Meet the experts

They say it’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know.  After years of diligent research, it took a very short time to appreciate the difference it makes when an expert opens the doors. For the last ten years, I’ve been on a continuous search for experts to cater to the VIP traveller in France.  Run of the mill guides were not an option, so assembling a team suitable for the most demanding VIP clients has been a challenge.  I’m very proud of the wonderful colleagues I have been able to involve in this unique project. 

Odile Caffin-Carcy


Odile is an eminent historian who has been awarded both the Chevalier de l’ordre des Palmes Académique and Chevalier des Arts et Lettres. She is a graduate of the Ecole du Louvre and is a member of the Academy of Versailles.  Odile has been responsible for an impressive list of major historical exhibitions and has an extensive list of publications.  She has had a long association with Versailles, both the château and the town, and she is now a university lecturer.  As a well respected member of the history fraternity in France, she is able to open doors and offer insights to the most interesting aspects of French History and Art History.

Carl Ooghe

Cycle the Western Front

Carl has been a qualified tour guide, author and passionate historian for nearly three decades.  He specialises in organising tours and providing assistance, information, cultural and historical heritage interpretation at memorials, monuments, cemeteries, museums and at venues of other significant interest. 

Our area of expertise lays in Flanders, Picardy, Marne and Meuse-Argonne. 7/7 our tours visit the three main sectors of the old Western Front in Belgium and France.

Arnaud Chicurel


Arnaud is a fully qualified tour guide and a prolific photographer.  His photos are regularly published in France and abroad. He specialises in aerial photographs with a particular interest in the historic buildings of Paris and the chateaux of France. Arnaud is known for seeking out unique angles and exceptional light. Arnaud will help you to discover Paris in a new light.  

French Language

Caroline is a native French speaker and a certified French Teacher. She holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics and has taught not only at well known univerisities in Paris but also at many respected institutions around the world. Caroline loves the French language and culture and wants to share her passion.  Caroline will help you gain the skills to make you feel comfortable and confident in your speaking ability, so that you can take full advantage of your Parisian experience.

Major General Mike O’Brien CSC, BSc (Mil), MDefAdmin

Battlefields of Somme and Belgium

Mike O’Brien graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1968 and later earned advanced qualifications in project management and a master’s degree in the UK. He served as an infantry officer in Vietnam 1970-71 and then in instructional, staff and project management roles. A specialist in logistic management and defence acquisition planning, he played a major role in logistic planning and supply management for Australia’s operational deployments to East Timor, Bougainville and elsewhere. He is a graduate of the Australian Staff College, the Australian College of Defence and Strategic Studies, the Royal Military College of Science (UK), the University of New South Wales and Cranfield University (UK). He holds the decoration of Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC). He has been heavily involved in military history studies and management of military museums, wrote Conscripts and Regulars, 1995 and several military bibliographies, and acts as advisor to a number of WW II unit associations. He is actively involved with the National Trust, the Royal Historical Society of Victoria and the Royal United Services Institute. 

Danièle Pironon

Historian, Art History

Parisian born Danièle is a graduate of the École du Louvre, Institut supérieur des Arts (specializing in furniture, silverware and jewelry and the École du Tourisme.  Danièle lectures in both Paris and the US (subjects such as “The secrets of the Mona Lisa” or “From Academism to Impressionism”) and specializes in cultural tourism.  She takes private tours in the Louvre and other museums and various quartiers of Paris – she is also part of the Paris 1 to 8 team.  Danièle’s love of French history and vast experience make her a wonderful guide for discovering the hidden secrets of Paris.


Medieval Historian, Childrens’ program

​Vanessa is a Sorbonne graduate with a degree in classics and history.  She is a specialist in medieval history and does a wonderful tour on the daily lives of the French Kings in the Middle Ages.  Thanks to her passion for both travel and books, she has set up a publishing business specializing in original tours combining History and fiction, often bringing the story alive with the use of actors.  She also does wonderful original guided tours especially for children.  Her story telling ability brings the French Heritage alive.


French Decorative Arts

Ute is an MBA and Fulbright scholar, who switched careers from finance to Fine Arts.  She holds a post-graduate diploma from Christie’s Education, Paris and gives lectures on French Decorative Arts specializing in the18th and 19th centuries. She is an expert on ceramics, fashion, furniture and textiles during the Empire period and does private guided tours of the Sèvres and Christofle museums.  Other fascinating tours include elegant dining, furniture and objets arts of the 18th century.


Culture, Architecture

Annie is Parisian born and has degrees from Sciences Po and the agrégation in English.  She was the foundation director of Creipac, the institution in Noumea which developed into the Université du Pacifique-Sud.  For the past 25 years, Annie has been a partner in a company which creates educational and school tours in France, as well as cultural and themed courses and tours, mainly for overseas universities.  She is an expert on French politics as well as French history and architecture and she is one of the experts working on Paris 1 to 8. 


French Language

Born and educated in England, David was a Professor of French at universities in Australia and New Zealand whose academic achievements were honoured by the French government in 1980 as a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques.  Since 1984 he has been the Administrative head of the company he founded with Annie.  He travels extensively in France and is an expert on wine and gastronomy, as well as organ, opera and film.  A session with David learning to decipher French menus is a must for tourists wanting the experience the best of French gourmet cuisine.


Versailles, Opera House

Martine is a graduate in History and urban geography.  A former ballet journalist, she lectures in Ballet History and is an expert guide at the Opera Garnier in Paris.  Martine lives in Versailles and does superb private visits of the Château, gardens and Marie-Antoinette’s domain.  She also offers private tours of the King’s vegetable gardens at Versailles (with food tasting of the products) and the Academy of Equestrian Arts where horse lovers can learn all about their  unique history at Versailles.  For chocoholics, Martine also does private lectures about chocolate.


French Language

Brian is the former head of French at the University in Auckland and he has been teaching French and visiting France since gaining his doctorate from the Sorbonne in 1970.  He is French language coach for Opera NZ and has produced a DVD on Sounding French, as well as other visual and teaching materials.  He now spends a large proportion of his time in France where he has an apartment and was recently made a Chevalier des Palmes Academiques for his contribution to the teaching of French.  His unique methods produce a quantum leap in confidence and pronunciation and a short session  with him is the perfect start to brush up your French (whatever your level!) at the start of your Paris trip.


Modern and contemporary art

Michèle is a fine arts specialist who buys on behalf of clients around the world.  She is also a Fulbright scholar, MFA Pratt Institute for Design in New York and has a post graduate Masters from l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure du Paysage at Versailles, which makes her an expert in garden design.  Michèle specializes in modern and contemporary art and knows the Paris scene intimately.  In addition, she is an accomplished artist in her own right who has an atelier at La Ruche.


Opera and Classical Music

Marie-Anne’s background is in tourism, but she now devotes a large part of her time to her passion for music, having completed studies at la Cité de la Musique in Paris and the University of Nantes.  Although she is a specialist in the music of the Baroque period, she subscribes to all the concerts of chamber music, l’ONPL (symphony orchestra), Opera Garnier, Châtelet, l’Opéra Comique, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and l’Opéra de Nantes. She has also worked in an art gallery and, just for something different, Mare-Anne is also a great guide for a visit of the flea markets!