Frequently Asked questions

If you didn't found the answer to your question on the website, I invite you to read the FAQ. You will find questions frequently asked by visitors as well as several tips to prepare your stay in Paris.

 

You can also contact me to ask me directly your question. I am always happy to help you plan your stay in Paris.


When to visit the Louvre museum to avoid the crowds?

Let's be clear: the Louvre is the most visited museum in the world! You will not be alone in the Louvre, no matter when you visit. There is no magic bullet, but here are some tips that may be useful:

  • Avoid Monday and Wednesday mornings: Tuesday is the closing day of the Louvre museum, so Mondays and Wednesdays are always very busy days
  • Try the evening openings: on Wednesday evenings and Friday evenings, the Louvre Museum is opened until 9.45 pm (instead of 6pm), there are generally fewer people and the atmosphere is really nice!
  • Explore lesser-known sections of the museum: the Louvre Museum displays priceless treasures. If you follow me on a tour, I will help you discover rooms where there are lesser-known artworks and therefore less people in the room.

How to avoid the crowds in Versailles?

8 million visitors at Versailles in 2018: a record! But then, when to visit the Palace of Versailles to avoid the crowds?

  • Avoid Tuesdays: it is the closing day of the Louvre Museum and many Parisian museums, so many tourists choose to visit Versailles on Tuesdays, which makes it one of the busiest days at Versailles.
  • Choose a guided tour: this is the only way to skip the line and get into the Versailles Palace with a timed ticket. This will save you from queuing for 2 hours in full sunlight (or under pouring rain) as it is sometimes the case!
  • Get away from the Palace: instead, you can stroll in the gardens, visit the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon and the Estate of Marie-Antoinette, or discover the Coaches Gallery.
  • Treat yourself to a guided tour of the Royal Private apartments: privileged skip-the-line entrance, and the chance of being alone in the rooms (nevertheless, this privilege has a price: the entry fee is 450 euros per group)
  • Stroll around the gardens to discover the statues, fountains, perspectives and groves of Versailles. This is even better on the days of "Musical Fountains Show": every Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from April to October.

What is the difference between a group tour and a private tour?

During a private tour, your guide will only be available for you, as a couple, with friends or as a family. It is also possible to organize a private group tour: the group will then be composed of your school class, members of your association, or employees of your company... In a private tour, you define the composition of the group.

On the other hand, during a public group tour for individuals travelers gathered together, the guide organizes a guided tour following a schedule set in advance and published (for example on its website). Then, each participant comes to join the guide and other visitors at the meeting point. On a "public" tour, you don't know the other participants.

The rate of a private tour is usually higher than a "public" tour because you choose the date, the timing and you can define exactly what you want, to adapt the tour with your private guide. 

As for me, I only organize private tours.


How to visit Paris if I am in a wheelchair, or if I have walking issues?

It is not always easy to visit a big city when you cannot walk a lot or you have difficulty getting around. Here is some information that may be useful to you.

About transportation, please note that most metro stations in Paris are not wheelchair accessible (except for the metro line #14, the most recent one). On the other hand, most of the bus lines are accessible and will allow you to move (a little) more easily in Paris. To visit Paris without too much walking, the ideal solution remains to hire a driver with a minivan (up to 6-7 people). 

 

In some major public museums such as the Louvre Museum or the Versailles Palace, it is possible to borrow a wheelchair, free of charge (an ID will be required) during your visit.

Please be aware that those ancient monuments are not always suitable for a full wheelchair tour. Sometimes the walking time towards the elevator will be longer than climbing a few steps on foot. This will depend on your ability or not to climb a few steps.

 

If some people in your group cannot or do not want to walk for too long, there are some tours where it is easier to sit regularly (the Orsay Museum for example). I also recommend to visit some "human-size" monuments, such as the Basilica of Saint-Denis or the Garnier Opera House.

In any case, do not hesitate to book a private tour to visit museums and monuments in Paris, while warning your guide about your needs: your guide will adapt the route to help you, and will know the "secret passages" and the location of the lifts.


Do you do guided tours in temporary exhibitions?

For now, I do not organize guided tours in the temporary exhibitions in Paris. Nevertheless, I can use my network to recommend you some excellent trustworthy tour guides I regularly work with. Some of them organize guided tours in temporary exhibitions in Paris.

These thematic temporary exhibitions are a very good way to (re)discover Paris if you have already visited the main monuments and museums. It is also an opportunity to discover works of art that are rarely exhibited in France or in Europe (like the great Leonardo da Vinci exhibition in the Louvre museum, for example). 


Why should I choose a certified tour guide to visit Paris?

Firstly, because the official license of professional tour guide, issued by the Ministries of Culture and Tourism, is the only one that allows us to "lead guided tours in the museums and listed historical monuments" throughout France.

This license can be obtained after passing the Professional Tour Guide Degree, which I personally obtained at the University of Angers, in the heart of the Châteaux of the Loire Valley. This degree includes theoretical training at the University, many trips to France and several months of internships. It is therefore the guarantee that your guide is trained to be a professional guide and that he or she will adapt to your requests.

The professional license is therefore a guarantee of quality, and this is also why I am committed to respecting the quality charter of the National Federation of Certified tourist guides.

