Tour Guides and France make the Best of Friends

Not perfectly comfortable environment, in a different country, with a different language, and travelling alone, Candice Walsh found a comforting way to experience the wonders of France through Context Travel. Candice Walsh got to enjoy the business trip of a lifetime after concern by the small tours found on Context Travel led by experts as she states in . Thanks to a “bit of a gamble,” Candice Walsh met her guide Lily, who helped her experience the best of the best and feel safe at the same time while in France.

However, disaster kept thwarting me at every corner. 1) I don’t speak French. 2) My hotel was outside the city boundaries, near the Charles du Gaulle airport, where absolutely no tour operators would venture. 3) I only had one evening to explore. 4) I was a young lady traveling alone. Running out of options, I Googled “private tour guides”, and stumbled upon Context Travel: walking tours for the intellectually curious.

After speaking English at an excruciatingly slow pace for two weeks, I was incredibly relieved for a normal flow of conversation. Since it was my first time in Paris, I asked Lily to show me all the major highlights. The fact that this tour was completely customizable was the highlight of my trip: we crammed a great deal of walking and sightseeing into five hours.

We wandered into the Notre Dame, gaping open-mouthed at flying buttresses and columns and gothic stained-glass windows. I saw the Place de la Bastille, the Pantheon, St Germain des Pres with its ancient tower, the Grand Palais, and the Louvre. And yet, we still had time to discover the Italian district, browse a Canadian bookstore, read poetry painted on a building, and skip into Gelati Alberto for my first gelato experience shaped like a flower (Lily insisted it was the best, and she has great taste).

Our last stop was the Eiffel Tower. Lily took me to a spot along the Seine where I had a clear view, and then she told me to wait.

When the Tower began twinkling, I nearly toppled headfirst into the water. The view of the monstrous structure was impressive enough, but I had absolutely no idea that it twinkled for five minutes every hour.

Without Lily’s expert knowledge of the city and her ability to speak two languages, I would never have enjoyed Paris as much as I did. When the evening was over, she ensured I safely found a cab, kissed me on both cheeks, and told me to keep in touch. I left Paris richer, with one new friend.