Welcome to my Paris

Photo © François Grunberg

I am the Count of St. Germain, an immortal inviting you to unique walks through Paris. Let my voice and your smartphone’s GPS guide you to (re)discover the City of Lights, embracing the authenticity and subjectivity of a person who actually experienced the events they’re recounting.

I will sometimes ask you to look up façades, down to the pavement, and to listen closely for sounds from the past or inaccessible locations. The streets you will walk will often be named after old, White, bourgeois men: I will gladly mention them, but will also show you that Paris became what it is thanks to people of colour, women, proletarians and youth with equally important fates!

How does it work?

  1. Click on the walk you’re interested in. For now it’s pretty simple, there’s only one.  If you’re the curious kind, you can listen to the first 3 stops for free. It will spoil you a bit, but it’s also a way to check whether you like my voice and what I will talk about. You can also decide to keep the surprise until you arrive on location!
  2. Install the free VoiceMap app for Android or iPhone, it will summon me to your phone. Download the visit on wifi you want to save roaming charges.
  3. The app will guide you to the start of the walk, then just follow my voice, I’ll explain it all along the way. Some people prefer to listen to my walks at home, like a podcast. If you have the choice, do the actual walk, as they are designed to combine eye and ear candy. But if you can’t make it in person, you will still learn a lot about Paris!

Audio walks

My first walk takes place in Paris’ 14th district, around Montsouris. You may have heard of the park, but the surrounding neighbourhood has an incredible history: nearly 2000 years of ruins, visible from its streets, and locals ranging from the first Black star of Montparnasse (before Josephine Baker!) to a leftist lesbian painter who became a heroine of the Resistance during WWII.

You won’t only hear my voice during the walk, but also sounds from the past, from water streams under your feet to mythical parties. If you want to try it first, you can listen to the first three stops of the walk for free by clicking here.

I am working on other walks so that I can visit more of Paris with you. Be my legs, I’ll be your ears!

Bio

Photo © François Grunberg

I wasn’t always a Count, and wasn’t always called St. Germain either. I was born about 2200 years ago on a dirt islet, that after years of landfilling became the île de la Cité. My parents were poor boatmen of the Parisii celtic tribe.

I lived through the Roman invasion, the mixing of Celtic and Latin cultures, the christianisation of the region. This place changed borders and names so many times over the centuries that, to this day, I feel more Parisian than French. I know that the country called France today has never been a monolith, but an ever self-reinventing place of cultural, ethnic, religious, and political exchange.

I travelled a lot over the past 2000 years, but always came back to Paris. I have been a boatman, a farmer, a merchant, a soldier for hire, and a monk. I became rich and famous under Louis XV, grew politically during the French Révolution, and fought weapon in hand, in the streets, for the last time during Paris Commune. Since the arrival of photography, I have been much, much more discreet.

I have been into science since the Renaissance. Alchemy, philosophy, chemistry, molecular biology, neuroscience, AI, internet memes: I am fascinated -and sometimes appalled- by the evolution of technology and means of communications.

I was actually shooting a 360° video of Xmas lights on place de la Bastille for social networks when reality started bending and I fell… in a cell in the Bastille, facing the Man in the Iron Mask!

It was impossible: the Man in the Iron Mask was never real! I wasn’t in the past, but in the Spirit of Paris, the city’s collective unconscious, its fantasized image. Shaped by Hollywood, Netflix and Instagram, by the minds of billions of humans who think about Paris without living there. To escape this strange place, I created a ritual, mixing fiction and reality, magic and technology, and reappeared in Real Paris, near where I was born, in the middle of a Seine flood!

Since then, I have been travelling involuntarily between Real Paris and the Spirit of Paris. Thanks to you, I can download myself to your phone and walk the streets I miss so much. In exchange, you’ll learn more about the city, its ancient and recent history, its incredible inhabitants, both famous and unknown: be my legs, I’ll be your ears!

Contact

The easiest is to email me: contact AT walk DOT paris

I will not divulge your email to anyone or sign you up for any newsletter.

Otherwise, try on social media below, but I am really terrible at IM.