With its iconic centuries worth of architecture, high-class cuisine, stylish shopping and artistic treasures, the city of light and romance undoubtedly draw in millions of visitors every year. With so much art, history and food to delve into, it can be daunting to find the best activities to partake whilst visiting Paris. Here’s a rundown of the 15 best tours and experiences you can enjoy while you’re in Paris.
Paris Illuminations 1 Hour Cruise
An hour-long cruise along the Seine at night can be an incredibly romantic and rewarding experience. Music is played to help create a great ambiance whilst you glide past some of Paris’ most famous monuments. Enjoy Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and of course the many bridges that cross the Seine and connect the city. On top of that, the boat is in a traditional Bateaux Parisiens style which complements to the romantic mood.
Paris’ most macabre sight is its underground catacombs lined with the skulls and bones of over 6 million Parisians. In 1785, in order to rectify the hygiene problems of Paris’ overflowing cemeteries, they decided to exhume the bones and store them in disused quarry tunnels. This tour comes with an audio guide, allowing you to discover the dark, subterranean passages at your own pace.
Moulin Rouge Show
Delight your senses and experience the legendary Parisian cabaret shows at the iconic Moulin Rouge. Take a seat in the atmospheric theater and brace yourself for a glamorous spectacle of drama, dance and music. Marvel at the alluring Doris girls with their rhinestone-clad costumes and watch them dominate the stagewith their choreography.
Opera Garnier Tour
Charles Garnier designed this architectural masterpiece in the 19th-century. It is the largest opera house in Europe. It has hosted some of the largest opera performances in the world over the centuries. Don’t miss the Grand Staircase and gilded auditorium with red velvet seats, a massive chandelier and Chagall’s ceiling mural. Also worth a peek is the museum, with posters, costumes, backdrops, original scores and other memorabilia. This 90-minute tour comes with a dedicated tour guide provided by the Opera de Paris, the city’s official authority for the art form. You will get behind-the-scenes access not afforded to regular patrons of the opera house.
Versailles and Gardens
Developed and extended by the gardener Andre Le Notre, the magnificent Palace of Versailles was once home to French royalty. It has survived through revolutions, both World Wars and into the modern age as one of Paris’ major tourist attractions. The grandiose architecture, artworks and decor is a fascinating insight into the history of European royalty. The most famous attraction, the hall of mirrors, a 75m-long ballroom that has 17 giant mirrors on one side and an equal number of windows on the other, is a major photo spot for many tourists to Paris. This tour comes with an audio guide, allowing you to explore the palace and gardens at your own pace.
Orangerie Museum Small-Group Guided Visit
The museum showcases Monet’s extraordinary cycle of eight enormous Water Lillies. The Musée de L’Orangerie is one of the most unique options of Paris’ popular museums. The lower level displays Monet’s impressionist works and many by Sisley, Renoir, Cézanne, Gauguin, Picasso, Matisse and Modigliani, as well as Derain’s Arlequin et Pierrot. The orangery is all that remains of the former Palais des Tuileries, which was razed during the Paris Commune in 1871.
Paris: 1, 2, or 3-Day Hop-on Hop-off Ticket
If you have limited time in Paris, and want to see all the top iconic sights, hop-on-hop-off buses is perfect. This ticket gives you access to four different bus routes. Each route will allow you to get an overview of up to 40 different attractions in the city. You can opt for passes that cover you for one, two or three days. An audio guide is also included to give you information about each attraction. It will give you extra information about the attractions you do not have time to visit fully.
Notre Dame Cathedral Guided Tour
This French Gothic masterpiece is surely one of the most impressive sights you can find in Paris. The access to the main church is free, you will only have to pay to climb one of the towers. Highlights include its three spectacular rose windows, treasury and bell towers which can be climbed. From the North Tower, 400-odd steps spiral to the top of the western facade, you’ll find yourself face-to-face with frightening gargoyles and a spectacular view of Paris.
Panthéon Admission Ticket and Self-Guided Tour
This neoclassical dome is an icon of the Parisian skyline. It honors the most important members of French history, from the revolution until modern times. Its vast interior is an architectural masterpiece. Originally was an abbey church dedicated to Ste Geneviève and now a mausoleum. It has served since 1791 as the resting place of some of France’s greatest thinkers, including Voltaire, Rousseau, Braille and Hugo. A copy of Foucault’s pendulum, first hung from the dome in 1851 to demonstrate the rotation of the earth, takes pride of place. This hour-long tour is entirely self-guided, allowing you to explore the building at your own place and learn about the important people commemorated here, as well as about the history of the building itself. You will also be given access to the upper floors for a unique view over the city.
Paris 90-Minute Street Art Tour
This tour provides you with a local street art expert who will shower you with knowledge about the neo-muralism movement as you marvel into the walls painted by the greatest muralist from all over the world. You will also have the opportunity to learn about all the different techniques the artists employ to make their artworks.
Eiffel Tower Guided Climb with Optional Summit Access
The Eiffel Tower is undoubtedly the most enduring symbol not just for Paris, but for all France so it’s something one must simply embark on as you step your foot into the city of lights. This tour challenges you to walk the tower yourself using the network of stairs that line the legs of the tower. A guide is included to help you get up safely and equip you with some interesting facts about the tower and the buildings you can see from the viewpoints.
Behind the Scenes of the Grand Rex: 50-Minute Studio Tour
Blockbuster screenings and concerts aside, this 1932 art deco cinematic icon runs 50-minute behind-the-scenes tours during which visitors – tracked by a sensor slung around their neck – are whisked up (via a lift) behind the giant screen, tour a soundstage and experiment in a recording studio. Whizz-bang special effects along the way will stun adults and kids alike.
Ultimate Versailles: 90-Minute Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
With 6300 paintings, 2000 sculptures and statues, 15,000 engravings and 5000 furnishings and objets d’art installed in this beautiful palace, it’s impossible to see everything in one short visit. Fortunately, you can opt for this tour which not only allows you to skip the lengthy lines of the Palace of Versailles, but also provides you with a 90-Minute guided tour. The guides are highly knowledgeable and enthusiastic about French history, and will teach you some of the secrets of the French monarchy. You will then be free to continue to enjoy the palace at your own pace after the tour.
Père Lachaise Cemetery Guided Tour
It might seem a little morbid, the Père Lachaise Cemetery is actually one of the most beautiful sites in Paris. Its 44 hectares hold more than 70,000 ornate tombs and a stroll here is akin to exploring a verdant sculpture garden. Famous people from France and the world are buried at the cemetery. This guided tour helps you discover the history behind one of the most exclusive cemeteries in the world. You will know anecdotes about the famous people behind the tombs and learn about the death rituals performed here.
Paris: Entrance Ticket to the Chocolate Museum
You’ll delve into 4,000 years of chocolate. Tastings of chocolate are also provided and you can finish the tour with your own hot chocolate. Additional features can be incorporated for guests with kids, including a chocolate treasure hunt.
Have you already decided which tour to take for your next trip to Paris? To know more about this beautiful city read also this!