Cincy Chic:Why did you start Je Suis. PARIS?
Raquel Segura, President and CEO of the “Je Suis. PARIS” Tour: For the past few years, I have been taking small groups of primarily women to Europe. Je Suis. PARIS was born from carefully listening to what these women had on their “wish-list.” They wanted intimate groups, flexibility, luxury, a more personalized experience, to travel solo without being alone. Je Suis. PARIS is the first of our “I AM.” Tours. “Je Suis. PARIS” means “I Am Paris.” As women, we are always taking care of everyone and everything. We truly are everything to everyone. I wanted to create an experience that was just for us to celebrate ourselves. On these tours, you will never need to take care of anything or anyone.
Cincy Chic: What’s your background in doing tours like this?
Segura:I am a professional travel planner, France certified travel agent, certified luxury specialist and culinary travel specialist. After walking away from Corporate America, I decided it was time for a lifestyle change. In 2009, I followed my passion for travel and founded my very own boutique luxury travel company.
Cincy Chic: What’s your inspiration behind starting the tour?
Segura:As a woman who wears many hats, single mom to two very demanding teens, entrepreneur, I.T. guru to family and friends, housekeeper, chauffeur to my teens, miracle worker and problem solver to my clients, therapist to friends, etc., I realized many years ago that the only way I did anything to celebrate myself was whenever I traveled solo.
Cincy Chic: Who is the target demographic for the tour?
Segura: Last summer, I guided a few groups of clients throughout Europe. After my last group departed, I had about two weeks solo time in Paris. So, one day while I was sitting in a cafe with a delicious rosé wine, I began to think about Paris as a city and how it’s so feminine. “Women, sexiness, culture, femininity and the joy of life” are such an integral part of it. What better place to celebrate yourself than a city that celebrates women. I sat in that cafe daydreaming of the perfect vacation I could create for women such as myself who are everything to everyone. I walked away with the silly dream in my head. But, as the days went by, the silly dream was screaming louder and louder and begging me to become a reality.
Cincy Chic: What’s offered on the tour?
Segura: A couple of days later, one of the guest on the first leg of the tour I did that summer was a former coworker and friend. She called to tell me that she was just laid off from work and was getting a divorce. She expressed how happy she was that she had pushed herself to take that trip and how much she enjoyed herself in Europe with my tour. She was ready start a new life.
Since the groups are small and our French partners are with us for the entire day, there is flexibility to the schedule versus “It’s Tuesday at 5 p.m. and we must run to see Notre Dame.” Spontaneity and small surprises are common throughout our days, such as popping into a boulangerie for a quick dessert, stopping along the route for an ice cream, an impromptu Armagnac tasting, a pit stop at one of our favorite cafes for an apero.
Cincy Chic: What makes this different from other tours?
Segura: We wanted to create an experience for our guests that was unique and different. An adventure they can have on their own without being alone. Something that they can walk away from feeling fulfilled and well traveled. Women want to feel in control of their vacation and not as if they’re being herded from location to location during prescribed hours, never having real fun or seeing the real thing. Simply on a bus with 50 other guests watching a pasteurized version of the city they came to experience. Je Suis. PARIS invites women to celebrate themselves guilt-free. This adventure is about female empowerment… every guest will walk away from this Parisian experience a change woman, yet more herself than ever.
Cincy Chic: What’s the pricing of the tour?
Segura: The tour is competitively priced from the mid to high $7,000 range depending on the departure date. If you were to do this exact tour on your own, it would be in the range of $12,000.
Cincy Chic: What’s your favorite thing about the tour?
Segura: Hands down our French partners… We are working with some very cool and special people… Such as: Our fashion stylists are fashion designers and one of them is a licensed therapist who assists women with body and self esteem issues. Our Culinary expert has been creating gourmet delicacies since the age of 7. Having lived in the USA for a few years and married to an American woman, he understands the American Market very well. Our Wine Specialists are a dynamic duo of husband and wife who scour the world in search of the finest and most delectable wines to offer select guests in their 1636 cellar. Our literary guide is a world renown author, memoirist, film critic and biographer that has a palpable passion for Paris and the literary greats from the 1920’s and 30’s. I delight in the thought of the fun and wonderful experiences our guests are going to have. Traveling like a local is my passion and I want to share it with my guests.
Cincy Chic: What’s the response been to the tour thus far?
Segura: The response has been very positive. Lots of calls, emails inquiries and thank God our tours are starting to get filled. Women are telling us they want to travel with us because sometimes travel with friends or family may be complicated. Others are saying they don’t want a run of the mill tour but something smaller and more sophisticated.
Cincy Chic: What’s next/new on the horizon for Je Suis. PARIS?
Segura: We are currently working with our French partners to include additional side trips in France and other experiences so our Je Suis. PARIS’ers can continue coming to explore this city we love so much. We are also currently working on additional destinations outside of France for our I AM. Tours such as Miami, New York, London, Amsterdam.