Paris is a big city, and can feel overwhelming to a visitor on his or her first visit. Luckily, the city can also be broken up into easily-digestible neighborhoods which you can explore one by one. And perhaps the best way to do this is with one of the many Paris walking tours offered by several different companies throughout the city.
Simply doing an online search for the words “Paris walking tours” will bring you so many results that even choosing your tour company may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Most walking tour companies will offer the basics, so you’ll probably see many of the same kinds of itineraries listed on many different company websites. What will set one tour company apart from the rest, then, is the special walking tours they run.
Because really, anyone who knows Paris can take you on a decent enough walking tour to point out things like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Tuileries Gardens. And these tours are perfectly fine – many are excellent, in fact, and indispensible for first-time visitors. But the ones that will be truly memorable, that you’ll be talking about long after you’ve left the City of Light, are the ones that bring Paris to life for you in a way that the basic tours can’t.
For instance, some Paris walking tour companies now run special “chocolate tours” which highlight some of the best chocolate treats the city has to offer. There are some tours which only point out the finest gardens in Paris. Some show you the Paris of Hemingway, or of the French Revolution. Others bring you to the best markets in the city. And of course several offer “Da Vinci Code” tours these days as well.
The bottom line is that while Paris is a city that is easily explored on foot, and you should definitely make a point of doing your own aimless wandering, having a guide tell you a few things about the city – whether it’s just the basics or something a little more targeted – is a great way to get to know the city.
>> Be sure to check out our review of a Paris Walks tour of Montparnasse, a note about the Paris Walks tour company, and this article about Paris Greeters, locals who give mini-tours for free just because they love the city.
>> Also check out a few of the downloadable walking tours of Paris listed in this Frommer’s article – a few are available for free, and all of them are totally DIY so you can stop & start as you please.
>> Finally, here’s a walking tour in Paris that covers many of the city’s lovely bridges.
photo at top by Hunolina