Missing Paris? Enjoy the next best thing with these “virtual Paris” experiences, from live tours and cooking classes to French films and 360° virtual explorations of the city’s streets, museums and monuments! [latest update March 31st]
Live Virtual Tours of Paris
#ExploreParis is one of my current favorite tour organizers for discovering unique places off the tourist track. They’ve been hosting virtual tours since the pandemic, and although most are in French, keep an eye out for English ones that occasionally come onto their schedule.
Vivre Paris Virtual Tours (only in French): There are several themed live tours available each week as a live Facebook event that you pay €4.49 to access, following along with your guide for an hour (you can ask questions or just enjoy the scenery). If you miss it, the recording is available afterwards for those who paid.
Paris Virtual Tours by The French Travel: I’ve only just discovered this tour company, but they are a locally-based company registered with tourism office and other “serious” travel organizations, and they offer private, virtual tours of Paris (or Versailles) in English, French or Spanish at reasonable prices.
Evenings with an Author: The American Library of Paris’s popular evenings with authors from all over the world are now live on Zoom for free (but for a limited number of participants, register in advance), every Tuesday and Wednesday evening. There are also virtual events for kids and online writers workshops.
Opéra de Paris: in order to keep their productions going during the pandemic, the Paris Opera has started showing their performances online, “L’Opéra Chez Soi”. Some are shown free on Arté (French TV), but you can also pay to watch them on demand for a limited time. Right now “The Magic Flute Live” is being rebroadcast until February 22nd for €11.90 (French or English subtitles), and Verdi’s “Il Trovatore”, Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” and “The Barber of Seville” are €7.90 to “rent”. There are also many free shows in the “Carrousel”, including concerts and the Gala Opening of the Ballet.
La Comédie Française: One of the oldest theatre troupe’s in France is now doing FREE live performances as part of their “Théâtre à la table” where they spend one week rehearsing a show, then perform a first reading of it live on their YouTube channel Saturday at 8:30pm. Some examples have been “The Seagull” by Anton Chekhov and “In Search of Lost Time” by Marcel Proust.
Collège de France: Ready to geek out? The famous Collège de France was founded (near the Sorbonne) in 1530 to offer secular, free education to anyone who wished to sit in on their lectures from prominent scholars and researchers from around the world. Now they’ve put their entire catalogue of over 10,000 university lectures online, many available in English. You can search by subject, including literature, linguistics, history, archeology, humanities and social science, mathematics, natural sciences, etc, and follow their entire cursus. Look around and you may find something surprising like “War Turned Love Upside Down” about literature during WWI.
Bilingual Acting Workshop (BAW): Normally these classes are in person in Paris, but there are currently masterclasses, weekly courses, and weekend workshops taking place online. The website isn’t always updated, so get on their mailing list: “We will be organising masterclasses over Zoom with casting directors from New York and LA over the summer months. We’ll also be organising workshops on Zoom with Amy Werba and Peter Meagher, based on techniques from their new book “Be your own coach“.
Opsis TV: This French platform is dedicated to streaming performing arts videos live or on-demand for €5.99/month or €59/year after a 7-day free trial (and you can cancel any time). You’ll find mostly theatre prodictions (classical, modern, comedies, kids, etc), but also danse, operas and musicals, the Festival d’Avignon, and theatre masterclasses. It’s available worldwide, but only in French.
Eating & Drinking French
IGTV with David Lebovitz: Chef and cookbook author David Lebovitz has been doing live Instagram videos several times a week sharing recipes from his new Drinking French book, but also tips on cooking, cheese and wine, and other French foodie stuff, with his usual joie de vivre (and cameos from his adorable French partner, Romain). If you miss them live you can peruse his IGTV archives.
La Cuisine Cooking Classes: La Cuisine now offers a selection of live classes on Zoom, their French Cuisine Camp, “Focusing on classic French ‘Maison’ (home) recipes to understanding the world of French Wine and Cheese.” They also have pre-recorded video classes here.
