In Paris there's a palpable feeling of history, as befits a city over 2000 years old. In its earliest days it was the often-reluctant host to the Celts and the Romans. Paris as we know it today was largely formed in the Middle Ages, in the subsequent royal periods, and by the two Napoleonic emperors. To delve into this story, we recommend these history-themed walking tours. Let's strap on our history boots.
1. Walking Tour of Père Lachaise Cemetery… The graves of the rich & famous
2. The French Revolution Walking Tour… Historic sites of this tumultuous period
3. Walk in Napoleon's Footsteps… Visit the places Bonaparte trod
4. Art Nouveau Architecture Wonders… Marvel at the ageless splendor
You may think that a history walk through a graveyard is a bit… unusual. We did, until we signed up for this tour of Père Lachaise Cemetery. It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable walking tours we have ever been on.
We learned so much about the history of Paris and the fascinating cast of character who are buried here. Just read this list — Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison, Gertrude Stein, Marcel Proust, Molière, Proust and Balzac, famous star-crossed lovers Heloise and Abelard. You know that guy who popularized the eating of potatoes (they used to be considered poisonous)? He's here, too! Highly recommended by us and hundreds of other visitors who've rated it 5-star.
Tumultuous, revolutionary, horrifying and uplifting — the French Revolution was one of the most important events in modern European history.
As you visit the historic sites an expert in French history explains the French Revolution, the events leading up to, and its consequences. The tour visits the site of the former Tuileries Palace; the site of the infamous Bastille prison; the Conciergerie, where Marie Antoinette was held; and other sites of historic note.
Following the French Revolution was another era of great importance to France — the Age of Napoleon. Bonaparte made it his job to aggrandize Paris, to turn it into a worthy capitol of his empire. Hence, there is a lot to see from the Napoleonic era.
With an expert historian as guide you'll visit sites important to that era, including L'École Militaire, Place Vendôme, and Les Invalides. This is a small-group tour to ensure individual attention.
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This historical walking tour focuses on the second half of the 19th century when Art Nouveau was in vogue. Along the way an expert in the period makes it all come to life.
Of course, the centerpiece of Art Nouveau in Paris is the Palais Garnier (photo above), the sumptuous opera house built during Haussmann's reconstruction of the city, and that's also a centerpiece of the walking tour, although there's plenty more, including impressive Gare Saint-Lazare. You visit a traditional brasserie (and have a quick drink) and stroll along vibrant Boulevard Haussmann.
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