Goodbye Paris

What would you do in the City of Light?

Choose an Adventure for the Book

In March, I’m going to Paris with my wife and one-year-old son. We’ll be there for several months.

I want to take you with me, and I’m going to write a book about it.

This is a choose-your-own-adventure story. You choose the adventure. I do what you say. For example, you suggest, “Strike up a conversation in broken French with three people today.” I say, “Oui.” You say, “Take a picture in each of the 20 arrondissements in one day.” I say, “Why of course.”

Once the adventure is complete, I will write about it here on this blog, and in September, inshallah, I will publish a book about the experience.


Not sure what adventure to suggest? Here are a few examples:

  • Channel Your Inner Baker. Work for a day in a French bakery.
  • Skinny dip the Seine.
  • You ARE Rick Steves. Go to every café in your neighborhood (Saint-Germain) and then write a guide.
  • Be a loud, ugly American. Go into a creperie and ask for a hot dog with extra ketchup and french fries.

For more ideas, check out Rick Steves‘ website. Click “Listen” for the free podcasts. I’d start with the last, “Walk Like a Parisian.” Also, there’s a great app. As you listen, ask yourself, “What would want to do in Paris?”


This is a chance for you to tell a story (my story our story). And all great stories contain the five elements of story. Before you suggest an adventure below (or several adventures), let these prompts guide you:

  • Character. Who will I meet? Who will be my sidekick? Who (or what) will be my antagonist? (By the way, am I even the main character?)
  • Setting. Where will I go? What will I pay close attention to?
  • Theme. What lessons will I learn? What ideas will I contemplate?
  • Plot. What is my goal? What’s wrong with me? What problems will I face? How will I overcome circumstances and my own flaws (or be defeated by them)?
  • Style. What will I wear? How will I present myself? What will my tone be?

Make sure to note which category your adventure falls into when you make your suggestion.

Who Are You?

My name is Joe. I’m 27. I’m a writer. I’ve been to 26 countries, including Ireland, Croatia, Uganda, Vietnam, and Pakistan. I’m the husband to Talia and the father to Marston (A.K.A. Mars Bars).

I’ve had a few international adventures before. I’ve made friends with glue-sniffing street kids in Kenya, one of whom stabbed another kid the day I left. In Israel, I hiked 18 miles through the desert to the Dead Sea. Spiders bit my leg while I slept in a jungle in Thailand, leaving three giant pus filled sores. I have skinny dipped in seven different bodies of water on four continents, including two feet of water during low-tide in the South Korea’s Yellow Sea. I’ve been to the Pyramids of Giza, the Western Wall, and Angkor Wat. I have ridden elephants, pet tigers, and eaten dog (it was very tender). I have at least one friend I could call if I needed a favor on every continent except Antarctica. But I’ve never been to Paris.

All previous adventures aside, truth or dare is my least favorite party game. I wouldn’t say I’m controlling but I don’t like being controlled. My idea of a great travel day is sitting in a café drinking coffee and writing. This is going to be hard for me. And (hopefully) entertaining  for you.

As for my credentials, I’m a ghostwriter and author who has written four books. I’ve been published by national magazines. If you’d like to see some of my writing, you can go here and here.

The rules:

This is a social experiment. Like all experiments, it has rules.

  1. I will choose 10 to 15 adventures from the suggestions to accomplish during the trip. Some will be chosen directly by me, some voted on and chosen by popular consent. Each adventure will represent a chapter in the book.
  2. Sometime afterward (depending on how long it takes to accomplish the adventure and write about it), I will post a story about how the adventure went on this blog.
  3. I won’t do anything illegal.
  4. I’m married. No romancing the locals.
  5. I get one day a week off from adventuring.

Anything else is game.

We arrive on March 1, at which time I will choose the first set of adventures from the suggestions below.

Suggest An Adventure

Ready to go to Paris? Support the project by donating. Then leave a comment here to suggest an adventure.