Cook’n with Class: Private or small group live online cooking classes via Zoom. “When you can’t make it to France, we’re bringing the flavors of France to you.”
Wine Tasting in Paris: Live wine-tasting classes via Zoom, either for private groups or with others, where you learn about French wines, how to read labels, and have all your questions answered. You can bring your own French wine or find one locally from the list you’ll be provided when signing up.
360° Virtual City Tours & Videos
These are a lot of fun because you can look at painted ceilings in the Louvre, spin around to see stained-glass windows in Sainte Chapelle, see what the crowds really look like at in Versailles (at least pre-pandemic), and basically turn your attention towards what YOU want to look at. Sometimes there are specific controls on the dashboard, sometimes you just “grab” the screen with your mouse and dragging the camera angle to where you want it to point. Just pause the video if you want to keep looking around a specific spot.
Don’t forget you can use Google Street View to explore the city street by street, just type in the address or monument name.
Paris is Yours! 10 Locations to Visit Paris Virtually: A partnership between the City of Paris and Google Culture (thus available in English), these excellent 360° virtual tours let you explore: the Roman Arènes de Lutèce (go up and around the gardens as well), the decorated tunnels of the Palais de Tokyo (slightly claustrophobic but great if you like contemporary art), the Philippe Chatrier tennis court at Roland Garros (you have to click at all the exits before you figure out how to see inside and outside the stadium, too), the “Petite Ceinture” (although this section is locally known as the Promenade Plantée, going from Bastille to the Jardin de Reuilly), the Office of the Mayor of Paris (you can even se ethe views from her window and go out her office door to the marble mezzanine; check out the famous ballroom here), the “Underground Lake” of the Opera Garnier (again, you’ll have to click around to figure out which passages you can go down), interior of the Opéra Comique, a cruise on the Seine (click in the water to make the boat go forward), climb to the top of Paris 13 Tower (which was finally torn down, so this is the only chance to see the street artist works, although this is a much more complete view), and the Grand Palais’s nave.
Montmartre to Sacré-Coeur: A first-person perspective Paris walk through the streets of Montmartre, from Abbesses Metro to Sacré-Cœur Basilica. You’ll see closeups of cafes, restaurants and gift-shops, and you can pause and get closer looks at popular sights Le Moulin Radet, Le Passe-Muraille and Place du Tertre with its artists on a sunny summer day in Paris!
360 Cities is a website that collects VR videos and panoramic images of cities all over the world. This page shows the almost 100 videos shot from around the city. They’re not super exciting, no commentary, but if you’re looking to just stand in a specific street or near a specific monument in Paris as the people and traffic pass by, you may find it here (also works with VR viewers). Here’s the Champs-Elysées on a “car free day.”
Paris 360° Experience “Escape Now” by Captivision is a 5-minute teaser for their longer series (which you have to pay to download, but which is viewable with VR viewers). The videographer visits all of the major Paris sights (including up on the tower of Notre Dame before the fire) and Versailles. The voiceover is a bit basic, so if you already know Paris just mute it.
One day in Paris: 360° Virtual Tour: a similar 5-minute virtual tour of the “best of Paris” (which might make you cringe when you see everyone packed in for the Mona Lisa selfies). The funniest part about these videos is that unlike Google Streetview they make no effort to blur faces. Maybe you’ll see someone you know….or yourself!
Must Visit Bucket List in France: a 9-minute video with by-far the most annoying commentary (delivered in a monotonous voice), but she gets you up and close to the Louvre Pyramid, Tuileries Gardens, Place de la Concorde, the Champs-Elysées, and the Opéra Garnier (including an excellent view of the inside).
Paris Virtual Run: Okay, this isn’t actually 360° because you can’t see anything she doesn’t point the camera at, but she goes all over Paris from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame and – I could be wrong – I think she may be on a scooter not running, because there’s zero bounce, she’s going really fast, and cuts each time there are steps or a curb (I think I hear the rolling on the gravel, too). But it’s so beautiful, I feel like I could watch this on a loop as “background video” of Paris scenery.
