With walking tours, we do not enter any museum or monument – unless I specify “we visit” in the description of the excursion. We see them from the outside, sometimes from a distance. We do have time for breaks, on a bench or for coffee or for lunch, and for shopping. I adapt to your pace and energy level. I show you how to use public transport, if you wish to, so you can learn how to move around like a real Parisian. These walking tours run, rain or shine. Do wear sensible shoes. These walking tours do not overlap, so you can do them all without seeing the same thing twice (apart from the two Food Tours).
HIGHLIGHT of the RIGHT BANK
An excellent introduction to Paris if you are coming for the first time and you don’t really know where to start or how to get around. In the center of Paris, I wish to make you discover some of the most famous sights on the right bank. Walking between Concorde square and Notre-Dame cathedral, you can marvel at: the Arch of Triumph, the Champs Elysees avenue, the Concorde square, the Madeleine church, the Tuilleries garden, the Louvre museum, the Garnier Opera House, the Cité Island, Notre-Dame cathedral … and some hidden gems.
We can have a break for lunch near Notre Dame and then, continue with the Highlights of the Left Bank. These two walking tours can be done together as a full day or separately as two half days. Depending on what you plan to do after, we can also do it the other way around, starting at Notre Dame and finishing at Concorde.
HIGHLIGHT of the LEFT BANK
In the center of Paris, I wish to make you discover some of the most famous sights on the left bank, walking through parts of the Latin quarter and Saint Germain. Between Notre Dame cathedral and Saint Germain, you can marvel at: the Cité Island, Notre Dame cathedral, Shakespeare & Company legendary bookstore, the Sorbonne, my favorite university; the Pantheon, where our great men and women are buried; the Luxembourg gardens, where students revise their exams in the spring; Saint Sulpice church, mentioned in the Da Vinci Code; cafés synonymous with literary and artistic life, frequented by Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Ernest Hemingway, Juliette Gréco … and many others.
Depending on what you plan to do after, we can also do it the other way around, starting at Saint Germain and finishing at Notre Dame.
FOOD TOUR in the MARAIS or in ST GERMAIN
Food is such an essential part of our culture, “the French gastronomic meal” now appears on UNESCO’s list. I was very lucky to have a Father who was a “grand gastronome” and a great chef. Thanks to him, I was immersed in our culinary traditions from a very early age. Since then, I have developed a passion for “things that make the tastebuds happy”, a passion I am delighted to share with you.
We visit some of the finest gourmet addresses in Paris, to taste French specialties from different regions, to make you experience some of the fantastic diversity France has to offer. I tell you plenty of facts and fun anecdotes as we go, not only about the French and their food, but also about the various monuments of historical interest we pass.
The food tours can be done in two different districts of Paris: either the Marais (right bank; around Hotel de Ville and St Paul) or St Germain (left bank; around Odeon and St Germain). Les activity on Mondays.
The Marais is a district of Paris, located between Bastille and Hotel de Ville (the city hall), on the right bank.
We explore lovely narrow streets – as this part of town was not “modernized” at the time of Haussmann in the 19th century – full of elegant shops and art galleries. It is a district full of contrasts. We have the pleasure to discover the Bastille square, several “hôtels particuliers” (mansion houses / magnificent residences) such as Hôtel de Sens, Hôtel de Sully or Hôtel Carnavalet, from different periods, hidden courtyards, remains of the wall that used to surround the city of Paris in the 1200’s, half-timbered houses from the 1400’s, the Royal Square – Place des Vosges – where our great writer Victor Hugo wrote “Les Miserables”, striking churches such as St Paul, an Art Nouveau synagogue (as we walk through part of the Jewish district, if the time of day is right, you might wish to indulge in a tasty falafel).
Montmartre & the Sacré Coeur Basilica
Depending on your interest and energy level, we can either walk, or take the funicular, or take the Little Train to the top of the hill (same to come down). There, we visit the Sacré Coeur basilica (ground level) and enjoy the sweeping panoramic views. Then, we discover the little winding streets of Montmartre, its vineyards, windmills, village atmosphere. It is one of the most picturesque parts in town. Away from the beaten path, we walk in the footsteps of Saint Denis, the Republicans of the Commune and the many artists who lived a bohemian life at the turn of the 20th century. The artistic tradition is very much alive: you can even have your portrait made!
Palais Royal & Galleries, Covered Passages
Located in the very heart of the city, the “Royal Palace” remains a hidden gem, the most beautiful Neoclassical ensemble we have in Paris. A high place of French history in the 1600’s and 1700’s, it was the place of all scandals around the time of the Revolution. “Paris is the capital of the world and the Palais Royal is the capital of Paris“, wrote Sebastien Mercier. One could find restaurants, cafés, shops, theatres … and more. Then, we move on in history to discover a number of galleries and passages, built in the 19th century in order to shelter a wealthy Parisian clientele from the uncertain weather. They were so strikingly modern at the time that they inspired others as far as Milan! Avoid Sundays.
Flea Market of Saint-Ouen Clignancourt
Over 100 years ago, it started as a place where rag-and-bone men were selling their merchandise on the ground. Nowadays it has 7 hectares (17 acres), 14 markets, 1700 stall holders. I love to wander through the alleyways to show you antiques but also books, designer shops, kitchen utensils, clothes, bistros … and so much more! There is absolutely everything, from junk to high quality antiques. It is an incredible change of scene. It really has become a must see. Only open on Saturdays and Sundays.
Why a guide?
I will show you the highlights
I bring the sites to life, often telling the stories that are not in the guide books or audio tours. With your own knowledgeable and entertaining guide, you can ask questions and find out more about what interests you.
To save your precious time, I have preferential access to most sites.