story I will tell you how we selected the museums, how we started working on the project, the challenges we encountered, and the true number of museums in Paris.

“111 Museums in Paris That You Should Not Miss” is not just a title; it’s the beginning of an adventure. Stay tuned!

Pick up your copy of “111 Museums in Paris That You Shouldn’t Miss” today at your favorite Parisian museum, your local bookstore, or buy online from amazon.com

Musée de la Marine



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