I first visited Paris 20 years ago when my brother and I were taking full advantage of our summer break from college to backpack around Europe for 2 months. This was our first independent trip together overseas and my first trip to Europe; Paris was our first stop. I remember being in awe of the giant monuments, the city’s history and falling in love with all the museums and the city’s rich history.
I’ve been wanting to return to Paris for years – and will finally have the opportunity to do so next month as part of a wine trip in which I will also be visiting Champagne (only about a 90 minute drive from Paris). I plan to spend a few days in Paris revisiting some of the highlights (The Eiffel Tower, Arc du Triomphe, Church) but this time also taking advantage of several of the city’s more unique offerings.
While browsing for Private Tours in Paris I made a list of what look to be the most intriguing tours of the city:
Catacombs Tour Paris – one of the highlights of my original visit to Paris was touring the Catacombs. I had never seen anything quite like this in my life – with thousands of bones from monks (including skulls) preserved and stacked in tunnels below the streets of Paris. This is one attraction I would revisit; this tour visits a number of areas that are off limits to the general public. While this tour is with a group, it can also be arranged so that it is a private experience.
Scandalous Paris – who doesn’t love an inside look at some of society’s more seedy offerings! And Paris certainly has some sordid history relating to a part of town that has instant name recognition – Moulin Rouge. This walking tour provides an in depth look into some of Paris’s most well-known brothels dating from the Belle Époque and early 20th Century. And as you are walking some of the off the beaten path streets the guide entertains the group with several risque stories.
Sweets Tour Paris – The outdoor cafe scene made an impression on me during my trip to Paris. I want to return for a 3 hour lunch and good conversation – to see and be seen with a glass of wine in hand! But culinary Paris offers more then the outdoor cafes. Foodies take note of this tour – focusing on delicious desserts in the Saint-Germain-des-Pres part of the city – this walking tour focuses on pastry & chocolate delicacies.
Street Art Tours Paris – I love exploring street art in cities – from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires. I love this quote by street artist, Valdi Valdi “Artists are aiming to impress people when we should aim to inspire them”. It is always a joy to find a city that embraces their street artists such as Paris. This tour is focused on the city’s street art epicenter – the 13th arrondissement. When it come to street art, it is always valuable to have an insiders point of view into this world.
Flea Market/Vintage Tour Paris – this is a fun tour for shoppers. Bet you did not know that Paris is credited with inventing the concept of a flea market?! This tour will introduce you to some of the city’s best and most intriguing street vendors. With plenty of items to choose from including vintage clothing, art, books, furniture and lots more even the most discerning shoppers will probably find something of interest.
So, that is quite an eclectic lineup of unique and customized tours – it is these type of experiences that I seek out when traveling – and really helps one get a feel for a city even if one is limited on time.