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Discovering Secret Paris with Urban Adventures

Place de la Concorde on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Some of you might remember when I took the “When Pigs Fry” tour by Urban Adventures in Toronto a while ago. Many of you will know that I’m a huge fan of taking tours in different cities (especially in Paris when they are combined with food – like this tour by Flavors of Paris on the Left Bank, the Context Paris Chocolate Walk, the La Cuisine Paris “Sugar Walk” of the Marais or the “Bellies on Foot” tour, again from La Cuisine Paris).  So you won’t be surprised that when Urban Adventures offered me the chance to check out both of their Paris tours this summer, I jumped at the offer!

About Urban Adventures

(from the website) In 2008 or so, Intrepid Travel and WHL Group decided to join together to create a new style of travel experience. They wanted options for people who wanted to get off the beaten path and really connect with destinations on a local level but only had a day to do so.   In 2009, Urban Adventures was born with that premise – day tours, with a local. All over the world, their tours take you behind the scenes of a destination to reveal its hidden gems. With Urban Adventures local teams in every destination they operate in, you are assured a real local experience.

Last week I headed out with 12 others (this was the maximum group size for UA tours) on the “Secret Paris: Cheese, Art and Local Life” tour  which sounded fantastic, just from the short description on the site: “See the most beautiful city in the world through a local’s eyes on this Paris tour with a difference. Explore the gems of Paris, from strolling through refined boulevards of luxury to exploring hidden enclaves known only to locals. Relax in the picturesque gardens of the Louvre, admire historic buildings in Le Marais and experience true French cuisine in a bustling Paris market.”  A friend did ask me before I went, however, “What can you possibly learn about Paris?” Well the answer to that is “A lot!”. Honestly, each time I come here, I make new discoveries and learn new facts about the city that, even though I called her home for over 5 years, remains SO undiscovered to me.

Hotel de Crillon Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.comOur guide, Tim – a local – was extremely knowledgeable and able to answer all manner of questions.  Our group had a wide variety of ages/ interests and knowledge about Paris and Tim was wonderful at responding to everyone’s needs (including mobility-wise – we had some slower group members but Tim moved the group along at a pace that suited everyone). We ended up finishing nearly an hour later than the assigned time, however, we all appreciated Tim completing the tour and not rushing everyone along or missing stops along the way just to keep to time.  Honestly, the four hours flew by – there was so much to see and hear about.

Hermes Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Certainly we covered a LOT of ground (it’s always good to do a lot of walking in Paris – justifies the croissants, right?)…

Hermes and Lanvin in Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.com

And in response to my friend, it’s not so much knowing where things are but more what they are and their history. I learned a LOT about the history of certain places and also discovered some places I didn’t know existed (even though a few of them are a hop, skip and a jump from my Paris base!)

Village Royal Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Of course, at every turn there is a historical building with a story behind it…

Eglise Place de la Madeleine Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Eglise de la Madeleine Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Along the way there were even MY kind of treats…

Macarons at Fauchon on eatlivetravelwrite.com

When in Paris, don’t forget to look up!

Place Vendome on eatlivetravelwrite.com

There’s always something to see…

Sun King Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.com

And even though the weather on the day of our tour was not so summery, Paris still shone…

Ferris Wheel Tuileries Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.com

And just when  I thought there could be nothing else “new” for me, up pops an up-to-then unknown to me “passage couvert“…

Passage Vero Dodat Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Along with some old favourite haunts….

Outside the Eglise St Eustache Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Eglise St Eustache on eatlivetravelwrite.com

And what’s a Paris tour without some baguette and cheese?

Baguette and cheese in Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.com

A LOT of cheese, in fact! We stopped mid-way for a wonderfully informative cheese tasting (much to the envy of passers-by!).

Cheese tasting in Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Once we’d filled up on cheese and baguette, we headed off on the last part of the tour. More incredible architecture…

Passage Couvert in Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.com

And who knew that Paris is home to Europe’s only dedicated umbrella repair store? Not me!

Peps in Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.com

We saw Paris’ oldest stone house…

Oldest house in Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.com

And something a little more modern…

Centre Pompidou Beaubourg on eatlivetravelwrite.com

All in all, a wonderful morning full of stories, history, tasty treats and no shortage of gorgeous things to look at. I was very impressed with this tour (at €40 it’s one of the cheaper ones too) and would highly recommend it for those visiting Paris with only a short time to visit. Whether you know Paris (or think you do!) or not, there’s something to interest everyone.

 Disclosure: I was a guest of Urban Adventures on the “Secret Paris” tour. I was not asked to write about this, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions are 100% my own.

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17 Responses to Discovering Secret Paris with Urban Adventures

  1. cat July 9, 2013 at 07:55 #

    what a fun tour! love learning a little more about places that you’ve visited again and again – there’s always something more to know. :)

  2. Coco in the Kitchen July 9, 2013 at 11:49 #

    Lovely pics.
    Paris is so magical, esp Montmartre.

  3. Paula July 9, 2013 at 18:04 #

    It was living in Marville France for five years (at the RCAF station) when I was a child that I fell in love with eating fresh French Baguettes and cheese. It’s something I enjoy to this day though I doubt the baguettes I am purchasing today in Ontario really compare to what I savoured as a child.
    Glad you are having a wonderful time in Paris Mardi and I hope your Toronto is dry and in full recovery from the major storm yesterday.

    • Mardi Michels November 10, 2013 at 19:14 #

      Baguettes in Toronto are getting better but they just are not the same!

  4. Geoff July 9, 2013 at 23:44 #

    You should make a Paris calendar with those pics. Gorgeous.

  5. Ann Mah July 10, 2013 at 04:25 #

    Lovely, lovely photos, Mardi! I haven’t taken many tours in my life, but this post is inspiring me to sign up for one — I love learning new things about familiar places.

    • Mardi Michels November 10, 2013 at 19:13 #

      Me too Ann – that’s the beauty of tours for me!

  6. yummychunklet July 10, 2013 at 15:31 #

    I love all the macaroons!

    • Mr. Neil July 10, 2013 at 18:34 #

      Tsk, tsk….MACARON! ;-)

  7. Mr. Neil July 10, 2013 at 18:34 #

    Envy. Even Cleo is all over the Ipad reading this…

  8. Alex July 12, 2013 at 14:08 #

    I remember reading about the When Pig Friy walking tour and was so excited about it, I went straight to the website and saw that they covered Paris as I have plans to go in the summer – but never got around to booking anything! After reading this post…I went straight to the website and booked my tour! I can’t wait for August 3rd :)

  9. Kat July 15, 2013 at 15:21 #

    Oh I did that tour last year! It was a blast and a fantastic introduction to Paris. So glad you’re enjoying your summer. And fyi I’ve passed on your twitter handle to a writer who’s looking for “the Euro cake/pastry obsessed” for a story. :)

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