Our Local Experts Share Their Paris Favorites
Our Local Experts Share Their Paris Favorites
Jess fell in love with cheese, wine, travel and Paris, in that order. She is aware she is a walking cliché, but someone has to do it. Jess started as a guide and is now one of the Operations Managers for the Skip-the-Line Tours. She's been meaning to join a yoga class for about 5 years but has never gotten around to it and instead spends her free time quality testing Parisian brunch spots and hunting for a decent latté (not Paris' strong suit). Her favorite day in Paris consists of an early morning trip to the market, a bike ride to the park, some afternoon wine with friends at a picnic and a well-earned nap.
Don't rush. Take time for people-watching on a terrace and picnicking in a park. Also, do brunch. It starts at 12pm and takes all day to eat and recover.
Get dressed up and go to Monsieur Bleu for drinks or dessert. The view of the Eiffel Tower is stunning and it's one of the few posh restaurants in Paris where it's acceptable to only have a night cap.
If you come in peak season don't go alone to Versailles as there is a devastating line to get in. Come with us and save hours of your life. Honestly.
The fact that the tower is so instantly recognisable by almost everyone in the world means you feel in a strange way connected to mankind and people's dreams when you're near it. Seen from afar she is a constant reminder that you are in Paris, and you can't help but have that little swooning moment. The idea of great and innovative engineering being not only functional but artistic is also fascinating - Eiffel himself was a believer that strength and function by nature are beautiful and harmonious. Plus, how's about that view, eh?
The Skip-the-Line Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle Tour starts with the origins of Paris so it's perfect to do early in your trip to get a feel of how the city came to be. Sainte Chapelle might not be the first attraction that comes to mind in a city full of world famous sites, but visitors have definitely caught on that it's a must-see. You can hear everyone exclaiming, "Wow!" when they walk in to the upper chapel and see the original 13th century stained-glass windows that are the key feature of this royal chapel. This tour also explores every part of the Notre Dame and of skips the line to the top of the towers where you'll find yourself in the centre of Paris with a bird's eye view over the beautiful city below. Can't beat it.
Sadie moved from Pennsylvania to Paris when she was 23. She became a bike & segway tour guide for a number of years before taking on more administrative tasks within the company. She now serves as our General Manager and has thoroughly enjoyed calling Paris home. She explains, "Paris may seem stuck in its ways sometimes, yet the shops, restaurants, events and trends are always changing. Within the Fat Tire family, there is always someone excited about trying something new with you in the city. And picnics in the park are an inevitable part of our social scene when the sun is shining. There is no better way to experience the best of France; food, wine, leisure, and great conversation."
Don't try to look so cute that you make yourself miserable. Heels are not necessary in this city!
Anytime you can sit along the river or canal, do it. You will attract fellow sitters and soon, the banks will be lined with food and drink.
Always have a corkscrew with you! You'll definitely need it for yourself, but it's also the best way to make friends.
Once in Strasbourg, I stopped a French person to ask the name of a cathedral. He replied, 'Mademoiselle, that's not a cathedral, that's a church! There is only one cathedral in this town.' Notre Dame is that cathedral for Parisiens. It's the heart and history of their city.
The 'wow' factor in the Versailles Bike Tour has never faded for me, even after having led a few hundred groups. There is something unexplainably simple yet amazing about getting out of the city to take in the fresh air, gardens, and grandeur of Versailles. The market is as authentically French as you can get, and immersing yourself in the story of Versailles makes everything about the city and chateau come to life.
Louis is a French Canadian Paris-enthusiast that came to the 'City of Light' more than 2 years ago with the intention to connect with the 'real' French! He's our Operations Manager for our bike and Segway tours. Louis loves to discover restaurants, parcs, bars and other fun spots to hang out in Paris. Most of all he tries to attend as many concerts as he can in Paris.
Leave the big boulevards and wide avenues and explore the small streets to find the best restaurants and bars.
Grab a bottle of wine, some nibbles and head to a parc or the canal to enjoy a real Parisian apéro! And remember, eating cheeses and bread is part of the experience so don't feel bad!
Charming little streets, small Parisian boutiques, cool bars and restaurants and beautiful art. Montmartre is such a diversified neighborhood! Obviously, it also includes the Moulin Rouge and the Sacre Coeur basilica which offers one of the greatest view over the city. It's a great place to discover a typical Parisian neighborhood.
The Versailles Bike Tour is just a great way to discover Versailles; you get to see so much on such a relaxing day. You experience a typical French market, you see different palaces, you visit one of the most famous palace in the world and you get to cycle around its park. I've been living in Paris for more than 2 years now and it's great when you can escape the city, but still take part in such a historical French era!
