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Paris Tours

Paris is culture, art, architecture, beauty... but it is also very big. It's a great idea to take a tour of its main sights with a specialised guide.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

10 min read

Paris Tours

The city of Paris | ©Pedro Lastra

Paris is much more than the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Luxembourg Gardens. Paris is its neighbourhoods and so that you can discover them in an authentic way, I have made a selection of the best tours for you.

1. Paris Night Tours

Arc de Triomphe by night| ©Florian Wehde
Arc de Triomphe by night| ©Florian Wehde

If they call Paris the City of Light, it's because you have to see it at night. Its illumination is a spectacle and the night tour of Paris is specially designed to discover it. During the tour you'll visit the Trocadero, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Grand Palais. Of course, stories of social scandals, great loves and revolutions are also included in this tour.

The duration of the night tour of Paris is also approximately two hours and children under the age of 13 can join for free. Another advantage of this tour option is that you get to visit Paris with far fewer people than during the day and, in addition to the lights, you also get to experience the city's nocturnal atmosphere.

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2. Seine River Boat Tours and Cruises

Enjoying the Parisian nightlife
Enjoying the Parisian nightlife

Paris can be explored in many ways, and one of the most popular is to cruise the Seine River and see sights such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral. The best thing about this night cruise on the Seine with tickets to the Eiffel Tower is that it not only includes the boat tour, but also a night tour of Paris aboard a vehicle with a view.

Among the alternatives to walking tours, this is one of the most comfortable and complete generic tours to get to know Paris. It allows you to see the city by day and by night, with explanations by a professional guide, without the need to walk and covering long distances.

This option includes pick-up and return to the hotel. It is the most recommended option for those who have little time and do not want to miss places such as the Paris Opera House, Notre Dame Cathedral, Place de la Concorde, the Louvre, the Hotel de Ville, the Grand Palais, the Champs Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, the Invalides or Pigalle. Almost nothing.

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3. Montmartre Tours

Moulin Rouge at dusk
Moulin Rouge at dusk

Each and every neighbourhood in Paris is worth a visit, but I'll start with the most legendary neighbourhood in the French capital, Montmartre, and the tour that will always be my favourite: the walking tour of the Montmartre neighbourhood.

Details of the area

Montmartre is located in the north of Paris and is known for being the birthplace of the bohemian painters and artists of the 19th century. It is difficult to compare this place to any other and even more difficult to describe the feeling you get when you are shown around on a guided tour and told all the stories of the characters who lived there.

By the time I took my first guided tour of Montmartre I had already visited the neighbourhood on more than one occasion and spent countless hours wandering its streets. None of this helped; it was as if I was seeing it for the first time.

About this tour

It is the most sought after because of the history and charm of this neighbourhood. To see Montmartre you have to set aside at least half a day, not because the neighbourhood is not accessible on foot, which it is, but because there are so many things to see and the best way not to miss any of them is to take a walking tour of the Montmartre neighbourhood.

What you will see

Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Monet and Picasso lived in this neighbourhood, so during this two-hour tour you'll soak up many of their anecdotes, the places they frequented and what attracted them so much to Montmartre.

As well as painters, the neighbourhood has also inspired filmmakers, so cafés like the one in the famous film Amélie are also a must-see on this tour. On the Montmartre tour you will also see such emblematic spots as:

The Moulin Rouge

The famous cabaret in which Tolouse-Lautrec's drawings were set and which appears in different films is located in the lower part of Montmartre. It is a must-see when it is illuminated. If you are considering attending a mythical show in the most famous cabaret in the world, I invite you to read this article I wrote about Moulin Rouge Tickets: how to buy and prices.

Sacré-Coeur Basilica

At the top of Montmartre hill sits this stunning, gleaming white basilica. In addition to admiring the beauty of its architecture, you can also admire the city of Paris from the top of the stairs that precede it.

Place des Painters

Located behind the Sacré-Coeur, it is actually called Place du Tertre, although everyone knows it as the Place des Painters. A series of restaurants with their chairs lined up in a row (that's how it's done in the French capital) surround the square where various artists paint and sell their paintings.

The red light district of Paris, Pigalle

Cabarets, nightclubs, erotic shops, neon lights... Paris's red light district is worth a visit and is also the subject of more than one anecdote.

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4. Latin Quarter Tours

Pantheon of Paris| ©Juanedc
Pantheon of Paris| ©Juanedc

Another neighbourhood worth visiting in Paris is the Latin Quarter, south of the Ile de la Cité. Although often overlooked by many tourists, the Latin Quarter has a special, welcoming charm. As well as iconic landmarks such as the Pantheon and the Sorbonne, this neighbourhood has some excellent sweet shops, and during this walking tour of Paris' Latin Quarter, which lasts about an hour, you'll visit one of them with an aperitif included.

What this tour consists of

The main advantage is that this is a private tour in which the guide will be exclusively at your disposal and that of your travel companions. In this way, you can customise the tour route, the explanations about the history of the neighbourhood and the city of Paris and the gastronomic recommendations of the area according to your preferences.

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5. Personalised Tours of Paris

Views of the Eiffel Tower
Views of the Eiffel Tower

Paris is so diverse that each traveller has a preference for a particular area. For this reason, there are private tours in which the traveller sets the itinerary. This tailor-made tour of Paris is the best way to explore the city in depth and with a local guide who is an expert in the city.

What this tour consists of

This private tour (you will only be with your travel companions) starts at the Louvre Museum and, from there, the itinerary is set by the traveller. This walking tour can last from two to six hours and you choose which sites to visit, whether you want to focus more on one aspect of the city or another, and whether you want to stop more or less time at one point or another.

The guide adapts completely to your preferences as he reveals practical details of the city and tells you the stories behind each of its corners.

