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The 21 Best Paris Tours | Travel

by Atlanta Business Journal

Note: Some tour providers on this list may have limited or ceased operations due to COVID-19. Check with your tour operator about availability before you book.

Bursting with unbelievable art, food, wine and history, Paris is one of the world’s most culturally rich cities. There are so many attractions in the City of Lights that it’s best to rely on the guidance of a few locals to make the most of your trip. Using both traveler sentiment and expert input, U.S. News tracked down 21 of the top tours in Paris. Each one boasts insider tips, hidden side streets, curious backstories and unique experiences that will make your time in Paris impossible to forget.

Bateaux-Mouches – River Cruise

Enjoy views of Paris from the Seine on this hourlong boat cruise from Bateaux-Mouches. During the cruise, prerecorded commentary provides historical context on several attractions viewable from the river, including the Musée d’Orsay, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Conciergerie and the Eiffel Tower. Reviewers praise the unique perspective and affordable ticket prices and suggest a night cruise to see the city lights. Tickets start at 14 euros (around $15) for adults and 6 euros (about $7) for children ages 4 to 12; children 3 and younger cruise for free. Boats sail daily every 30 to 40 minutes between 10 or 11 a.m. and 9:20 or 10:30 p.m., depending on the season. Dinner and lunch cruises are also available.

Secret Food Tours Paris – Montmartre

Peruse and stroll through the Parisian dining scene like a local with Secret Food Tours. On this three-hour tour of one of Paris’ most picturesque and lively arrondissements, dessert is first (c’est la vie!). You’ll gather chocolates and macarons from local specialty shops, followed by baguettes, cheeses, meats and crêpes – all while learning more about food and Parisian tradition from your local guide. When your bag is full, the guide will lead you to a prime picnic spot to enjoy your bounty with a few wine pairings. Reviewers love the historical tidbits and local insight, as well as the animated and entertaining tour guides. Tickets start at 89 euros (about $99) per person. An upgraded drinks package is available for an additional charge. Tours run daily at several different times, depending on the day. Secret Food Tours also hosts walks through other Paris neighborhoods, such as Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Marais.

Bike About Tours – The Parisian Day Bike Tour

On the 3 1/2-hour Day Bike Tour from Bike About Tours, a guide takes you on back streets to notable attractions throughout Paris while sharing historical and cultural anecdotes. Sights include the Louvre, the Bastille, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Centre Pompidou, and Hôtel de Ville to name a few. Reviewers love seeing an array of attractions at a leisurely pace and applaud the expertise of the guides. Tickets start at 39 euros (around $44) per adult and 34 euros (about $38) for children 5 to 17. Tickets for children 4 and younger start at 15 euros (roughly $17). Tours ride daily at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The company also offers cycling tours through the Champagne region and Versailles.

Sight Seeker’s Delight – Jewish History of Le Marais

Beyond being one of the hippest areas of Paris, the Marais is rich in history and is considered the city’s most famous Jewish quarter. Sight Seeker’s Delight brings that history to life in its Jewish History of Le Marais Tour. Visit famous sights within the Marais on this three-hour tour, including Place des Vosges, as well as several of the area’s synagogues. Guides lead you on a path through the area while providing insight and context. The tour is offered Sunday through Friday at 11 a.m. Tickets start at 55 euros (around $61) per adult and 40 euros (about $45) for children 10 and younger. Guides suggest bringing about 12 euros (roughly $13) for a lunch break inside the famous Israeli restaurant L’As du Fallafel. Sight Seeker’s Delight caps tours at 12 participants, which creates an intimate atmosphere reviewers love, in addition to the knowledgeable guides. Continue to explore and learn with Sight Seeker’s Delight on its tours of Versailles, the Louvre or must-see sights along the Seine.

Big Bus Paris Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Create your own Parisian adventure with the Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. Take your pick between two routes: The red route provides transportation to 11 famous attractions, including the Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde and the Grand Palais, while the blue route makes stops in Montmartre. All buses are equipped with a prerecorded audio tour in 11 different languages (though some select buses also have English-speaking guides who provide live commentary). The frequency of the buses depends on the route. Tickets start at 39 euros (around $45) for adults and 19 euros (roughly $21) for children for the one-day pass. Reviewers love the value and convenience of the bus, but some express disappointment that live guides are not available on every bus. Big Bus also offers two-day passes, a night tour and combo tours that include a river cruise.