Crissa is our Marketing Director. She loves interacting with our customers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You will make her day by posting a pic from your tour with #FatTireParis. There are so many things to love about Paris but what Crissa loves most is that the city just doesn’t disappoint. It’s everything you expect and more. She loves the French lifestyle. She explains, 'The French work to live, not the other way around. They have mastered the art of enjoying life, whether it is a long dinner, a great picnic, or a stroll through the park on a beautiful afternoon.'
Take a lovely walk down Les Berges des Seine. I love watching how people enjoy this magical spot in a variety of different ways.
Explore the different neighborhoods (i.e. Marais, Latin Quarter, etc). There are hidden gems to be found in each. Make sure to bike around as it is the best way to see Paris!
Engage with locals with your French speaking skills (even if it’s only a few phrases that you know).
I think floating down the River Seine is one of the best ways to experience the 'City of Light'. You pass incredible sights such as the Eiffel Tower, Musée d'Orsay, Notre Dame, Alexander III Bridge, Pont Neuf, and much more. These sights will leave you in awe if you go on a river cruise at night and see them illuminated and sparkling. And bonus feature if you are with your special someone on the river cruise and kiss under the Pont-Marie which is known as the "bridge of lovers".
Have you seen Beauty and the Beast when Belle is walking through the bustling market? Well, the market you go to on tour inspired that scene! Words cannot describe how fun it is to wander around the market gathering baguettes, cheeses, strawberries, meats and wine. You will bike through the perfectly tree-lined pathways accumulating to an epic picnic with the Grand Canal and Palace of Versailles as your backdrop. Needless to say, you will have full hearts (and memory cards) because of your memories made in one of the most beautiful places of the world.
Eva is Operations Manager for our Skip the Line Tours. Eva moved to Paris when she was 18 to study French history, culture and language and has lived in the city ever since. She has a strong appreciation for live performance and loves to frequent Paris’ theatres. Her favorite is the Opéra Garnier – a must see for any Paris visitor if only from the outside!
My top travel tip is don't rush around! Paris is a city that should be explored at a leisurely pace. Bike rides along the river and glasses of wine at a terrace cafe are a must!
Try Pastis! It is an anise flavour apéritif served on ice and diluted with water. It is the perfect drink on a summer afternoon.
The new Louis Vuitton Foundation Museum is housed in a glorious Frank Gehry building in the Bois de Boulogne. It is a must-see for any architecture fan.
A visit to Versailles should be on everyone's bucket list! The grounds are vast and the palace is magnificent inside and out. A picnic by the grand canal and a stroll through the manicured gardens is the perfect way to spend an afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of Paris.
On the French Revolution Walking Tour you pass by many of Paris' famous monuments and the information provided by the guide enables you to place them in their historical context. Our guides are funny and charming and they don't hold back on the gory historical detail! This tour is perfect for anyone who wants to explore the most interesting period of history for Paris and its people.
Julie is the General Manger of our Skip-the-Line Tours, and has been in love with Paris for over 12 years now. She has lived here since early 2011, and spends most of her free time exploring the culinary side of Paris - restaurants, wine bars, pastry shops, and markets. She says, "Paris is a never ending source of delicious and exciting things to eat, prepared by people who are really passionate about their craft, whether it's chefs, winemakers, bakers, or pastry chefs. I love picnics at the Eiffel Tower or along the Seine, gazing at beautiful monuments as the sun sets."
If you want to eat well in Paris, do some research in advance, and be sure to reserve a few days to a week before. Bon appetit!
Have a picnic in a beautiful location - the park in front of the Eiffel Tower, on the Pont des Arts, in the Luxembourg gardens, or along the banks of the Seine (particularly behind Notre Dame).
When you get a baguette, get a "tradition" - they are better than the standard baguette.
Paris wouldn't be Paris without the Eiffel Tower. Whether up close or far away, it's a beautiful and imposing structure to stare at, especially when it's sparkling at night. I also enjoy seeing how it looks in the backdrop of different types of light, times of day, and weather. I've seen it early in the morning at sunrise, half eclipsed by fog, during sunset with giant clouds rolling behind it, in the fall surrounded by bright yellow trees, and surrounded by a white blanket of snow. It has a majesty and beauty that doesn't grow old.
Our Night Bike Tour really showcases how beautiful Paris is during its most beautiful hours - between sunset and night. The route we take really shows some beautiful sites: bridges, Notre Dame, Ile St. Louis, the Conciergerie, the Louvre, Place de la Concorde, the Eiffel Tower. And we end it on the top of a river boat gazing at even more beautiful views while having wine. In the summer, it makes for a perfect evening.
