GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!
GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!WithGoGuide
GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!

Hiring a Guide in Paris - Pros and Cons

Gowithguide travel specialist O.

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Gowithguide travel specialist O.

Last updated : Mar 16, 202311 min read

Travel Tips

Arguably the most well known tourist destination in the world, most people have a good grasp of the most famous sights and attractions in Paris. That being said, traversing the city by yourself can still be an intimidating task, and if you don’t plan your trip properly you may end up missing out on a lot. 

In recent years, the concept of private guided tours has been rising in popularity as people yearn to experience a more authentic tour experience and avoid the crowds associated with traditional package tour companies. In this article, we will be doing an in-depth comparison of both the pros and cons that come with hiring a private tour guide when visiting the City of Lights. 

What is a private guide anyway? 

Okay, so if you’re reading this chances are you already have a decent grasp of the concept behind private guides, but when exactly did this become a “thing”? Traditionally you either planned your own tour or joined a package tour group, right? The idea of a “private guide” used to be restricted to Indiana Jones-esque adventurers who needed a local to help them find a hidden temple in the jungle. 

Actually, private tour guides are not restricted to adventurers or the ultra rich, and the idea has been gaining popularity in recent years to the point that some have described it as a force with the potential to transform the tourism industry. You can think about it almost like an Uber driver, a private individual (i.e. not someone working for a large tour company) who you can call up to show you around an area or city. 

Unlike an Uber, a private guide of course provides a much more in-depth service which may include transport, accommodation, itinerary planning, shopping trips, visits to remote areas, and much more. The popularity of services like this have increased partly due to travelers’ demand for more unique touring experiences. Instead of being another faceless customer of the day on a packed and noisy tour bus, modern travelers want to customize their trip and interact with actual locals to get a much more authentic experience of the country or city they are visiting. 

Pros and Cons

Right, so like everything in life there are potential upsides and downsides when it comes to private guides as well, so let’s take a look at both so you can decide what’s best for your next trip. 

blog imagePros

  • Customization - In addition to pre-made options, most private guides also allow you to create a tour experience that appeals to you. Sights like the Louvre are no-brainers, but perhaps a castle tour or a romp through the darker side of the city appeals more to you.
  • Local knowledge - Private guides have lived in their local area for years. They can help you explore places that do not appear in the tourist brochures. Perhaps go shopping for local souvenirs or explore the infamous Red Light district, home of the Moulin Rouge
  • Less stress - Can’t speak the language? Do the train schedules resemble ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics? No need to fret, just ask your private guide to help you out. 
  • Unique experiences - Bored of the “standard” attractions? A private guide can take you on memorable excursions such as exploring the Paris catacombs or diving into the history of Parisian jazz
  • Safety - Depending on the country you’re visiting, security may be a concern. A private guide can help you avoid crime-prone areas and advise you on the best ways to prevent overcharging or worse. 

Cons

  • Scheduling - Some of the more popular private guides may have very busy schedules, especially during peak seasons. Book well in advance to ensure you aren’t disappointed. 
  • Cost - Obviously hiring someone to show you around will be more expensive than simply exploring by yourself. Costs will depend on what you want to do exactly.
  • Time - If you’re only hiring a guide for a few hours, understand that they may have other customers after you, so keeping to a schedule is important. For true time flexibility, book your guide for a full-day or multi-day tour. 
  • Language - While all of our guides speak English as a requirement, some accents may be harder to understand than others. Ask your guide about their English proficiency before confirming your booking. 
  • Compatibility - Sometimes a clash of personalities is unavoidable, especially since you’ll be spending a good amount of time with your guide. Talk with your guide beforehand and get to know them a bit to avoid any potential awkwardness. 

blog imageTime Efficiency

In our opinion, the hardest part of an international tour is usually the time required to plan everything out. From trying to decipher foreign language websites, making multiple separate bookings, or getting confused by the sheer amount of potential available activities, a private guide can help you avoid all of these and more. 

If a pre-made tour doesn’t tick all of your boxes, simply give your guide an idea of what you’d like to experience and they can take care of the rest. Most guides will meet you at your desired location, either at your hotel directly or at another pre-appointed place (like a train station). 

Your guide will also ensure that you have enough time in the day to visit all the spots on your itinerary, so you don’t need to worry about missing out due to taking a wrong turn. Some large cities, especially older European cities such as Paris can also get quite labyrinthine in places, meaning it can be very easy to get lost in the meandering ancient alleyways. While getting lost in a foreign city can be a fun adventure in itself, it may not be something that everyone will enjoy! 

Like in most European capitals, public transportation is going to be the best way to get around, especially in a city like Paris where traffic may be heavy. Subway, train, and bus services are plentiful, but may be a bit of a challenge to figure out for newcomers. Traveling alongside a private guide gives you the peace of mind of not having to worry about navigating around the city, and they can inform you about specific rules such as needing to authenticate your tickets. 

While simply taking a car might sound like an easy option, riding on the Parisian subways, taking walks down the city’s majestic Latin quarter, stopping at a charming cafe for a coffee, or finding that peculiar trinket you were looking for in an out-of-the-way shop is a unique experience you don’t want to miss out on. All these things may not necessarily be connected to your final destination (traveling to the Louvre for example), but they have the potential of transforming your trip from a standardized packaged affair into a truly memorable experience.

