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Recommended day tours in Paris?

I am taking the RS Best of Europe 14 Days tour starting in Paris on September 20. This is only my second tour so I'm not too experienced and I travel solo. I would like to go to Paris a few days early to see more of it and soak it in as the tour itself is basically only in Paris one day. I have already booked a food tour through Eat Europe called Hip Eats and Backstreets for Saturday, September 19 which I thought sounded fun. It starts at 12:30pm. What I am the most interested in doing the day before, before the food tour and during the day on Sunday before the tour meets is getting to know the Marais area, St. Germain and Montmartre as the tour doesn't explore those areas. I'd also like to learn how to use the metro first thing (I will probably arrive around 1pm on Thursday) and will have a few hours to start exploring. I have looked at a lot of the walking and sightseeing tours offered, but trying to coordinate one walking tour after another is giving me a headache. Has anybody hired a private guide and done a custom tour? I would also be interested in any recommendations from those of you who know Paris well for what to do and how to organize the time I have on my own.

Thank you so much!

Posted by
1156 posts

I am sure there will be a lot of suggestions regarding your time in Paris. Here are some of my suggestions:

Read the Paris guide book to see what interests you. Look at the Paris Walks website and see what walks you can take with them. They have many walks ( not sure if they may do private walks so check to see if they do) and you just show up and pay your fee to the guide and will be in a group going around with the guide on the walk. I love them and have taken two in Paris and several in London ( London Walks). When I go back to Paris I plan to take more of their walks.

Go on this website and look at the Paris and Best of Europe scrapbooks if you have not done so already. They are a wealth of information about the tours and what other past tour members saw, did, ate, hotels etc.

Go to YouTube and look at the free videos on Paris including RS free videos. Again lots to see and learn from.

Not sure if your interested but my favorite museums are in Paris and there are several to go to. I can see that your interesed in seeing the city but just in case it rains, it would be good to know what museums you may want to visit. Plus you may want to see a museum and then walk around the city.

As for organizing your time, do look at other posts on this forum as people have asked the same questions and you may find it helpful to read other people's posts on Paris.

I would also recommend making a list of things and places and musuems you want to visit in your free time in both Paris and on the rest of the 14 day Europe tour. I have been on this tour and I made sure I knew where I wanted to go in my free time in each city we visited. It really helped me in knowing where I was going when the group broke up for free time and I did not have to waste time reading the guide book or asking the guide where to go. I went solo, had been to most of the places the tour took us to and so I went to places I had not been to when I had been to Rome, Venice, Florence, Munich and still I have not seen everything I wanted to see.

I loved this tour ( I have now been on 17 tours and took this tour about 4 years ago). It is wonderful and I found it to be an advenuture but the key to sucess on this tour is being prepared about what you want to see and do. And if you know where you think you might want to eat that will help too.

Read the guide book and make a plan.

Have a great time! If you have more questions, pm me.

Best,
Ann

Posted by
7604 posts

I love doing the walking tours thru Paris Walks at www.paris-walks.com No need to sign up ahead of time, just show up and pay the guide. This Fall a friend (and her husband) and I did schedule a private walk with Paris Walks. She and I had always wanted to do one of their specialty walks that is not offered very often so we splurged and booked it. It was fine being split 3 ways but was more expensive than I'd want to do on my own. As a solo woman traveler in Paris I love the Paris Walks.

There are also private tours offered by A French Frye in Paris - Corey Frye and also I've noted on her FB page that Vero, who is a RS guide is offering private tours. Corey had a bunch of walks on youtube - he does one nearly every Saturday so you may be able to glean a lot from them to put your own walk together. Take a look at Vero's FB page for A French Girl in Seattle Takes Paris. I have no connection to either of these folks - just follow along and learn a lot.

TBH you'll not be able to do all 3 of those areas in one morning. I'd say to pick one and then save the others for your next trip to Paris because yes, there WILL be another trip, lol!!

Posted by
7604 posts

Adding here are a few links to some Corey walking videos:

  • Saint-Germain des Pres from Odeon Metro stop area/Rue du Commerce Saint-Andre to the Odeon theatre:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDGB8Hq7fGU

  • Marais from Rue Saint-Antoine to Place des Vosges

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XxI9tNs2Io

  • Marais from Cafe Louis-Philippe on the Seine River/Rue des Barres to Rue des Rosiers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qc8YZmaU2M

  • Saint-Germain-des-Pres from Saint-Sulpice to Les Deux Magots

Just a little taste! It is fairly easy to figure out his route on googlemaps!