Simon is a true yankee-frog (US & French citizen) having spent his childhood in New York, then adolescence in Paris, graduating from high-school ten minutes walking distance from our office! A qualified history teacher, Simon preferred the atmosphere of a tour group to a classroom, and became a guide with Fat Tire in 2008. After years of having a blast with his groups, he became Fat Tire's HR manager and hired Fat Tire's next generations of guides. The only thing more fulfilling than giving tours, is watching a new tour guide sink their teeth into their roles with as much gusto as Simon did when he was a guide.
Restaurants with very limited choice in the menu means they are specialists in what is on that bare bones menu. Deliciousness to be expected!
For those who like more spiced gastronomy: Little Africa in the 10th has the best food France's former colonies have to offer.
If weather permits, the Parisian thing to do is an "apéro dinatoire" on the quais of the Seine, or in a park. It is essentially a combination of Happy Hour and dinner, but in the form of an outdoor picnic.
Notre Dame is located in the dead center of town, and I believe it is the heart and soul of Paris. Staring up at the facade transports you back through 700 years of Parisian history. It has lived through more than any other of the main attractions the city has to offer. Plus, underneath the square in front of the cathedral is an ancient Roman crypt!
The Versailles Bike Tour takes you on a vacation within a vacation! You spend a good part of the day cycling around the grounds, which are beautifully manicured, serene, and devoid of vehicular traffic. The Versailles Market is one of the best food markets in the entire country, and is the first stop on the tour so you may pick and choose the myriad offerings of cheese, cured meats, fruit, desserts, etc for the picnic lunch. The French Revolution and the Absolute Monarchy are keys to understanding French culture, and these are the two main topics covered during this tour.
After graduating from college in Texas, Preston moved to Paris for just one year abroad before settling down and starting a career. His original plan was to spend one year leading amazing bike tours in Paris, but his plans quickly changed. He fell in love with Paris and with Fat Tire, and stuck around for two more years as a manager for our skip-the-line tours. After three years in the world's most beautiful city, Texas was calling Preston back home. He now lives in Austin, Texas, and serves as Revenue Manager for all our locations in Europe and the US.
Make it a mission to see the parks. They are luscious and beautiful, and filled with sunbathing Parisians. My favorites are Belleville, Buttes Chaumont, Monceau, Palais Royal, and Montsouris.
We travel to see and experience something different. If you're going to visit a foreign place like Paris, expect the people, food, customs, stores, and interactions to be different and unknown.
The best way to get from point A to point B is by bike. The Paris métro system is fantastic for transportation but you spend most of your journey underground.
Of course the history and beauty of Notre Dame demands a visit from anyone visiting Paris, but my favorite thing about Notre Dame is climbing the towers. Ancient staircases lead you through the church's famous gargoyles to the top of one of Europe's most famous landmarks, and to Paris' greatest views. Since Notre Dame is located at the absolute center of Paris, it has the absolute best views of the river and the city.
The VIP Behind-the-Scenes Versailles Tour has it all, and lets you experience the majesty of Versailles like no one else. From the very start, every detail is taken care of so that you don't worry about a thing. Your guide will take you to Versailles and navigate you through the groves and fountains of the Royal Gardens. You get to bypass hours of queuing, and go straight into a private entrance for a tour of the King's Private Apartments. Since the public never has access to this part of the Chateau, you literally get to walk through these ridiculous halls and rooms with just you and your group! You finish your day having accomplished more than most do in a week, having seen things that the average tourist never even knows about, and doing it all in luxury...can't beat that.
Stephen moved to Paris on a whim a few years ago to try to learn French and has, despite our best efforts, been lurking around Fat Tire ever since. When not leading bike tours around Versailles and Monet's Gardens, he spends his time pretending to study for his Masters, trying to regrow his receding hairline and jogging around the Bois de Boulogne.
For the runners, an early morning jog around the lakes in the Bois de Boulogne or a run along the Coulée Verte out to Bois de Vincennes can't be beat.
Buttes Chaumont: Paris' best park, in the northeast of the city so off the usual tourist track. This means less people plus you can actually sit on the grass here (unlike many Parisian parks).
Hands down my favourite museum in the city. The world's largest collection of Impressionist masterpieces, with fewer people and a much more compact setting than the Louvre. Between the Monet's and the Renoir's (not to mention the whole room dedicated to Van Gogh) you have the view over Paris through the giant glass clock faces. Definitely a sight not to be missed on your time in Paris.
