The 12 Best Recommended Tours in Paris

Experience Paris from the Seine on one of the city’s boat tours
Experience Paris from the Seine on one of the city’s boat tours | © Horizon Images/Motion / Alamy Stock Photo
In a city as romanticised as Paris, there’s so much to see and so much history to explore, making it difficult to know where to begin. Discover the City of Light with the help of a knowledgeable local guide on one of these informative and inspiring tours.

Retrace the footsteps of literary and artistic masters

Historical Landmark
Shakespeare and Co, Paris. Image shot 2015. Exact date unknown.
Shakespeare and Co in Paris was a popular hangout for the literary elite | ©Stephen Burrows / Alamy
Les années folles (crazy years) was the name given to the 1920s in France to reflect a period of great change and excitement. The ’20s in Paris is much romanticised as an era of hedonism and creative expression, and many wish to journey back to party with Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso and Coco Chanel. Woody Allen’s film Midnight in Paris captures the spirit of these literary and artistic masters, but for a real flavour of the capital, this Parisian walking tour is a sure winner. Meander through cobbled streets, re-visit the places where your heroes hung out, and listen to your hand-picked host tell tales of the city.
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Michelin-Star Food Tour

Restaurant, French
BENOIT_23-03-18©pmonetta-2004
Benoit is a Michelin-star restaurant with classic French food at its heart | Courtesy of Benoit / ©P Monett

For any avid foodie, Paris is considered a playground. Not only is it jam-packed with romantic cafés and exquisite wine bars, but it’s also home to its fair share of Michelin-star restaurants. This tour, led by knowledgable locals, takes you to three of the best Michelin-star restaurants in Paris, where you’ll be able to sample some of the best food and wine in the city and get an insider guide to the Parisian culinary scene.

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Uncover the secrets of the Palace of Versailles and its gardens

Historical Landmark, Building, Museum, Park
The Palace of Versailles, France.
Take a tour of the Palace of Versailles for a lesson in French history | © Petr Kovalenkov / Alamy

France today can only really be understood through the lens of the French Revolution, the seeds of which were planted in the Palace of Versailles, an easy journey away from central Paris. Begin your tour at the palace entrance, where you’ll learn about the history of the grounds, as well as its most famous occupants: the ‘Sun King’ Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette, the last Queen of France. This tour will take you through the palace and its grounds: see the King’s and Queen’s chambers, the dazzling Hall of Mirrors and the private estate of Marie Antoinette, and stroll through the famous gardens.

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Parisian Food Tour in 10 Tastings

Market
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Get a flavour for French cuisine on a Parisian food tour | ©John Puah

There’s no doubt that Paris is a food-lovers dream: freshly baked baguettes, buttery croissants, freshly shucked oysters, the sweetest macaroons and some of the best cheese on the planet. But with so much to choose from, the real challenge is knowing where to pick up the best snacks. This food tour, led by enthusiastic locals, takes you to the hidden hotspots so that you can sample award-winning dishes, sip on the highest-quality French wines and soak up the Parisian way of life.

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Eat your way through Montmartre with this food tour

Market
Restaurants and cafés in Montmartre, Paris.
A food tour of Montmartre is the perfect way to get to know the area | © Isabelle DUPONT / Alamy

Montmartre feels like a little village within Paris, and it has been a creative hub in the city for hundreds of years. The narrow cobblestone lanes are home to craft emporiums, small galleries and a whole host of local artisans serving up some of the city’s best food. Get to know the district with the help of a passionate foodie and local who’ll take you on a tasting tour to sample pastries, cheeses, charcuterie, wine and handmade chocolates. The starting point for this tour is outside Metro Blanche, between the pharmacy and the Starbucks.

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Learn the secrets of the Latin Quarter and the Marais by bike

Architectural Landmark
Café in Saint-Germain des Prés, Paris.
Cycle through Saint-Germain-des-Prés on an informative bike tour | © Petr Kovalenkov / Alamy

Immerse yourself in everyday Paris away from the tourist spots, and experience the city like a native. This half-day bike tour starts in front of the Saint-Michel Fountain and takes you through the Latin Quarter, the Marais, the famous Rue Mouffetard, and trendy Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Explore charming streets, hidden courtyards and even an ancient Roman arena, then stop at a café for a coffee and a crêpe.