Webcams were really big when the internet first really got going in the late 90s, where you could see a “real-time” snapshot of places around the world, usually updated every hour. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like they’ve evolved much, and webcam sites often a lot of annoying ads and pop-ups to wade through, but it’s still one of the best ways to see immediately whether it’s sunny or raining, whether the scaffolding has come off of a big monument being renovated, or just catch a nice sunset. Here are a few with decent images:
Panoramic View from Montparnasse Tower: This is the only good panoramic view I found where you can scroll and zoom on the image, which you’ll want to do because the default image is mostly blocked by a big red metal pillar. First toggle to full screen using the double-arrow button on the bottom right, then “grab” the screen to move around, and zoom with your mouse scroll bar or use the “+/-“ buttons on the bottom left. Go left and you have the Eiffel Tower. In the center is the Louvre (with a green billboard at the moment covering a section under renovations), the Tuileries, Sacré Coeur in the background, and scrolling right you see Notre Dame, Luxembourg Gardens, the Pantheon, and on a clear day waaaaaay on the right my neighborhood in the 13th with all of the modern towers (you can see the red and blue mural by Shepherd Fairey on one of them). They update every hour, just clock on the “refresh” icon in the footer on the left to see the list of times from the past 24 hours.
Eiffel Tower and Place de la Concorde from the Westin Paris Hotel:this is a nice sharp image and you can see the Grand Palais and a bit of the Tuileries Gardens, but they only update once per day (click on the little arrow on the upper right of the screen to see all of the available dates, and along the bottom to see multiple shots from that same day).
Eiffel Tower with Trocadéro and La Défense: a close-up view of the Eiffel Tower, one minute video clip taken every hour, with two days archived along the bottom you can scroll through (you may have to repeatedly close the pop-up window on the footer).
Eiffel Tower with Sacré Coeur: This is yet another angle from a weather website, and the image is sharp but there’s an ugly apartment tower in the foreground. Sacré Coeur Basilica looks great when backlit at sunset.
View from the Eiffel Tower: This virtual experience from Google Arts & Culture allows you to “walk” all the way around the first level of the Eiffel Tower and look out over Paris. A shame they made it on an overcast day, but the image is fairly crisp.
Tuileries Gardens and Musée d’Orsay from the Hotel Meurice: This webcam must be exposed to the elements, because snow and rain sometimes muck up the lens, but it’s a nice view over the gardens (you can see the February 10th snowfall) and at night you see the Eiffel Tower and Montparnasse Tower lit up.
Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower from the Hyatt Regency Hotel: This shows Paris from the Porte Maillot, the far western edge of the city. If you click on the heart icon in the upper right (above the arrow icon with the latest dates), you’ll see a collection of “favorites” over the years, including some cool Bastille Day fireworks shots.
Notre Dame Cathedral: It’s a bit of a distant view with an antenna in the foreground, but this is the best way to see hourly photos of the cathedral as the reconstruction progresses. When it’s windy you’ll see a bit of shale in the image.
Basilique du Sacré Coeur: It’s not the sharpest image (especially at night; maybe someone needs to wipe off the lens?) but you’ll get a nice view of the iconic white domes throughout day on the hour.
Place de la Concorde and the Hotel Crillon: This is one the “liveliest” videos I found because you’re close enough to the square to see the cars, busses, and scooters zipping around. To the left of the Crillon Hotel is the US Embassy (surrounded by a ring of white anti-vehicle pillars).
