On this fun-filled activity walk, your family and your private guide will travel through time, beginning at the home of France’s greatest storyteller, Victor Hugo, and retracing his footsteps to the cathedral celebrated in his Hunchback of Notre Dame.
2.5-3-hour tour. 290 euros per family
An educational activity walk for families with children ages 6-12
Books and movies aren’t the only things that tell stories. In Paris, buildings, even streets, tell stories too. On this fun-filled activity walk, your family and your private guide will travel through time, beginning at the home of France’s greatest storyteller, Victor Hugo, and retracing his footsteps to the cathedral celebrated in his Hunchback of Notre Dame. Along the way, your family will solve riddles to find a secret Renaissance passageway, discover mason marks in a medieval wall, learn how to read a stained-glass window at Notre Dame, and much more. Find out why Hugo once said, “All that can be found anywhere can be found in Paris.”
You’ll find your guide near a guy on a horse
He’s wearing a wig?—mais oui—but of course!
At Place des Vosges, begin your time travel
With Paris mysteries, yours to unravel
We’ll start with the home of Victor Hugo
And end with the church of Quasimodo
Note to Parents: detailed information about this meeting plan will be emailed to you with confirmation of reservation.
Please select "party of 1" when making your reservation online. Also, please let us know the names and ages of your children, as well as how many adults in your party.
"Just a quick thank you for a wonderful tour. Mary led our family on the "If Buildings Could Talk" walk last Monday and it was amazing! She knew so much and was so fascinating to talk with - we all enjoyed the experience and learned so much. Our eleven year old daughter loved every minute, and Mary really made her feel like she knew a lot already, even as she was learning more. The information in the tour, from how to read a stained glass window to where to find the best Paris ice cream, enhanced all the touring we did for the rest of the week."
The sites included in "If Buildings Could Talk" are: Place des Vosges and Hotel de Sully in the Marais, Philippe Auguste’s medieval wall (remnants in the St Paul area of Paris), Hotel de Sens, Pont Marie, Ile Saint Louis, and Notre Dame cathedral (both exterior and interior) on the Ile de la Cité. Please note that this program does not include a visit up into the towers of Notre Dame, but families are free to do this after the tour is over. (Last entry to towers is 4:45pm from October-March, 5:45pm from April-September, and 10:15pm on weekend nights during June, July, and August)
The activities on this tour are designed for children ages 6-12, but because the tour is private, your family’s guide will be able to adjust according to the age and interests of your children.
The tour program and its accompanying activity book have the following educational goals: to give children a fun, accessible introduction to the history of Paris and the styles of some of its major monuments (early medieval, Gothic, and Renaissance); to encourage them to make meaning from the details of a building or sculptural design; to develop their skills with navigation using maps and compasses; to sharpen their visual observation; and to expose them to some of the basic issues surrounding historic preservation.
Please note that tours take place rain or shine. The tour takes place outside, so please plan to dress warmly in the colder months. Refunds are not available in the case of rain or other inclement weather.
Parents may want to bring water and snacks. If requested, a break for refreshments will be included, but those are not included in the price of the tour.
“If Buildings Could Talk” was created by Carrie Bisbee (MA, Museum Studies, University of Leicester), Kristen Laakso (MA, French Literature, University of Southern California), and Ellen McBreen (PhD, Art History, New York University).
Read about the Paris Muse team of family guides.
Note: Due to overlap of content, please reserve either “Notre Dame: Stories in Stone” or “If Buildings Could Talk.” Both include a visit to Notre Dame, but “Stories in Stone” is a more in-depth look at the cathedral.