- 2 hours
We’ll start our walk in front of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés church, which barely survived the destructive acts of the 18th-century revolutionaries. One of the oldest churches in Paris, Saint-Germain-des-Prés makes for an excellent introduction to the area's religious character. While here, we’ll also delve into the unusual history and diverse identity of the Left Bank, from its time as a Roman settlement 2,000 years ago to a scholarly enclave steeped in intellectualism starting in the 12th century.
We’ll also discuss how Left Bank fostered a growing and lively bohemian community, starting in the 1920s and 30s. We’ll focus specifically on cafés of the Left Bank, the hub of intellectual life, which were home to some of the most beloved artists, writers and philosophers of the 20th century. (To go more in-depth, try our Paris Literary Tour.) Next we’ll continue down some of the back streets to discover the refined restaurants and wine bars that have turned the Left Bank into an epicurean paradise. We might take a peak into some of the most famous jazz clubs in the neighborhood and visit other hidden gems, depending on the group's interests or the guide’s areas of expertise. After traversing parts of the Latin Quarter we will finish our stroll near the Seine river, a convenient place to continue your evening stroll along the river on your own and admire the illuminations of the Eiffel Tower.
When would you recommend we schedule the Left Bank orientation walk?
We find this tour is best scheduled at the beginning of your stay so that we can acquaint you with and provide a solid foundation for further explorations of Paris.
The route may include small hills, narrow sidewalks and cobblestoned streets. Please contact us to discuss in more detail your mobility so that we can best advise. You might also look at our Paris by Riverboat tour, an orientation that is done partially seated and is wheelchair-accessible.
Generally speaking, the walk begins near Église Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement of Paris and stays in a compact area in the neighborhood. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point details along with a map, and 24/7 phone number.
Tours operate rain or shine, but in the case of inclement weather, your guide will modify the tour so more time is spent indoors. It never hurts to have an umbrella on hand.
Yes! We have some excellent family friendly guides who can appeal to the learning styles of children. Please book privately if you have children under 13. Feel free to provide us with information about your children such as favorite school subjects, and hobbies. This way we can match you with the best possible guide.
The daughter of a sculptor, Marie has been surrounded by art ever since she was born. A native Parisienne, she holds an undergraduate degree in history and art history, with a specialty in iconography and French and Flemish paintings from the 16th to the 18th centuries. She also holds a Master's degree in museology from the Ecole du Louvre and one in Art History from the Sorbonne. She currently works for the French National Art History Institute on special cultural events. Since she loves literature, ballet, theatre, opera, jazz clubs, and classical concerts—she has been playing the piano since she was 9—Paris and its artistic life are a perfect fit.
James King is a painter, sculptor and printmaker living in France since graduating from the University of Oxford in 1987. In 2011, after twenty-five years in Paris, he moved with his French wife and three young children to the Vexin region, west of the capital, not far from the village of Giverny, where he frequently leads walks for Context through the house and gardens of the impressionist painter Claude Monet. James also leads tours of the Louvre and Orsay museums, where he enjoys sharing with adults and children alike his intimate experience of painting and sculpture. In addition to art-focused seminars in Paris, he leads a number of hands-on painting and drawing workshops for Context in Giverny, Auvers sur Oise (the last home of Van Gogh), and other places.
Originally from Canada, Lily Heise is a freelance travel writer who has been living in Paris since 2000. She holds a Fine Arts Degree from the University of Guelph and has extensive experience in tourism and culture having worked for several French universities, museums, cultural sites and previously in the office of Context Travel. Her writing has been featured on the Huffington Post, Business Insider, CondeNastTraveler.com, Frommer's print guides and online, DK Eyewitness, Fodor's and others. She is also the author of two books on looking for romance in Paris and runs an award-winning blog on Paris, travel and romance, <a href="https://www.jetaimemeneither.com">Je T'Aime, Me Neither</a>.
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