The most unique walking tours in Paris

2 hours to save Marie-Antoinette

Walking tours are one of the great little-known pleasures of visiting a new city, especially a city as easy to navigate as Paris. Instead of wandering aimlessly through a tourist trap or sleepy residential neighborhood, you can make sure you’re actually learning a bit of history and culture (while following in your footsteps). Here are some of the more unusual and enjoyable walking tours available in Paris today.

Crimes and torture in old Paris

Cecilia Papadimopoulos

You probably don’t associate Paris with beheadings, witch hunts, ghosts and torture, but the City of Light has a rich dark historical side. And for those who like to be scared, Cecilia Papadimopoulos’ formidable 3-hour tour takes you back in time, meandering through narrow lanes and alleys filled with some of the city’s most gruesome historical highlights.


The terrifying six-mile tour crosses the Place des Vosges, past the town hall (where the guillotine was first tested on April 12, 1792), the Halles, the Ile de la Cité and the surroundings of the Louvre . Imagine an amusement park in a haunted house meets a history lesson in the most breathtaking setting. Horror highlights include: where a princess who had a penchant for severed heads hung out, or the poet who was found mysteriously hanging from a steeple with white lace believed to be from one of her lover’s corsets. You’re encouraged to imagine the screams as you walk down the rue des Marmousets where the demonic 14th-century barber and baker duo – who arguably inspired “Sweeney Todd” – sent their victims and turned them into haute cuisine. You end up seeing the City of Light, well, in a very different light. As Cecelia points out, her tour “brings her to life and people remember juicy stuff.”

Price: 32 Euros pp, private groups available

Languages: French or English

To book:

Laugh your way through the Louvre


The elegant art history teacher / tour guide / comedian with sartorial elegance sounds great, but proves the perfect combination for a fun, informative, and truly memorable museum visit in Paris.

On the recommendation of his wife, Cedrik (who bears only his first name) combined his two passions, actor and tourist guide. He recognized the power of humor to disarm people’s resistance to art. “People definitely open up with humor, it’s a great way to get people to learn serious things,” he notes.

In the three years since Cedrik began combining history with ha ha (s), he has had over ten thousand guests “learning while laughing,” about what he says is the most Airbnb experience. Ancient. Cedrik’s entire year is usually booked, so if a visit that tickles your ribs sounds like your thing, you better book it sooner rather than later.

He wants his guests to leave having learned something. For a funny man, he takes the time and expectations that clients give him very seriously. In return, they have serious fun. “No one should waste two hours of their life,” notes Cedrik. He recounts how countless skeptical and skeptical spouses who were trained in the museum found themselves “sold for the history of art”.

“Leonardo was actually very funny, he wrote jokes all the time,” observes Cedrik. You want examples ? Take the tour.

Groups of up to six people spend ninety minutes visiting the Louvre or the Orsay Museum, booked fifteen minutes before for orientation and fifteen minutes after to conclude.

Price: From 59 Euros per person

Languages: French and English

To book:

2 hours to save Marie-Antoinette

2 hours to save Marie-Antoinette

We are January 21, 1793. Marie-Antoinette awaits her fate in her prison cell. Two loyal royalists plan a plot to prepare for his escape. You are armed with an intricate book of clues, several historical documents, family trees of the two royal families and a reproduction of an actual letter from Marie Antoinette which is missing a few letters. Find the clues hidden in plain sight of Paris to fill in the missing letters and, thanks to the decoder sheet, decipher the secret to free the queen!

Based on a genuine attempt to save the fallen regent, this fun and informative treasure hunt teaches interesting historical information, and “your journey will take you in the Parisian footsteps of France’s most famous queen, with the aim of freeing her and to change the course of history. ”Each team of three follows the tracks through the streets they would have crossed, from the Île de la Cité, through the current Conciergerie where she was imprisoned, through the neighborhoods leading to the Jardin du Palais Royal, the Louvre museum, and finally meet up after the Two Hour Surprise Hunt ending at Place Vendôme.

If you love history, Paris, games, and intrigue, or just need a break from digital devices and the same old walking tour, then this one is named after you.

The team behind this ingenious treasure hunt also offers you that of Montmartre, in search of a treasure hidden in 1935 by an artist who left indecipherable clues in his notebooks. You have the key and may have to scour all of Montmartre to find the loot.

Price: from 35 euros pp, possibility of private evenings

Languages: French and English

To book:

Belle & Rebels

Edith de Belleville

Edith de Belleville has a tireless and wonderful mission to make Paris love as much as she does. Tourist guide, source of historical knowledge, host of a wonderful Facebook page for lovers of Paris, and author of “Belles & Rebelles”, a story of remarkable women of Paris, she offers many tours, many under the same theme than the book. The most popular of these with American Francophiles is its Coco Channel tour (think glamor and gossip as you stroll Place Vendôme). Edith’s personal favorite? The Sarah Bernhardt tour, which ends at the site of the comedian’s famous theater of the same name. Some of the other “Belles” tours focus on Empress Joséphine and Simone de Beauvoir (along with people watching at Café Flore on Boulevard Saint Germain). The tour categories include: “Roaring 20s” (think Hemingway, Fitzgerald, the “lost generation”), “At the court of Versailles” and “Muses of the museums” (“Fashion and passion” at the Louvre, “Under the skin of a Belle Epoque courtesan ”at the Musée d’Orsay).

Price: 80 Euros / hour (up to four people)

Languages: French, English and Spanish

To book:

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