Paris Fashion History Tour

Learn about the birth of haute couture in the City of Style with a fashion history expert
From US$506 privately
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Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
  • Palais Royal
  • Place Vendôme
  • Opera Garnier
  • Rue Saint-Honoré
Photos & Highlights
  • Paris fashion tour led by a fashion or art historian
  • Learn about fashion history in the world's fashion capital
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Tour Description
Known as the City of Love and Light, Paris is likewise the City of Style. Nearly synonymous with fashion, luxury, and haute couture, Paris boasts a long list of fashion history's most iconic designers. From Worth and Poiret, to Chanel and Dior, these fashion visionaries turned the city into a haven for designers and trendsetters alike. On our three-hour Paris fashion tour in the company of one of our experts, we will weave a narrative through the Parisian fashion history, from the late 18th-century notion shops in covered passageways, the rise of the grands magasins, and finally the 20th-century designers who revolutionized the way we dress.

Disclaimer: The Opéra Garnier is currently undergoing exterior renovations and a large part of the façade is covered with scaffolding. This tour does not visit the interior of the opera. 
  • Palais Royal
  • Opéra Garnier (exterior only) 
  • Grands Magasins
  • Place Vendôme
  • 3 Hours with a PhD or MA level guide
We will begin at the Palais Royal where we’ll stroll through the covered passages that introduced glass-front shops to the 18th-century. Designed by Louis-Phillipe d'Orléans, Duc de Chartres in 1781, Palais Royal combined shopping, entertainment, and leisure space, becoming an instant sensation with the Parisians.

We will then move towards the Opéra and the grands magasins created as a result of Baron Haussmann’s 19th-century urban revitalization plan. Here, we will learn how the most current fashion trends of the Second Empire became accessible to a wider audience. We’ll pass by the former ateliers of high-end designers such as Charles Frederick Worth and Jacques Doucet, whose luxurious and stylish gowns attracted customers such as Empress Eugénie and other nobility.

Passing through the Place Vendôme, now home to high-end jewelers and boutiques, we’ll step into fashion of the 20th-century. Pioneered by Coco Chanel, who installed her studios nearby, we will look at the shift away from the excessive, constrictive designs for women's fashion towards more practical—yet no less stylish—silhouettes. 

We'll finish our time with a better understanding of how various fashion movements in Paris influenced shoppers over the years and having become acquainted with some of the more significant shops and locations in the fashion capital. 

Will there be any opportunities do some shopping during the walk?
This tour focuses on illuminating the timeline of fashion history in Paris. The tour will stop inside of some shops to provide historical context, but this is not a shopping tour.

Is this tour walking intensive, and/or wheelchair accessible? 
We do cover extensive territory on this tour. Please contact us with any questions; we will be happy to advise if this tour will be appropriate for you, and can also design a private, adapted tour for visitors with mobility issues.
Where You'll Start
(4.86) 52 Reviews

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Elisa was wonderful. We learned so much about the history of fashion in Paris and had the opportunity to visit some many of the covered passages, beautiful high fashion stores as well as vintage couture. We enjoyed her energy and knowledge.
Fascinating. Fashion and history conversation woven into walking among the landmarks, we could just imagine the legendary designers and influencers across time. Marie Antionette used to shop on the same street we were walking on! The story of Fashion that Christina presented was about expression but also insight into social, cultural, and political change. Christina tailored the tour to our interests including a visit to some favorite designers’ ateliers. We ended the tour with a lovely couple of hours of observation/fieldwork (people watching over a delicious lunch at a cafe Christina recommended). As I’ve come to expect from Context, we left with more than just having seen. We left thinking about what we had seen.
Rosemary was well-versed in the history of Paris! She could teach a college-level course. It was refreshing to tour with someone who was well prepared and intelligent. AND, who showed a love of Paris and its rich, exceptional history.