Paris is a city that is notorious among tourists. While it will always have a special appeal, getting a feel of the real Paris is harder and harder due to the number of tourists that travel here each year. I have to admit that during my very first time in Paris- I wasn’t head over heels in love with it. I found it to be busy, touristy, and over-rated.
I decided to give it another chance, but this time, we had a local show us around and it made all the difference in the world. I suddenly found myself enamored by the gorgeous little cafes and bistros where only Parisians go to.
In our five years of continuous travel, I can honestly say that all of our best experiences is when we get the opportunity to interact with the locals. Think about it. Locals have the best insight on all the hole-in-the-wall restaurants, the best places to shop, and most of all, insight into the history and background of a place.
Tours led by locals are our new favorite thing when we travel! We have personally done a few of these and can honestly say that it really adds to the experience of exploring a city. With that in mind, here are a few of our top picks for tours in Paris led by locals.
Montmartre and the Sacré Coeur Walking Tour
One of the most unforgettable experiences that I’ve had was strolling around Montmartre, taking in the incredible history of this place. A trip to Paris wouldn’t be complete without walking around this Bohemian-inspired neighborhood where you can relish in hearing about the famous cabarets and boutiques.
This local tour will also stop at the Sacré Coeur Basilica which is a must-see when in Paris! Between the beautiful architecture and the stunning birds-eye view of the city, and the local insight into this lively place, this is one of our top picks amongst these local Paris tours.
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Best of Paris Tour
If you’re running a tight schedule, I always recommend going on a best of tour which takes you around all the must-see sights around Paris. The guys from Localers offer this tour which includes metro and boat tickets so you can see all the best monuments and districts around the area.
Another perk of doing this particular tour is being able to hop on a boat to take in the sights while cruising along the Sienne River. I have personally done this and it is majestic! This particular tour will take you to see all the highlights including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre and more. Going on a best of tour is one of our top travel tips for France, especially if you are short on time.
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I have a secret to tell. I am obsessed with food. Obsessed to a point that whenever I am planning a trip, I can be found Googling the best restaurants and cooking classes…before I’ve even booked hotels! Paris as some of you might now is considered as one of the top gastronomical centers of the world for both cooking and baking! You’re sure to discover some hidden gems in Paris as you eat your way through the city.
This means that there’s a wide plethora of food tours and cooking classes that are readily available. A few of my top picks include Macaron baking class taught by a true Parisian, a French Patisserie Class, or a food tour around the best pastry and sweet shops around town. In short, the food in Paris is divine and is worth the few extra pounds.
Paris Literature Tour
If you love literature and history, this particular Paris tour is for you. Together with a local guide, you can retrace the steps of literary giants like Hemingway, Joyce, Kerouac, Hugo, and Wilde, visiting famous places and bookshops along the way.
Back in the day, Paris was at the epicenter of romance, literature, and the arts which naturally attracted tons of artists. Hearing local Parisian’s recount and reminisce this beautiful era is a walk down memory lane and is a good mix between nostalgia and recounting history.
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After-Hours Louvre Tour
For all the art lovers out there, this particular tour is something I am dying to do, only because it is such a unique experience. Giving you a unique experience, you can walk around the Louvre Museum after hours, away from the crowds.
Rather than inching your way through busy crowds only to catch a glimpse of The Mona Lisa, you can join a small group of locals who tour around the Louvre after hours, walking you through the highlights of the museum and the pieces around it.
Naturally, the list can go on and on as Paris is just one of those cities that have an endless amount of things to do. Regardless of what tour you choose, going out of your way to interact with the locals can really make or break your trip.
Hopefully, these tours have inspired you to seek out local tours and interactions during your travels as we’ve found them to be the key for creating memorable travel experiences.