The best of British blogs in Paris

Paris blogs are a-plenty, and British brains seem to be behind the best of them. Three of the most highly-respected bloggers of Paris speak to France 24 about running a website.


Susie Hollands, Vingt Paris Magazine

Susie first came to Paris  nearly nine years ago to escape the hard work of London. Alongside editing Vingt Paris Magazine, she also runs a luxury property business. Vingt Paris can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.



Why did you first launch Vingt Paris?

I was also making art at the time I first came to Paris, so I was involved with different artists. We’d hold exhibitions and rented a gallery. A little community was kind of created round that gallery space. Sadly we couldn’t keep the gallery going, but we did want to keep the community together. So I used to publish an arts-based newsletter every month, and that just kind of morphed into what we now know as Vingt Paris Magazine.


How successful has your site been and what do you attribute that to?

Vingt Paris provides people with a really different point of view on what’s going on in Paris, which is what it was always meant to do. I think it’s getting increasingly difficult to decide what to tune into on the web, because there’s such a babble of voices. Paris is a city of complex layers - there's so much to do, it's packed with history. That’s what’s good about it, that’s what makes it amazing to live here.


We try to uncover the layers, but still leave people to discover just a little bit more for themselves. It’s about what’s unique in Paris - for me that’s still fascinating. I do feel that Paris is getting almost cannabilised by so much being published about the city. But there’s always going to be an underground, I hope. And there should be, because what’s being published now is extremely bland 90% of the time.


What are your top tips for those thinking of setting up a Paris blog?

I think the blogs that help are the aggregators, in a way. It’s still very difficult too get an overview on the best things going on, because there’s such a huge amount. For instance, I think the Gigs in Paris concept is great because I cannot keep up with who’s playing when, but there's a website that provides that service. The best websites cut out the dross. They tell you what you have to see and do, for example Vingt Paris will tell you the best of the exhibits out there, and to forget the rest.


Mark Thompson, Gigs in Paris

Mark is a 26-year-old freelance journalist, who spends most of his time working for France 24. Originally from Birmingham, England, Mark moved to Paris about three years ago. His blog, Gigs in Paris, is an interactive guide to the Parisian music scene.



Why did you first launch Gigs in Paris?

Quite soon after I moved to Paris it occurred me that its music scene wasn't as easy to navigate as other big cites' - and I also realised I wasn't the only one who thought this. I started writing articles for a number of established blogs and making contacts with promoters, venues and distributors. About 18 months after I moved to the city I set up Gigs in Paris, which at first served as a live music diary for me and my friends. A year on and the site is a bit bigger, the design a bit crisper and the casting net a bit wider, but the principle hasn't changed.


How successful has your site been and what do you attribute that to?

The site is still small but growing daily and faster than I could have hoped. Already, I have been lucky enough to interview some of my favourite musicians including Zach Condon of the band Beirut. Obviously, there are less exciting times, but thankfully I have a very supportive group of friends around me who chip in from time to time, especially Josh Vardey - the director I work with for our Paris Undercovers.


We already have over 500 Facebook fans and a similar sized following on Twitter, but it's especially reassuring and satisfying when people I have never met let me know they've enjoyed a show they'd have missed had it not been for the site, that is the reason I set it up and I think that is key to Gigs in Paris being successful.


What are your top tips for those thinking of setting up a Paris blog?

The most important thing is finding and developing your niche. A start-up really needs to know its subject and be able to offer services or information which isn't being gathered into an easily accessible format elsewhere. After that it's important to integrate into the blogosphere and build up a rapport with other more established websites who will be able to offer advice and help to promote your brand. I would also suggest that putting on events and building relationships away from your laptop is another vital part of building a successful website.


Kim Laidlaw Adrey, I Heart Paris

Kim moved from London to Paris to study and never left. As well as being editor of I Heart Paris, she is also a freelance writer, copy editor and social media consultant. You can also find her blog through Facebook and Twitter.



Why did you first launch I Heart Paris?

I found myself reading a lot of blogs and even contributing to some and I just thought it made sense to set up my own as I felt like i had things to say and tips to share on Paris. I’d get regular emails from friends (and friends of friends) asking for my advice on what to do in Paris and so just thought it might be a good idea to just publish that kind of information online directly, and a blog was the easiest way to do that.


How successful has your site been and what do you attribute that to?

It’s been surprisingly successful. A lot of opportunities have come my way via the blog - it’s become like a shop window for my work. I think it has taken off for several reasons. Paris is the number one tourist destination and there are a lot of people who are seeking information on what to do here in English, and they do a lot of that research on line.


Often when people travel, they ask their friends who have been there or live there or have friends who live there for their tips. And the blog is a bit like having that friend on the ground in Paris. You can read an impartial review of new and/or exciting places that real people who live in the city are going to - with pictures - and that’s much more helpful than a couple of out-of-date lines in a one-size-fits-all guide book.


What are your top tips for those thinking of setting up a Paris blog?

Find your voice and find what you want to say and stick to it - and that’s what will set you apart. Your own blog is the only place where you can write exactly what you want and where your text wont go through rigorous sub-editing, so take advantage of that and make sure your perspective comes through.

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of FRANCE 24. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. FRANCE 24 is not liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.
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