Security 

blog imageAs mentioned briefly previously, being accompanied by a local guide can really help reduce any concerns you have regarding safety. From specific areas and tourist traps to avoid, to ensuring shopkeepers don’t overcharge you, guides can keep you and your wallet safe. Please don’t think of your guide as a personal bodyguard, but their local know-how can definitely help reduce the chances of anything bad happening. 

Disclaimer: Our guides do not conduct tours of particularly dangerous areas like the kind you may see in a hard-hitting documentary series.  

When it comes to Paris in particular, the city does have somewhat of a reputation for petty crime. Pickpockets will frequently attempt to target foreign tourists, both because they usually carry cash and also because they may be a bit naive when it comes to keeping their belongings concealed. 

We would advise always keeping your wits about you, especially when exploring denser urban areas or when moving around in large crowds. Do not carry your valuables in obvious places, and consider leaving your passport or other important documents in your hotel room safe (or similar secure location) when out for brief excursions. There are many kinds of anti-pickpocket wallets and bags available as well, so it may be a good idea to invest in one of these if you’re worried. 

Luckily, violent crime is not very common in France, but again staying vigilant is always a good idea. Another thing you may need to keep in mind is that Paris (and other French cities) sometimes see large civil protests breaking out. These protests are usually related to wage decreases or unpopular government policies, meaning they are unlikely to impact your safety, but they may cause traffic congestion or other such inconveniences. We would recommend simply staying away from the area if one breaks out while you are on vacation.  

Cost

The exact cost of your tour will obviously depend on how long it is and what exactly you’re looking to do, but you have a lot more freedom when it comes to private guides compared to tour groups. 

Contrary to popular belief, pre-packaged tours are generally going to be more expensive than hiring a private guide. The word “private” may make one think that this is an exclusive and thus expensive service, but this is not always the case. A private day tour of Paris using one of our accredited GoWithGuide guides can be organized for as little as $50 per person, depending on the number of landmarks or attractions that you would like to visit. Keep in mind that most short duration private tours do not include things like accommodation, transport, or food costs, and depending on the destination special tickets may need to be purchased. We recommend talking to your guide beforehand so you have a clear idea of the expected costs. 

Comparatively, a guided day tour of Paris using a large tour company can put you back hundreds of dollars, but these usually include transport, food, or other extras in the price (though these can vary in quality). Remember, in this scenario you are only one amongst many guests on the tour whereas with a private guide you yourself or your group will be directly in contact with your guide from step one. 

If you’re looking to splurge a bit on a truly luxurious experience, a private guide can also create a premium tour experience that caters to your needs. Check out a higher end customizable tour that includes all the best Parisian landmarks as well as the chance to shop at some of the best fashion outlets in the city. When it comes to multi-day tours, accommodation and transport is frequently included in the price.

Conclusion 

While tour companies offer peace of mind, they frequently miss out on providing a truly enriching travel experience due to having to accommodate large numbers of guests simultaneously, and thus not necessarily being able to cater to your specific needs. On the other hand, a private guide can meet you at your hotel, help you with public (or private) transportation options, and give you an intimate and fulfilling travel experience that you are unlikely to receive from a pre-packaged large tour.

Hire a private tour guide for your Paris trip at GoWithGuide today!

Paris Tour Guide - Jillian A.

Jillian A.

5.00 / 5
(1 reviews)
France

Bonjour de Paris! I'm Jillian, your independent Paris guide, ready to sprinkle some magic on your adventure! Walk with me – your experienced, passionate, dynamic, and undeniably cool local guide. Let's meander through petite cafes and historic wonders, unlocking the secrets to living like a true Parisian! Marvel at hidden gems where the art of the past and present intertwines, making history your playground! Join my small groups or opt for a private/personalized walking tour, because in Paris, the best stories are told step by step. Whether alone or with your favorite people, I'll show you the beauty of Paris. Let's make your time in Paris a whirlwind of joy. Have fun and let the City of Lights enchant you!                                                                                                                                  

Paris Tour Guide - Leo K.

Leo K.

5.00 / 5
(7 reviews)
France

Hi there! My nickname is Leo, I've been a tour guide in Paris and France for 6 years and I love my job and meeting people from all over the world to share my passion with! My speciality is the museum of catacombs, which is a very unique site. I also do tours of the historical crimes and legends of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Seine river cruise, Chartres and its cathedral, the cemetery of Père Lachaise, Le Marais and much more.                                                                                                                                  

Paris Tour Guide - Ellen L.

Ellen L.

5.00 / 5
(3 reviews)
France

I am an experienced tour guide and a friendly Franco-American who has lived in Paris for 33 years. Travelers feel comfortable with me due to my fluency in both English & French. I am a trained historian and my tours are well researched, well documented and well presented on high tech material (tablet), a multi-media experience using archival photos, video footage (and when appropriate sound). My tours are not for the first time traveler - I could never compete with the big bucket tours that go to the Eiffel Tower. Instead, I market tours for those who have already seen the sights and want to see Paris beyond the monuments, the real Paris with its private courtyards, quiet cobblestoned streets & hidden monuments that only locals know.                                                                                                                                 

Paris Tour Guide - Julien A.

Julien A.

France

After a long experience in the Food & Beverage scene in Paris, I would be happy to make you discover the more trendy districts of Paris through a gourmet and festive perspective! Let's discover at the same time Paris history/geography and the best places to have lunch /dinner / cocktails and where to buy tasty food.                                                                                                                                 

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