“You’ve seen one mountain, you’ve seen them all”. This was said by a 14 year old while travelling in the Canadian Rockies. [Disclosure: that was me]. While Paris is full of historic monuments and museums, I can imagine some people (and especially children) saying something similar as they venture through Paris. Fortunately, there is a way to see the “city of lights” in a way that makes the journey much more interesting (and educational)……by doing a city hunt with Paris In Action.
When I was last in Paris, I was able to meet up with my friend, Stefanie, an American expat who is living in Paris with her French husband. Lucky girl! She has a background in research and pedagogical design and recently worked at a university in Paris where she was in charge of the language department. Immersive and interactive learning are a big part of Stefanie’s interests and she has incorporated this into a new venture. Paris in Action was the perfect vehicle to expose others to Paris and its history….in an interesting, hands-on way.
So when Stefanie and I met up recently in Paris, my friend Monica and I were put to the challenge. We did a city hunt!
What Is A City hunt?
A city hunt is a mix between a treasure hunt and a scavenger hunt. It’s a way to explore Paris while solving clues and completing fun challenges that all lead to a final treasure. Rather than requiring you to collect items or answer trivia questions, it allows you to use your observational skills to take in the city in a new way.
City Hunt With Paris in Action
What’s nice about Paris In Action tours is that you’re not just reading about what you see. You could buy yourself a book and do that. Instead, you are provided with directions and clues to find and learn about your discoveries. You’re challenged to learn more about what you see. Hence, a city hunt.
Stefanie offers three types of activities: city hunts for English speakers, language hunts for learners who want to improve their English or French, and mystery nights. Each activity is based on a mystery that exposes you to a part of Paris and its history. Toolkits are provided as well as clues and puzzles, just to make the experience more interesting.
City Hunts (2.5 hours)
Participants complete the hunt on their own with a minimum of 4 participants. What can be fun is a competition between teams—-kind of like the Amazing Race!
Here are some of the different tours where you can explore:
- The hidden histories in the Palais Royale area
- Mysteries of the Marais
- The dark side of Paris
A Paris in Action rep meets the group at the beginning and at the end for a debriefing. Booklets about the hunt are also provided.
Cost: starts at 18 Euros
Language Hunts (2.5 hours)
For Language Learners
Stefanie created a language learning branch to her business called, Talk In Action . These are tours for language learners who want to improve their French or English. Together with a teacher, the participants also take part in an adventure but the entire time the conversation is in French (or English for English learners) with the teacher correcting one’s speaking as the tour goes on. Some of these tours cover the Marais, Montparnasse, and Petit Palais areas. Cost: 25 Euros
This activity is like a real-life game of Clue, based on real events from Paris history. It’s a unique way to discover French culture and history while having fun. Cost: 25 Euros
My friend and I experienced a personalized city hunt so we could see what her tour was like. Stefanie accompanied us on the tour and provided the clues and instructions. Personalized adventures are perfect for those who might want to have something created for a special occasion such as a birthday or proposal with friends or family. Cost: 25 Euros
Even though I have been to Paris so many times, I was exposed to two museums I had not fully explored. Stefanie had dropped off the first clues for our adventure at our hotel and we were instructed to meet her at a specific location. As the weather that day was cold and rainy, our hunt was set indoors, at The City of Paris Museum of Modern Art and the Petit Palais-Musée des Beaux-Arts.
Museum of Modern Art
We followed the clues, learned about the history of the museums and the art that we saw. To end of tour, we had wine and dessert at Le Jardin du Petit Palais. The cafe is in a beautiful setting—- an enclosed garden, away from the traffic and noise of Paris.