We had so many amazing experiences in Paris – from making our own perfume to riding a hot air balloon. Exploring Paris by Tuktuk was a fun way to get oriented to the city and see some hidden gems that we wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Check out our full review of the experience below.
As a family, we try to prioritize unique experiences, authenticity and food in our travel budget.
We’re not there to shop, to check off a list of cheesy, touristy attractions (although some of the cool ones make their way in), or to eat at the same restaurants that we can find back home.
So while researching our recent family vacation in Paris, I sought out unique experiences that would allow us to see the real Paris.
We were taking an overnight flight into Paris, arriving in the morning, and I wanted to attempt to keep Ella up until evening to reset her sleep schedule as effectively as possible to avoid a week of jet lag.
I needed to find a couple of low-energy activities that would still make a great first day in the City of Lights, and I thought finding something that would help orient us to the city would be a great option.
I stumbled on Paris by Tuktuk and it was the perfect solution!
We would be picked up at our AirBnB and escorted on one of 14 tours of the city, giving us a relaxed orientation to the city.
There are daytime tours, nighttime tours, romantic tours, family-oriented tours, wine tours, and custom tours. We did a custom tour, asking Eric to show us some of his favorite parts of the city within four hours. (The tour length also varies, from 45 minutes to 8 hours, depending on your needs.)
Eric very generously gifted us our tour, knowing that I would be writing about it here. My review is my honest opinion, as I strive to give you the tips for planning your own family vacations.
Paris by Tuktuk Review
Our arrival in Paris was a bit delayed. The airport took longer with our luggage, finding our Uber driver was confusing, and there were some issues with the lock and keys for our AirBnB.
However, we stayed in touch with Eric and he revised our itinerary so that we could still fit a lot in to our now 3 hour tour. He was incredibly understanding and gracious, setting our Paris tour off on a great note.
Our flight-included breakfast was basically inedible, so our first stop was to one of Eric’s favorite cafes for croissants, an amazing jambon-beurre (ham and cheese sandwich on baguette), and my all-time favorite dessert: isaphan! (A raspberry-rose macaron with a lychee buttercream filling.)
We enjoyed our breakfast while whizzing through the streets of Paris, seeing the Eiffel Tower, Luxor Obelisk, the Arc de Triomphe, the Grand Palais and the Pettite Palais. La Vie En Rose and other classic Parisian instrumentals played lightly over the speakers, adding to the ambience.
Since the Tuktuk is smaller than a car, we were able to drive along the Siene River for awhile as well, which was absolutely idyllic.
Eric explained the history and architecture of the city, and gave us tips on how to orient ourselves at any time during our trip. He also very graciously gave us some etiquette tips that I wasn’t aware of – like, how most Parisian Parks do not allow you to sit or walk on the grass. We had been planning a picnic and that would have been a major faux pas!
I really appreciated how great he was with Ella, ensuring that the tour included the parts of Paris that she would be interested in and also giving her pop quiz-style questions on the information he had given us.
Our other stops consistented of a bazaar and a market, where we were given plenty of time to stroll around and make any purchases, if we desired.
I enjoyed this combination of tour and getting to explore unexpected parts of the city at our own leisure. We had enough time at each location to enjoy a treat or cup of coffee (red eye flight) and interact with the merchants, and then made our way back to Eric when we were done.
I would highly recommend a tour from Paris by Tuktuk as a relaxed, low-key activity on your first day in Paris. Since you can arrange for the driver to pick you up from your hotel or AirBnb, you don’t have to worry about navigating the city while jet lagged on your first day.
While we really enjoyed our Secret Paris Food Walking Tour (and highly recommend it to other foodie families), it was so nice to sit back and relax on our first day while taking in so much of the city. We would have all been grumpy and exhausted if we had tried to do any other type of tour on the first day.
Make sure to mention any important sights or stops that you would want to see included on your tour, and take advantage of your driver’s insider knowledge of the city. I enjoyed that Eric gave us some narrative and information, while allowing us to relax and just take in the sights with music in the background. If you are seeking a more narrated tour, be sure to request that – they want you to have a great experience.
Eric also followed up our experience with an e-mail including other spots we should check out based on what he learned of us during the tour, including a couple fun ideas for Ella. This was such a lovely touch and speaks to how much effort he put toward getting to know us and our interests, and how committed he is to sharing his love for his city with his guests. He didn’t just want our experience with him to be good, he wanted to do whatever he could to ensure that we had an amazing time in Paris.
I’ve also read through the reviews on Trip Advisor and of the 129 reviews, 125 rated Paris by Tuktuk as excellent, 3 as very good, and only 1 rated it as “average” – that person did not expect Saturday traffic (due to protests), a bumpy ride (making pictures en route tricky), and didn’t like having to make requests of the driver (to make stops or give more information about the sights, etc). I respected Eric’s response which took that person’s concerns seriously (although I personally don’t agree with the reviewer’s assessment).
Overall, I enjoyed the laid back nature of the Tuktuk tour – we were able to cover a lot of ground and get a quick orientation to the city on our first day, without exhausting ourselves after our flights. The Tuktuk had enough room for us to make purchases or bring backpacks along, so I was able to get some of our grocery shopping out of the way during our market stop.
Paris by Tuktuk FAQs
How much is a Paris by Tuktuk tour? The tours start at 40€ (approximately $44 USD) for 1-3 people for 30 minutes. The tours are free for the first kid under 12 years old, and free for all kids under 5 years old. Our tour would have cost about 120€. You can see all of the pricing info here. The Hop On Hop Off option is only 20€.
Can you eat on the Tuktuk? Yes! Not only will your Tuktuk driver be happy to make stops for food purchases, you can also request beforehand for them to provide you with snacks or drinks – even champagne! Ella made quite a mess with her croissant and Eric was completely unbothered by it, which I appreciated (even though I did insist on cleaning it up as best I could).
What days/time are tours conducted? Tours can be booked any day of the week, from early in the morning until late at night. There is a nighttime surcharge after 9pm of 20€.
Is the Tuktuk heated? No, but in the winter they do place a cover on the Tuktuk and blankets are provided. The wind can be a bit chilly, so dress in light layers.
How many people can the Tuktuk accommodate? Each Tuktuk seats 6 people comfortably, but you can book multiple Tuktuks to accommodate a larger group.
Is a Tuktuk ride in Paris safe? Yes! The Tuktuk has guardrails and goes at a slower speed, plus the ability to drive on smaller roads allows it to avoid traffic congestion. Babies should be worn with a baby carrier and normal safety precautions should be taken (ie, don’t allow children to stand during the ride and place children in the middle of the seat, between grown-ups if possible. Many of the streets you will drive on are cobblestoned, so some bumping is to be expected.
Can you take pictures on the Tuktuk? Yes, but taking pictures in any moving vehicle is tricky. If you want to prioritize taking pictures during your tour, I would mention this in advance and arrange to make more stops. Eric was happy to make impromptu stops at our request, but if you would want more than a couple extra stops for pictures, I would arrange that in advance to ensure that the itinerary allows enough time for that.
Note: there are many companies providing Tuktuk rides and experiences in Paris, but this is the only one we experienced. I checked out the pricing of some of the Tuktuks situated in front of the Louvre museum and small taxi-style rides were much more expensive than a tour with Paris by Tuktuk. Paris by Tuktuk also provides taxi-style rides at 1.5€/minute and a 45€ minimum.
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I hope you found our review of our Paris by Tuktuk experience informative, but if I left out any details that you would like to know please leave any questions in the comments section and I will do my best to answer them.