This was my first time in Paris and my first Rick Steve’s tour. I have gone on other tours with different companies and also traveled quite a bit on my own. I thought the tour well done, led by Marie and specialty guides at various places and museums. It was a nice group of travelers. No complaining. People were very inclusive to the solo travelers. The hotel, Londres de Eiffel, is situated on a quiet, one-way street although it was very close to restaurants, shopping, sites, etc. My room was small, as expected, but immaculate. The hotel had an elevator which was nice since I was on the 5th floor and had recently hurt my leg/knee before leaving home, making it painful to climb stairs. That problem did prevent me from exploring Paris as much as I had planned. Maybe another trip is in my future.
I arrived a day early and stayed 3 days after the tour was over. On these extra days I took 2 cooking classes at La Cuisine Paris (mentioned in Rick’s Paris book) which I would recommend for anyone who enjoys cooking and/ or baking. I went to see Atelier de Luminaire (the Van Gogh light show). It was beautiful although I thought some of the music accompanying the visuals was jarring. I had also reserved a small shuttle trip to Giverny one afternoon (with Web Services also mentioned in the Paris book) which I recommend. I enjoyed Giverny a lot and was surprised at the number of blooming flowers even though it was mid October. It was also quiet with few people. I think possibly because it was overcast and raining off and on that day. It didn’t put a damper on my time there at all. I had to skip my Eiffel Tower reservation to go to the top at dusk as we returned to Paris a little too late. Just another reason to return.
Having Marie teach us how to use the metro and read the map was indispensable to this trip. I was somewhat familiar with using a metro from my trip to Rome, but this education gives travelers an independence and confidence that I think we all appreciated. I had no problems with pickpockets on the metro or anywhere in Paris but I’m always careful. One couple in the group had a close call with pickpockets on the metro but nothing was lost.
I’m terrible at writing trip reports but I did want to thank the forum and especially Pam for the pre-trip help. My highlights: The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries at the Cluny (I never saw George) as I am currently working on a fiber art piece related to the tapestries and wanted to see them in person (and that day happened to be my birthday!); Giverny; the museums; basically everything. It was a good trip.