Looking for something unique to do during your stay in Paris?
I can no longer stand to visit a city and see tourist site after tourist site, shuttling myself from monument to monument and above all without knowing the stories behind them. Walking tours are a fantastic way to visit a city, move your muscles and learn from an expert at the same time.
Paris Walks gives interesting and informative tours in English, most of which are based around a specific historical, literary, culinary or other theme. Each walk lasts about 2 hours and costs €12 per person. The guides are highly knowledgeable—many pursue careers as historians or writers and only lead the occasional tour because they enjoy doing so. They run rain or shine and generally no reservations needed. See the current schedule for information on the specific tours and logistics.
When my family was visiting, we went on “Paris during the Occupation and Liberation” (around Tuileries, rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré and the lower Champs-Elysées) and “Writers of the Left Bank” (around Saint Michel and the Luxembourg Gardens). On the first tour, we heard anecdotes of war heroes and of every day residents of Paris during WWII and saw the old Gestapo headquarters not far from rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré and many more landmarks that played a role in Paris’ WWII history. On the second tour, we visited the homes and old stomping grounds of writers such as Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Beach and Jean-Paul Sartre and glimpsed into their fantastic Parisian lives. I would highly recommend both tours and hope to join another of Paris Walks’ escapades soon (Edith Piaf’s Paris, The French Revolution, Medieval Paris and the Templars… The Chocolate Tour—which one shall I do first is the question!)
These tours are not just for tourists. Whether your stay in Paris is for a weekend, a year or a lifetime, you will undoubtedly learn something new about this city we all love, and stretch your legs at the same time!