A great way to discover a city is by going on a walking tour. It is even better when the walking tour is free (also known as ‘pay-what-you-wish’). During my trip to Europe this summer, I took free walking tours across several cities, including Paris through the company Sandeman’s New Europe. Sandeman’s has free walking tours all across Europe with very knowledgeable guides who work on commission and are not paid at all by the company, so this means that they will work hard for their money to keep you both informed and entertained.
My walking tour was about three hours and started from the Place Saint-Michel and ended right in front of the Place de la Concorde. After meeting in front of the statue of Saint-Michel, we headed out of the Saint-Michel/ Latin Quarter area to the Pont Saint-Michel, paused to look at the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris and then headed across the bridge into the Ile de la Cité. We walked past the Palais de Justice and learned the history of how it used to be a former prison and place of torture during the French Revolution and how it housed famous people such as Marie-Antoinette, before she was beheaded.
Next our tour took us down Quai de l’Horloge and across Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris. We then walked down the Seine and stopped at Pont des Arts (which is known to many as Love Lock Bridge) and learned about how much many Parisians dislike this bridge. We then popped over to the Louvre for a quick history lesson and view of the pyramid (which Parisians also disliked when it was built).
After seeing the Louvre and snapping photographs in front of the pyramid, we took as short food and bathroom break and then headed down the Rue de Rivoli and into the Jardin des Tuileries. We learned about the garden and then made our way over the Place de la Concorde, where we saw Cleopatra’s Needle and a view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Our tour concluded there and the tour guide collected tips from those who felt that the tour was beneficial to them. Quite a lot of ground was covered [over 2.5 km/1.5 miles] and a great explanation of the city was also given.
Walking tours are a great way to see any city and learn the history of a city in a brief time frame. There are a number of tour companies who offer free walking tours in Paris and some of them include:
- Sandemans New Europe Tours – http://www.newparistours.com [Ranked 25/339 Activities in Paris – Tripadvisor]
- Discover Walks – http://www.discoverwalks.com/paris-walking-tours [Ranked 30/339 Activities in Paris – Tripadvisor]
- City Free Tour – http://cityfreetour.com/paris [Ranked 10/339 Activities in Paris – Tripadvisor]