  • catmorrell

    How fun. I love traveling vicariously. Okay, to really understand a culture you need to see how they cope with the less enabled in their society. My first suggestions is to make arrangements to spend a few hours in a special ed classroom with disabled children. The younger the better, ages four to ten is good as they still often have a certain innocence. I am not talking about children with mild speech or learning delays, I think you need to spend some quality time with young children who have severe impairments. . Look for the most medically fragile or the child with the most complex behavior issues and try to figure out what makes them tick. How do the specialists interact with the children? What are the family dynamics? How do the children respond to new people? Is there joy and humor in their lives? Is their environment adapted to suit their needs? Do children with vision impairments have tactile cues? Does the autistic child have a quiet place or weighted vest to help him calm? Does the medically fragile child have specially designed seating to help her be comfortable and part of the group? Look for the happiest child and compare him to the most miserable. Are the differences due to pain, personality or learned behavior. Yes I am asking you to intern as if you were going after your Master’s degree in Early Intervention. If confidentiality prohibits you from this exercise, check out the other end of the spectrum. How do Parisian’s treat their aged love ones in hospice care, assisted living facilities or memory care facilities? Best of luck on all your adventures.

    • kvirzi

      Go blind, mute, and/or in a wheelchair for an entire day

  • Laura Jacobs

    Become a street performer at Notre Dame. First you have to meet the current street performers and learn their trade. They are the main character and you are the sidekick learning from their expertise. Background is Notre Dame in all the pigeon and tourist glory. Theme is the true story of a street performer’s life… are they just homeless bums who beg? Or are the experts in their craft? Do they struggle to just get a few pennies or do they make serious bank off their entertainment? Why do they do it? At the same time, you overcome your “writer self” and put yourself out there to perform… be watched, be criticized, be viewed by people who don’t know who you really are and are just judging their perception of you. And you enter their style. You become them. Ready… go.

    • Wow. I like this one!

    • I love this one too! Last time I was in Paris, the buskers at Notre Dame were roller blading acrobats! My sons were young teens then and headed acroos the river to the square in front of the Cathedral every night to watch in awe…

  • rossboone

    alright, this one will be a little subversive, but for a good reason. Your wife can’t read beyond this point…

    I want you to romance your wife in an unexpected way. I picture this looking like you bringing her along on your day of adventures (get a babysitter that she trusts perhaps) and plant someone near the end of the day who will tell you they really need your help, or they have to show you something and they will take you two to a beautifully set table over looking the romantic sights of Paris or something. It doesn’t have to be exactly like this of course, but the goal is to use your creativity, mixed into the adventures of the day to surprise her with something really romantic which gives you two an opportunity to enjoy romance in Paris.

    • Good one, Ross! It’s a good thing you said that she couldn’t read past that point, though. She really wanted to!

  • Paul Ngom

    I suggest that you, your wife and kid visit ten museums in Paris. Then you write about what you had seen as well as the comments you have exchanged when you were before each of the exhibitions in those museums. I guess you have a minimum of knowledge in french culture. I wish you a good stay in Paris.

    • Minimum but we’re doing our best to learn. Thanks for this idea, Paul. I think we can make this happen!

  • Christine @ Better Novel Proje

    Theme/Setting: Secretly slip a note into the pages of any book at Shakespeare and Company. The contents are up to you: maybe a note to another reader on the importance of adventure, or something more personal like your fears about the trip. Or maybe just slip in that broken French poem you write! Sign it and ask them to write back via this blog.

  • AnnieCarterUK

    Stand outside the Louvre during peak visiting hours and recite poetry or Shakespeare or your favourite author to the crowds, standing on a box or something so people can see you. Every so often, step down to recite a fitting line to a suitable individual – without slipping from character or laughing.

    Alternatively, wait for a rainy evening and place yourself near an intersection of traffic by the Arc de Triomphe and, with a swirling umbrella, do your best rendition of ‘Singing in the Rain’. Have a great time!

