We have a treat in store today for folks with an affinity for movies filmed in Paris. Please help me welcome Abigail de Bruyne, the founder and director of the recently launched Set in Paris movie tours.
Q: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions, Abigail. We want to know all about you and your company. Let’s start with a little background. Tell me a little about yourself. I notice you’re not French-where are you originally from? How did you come to Paris?
Please call be Abby! I’m actually half American, half English. I've been living in Paris for three years now, which is crazy. I grew up watching the film 'Gigi' with Leslie Caron, about a girl who lives in Paris. Since then I have always dreamed of coming to Paris. Then, three years ago, I bit the bullet, moved, and here I am!
Q: There are so many different tour options in Paris. How is your tour different from others?
Set in Paris is a fun movie-themed sightseeing (bus) tour. We place some of the City's famous must-see landmarks -- as well as cool new hot spots -- into the context of big blockbuster movies. What’s great is that we get a lot of Parisians on our tour who love seeing their city from a completely different perspective.
Q: This is such a neat idea! How did you come up with it?
My friends and I are major 'Sex in the City' fans, so when I moved here I was on a mission to hunt down landmarks from the episodes shot in Paris (specifically when Big and Carrie finally get together). It took forever. I watched the episodes countless times, spoke with locals, and finally designed my own little 'Sex in the City' Paris tour. I would show all of my friends who came to visit and they would always ask, “Why aren’t you doing this professionally?” Then I realized: Wait I can! It took about a year and half of solid research before I could even think about starting the company.
Q: Paris has so many great monuments and places to visit, how do you choose which sites to include?
Almost impossible to choose! There’s so many good ones and so many great film locations as well. We change the tour to keep it fresh and up to date with trends and any major events. We also do private tours, so we can tailor it if there are places that our customers have already visited. In addition, we offer an “Introduction to Paris” private tour that hits all the hot spots in Paris for first-time visitors.
Q: What is your favorite part (location) of the tour?
My favorite part is definitely towards the end of the tour when people begin to become more comfortable and acquainted with one another. They exchange numbers, make plans for drinks, and even hang out a bit after the tour is over! Watching the relationships develop is extremely rewarding and fun.
Q: It seems like there might be a special culture at Set in Paris... what is a typical tour day like?
The culture here is really about TOP LEVEL customer service and making people really feel at home in a foreign country. The company has taken on a whole new dynamic, and it is exciting how the French have really embraced the company. We plan to begin hosting movie nights at some point so people can get together, enjoy awesome French films, and meet new people.
Q: That brings me to my next question: what is the next step for Set In Paris Tours? Is there anything else you offer in addition to the [bus] tour?
Well, we actually just moved into our movie-themed “box office” just opposite of the Notre Dame where all of our tours start, and customers can meet with us directly to sign up. In June, we are going to start daily walking tours called “Center Stage,” which we are really getting excited about. It will bring people around the two major islands in Paris.
Q: Sounds like many good things are to come for Set in Paris, Abby, and we wish you great succès! What is the best way for people traveling to Paris to contact you/purchase tickets for a movie or private tour?
You can book tickets directly on our website www.setinparis.com or stop by our office (5 Rue Maître Albert, Paris 75005) if you are ever in the area! There's more information on the website, of course, and we hope you'll tell your friends about us, too.
[Editor's Note: Check out that beautiful website! It turns out Abby -- in addition to a great idea and the gumption to get it going -- also has a talented boyfriend who deserves a Bravo! for his excellent web design and development skills. Oh, and check out the Pinterest fun Set in Paris is having. Oh la la!]