You come to Paris for a couple of days and you want to discover the city as more as possible? Taking a private tour may be a good deal, very helpful to learn a lot about the French capital city, a both historical, political and cultural place. Nonetheless, sometimes a private tour doesn’t worth it, depending on what you want to visit in Paris. Here a few tips. Do I need a private tour to visit Paris?
The Eiffel Tower, a must-see… to visit on your own
Every Parisian would tell you it’s almost an obligation to go to the Eiffel tower, and the nearby Champ de Mars, if you never did so. Definitely the symbol of Paris, and even France, the place appeals thousands of people each year. That’s why you can be attracted by taking a private tour for discovering this majestic landmark. Nonetheless, I highly recommend you visiting it without a private tour, but on your own.
Indeed, the Eiffel Tower is pretty recent compared to other landmarks in Paris (such as Notre-Dame), so there is not a lot of history to know about it. Fifty illustrations of its evolution, photographs, engravings or else drawings are even installed on the first floor to explain the construction of the structure. What’s more, it’s impossible to lose yourself in the tower as floors are pretty small, yet the structure is impressive. Furthermore, I personally go to the Eiffel tower for having an amazing panoramic view with all Paris at my feet, ahead of learning the comprehensive story of the building.
Basically I don’t recommend you take a private tour in Paris for only one monument, for example only for the Arc of Triumph. Otherwise, for a whole area, having a guide definitely sounds great.
Special neighborhoods (Marais, Montmartre, Notre-Dame, Louvre’s area), to explore with a native
If the visit of one landmark doesn’t worth a private tour, I heavily suggest you pick one when you fancy discovering a whole area (and not only the main monument that stands inside it).
Indeed, some neighborhoods, like the Marais, are a landmark by themselves. That means there are no remarkable monuments to see but quaint and quiet spots, frequently removed from boulevards jammed with cars, and so pretty difficult to spot. A private tour with a local guide is then helpful to bring you immediately to the right places, and not waste your time. Here’s a fun one: Trendy Marais Tour.
Others, such as the Notre-Dame area, takes a center stage in the Parisian history. If the cathedral is a must-see, you can’t talk about it without telling the story of the neighborhood. Indeed, Ile de la cité (the city island) is the point zero of the city, where the development of Paris started. That also means not only the cathedral is worth seeing in the very center of Paris. As the Sacred Heart is not the only thing to enjoy in Montmartre, or the Louvre museum in the very center of Paris.
Last but not least, thanks to some tours, you can take a private tour for visiting a special neighborhood while getting a skip-the-line ticket for a must-see related with the tour. Hence you can visit Montmartre, the birthplace of impressionism, and obtain a ticket for the Orsay, the museum dedicated to this art movement. Or else you can stroll around the Marais and then go to the Picasso museum, in the same area, thanks to a skip-the-line ticket. This way, you can avoid the crowd, that can be huge in during the high touristic season.
Important museums (Louvre, Orsay), a guide to appreciate them even more
Talking about museums in Paris obviously makes you think about the Louvre, the biggest museum in the world. If it’s not the only thing worth seeing in the very center of Paris, the Louvre museum is still a very nice and astonishing place. And it can be useful to take a private tour for discovering it.
Firstly, you won’t lose time in looking for your way through the large number of rooms that counts an important museum like the Louvre. Secondly, you can learn a lot about the paintings thanks to a guide. Indeed, visiting a museum frequently means strolling around the rooms, looking to great paintings or sculptures, but without really understanding the message or knowing the story of them.
So if you want to know more about the Louvre but without spending an entire day there, I recommend you take the 90-minute English tour on the highlights of the museum (Mona Lisa, or else the Venus of Milo for example), that will cost you 27€ each (for the ticket and the tour). If you’re more interested in impressionism, you can attend the 90-minute English tour at Orsay museum (18€ each for the ticket and the tour also).
Otherwise, you can also, instead of taking a private tour, visit it by yourself, or rent an audio guide. Basically cheaper, it also gives you more freedom in the way you want to enjoy the museum. What’s more, there are always boards near sculptures or paintings to learn more about them, or about the artist’s life.
Paris is not a big city but it’s very dense. So taking a private tour makes sense above all if you want to visit a specific neighborhood in Paris, where you can easily miss a quaint spot, or a place with many things to see (like works of art at the Louvre museum). Otherwise, it doesn’t worth having a guide for only one big touristic landmark. But don’t worry, there is always a way for you to enjoy the city!