  • W. Bailey

    Visit Hemingway’s favorite bar every day until you meet an old Frenchman who remembers that Hemingway drank there. Explore his memories.
    You can then learn that the old man was given a small strongbox of Hemingway’s; it was given by Hemingway to the old man’s father. The old man never opened the the box, not knowing how valuable the contents might be. You convince him to let you open the box and agree that if there is anything worthwhile, you can market it for him and you two can split the money. You open the box and find a number of letters to Hemingway from various other writers, editors, and publishers. At the very bottom of the box you discover a thck envelope with the handwritten message: Open Only After My Death.
    You can’t help yourself, you open, and read the letter. You discover a suicide note of sorts. It is dated a good while before Hemingway died. As you read it becomes clear why Hemingway took his own life: Hemingway admits he had a ghost-writer who did most of his works, especially the best sellers. The ghost-writer was blackmailing him; Hemingway, in a fit of rage, killed the ghost-writer and dumped the body. Later, a sober Hemingway broods over his acts and begins to contemplate suicide, knowing that the revelation of his acts would send his heirs into the future with nothing.
    In the next two weeks you, your new friend, his nephew, and your wife do some, all, or none of the following: Have the writing authenticated; contact the publisher about purchasing the letter. The publisher indicates it wants to destroy the letter, and you decide not to sell. An employee of the Publisher and the Publisher determine to steal the letter. The employee would sell the letter to the highest bidder with no concern as to what happens next. Your wife or child is taken for ransom (the letter). While fighting off the Publisher, who has private detectives and a crooked officer of the police trhing to get the letter and obstructing police investigation of the kidnapping.
    One or more characters are killed. The letter is destroyed or not. The sale of the letters, excluding the suicide letter, brings a lot of money or not.

    • This sounds amazing. I think the chances of this actually happening are remote, but if I were writing a novel, I’d be set! Thanks for this fun idea!

    • WOW! Love this…

  • Julia W.

    Pere Lachaise Cimetiere awaits you. Hunt down the gravesites of Moliere, Richard Wright, Balzac, Proust and Colette, commune with their ghosts and leave a flower at each. If you like music, spend time at the feet of Edith Piaf and Chopin. Over a million people are buried there, some on 30 year leases. Sorry to say, you can no longer leave kisses in red lipstick on Oscar Wilde’s monument, as it is encased in a protective covering; or spend the night at Jimmy Morrison’s grave, as it is guarded now by bouncers. Even if you decide not to leave him a flower, it’s fun to watch others try. Kiss the stone feet of Pierre Abelard and Heloise de Argenteuil, where of course, you can present your own beloved with a rose.

  • Julia W.

    Your mission at Pere Lachaise: keep your one-year-old entertained while you carry out a tombstone scavenger hunt, by telling him or her a story about each historical figure you visit.

    • Nice addition. Definitely important to keep the one year old entertained!

  • purple dragon

    Meet a stereotypical sullen, disenfranchised sullen teen from an immigrant family in one of the banlieus, then tell his/her story. For background, there seems/ed to be a TV series (in French) called “Gangs de France” and there is an action movie called “Banlieu 13,” plus various accounts of the real demonstrations and vandalism in our American media (e.g. So be careful. But the reality is probably more complex and more interesting. What does s/he want for his/her future? Does s/he expect it to happen? How and why or why not? In what culture is this teen most comfortable: French mainstream, immigrant group, none of the above? WHo is this teen’s idol? What parts of his/her story echo any of your own experience as an immigrant to Paris?

  • Patience

    As a writer with experience running creative writing workshops in prisons I have to suggest :

    • Patience

      Storm The Bastille!
      compare current means of revolution with those of times past,
      compare well-known writers with current interpretations of their themes and modernisation of their experiences “Facebook in the Iron mask”?
      explore the concept of “escape” as a physical adventure compared with what you are now offering your read/co-writers as a departure from their current lives into a shared tome with you the not-so-ghost writer of their dreams

      • Oooh, what an interesting concept. I believe the Bastille no longer exists as a physical building, but it would certainly be interesting to explore it as a concept in the minds of the French and the world.

        • Patience

          The physical site may now be a shopping mall – but this should not let you merely transfer the idea of buying cakes versus bread at a boulangerie chain (although the breaking of that chain may be even more revolutionary). Who are the starving and homeless of modern Paris and who is representing them in what ways?

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  • Henna Datta

    How about taking a picture of you doing every cliché of visiting Paris and then writing about it from a creative angle that hasn’t been explored before.