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6. Gourmet Tours of Paris

Place Vendôme
Place Vendôme

If you like the experience of a tour of the streets of Paris and want to give it a little more originality, I recommend you try a gastronomic tour of Paris. The essence of this type of tour is also to learn more about the city, but they focus on gastronomy and also include tastings of the French capital's star products such as cheese, chocolate and wine.

If you want a specific recommendation, I recommend this tour of the market and cheese and wine tasting with chef Alex. In addition to the tastings and the guide's explanations, you will also enjoy the conversations with the vendors, which makes this tour a very authentic experience that is difficult to enjoy in any other way.

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7. Sightseeing Bus Tours

Louvre Museum| ©Robert Bye
Louvre Museum| ©Robert Bye

There is also an option to enjoy Paris in all its immensity without having to walk through each of its streets. The sightseeing bus, while it may seem like a touristy experience if you're looking for a more authentic trip, is a great way to still enjoy the incredible sights of the city while taking a break or moving from one area to another.

Especially in big cities like Paris, the bus is often a good way to get to the most interesting areas without having to squeeze into the metro through the crowds and above all, without missing a single detail of what's going on outside. Here's an article I wrote about Paris Hop on Hop off Bus Tours in case you want to know more.

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8. Opera Garnier Tours

Don't worry if you get caught up in the illumination of the Paris Opera House during the night tour; there are guided tours of the building where you can soak up its history. The aim of these tours is to give you a generic overview and to pique your curiosity as a traveller, it's up to you what to delve deeper into. I've written a guide to Paris Opera Garnier Tours that might interest you if you want to learn more about one of Paris' most iconic buildings.

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9. Louvre Tours

We all know that the Louvre is the most famous museum in Paris (and probably the whole world). And when it comes to visiting a museum of such magnitude, there's nothing better than taking a guided tour to get to know it well, understand what we're seeing and make our time inside the museum more efficient and get the most out of the visit.

There are different types of guided tours, from the more "express" ones, where the guide will make sure you don't miss the essentials, to more extensive tours, where an art expert will describe the main works in a more complete tour. Come and discover the culture that awaits you at the Louvre with an expert guide.

If you want to read more about the experience of visiting the Louvre, I have created a guide to the Louvre, guided tours and how to buy tickets- you won't be left in any doubt!

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10. Versailles Excursions

Leaving the city for a day to go to Versailles will complete your trip with a day in which, as well as travelling back in time, you can relax in the spectacular gardens of the Palace of Versailles. As it is such a popular visit, there are different types of excursions: from those that allow you to explore Versailles at your own pace to those that will give you a guided tour of the Palace and its gardens. A plus? Stay to see the spectacle of the Palace fountains: a marvellous sight!

If you want to do this tour, you can read more details in my guide on the best tours to Versailles from Paris. You can get there by train or bus, and in just one day you'll be able to make the most of a spectacular landscape that won't leave you indifferent.

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Organise your guided tour of Paris

Opera Garnier| ©Edgardo W. Olivera
Opera Garnier| ©Edgardo W. Olivera

How to book a tour

Most tours of Paris can be booked online. Once you've made your booking, you'll receive a voucher with instructions on how to meet your guide on the day and at the time you've chosen. If you prefer to improvise during your trip and leave room for the unexpected, make sure you choose a tour that has free cancellation so that you can reschedule for another day 24 hours in advance without losing your money.

Meeting point

The meeting point varies depending on the area of Paris where the tour takes place, but they are all accessible by public transport and well located. If you want to visit a nearby museum, choose a time and day that allows you to do so before or after the tour, but I recommend that you save your energy for walking if you choose the walking tour option.

Timetable

Paris walking tours run every day of the week and there are usually different times to choose from. Keep in mind that many of the city's museums are closed on Tuesdays, so it can be a good day to take a walking tour through the streets of Paris. If you want to avoid the crowds, opt for evening tours and avoid weekends in high season.

Duration

The average tour lasts about two hours, but tours can be longer. You can also find more comprehensive tours and shorter ones. Bear in mind that during the tour you will have plenty of time to take in the sights along the way; these are not tours that are meant to be rushed, as the idea is to relax and enjoy the city. Try not to slow the group down and remember that you can always revisit any of the points on the tour.

Price

The price of the tours may vary depending on the area and the tour, but I recommend that you don't miss the opportunity to take a guided tour of Paris for the money. There are different prices (for example, a private tour or a boat tour is more expensive) and some are very affordable; I promise you that, with everything you will learn, you will get your money's worth.

Recommendations

The guides on these tours know Paris inside out. Take advantage and ask them for recommendations on where to eat, what to visit according to your preferences, where to buy original souvenirs, where is the best area to go out and party... The day before, you can make a list of questions; they will be happy to answer them during the tour or at the end of it.

Languages

Paris attracts visitors from all over the world, so most tours are available in several languages. English, French and Spanish are almost guaranteed, but many tours also have the option of German, Italian, Portuguese and other languages.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the average walking distance?

    Most last around 2 hours. All tours are self-paced, but it's still a good idea to wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather for the perfect experience.

  • What is the best way to get around Paris?

    The best thing to do is to walk whenever you can: this way you'll discover charming little streets, artisan bakeries and other hidden gems that are part of what Paris is all about. The city centre is fairly compact and all areas of interest are relatively close to each other, so a combination of walking and taking the metro will get you where you want to go fairly easily.

  • What can I do around the Louvre?

    You can stroll along rue de Rivoli and enjoy a quiet moment in the Jardin des Tuileries. You can also visit the statue of Molière at rue Richelieu 40, pass by the Place de la Concorde and admire the Palais Royal from the front.