Spend a day with a Paris Greeters: Become a Real Parisian for a day
It’s all too common for tourists –especially American tourists– to be put off by a visit to a foreign country. The language barrier frightens people, and figuring out everyday items like menus, transit and street signs can be a big stumbling block. Paris Greeters, a volunteer organization in the French capital, aims to lead visitors past those stumbling blocks and allow an insider’s view of the city.
“Parisian for a Day” is part of a larger network, Global Greeters. In the various destinations served by the network, the idea is the same: upon arriving, you meet up with your greeter for a free walking tour of the capital. Signing up for the service is simple: the website is very easy to navigate and doesn’t have a lot of “extras” or fluff. The online registration form allows you to send your information; once your walking tour date is confirmed, you are responsible for contacting your greeter by email. They’re also able to accommodate people with limited mobility. And–again–the service is free, though they do accept donations to help keep the program operational.
The greatest benefit of this association –besides being free of charge– is that the volunteer guides pretty much let you see the city as locals sees it. There’s no specific list of sites or pre-ordained tour routes; the guide just shows you around the France capital. For the tourist who has a checklist of must-sees, this might be a problem–but if you spend a day with one of the greeters, you’ll be better acquainted with the city and can go exploring on your own another day.
This way you also have a chance to see the city “off the beaten path.” There are plenty of historic sites, lesser-known museums, restaurants and beautiful scenery that most tourists don’t get to see. Further, the greeter can help you plan your stay ahead of time, which is helpful in avoiding overpriced crowded tourist-geared hotels.
Their motto is “Come as a visitor, leave as a friend…“. Unlike the traditional whirlwind tour of the “big” sights only, a walking tour with one of the greeters lets the tourist spend a day really being Parisian.
Venue website: www.greeters.paris