Hi Stephanie. The company toursbylocals.com is actually based in Canada (BC I believe). The tour guide we hired was Eugenie. We also did her Louvre half day tour (another I would HIGHLY recommend). I tried to do a review on Tripadvisors but it was refused. I couldn't review her specifically and I was told that toursbylocals wasn't the type of tour company that I was allowed to review there. I believe it had something to do with teh fact that they don't have a brick and mortar presence. It explains why I couldn't find any reviews prior to booking her myself. Toursbylocals.com actually has their own reviews on their website though.
The companyw as great to deal with as I had initially paid in US dollars by mistake so I contacted them. they amended my online order so that I could pay in CDN dollars and not have the exchange rate on my credit card.
There's the ability to send messages to the potential guide in advance. Eugenie was wonderful at responding to all of my questions before I even booked her as a guide. She was great with teh children (ages 5, 7 and 10). Very calm and patient. She never had a 'hurry up and go' mentality. She's has a background in art history so really knew her stuff but also had an ability to 'dumb' it down for us as we have no art history background at all.
Any other questions, just ask.
Pat, I agree it was expensive and its certainly not something that everyone would be able to do. We're fortunate. We really wanted to visit Versailles but I wasn't up to putting the children through the lines there. I also knew that with them with us, having an audioguide on our ears wouldn't make for the best experience. Our hotel was booked on points so we made a judgment call and splurged (same reasons for the Louvre). Everywhere else we explored on our own and we all had a wonderful time, including the kids :-)