Photos Erica Berman
Like many American ex-pats, Richard Nahem came to Paris to pursue a dream. Upon seeing the city for the first time twenty-five years earlier, he had vowed to live here someday. And after spending twenty years as a chef/caterer in NYC, Richard finally did what many Americans only dream of doing—he packed his bags and hopped a flight.
Since doing so four years ago, he has slowly built the “Eye Prefer Paris” brand, which includes his blog and Paris tour service. For first-time visitors to Paris, Richard’s tours offer a balance of background information and insider tips. His clients range from couples on vacation to packs of traveling girl scouts, and as a result, he customizes each tour to meet his clients’ needs and expectations. Each 3-hour tour costs 175 EUR (for a group of up to 4 people) and focuses on a specific Parisian neighborhood.
Photo Erica Berman taken on an Eye Prefer Paris Tour in 2008!
Last week, I tagged along on one of his tours of the historic Marais, where he led us to a hole-in-the-wall Israeli market, a shop with hand-crafted chocolates, a clothing store where every item is hand-dyed to order, the Jewish district near rue des Rosiers, and the breathtaking Place des Vosges, where we browsed through a quirky music shop full of antique instruments. While I have spent significant time in the Marais, Richard’s tour drew my attention to architecture, hidden courtyards and gardens, shops, and historical facts that I had never before stopped to consider. His familiarity with the neighborhood and its proprietors—many of whom greeted him by name—offered a unique lens through which to interpret the quartier, whose most interesting features are often overshadowed by the recent commercial development.
Photo Courtesy of Richard Nahem
As an ex-pat who came here in pursuit of a dream, Richard enjoys sharing “his” Paris with newcomers to the city. From architecture and history, to shopping and design, to food and local cuisine, Richard’ easy-going attitude and unique perspective ensures that clients will uncover a Paris all their own.