Wed 17
Jan 2018

Your key to the city's hidden doors


Q: Who are you and what is this site about?

A: My name is Zeva Bellel. I am a native New Yorker who has been living and working in Paris for the last ten years as a journalist and trend researcher. I never intended to stay in Paris this long, but let’s just say that the experiment worked.

My experience digging up stories for publications like Dutch, Air France Madame, Monocle,, and the New York Times T Magazine, working on travel guides and searching out socio-cultural trends helped me discover one of Paris’ best kept secrets: the hidden network of specialists available to the public by appointment only. Offering experiences, products and services in hushed discreet tones, they are the city’s true crème de la crème. This site is all about my exploits tracking down and meeting these elusive experts.

Paris BAO is designed to connect unusual producers with unusual consumers, to replace common consumerism with meaningful collaborations. Espousing a personalized, premeditated dimension to the act of acquiring (objects, knowledge, flavors, experiences, etc) it hopes to prove that added effort can often equal added value.

Q: Can anyone visit the places you write about?

A: Of course, though some of the people I write about are not the easiest to track down and may require a bit of cajoling. It’s the nature of the beast of by appointment. Try your best and come back to me if you need help getting your foot through the door.

Q: Who are your readers?

A: Armchair travelers, “slow” consumers, Paris addicts, expats, my mom, culture hounds, anyone looking to engage with Paris on a deeper level on their next visit.

Q: Do you need to speak French to do the things you write about?

A: Most of the places have been singled out because they cater to an international clientele, so French is not imperative, but a little effort always goes a long way.

Q: Can I hire you to show me around?

A: Absolutely! Click here to find out more about my custom services.

Q: Can I make suggestions?

A: I’m all ears. And if you have any great BAO places to suggest outside of Paris please send along—I’d like to expand this site to other cities too. You can send all comments, questions and suggestions to me by filling out the following form:

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