(Courtesy of Charms & Secrets)

If you’re a sucker for a good story, a secret passageway or a long-forgotten historical tale, the Paris Charms and Secrets tour will be right up your alley. On this roughly 12-mile, four-hour tour, a guide will lead you through the city on an electric bike, stopping at some of Paris’ most famous attractions and storied monuments. Hear the legends of Élysée Palace, the controversies of the Eiffel Tower and the curious past of the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Reviewers love the knowledgeable guides and the unique stories. Tour prices start at 59 euros (about $65). Tours depart at 9 a.m., 2:30 and around 8 p.m. daily.

Paris By Mouth – Taste of the Marais

If you want an intimate look at one of Paris’ most fashionable and beautiful areas, snag a spot on Paris By Mouth’s Taste of the Marais. This three-hour tour has a max of eight participants to create a personal feel. For the first part of the tour, your guide will bring you to some of the neighborhood’s most prestigious shops, which specialize in bread, cheese, pastry and charcuterie. The second part of the tour leads you to a wine shop, which will feature a seated tasting with wine pairings. Paris By Mouth’s guides are experienced food journalists, certified sommeliers, chefs and foodies – a highlight among reviewers. Tickets start at 110 euros (around $123) per participant. While the tour is designed for adults, teens and preteens are welcome. Children 10 and younger are not allowed. The tour runs daily at multiple times. Paris By Mouth also hosts tours of Saint-Germain-des-Près, the Latin Quarter and the Left Bank.

Paris Tours Retro – Retro Classic

Hop into the vintage sidecar of an experienced motorcycle driver and cruise through the city with views of the Champs-Élysées, the Eiffel Tower, Champ de Mars and more on the Retro Classic tour of Paris. Local guides will share unique stories and provide an experience worlds apart from a typical city tour. Reviewers rave about the thrill of riding in the sidecar and the local insight. Tickets start at 89 euros (roughly $99) per 40 minutes; there is a two-adult maximum. Tours depart daily every 30 minutes from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you love your first sidecar experience, you can also opt for the company’s 90-minute tours, as well as a ride through Paris after sunset (with a Champagne tasting, naturally).

For an overview of the city and an entertaining history lesson, consider signing up for the Wego Walking Tour. On this 3 1/2-hour tour, a local guide leads groups of up to 20 people through a tailored route that passes by must-sees, including the Arc de Triomphe, the Jardin des Tuileries and the Louvre – with historical trivia and cultural explanations shared along the way. Reviewers rave about the enthusiastic tour guides and recommend booking this tour on the first day of your visit as it will help you get oriented with the layout of the city. Plus, guides are known to share helpful tips and restaurant recommendations. Tickets start at 30 euros (around $33) for adults; children 11 and younger can join for free. Tours run at 9 a.m. daily.

Blue Fox Travel – Blue Bike Tour Paris – Versailles Bike Tour

The Versailles estate encompasses 2,000 acres and there’s no better way to see it than on bike with Blue Fox Travel. Spend roughly eight hours with an expert guide and a small group (up to 14 people) touring the royal grounds, including the Grand and Petit Trianon chateaus, Marie Antoinette’s private domain and the grand palace with a skip-the-line pass included in your ticket. Guides tell stories of French royal history, including the conquests of the Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King, the controversies surrounding Louis XV, the French Revolution and Marie Antoinette. The tour runs daily at 9 a.m. except for Monday. Tickets cost approximately 100 euros (around $112) for adults and 85 euros (roughly $95) for kids 17 and younger. Tours include train tickets to and from Paris. Reviewers love biking the grounds at a leisurely pace and rave about the expertise of the guides, as well as the picnic lunch with finds from one of the local farmers market. Blue Fox Travel also guides visitors on cycling tours of Paris at night and the city’s top attractions.

