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Paris & Heart of France tour questions

I am contemplating jumping on the October 13 tour. I was supposed to do this tour last October, but that didn’t work out so I really would like to do it this October. I am wondering how strenuous the tour is in terms of stairs and hills? I do fine walking long distances, but I have bursitis in my right hip which is aggravated by stairs. I have read other forum members trip reports and understand it is a quick paced tour with one night stays in hotels. I don’t love the idea, but it isn’t a dealbreaker. I am more concerned if I will be able to keep up or may have to opt out of some activities. I have done the Best of Paris tour so some activities on the Paris portion are repeats that I can skip (like the Louvre) and visit some other areas that I am interested in.

If anyone has done this tour this year I would like to know what hotels they used in Paris. I will go early and stay after so I would like to know the area where the tour would be staying.

Posted by
7815 posts

My experience is old (2018) but the itinerary remains much the same. I think that your biggest challenge will come at Mt. St Michel. If you want to go to the Abbey, it is quite a climb to the top of the island with many stairs/steep hill. The good news is that you can still enjoy Mt. St Michel without making it up to the Abbey. Two other travelers and myself skipped the Abbey tour (I had climbed up there the day before and knew that I wasn't interested in doing it again) and had a lovely time in the lower town while the group toured the Abbey. The guide was careful in assigning rooms at Mt. St Michel and those who she thought may have mobility issues were placed in the rooms in the lower town while others were places progressively higher on the hill.

Stairs and just standing around are what are challenging for me. I found that with the exception of Mt. St. Michel there wasn't anything I felt I needed to opt out of.

Posted by
763 posts

My sister and her husband are taking the RS Paris tour September 9th or 10th 2023--in just a few weeks. Their hotel is the Hotel Londres Eiffel.

Posted by
1726 posts

I took this tour preCovid, but I just reviewed the itinerary and it sounds like very little has changed. The one night stays are only 3. The one on Mount St. Michel is really all the time you need there. It is so crowded and I think the only reason you overnight there is to be able to get up early in the morning and do your touring before the masses descend. The 1 night in Bourges was not enough for me only because it was just my type of lilttle town. The hotel we stayed at was very nice I remember. The 1 night in Paris is just the end of the tour and Paris is a good city to either spend more time in or get to other places very easily. I took the Eurostar to London after the tour. I took this tour only 7 or 8 months after a knee replacement and had no problems. At MSM I just walked slowly due to the cobblestones and made it up and back to the Abbey easy peasy. Have you ever had a steroid shot to help your bursitis for the trip? I still have a wonky knee that I have put off having surgery for and I always have an injection 10 days or so before my flight. It really helps my enjoyment of the trip. Talk to your doctor and see if (s)he thinks this might make your tour more enjoyable. I am in my late 70s and taking my 9th Rick tour in France this September. I take my cane in case we are walking over uneven ground and it really helps me to be able to walk more quickly and safely. Most of the time I rarely use the cane. If I ever do need a brief rest, I just let the tour guide know and after a couple minutes it is easy to catch up with the group because of the whisper system used. Last year I injured myself early in the tour and I did opt out of one activity, but I tried hard not to ever slow the group down and I think I was successful. I walk every day at home and try to be in as good a shape as I can before a tour. Sometimes you are taken to a site and set free to explore on your own. You are told when and where to meet back up. If I am having a bad arthritis day I often just see the highlights and then find a spot near the bus or where we are to meet and have coffee or tea while I wait for the rest of the tour. It is a wonderful tour and I hope you decide to go.

Posted by
82 posts

My family and I were on this tour in April of this year and it was our 7th Rick Steves tour. Overall I did not find this tour very strenuous. We walk about 3-4 miles, mostly flat, at home every day so that may help set our activity level. The most strenuous was the one night visit to Mt. Ste. Chapelle.. You need to have a small overnight bag as your luggage will be left on the bus. The walkways are stones with an incline and there are flights of stairs up to the walls and some of the hotel rooms. As well as the tour visit to the Abbey on the top. A very nice city after all the tours leave. The visits to most of Chateaus are flat with lots of walking inside. Stairs to the many floors but beautiful gardens to walk around. We arrived early to the Montmartre district which is where our first hotel was located. While the tour does not visit this area we hiked up to Sacre La Coer which was a bit of a climb. The last hotel was near the Eiffel Tower but right next to an elevated metro station. Ask for a room in the rear. The tour of Guedelon does have some stairs up the rooms but area around castle was nice with some hills but mostly level. Normandy is pretty much level. Great guide for that day! Good luck. If you want the specific hotels we used DM me here and I will provide.

Posted by
170 posts

I took this tour in May and agree it’s not very strenuous or many hills / staircases aside from MSM. The walks from the bus to hotels, Chateaus and MSM can be a bit long with your luggage, but are flat. I did way more walking on my own in Paris pre- and post trip.