September 30, 2011
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)
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)!
French perfume and a lovely hotel particulier - Bee.girl; Meredith Tucker
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
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
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?
- 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 Kocourek
Ariel 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
Tags: architecture tour paris, Ariel Kocourek, Chris Lomon, context tours paris, Context Travel, Fat Tire Bike tours, Paris bicycle Tours, Paris Bike Tours, Paris guided tours, Paris Segway Tours, Paris tourism, Paris tours, Progressio, Secret Paris, Time Travelers Tours, tour, walking tours paris
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