Paris Graves
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about us

Paris Graves is a California-based family business. The Oxmans have been designing, organizing and operating trips to France since 1997.

We steer clear of the mainstream, offering unique journeys that get to the soul of Paris.

Cemeteries have always been an element of our tours, but now we've made them a focal point of departure for all the gems of Paris.

Sylvie has enjoyed over 20 years of experience in the realm of flea markets, antiques, and serving as a facilitator for tours. She delights in spending time volunteering for local senior groups, encouraging more inter-generational socializing...wherever she travels.

Ricard has an extensive academic background, teaching at many institutions of higher education, including Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey, and participating in worldwide programs under the auspices of England's St. Giles College, California's Cultural Homestay Institute and Japan's International Education Research and Analysis Corporation. He has conducted Dramatic Arts, Cinema History and Comparative Literature tours for decades, and looks forward to working with The Association for Gravestone Studies over the next several years.

Sylvie and Ricard

Romantic Paris --without clinging to ill-informed images or stereotypical ideas-- is central to our enjoyment. Improving Franco-American relations on a one-to-one basis is also an important part of Paris Graves. Et...il y a...plus.

Being in the moment (Être dans le moment)

French photographer Jeanloup Sieff, in speaking about an aspect of Cimetière Montmartre, once said:

"I like cemeteries, for I leave them soothed, relaxed, reassured as regards the ephemeral, which should not prompt anguish but give rise to serenity."

This captures the spirit of our walks*.

Our Paris Graves experience is not so much a tour, a set of walks which point out this or that obvious sight...wherein we comment encyclopediacally. No, rather, it is meditative. Composed of strolls in which we are able to see ourselves unfold —forgetting ourselves simultaneously— dans le moment.

Not cemetery colloquies, but contemplative gatherings in restful places. In our hearts more than in our heads.

In Noel Riley Fitch's work on Hemingway's Paris, he comments on some words by Lawrence Durrell: "who warns us against too much factual detail in traveling. One should, he declares, 'travel with the eyes of the spirit wide open'. The visitor should sit quietly and observe and smell and listen for the 'spirit of the place', which Durrell says is the 'most important determinant' in culture. Tune in, without reverence, idly, he adds, 'but with real inward attention.'" Couple that, if you will, with: "Nothing in my early childhood made such an impression on me as seeing the Panthéon between me and the sun... That moment is still with me and continues to illuminate my inner self." So said the great writer/historian Jules Michelet.

So say we. Oui.

*Dans l'esprit: Just as a good French garçon gets great pleasure from putting down a plat with a flourish, as if to say "You'll enjoy this," we relish serving as facilitators...at Paris' table. Like all waiters (et toutes les serveuses), although we share in the total experience, we don't necessarily sit down and eat with you. Rather, we provide the goods...with a particular presentation...to suit your taste.

Bon appétit! Bon voyage!


Contact Paris Graves
Ricard & Sylvie:
408.358.5875
info@parisgraves.com

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