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Elle Decor Italia

“Don’t be a tourist in Paris” – a secret journey in the heart of Paris

Did you know Paris had 8 vineyards? And that at certain hours you can open every door? Messy Nessy Chic explains how to go around the city as a local in her ‘non-guide’


Vanessa Graz is the name behind Messy Nessy Chic, a blog of curiosities about Paris as seen from the eyes of someone who left the United Kingdom to be charmed by the bohemian aesthetics of the city. Since 2011, she lives in a boho and rock’n’roll flat in Saint-Germain, an eclectic mix of vintage pieces and travel souvenirs that reflects her “nostalgic, DIY and messy” aesthetics, as she likes to describe it. In her book Don’t be a tourist in Paris, Vanessa writes about local secrets, insiders tips and urban anecdotes about the city that she now calls home. All these addresses span from cafes, secret restaurants, hidden vintage villages and artist ateliers that look like they belong to another era.  

The book helps visitors discover the true Paris, a secret tour in the heart of the city. And with heart, we mean its soul, not its centre. Did you know Paris has 8 vineyards? And that in the heart of Belleville there’s an eccentric apartment hosting Edith Piaf museum? The chapter Anywhere but the Louvre suggests 60 alternative museums to the mostly known ones.

Moreover, it tells us that during working hours you just need to ring a bell to have access to stunning courtyards, hidden behind seemingly permanently closed doors.

The book is already sold out in store but still available online. It has been defined “the ultimate bible to Paris unknown” and it really changes the game rules. If you want to see Paris like in the movies, if you are looking for the unusual and the unknown, Nessy will show you the true hidden gems. 

“Paris is where I learned, like Hemingway, to be poor and happy” It oozes history and tells so many stories of simpler times. There’s a lot less showing off here: you never feel like you’re missing out on the latest trendy bar opening. Even the young and hip frequent old mom-and-pop shops and family bistros. We’re nostalgic in Paris, which suits me. I’m forever chasing forgotten stories, and Paris has plenty” she recently told in an interview to the Guardian.


by Carlotta Marelli / 19 September 2017


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