Note: Some tour providers on this list may be running more limited operations due to COVID-19 or may impose testing or vaccine requirements. Check with your tour operator about availability before you book.
Bursting with unbelievable art, food, wine and history, Paris is one of the world’s most culturally rich cities. There are so many attractions in the City of Lights that it’s best to rely on the guidance of a few locals to make the most of your trip. Using both traveler sentiment and expert input, U.S. News tracked down some of the top tours in Paris. Each one boasts insider tips, hidden side streets, curious backstories and unique experiences that will make your time in Paris impossible to forget.
Secret Food Tours Paris – Montmartre
Peruse and stroll through the Parisian dining scene like a local with Secret Food Tours. On this three-hour tour of one of Paris’ most picturesque and lively arrondissements, dessert is first (c’est la vie!). You’ll gather chocolates and macarons from local specialty shops, followed by baguettes, cheeses, meats and crêpes – all while learning more about food and Parisian tradition from your local guide. When your bag is full, the guide will lead you to a prime picnic spot to enjoy your bounty with a few wine pairings. Reviewers love the historical tidbits and local insight, as well as the animated and entertaining tour guides. Tickets start at 99 euros (about $104) for adults, with discounts for teenagers and children. An upgraded drinks package is available for an additional charge. Tours run daily at several different times, depending on the day. Secret Food Tours also hosts walks through other Paris neighborhoods, such as Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Marais.
Bike About Tours – Hidden Paris Bike Tour
On the 3 1/2-hour cycling trip from Bike About Tours, a guide takes you on back streets to both notable and lesser-known attractions throughout Paris. Along the way, guides share historical and cultural anecdotes. Sights include the Bastille, Place des Vosges, Jardin des Plantes and the Paris mosque, to name a few. Reviewers love seeing an array of attractions at a leisurely pace and applaud the expertise of the guides. Tickets start at 45 euros (around $47) per adult and 20 euros (about $21) for children younger than 4. Tours ride daily at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The company also offers cycling tours through Versailles.
Big Bus Paris Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Create your own Parisian adventure with the Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. Double-decker, open-top buses take you to 10 stops near attractions, including the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Place de la Concorde and the Grand Palais. All buses are equipped with a prerecorded audio tour in 11 different languages. Buses typically frequent stops every 15 to 20 minutes and if you choose to ride the whole route, you’ll be on the bus for two hours and 15 minutes. Buses run from 10 a.m. to about 6 p.m. daily. Tickets start at 42 euros (around $44) for adults and 22 euros (roughly $23) for children for the one-day pass; discounts may be available if you book online in advance. Reviewers love the value and convenience of the bus, but some express disappointment that buses are often overcrowded. Big Bus also offers two-day passes, a night tour and combo tours that include a river cruise.
(Courtesy of Charms & Secrets)
If you’re a sucker for a good story, a secret passageway or a long-forgotten historical tale, the Paris Charms and Secrets tour will be right up your alley. On this roughly 12-mile, four-hour tour, a guide will lead you through the city on an electric bike, stopping at some of Paris’ most famous attractions and storied monuments. Hear the legends of Élysée Palace, the controversies of the Eiffel Tower and the curious past of the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Reviewers love the knowledgeable guides and the unique stories. Tour prices start at 59 euros (about $62). Tours depart at 9 a.m., 2:30 and around 8 p.m. daily.
Paris By Mouth – North Marais Food Tour
If you want an intimate look at one of Paris’ most fashionable and beautiful areas, snag a spot on Paris By Mouth’s North Marais Food tour. This 3 1/2-hour tour welcomes up to eight participants to create a more personal feel. For the first part of the tour, your guide will bring you to some of the neighborhood’s most prestigious shops, which specialize in bread, cheese, pastry and charcuterie. The second part of the tour stops at a wine shop and includes a seated tasting with wine pairings. Paris By Mouth’s guides are experienced food journalists, chefs and foodies – a highlight among reviewers. Tickets start at 125 euros (around $131) per participant. While the tour is designed for adults, kids are welcome, but the company recommends against bringing children younger than 12. The tour runs daily at multiple times. Paris By Mouth also hosts tours of Saint-Germain-des-Près, south Marais and the Left Bank.
Paris Tours Retro – Retro Classic
Hop into the vintage sidecar of an experienced motorcycle driver and cruise through the city with views of the Champs-Élysées, the Eiffel Tower, Champ de Mars and more on the Retro Classic tour of Paris. Local guides will share unique stories and provide an experience worlds apart from a typical city tour. Reviewers rave about the thrill of riding in the sidecar and the local insight. Tickets start at 99 euros (roughly $104) per 40 minutes; there is a two-adult maximum. Tours depart daily every 30 minutes from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you love your first sidecar experience, you can also opt for the company’s 90-minute tours, as well as a ride through Paris after sunset (with a Champagne tasting, naturally).
