The more adventurous travelers prefer to see the sights of the city with just a map and their sense of direction to guide them. For the rest of us, a guided walking tour is the most comfortable way to fully appreciate the best Paris has to offer. Paris walking tours are available all over the city, and can range from large groups to intimate personalized tours. Some are customizable and inclusive of exquisite meals at popular restaurants around the city, while others are shorter and focus on the main tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre district. No matter your budget, you can find the most suitable tour for you. Featured in this article are 4 tours that fit in well with every tourist’s Paris vacation desires.
You can join a walking tour without paying any official fees when you sign up with Discover Paris. This company offers four different but equally satisfying tours, complete with a native tour guide who speaks English and will guide you every step of the way as you discover the city. The tour guide accepts tips as remuneration for their time, so use your discretion when handing out gratuities. You can choose from the Montmartre tour, the Notre Dame and heart of Paris tour, the Left Bank tour and the Landmark tour.
You can also opt to go on the Trendy Marais tour. These tours run every single day of the year except December 24th and 25th, no matter the weather conditions. Public holidays are no exception, so no matter when you schedule your Paris vacation, you can always find a tour that’s right for you. Each of the tours mentioned above begin at a set time, so visit the Discover Paris website to plan your day accordingly, and be sure to book in advance.
The Original Paris Walks are a collection of tours that expose participants to experiences that are one of a kind and very worthwhile during a vacation to Paris. The Chocolate walking tour is one of the unique tours ideal for food lovers offered by this company. You will be guided through Paris by an experienced English speaking guide who will introduce you to the confections of a number of notable Parisian chocolatiers. The Chocolate Walk is offered a few times a month at a cost of around 32 euros, and includes delightful lectures on Paris’ history and reputation as the home of some of the world’s best dark chocolate. If you’re interested in a private Chocolate Walk tour, you can book for no more than 20 persons a group, although this incurs additional fees for the actual chocolate tasting.
The Taste of Paris tour incorporates the Chocolate Walk tour with other traditional French delicacies, as you are guided through the old Les Halles market district, which features a number of specialty stores and Paris’ oldest patisserie, Stohrer. You’ll be treated to sweet and savory seasonal foods such as cheese, fruit and pastries, not to mention chocolate. The tour is run once a month and for small groups costs 190 euros, with around 15 euros per person extra for the food tastings.
Many tourists wouldn’t dream of visiting Paris without including famous Impressionist art as a must see on their list of things to do. The Montmartre, Orsay and the Impressionists walking tour, costing approximately 40 euros or $50 per person, offers two amazing experiences for the price of one. You’ll start the tour at the historic Montmartre district, where your tour guide will walk you through the birthplace of the Impressionist style. You’ll learn all about Monet, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec Picasso as you stroll to the top of the Montmartre hill, where you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the entire city.
The second part of this tour is actually not guided, and can be scheduled at any convenient time during your vacation. Your tour guide will supply you with your ticket to the D’Orsay museum that allows you to enter through a special door, saving valuable time that would otherwise be spent in the very long lines of people waiting to be admitted to this famous museum. There you can continue your exploration of Impressionist art and enjoy works by the noted artists mentioned above, as well as Renoir, Degas, Whistler and Mary Cassatt. The architecture of the D’Orsay museum is also worth seeing, for its history as a train station. From the museum you can enjoy views of the Seine and Paris’ right bank at your leisure.
Aside from its architectural gems, Paris is also famously known as the capital of haute couture, home to big names such as Dior, Yves St. Laurent and Chanel to name a few. If shopping is your passion, or you’re traveling as a group of fashion design students, this small and intimate tour is a must. You’ll be guided through Paris’ fashion district by an American fashion and design graduate who has called the city home for a number of years. There are two different private tours that are both offered once a month, one to the Palais Royal neighborhood, and the other featuring Chanel and the Rue St. Honore.
The cost of each tour is 20 euros per person, unless you’re booking a private group, which will cost 180 euros for 2 hours or 230 euros for three hours. On the longer tour, you are allowed time to go into the various boutiques to shop and browse, but you can always return to any store that catches your eye at the end of the shorter tour. Your guide will regale you with plenty historical facts and humorous anecdotes as you explore some of the most fashionable areas of Paris. You’ll be taken to many of the famous designer shops along Rue St. Honore, and among the beautiful secluded gardens and covered arcades of the area you’ll experience creations by modern designers in the Palais Royal neighborhood such as Louboutin and Stella McCartney.
Photo by Dennis Jarvis