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Inside Paris – Ariel’s Favorite Paris Walks and Tours

Contemplating Van Gogh in Paris - Giovanni Giorgini

There are so many tours to choose from in Paris… Whether you want to be whisked off on your adventure by bike, boat, balloon, Segway or foot (I have yet to find a horseback tour, but I’m sure someone, somewhere is cooking one up), a tour exists to help make that dream come true.

Having that many options at your fingertips can be overwhelming. That’s why we make it our duty here at Haven in Paris to scour the city tirelessly for the very best tours to recommend to our clients. I’ve been lucky enough to meet more than my fair share and have compiled a list of four of my favorites, chosen because they are so original, in depth and because the people behind them are amazing characters themselves!

Musée D’Orsay (Manolo Blanco)

Time Travelers Tours

Sara Towle’s “Time Travelers Tour” StoryApp (downloadable to the iPhone) is one of the most original Paris tours I’ve experienced. This labor of love started out as a book geared towards children and has evolved into an fully interactive, fact-filled, historical adventure through Paris. The first tour in the series, “Beware of Madame la Guillotine”, reveals the stories behind the landmarks and personalities associated with the French Revolution. It’s perfect for adults and children alike (I had a great day out following the tour with my husband)!

You can download the Time Travelers Tour App for your iPhone here or here.

French perfume and a lovely hotel particulier - Bee.girl; Meredith Tucker

Chris Lomon – Secret Paris Shopping and Walking Tours

Chris specializes in bespoke walking and shopping tours of Paris. His love for the city and natural curiosity for everything it has to offer is evident. He’s practically an encyclopedia of addresses and historical facts and has a special knack for uncovering hidden gems and unlocking closed doors. During our tour, I mentioned my passion for architecture, and Chris promptly sweet-talked his way into a 17th century Hotel Particulier nearby, which now houses government offices so I could take a peek at the amazing courtyard and marvel at a special floating stone staircase (he also filled me in on the sordid history of the hotel’s original owner, most intriguing!)

Contact Chris directly here

Gwenael Piaser

Context Travel

The wonderful people at Context Travel are the experts when it comes to in-depth tours in almost any category. Their guides are often graduate students or experts in their field, and their tours are distillations that will inform and expand your knowledge of art, history, architecture, food and wine. An evening spent on their “Musee D’Orsay and Paris in the 19th Century” tour has forever changed the way I look at the art and artists of that era. Not only did I learn about the life and times of the epoch, I was also taught how to examine the works and give context to their creation. Now I walk through the museum with a smile on my face and the satisfaction that I know so much about the masterpieces housed in those hallowed galleries.

Contact Context Travel directly here

Juliette Satidi

Progressio – French Niche Fragrances Perfume Testing

Ok, this is more of a lesson than a tour, but since you get to visit some of the most exclusive perfume houses in Paris (and because it so darn fun), I thought I’d add it to my list of favorites. Progressio’s resident expert, Teresa, gives you a full history of the French perfume industry and the basics of scent construction before putting your nose to the test through a heavenly perfume “sampling.” There is also a short language lesson, which teaches you the French phrases and words that will have you shopping for perfume like a local.  My favorite parts though, were the visits to the specialty perfume houses of Paris. These beautiful little boutiques are filled with formulas so well crafted, they are like liquid works of art, and because many of the fragrances are only sold in these boutiques (you can’t find them anywhere else), they’re almost as rare!

Contact Progressio directly here

What about you? Do you know of any great tour services, or original ways to experience everything Paris has to offer?

Related Links

  • For more recommended Paris service providers (tours, chauffeurs, concierge, massage, yoga…) check out Haven in Paris’ recommendations here
  • Looking for a personal shopper, we love Linda Harrad and Lilye (Shopping by Lilye)
  • For friendly Paris bike and segway tours with English-speaking guides, check out Fat Tire Bike Tours

Written by Ariel for the Hip Paris Blog. All photos by Michael Tucker. For our amazing rentals in Paris, Provence & Tuscany check out our website Haven in Paris.

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Written by Ariel Kocourek

Ariel KocourekAriel Kocourek was born in Bend, Oregon, lived with her family in England, and now calls North Carolina home. She’s spent countless summers traveling with friends throughout the four corners of Europe and loves nothing more than a good road trip through the french countryside. Ariel travels frequently to Paris to check up on the Haven in Paris properties and to get her fill of tasty treats!

Website: Haven in Paris

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Posted in Arts, Events, Tours and Classes | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Inside Paris – Ariel’s Favorite Paris Walks and Tours”

  • Patricia says:

    Great article with excellent choices! However, you forgot to mention the lovely, organized, and personalized OuiParis Tours! They provide some of the best tours of the city and have incredible reviews. I recommend that you check them out for a future article. Visitors to the city will feel they’ve truly gotten to know the city – and got their money’s worth from the tour!

  • Thanks Stephanie, I hope you get to try them out one day soon!

  • Stephanie says:

    Context is certainly a tour company I could see myself joining one day! Great suggestions!

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