Everything about Versailles speaks to the excess of the French Monarchy and the reign of King Louis XIV (the Sun King). Being on a bike allows you to experience the full magnitude of Versailles, see how the French royalty/nobility were living, and why the French Revolution was a historical inevitability. Plus, there's the Versailles farmer's market and an epic picnic lunch!
Pete originally hails from near Liverpool in the northwest of England, and grew up riding mountain bikes in the local forests. When he moved to Paris in late 2011 after finishing his degree in French, there was nothing that sounded cooler than a job leading bike tours. After a few years as Tour Guide, Pete is now our Bike and Segway Guide Manager. Although training our awesome guides is his focus now, he still enjoys sneaking out of the office to give a tour every now and again!
Picnic! There is simply nothing better than grabbing a baguette, some cheese and a few bottles of wine and watching the sun set behind the Eiffel Tower.
Believe it or not, I recommend you get lost! The coolest stuff you'll find isn't in any guidebook. Head down that quiet street and go exploring! Take a map though... just in case.
Stay for a week! Anything less and you're just not giving Paris the time it deserves - this is a city that shouldn't be rushed through.
Notre Dame has stood, mostly unchanged, for almost a thousand years - dating back to a time when Paris was nothing but a medieval village. Not only has it watched Paris become the incredible city it is today, but it has also endured two world wars and a couple of revolutions in the process. Truly a building that deserves being the focus of Paris' coolest fairy tale!
Pete's favorite tour is the Monet's Gardens Bike Tour. He loves the opportunity to get out of the big city and into some 100% authentic French countryside - countryside so incredible it inspired thousands of paintings - and what better way to enjoy it than on a bike?! The scenery also doubles up as the worlds most beautiful classroom to discuss Monet's paintings and the Impressionist movement. Be sure to watch our video of Pete giving the tour himself!
Kelsey is our Product Manager in Paris and has lived here in Paris with her family for 4 years. She loves getting to work in this beautiful city and meeting up for lunch or coffee with friends in her spare time. There are always new cafes opening up to check out! She also loves stumbling upon a good "brocante" or vintage market while wondering the neighborhoods.
The Bois de Vincennes on the east side of Paris is one of my favorite parks as there are a lot of trails going through it. Also, the Coulee Verte is a nice long path along an old elevated train line.
In the summer, there are a lot of outdoor movies being shown at parks, especially at Parc de la Villette every night! So fun to picnic while watching a movie outside!
I always make sure my friends get a Croissant Ispahan from Pierre Hermé while here, so good!
I'm an outdoor girl at heart and love being near the water, if not a beach, then a river will have to do! We often meet up on summer nights to hang out along the river with a picnic and a bottle of wine and listen to music. All the the beautiful bridges and a lot of the best monuments can be best seen from the river and some great walks are along the paths beside the river as well. I've often ridden my bike along the bike paths by the river.
I love all of our tours, but the Monet's Gardens Bike Tour is so relaxed and such a fun ride. It's a great opportunity to get out of the city and see the beautiful Normandy countryside, while also experiencing the wonderful garden in Giverny as well. Impressionism is my favorite type of art and it was such a fun tour to learn more about that.
Hannah is an Operations Coordinator for the Skip the Line Tours. She came to Paris for the first time when she was twelve. After just a few hours exploring the city she told her mother, "I'm going to live here someday!" Fast forward a few years and she made the big move to study art history and now calls Paris home. She loves the bustle of the city and that there is always something fun to do and something delicious to eat. When she isn't taking people to the Eiffel Tower or teaching them about the history of Paris, Hannah spends her free time visiting museums and exhibitions and trying to find the best eggs benedict in Paris (one dish that really makes her miss home!)
If you are in Paris at the end of October, be sure to check out Nuit Blanche! This is an all-night affair where the museums are open until midnight and entry is free!
If you're a fan of Pastis or mousse au chocolat, have lunch or dinner at Chez Janou. It's in the 3rd arrondissement so you can explore the Marais while working up an appetite for boeuf bourguignon or ratatouille.
If it's a nice day, go to the pizza shop called Pink Flamingo. You can find a spot to sit on the Canal and your pizzas will be delivered to you by a bike messenger!
The Musée d'Orsay cannot be missed! It houses the largest collection of Impressionist art in the world and boasts works by artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Renoir, and Courbet. The permanent collection is impressive and the museum also has great temporary exhibitions. The architecture is beautiful and since the museum is so much smaller than the Louvre, it can easily be visited in an afternoon without leaving you feeling overwhelmed or rushed. There is also a restaurant inside the museum with a magnificently painted ceiling! Be sure to stop and look at Monet's painting "The Turkeys" - it's a personal favorite!
