The Making Of: Time to Explore Paris

Paris Muse guide Inge reveals the inspiration behind our new family walking tour.

Paris Muse has a wide range of tours for families traveling with children. Why a new walking tour?

Time to Explore Paris is a new, improved version of one of our most popular tours for families with children age 6 to 12. We designed fresh activities and a brand new booklet. After years of leading tours for families, we know what works and what doesn’t.  We were able to put our experience to good use to create this tour.

Tell us a little about this tour. What will people get to see on it and what’s in it for the kids?

It’s a 2-hour walk starting in the beautiful Place des Vosges in the Marais. We cross the river to explore the two islands in the middle of Paris and end at Notre Dame cathedral. It’s not a huge distance physically, but we stop all along the way to really look, hear stories, and solve riddles. The riddles and illustrations in the booklet are designed to get kids to think about the the stories we’re telling them, about specific people and events that shaped Paris. We meet real-life figures like King Louis IX and Victor Hugo, one of Paris’ most beloved story-tellers, but also make-believe characters who are nevertheless a real part of the identity of the city. And the riddles lead to a solution that the kids solve in the end.

What was the inspiration for Time to Explore Paris?

Mostly Paris itself! It’s hard to live in this city and not constantly be impressed by how much it has to offer. History is literally all over the place. The city is like a giant story book if you know how to see and read it. There’s a story to be told around every corner, from buildings, spaces, monuments, street names, you name it. 

What is your favorite part of the tour?

I just love the new booklet, “Hats off to Paris.” We designed it specifically for this new tour, and I love the look of it. The activities are fun and educational, too. I worked with a French team of a graphic designer and an illustrator, and there’s actually a funny story behind one of the illustrations. In it, one of the kings of France is depicted cowboy-style throwing a lasso from his horse!  This idea really threw our illustrator for a loop! She just couldn’t wrap her head around the idea of a 17th-century king of France behaving as if he were in an American Western! It took more than a little convincing to get her on board with the idea, and in the end, I think it’s one of the most compelling illustrations in the booklet. I love how the kids don’t bat an eyelash at the sight of a French king acting like a cowboy! It just goes to show how open-minded kids are. I think we adults have as much to learn from them as they do from us.