Whenever I travel to a new city, the first thing I do is book a tour. I may be a bit biased in this inclination seeing as I work as a tour guide, but it was precisely because I loved going on tours so much that I chose this job. Long before I ever led one, I loved going on tours, because in my humble opinion, they are the best way to see a city. While there are lots of reasons why I love them, here are my top five reasons for why you should go on a tour when you’re in Paris.
Let Me Tell You A Story
Let’s face it. The information plaques next to historical sites can often be a bit dry. This is because they are usually there to tell you the facts and not the story behind those facts. That’s where tour guides come in. It’s our job to make history come alive, and I treat every tour as a story to be told instead of facts to be taught. Gathering in groups and listening to stories is one of our oldest traditions as humans, and taking part in this tradition is my absolute favourite part of my job.
Oh The Things You Will See…
Paris is a city where practically every building and stone has a story attached to it. Sites like the Eiffel Tower may be world famous and hard to miss, but the vast majority of these places are easy to miss if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Thankfully, your tour guide knows exactly where these little hidden gems are located, and going on a tour will allow you to experience Paris in a way that simply wandering the streets on your own will not. I always make it my mission to show the people on my tours something they’ve never seen before, even if they’ve lived in Paris their whole lives. Pointing out these little hidden gems is a close second in terms of my favourite parts of my job.
Going On A Tour Means Special Access
In Paris, it is often the case that tour groups get special access to locations that would otherwise be closed to the general public. Everything from private royal apartments at Versailles to after hours visits to Notre Dame are only available with a tour group, so if you’re interested in seeing something that few people get to see, going on a tour is your best option. As an added bonus, there are lots of tours that allow you to skip the line at popular sites, thereby leaving more time for sightseeing later.
Get To Know A Local
I wasn’t born or raised in Paris, but it is my home and it has been for several years now. Long enough that I can confidently call myself a local, and I’m happy to share what this means with the people on my tours. There are even companies who exclusively hire guides who grew up in Paris if you want a truly local viewpoint. However, regardless of which company you choose, going on a tour will allow you to spend time with somebody who actually lives in Paris. Experience has taught me that people often enjoy hearing anecdotes about living as a Parisian just as much as learning about history.
Making Friends While On Tour
Going on a group tour is a wonderful way to meet other people while you’re travelling, especially if you’re travelling alone. Personally, I love meeting new people, and I still keep in touch with dozens of fellow travellers I originally met while on a tour together. If you’re travelling on your own, or if you’ve been with your current travel companions for an extended period of time, it’s always nice to mix things up and spend some time with others. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours.
Enjoy Your Tour!
I hope I’ve convinced you that it’s worth it to go on a tour while you’re in Paris. There are literally dozens of tour companies in this city to choose from, each with their own slice of history ready to share with you, so book your tour today, and keep watching this space. I’ll be back shortly with tips on how to make the most of your tour.
Laura Moore is a professional storyteller who loves history and the many stories that make Paris one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Join one of her signature tours to learn the story of a city.