Blue Fox Travel – Versailles Bike Tour
The Versailles estate encompasses 2,000 acres and there’s no better way to see it than on bike with Blue Fox Travel. Spend roughly eight hours with an expert guide and a small group (up to 14 people) touring the royal grounds, including the Grand and Petit Trianon chateaus, Marie Antoinette’s private domain and the grand palace with a skip-the-line pass included in your ticket. Guides tell stories of French royal history, including the conquests of the Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King, the controversies surrounding Louis XV, the French Revolution and Marie Antoinette. The tour runs daily at 8:30 a.m. except for Monday. Tickets cost approximately 100 euros (around $105) for adults and 85 euros (roughly $90) for kids and teens 17 and younger. Tours include train tickets to and from Paris. Reviewers love biking the grounds at a leisurely pace and rave about the expertise of the guides, as well as the picnic lunch with finds from one of the local farmers markets. Blue Fox Travel also guides visitors on cycling tours of Paris at night and the city’s top attractions.
(Courtesy of Bataeux-Mouches)
Bateaux-Mouches – River Cruise
Enjoy views of Paris from the Seine on this 70-minute boat cruise from Bateaux-Mouches. During the cruise, prerecorded commentary provides historical context on several attractions viewable from the river, including the Musée d’Orsay, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Conciergerie and the Eiffel Tower. Reviewers praise the unique perspective and affordable ticket prices and suggest a night cruise to admire the city lights. Others lament that the commentary was difficult to hear. Tickets start at 15 euros (around $16) for adults and 6 euros (about $6) for children ages 4 to 12; children 3 and younger cruise for free. From April to September, boats depart every hour from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., then every 30 minutes from 1:30 to 10:30 p.m. From October to March, there are multiple daily departures from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dinner and lunch cruises are also available.
Paris Urban Adventures – Gourmet Marais
Wander through Paris’ gorgeous Marais with a local guide and a lineup of French treats. Paris Urban Adventures’ Gourmet Marais tour takes you through the well-preserved (and very fashionable) area of the Marais. Throughout the approximately four-hour tour, you’ll hear local insights and historical tales as you admire Marais’ treasured architecture. Stories are accompanied by stops in neighborhood shops for samples of pastries, cheese or charcuterie, wine and French liquors. Reviewers appreciate the expertise and entertainment provided by the guides, as well as the intimate and conversational environment. Tickets start at about $95 per participant ages 6 and older. Children 5 and younger can tag along for free, so long as they sample items from their parents’ plate. The tour runs Monday through Saturday at 3 p.m. Paris Urban Adventures also offers tours of bohemian Paris and several private excursions.
Paris by Martin & Friends – Walking Tour
For a truly bespoke experience with a passionate local, take a tour with Martin Muda and his friends, all residents of Paris. On the three-hour walking tour, Muda or one of his tour guides will lead you through the city to some of their most treasured spots with stories that give life to the city’s history and legends. Reviewers praise the tour guides and their attention to detail, as well as the customization of each tour. Tickets start at 50 euros (about $53) for the 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. tour, prices jump to 100 euros (around $106) for a 6 p.m. departure. Inquiries can be made through the website. The company also offers walking picnic tours at night and electric bike tours.
Fat Tire Tours – Versailles Bike Tour
To see Versailles in all of its glory, allow Fat Tire Tours to take you for a ride. On this daylong tour (approximately 8 1/2 hours), a guide will take you through the Versailles open market to grab a picnic lunch before visiting the Petit Trianon and the Grand Trianon, and the estate gardens. The tour also includes skip-the-line access to the palace and an audio guide. Riders love the bicycles and tour guides and appreciate the sweeping views of the Paris monument. Tours are offered Tuesday through Sunday and all depart before 9 a.m. Tickets start at 99 euros (roughly $110) and include train transportation from Paris, though the ticket does not cover your market purchases. Fat Tire Tours also offers a variety of biking excursions around Paris and the surrounding region, as well as guided walks and Segway rides.
SANDEMANs NEW Europe – Montmartre Walking Tour
Stroll through one of Paris’ most famous and charming neighborhoods with the help of SANDEMANs NEW Europe. This 2 1/2-hour tour will take you by the area’s most photographed sights, including the Moulin Rouge and up the steps to Sacré-Coeur. You’ll recognize streets featured in paintings and in cinema as guides share tales of Montmartre’s famous artists, musicians and other notables, including Van Gogh and Picasso. Tourgoers appreciate the guides’ expertise and recommend the tour for art history lovers. Tours depart daily at 5 p.m. in both English and Spanish. Tickets start at 16 euros (approximately $17) for adults and 14 euros (about $15) for students. If you’re looking to explore more of the city, the company offers tours of the Latin Quarter and a free walking tour of the top attractions.
