Three of us are going to Europe for the first-time in mid-June. We would like itinerary suggestions for adding London for 2 full days either pre- or post-tour, not including travel time. Also, we are considering adding 1-2 days in Paris after the tour. Has anyone gone to both Versailles and Eiffel Tower on the last day of the tour after breakfast? Thanks!
I did Versailles on a different day and I actually spent the whole day there. I was with the RS Paris City tour and I believe we left about 830 to meet up with a local guide for the Chateau, then I spent the whole afternoon doing the Petit Trianon and the Hamlet areas. I missed a lot, but frankly I was pooped and headed back to Paris about 5PM. If you wanted to do Versailles first and then book your Eiffel Tower Tickets for early evening that would probably work fine. Your guide will help you figure out how to get the tickets on the RER to Versailles for that day. The more days you can add on in Paris the better. You will be feeling very comfortable getting around Paris by the end of your trip.
The last day of the 21 day tour (or any RS tour for that matter) is not really a gathering. On the last day of my 21 day some left before breakfast, but that was also the day Air France went out on strike so there were a lot of people having to rearrange travel plans, so lots of people hanging in the breakfast room/lobby area.
When I did the 21 day, I also started out in London as well. I flew on a Wed, got to London on Thurs, took the Eurostar to Amsterdam on Monday with a local train out to Haarlem and the tour started on Tuesday. I would encourage you to get to Haarlem the day before your tour starts whatever you decide to do ahead of time. One couple missed out on the first afternoon/evening's activities as they were to fly from London to Amsterdam on the day the tour started and their plane was cancelled. A total mess ensued with them getting bussed from Gatwick to Heathrow, another missed plane, and lost time. Anyway I would just recommend being in place for the tour the night before.
It would be fun to add on time in both Paris and London at the end, altho London would work fine to start with. With just 2 days in London you could do see some of the main sights. Are you interested in anything in particular? You could do the Tower of London and St Pauls one day and Westminster Abbey, Changing of the Horse Guards and the Churchill War Rooms on another day.
You are going to have a great time on your tour! I think about my 21 day BOE Every. Single. Day. Can't wait to meet up with some of my peeps Saturday at the RS tour reunion.
A number of people on our 21 day tour went to Versailles on the final day of the tour. You will definitely need the entire day. I also highly recommend that you research some of the independent companies offering private tours of Versailles. Four people on our tour did this. They paid a lot more than we did, but in hindsight I would have chosen that option as well. Versailles is so big and so crowded that you will have a much richer (and less frustrating) experience with the perks afforded the private tours. We tacked a day onto the end of our tour in Paris, but if I had it to do over again, I would have stayed at least one or two days beyond that. There is so much to see and do in Paris, and you'll only scratch the surface on the tour. (As an added bonus, if you're on the standard Sun-Sat RS 21 day tour, you'll probably get a cheaper airfare if you don't fly back until Tuesday.)
My recommendation would be to add London to the start of your tour and stay in Paris at the end of the tour. It will feel great to get to spend 3-4 nights in one place at the end of the trip, and you'll already be somewhat acclimated to the city.
Have fun -- it's a great tour!!
London is a great city~ so much to see! Just remember that if you fly into London you automatically lose a day (true for all of Europe) and depending on how you choose to get to Amsterdam/Haarlem that will likely use a full day as well. When I saw London with my daughter we took a Jack the Ripper walking ghost tour that was quite interesting! We also walked all over the place and saw Buckingham Palace, went on the Eye and cruised the Thames. We also went to the theater. Our highlight though was a day trip to view Stonehenge at sunrise-we paid extra for the tour that let us roam around the stones, and then onto the Roman Baths in Bath. On that trip we also ate at a 600 year old Inn in the town of Lacock- where Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice and other movies have been made. What a great trip!
I'll be taking the 21 BOE tour in May. I plan to arrive four days early (prices are much cheaper when you fly on a Monday or Tuesday). I'll send three days in Amsterdam and a full day/night in Haarlem pre tour. I'll also be tacking on three extra days post tour in Paris. I too plan to see Versailles after our last day breakfast. Just haven't decided whether to book the day trip in advance or "wing it" when I get there (in case other tour members might want to join me). I want to go to the top of the Eiffle at night too. I think there is free time in Paris for some exploration before tours end- so people can get in Eiffle time before they fly out.
Have a great time planning!
Leslie, if you are planning on going up the Eiffel Tower I highly recommend reservations. They sell out fast once they become available. Site Link: http://www.toureiffel.paris/en/preparing-your-visit/buying-your-tickets.html
Enjoy your tip.
We are arriving 2 days early, pre tour in Amsterdam and staying 2 nights post tour in Paris. Our tour ends on Saturday and we can't decide if we should do Versailles that last day of the tour or the next full day.
Thinking we will fo the walk from Arc de Triomph to the Orsay. Then the bus #69 tour, ending up in Montamartre. I think we can get that down the day our tour ends. .....i'd like to do the Eiffel Tower on a clear day. Once we book those tickets we are pretty much tied to a certain time. ....
Kathy, a suggestion re your 2 days in Amsterdam, based on the fact that you mentioned visiting the Orsay in Paris... If you are interested in spending time at the Van Gogh Museum, schedule that for one of your pre-tour days. The itinerary suggests you'll have time to visit the museum during your free time on the Amsterdam day, but the reality is that it won't be nearly enough time (or our tour we pretty much had enough time to sit down for an espresso....I'm thinking it was less than an hour, although I really can't remember). Also, that is one of the faster paced days on the tour, and by the time you've walked across the city, visited the Anne Frank House, and toured the Rijksmuseum, you'll be pretty overloaded. We booked tickets ahead for the Van Gogh Museum and got in right when it opened (the day before the start of our tour). That was really great, because it was not crowded, and we got to spend all the time we wanted with the artwork. Have fun!
Thanks, Ruth. We plan to do the Van Gogh museum on our arrival day....actually that evening. Not too late, though (eventhough it is open late on fridays). We'll be jet lagged, for sure.....plan to do some walking in the fresh air and I'd like to take on the Dutch Resistance museum that arrival day. I know, it may be too much museum right off the bat but we're doing a tour that will take the whole next day up.
Leslie, I would think you could do both Versailles that last day after breakfast then the Tower that early evening. I do like the suggestion of booking Eiffel tickets ahead of time...no since waiting in a long line if you don't have to!