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Appreciate Parisian style? Follow in the footsteps of the French fashion elite

Shopping Mall, Architectural Landmark
detail of Palais Royal metro entrance at Place Colette Paris France
Palais Royal metro entrance at the Place Colette | ©Eddie linssen / Alamy

Immerse yourself in the world of French fashion with this unique walking tour. Beginning at Place Colette, in front of the Kiosque des Noctambules, the tour will guide you around the luxurious boutiques on Rue Saint-Honoré. Your host and local expert will explain the art of French craftsmanship and map the ways it’s changed over time. Learn about the effects avant-garde and haute couture practices have had on everyday clothing, and purchase a piece or two along the way. End with a coffee at a traditional Parisian café and hear stories of notable French designers including Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Christian Dior.

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Discover Picasso’s Paris with an art history tour of Boho Montmartre

Architectural Landmark
Sacré-Cœur Basilica early in the morning at first sunlight.
The Sacré-Cœur is a pretty Parisian landmark worth visiting | © Timo Christ / Alamy

Immerse yourself in bohemian Montmartre, which was once home to some of the most creative minds of the 19th and 20th centuries: Picasso, Renoir and Van Gogh were just some of the most well-known inhabitants of this intriguing enclave of Paris. This private tour will take you through this bustling neighbourhood via infamous spots such as the Moulin Rouge and architectural landmarks such as the Sacré-Cœur Basilica overlooking the city. And to make things even easier, your guide will even pick you up from your hotel.

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Take a drawing class at the Louvre Museum

Museum, Building
Inside the Louvre Museum, Paris.
Create your own works of art during a drawing class at the Louvre | © Oliver Förstner / Alamy

Wandering around the Louvre Museum, it’s not uncommon to see visitors sketching away as inspiration strikes. Join the throngs with this creative tour, led by an artist who will school you on famous works from around the world, with a focus on masters of the Italian Renaissance, Greek and Roman antiquities and the Mannerism movement. The tour includes a private drawing class within the museum, where you’ll learn the basics of drawing. It’s an ideal activity for beginners, and is also suitable for children.

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Follow a local foodie through the backstreets of Paris

Market
Finish your tour at the Canal Saint-Martin, a popular hipster hang-out
Finish your tour at the Canal Saint-Martin, a popular hipster hang-out | © Susan Montgomery / Alamy

Stroll the backstreets of the 10th arrondissement on the tail of a local food lover, who’ll meet you at Saint-Quentin market and lead you through to Canal Saint-Martin via tastings at some quintessentially Gallic spots along the way. This tour showcases some of Paris’ best dishes and drinks. You’ll enjoy a glass of wine and explore a 17th-century cellar, where you’ll learn about the cheese-making traditions of local artisans. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet culinary entrepreneurs in the neighbourhood, before ending in the hip Saint-Martin area, a gastronomic destination in itself.

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Cruise the Seine after dark

Natural Feature
Pont des Arts, Pont Neuf, Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral towers and Seine River at night.
Cruise beneath Pont des Arts, Pont Neuf and through to Notre-Dame Cathedral by night | © Francois Roux / Alamy

Paris is prettiest once the sun goes down. Twinkling lights illuminate cobbled squares and reflections off the Seine create other-wordly scenes. Take to the water to make the most of the evening on one of the Bateaux Parisiens – Parisian pleasure boats. This evening boat tour complete with three-course à la carte dinner will take you past some of Paris’ most striking monuments under the cover of night, with live music and commentary. Meet at the Port de la Bourdonnais at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.

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Journey through time with this historical walking tour

Historical Landmark
The Arènes de Lutèce in the Latin Quarter are among the remains from the Gallo-Roman era in Paris.
The Arènes de Lutèce in the Latin Quarter are among the remains from the Gallo-Roman era in Paris | © Samantha Ohlsen / Alamy

Paris, like many European cities, has had its fair share of drama. From Roman conquests to revolution, wars, Nazi occupation and liberation, the city has seen it all. Delve into the fascinating history of Paris with this tour, which will bring the history of the capital to life, with the help of a local expert. It begins at the fountain at Place Saint-Michel, touring the Louvre, the Palais de Justice, the Musée d’Orsay, the Latin Quarter and more.

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These recommendations were updated on December 17, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.