top of page
  • Writer's pictureParisian Niche

Paris - through the eyes of Claudine Hemingway...


image: https://www.patreon.com/bleublonderouge

Many of us follow (or have been lucky enough to take a tour with) the dazzling Claudine Hemingway, an American expat, who has made the big move to make Paris her permanent home. Let's take a P'Niche peek and put this week's focus on Claudine's Paris, in an informal chat we recently had at one of her favorite Parisian haunts...


image: Krystal Kenny

P'Niche: So many of us have followed your journey over to Paris. What was the key trigger that helped you make your mind up to “take the leap of faith?”


I knew from my first trip (in September 2016) that Paris was where I was meant to be. It all happened one night at sunset in the Tuileries, just after a late visit to the Louvre. Everything in my life suddenly made sense.


Were there any doubts or fears you had to overcome to make the move?


Initially, I wondered how I would ever be able to do it, but then the idea of tours and trip planning fell into my lap. Quite suddenly, it became a dream that could come true.



image: Claudine Hemingway

Can you share a bit of how your last name has helped or hindered your endeavors?


It always catches people’s attention, and it's how my tours even began. However, I have never wanted to use my name as a crutch or a step up. I want to be able to make a name for myself doing what I love.


How has Hemingway as a tour fared against the Louvre, etc.?


It all started with the Hemingway in Paris tour, but I also offer over 20 other tours. Of course, the Louvre is very popular as it is something I love so much.


For info on Claudine's tours and more, please check her website for details.


image: instagram.com/claudinebleublonderouge

Let's pause here for a second as we discuss your tours. On a personal note, the P'Niche family recently took a tour with you in the Louvre and we loved it! But, we also have a friend, the lovely artist, Janis Commentz, who had even more glowing reviews:


"It was so fun to meet Claudine! She is charming. She's an expert on Le Louvre, and tailors individualized tours to meet your interests. Knowing that I am a painter, she took me to see special wings and selected paintings."


Psst - more on Janis soon, so do subscribe to join us back in the Parisian Niche.


image: Krystal Kenny

Such great feedback! What makes your tours memorable – how do you convey your passions?


Mine are very different from most other tours. They're private and customized for each person and more of a conversation than a lecture. Having private tours allows people to feel more comfortable asking questions. I have had some wonderful talks with clients that make it so enjoyable. I have attended tours in the past where you just follow along - the guide points a few things out then walks on. It’s not very fun for those on the tour, especially with a group of strangers. I could go on endlessly about many artists including: Manet, Fantin-Latour, El Greco, Puget and more. When it comes to these artists, it’s not just the art but also the artist. The deeper the story of who they were, how they painted, and why is what makes the stories that much more fascinating to me and love to share.


image: instagram.com/claudinebleublonderouge

Your blog and podcast have been thriving for years! How do you decide on topics to research / share?


What is great about the La Vie Creative podcast is that I can share whatever I want and whatever fascinates me personally. I go on a deep dive, and am lucky to have a platform to share it.


To that, how do you compose your research?


Oh, from many places. I have a few libraries in Paris that I am very lucky to be able to visit, and some great ladies there that help me find books in reference to what I need. The amount of Moleskine journals I have could be borderline hoarding, but they are filled with endless pages of notes. I have many for just one subject. When I find something, I add it to those journals. As soon as I physically write something it gets locked in my memory, so the journals are essential.


image: instagram.com/claudinebleublonderouge

Can you share a bit of your relationship with your beloved grandma and grandpa and how their love for Paris nurtured your passion to visit and eventually move?


My grandparents first visited together in 1972 and then returned many times over the years. From a very early age, I was subjected to Paris in one way or another.


My favorite first memory was my yellow parka, that my mom sewed a small patch that my grandparents purchased in Paris. It was blue and had some flowers on it and said "Paris" in gold thread. I was so sad when I grew out of it. I've since found a patch very similar in Paris and carry it with me all the time.


image: instagram.com/claudinebleublonderouge

How do you structure your days in Paris?


Living here and having a business is very different than visiting. Before, I woke up and decided what museum I would visit or where I should go for lunch and slowly walked down each street, while exploring everything in my path. Those days are few and far between now, but much needed.


How do you adapt your time in Paris to achieve that ”French balance?”


