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.
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.
Julie is the General Manager 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 Tours, 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 Versailles Bike 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.
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.
Nick came to Paris, like so many, for reasons of the heart and has been here 14 years. Formerly in the book, comic and collectibles business, after a brief stint in the voice over business Nick changed to guiding for Fat Tire in 2014. Guiding ideally suits his fascination in history and outgoing personality.
The most common mistake in visiting Paris is to charge at every major monument and world class museum and not stop to smell and sip coffee or glass of wine at a road side café. So be sure to grab a seat outside, relax with a beverage, and enjoy the sights and sounds.
Those wanting to stay in shape can run the river bank along the Berges. On the left/south bank they even have various stations for pulls ups, extensions and floor exercise.
On rue Montparnasse, just off the big boulevard of the same name, and on rue Odessa, you’ll find the best crepes and galettes in town, to be washed down with cider.
While most visitors to Paris have the Louvre as a definite destination, my unmissable attraction is the Musee d’Orsay, the converted railway station on the left bank across from the Louvre. The d’Orsay is home to the art of the second half of the 19th century and first decade of the 20th, including the single finest collection of Impressionist art in the world. Additionally, you can take unique pictures of Paris through the clock faces on the 5th floor, making a striking frame for Sacre Coeur.
The Versailles Bike Tour offers such a rich and quintessentially French experience. You get introduced to glorious French food and wine at the Versailles market, to be consumed at a picnic, then you immerse yourself two crucial episodes in French history, the reign of the Sun King and the Revolution. You get to see way more of the extensive grounds than you ever would on foot, including the Queen’s Domain, and finally the state rooms of the palace over the course of a day. It is a fabulous day out!
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!