I just wanted to report to those who may be considering doing the Best of Paris or a Paris visit.
We booked the Best of Paris trip which was from Dec 29 through to Jan 4. Above all, our guide was superb. Rick Steve's Tours even provided us with a chartered bus 3 times due to the ongoing strikes that affected public transportation. This was our first Rick Steve's Tour (my first time out of the country) and the experience was top notch. It was one of the busiest trips we have ever taken. Everyday there was a planned activity and plenty of free time to further our exploring of Paris. Because of the strikes, the buses and trains were not running with any regularity. Same goes for the museums, sometimes we did not know whether we were going to be able to see them until we arrived at them. Without public transportation we did a lot of walking...a lot of walking. I'm not complaining about the walking, it was the most exercise I had in quite some time and it felt good, plus we got to see a lot of shops, restaurants, neighborhoods, etc that we would have missed. We also took advantage of Uber and met a lot of nice drivers who told us stories and showed us other places to visit.
We arrived in Paris 3 days before our tour started, and that was a good thing, you know...jet lag. We took advantage of the close proximity of the hotel (Londres Hotel Eiffel) to the Eiffel Tower...a total of three blocks, and we booked a guided tour (Flat Tire Tour) of the Eiffel Tower with a champagne toast at the top. We also booked a guided tour of the Catacombs, I highly recommend this. Booking a guided tour (and not just showing up to buy a ticket) to the catacombs got us in 15 minutes before the crowds were allowed to come in. It also provided us access to portions of the catacombs not accessible to the general public. Again, we weren't sure if we were going to be able to enter the catacombs due to the strikes.
"Parisians are rude", this statement is not true. I found that Parisians are very nice. It's the thousands of tourists that make them a bit short with you. They are dealing with tourists from all over the world...everyday...and that has to be difficult. We found that if you greet them with a "Bonjour!" and a "Merci" and give your French a good old fashion try, they appreciate the fact that you are trying. To my wife's detriment, I love to talk to people and genuinely want to know what life is like on the other side of the world. For the most part the Parisians will talk to you about their life and thoughts. I found that the Uber drivers were the most talkative. Don't be afraid to converse with them. I also enjoyed the Uber rides through the busy streets...traffic is crazy there.
Now the bad part... The Eiffel Tower area is loaded with "gypsies" who want you to sign petitions and donate money. DON'T! As soon as you open your purse, they steal it and run. This is what one shop owner told us. Second, pick pockets are a serious thing. We were warned continuously about this. The first train ride (all of 10 minutes) our group did, one of our ladies had her bag unzipped and wallet taken in a matter of seconds just before exiting the train. These pick pockets are magicians at this...you will never feel it. My wife, son, daughter and myself were on a street trying to decide which direction to go... that's when i noticed a gentleman right behind my wife and another right behind my son. They were getting ready to rip us off until i made eye contact with both of them (I'm 6'1"and 270lbs), then then moved on. BE ALERT. They will also pretend you dropped something and distract you while another rips you off. Act like you own the street, be confident and alert at your surroundings. AND BY ALL MEANS USE THE MONEY BELTS PROVIDED BY RICK STEVES TOURS! I used the money belt that loops into your belt and has a zipper. I tucked it into my front pocket. Keep your passports in the safe at the hotel, only carry what you need for the day.