    A few ideas, picture in front of all the famous landmarks the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre Pyramid, Shakespeare and Co. bookshop etc.; picnic in the park; eating a salted caramel macaron at Ladurée; wearing berets including the little one :),; catching a mime show on the street; breakfast on croissants and confiture, pied-à-terre style in a grilled balcony with a view of the Eiffel Tower in the background; walk along the seine in day or some romantic street with your wife hand-in-hand at night…

  • visit an art supply shop, but some watercolors and quality paper and let your son go to it and paint on each one and then head over to the Pont des Arts, set up a crate or table and try to sell them!

    • Super fun! Great idea, Margaret. :)

      Joe Bunting

      • DanKnight

        I’ll toss in a wrinkle: Joe you paint some and have your son paint some, then you set up your table at one end of the square and your wife and son set up on the other, and see who sells the most. A little father son competition is never a bad thing.

  • Miles Tiegs

    Experiment. Can you live off of your art, and still enjoy it? Do people enjoy your art as much if you are living off of it?

    Day 1: Spend the entire day playing music on the street for money. Then go home and feed your family with whatever you can make in one day.

    Day 2: In a different location, spend the day playing music in a public place just for fun. And for the enjoyment of others.

    • DanKnight

      Miles, I like this idea; especially how it is both art and experiment.
      Joe, I’d approach this as a contrasting journal: You would have to determine your premise: “I enjoy my art equally whether it is art or livelihood”, then perform both days and write at the end about your family dinner conversation, how you felt etc.

      It’s a great idea!

  • Mich

    Your at the Pont des Arts….in your hand you hold a solid brass lock, but you did not bring it to place it among the other hundreds of thousands of locks as a symbol of your undying love….instead it is to lock away something. something far darker? from your past? a mental door?

  • Winnie

    Eat onion soup at Les Halles and find out why it has become an institution.

    • Now there’s an adventure that sounds perfect for me. Thanks Winnie. :)

      • Winnie

        Pleasure, John. Considering the company he kept.i imagine Hemingway visited the place at one time or another,
        I’ve only been in Paris once, some years back, when I made a short one-day stop-over there. (Much too brief for my liking). Managed to feel the energy that drives this city..

  • themagicviolinist

    This looks really cool. :) I just donated under my dad’s name. I can’t wait to read the book!

    Select a destination (any destination) in Paris and see if you can find your way there using only the locals for help. You must speak in French!

  • DanKnight

    There’s a huge system of caverns, caves and catacombs underground below Paris, left from when the Romans quarried the whole place for stone, and every once in a while a bit of Paris plunges into a hole.

    Go scuba diving in the subterranean lake under the Opera Garnier; it’s the cavern featured in Phantom of the Opera; Alternatively, “sing my beauty sing”

    There is a big National Geographic article about it. Here:

  • DanKnight

    Follow Marie Antoinette’s journey from Arrival to dispatch: Paris, Versailles, Le Petit Hameau, Sant’ Chapel, Place de la Concorde.

    Or otherwise follow a story line of Paris in the 1789 revolution: Tale of Two Cities, or Les miz. You could tie this in with a “Paris, 1968: the left bank, the student strikes and all that” theme; sort of a historical modern comparison.

  • DanKnight

    Milestones on the Champs d’ Elysee: a series based on historical places along the world’s most famous grand avenue, or events that have occurred along it, e.g. the Nazi victory march in ’40.

    You could take the perspective of something non-human and more “eternal” Like view these events from the perspective of one of the stones or trees along the ave.

  • Joe, I’m so excited for you, going and experiencing Paris with your family. And in the Spring, best time of the year. As you’ve given me so much support, I’d be only too happy to back your project. Besides, I’ve already decided that 2014 is to be my Year for Collaborations.

    I have a couple of suggestions for you. I noticed a lot of the suggestions are music/arts related, and my ideas follow along on a similar theme.

    Secret Smile

    Character/setting. Visit the Louvre and examine the Mona Lisa before spending the rest of the day with the artists in the Place du Tertre. Do something unusual, like paint them painting you. Get to know a few of them, engage in conversation if they speak English. Get to know there stories, why they took to painting. Ask them all one enigmatic question: do they have an explanation for the popularity of the Mona Lisa in Paris, do they have a theory behind her enigmatic smile? Dig deep, and see if the artists in Paris have a true understanding of their own heritage. How does that sound?

