Want to see the sights and know the stories behind them? Paris is full of tour guides but one company offers their services for free. A 3.5 hour tour of the city takes in many of the major sites including: Place Saint Michel, Notre Dame, Pont Neuf, Académie Française, the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, les Invalides, Palais Royal, Opera Garnier, Tuleries Gardens, Place de la Concorde, Grande and Petit Palais and (of course) the Eiffel Tower as well as stories about the influence of Haussmann, Napoleon and the Revolution.
What’s more the tour is (almost) completely free. Guides (often students) provide their services for free and only ask for gratuity at the end – if you are pleased with the tour, but you are under no obligation to give a fixed amount- if at all. A typical gratuity is usually around €5 per person.
Groups are often large (often 30- 50 people) and the guides, while charismatic, often lack the depth of knowledge of professional guide, but in terms of value for money it can’t be beaten. That’s not to say you won’t be provided with a fun an insightful view of the city: With everything from a re-enactment of Napoleon’s coronation and a demonstration of the can-can to a singing rendition of the execution of Marie Antoinette, if you’re more interested in fun than hard facts this may be a good choice.
Tours are run twice a day- at 11am and 1pm – every day (rain or shine) starting in front of the fountain at Place Saint Michel (RER Line B or C, Metro Line 4).
For more information: www.newparistours.com
Matt Scott has spent the majority of his adult life working and traveling abroad. A keen writer and photographer his work has appeared on line and in print in publications around the world. He currently lives in Paris where he works for an active travel company.