“Women in Paris”- The First Paris Walking Tour of Women’s History in Paris
Recently, we had the opportunity to test out a new tour happening in Paris, Women of Paris- the first Paris walking tour devoted entirely to women’s history and influence. Running this new innovative tour is Heidi Evans, a British expat.
Heidi moved to Paris around 3 years ago in search of a new adventure and to indulge her love of history, art, and cheese. She first started tour guiding when a good friend who was working as a freelance guide suggested she’d be good at it. From the sounds of it, it involved learning a lot of interesting history, public speaking, and meeting people from all over the world, all of which sounded like fun so Heidi thought, why not!
After a few months of giving a fairly standard “introduction to Paris” tour, Heidi became keenly aware that she was only getting the chance to talk about the “great” men (Louis XIV, Napoleon) and the “bad” women (Marie Antoinette, Catherine de Medici). She wanted an opportunity to talk about what great women have done and give visitors a fairer and more gender balanced perspective of the city’s history.
Creating the first walk, the Essential, was challenging, indeed! There were several women that Heidi already knew she wanted to include, such as Marie Curie and Josephine Baker, however, as she was creating a walking tour, she needed to find an appropriate route with opportunities to talk about these women. It just so happened that a good many awesome ladies lived or worked on the Paris left bank, which helped Heidi to find interesting women to talk about. In this way, other women were discovered as Heidi began researching, and so the first Women of Paris walk was born.
Heidi is currently running Women of Paris on her own and admits that this can sometimes be difficult, although she says her friends and boyfriend are a great support.
“Everyone I’ve taken on the tours so far has been really lovely, interesting people and it’s so rewarding to meet people from all over with a genuine interest in women’s history. I’ve certainly found my Parisian adventure!”
If you’re interested in learning more about female history in Paris, Heidi recommends heading to the Curie Museum where you can learn all about this amazing woman, as well as her daughter, Irene, who carried on her mother’s work after her death. You can even visit Curie’s old laboratory and office which have been left exactly as they were during her lifetime. Heidi also suggests checking out the Montmartre museum for the number of interesting female artists they exhibit there, including Suzanne Valadon, who was fascinating. Again, you can visit Valadon’s old apartment and studio; seeing it furnished exactly how it was in her lifetime.
Heidi’s Women of Paris tours are available to book on request from Monday to Saturday and you can find a booking form on her website: www.womenofparis.fr. Find her on Instagram @womenofparis, twitter @womenofparis and on Facebook @womenofpariswalk.
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