Museums & Monuments
The Louvre: The biggest museum in Paris has several virtual tours listed on their website, except as of January 2021 “Flash Player” was discontinued by Adobe, so three of the tours don’t work, bummer. There are four additional 360° virtual tours of recent exhibits in the Petite Galerie, but the text is only in French. A bit disappointing, but perhaps they’ll update it soon. One of the most exciting updates is that their entire collection is now viewable free online in their searchable Collections Database (also includes the collections of the Eugène-Delacroix Museum). And if you’re in the mood to download an app to your smartphone you can check out Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass VR experience from the 2019 Leonardo Da Vinci exposition. If you want to feel less bad about not being able to be at the Louvre in person, you can watch these two hour-long Youtube videos (part 2 here) walking through the entire museum on a typically crowded day (pre-Covid), with no music or commentary (nice for a change).
Museum of Decorative Arts: You can visit each room of the Decorative Arts Museum – from Middle Ages and the Renaissance through Art Deco and Art Nouveau and up to Modern and Contemporary furnishings. Each room starts with a photo and description (only in French, alas, but Google translate helps) and on the right links to listen to audio clips and “”Découvrez cette salle en panoramique 360°) for about two dozen of them to see them from every angle and zoom in or out. Jeanne Lanvin’s purple bedroom, boudoir and bathroom are worth a peek! Use the “hamburger” list of rooms on the right to switch rooms once in panoramic mode, or come back to the index page to get the full list.
Musée d’Orsay: this Google Art & Culture view gives you a basic look at the ground level of the museum and toggle to some of the well-know artworks, but it’s pretty restricted where you can go, so this is just a small glimpse.
Le Grand Palais: While the Grand Palais is under renovation works through 2025 we can all see what it used to look like through these virtual tours from Google Arts & Culture. There are 37 slideshow “stories” and one that caught my eye was “Preparing for the Future”, a reminder that the Grand Palais and its stunning glass and steel nave already went through a massive restoration from 1993-2005. Seems to be closed more often than it’s open, but maybe they’ll figure out a way to heat the nave in winter! Scroll down past all the google photos to see the four “museum views” for virtual views of the nave from every angle.
Musée Jacquemart-André: They don’t have virtual tours, but in-depth looks at their “must-see” works of art in English, with great explanations about what makes them worthy of your attention, so you can get your art fix (or prepare your self for when you can see it in person).
Rodin Museum: a small nod to their garden sculptures, you can see virtual close ups of The Thinker and – more impressive for learning purposes — the Gates of Hell (click open the menu on the left to highlight the different sections).
Monet’s Water Lilies at L’Orangerie: This is a fairly basic way to get a close up of the famous water lily paintings from any angle, but I’m not sure it’s any better than just looking at a good high-res image.
Opéra de Paris: This Google Arts & Culture page has three “stories” which are slideshows with some video clips (the text is only in French), my favorite being the “Birth of an Opera” showing what the Place de la Bastille looked like before and during the construction of the Opéra Bastille between 1984-1989. Scroll down past a bunch of photos, and there are four “museum views” which are the virtual visits of the Palais Garnier, the rooftop, the “lake” basement, and the library (all in Palais Garnier).
Notre Dame de Paris in More Than 100 Works is a virtual exhibition of the cathedral depicted in 126 artworks throughout the centuries.
Panoramic virtual tour of Montmatre Sacré-Cœur basilica: This is one of the best virtual 360° tours of a monument, and honestly some of the best information about the basilica I’ve seen anywhere. I also love that you can go up to the domes on the exterior and really get a look at the intricate carvings and statues. The controls take some getting used to (sometimes I lose track of which way is “up”) but after a bit of practice you get used to it. Double-click on the white circles to get in-depth information.
Sainte Chapelle: A great 360° function to see the entire lower and upper floors of the chapel and its famous stained-glass windows. The text descriptions are only in French, though. Click on the four squares on the upper right to “afficher les panoramas” showing all four panorama options to toggle between. The zoom function works really well for close ups of the individual stained-glass panels. For a historic perspective, here’s a video of a historic 3D reconstitution of what the chapel and the royal palace looked like in the 14th century.
