Whether it’s art, architecture, history or food, Paris truly is one of the cultural capitals of the world. This mesmerizing city is home to a range of enlightening tours that offer visitors insight to its rich history and contemporary identity. Ranging from photography to food, literature to art, The Culture Trip reveals the best cultural tours to be found in France’s capital.
Founded in 2008, Tours by Locals was set up to connect international travelers with passionate local guides, allowing for the city’s true story to be told. Today the company operates in 153 countries and 1100 cities around the world and works with hundreds of independent contractors eager to share their knowledge. Offering a number of exciting tours in the City of Lights, their This Is Paris Tour is recommended as a great experience for both Paris newcomers and returnees. The tour lasts around three hours and promises to immerse visitors in the captivating history of the French capital.
A French company that promotes their tours as ‘100% homemade by locals’, Localers is proud to present Paris from unique perspectives. Their website is a great resource for travelers, offering insightful information on which seasons to travel in, which landmarks to see, where the best markets are and more. While their tour list includes a number of fantastic experiences, their Paris Literature Tour is worth pointing out. Led by passionate literary experts, the tour allows guests to ‘walk in the footsteps of Baudelaire, Stein, Hemingway, Joyce, Kerouac, and Co.’ revealing the city that inspired countless pages of iconic literature.
One of the world’s most famous museum is the Louvre and is a must visit destination for all Paris travelers. Enthusiastic about helping guests make the most of a visit, Paris Muse is an organization of art historians who specialize in private museum tours. The organization has designed a number of tour themes to match the interests of their customers, including ‘Introduction to the Treasures of the Louvre’, ‘French Masters at the Louvre’ and ‘Fortress, Palace, Museum: The Architecture of the Louvre’. Paris Muse also offers tours of many of the other renowned museums in Paris.
Jane del Monte describes the tour organization Arts in Paris as a synthesis of her passions: ‘a lifelong interest and involvement in the arts and an appreciation of all things French’. The company offers an A la Carte menu of tours that reveal Paris through the artistic history that made the city was it is today. From fine art to food to fashion, Arts in Paris has a tour for all interests, and their Performing Arts tour provides a fascinating prism through which to view the City of Lights. The tour can take guests to see the Palais Garnier, the marionettes in the Jardin du Luxembourg, the Château de Versailles, the Cité de la Musique and much more. An illuminating look into Paris’ history of entertainment, this tour also includes attending a performance or participating in dance lessons.
Secrets of Paris is run by Paris-based travel writer and award-winning author Heather Stimmler-Hall. Stimmer-Hall has continued to write about Paris since 1999 and her reputation has grown throughout the years, allowing the ‘Secrets of Paris universe’ to build into a visitor resource guide, calendar and custom private tours. Her tours stand out for their complete flexibility and expertise; booking the tour starts with an email dialogue where the visitor introduces themselves and their interests. A tour is then designed from scratch that ensures guests experience exactly what they want. At the end of the tour guests will be given a map that details everything they have seen and they will also be given recommendations of things to see and do for the rest of their trip.
A tour organization that is proud to offer expert knowledge in the areas of archaeology, art history, cuisine, urban planning, history, environmental science and classics, Context hires scholars and professional specialists to lead captivating tours and in-depth walking seminars. The company has designed a range of walking tours that investigate Paris’ fascinating and dynamic architecture. The tours include themes such as ‘City Invented, Haussmann And The Making Of Modern Paris’, ‘Modernist Architecture’, ‘Medieval Churches Of Paris’ and many more. Passionate about both architecture and the city, Context’s tours are described as ‘didactic walking seminars designed to help the erudite traveler appreciate and defend the city without overrunning it.’
French cuisine is international renowned for its sensational flavours, artistic presentation and creative gastronomy, and these attractive dishes act as major drawing cards for many tourists. Proud of the city’s culinary landscape and heritage, La Cuisine Paris is a cooking school set in the heart of Paris that runs courses on a range of cooking styles. The school also has created culinary tours that offer a cultural and delectable experience through Paris’ historic Les Halles. The tour visits some of Europe’s oldest markets as well as a variety of iconic stores, allowing visitors to sample an array of dishes including fromage, fois gras, pâtisserie and more.
Street art tours have become a popular way for travellers to learn about the urban and contemporary culture of a city, while discovering both stunning art and architecture. Paris’ street art is internationally loved for its diversity and scale, and Underground Paris have designed tours that not only show visitors the best works but also offer eye-opening information on the street art movement and the reasons behind graffiti tagging. The guides have been recommended for both their academic and street culture knowledge, allowing street art to be appreciated on multiple levels. The tours last around three houses and include a visit to a street artist run gallery.
Paris’ intoxicating beauty seems to have been designed with the camera in mind. Photo Tours of Paris is a recommended organisation that provides day and night photography tours that help visitors capture the grandeur of the city, as well as bolstering their knowledge of the art of photography. The tours are intimate with a maximum of six participants, ensuring that everyone is given plenty of time to learn from the skilled guides. Guests can select from the pre-designed tour routes or they can customise their own private itineraries, allowing the setting and timing to be discussed with the organisers. The company has been widely commended by travellers, and now also offers photo tours in New York, Amsterdam, San Francisco and Martinique.
A pivotal invention that changed the course of human history, the hot air balloon first took flight on 21 November 1783 in Paris. Proud of this heritage and eager to show tourists a unique perspective of the city, Ballon Generali follows in Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d’Arlandes’ footsteps, offering guests an unforgettable experience 150 metres up in the air. Ballon Generali has become an icon of the city, and with the aid of modern technology the Paris ball now changes colour depending on the quality of ambient air in Paris. Truly an opening experience, Ballon de Paris is the perfect way to see the city from a new perspective.
Ballon Generali, 01 44 26 20 00