Since 2003, Cultival has been helping people discover the Palais Garnier, l’École des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts), the Republican Guard, and the Eiffel Tower with guided tours in small groups of fifteen. Visitors learn more about this city and its history thanks to this team of 20 guides that know Paris monuments like no one else, and almost daily availability for tours.
This truly pleasant visit is a VIP experience that reveals the backways and passages that are otherwise inaccessible to the public. At the beginning of the visit, guests are taken underground in the hidden basement of the Champ de Mars, 650 feet from the Eiffel Tower where the Jules Verne kitchens are located in a historic spot.
Visitors will get to see the tower’s bunker, the former military wiretapping post, and traces left behind from two World Wars. The guides reveal how the Eiffel Tower was saved after the World’s Fair, becoming first a meteorological research hub, and then being used to send radio messages in 1898. It’s a real pleasure to be able to experience such an unlikely place, with surprising vestiges of the past (a long hallway leading to the tower’s foundation, a pillar that shows the various ways that the Eiffel Tower was painted.)
The guides are very friendly, with an impressive fluidness to their speech, and a sense of humor, making jokes and giving you time to take photos. After about 10 minutes, you’ll head back to the Eiffel Tower (you may be thinking elevators) and yes, elevators, but with a behind the scenes look!
Who would have thought that the entire hydraulic mechanics system set-up in 1899 would still work a century later? Going up in the lift is much more impressive when you learn that this mechanism is over 100 years old.
You’ll make a quick stop on the third floor for the must-see view, to just experience the breathtaking panorama of Paris’ monuments (for Parisians, it’s nice chance to see some familiar sights, for foreign or French tourists it’s a fascinating new experience.) And just when you think you’ve seen it all, the guide has another surprise–––the history of the tower’s windmills. These windmills are hidden from the public because their presence is worrisome (with a large gust of wind, accidents could happen!)
We rarely have the chance to explore a building like this one. The visit is thorough and filled with information, but goes at a slow enough pace to allow time for photos. Visitors that experience this tour with Cultival don’t want it to end, and they’re in luck––the company is offering more behind-the-scenes visits at the Republic Guard, Invalides, and the Grand Rex and Mogador Theaters.
Prices: 15 to 35 euros per person, depending on the visit
75007 Paris 7
la visite guidée: 15-35 €
Visites coulisses quotidienne