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It can be more than a tad intimidating to try to tackle the top Paris sites and museums on your own. Instead of facing the seemingly endless endless lines at Paris’s attractions on your own, you can save yourself a lot of grief, and have an amazing experience in the process, by booking a few tours. We’ve brought together some great group tours, including skip-the-line Eiffel Tower tours, in our article on guided tours of top Paris attractions. Sometimes you might want to have the guide all to yourself or to have a more exclusive experience. If that’s your case, then this article on top skip-the-line and private Paris tours is for you.

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(WA= Wheelchair Accessible)

This is an image of a tour group inside The Louvre looking at The Mona Lisa.

Image Courtesy of Take Walks

Have the Mona Lisa all to yourself (almost) on a tour of the Louvre at closing time 

The Louvre features high on our list of top skip-the-line and private Paris tours, because if you’re going to do one guided museum tour in Paris, then this is it. The most famous museum in Paris has an insanely massive number of artworks (over 500,000!) as well as a colossal number of daily visitors (around 30,000!). This tour helps you avoid the crowds by visiting the museum towards the end of the day, when there are MANY fewer visitors. Equipped with skip-the-line Louvre tickets, your guide will skillfully lead you to the museum’s top masterpieces, including the Venus de Milos, the Winged Victory of Samothrace and, of course, the Mona Lisa. The tour is available in the mid-afternoon every day the museum is open (Wednesday to Monday), but if you can book on a Friday evening, when the museum is open late and has even fewer visitors, you’ll really have the museum almost to yourself – how cool is that?

Take a tour of the Louvre at closing time  | 1st Arrondissement | WA

This is an image of a tour guide and her group inside the Saint-Chapelle Cathedral.

Image Courtesy of Context Travel

Visit la Sainte Chapelle on a guided tour with skip-the-line tickets

The Île-de-la-Cité Island contains some of the most important historic buildings in Paris, namely Notre Dame Cathedral and the Sainte-Chapelle – which has a CRAZY long entrance line. Booking one of these group or private tours will help you bypass the worst of these. Led by art historian guides, their small group and private tours allow you to have a more intimate experience of these Gothic-style architectural gems. An amazing experience after which you’ll look at Paris buildings in a completely different way.

Join an Île-de-la-Cité Tour: with skip-the-line tickets for Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle | 1st and 4th Arrondissements

This is an image of a group of people on a boat on the Seine. The Eiffel Tower is in the background.

Image Courtesy of Viator

Cruise down the Seine on a private boat tour 

Taking a boat cruise in Paris is a great way to see the many stunning sites bordering the River Seine. Instead of the huge “Bateaux Mouches” boat cruises, have a more personalized experience by booking a private Seine boat cruise. Embarking at the western edge of Paris, your private capitan will guide you down the river, telling you about Paris’s main monuments, like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre-Dame and the many captivating bridges, as you float by them. You’re also allowed to bring your own drinks and snacks on board, which adds another element of fun to the experience!

Book a private boat cruise of the Paris Seine river | Various Arrondissements

This is a picture of a lady wearing glasses, holding up a gemstone necklace that she looks to have just made.

Image Courtesy of Viator

Design your own jewelry and tour a luxury atelier in Le Marais

This is a super cool private experience in Paris that combines a behind-the-scenes tour of a luxury jewelry atelier, designing your own unique piece of jewelry, and a meal in a real Parisian home. It takes place in a jewel showroom in the hip Marais district. It starts with a home-cooked lunch or dinner with wine before designing and creating a one-of-a-kind jewelry item in this authentic Parisian atelier. At the end, you’ll leave with your cool and original Paris souvenir.

Reserve a spot on this workshop to design your personalized luxury jewelry in Paris | 4th Arrondissement | WA

This is a picture of a tour group underground in the Catacombs.