Eglise St-Etienne-du-Mont: This church next to the Panthéon is one of my favorite in Paris. Click on the white arrow to go inside, where you’ll see one of the only remaining jube screens in France (looks like a marble “bridge”).
Mémorial de la Shoah: This 360° virtual visit to the monument to the Holocaust in the Marais includes the Wall of Names (Mur des Noms), the Crypt, and the Wall of the Righteous (Mur des Justes). It’s only available on the French version of the website at the moment. Click on the white box symbol to make it full screen before you start clicking to move around. The blue arrows open up short videos (although it’s usually either text or photos). All of the signs on the walls of the memorial are in French and English, so you can easily zoom in to read.
Paris Catacombes: There are five rooms available to look around (click on the four white boxes on the lower left to see the selection).
Arc de Triomphe: There are nine different viewpoints with 360° views from each one so you can see it from every angle, from afar, from underneath, etc.
Château de Versailles: Allergic to the massive crowds, I’ve avoided Versailles for many years now, but these virtual exhibits actually make me want to go back (for each one, a mix of text, static images and 360° videos you can move around). Their moody 2015 Versailles exposition, The King is Dead, is also still online. If you want to try the immersive VR experience, you can download their “Vivez Versailles” on Steam and attend a ball or see Siam visitors to the court.
Fondation Louis Vuitton: For a virtual visit “from home” you can download their app to visit the collections, or discover the stunning architecture of Frank Gehry’s iceberg-sail-cloud structure in 360°, and in bold colors for the Buren exhibit here.
La Tour St-Jacques: This Gothic tower right in the center of Paris has great views over the city (it’s a pretty cloudy day, but you can see the Centre Pompidou and Notre Dame Cathedral before the fire). You can also click to go down the stairs and find yourself in different little “rooms” in the tower.
The Medici Fountain in Luxembourg Gardens: you can look around 360° and if you see white arrows they’ll take you to other sections of the park (don’t click on the blue arrows, which go to different cities!)
The History of Paris Library: This specialized library is housed in one of the 17th-century Hôtel Lamoignon, one of the historic hôtel particulier in the Marais district. This virtual tour lets you go from room to room to see the different spaces, including the chapel, the garden, the courtyard, the special books collection, and the exterior tower (click on the flag on bottom right to change to English before you start navigating with the buttons on the left). Click on the different icons to see descriptive text and old photographs. In the stacks they highlight a few of the most valuable books in their collection.
Victor Hugo’s Hauteville House in Guernsey: a 360° virtual tour of the novelist’s house, only in French but you can look around and see it has a very similar style to his apartment on the Place des Vosges in Paris.
Sounds Like Kandinsky at Centre Pompidou: a massive virtual multimedia exhibition through Google Arts & Culture that will please anyone who’s interested in learning everything about this artist, with images, videos, augmented reality, sound experiments…there are a lot of rabbit holes to go down here, so pull up a chair and a cup of tea!
Zone Franche (Free Zone): a 360° virtual exposition at the Institut des Cultures d’Islam that tackles the question of the movement of travelers and goods, but also what’s imagined beyond concrete or abstract borders. The text in the exhibits is in French as well as English (beneath the French when scrolling down). You can also enjoy a free guided tour of the exhibit (virtual for now) every Saturday afternoon through #ExploreParis (in French only). Through August 1st, 2021.
Miro Exposition at Centre Pompidou: If you’re really into Miro, you can see the Pompidou Center’s first Virtual Reality exhibit of the three Blues. Apparently it also works if you have VR goggles, but the site allows you a close up look at the pieces. Not really sure it adds any extra value beyond what you’d see on the regular website…aside from obviously feeling like you’re “there”.
