Hi and welcome to my site!
ParisLens Tours, and ParisLens Reviews, are all owned and run by me, Dr Madeleine Smith, but you can call me Maddie. Let me tell you a bit about myself and what this site is all about.
I’m a (currently) 32 year old female from Hull, in the North East of England, and in late 2016, after much planning and saving, I landed in Paris with my dog Willow. Along side running this registered business as a tour guider and reviewer around the City of Light, I am also an independent academic and private tutor, with specialisms in both Screen Studies and vigilantism in American history, society & culture (and Buffy. No really…!). In my spare time I am a writer, with books available on vigilantism in various aspects of American life and popular culture.
You’re possibly wondering how I ended up devising my own tours in Paris. Well, I’m a strong believer in following your heart and dreams, in the first instance, and learning and sharing knowledge with others is my greatest joy in this life. I’m also fully committed to the idea that it is possible to take all of one’s accumulated skills and life experiences, and make them into something that gives one’s life greater meaning and purpose. I think that anything is possible in this life if you want it badly enough, and I love helping others experience fulfilling and happy moments in theirs!!
After leaving college with A-levels in Film Studies, History and English Lit., I went into fulltime work in basic customer service jobs. All my friends went off to university but I felt that, at the time in my life, that just wasn’t for me, though I always intended to go into further education at some point. Instead I tried catering, holistic therapies, DVD stores and other customer service jobs, and I completed night courses in massage therapies in my search for a suitable career, but realised I wanted more from life than a 9 to 5, so I enrolled at the University of Hull as a mature student to study film -in a theoretical sense- and ended up going on to do my research PhD. Always one to buck the trend and follow my heart, I wrote my undergrad dissertation on subversive representations of the family and sexuality amongst the vampires of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Angel’. I then went on to do my research dissertation on vigilantism in ‘Dexter’, arguing that it is possible to challenge existing ideals and norms in American society concerning vigilantism by combining history, society and cultural modes via onscreen representations. Anyway, I digress. During this time, and to fund my studies, I worked at The Deep, an aquarium in Hull, as a tour guide for seven years. I loved it, I learned loads and got to share all of that knowledge with visitors to the aquarium, but I left to focus on the final phase of my PhD and to engage more in the lecturing side of things. This involved teaching on various Screen Studies modules and developing my own year-long module in American Studies on my specialist subject, vigilantism in American history and culture. I had intended that teaching others in this manner would become my life. However, I discovered that lecturing and all of its difficult (and often highly bureaucratic) aspects -not least the non-stop working hours, paperwork and expectations- were really not for me. Whilst I still more than anything wanted to help others learn, and share knowledge I had gained with them (and carry on learning myself), I realised that I could not achieve this fully in a life as a lecturer. I felt limited and stifled with no spare time, and was deeply unhappy. I felt I had more to offer, and I wanted to enjoy life again! So I started planning, quit the lecturing, took a job in a restaurant/bar, and started saving money for my dream move. One year later, and here we are!
About the Guided Walking Tours and Reviews
The first time I visited Paris myself on holiday, I saw all the sights and things, but left feeling a bit empty, as though I had missed some really essential thing that would have allowed me to capture Paris more fully. Then, as a struggling Parisian newbie trying to find my way around, and find things to do, places to go, and reliable spots to eat, I found I needed a good resource to use. I found none, or nothing that encompassed everything I wanted to know without hours of internet research. I also landed here without any friends, and without knowing a single soul in Paris to ask for help! So I decided to use this site to help others circumnavigate the same problems I had, and provide a service through which short- or long-term visitors could also experience Paris at its fullest. Research is my bag (I have a PhD in it) and with that in mind, my tours and reviews on this website are dedicated to helping you navigate the City of Lights, and what it has to offer you, if not with me then on your own! If you have any questions or queries about anything Paris related, just ask, I’ll be more than happy to help you out if I can! I love sharing knowledge and helping others live happy moments, so my tours intend to deliver a unique and fulfilling guided experience that allows you to see Paris in all of its rich and nuanced shades. Given my extensive lecturing and tour-guiding background, I offer informative, entertaining and highly approachable tours. I love sharing knowledge and making people happy, so my tours are designed specifically to leave you feeling that you have explored the City of Lights in depth and have captured its meanings fully. I am professional, reliable, confident, and incredibly friendly, so you can be sure to feel at home in the city with me, guaranteed. Click on the Homepage to see the range of tours I currently offer! Because of my extensive research background, I am also very adept at putting together tailored tours to suit your personal interests, so just ask me!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I hope you will find what you are looking for, and I hope that you might return!
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org should you require further information.
All photographs used on the site belong to and were taken by the site convenor.
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