So far my trip through northern France was going great with no major snafus or delays that normally come with travelling. I always plan to give myself a few days where I have nothing planned so I can either revisit some place that I felt warranted more time, or discovering somewhere completely different that I hadnâ€™t seen before. So, after spending a few days in Champagne country, I decided I hadnâ€™t seen enough of Paris. I got in my rental car and headed back to the capital city. Being from the south of France I donâ€™t get up to Paris as much as people think I would; France is a lot bigger than most people realize.
I wonâ€™t lie, after that great meal at Lâ€™Assiette Champenoise, my desire for fine French dining grew, which was partly why I headed back to Paris. That, and I still felt there were plenty of hidden gems in the city that I had yet to discover. After speaking with the concierge at my hotel in Paris, he suggested that I take a guided walking tour through Paris as a way to see sights that are normally missed by the average visitor.
He instructed me to meet the tour group at a meeting point at the Saint Paul Metro stop located in the Marais district, which I found by looking for other people who were also looking for our tour guide. Together we spotted a gentleman who appeared to be looking for us as well. Once everybody found each other, we each paid the tour guide a mere â‚¬12 plus a tip at the end of the tour. There was no need to pre-register for this tour; you just have to show up. My tour group consisted of about 6 people which I felt was the perfect size.
The tour was superb and very informative. Our witty tour guide pointed out all the beautiful architecture and history of the Marais district that I had never noticed before– rather never taken the time to pay attention too. He took us through all these beautiful back alleys that led to little manicured gardens and cozy courtyards. We must have walked past a dozen or so boutique shops and cafes that have been around for years but are not on the main streets so you wouldnâ€™t think to look for them. I kept thinking to myself that these cafes must be amazing to have been around so long but also be so hidden from the main thoroughfares of Paris. I canâ€™t wait to try them sometime soon!
The tour ended at the National Archives building, which was undergoing a strike by the administrative staff, complete with picket lines and huge strike banners hanging in the beautiful courtyard. Itâ€™s times like these where I keep my French nationality on the down-low but thatâ€™s another story for another time.
Check out the boutique hotels in France I stayed in, along with hundreds of other luxe options in Europe at Excellenthotels.com, the exclusive partner of Chateaux & Hotels Collection.