THE BEST WALKING TOURS IN PARIS – FRANCE
I love visiting Paris. I have been going there for over nine years and I still have to get tired of the story, the charm, or the food (and wine!).
Over the years, I’ve taken a million different tours in this incredible city to learn more about what makes it interesting. For four months at the beginning of this year, I lived in Paris and had the opportunity to check out even more walking tours.
And there were many aspects to check
There are dozens of companies covering all aspects of life in Paris, and it can be difficult to make sense of all those endless listings on Viator and Tripadvisor. It is obscene how many tourist companies there are. (I mean, I’ve tried so many tour companies and STILL I have more on my list to try (and some to try again)).
But, I still feel like I’ve done enough to deserve a place in some of the best walking tour companies in Paris, so today I want to share my best favorites with you:
1. New Europe Tours
New Europe is one of the most popular free walking tour companies in Europe. Their free main tour takes you around the center of Paris and gives you a historical overview of the city. They also run a good (but paid) tour to Montmartre, and even have a fun pub crawl if you’re trying to hit bars with other travelers.
The basic tour will last about three hours and is free, even if you want to tip your guides. Some tours cost 15-35 euros per person.
2. Free city tour
This free tour company, like New Europe, offers a couple of great general tours to help you become familiar with the City of Light, led by a local expert who can answer your questions. They also offer some specialized tours so you can really focus on different neighborhoods. For example, the Montmartre tour is a great job to show you what life is like in this famous bohemian neighborhood, while the tour of the Latin Quarter highlights some of the city’s most famous monuments.
Tours are free and last about three hours. Just be sure to tip! Private tours are available on request at an additional cost.
3. Discover the walks
Discover Walks offers free walking tours and paid options if you are looking for something more focused and in-depth. With almost 30 tours on offer in Paris, it’s likely you’ll find something to stimulate your interest. They have a fantastic free tour of the Latin Quarter, and there’s even a vegetarian and gluten-free food tour! For something more unique, try the photo tour.
The free visits last around 90 minutes. A suggested recommendation of EUR 13 is recommended. For paid tour options, prices start at EUR 25 per person.
ocalers are a great choice if you are looking for a unique tour option and want something more nuanced than a simple free walking tour. They tend to specialize in more niche tours such as literary, artistic or historical tours. I really enjoyed their tours. I had never heard of it before I moved here and was disappointed with their tours for so long.
The World War II tour is particularly interesting and does a great job to illuminate the real cost of the war for Paris. I also loved the Scandalous Paris tour, which highlights the brothels of Paris and the most colorful past. There is also an interesting literary tour that takes you through the literary history of the left bank of the city. This is a solid mid-level travel company for travelers looking for value.
Tours last 2-5 hours. Tickets start at EUR 58 per person.
5. Travel in context
Context Travel hires experts in their fields so that each tour is an incredible educational experience and you will go much deeper than any free walking tour. I’m always shocked at how much I learn! I particularly love the Paris Market Tour and the Versailles Tour (which lasts four hours, but you learn a lot). The context is not cheap, and the visits are usually long – but they are worth every penny if you are serious about learning a lot.
Tours start at EUR 100 per person. They include a maximum of six people at a time.
What makes Walks surprising is that they get better access than most tour companies and hire specialized guides. You can skip the line, go before or after other tours in order to have space for yourself and get fun guides who are well informed in their field. They also have a nine-hour full-day tour for anyone who really wants to explore (it’s a great option if you’re short on time but still want to see everything).
Their tours are reasonably priced and their guides always know their stuff. I participated in three of their tours and loved them all.
Most tours last 2-3 hours, although some take the whole day. Tickets start at EUR 55 per person.
7. Tour of greasy tires
Offering bike tours in Paris, Fat Tire Tours is probably the best bike tour in the city. I don’t think I’d go with anyone else. Their bike tours are the best. Take their Versailles tour and try to do it Sunday or Tuesday when they stop at the market that is open then) and, if you can, take a look at their Monet’s Garden tour where you can explore the gardens of the famous impressionist as you explore the charming village of Giverny.
Most tours last 2-3 hours, although different options are available for the whole day. Tickets start at EUR 34 per person.
8. Paris by Mouth
The Paris by Mouth company offers a handful of neighborhood tours that highlight the best food in Paris. The groups are small (no more than eight people) and are really focused on providing a lot of information on food, history and culture. It’s more like a mini-class than a chance to eat only food (even if you do too).
The tours are not super cheap, but if you are looking for a really detailed gastronomic tour, this company would do it. And if you’re a diehard fan of French cheese like me, they also have a whole cheese-only workshop. Is fantastic.
Tours usually last about three hours. Tickets start at EUR 110 per person
9. Secret gastronomic tours
Although not the cheapest, Secret Food Tours offers neighborhood-specific gastronomic tours. They also have a delicious pastry and chocolate tour that will take you through a dozen bakeries and shops to give you a first-hand experience of the love of Paris for decadent desserts. During the tour you will get a LOT of food, so get hungry. Make sure you avoid Monday tours, when most markets are closed and you end up eating in one location instead of going from one store to another.
The tours last 2-3 hours. Tickets start at 89 euros per person. They can sell weeks in advance, so make sure you book in advance!
10. Eat Europe
Eating the European gastronomic tour of Paris, Hip Eats and Backstreets, is one of the most sought after gastronomic tours of the city. You will have the opportunity to try some of the best foods in Paris and chat with the chefs and entrepreneurs who gave life to the dishes. It’s not just a tour where you eat incredible food, but an experience that will allow you to learn about the traditions and culinary innovations directly from local artisans. It’s the perfect tour for any tough gourmet.
The tours last four hours and depart at 12:30 pm from Tuesday to Saturday. Tickets cost 95 euros per person.
11. Street Art Tour Paris
For a niche tour of the Parisian art scene, visit the Paris Street Art Tour. Their guides are all artists and will take you to various neighborhoods to show you the best and most interesting works of street art (and murals) that Paris has to offer. They also have a tour that focuses exclusively on female artists.
Tours operate 2-3 times a week based on interest (usually on weekends) and last about 2.5 hours. Tickets start at EUR 20 per person.
12. Paris Crawl
If you’re looking for a more turbulent way to spend an evening, go for a pub crawl. The Bar Crawl in Paris is one of the most popular (tends to be only for tourists and visiting students). You will meet a lot of new people while you see what is the nightlife in Paris. The tour visits three bars and a club.
Tours start at 8.30pm from Thursday to Saturday and last until you decide to go home! Tickets cost 15 euros per person and include three hits and entry to a club.
Hiking is a great way to get under the surface of Paris. Every time I visit, I always try to try a new one. Having an expert guide to answer your questions by providing in-depth and local knowledge is the best way to deepen your experience as a traveler.