Tours with Paris Urban Adventures takes visitors to secret spots to sample iconic Parisian treats.(Alexandra Siebenthal/Courtesy of Paris Urban Adventures)

Paris Urban Adventures – Secret Paris and Gourmet Marais

Wander through one of Paris’ famed neighborhoods with a local guide and a lineup of quintessentially French treats. Paris Urban Adventures’ Secret Paris and Gourmet Marais tour takes you through the well-preserved (and very fashionable) area of the Marais. Throughout the eight-hour tour, you’ll hear local insights and historical tales. Stories are accompanied by stops in neighborhood shops for samples of pastries, cheeses, charcuterie and cognac. Reviewers appreciate the expertise and entertainment provided by the guides, as well as the intimate and conversational environment. Tickets start at 149 euros (around $166) per participant 6 and older. Children 5 and younger can tag along for free. The tour runs daily at 2 p.m. Paris Urban Adventures also offers tours of bohemian Paris and tours focused on the city’s wine and craft beer, among many other options.

Paris by Martin & Friends – Day Tour

For a truly bespoke experience with a passionate local, take a tour with Martin Muda and his friends, all residents of Paris. On the three-hour walking tour, Muda or one of his tour guides will lead you through the city to some of their most treasured spots with stories that give life to the city’s history and legends. Reviewers praise the tour guides and their attention to detail, as well as the customization of each tour. Ticket prices depend on the number of travelers and the scope of the excursion. Inquiries can be made through the website. The company also offers walking picnic tours at night and electric bike tours.

SANDEMANs NEW Europe – Montmartre Walking Tour

Stroll through one of Paris’ most famous and charming neighborhoods with the help of SANDEMANs NEW Europe. This 2 1/2-hour tour will take you by the area’s most photographed sights, including the Moulin Rouge and up the steps to Sacré-Coeur. You’ll recognize streets featured in paintings and in cinema as guides share tales of Montmartre’s famous artists, musicians and characters, including Van Gogh and Picasso. Tour-goers appreciate the guides’ expertise and recommend the tour for art history lovers. Tours depart daily at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets start at 16 euros (approximately $18) for adults and 14 euros (about $15) for students. If you’re looking to explore more of the city, the company offers tours of the Latin Quarter, evening tours to admire the city lights and a free walking tour of the top attractions, among others.

Fat Tire Tours – Versailles Bike Tour

To see Versailles in all of its 2,000-acre glory, allow Fat Tire Tours to take you for a ride. On this daylong tour (approximately 8 1/2 hours), a guide will take you through the Versailles open market to grab a picnic lunch before visiting the Petit Trianon and the Grand Trianon, and the estate gardens. The tour also includes skip-the-line access to the palace and an audio guide. Riders love the bicycles and tour guides and appreciate the sweeping views of the Paris monument. Tours are offered Tuesday through Sunday and all depart before 9 a.m. Tickets start at 99 euros (roughly $110) and include train transportation from Paris, though the ticket does not cover your market purchases. Fat Tire Tours also offers a variety of biking excursions around Paris and the surrounding region, as well as guided walks and Segway rides.

Paris Original Tours – Segway Guided Tour

Zip through the City of Lights on a Segway with Paris Original Tours. On this 2 1/2-hour tour, you’ll be guided through the side streets and pathways to the city’s attractions, including the Invalides, the Grand Palais, the Champs-Élysées and the Eiffel Tower, to name a few. Along the way, guides will share stories about the city’s history and cultural milestones. Reviewers enjoy the knowledgeable guides and appreciate the number of attractions packed into a relatively short tour. Tickets start at 50 euros (around $55) per adult and include helmets and training. All participants must be at least 12 years old, weigh a minimum of 88 pounds and measure at least 5 feet tall. Tours depart daily at 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. or 5:30 p.m., depending on the season. Paris Original Tours caps its excursions at 10 participants. It also offers private tours.

