During the first half of October, we will be in Paris for 5 days, Amsterdam for 5 days and Bruges for 2 days. Would appreciate any suggestions for tours and/or guides. Art tours and food tours especially but any that you think were special would be great. Thanks
There are lots of choices. I've enjoyed Paris Walks tours (the Chocolate Walk is yummy). Paris Greeters has been recommended here also. There are bike and Segway tours. You can find a lot of popular tours by searching on Trip Advisor, including travelers' reviews and descriptions. I took a photo tour in Bruges with Andy that was great http://www.phototourbrugge.com/
Just back from South Bend. We have always had good luck with the local tours available through the TI. The TI is one of the first things we hit, get a list of tours available, discuss it with the attendant and pick a couple. We have yet to have a bad one.
In Paris I highly recommend Paris Greeters. It is a program that matches volunteer guides with what your interests are. The walk is free, though you are able to make a donation to the program at the time of application. About 3-4 weeks before your trip you fill out an online application on the Paris Greeter website, stating your interests and the dates you are available. They then match you up with someone. You have the ability to accept or reject their proposal. Only the guide and your travel party are involved. They do not put random people together. We had a 4 hour walk with a man who grew up in the Marais and he was able to tell me more than I could ever learn from a guidebook. The volunteers are not allowed to accept tips, so we took him out for a drink.
In Paris (as well as many other cities), and just this month starting up in Amsterdam, you can find excellent art/architecture/history tours with Context Travel. Just did two of theirs in Amsterdam this month.