    Serenade Paris

    My other suggestion is more light-hearted: busking underneath the Eiffel Tower, while dressed as a Frenchman in stripy t-shirt, beret, three quarter length trousers, and a string of onions around your neck.

    My brother told me he busked underneath the Eiffel Tower, with an acoustic guitar when he was a student (not necessarily dressed in my suggested couture) and I thought it sounded like the coolest idea ever! I think he made some money too! He’s an orthodontist now, haha!

    Have fun! :)

    • Forgot to respond to this. Such fun ideas, Katie. Thanks!

  • David Hepting

    Oh man Joe, this whole adventure sounds like it will be incredible. I can’t wait to read your book. If you could do anything that would fulfill my hopes and dreams for your trip. It would be to buy an animal costume and then do something like this

    I have watched this video maybe 15-20 times and it is always so hilarious. I don’t know if it fully suits your personality but whatever you end up doing I am really looking forward to it.

    • You’re out of your mind, David. But yes, that video is hilarious.

    • Absurdly hilarious!!!

  • patricia chandrashekhar

    You and your wife, with son in tow, could go to a karaoke bar or restaurant and sing a popular French song. Of course you’ll have to learn the song first.

  • David D Kampoy

    Hi my name is Daddy Kampoy, I am 28 years old. I want to suggest that you go and visit a city or an area called Matonge this area is full of Congolese people so you can greet them Mbote which means hi. Then write a chapter about them. You will enjoy. They like to be smart and well groomed.

  • David D Kampoy

    Please remember to visit that place

  • Go to: 17 Boulevard Saint-Jacques, Paris 14eme

    The website:

    This is a church pastored by Rodrigue & Mélanie Rigueur

    If you haven’t experienced this in the US, you’re in for a wonderful adventure in Paris! On your blog write about how this church is different from others in France and what surprised you.

    • Fun, Christina! Do you know the pastor then?

      • Not personally, no, but I have missionary friends who know them. I hope you get a chance to go. Looks like the services are later on in the day, so no early rising! :)

  • WHO?

    Here’s your adventure:

    It’s early in the morning, wife and child are still asleep but you decide to go out and get them some croissants. Going back home, you check the mailbox and among the regular trash mail you see a nice envelope. No stamp, no address, no name, nothing. Inside, a note, handwritten (in French, of course).

    “Que pensez-vous du hasard ? Moi j’aime l’idée qu’un mot déposé dans une boîte aux lettres puisse donner lieu à une rencontre complètement aléatoire. Un peu comme quand on était enfant et qu’on lâchait un ballon dans le ciel, avec un mot accroché au bout, dans l’espoir que quelqu’un le lise et nous réponde. Je ne vous connais pas et vous ne me connaissez pas. Mais si la démarche ne vous paraît pas trop incongrue, si vous êtes curieux… rencontrons-nous. Je serai à la terrasse du café Le Horse, carrefour de l’Odéon, samedi 15 mars à 15h. Je porterai un chapeau et je lirai le journal, comme dans les vieux films.”

    You read it twice. Then twice again to your wife. You’re so intrigued! What kind of person does this? An old lady feeling lonely? A nostalgic and romantic man? A creative mind looking for inspiration?

    Now, the real question is: are you going to be curious or not?

  • Terrie Coleman

    Do a little sleuthing. (Not murder; something light, please.) First, watch something like, “The Patience of Maigret” (Season I, Episode 1 of “Maigret”) to get into the spirit of things. (Available on Amazon Prime streaming.) Or, you could read one of the Maigret novels by Georges Simenon. He was a fantastic novelist.

    Then, you decide what your mission will be, what mystery to solve.

    Have a great time, and be careful. Sleuthing can by tricky.

  • oddznns

    Pamela Hodges wrote a great book from the POV of her cat Pooh. Maybe you can just do Paris from Mars Bars’ POV?

  • Bob DeSpy former Spycacher

    Dear Joe,
    I am Bod DeSpy and I am, now, a writer. I visited many countries. Too many to count down.
    I read Papillon when I was a young fellow. Many Aprils since. What most drew me into the book was that Henri Charrière wrote about his own adventure. A real adventure. I was able to live it. To that book, I owe much of the desires I had for writing my own adventures. This has undoubtedly stuck with me since, and whenever possible I try to follow his steps. Of course, one important place was his beloved Paris.