I’m definitely not there yet. I am working on setting aside time where I just explore stroll the streets for pleasure again.



image: instagram.com/claudinebleublonderouge

If you could have 6 people of Parisian or French influence to dinner (dinner already includes you and grandma) who would you ask? Why?


Great question. I would invite a few of my favorites, who left a huge mark on Paris and the world. Rose Valland, who saved over 60,000 pieces of art stolen from the Jews by the Nazis. She can bring her friend Jacques Jaujard, who saved the Louvre. Baron Haussmann reconstructed the city into what we see today. Henri IV, who might be my favorite king, always looks like a good time. Alexandre Lenoir, who saved the monuments of France during the Revolution. And, Courtesan Valtesse de la Bigne, who was so ahead of her time and an amazing woman. We will have to make sure that Henri IV isn’t sitting next to her. :)


image: instagram.com/claudinebleublonderouge

Who do you feel is an underestimated character in French History?


There are so many, but one that springs to mind is Jeanne Lanvin. A designer that did all the things first (that another designer, who I will not mention gets credit for.)


Lanvin designed hats and sportswear for the family, dressing in black, and making it chic. She was also the first designer that created a perfume.


She never cared for the limelight or fame. She focused solely on her company, daughter, and reading. Inspirational.


image: instagram.com/claudinebleublonderouge

How are you tackling learning the French language?


I really need to find the time to study with a tutor again, but it’s on the ground immersion here in Paris, and I am making great strides and progress.


I read in French constantly so that really helps, and can have long conversations in French. I understand most of it and they seem to understand me.


I take that as a win any day.



image: https://www.realfoodtraveler.com/travel-dreaming-at-le-grand-vefour-paris/

We know that Julia Child – who we both LOVE – enjoyed her first meal in France beyond measure. Where was your first (memorable) meal in Paris?


On my first trip, I went to an amazing place that Julia also loved, Le Grand Véfour. My grandma gave me a bit of money to do something special. It's one of the oldest restaurants in Paris. Each banquette is marked with a brass plaque of the famous guest who always sat there. I had really hoped to sit in the Josephine and Napoléon seat, but was seated just next to it in the Colette seat. Colette wrote "Claudine in Paris," so that worked out very well!


image: Krystal Kenny

What has been your proudest moment as a Parisienne thus far?


I have had some amazing experiences, and am able to do things some people only dream of. I constantly have those pinch-me moments when I force myself to be in the moment and soak in every detail.


SO many people dream to call Paris home, if even for a year – what advice can you offer these hopefuls?


It’s not for the weary. It’s a lot of work and even more stress. Giving up your entire life in one country for another is very hard but I know I made the correct decision. It’s hard to believe it's been over a year, but it’s amazing to know I don’t have an end date and a flight I need to be on.


image: claudinehemingway.com

You're living the absolute Parisian dream, as you deserve! So, what is next for Paris with a Hemingway and Bleu Blonde Rouge?


So many projects!


I really need to find and dedicate the time to work on the three books I began to write before I moved to Paris. That really needs to move to the top of my priority list. I love to share all the deep stories of Paris, the Louvre, and the amazing art of France in all the wonderful ways I can.


Well, I know I (and your many P'Niche fans) are cheering you on and cannot wait to see what is next in La Vie Claudine. Thanks for your time today and see you in Paris soon!



Wow, P'Nichers, Claudine is a living testament to overcoming any obstacle and making your dreams come true. I feel very privileged to be able to call her my friend and will be so excited to know your thoughts on her very exciting Parisian dreams and projects. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, et à bientôt!


image: claudinehemingway.com
5 comments

Recent Posts

See All

5 Comments


Debra Borchert
Debra Borchert
Oct 18, 2023

Merci for this P'Niche peek! This sent me scurrying to learn about Countess Valtesse de La Bigne! And only now do I learn that you are a painter, Chrissy?! Please share your work! Merci, Debra

Like
Debra Borchert
Debra Borchert
Oct 22, 2023
Replying to

Ah, you are a gifted writer, so no need to paint.

Like

Cameron Centrella
Cameron Centrella
Oct 18, 2023

Madame Hemingway and Le Louvre were some of my favorite parts of my first visit to Paris. Thank you for sharing her story, and Madame Hemingway thank you for your knowledge and passion!

Like
chrissy
Oct 22, 2023
Replying to

Was So fun to share that with you and def a highlight of the trip! XOXO

Like
bottom of page