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Best of Paris trip report

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.

Posted by
2096 posts

Thanks for sharing. I, too, loved the tapestries at the Cluny. I didn't realize this tour did not include a trip to Giverny. It was included on the Paris & Heart of France tour which was my first. We went in mid-October and it was still mobbed with people. You were fortunate to have had this place to yourself. Giverny is one of my favorite places in all of Europe.

Posted by
9700 posts

Thanks for the Trip Report and no, you are not terrible at writing them! This one's great!

I burst out laughing at your "George" comment! I've tried lazing around on the seats in the Lady and Unicorn room but George has never showed up! Since you are a fiber artist do you have an unreasonable desire to flip one of those tapestries over to look at the work on the back? I'm a lapsed cross-stitcher and I nearly have to sit on my hands to keep myself away from them, lol!

I love the brief the RS guides have on educating tour members on public transportation. Particularly for Paris it made the city so much more accessible and comfortable for me.

Sorry about your hurt leg/knee but you'll make up for it next time!

Posted by
99 posts

Thanks for the comments. And yes, Pam, if I could have flipped the tapestries over I would have! I did get up close and took a lot of close-up photos.

Posted by
4988 posts

Thanks, Pam in MN. We love trip reports here, regardless of length, details, or how the writer feels about writing them.

I appreciate your and Pam's comments about wanting to peek at the back of the tapestries. I'm a would-be painter, and I'm the one the guard at the museum is always telling "Step back from the painting!" I just want to see how the artist managed that effect. Sigh.

Posted by
1069 posts

Thank you Pam. I am taking this tour next autumn. Can you tell me how long you spent in the Louvre and how much free time you had to spend there? I am going to add on 5 or 6 nights on to the end with 1 or 2 day trips and am trying to decide if I should reserve another time slot and go back on my own.

Posted by
99 posts

Jane, I know how you feel. I’m in awe of any art, and always try to get close enough to see how they did it. To be so talented...

Posted by
99 posts

Vandrabrud... my memory is foggy about the time allowed after our night tour at the Louvre, but we did have some free time. I actually preferred the Orsay over the Louvre and we also had free time after our tour there. Maybe others here have a better memory than I do about the amount of free time given at the Louvre. I always keep a journal, but never thought of putting that kind of information in my writing. If you sketch, you’ll have time to do that as well. It is a beautiful city. You’ll have a great time.

Posted by
43 posts

To those who like to peer closely at paintings or tapestries in museums, I had an art teacher give this advice: clasp your hands together behind you, and bend forward to look at the art. It is obvious to the guard that you are just looking, and will not touch!

Posted by
99 posts

Tamijoart - I have seen people do this in museums. I never knew it was advised but it makes sense. Thanks.

Posted by
4988 posts

Tamijoart, I do that as well. Or stuff my hands in my pockets.

Some museums have electronic eye devices that buzz or ring if someone gets too close to the art. Or so I've been told. Ahem.

Posted by
2911 posts

Jane, LOL. Yes. Ahem.

Pams:

Since you are a fiber artist do you have an unreasonable desire to flip one of those tapestries over to look at the work on the back? I'm a lapsed cross-stitcher and I nearly have to sit on my hands to keep myself away from them, lol!
---LOL This, too. The back is important...

Posted by
2018 posts

Pam, this was fun to read. I took my two oldest grandgirls on the Best of Paris tour last July. We also had the marvelous Marie and all of us thought she was awesome. One of the girls and I had been to Paris before but the other, not. In fact this was her first trip without her parents and I didn't think there could have been a better introduction to Paris or learning basic-traveling-in-Europe-skills than she received from Marie. It sounds as if you enjoyed your trip (in spite of missing out on seeing George....we didn't see him, either🙁). What a great way to celebrate your birthday! Also, by the way, your report is wonderful; thank you for taking the time to write it for us.