    I visited Paris many times and every time I am there my imagination will open the one of the many drawers stuffed with remembrances holding the adventures by Papillion. I will visit Rue de Clichy. Settle inside of a warm, of smoke and yeast smelling bar to enjoy a milky Pastis with ice to awaken my senses for a succulent meal. Or inhale the bitter aroma of coffee adorned with a frothed figurine of fine cocoa and ushered with a fruity patisserie in a cafe in front of the fountain in Pigalle. Walk up and down the
    alleys of Montmartre and explore every nook and crannies to, maybe, discover a
    vine with grapes. Sit outside of one of those picturesque restaurants on the
    cobbled streets listening to the parley of the populaces and passers-by. Have
    some wine to characterize a platter of charcuterie and baguette. In that way, I
    can retreat to the memories of the book and for sure, I will meet Henry
    moseying about with his hands in the pockets wearing a cocked Brooklyn cap.

    You don’t need to speak French or clothe as one, or
    desperately search for it. Relax. Just let the senses of Paris flow through
    you. Pick up all the smells and tastes. Touch, look and laugh. And then suddenly the magic happens.

    Enjoy your trip!

    • Fantastic suggestions, Bob. Thank you so much!

  • The setting in paris is your choice for this suggestion: I’d like you to spend a very quiet afternoon somewhere *WITHOUT* writing. Instead, absorb everything you feel, see, hear, taste, touch. Make it a goal to take everything in, letting it touch and change you. Be fully present and in the moment in a way that writing does not allow. Then, later in the silence of your hotel room, write about the moment that touched or changed you, and why.

    Adventures don’t have to be wild, crazy and loud. The most beautiful are often the quiet, authentic ones that change you at the level of your Soul.

  • 1. Take a picture of you resting your elbow on the tip of the Eiffel.

    2. Somehow genuinely encourage every street artist you meet for a day. (ie. Take their photo, throw in a few coins, buy them a sandwich or drink, give them a handwritten note, give a genuine thank you with handshake.)

    3. Be sure to write at Place des Vosges. What a beautiful place!

    Looking forward to hearing all your adventure tales.

    • Such fun choices. Thanks Arlen. :)

    • I like the idea of encouraging street performers. I’ll bet they all have stories to tell.

  • Do a nice extended virtual stroll around Paris on your Google Maps, and pick a few random villages. Then rent a car and go there on day trips. That’s what I did when I took a 3-week solo vacation in Italy, in Tuscany. And I was absolutely charmed. Will never forget those trips.

    • This idea is so cool, Birgitte. Thanks for adding it. :)

  • Laura Robb

    What a fun experiment, Joe! I’m looking forward to reading along as you go on adventures! Here’s one idea: hang out in a cafe & start a conversation with a nearby customer. See what brings them to that cafe. Are they a regular? What are they doing (reading, writing, meeting a friend, just drinking coffee & enjoying a view)? Maybe, just maybe, you will connect with a fellow writer in another country! I’m thinking it would be cool to find a common bond with a stranger & tell a piece of their story & how it affects/leads you to any new adventures. Happy traveling & exploring!

  • Pick five or six books of classic literature written in or about Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, A Tale of Two Cities, Les Miserables) and go to the physical places that specific scenes took place. Read the words as you stand there, and write about how it makes you feel. Think about how much these spaces have changedchanged since the stories were written, maybe even how the same basic plots and characters might play out in modern Paris.

    • Awesome adventure, Abigail. I’ll add it to the list.

      Joe Bunting

  • As you walk around Paris, you are walking with an imaginary friend named Bill. If it is raining hold the umbrella as though you are walking with someone. On occasion slap Bill on the back.
    Go into a coffee shop and get a table for two. Ask Bill what he wants to drink and order it for him.
    Order your meal and what ever Bill wants. You have to act as though Bill is talking to you, and tell the waiter what he said.
    Your hair is messy, not combed. All of your clothes, even your jeans are turned inside out, showing labels. You don’t have any shoelaces in your shoes. You can wear socks if you want to, but they shouldn’t match.
    Your character is charming and jovial. You love to laugh at Bill’s jokes.
    For example. “Oh Bill, you are so funny.”
    If anyone asks who you are taking to. Tell them he is an old friend from high school. You use to be on the track team together.
    You haven’t seen Bill in years and are so happy to run into him in Paris.
    Bill is a vegetarian.
    You must stay in character until you get back to your place of residence.
    When you get home, say good-bye to Bill, hug him and start to cry.