Image Courtesy of Take Walks

Journey underground at the Paris Catacombs

This tour of the Catacombs is definitely one of the top skip-the-line and private Paris tours. The Paris Catacombs is one of the sites in Paris you’ll definitely want skip-the-line tickets to if you plan on visiting it, otherwise you’ll wait more than an hour in the super looooong line that snakes away from the venue’s entrance. After meeting your guide outside, you’ll breeze into the Catacombs without waiting. Leading you through the maze of tunnels lined with bones, your guide will give you the inside scoop on this cool, yet somewhat eerie Paris site as well as take you to some secret spots you wouldn’t find on your own.

Join this skip-the-line Paris Catacombs tour with special access | 14th Arrondissement

This is a picture of a man handing out chocolate taste-testing pieces to a small group of four.

Discover (and taste) the intricacies of dark chocolate on a private tasting tour

If you’re a food-lover, you’ll adore this cool, VIP food experience focused on dark chocolate. France’s finest chocolate with a private chocolate tasting experience in Paris. In the company of an expert food guide, you’ll learn about the history of chocolate, how it came and evolved in Europe and how to identify top-notch cocoa products. You’ll then put your skills to work at sampling some of the exquisite creations produced by Paris’s top chocolatiers. A very délicieux experience!

Book a private dark chocolate tasting tour in Paris | 7th Arrondissement

This is a picture of The Palace of Versailles. There are people milling around the front.

Image Courtesy of Context Travel

Enjoy royal treatment on an exclusive Versailles tour 

A must for many visitors to Paris, this Versailles excursion is another excellent top skip-the-line and private Paris tours. These small group and private Versailles tours are generally organized as a half-day, however, if you want the complete experience, take the full-day option which includes the Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette Hamlet. On either option, you’ll visit this world-famous palace you’ll soak up all the fascinating information your historian guide will tell you about the site’s creation, its design and the royals who had it built. Thanks to the small size, you’ll be able to smoothly weave through the masses packed in the main palace and experience the secrets of the gardens, all thanks to your skip-the-line Versailles tickets and your guide’s deep expertise.

Take a Versailles Palace and gardens tour with skip-the-line tickets | Versailles | WA

This is an image of a woman holding a bunch of clothing with more racks of clothing lined up around her.

Learn to dress like a Parisian on a private shopping tour

Not all private tours in Paris have to be to museums or historic sites. If you’d like to get to know the fashion scene in Paris, then book one of the various private shopping tours offered by Kasia Dietz. A handbag designer and journalist, Kasia knows all the best shops in Paris, from new cutting-edge designers to luxury haute-couture houses. She can custom design the experience to suit your interests and you’ll leave the tour looking like a true Parisian.

Reserve a private shopping tour in Paris | Various Arrondissements | WA

This is an image of a small group of people on a bridge in Monet's Giverny Gardens.

Image Courtesy of Take Walks

See Monet’s paintings at the Musée Orsay then see where he painted them in Giverny

These tours allow you to visit two of the top skip-the-line sites in Paris in one day: the Musée d’Orsay and Monet’s House and Gardens in Giverny. Both sites can have super long lines, which you zoom past on this tour. In addition to skip-the-line tickets to the Musée d’Orsay and Giverny, the full-day tour also includes train tickets to Giverny. Starting at the Musée d’Orsay, you’ll have an incredible introduction to Impressionism with a special focus on Monet. Stopping by a bakery for a snack, you’ll then board the train out to Giverny, the exact way the Impressionist artists went out to the countryside to paint 150 years ago. You’ll then tour Monet’s gorgeous house and the spectacular gardens which he personally designed. Standing on the Japanese bridge over the water-lily pond you’ll feel like you’ve been transported into one of his paintings yourself!

Book an Orsay to Giverny: skip-the-line museum tour & exclusive Monet house day trip | 7th Arrondissement and Giverny | WA

Interested in other top skip-the-line and private Paris tours? Read these articles next:

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Lily Heise

A long-time Paris resident, Lily Heise is a travel writer whose work has been in Condé Nast Traveler, Huff Post, Fodor’s, AFAR, and Frommer’s, among others. When she’s not uncovering the city’s best secrets, she can be found on a Parisian café terrasse or traveling the globe.

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