Institut Pasteur: Wait! Before you think, “boring”, just have a click through, if only to see the crypt where one of the greatest scientists of all time is buried. Upstairs in his bedroom you’l see oil pastel portraits he made of his family members….when he was just 13! If you can Google translate, you’ll get a better understanding of how we owe this French genius our respect, if not just for our French wine and beer fermentation! 😉
French TV & Films
With streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Amazon Prime, it’s not exactly that hard to find almost any current series or films somewhere online (although the free JustWatch app can make it easier to find out where). But there are also a few virtual cinema screenings of current films while cinemas are closed. Note that for all of these, you may have to be in France to be able to access the service. Sometimes you can subscribe to a VPN service (see below) to get past these by redirecting your computer’s IP address, but it’s not foolproof so buyer beware!
Netflix Note: In case you missed it, there are usually quite a few French films and shows available on Netflix at any given time (here’s a great list for February), depending on what country you’re in (US and Canada often have different selections). What some of you might NOT know is that there’s usually the option to hear it in the original French and choose either French or English subtitles. A lot of Americans and Australians watched Lupin dubbed over in English because they didn’t realize that was just the default setting that could be changed (read article here).
Tubi: a free, ad-supported video-on-demand platform available in the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand that has a nice selection of “Foreign Language Films” but you’d have to recognize the French ones, since the titles are all in English This article will help you identify the best selection of French ones with links to Tubi (I recommend “Paris, Je T’Aime, “All Together” a French film with Jane Fonda, the classic “Germinal”, the drama “Number One Fan”, the adorable “Romantics Anonymous”, “Priceless” with Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh, “Django” about the famous Gypsy swing guitarist, the comedy “The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe”, and “Hunting & Gathering” because my elbow makes a cameo in the Harry’s Bar scene).
MHz Choice: Canadian and American viewers can subscribe to this streaming service specializing in French and other “international films and series”, available in monthly or annual subscriptions from $7.99/month.
Criterion Collection: An independent streaming service with an eclectic mix of classic and contemporary films from around the world (including many French ones. It’s only available for US and Canadian subscribers from $10.99/month.
Lost in Frenchlation: They specialize in French cinema (both classics and current hits) with English subtitles, and since the pandemic they have started screening them live online for just €6, but you have to be able to geo-localize yourself in France for access.
Molotov.tv: This is a free streaming app you can use on your smartphone or computer to watch French TV. The regular 36 free TV channels are free on the app (TF1, France 2, France 3, Arté, TMC, BFM TV, L’Equipe, FranceInfo, etc.), handy if you want to watch French news in real time. You can also “rewind” and watch programs that have already aired. Some of the shows and films are available in their original language, but the French ones are not usually subtitled since they’re for a French audience (you’ll need a VPN to use Molotov.tv). You can also pay a month-to-month subscription for access to the paid channels.
Madelen: France’s National Audiovisual Institute (L’Ina) has over 70 years of French television archives stored in their server, called Madelen. You can try it free for 30 days (after that it’s only €2.99/month). It’s only in French, of course, but it is absolutely amazing and fun to browse the carefully curated 13,000 TV shows, films, documentaries, news programs, theatre productions and concerts broadcast on French TV.
My French Film Festival: This is one to book for next year if you just missed it (get on their email list), to be able to watch and vote for the winners of 10 French feature films and 10 shorts during the month-long competition for free. Some of them are still available if you have Apple TV.
Best Films Set in Paris
Since there are so many different platforms for viewing films and it’s different by country, sometimes it’s easiest to start with the film itself. Here are a few “Best Films Set in Paris” lists that might inspire you to go hunting: Time Out Magazine’s 25 Top Films Set in Paris (by time period, with descriptions), Culture Trip’s Top 10 Films Set in Paris (a nice list with some lesser-known films), and 39 Movies That Will Transport You to Paris (a mix of classics and modern films…although the scenes in Les Miserables were not filmed in Paris!).
Mourir Auprès de Toi: This whimsical little Spike Jones film set in Shakespeare & Co Bookstore in Paris was made with handbag designer Olympia Le Tan (famous for her “purse books”). Here’s a “making of” video for it.
