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Our top 3 Private Nature Tours In Paris

Gowithguide travel specialist O.

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Gowithguide travel specialist O.

Last updated : May 22, 20249 min read

Things To Do

Paris Tour Guide

 

The City of Lights is known for its rich culture and architecture, but not exactly for its natural splendor. However, what if we told you that it indeed features several spectacular gardens and even forests on the outskirts that can make for some amazing outdoor retreats?

 

In this article we’ll be taking a look at a few of these green attractions for those who’d like to step away from the bustle of the city for a day or two. Going off-piste is also much better with the help of a professional guide, so perhaps think about contacting one of our Parisian guides for their recommendations when it comes to customized nature tours today. 

 

Gardens of Versailles

 

Considered by many to be one of the most spectacular unions of botany and architecture in the world, the Gardens of Versailles is a must-see for any visitor to France. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is part of the larger Palace of Versailles and covers an expansive 800 hectares of land. The gardens are famous for their meticulously detailed and sculpted features, designed in the classical French formal style. 

 

The gardens feature a wide variety of beautiful attractions, including several splendid fountains and water features. These aren’t just any fountains though, they are venerated works of art in themselves. Some of the most prominent include the ‘Fountains of the fight of the animals’ designed in 1687 by Jule Hardouin-Mansart. This impressive array depicts the eternal struggle between predator and prey, featuring a lion vanquishing a wild boar, a tiger bringing down a bear, and a bloodhound taking down a stag. 

 

That isn’t it, as the gardens also feature the ‘Dragon Fountain’ spewing a jet of water 27 meters (88 feet) into the air, as well as the spectacular Neptune fountain and Latona’s Fountain.  The Neptune fountain was officially opened by Louis XV and sports 99 jets of water, while the Latona Fountain features a marvelous marble pyramid surrounded by artistic water features. Finally, there is also the Apollo Fountain, Mirror Pool, and Nymph’s Bath - culminating in perhaps the most impressive array of artistic fountains in all of Europe. 

 

The Versailles Gardens makes for an excellent walking experience, with several expansive parterres (ornamental gardens with walking paths in between). For a memorable stroll, guests can go on the ‘Water Walk’ - starting at the Neptune Fountain, crossing the water parterre, and ending at the Lake of the Swiss Guards.

 

This walk features an impressive 14 historical fountains. Guests may also enjoy the ‘Royal Way’ - this walk running along the park’s east-west axis and dating back to the very first iteration of the gardens built under Louis XIII. Starting near Leto’s amphitheater, visitors can enjoy a series of impressive sculptures by Puget before making their way down the 45-meter wide boulevard flanked by horse chestnut trees. This route promises particularly beautiful views and unmissable photo opportunities. 

 

The sprawling gardens are also home to numerous sculptures by some of the best renaissance artists, as well as expansive groves and pristine woodlands in the surrounding areas. It truly serves as a beautiful fusion of the natural and modern world, and is sure to enthrall you with its sheer scale and multitude of spectacular vistas. The gardens are located only around 30 km outside of Paris, and can be reached via train in about 40 minutes. Contact one of our private guides to plan your customized trip to the gardens and palace today. 

 

Jardin du Luxembourg

 

For our next recommendation, you won’t have to worry about leaving the city at all, since it’s located smack-dab in the middle of Paris. The Jardin du Luxembourg or “Luxembourg Garden” is located in the 6th arrondissement and is basically the Central Park of Paris. The garden covers an expansive area of 25 hectares (over 60 acres) and features pristine sprawling lawns, tennis and basketball courts, beautifully landscaped flower beds, and the Grand Bassin - famous for its model sailboats. 

 

Work began on the gardens all the way back in 1612 when Marie de’ Medici, widow of Henry IV, purchased the land for the construction of a new palace (the Luxembourg Palace adjoining the gardens). Over the intervening centuries, the land saw several changes of ownership until it became a public park during the 19th century. One of the things the Jardin du Luxembourg is most famous for is its large collection of statues - over a hundred in total. These include statues of French queens and nobility, Christian saints, and mythological figures. 

 

The garden is a great place for a relaxing day out in Paris, with its calm atmosphere and beautiful greenery standing in contrast to the rest of the city. A large playground featuring a carousel is also present for children to enjoy, as well as a puppet theater, and restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating areas. The park hosts many music shows throughout the year, most of which can be attended for free. 

 

One of the crown jewels of the park is the Medici Fountain, built in 1630 by Tommaso Francini and later expanded upon by the architect of the Arc de Triomphe, Jean Chalgrin. It features a large water basin as well as sculptures of figures from Greek mythology. Visitors can also marvel at the Fountain of the Observatory and many other artistic masterpieces located throughout the gardens.

 

The opening and closing times for the gardens differ depending on the season, so be sure to check before you pay a visit. It usually opens between 07:30 and 8:15 am, and closes at 16:30 or 21:30, depending on the season. Guided tours are available hosted by the park’s gardeners, though if you’re worried about the language barrier, you can also organize a tour with one of our talented Parisian guides.  

 

Forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye

 

For our final recommendation, we’re moving away from fancy gardens, and going for a visit to the forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Don’t worry though, you won’t need to go on a long journey to enjoy a traditional European forest, as it is located only around 22 km from the center of Paris, and is accessible by car and train. The banks of the River Seine plays host to this gem of preserved nature, a dominial forest spanning approximately 35 square kilometers. 

 

This picturesque forest used to serve as a royal hunting ground for French kings of old, including Henry IV and Louis XIII, who used to hunt foxes here. Today, however, it is open to all, and serves as a scenic nature retreat just outside Paris that receives around 3 million visitors annually. Here, guests can enjoy the various nature trails on offer for a relaxing stroll through the woods that used to be the playground of kings. Various children’s game areas, as well as the Corra pond, are also available for a visit. 

 

The forest is home to a wide variety of arboreal delights, including mighty oak trees, beech, maple, chestnut, and more - with the permanent team of foresters helping to maintain the integrity of the forest’s floral ecosystem. The forest is also home to deer and wild boar to this day, and a lucky visitor may just spot some! There are a myriad of activities on offer for those who’d like to get their fill of nature, and it’s only a short trip from the center of Paris. Book a custom tour with one of our guides today to enjoy Paris and its surroundings differently today.

 

Conclusion 

Paris may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of nature tours, but the surroundings definitely offer a myriad of possibilities when it comes to greener holiday options. From the perfectly maintained lawns of classical French gardens, to old forests featuring some of Western Europe’s most pristine woodlands, there are several nature tours that guests can partake in. Contact one of our regional guides today to order a custom tour of these amazing locations 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.                                                                                                                                 

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