A Parisian Food Affair with Blogger Julie Neis
Blogger Julie Neis shares why she started Paris Food Affair, the highlights of exploring the Paris culinary scene, and how she hopes to expand her blog in the future.
Tell us about yourself! What do you do when you’re not traveling the world? Where are you from? Where do you currently live?
I grew up in Dallas, TX, and I’ve been living in Paris for nearly 5 years now. I manage a tourism company here in Paris, Fat Tire Tours, that offers tours in English. When I’m not traveling (which is my all time favorite activity), then I’m either researching and planning my next trip, or I’m seeking out the best places to eat in Paris. When the weather is nice, I love to picnic outside with friends and find food-related events to attend. I’ve been working on a video series about eating in Paris with a videographer friend, so that’s been taking up quite a bit of time over the past 6 months as well and has been a lot of fun.
What first inspired you to start your blog? Since then, which destinations have you covered?
Food is a major part of any country’s culture, and that’s where I like to start when I plan trips. You can learn a lot about a country’s culture through its food, and for France, food is central to everyday life. From the humble baguette to a 3-Michelin starred experience, exploring the world’s food is its own type of travel, with much to be learned, enjoyed, and experienced.
I seek out all the best food spots in Paris or in any country (restaurants, wine bars, pastry shops, coffee shops) just because I love it and get great enjoyment from it. For the past 5 years, I have stayed very in tune to the Paris food scene, and I take photos whenever I go to restaurants just because I like having the memory of each place I visit. I started collecting folders full of food photos before I ever thought of starting a blog.
Honestly, other food blogs are the reason I became such a huge foodie in the first place. They helped me to decide where I should spend my precious few meals in a city like Paris, and they got me really excited about trying all the wonderful things the French have to offer. Now that I live here, I hope to help others by sharing my knowledge with them.
What is the main purpose of your blog? Is there a message that you’re trying to convey to your readers?
The main purpose of my blog, Paris Food Affair, is to share where to find the best food in Paris, whether classic French or the latest hot spot, so that people can know how to eat well and really enjoy the culinary side of Paris, which is so important to French culture. It’s also just to highlight the beauty of Paris through the lens of its food culture.
I also talk about other destinations that I travel to. For example, I have posts on the south of France, Scotland, Mallorca, Greece, Thailand, Spain, and Copenhagen. I have mountains of photos from other travels as well and plan to put up a new destination each month. For now, I’m just trying to keep up with the Paris side.
Moving forward, since we’ve had these attacks, I think it will be important to find ways to continue to inspire people to come to Paris and to visit its incredible restaurants, bakeries and chocolate shops. I know people will be afraid to come visit now, just as I myself have a fair amount of fear about going back to normal life. But these things that the French do so well are the little things that make life so enjoyable–having an espresso at a corner cafe and watching the world go by, joining friends for dinner and laughter over good food and wine, and having a warm croissant or fresh baguette in the morning. I want to remind people that these things are worth seeking out.
What gets you into the writing mode?
It’s honestly difficult for me to get in the writing mode, but once I start, it usually flows pretty easily. It helps when I have a funny story to tell, or if I’m really excited to share about a new restaurant or put up some beautiful food photos. I like the process of crafting words or telling a story and waiting to see what comes out, but I definitely find it difficult to make myself sit down and do it.
What are some exciting partnerships, connections, or opportunities that have come out of your blog?
I’ve considered myself an expert on the Paris food scene for quite some time, but it wasn’t until I started a blog that other people started considering me as such. Since starting my blog, I’ve been invited to the Omnivore Food Festival on a press pass, gotten special access to events for Le Fooding, been invited to be on the panel for a pastry judging competition with Paris by Mouth, was on the “Team Taste” panel for Taste of Paris (a huge culinary event in the Grand Palais), and have been featured on other Paris food blogs that I’ve known and read about for years.
I’ve also recently had the opportunity to create a video series about eating in Paris, and I’m expecting to launch that video series soon, interviewing chefs, bloggers, mixologists, and sommeliers, and other food experts, which is a lot of fun. The coolest thing, though, has been getting the chance to meet and hang out with other bloggers who are food lovers because it’s fun to hang out with people who share the same passion and enthusiasm.
Is your blog a business? If so, what are some of the ways that you monetize it?
My blog is not a business at the moment; it’s just sharing information with others. I do hope to eventually create an e-book that includes information about the best things and places to eat in Paris, cultural etiquette, and maps of foodie walking tours. When I planned a trip to Thailand in January, I bought an e-book about the best dishes and places to eat, and it was immensely helpful. I’d love to create something like that for people coming to visit Paris.
What advice would you give to other women who are interested in launching a travel blog?
I don’t think you can go into it for the hope of making a living, or earning any income at all. Do it because you love sharing information, you like sharing photos, or you like writing. I think the most important thing – something I have difficulty with – is updating your blog on a regular basis. I got too busy with my job this summer and my updates became less frequent, so people stopped coming by. The important thing is to provide value – either provide new and interesting tips and information, beautiful and inspirational photos, or entertaining stories that people will love to read. Or all of the above! One of the best things about starting a travel blog will be connecting with other people who love the same thing. It makes the world a smaller place and will help expand your knowledge, too.