The Charismatic Characters of Montmartre: This is just for fun…discover the voice of Montmartre with a stroll through the not-so-distant history and the people who live there, with images, text translated by Google (including French street names, lol) and documentary video clips (only in French). It’s interesting because normally we only see 19th century or early 20th century history, but this is recent enough some of you may recognize “old Montmartre”.
A Trip Through Paris, France in late 1890s: This is a delightful collection of footage taken from late 1800s Paris (heavily edited for color and sound and sharpness, as mentioned in the notes) includes scenes from the Parvis de Notre Dame, the Champs Elysées before it was paved, the Place de la Concord, the moving sidewalk at the Paris Universal Expo, and kids pushing their toy boats in Luxembourg Gardens. Don’t miss the horse-drawn firefighter carriages (3:35)!
Paris 3D – Through the Ages: Travel through Paris in a virtual 3D video of the city from Roman times through the construction of the Eiffel Tower. It appears that the web app is no longer available, but this little 12-minute video is still fun to watch.
RATP’s Historical Collections: 360° virtual tours of historic public transport vehicles of Paris and Ile-de-France, including vintage buses, metro cars, trams and RER trains. Only in French, but there easy to follow pictures to guide you tot eh models you can choose to look at (like the “Sprague-Thomson”) and just click the “Lancer le diaporama” button to launch the 360° images or browse the slideshow images and audio clips if you understand French. You can also do the “right click” on your mouse anywhere on the screen for English translation if you’re using a PC.
The Henry Miller Odyssey: This 1969 documentary is mostly just the author reminiscing about his younger days, but there are some cool old clips of Paris starting at 42 minutes, including the Rue de Buci, and Le Wepler Brasserie at Place de Clichy.
First World War Virtual Archives: This site was created in multiple languages for the WWI centennial. There are all sorts of documents and images to peruse, including the database of every single soldier’s final resting place.
Sounds of Paris
Paris Soundscapes: “You sit on a Parisian green bench in a busy narrow pavé street and just let the street walk past you. You will hear fabulous sounds,” says Sound Recordist Des Coulam, who has been capturing the urban soundscape of Paris for almost ten years. It’s actually quite a fascinating blog because his writing is also descriptive of all the places (usually not touristy) that he visits, while listening to what it sounds like. So you can put your headphones in and play the sounds of a Parisian street the next time you’re walking down your own street, and let the sounds transport you like magic…
Cities and Memory: A bit more on the conceptual artsy side, this site describes itself as “a global, collaborative sound art and mapping project that remixes the world, one sound at a time. Every field recording in the project has been recomposed and reimagined by artists around the world to create a new, alternative world of sound.”
Improbable Walks: A podcast series where Canadian writer and long-time Parisienne Lisa Pasold takes you through the streets of Paris. “Every episode, we discover a new street in the City of Light, strolling into the hidden history and stories of Paris, block by block.” I’m the interviewee on the “Marketing on Rue Mouffetard” episode! 😊
Disneyland Paris: We’ve already established that I’m a bit of a Disney fan, and I know a few of you are, too. So if you’re missing “The Happiest Place on Earth” (or at least the French version), check out their YouTube playlists to get your fix. You can go on the virtual rides, learn about Disneyland Paris history (turn on the English captions if needed), or just chill out with the ambient sounds of Advetureland, Frontierland, or Fantasyland in their Zen Playlist.
Watching French Content from Outside France: Get a VPN
It can be pretty annoying to click on a link to watch a video only to see “This content isn’t available in your country”. However you can bypass this by using a VPN that masks your computer’s IP address with a French one. Note that VPN’s are primarily used to protect your laptop when using a public wifi network, so they’re totally legit. I use ZenMate VPN, which is about €3/month for multiple countries including the UK, US and France, but there are many others out there if you want to shop around: https://zenmate.com.
This is an evolving list, so don’t hesitate to suggest a link!