 

But the professional license doesn't do everything, and in this job, we must always update and deepen our knowledge! That's why I'm a member of the GUID'Z Association, which organizes guided tours and lectures given by experienced teachers and expert guides. This association is intended only for professional tour guides, as part of our continuing education

Moreover, as the secretary of the Guid'Z Association, I am involved in the promotion of the tour guide profession through actions for the general public and partnerships with the institutions. And, as I do not know everything and I am not always available, the Guid'Z Association is also a large network of certified and trustworthy tour guides that will allow me to recommend you a colleague if I cannot do the tour you want. 


What to do when there are no more tickets to go up the Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower is probably the most famous Parisian monument, but it is managed by a private company. I have no possibility of finding skip-the-line tickets (with a fixed date and time) when the tickets are sold out on the official website of the Eiffel Tower (www.toureiffel.paris).

If there is no more ticket available on the date you want, here are several alternatives:

  • Waiting in line and coming early in the morning or late in the evening: the Eiffel Tower is opened from 9.30am to 11:45pm, and from 9am to 00:45pm in summer.
  • Visit the Arc de Triomphe: I can provide you with skip-the-line tickets, the entrance is free for children, and in addition, you will have a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower from the Arch of Triumph!
  • Go up to the top of the Montparnasse tower: you can buy your tickets easily on their website and go up in seconds to the 56th floor of the Montparnasse tower, using a very quick elevator. I recommend you to go there at sunset to enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Paris
  • Admire the roofs of Paris from the Galeries Lafayette terrace: completely free, access to the top floor of Galeries Lafayette offers you a beautiful view of the Opera house Garnier and the rooftops of Paris 

Visiting Paris, yes, but with whom ?

To visit Paris, there are many different options:

  • A certified tour guide: he/she is a tourism professional, trained in history and art history, but who also knows how to adapt to your request and who can make you benefit from skip-the-line entrances. The tour guide is the only one allowed to do guided tours in museums and historical monuments in France. It is, in my opinion, the best way to visit Paris and come back home with the best memories of your stay.
  • The "free tours": these fake "free tours" are given by "students" who ask you to tip them at the end of the visit (so it's not free at all, and the fake guide sometimes has to give back the money to the company that organized the tour!) In addition to taking the risk to be told nonsense, you will not be able to enter any of the monuments to discover them from the inside. If you want my advice: run away from them!
  • Greeters: greeters are volunteers, often retired people, who offer to introduce you to their neighbourhood or their city "as a friend"... But beware, greeters are not graduated to be tour guides and cannot do tours inside monuments or museums.
  • Incoming agencies (DMC): some agencies organize guided tours for individual travelers in museums, neighbourhoods or temporary exhibitions. It is a good option if you do not have the budget for a private tour, but quality is not always there (Feel free to contact me, I can give you names of some good agencies). 

If you are on this website, I think you already got it: I strongly advise you to trust a certified tour guide for your trip to Paris.


How far in advance should I book the tour?

As soon as you can: it is always better to plan your tour as soon as possible, because I may not be available on the day you want, and because most museums and monuments require an advance booking. Usually, I advise you to book at least one month in advance. The busiest tourist season in Paris goes between April and September. So, the sooner the better!

If you didn't plan ahead and you would like a tour in the next few days, you can still give it a try: if I am available, I will do my best to ensure you can enjoy a great guided tour. 


I already have my tickets, can I book a tour with you?

It depends on which tickets you bought, for which tour: 

  • For the Louvre museum, Orsay Museum, Sainte-Chapelle, Arc de Triomphe: it is all good, I will be happy to be your guide
  • For the Eiffel Tower: it is all good, but you will need to buy one more ticket for me, at the same time slot that you have booked already
  • If you have purchased tickets for Versailles: I am sorry, but Passeport tickets, or Palace tickets, even with a time slot, are not valid for a guided tour. In order to do a guided tour in Versailles, we need to book a special timed ticket, giving us access to a different entrance, reserved only for guides. Please contact me if you want me to get those tickets for you. 

What to do for a corporate meeting or a team-building in Paris?

Are you planning a business meeting or an orientation seminar for your team? It is possible to organize some tours off-the-beaten track (for example, a gourmet tour in the covered galleries of Paris) or a tour at the end of the day, so that your employees or colleagues can discover Paris between their working day and a dinner for example (Arch of Triumph, the Seine river at sunset...).

If you need to organise transportation, I can give you the contact of several transport companies I am usually working with, to adapt the tour to the best of your wishes (8 seats minivans, small or large coaches up to 50 people...)

Dur to the current sanitary situation, if your team members are all around the world, and cannot travel right now, I can organize a virtual guided tour of Paris, to discover Paris or Versailles, with live comments. 

Don't hesitate to contact me to organise a tailor-made tour according to your requests. 


How to become a tour guide in France?

To become a professional tour guide in France, it is necessary to start with a university degree in history, art history, architecture, archaeology, tourism or foreign languages (from 2 to 5 years of study). Then, you should carry out the Professional degree of tourist guide (1 to 2 years) which gives all the skills you need to work as a tour guide (guiding techniques, group management, internships...)

About fifteen universities in France offer this degree: I have personally graduated from the University of Angers (in Chateaux of the Loire Valley), which I recommend. By graduating from this Tour Guide Degree, you will receive the professional tour guide licence, which is mandatory in France to guide in museums and historical monuments.

It is also possible to receive the professional licence by validating some course units of a master's degree or by Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning. More information can be found on the website of Minister for the Economy and Finance Affairs, in charge of Tourism: https://www.entreprises.gouv.fr/Tourisme/Metiers/guide-conferencier (in French)