Posted by
51 posts

Ann - very good advice. I had not thought of looking at the scrapbooks! Brilliant! I'm probably getting ahead of myself with planning my own time in Paris as the tour is not until September and I won't get my guidebook until the end of December, but I'm so excited for this trip I cannot help myself and have been googling like crazy! LOL!

Pam - I knew you would be a wealth of knowledge because I know how much you love Paris! I will definitely check out Corey Frye. I know you travel solo and seem to do just fine on your own for several days. I don't really love to walk around alone and doing things on my own. Consequently, even though I can go ahead to Paris as many days in advance as I want, I'm going back and forth with myself about how many days ahead of the tour I want to be there on my own. I'm so afraid if I do 4 or 5 days I'm going to hate it. Ugh. Right now I'm leaning towards getting there Friday afternoon. The tour starts Sunday afternoon at 3pm. But arguing with myself to maybe leave Tampa on Wednesday and get to Paris on Thursday afternoon. I better make up my mind soon because I like to book my flights early. Convince me one way or the other, Pam! LOL!

Posted by
1500 posts

Hmmm Lori, regarding your last post. You say you are traveling solo so I assume you are solo in your full time life. If so, then being solo in Paris is even better, because you are in Paris!
Before I was married (late in life), I traveled solo. Loved it! You can do whatever you want and not compromise. Give yourself as much time as you can!

Posted by
7604 posts

Well, yes, you know I am nuts over Paris! FWIW, I'd go with the Thursday arrival which will give you just Friday and Saturday on your own plus Sunday AM and Thursday afternoon. The Thursday arrival also gives you a lot of flex time if something goes awry with your travel plans such as what happened with your Ireland trip. I suspect since you've had that "experience" it will never happen again, lol! BUT you'll always plan for it. It also means you'll be over jet lag and ready to hit the ground running on your first tour day.

I'll also tell you that before I was entirely comfortable on my own in I found myself feeling a bit timid about leaving the hotel the first morning. My solution was to have a plan in place - either a museum or some kind of venue with a ticket that I had purchased ahead, lol! THAT got me moving. Once I was out of the hotel the first time I was OK. That might work for you - or it might not!

Posted by
945 posts

Lori, I am also a single and have spent lots of time in Paris on my own.
Let me echo my friend Pam in recommending Corey Frye. I have taken 4 of his walking tours over the last 2 years and have thoroughly enjoyed each one. For you I would recommend either Montmartre (which I have taken) or the Marais, which I have not yet.
One advantage to Corey's walks is that they usually will have 4 to 6 people as opposed to the 15 to 20 or more on the Paris Walks ones. Corey's fans are friendly and inclusive and if you wanted you could likely go out for a coffee or drink or meal with one or more of them afterwards which is a bonus when traveling alone.
I am also intrigued by Vero's walking tours and may well do one this Spring. She is a wonderful writer (I follow her blog and Facebook posts) and is very enthusiastic about Paris.
I've taken a couple of Paris Greeters walks and enjoyed them both but I'd been to Paris many times before and didn't have any kind of time constraint on how I structured my time.
Paris is my favorite city. You have a lot of time to "study up" and be over the moon with what it has to offer!

Posted by
180 posts

Get an app for the Metro and then play a game of how do I get from here to there. Try googling Marais to Montmartre and then looking at the map switching to public transit and using that to figure out the best way. I also recommend Paris Greeters.

What do you like? Have you read "The Paris Wife " for example? You can build a great walk around Ernest Hemingway. History? OMG "Is Paris Burning" is such a great book about the liberation during WWII. The Cara Black mysteries are also fun. I created a Julia Child walk based on her book.

I am going in September by myself as well. DM me if you want more ideas. I say go on Wednesday or even Tuesday. You won't regret it.

Posted by
226 posts

Purchase RSE Paris guidebook (not his Pocket guide) and take his self guided walking tour of the Marais neighborhood. You can download an electronic version from his app.