Paris, Please

One-of-a-kind experiences in the city of love are just a click (and thousands of euros) away- if you know who to ask.

Ask Thomas Mesmin what he can offer visitors that his competitors can't, and he doesn't miss a beat. "Dinner with a Michelin-starred chef,"he answers immediately. "Not at his restaurant, but in his house." Meson can also take you inside a haute couture workshop during Fashion week, or arrange a private after-hours visit to the Louvre. "We have around 150 experiences in the arts, in gastronomy, in luxury, in culture. We open closed doors." 

Exclusivity costs, of course- the Louvre visit can be had for about €1700 ($2760)- but that hasn't stopped Mesmin's company, 1889 Travel, from booming. The former luxury goods analyst launched the business in 2014 to provide companies with one-of-a-kind events for their most valued clients. Two years later, he realised individuals were just as eager for exclusive experiences. While 1889 Travel France also operates in the Alps, the Côte d'Azur and Provence, its focus remains Paris. Its name refers to the year of the famous Paris Exposition for which the Eiffel was built and when, according to Mesmin, Paris was "the centre of the world in terms of craftmanship, culture, art, architecture." The company tailors experiences to clients' interests. While a food fan might opt for a private pastry lesson with a chef from the Ritz, dance aficionados might prefer to attend a rehearsal of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo during its Paris season and meet the dancers before returning for the performance that night. Mesmin's greatest challenge is not organising success, but convincing clients that a perfect moment can't be conjured up overnight. "Don't call me on Thursday asking for a private dinner with Alain Ducasse tomorrow," he says with a hint of exasperation. "He's probably not even in town." UJ