Maybe you’ve already been to Paris and seen all the bis Paris attractions and want to see something a little more under the radar, or perhaps you are a first-time visitor hoping to see the underbelly of the City of Lights. If you are wondering “how can I discover more about Paris, find the hidden corners and know exactly what you are seeing without paying for an expensive tour guide?” then you probably want to check out a new series of free-to-download themed walking tours. We asked Adam Roberts, creator of these tours, to tell us a little more about his free walking tours, who they are aimed at and what they cover:
Why did you create these free walking tours?
The tours stem from posts on my Invisible Paris blog (http://www.invisibleparis.net/). Blogs are hungry creatures and need regular feeding, but this accumulation of information means that posts are quickly relegated to the hard-to-find archives. I wanted to liberate this information from the blog format and a good solution seemed to be to group the posts together as walking tours. This was the theory anyway, but in reality it has taken me a lot longer than I thought it would to organize! It was quite easy to find a cluster of posts that were linked by theme and geographical location, but a walk also involves directions, maps and supplementary information between the principal spots, and this is the time-consuming part!
Who are they aimed at specifically?
I felt that readers of my blog may also want another resource, especially if they are planning a trip to Paris. I try to make these walk documents something that will be interesting to read and look at even if you never visit Paris, but the main goal is that they help show a slightly different side of the city to visitors and residents. If you just want to see the main tourist hotspots I suggest you look elsewhere, such as the Sandeman tours .
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Tell us a little about the themes
The first one I did was based around women. I had the start point, the St Rita chapel in Pigalle which is frequented by many of the ‘professional’ women in that area, and the end point, the old Hopital St Lazare which had once been a women’s prison, but other stories about women kept springing up as I planned the route. Since then I have also created a walk based around contemporary architecture and one on the theme of street art.
What is planned for the future?
Well, I’m a little obsessed with hospitals and Paris has some fantastic historical structures, so these will feature in one walk. I am also trying to accumulate enough stories to be able to plot a haunted Paris walk in time for Halloween! This is not easy because Paris is very short on ghosts!
Do you also give guided tours?
No, I don’t have time unfortunately! I admire the ‘greeters’ at Parisien d’un Jour who are willing to give up their time and show visitors around their favorite parts of the city, but I also believe that most tourists prefer to visit things by themselves at their own pace and when it is convenient for them. It is easier to do this with a paper document than with a personal guide.
About the Adam Roberts:
Adam Roberts left England 15 years ago to go Hungary, but it was always his dream to live in France, and a year later he arrived in Paris where he has been ever since. Variously a teacher, an internet Project Manager and an Editor, he has always spent his spare time exploring this fascinating city. A year ago he started the Invisible Paris blog which highlights a hidden side of the city and focuses on the places that people overlook. More recently, he has started compiling these items into free downloadable walking tours.