  • My dear Joe,
    I suggest you dress all in black, paint your nose black and draw whiskers on your face. Then find some stray cats and sit with them.
    Spend the day with the cats and write from their POV about what you see.
    I hope you have a wonderful time with your family.
    All the best,
    Love Pooh

  • This adventure is for all three of you.
    During dinner get down on one knee and propose to Talia.
    The story is your proposal and the restaurants reaction to your proposal.
    ( Make sure you have the engagement ring in your pocket)

    • Oh my. This is a crazy/amazing idea.

      Joe Bunting

  • Debbie Steg

    Hi Joe,

    I think this is a fabulous idea. You’re going to my absolute favorite city and living in my favorite neighborhood that I lived in years ago.

    So two adventures:

    1. Spend a day apprenticing with a perfume maker. Find out what it takes to become a “nose,” what a perfume organ is, the training it takes to become a perfumer and get the perfumer to share the dark side of the business – the politics, competition and intrigue. Then create a custom perfume for your wife.

    2. Spend a day with American entrepreneur-baker in Paris helping him run his stand at the Marche Raspail on Sunday. Many French come to America to start their own business. Michael Healy did the reverse. An American in Paris, he introduced the organic English muffin to the French almost twenty years ago. He has a really interesting story of how he built his business from nothing to become successful and the challenges his runaway success posed in a country that is not known for being particularly entrepreneur friendly. He sells his muffins at the Marche Raspail, the organic market on Sunday mornings on the Boulevard Raspail.

    Also, be sure to have a chicken sandwich at Gerard Moulot. They make the best one’s in Paris. I think the secret is in the sauce they use. If you can find out what’s in the sauce that might be another adventure.

    If you’re looking to take Mars Bars for an awesome hot chocolate in the City of Light – Angelina on the right bank had the richest and yummiest and Cafe de Flore in your neighborhood is a close second.

    Ok, so I thought of yet another adventure. Spend a day at Berthillon on Ile St. Louis finding out the secret to the best ice cream in Paris.

    Bon voyage!

  • On a shiny day, visit the American Cemetery on the Mont Valerien, overlooking the whole Paris, breath and get seized by this telluric place, this moving symbol of the shared history of the American and French people.

    Welcome to Paris!

  • KJ Mansfield

    Discover the man who could walk through walls.

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  • Create a photo album of all the key places in Paris mentioned by Hugo in Les Mis. If you’ve read it you understand the depth of just how much Paris itself is a character not just a setting.

  • Rochelle Comeaux

    Character: Invite a homeless man to lunch. Let him pick the restaurant and try to carry on a conversation with him in French. If you get along and a friendship begins, make a plan to meet up again the next week. Maybe write down the place, day, and time for him. Show up the following week and see whether he makes it. If he does, more conversation, and more good food. Let the relationship grow from there, or not. Maybe he can show you some of his favorite secret Paris haunts!

  • fhaedra

    Joe, I think you would have fun trying the following. 1. Wear some clothes you aren’t too attached to and visit a second hand shop. 2. Find a new outfit comprised of the most colourful, ill-fitting pieces you can find. 3. Ask the clerk if you can trade the clothes you’re wearing for the ‘new’ ones. 4. Find a music store, or a used instrument place. 5. Purchase something you have no clue how to play. 6. Pick a busy pedestrian spot where you will busk for 30 minutes, speaking to no one. 7. If someone speaks to you, put your index finger to your lips, smile, and shake your head. 8. In between playing your instrument or even at the same time if you like, dance about like a tap man. 9. Smile. 10. See what happens.

  • Leave a number (pick the number to have some significance, like your age or the number of days you’ll be staying in Paris) of postcards dotted around public places all over the city. Train station, phone box, library, gallery. Each one should tell the finder why you’re in Paris and ask them to get in touch. Idea shamelessly stolen from here: and here

    • Rachael Chadwick

      This sounds incredible! ;) Good luck, Joe – I am going to get thinking about this. Rachael – 60 Postcards girl x

  • Patience

    Cecilia White is an Australian writer on Residency in Paris at the moment. Find her and plan outrageous writing tasks for each other.

