Profile: Bruce McAleer, Bike Tour Guide
Name: Bruce McAleer
Place of birth: Weymouth, Massachusetts
Role: Bike Tour Guide
Business name: French Mystique Bike Tours
Address: I have no office and work from home. But I meet my customers at a bike rental store in Paris to start each tour and their address is: 2, rue Beauregard 75002 Paris.
Web address: www.frenchmystiquetours.com
Nearest Train Station: Bonne Nouvelle
Bruce, can you please describe your business to us?
I offer day trips by bike from Paris to numerous locations in the countryside of Paris. My tours generally include a well-known destination (Chartres, Giverny etc.) but are mostly designed with getting off the beaten path in mind. We bike through scenic countryside, quaint country villages, medieval towns and pass by various châteaux. I take people to unknown places not covered in guidebooks.
Where is your business based?
I have no office but meet my customers at 2 rue Beauregard (75 002) to pick up rental bikes at the start of each ride.
Who are your customers?
My customers are from many English speaking countries. They range in age from young teens up to octogenarians.
How long has your business been in operation?
I am currently in my second year of business.
What gave you the idea to open your business?
I don’t like to work and I like to ride a bike. I’m also very good at vacationing in France. Add it all up and it equals ‘Bike Tour Guide’.
Is it easy to start a business in France? What has been the most challenging part of starting up and owning business in France?
Yes and no. As an auto-entrepreneur it is easy to start a business in France but you are limited in what you can do and taxation is higher with this status. The most challenging part of starting my business has been getting my name out there.
In your opinion, could the process of starting up a business in France be simplified? If so, how?
Yes, it could be much simpler. It could be like in America where I went to the town hall, filled out an application, paid $25 and I was officially in business.
What’s the most exciting thing currently happening in your business?
The most exciting thing in my business currently is seeing more customers now that I’ve got one year under my belt; I’ve laid a good networking foundation and word of mouth is spreading.
Can you please tell us something only a local would know?
You don’t have to go to Provence or the Dordogne or some other famous regions in France to find beautiful countryside, interesting history, charming ancient villages, magnificent châteaux or other fantastic sites. All these things are as close as 30 -40 km outside of Paris.
Favourites in Paris
What is your favourite place to eat in Paris?
I live on a low budget and seek out budget dining options, but not at the sacrifice of good quality. My favorite place is a cafeteria style restaurant in Passage Prado that features great Mauritius cuisine. It is called L’Île aux Cerfs.
What is your favourite place to drink in Paris?
Anyplace with an outdoor table and a good view.
What is your favourite place to shop?
Rather than a store, I would say I like to shop in certain neighborhoods in the 11th and 20th arrondissements where I can find independent stores selling good quality products for less than what I’d pay in central Paris.
What is your favourite place to play (a nightclub, a park, a museum etc.)?
The Green Linnet. I go there most Saturday nights as my friends play live music there and it’s a great Anglo/Franco bilingual crowd.
What is your favourite day trip from Paris?
Several. But because no one has ever been there (except me) I’ll mention Crépy-en-Valois. Ever heard of it? Didn’t think so. It’s a charming medieval town with old buildings, quaint cobbled streets, a great gothic cathedral ruin, a medieval château turned museum, interesting history (Joan of Arc, Henry IV, Valois dynasty of French kings) all in a pretty country setting.
Thank you Bruce for taking the time to speak to us at My French Life™. We’ve enjoyed getting to know more about you and your company. To find out more about Bruce and his bike tours, you can go to his website.
Bruce, I’ll definitely be recommending your tours to friends coming to Paris and I’ll feature this post in my next Wednesday’s “other people’s blogs” on http://www.aussieinfrance.com. I am a cycle lover myself and have been to Crépy-en-Valois during one of our rides. It was a lovely surprise. Another favourite ride includes Marie Antoinette’s dairy in the grounds of the château de Rambouillet. Perhaps you know it?
The next time I go to France I definitely want to do this !!! How cool, and what a great job ! Although I truly do not envy you for trying to start a business in France- just living there was a seemingly insurmountable mountain of bureaucracy. Kudos !