Wine Day Tours takes tourists outside of Paris to sample some of the region’s best wine.(Courtesy of Wine Day Tours)

Paris Wine Day Tours – Wine and Country

For a true taste of French culture, jump on board Paris Wine Day Tours’ Wine and Country excursion. A guide will take you on a 12-hour educational adventure outside the city with stops at a traditional farmers market, a winery (with tastings, naturally) and a local restaurant for a three-course meal. Stroll along the preserved streets of Sancerre and see one of castles of the Loire Valley before heading back to the hustle of Paris. Reviewers rave about the expert tour guide and the genuine feel of the countryside experience. Tickets start at 279 euros (about $310) per person, and include wine tastings, lunch, the castle visit and transportation for the whole excursion. Tours are offered once a week and leave Paris at 7:15 a.m. If you prefer bubbly, the company provides Champagne-based tours.

Boutique Bike Tours – Versailles Food & Palace Bike Tour – Skip the Line

If you’re looking to escape the city, let Boutique Bike Tours take you on a ride and stroll through the gardens of Versailles. On this approximately eight-hour tour, guides lead the way through more than 2,000 acres of the sprawling estate before stopping for a picnic lunch with provisions purchased from the market in town. After lunch, you’ll skip the line at the famous palace to explore the rooms and hallways of Versailles. Reviewers enjoy the leisurely pace, a day full of activities and informative guidance. Tickets cost approximately 130 euros (around $145) for adults and 99 euros (about $110) for children ages 5 to 17; children 4 and younger can join for free. Tours depart Tuesday and Friday through Sunday. The company also hosts an evening bike and boat tour of Paris.

2CV ParisTour – Legendary Tour

If you’re looking for a memorable and personalized drive through Paris, allow 2CV ParisTour to take you on a whirl in a Citroën 2CV, a classic French car. Take in sights like the Arc de Triomphe, Luxembourg Gardens, Palais de l’Élysée, Église Saint-Sulpice and more as you cruise through the Paris streets for two hours. Reviewers prize the classic car experience and the entertaining guides. Tickets cost approximately 140 euros (around $155) per car for the tour and beverages can be added for an extra charge. Tours depart at multiple times daily. If you can’t get enough of the vintage car experience, you can also sign up for tours of area castles and Montmartre.

Paris City Vision – Loire Valley Chateaux Day Trip from Paris

On this 12-hour tour, a guide will take you on a journey outside the city through the countryside to Château de Chenonceau and Château de Chambord (or Château d’Amboise, depending on the season) – where you’ll see prime examples of French decadence and elaborate architecture. Reviewers value the views and insight provided by tour guides and recommend the tour if you only have a short amount of time to explore the Loire Valley. Tickets cost approximately 140 euros (about $155) for adults and 130 euros (around $145) for children ages 3 to 11. Tours generally run daily. The company hosts a number of other tours throughout Paris and greater France, including tours to Normandy.

City Wonders – Paris Catacombs Underground Tour

City Wonders will take you on a two-hour tour of what’s below Paris: a network of tunnels, crypts and tombs that are home to nearly 6 million skeletons. On this Paris Catacombs tour, you’ll skip the line with a small group to explore the Port Mahon gallery, the Sacellum Crypt, the Quarryman’s footbath and Gilbert’s Tomb. Throughout the tour, you’ll hear historical anecdotes from insightful guides. Along with the entertaining guides, reviewers also appreciate the skip-the-line access and recommend this over a self-guided tour. Tickets start at 89 euros (approximately $99) per adult and 84 euros (around $94) for children 4 to 14. Tours depart several times each day. City Wonders also hosts traditional above-ground tours of the Louvre, Versailles, Notre-Dame and the Eiffel Tower.

Street Art Tour Paris – Murals XXL

There’s no museum pass needed to see some of the city’s largest artwork with Street Art Tour’s Murals XXL. An expert guide leads a small group (up to 15 people) through the city to view contemporary works created by the world’s most famous and talented muralists, such as Shepard Fairey, Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada and Christian Guémy. Tours last 2 1/2 hours and run two Saturdays and two Thursdays per month. Reviewers love the insider information and find the tour reveals details (and murals) often overlooked. Tickets start at 22 euros (about $25) per person. Street Art Tour Paris also offers tours in Montmartre and Belleville, among other options.

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