  • Yael Luxman-Bahat

    Got a few suggestions for you:
    1. “50 shades of cheese” – taste 50 different kinds of cheese (not necessarily French cheese, but it is most preferred). This should help:

    2. Patisserie run – go to the most recommended patisserie in each of the 20 Parisian district and try something.

    3. Attend a French lesson in a formal language school.

    4. Go to one of the fashion week’s events with the shabbiest clothes and try to make new friends (this is happening this week, btw).

    5. Go to each and every ride in Parc Asterix

    6. Get from Paris to Versailles by bicycle.

    7. See how many museums you can visit on the 1st Sunday of the month (aka when many of them are free).

    8. When it’s raining, go to one of the central parks (the tuileries, luxembourg gardens, etc.) and perform “singing in the rain” for everyone to see.

    And have fun, of course :-)

  • Patience

    dress Mars Bar as Toulouse Lautrec and go recruiting models for paintings. Post a photo and a painting of each eligible model, and have your wife dressed as a gypsy to oversee the channeling of the dead master’s spirit through your son. Deny any complicity of your own – you are merely reporting the authenticity of the story your wife and son have presented to you.

  • Jacqueline Gu

    1. Visit the beautiful Place de Vosges in the Marais (Jewish Quarters), one of my favorite hangouts in Paris. Fun fact: Henry II was wounded there in a jousting match. Bonus: Have ice cream at Ile St Louis, one of the best ice cream shops in Paris and snap a photo of you savoring the sugary goods.

    2. Soak in the beauty and fun that is the Montmartre, and pack a sunset/evening picnic and watch the scene and performers on the steps of the Sacre Coeur when the tourist crowds thin out, the natives come and enjoy a quieter night on these steps. Bonus: Strike up a convo with a few North Africans and try to understand their lives as immigrants in Paris.

    3. Take a leisure stroll in the Luxemberg Gardens. Bonus: find the pavilion where passerby waltzes to music. Take Talia for a spin (have a kind person watch Marston as you do so.)

    * Write a 1000 word prompt inspired by any of these three experiences and let me read it.

    Wish I was there with you guys!

    Profiter de mon ami!

    – Jacqueline

  • joncarllewis

    I would add a plot point – sort of a dare, even: you kiss a boy on the bridge over the Seine where all of the locks are fastened to a wire mesh fence. You don’t want to tell him your sexual orientation – whatever it is – but you must tell the boy that a girlfriend of yours dared you to do it and send her an Instagram. Your actual motivation is to see how it feels to your character. He is not necessarily confused (whatever his orientation is) but he wants to know what it feels like for a boy to do that in a very, very accepting country (as my research has revealed). It doesn’t even have to be a French kiss – whatever you agree on is great, but it ought to be a kiss on the lips. The assignment is to do it only once. Wherever you guys decide to take it after that is up to you (although I’d definitely love to hear about what develops after). I double dare you. (And i have seen a naked sunbather in the Seine near the foot of one of the bridges in case you want to go skinny dipping in the Seine (please send Instagrams!).

  • joncarllewis

    I would add a plot point –
    sort of a dare, even: you kiss a boy on the bridge
    over the Seine where all of the locks are fastened to a wire mesh fence. You
    don’t want to tell him your sexual orientation – whatever it is – but you must
    tell the boy that a girlfriend of yours dared you to do it and send her an
    Instagram. Your actual motivation is to see how it feels to your character. He is
    not necessarily confused (whatever his orientation is) but he wants to know what it feels like for a boy to do that in a
    very, very accepting country (as my research has revealed). It doesn’t even have to be a
    French kiss –
    whatever you agree on is great, but it ought to be a kiss on the lips. The
    assignment is to do it only once. Wherever you guys decide to take it after
    that is up to you (although I’d definitely love to hear about what develops
    after). I double dare you. (And i have seen a naked sunbather in the Seine near
    the foot of one of the bridges in case you want to go skinny dipping in the
    Seine (please send Instagrams!).