The Good Life France talks to Daisy de Plume, founder of THATLou which has changed it’s name to ThatMuse which stands for Treasure Hunt At the Museum.
We asked Daisy to tell us more:
Tell us a bit about who you are and where you’re from… My childhood nickname is Daisy and though I’ve tried in vain to be Charlotte Louise (my given name) – I’ve just resigned myself to being Daisy. When I started THATLou treasure hunts at the Louvre I become Daisy de Plume.
What bought you to Paris?
My grandmother died and I had to deal with her enormous apartment (which had 3 generations of STUFF). I was executrix to her Will plus I was a bit burnt out from working too much at Vanity Fair, so after a few years when the estate was finally cleared I decided to take a short break from NY in either Paris or Shanghai. I flipped a coin and found myself in Paris. Though I’d been numerous times, Paris was never really my cup of tea: Too cold in character and grey in weather. But in a very short time Paris got under my skin.
Where are your favourite places in Paris to eat, drink, play?
With a fame of petanque and a picnic at Palais Royal or Place Dauphine on the Ile de la Cité. In terms of restos and bars, I’m awfully partial to the Quincaillerie (76, fbg St Denis 75010) for drinks and tapas or Lucky Luciano (1, cour des Petites Ecuries 75010) for a Sunday night pizza in a cozy Billyburg ambiance
What inspired you to set up THATLou
For altruistic reasons I wanted to try to make the Louvre manageable, to take out the ‘over’ in ‘over-whelming’. It’s a palace of 65,000 m² – one would have to walk 14 KM or 8 miles to see it all. According to Henri Loyrette, Director of the Louvre, 80% of the visitors only want to see the Mona Lisa. That’s a crime to me, when the place has such incredible treasures. So I wanted to both expand the museum for people (by getting them to quiet, untrodden corners) as well as to give them the comfort of providing a focused, tasked visit and overview. I felt if could get just 30% of people who play THATLou to want to go back on their own for leisurely visits to areas they discovered during the treasure hunt I’ll feel like my mission is being accomplished.
Most memorable Treasure Hunt you’ve organised and why?
One of my fave treasure hunts was for the management team of Piaggio France. The theme was Wheels & Motion (appropriate for the makers of Vespa scooters) which was a real challenge to make. The CEO gave great prizes to the winners, and a second prize for guessing the theme! Everyone returned from their hunts so exuberant — on fire about what they’d found and curious about what they’d missed. The CEO was the most excited about the bonus points, because he was sure he got something right (but then embarrassed, because his team ended up winning). Such adrenalin and energy is invigorating and keeps me excited about creating something new.
What are your aims and aspirations for THATLou?
What a wonderful question! Do you have an evening for a nice long meal? My aims and aspirations for THATLou are several, but to try to distil it to a few – 1) to continue to learn about art history and history, and share what I’m learning with whomever would like to play my game or read my blog, and 2) to build THAT Empire, of THATPra (Prado in Spain), THATMet (The Met in NY), THATNat (National Gallery in London, as well as DC), THATVat (would the Vatican like to hire me?), to replicate them so people could enjoy a good treasure hunt in whichever city they’re travelling to! Editors note: ThatMuse now takes in several museums.
Favourite work of art in the Louvre?
An impossible question! The museum has 35,000 pieces of art, and though I spend all my free time building themed treasure hunts to try to expand the museum from just those Mona Lisas or Venus de Milo top-hitters – there’s always more to learn… it would take a lifetime to know it all. Of the works that I know well there, though, there are too many for me to even contemplate choosing as my all time favourite… So if I may, I’ll rephrase your question to: favourite French sculpture at the Louvre? This would be Pigalle’s mischievous old sculpture of Voltaire, sitting on a rock in his birthday suit (privates tactfully covered with a scroll). His sinewy bod betrays his 70-odd years, with his runner’s build having just a bit of waddle hanging – no, dangling – from his forearm. His impish eyes have just the right amount of fatigue circled below them. Despite his age, you can still picture him jumping fast as a gazelle from a young maiden’s bed and into her closet, lest the noise downstairs be her father coming home. He was a prolific man – prolific of ideas, words, and women, and Pigalle captures all of this perfectly in this life-sized solid block of marble.
Favourite bar to unwind after a treasure hunt?
I really like Café Blanc (10, rue Croix des Petits Champs 75001 Paris). It’s a corner resto, so when it’s too hot there’s a lovely cross-draft in their typically Parisian tile and bevel-mirrored room. Other clients have chosen Café Marly and Le Fumoir for the prize-giving ceremony drinks, both of which I’m fond of, too.
Check out the details for all the themes and how to participate on Thatmuse.com website.