It is hard to believe that exactly a month ago, we were scheduled to leave on our spring break trip to Paris and Amsterdam. So much has happened since then that it seems like a lifetime ago. While lamenting our lost vacation, a couple of friends suggested that I create a virtual tour of Paris instead.
There are so many articles about all the virtual tours available from museums, parks, monuments, and more. But I wanted to do something a little different. I set out to recreate as much of our planned itinerary as possible — virtually — including virtual tours and online cooking classes and wine tasting experiences.
Whether you want to engage in a little armchair travel to Paris, use this as a homeschooling exercise, or start planning a future trip to Paris, I hope you find it helpful!
Taking a Virtual Tour of Paris
Since I spent hours planning our 5 day trip to Paris, I thought I would lay out a virtual visit to match our planned trip as closely as possible. So you can use this not only for a virtual trip to Paris, but also as a guide to planning your real trip once we can all travel again.
On our arrival day, our plan was to explore the Saint Germain neighborhood where we were staying as a way to get over our jet lag without overdoing it. Take a virtual walking tour of Saint-Germain-des-Pres instead with this video:
We were going to finish with a leisurely stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens, but you can take a virtual stroll instead with this video:
Île de Cité
On our second day, we were planning on taking a private tour of Île de Cité with LivTours. We would explore this historic area, visit Saint Chapelle to see the beautiful stained glass windows, and see what we could see of Notre Dame.
While LivTours can’t currently give live tours, they are doing some very cool “LivTalks.” So if you have every wanted to learn how to drink Champagne like a Parisian, be sure to check them out.
If you don’t want to pay for a group or private tour, or want to take a virtual audio tour of Île de Cité then you can download the Join Us in France audio tour.
Go inside Notre Dame and learn more about its history through this video:
Jardin des Tuileries
The next day we were going to spend exploring the Right Bank, starting with the Jardin des Tuileries, followed by lunch at Angelina’s. So make yourself an Angelina’s-style hot chocolate at home, or order up one of Angelina’s gift boxes, and explore virtually.
Explore the Jardin des Tuileries virtually instead with this video:
Musée de l’Orangerie
The Musée de l’Orangerie, home to Monet’s Water Lilies, was going to be our next stop. Thanks to the Google Art Project, you can explore the Musée de l’Orangerie virtually.
Even though this avenue is very touristy, the plan was to then make our way up the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe. Take a virtual stroll along the Champs-Elysées with this video:
Arc de Triomphe
Learn the history of the Arc de Triomphe with this video or take a virtual tour.
Siene River Cruise
That evening we were planning on a Siene River cruise and Eiffel Tower tour with The Tour Guy. You can still take a virtual tour of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame with The Tour Guy or sail down the river virtually through this video:
Everyone knows what the Eiffel Tower looks like, but you can get up close with a virtual tour. Learn more fun facts about the Eiffel Tower through this video:
Paris Food Tour
The next day, we were going to take the Ultimate Paris Food Tour with Devour Food Tours. While we can’t take a live tour now, Devour Tour is offering some truly fun (and FREE) food experiences online, including this one on French food.
While you are at it, you can try some of these French recipes from La Cuisine Paris, a great cooking school and food tour company. If wine is more your thing, sign up for one of these virtual wine tastings with local French winemakers.
That afternoon the plan was to explore the Musée d’Orsay, wander through the Impressionists, and finally get to see that famous clock in person. The first time I visited Paris, all the museums were on strike for the entire week. This trip I was really looking forward to finally getting to go INSIDE. Well, you still can…kind of…through another Google Arts virtual tour.
Our final morning was to be spent exploring the artistic neighborhood of Montmarte. Instead, you can take a virtual tour of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica or download and listen to an audio tour of the Montemarte neighborhood.
L’Atelier des Lumières
After Montmarte, we were going to cab over to L’Atelier des Lumières to taken in the Monet, Renoir, and Chagall digital art exhibit. This was a fairly new exhibit so I couldn’t find a virtual option beyond the website, but previous exhibits shown in this video will give you a good idea of this immersive experience.
Since the Louvre is open late on Wednesdays, we were planning on finishing our trip to Paris by taking a “Closing time at the Louvre” tour with Walks. They don’t currently have any virtual offerings from France, but Walks is offering tours from home with everything from cooking classes and tours of museums and monuments in Italy and NYC.
The Louvre Museum is offering a series of virtual tours to explore many of the different galleries and masterpieces.
Before you “Leave”
Before you leave on your trip, or if you just want to dig a little deeper into Parisian culture and the French language, here are some resources to get you started.
- Practice your French or learn a little with episodes from the Coffee Break French podcast.
- Learn about French history, neighborhood guides, how to act in a French restaurant, and more on the Join Us in France podcast (see an example below)
- Get tips for renting an apartment in Paris for your vacation
- Download a planning checklist for your actual Paris trip
- Find out how much a trip to Paris costs