The Versailles Bike Tour is great because you are able to see so much more of the gardens of Versailles on a bicycle! The market is Hannah's favorite part: be sure to stock up on tapenade and some delicious dried fruits (her favorite is mango!) A bottle of wine will make your picnic lunch an even more enjoyable experience. The château of Versailles is beautiful, but the gardens cannot be missed. Be sure to stop at Marie-Antoinette's Petit Hameau and see her "humble" retreat away from the strict court of Versailles.
After years of having her name spelt wrong on coffee cups Martine moved to the land of Martines and truly fell in love with Paris, its leafy streets and cheesy cuisine! From Ireland, Martine's favourite past-time is working on her freckles while whizzing about on her bike discovering great cycle paths, cafés and wine bars along the way!! When she is not on her bike you are likely to find Martine picnicking in a park, or searching out new places to eat in the city! Martine is our HR Coordinator and loves finding great new people to grow our Fat Tire Family!!
A great hidden gem is the Grand Mosquée. You can sit in one of many highly ornate tea rooms sipping on sweet mint tea and munch on some delicious sweet desserts.
Rue Mouffetard is an entire street full of bars and restaurants, you will find something for everyone here, as well as a few cute shops along the way!
Versailles is the perfect way to immerse yourself in French history through the opulent life of its royalty! Everything about Versailles, from its size, to its grandeur and gardens is breathtaking. Because it has been so beautifully maintained, it is so easy to imagine yourself in the shoes of a member of the french court during the reign of King Louis XV! Nothing is nicer than a trip to the palace market followed by a picnic on the banks of the canal with views of this iconic Chateau and gardens!
The Monet's Garden bike tour is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and discover some beautiful french countryside, local specialities such as cider and cheese, and see the idyllic gardens that inspired so many of Monet's famous paintings. After such a lovely spin in the countryside it's great to head back to the city, refreshed and ready to continue exploring the secrets Paris has to offer!
Drew has been with Fat Tire in Paris for 3 years. He does a lot of quality control and training as Head Guide. He loves everyone he works with and it's the customers that make this job so special. Ironically, he spends a lot of his time off cycling. Usually you can find him heading south west of Paris towards Versailles as it's the greenest direction. He's not done with this beautiful city yet!
Drink wine, beers are expensive and suspiciously cheap wine tastes surprisingly good.
If you are going to the Louvre do some research first and only focus on what you are interested in, it is too big!
Relax! You are on holiday after all, don't try to do everything in Paris it's not possible.
Musée d'Orsay – simply the best collection of Impressionist art in the world. Quick, colorful and accessible, if there is one museum I recommend tourists visit in Paris it is this one.
The Versailles Bike Tour is a lovely day out in the French countryside. Most tourists just see the château (jammed in with 20,000 other people) and miss out on all the best bits. Cycling is the only way to properly explore the largest palace grounds in the world (2000 acres), we have the place practically to ourselves. The history weaves itself together into a unitary torrid narrative, it makes complete sense of the French Revolution!
Juno joined our Paris leadership team in 2015 after her 3-month birthday where she left her rural homestead as the big city beckoned. Leaving behind her show-dog mom, Eva Longoria, and dad, Tiger, Juno found shelter in Valley Fotsch, our Scheduling Coordinator. Juno testifies that this was the best decision of her young puppy life. Nowadays, Juno manages our daily 'morning kisses' where she eagerly greets all employees with a tail-wag and a cuddle. She was quickly promoted to her current position (CCO) after just two weeks as a new employee. Juno has also proven efficient at licking the floor clean, greeting guests who are missing their own pups, and keeping laps warm in the winter.
Watch out for sidewalk grates; they're terrifying!
Head to an open-air market around 2pm as they're closing and you'll have a smorgasbord of delicious odds and ends to collect from the ground!
Go to any park to see a traditional game of pétanque. I learned the hard way that it wasn't a giant game of fetch!
Nobody knows about all of the farm animals in Versailles! It was wild; I spent the morning acting like my cousin the sheepdog and trying to round up the various domesticated critters that populate Marie-Antoinette's peasant village. After a full lap around the Grand Canal, I enjoyed my permanently scheduled afternoon nap in the glory of the Royal Chateau.
After finally mastering my fear of bikes, I took to the streets of Paris at the helm of one of our comfy beach cruisers and felt the joy of the wind rushing through my oversized floppy ears. My guide showed me so many new places where I could chase the birds!