Boutique Bike Tours – Versailles Food & Palace Bike Tour – Skip the Line
If you’re looking to escape the city, let Boutique Bike Tours take you on a ride and stroll through the gardens of Versailles. On this approximately eight-hour tour, guides lead the way through the sprawling estate before stopping for a picnic lunch with provisions purchased from the market in town. After lunch, you’ll skip the line at the famous palace to explore the rooms and hallways of Versailles. Reviewers enjoy the leisurely pace, a day full of activities and informative guidance. Tickets start at 134 euros (around $142) for adults and 97 euros (about $103) for children ages 5 to 17; children 4 and younger can join for 37 euros (about $39). Tours generally depart Tuesday and Friday through Sunday. The company also hosts an evening bike and boat tour of Paris.
2CVParisTour – Legendary Tour
If you’re looking for a memorable and personalized drive through Paris, allow 2CVParisTour to take you on a whirl in a Citroën 2CV, a classic French car. Take in sights like the Arc de Triomphe, Luxembourg Gardens, Palais de l’Élysée, Église Saint-Sulpice and more as you cruise through the Paris streets for two hours. Reviewers prize the classic car experience and the entertaining guides. Tickets cost approximately 140 euros (around $155) per car for the tour and beverages can be added for an extra charge. Tours depart at multiple times daily. If you can’t get enough of the vintage car experience, you can also sign up for tours of area castles and one that features a picnic.
City Wonders – Paris Catacombs Underground Tour
City Wonders will take you on a two-hour tour of what’s below Paris: a network of tunnels, crypts and tombs that are home to nearly 6 million skeletons. On this Paris Catacombs tour, you’ll skip the line with a small group to explore the Port Mahon gallery, the Sacellum Crypt, the Quarryman’s footbath and Gilbert’s Tomb. Throughout the tour, you’ll hear historical anecdotes from insightful guides. Along with the entertaining guides, reviewers also appreciate the skip-the-line access and recommend this experience in lieu of a self-guided tour. Tickets cost around $105 per adult and $100 for children ages 4 to 14. Tours depart several times each day. City Wonders also hosts traditional aboveground tours of the Louvre, Versailles, Notre-Dame and the Eiffel Tower.
Paris City Vision – Half Day Guided Tour of Giverny Monet’s Gardens from Paris
On this five-hour tour, a guide will take you through the life of celebrated painter Claude Monet as you tour his home and garden in Giverny. His garden is what inspired some of his most prized works, including “Irises” and “Water Lilies.” Reviewers value the views and insight provided by tour guides, though others warn that the company can be disorganized. Tickets cost approximately 80 euros (about $85) per person. Tours generally run daily at 8:15 a.m. and 2 p.m. The company hosts a number of other tours throughout Paris and greater France, including tours to Normandy.
Street Art Tour Paris – Murals XXL
There’s no museum pass needed to see some of the city’s largest artwork with Street Art Tour’s Murals XXL. An expert guide leads groups through the city to view contemporary works created by the world’s most famous and talented muralists, such as Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada and Obey. Tours last just over two hours and run Tuesdays and Saturdays. Plus, the route is accessible for those with limited mobility. Reviewers love the insider information and find the tour reveals details (and murals) often overlooked. Tickets start at 24 euros (about $25) per person. Street Art Tour Paris also offers tours in Montmartre and Belleville, among other options.
Babylon Tours – Louvre Museum + Orsay Museum Skip-the-Line Guided Combo Tour
View Greek sculpture and famous paintings by greats like Renoir, Monet, da Vinci and Van Gogh during this 5 1/2-hour tour. As you explore the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, guides will regale you with stories of art history. Plus, you’ll bypass the long lines at the attractions. Travelers praise the guide’s knowledge and appreciate the small groups (no more than eight people can go at once). Tours run at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. from Wednesday to Saturday. Tickets start at 199 euros (about $210) for adults, with discounts for children. Fees include access to the museums. Babylon Tours also operates outings to the Musée de l’Orangerie, the Rodin Museum and individual outings to the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay.
During the two-hour tour, you’ll glide by some of Paris’ must-see sights like the Eiffel Tower, Trocadero Gardens and the Musée d’Orsay. You’ll also ride in style on Bel & Bel Segways, which are designed to resemble the iconic Vespa scooters. Travelers recommend the tour, saying the Segways look great and appreciate the instructions provided by the guides. Tours are available daily at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets start at 60 euros (around $63) per rider. Participants must be at least 12 years old. XL Tours also runs e-bike tours through the city.