Q: What should you do in Paris if you're after a night of shock and disgust? A: Try paying the bill in a Saint-Germain restaurant. Or, failing that, sign up for a Ghost and Vampires walk with the Mysteries of Paris tour company. Starting outside Notre-Dame and ending up at Les Halles, the walk is a whirlwind introduction to the ghoulish history lurking beneath the stones and behind the locked doors of the Right Bank. By the end of the night, you'll have been acquianted with a room of drowned children, baths of blood and murderous barbers, inter alia.
Indeed, the theme of the tour isn't so much Ghosts and Vampires as Murders and Suicides, with the focus more on the original devilish deeds than the supposed hauntings thereafter. If you’re looking for a spine-tingling, hair-raising journey into supernatural Paris, you won’t find it here. Moreover, an incessant background hubbub of traffic and crowds plagues the tour, deflating the creepy atmosphere. What you'll get instead is an informative exploration of some of the darker chapters of Paris’s history – how much you get out of it depends on your
Our guide for the night was Robin, a Frenchman with boundless energy and fluent English whose awful jokes were perhaps the most horrifying aspect of the tour (though he's kind enough to warn you about them at the start). With his slick cultural references to American culture, Robin seemed to have visitors from the States in mind, but his performance still impressed regardless of national boundaries. Overall enjoyment may hinge on your willingness to accept his catalogue of ‘proven facts’, but ask a few questions of your own and they'll be happily answered. Although not as atmospheric as hoped, the Ghosts and Vampires tour offers a quirky angle from which to experience the heart of Paris – and may well prove more entertaining than an evening spent visiting the sights alone.
All guides are Parisian locals and speak fluent English. Tours start at 9pm on Wed, Thu, Fri and Sat, and last approximately 90 minutes.
|Venue name:||Mysteries of Paris walking tour|
|Opening hours:||Wed–Sun. Tours start at 9pm and last approx. 90min|
|Price:||€20 per person; €36 for two|