Warning: Long report! Best move on to the next thread if details drive you nuts!
Overview: I cheated on Rick! Most people here know I love Rick’s tours – I’ve done 11 of them and keep coming back for more. My 2nd choice for tour companies is Road Scholar and I pick them when they’ve got an itinerary that Rick doesn’t offer. Most of the ones I’ve done recently have been concentrating on smaller areas and staying fewer places. The model is similar to Rick’s with 24-28 people. They use a “leader” who often is the administrative person and utilize local guides for daily programs. Sometimes the leader also is a guide. Tipping is included on the Road Scholar tours as on Rick’s and they provide group meals as well. This particular program included wine with every group meal. By the way…I always struggle with reviewing another company on Rick’s forum but then I think…well, maybe someone in the office will take a look at the itinerary and decide to offer something similar!
Paris Pre-tour: I arranged my days in Paris so they would coincide with Darcy from Lewiston and her husband. We have so much fun together (well I think Doug tolerates the 2 of us together, lol!!) and saw a lot. I arrived on Sept 26 via Salt Lake City non-stop to CDG. I have been lucky the last 2 times on this flight as there seem to be no other flights landing at the same time. I was off the plane and thru Immigration (with a comfort stop) in under 20 minutes. There were plenty of Immigration booths open and several line managers directing people to different areas. I had about 4 people in line in front of me so it went quickly. The taxi line went quickly as well and I was to my hotel in well under 1h30m which might be a record for me. Darcy and Doug returned home but I spent 15 nights in Paris before my Road Scholar part, then 3 nights after the tour back in Paris to finish up things, lol.
Paris Walks: Darcy and I had always wanted to do the Paris Walks tour about the Knights Templar but had always missed it. We decided this time we’d just pay for a private walk with them and had a wonderful time. Christopher was the guide (Darcy and I had had him on several previous walks) and was excellent. We were able to go at our own pace, ask questions and just chat in general. (He is a fossil collector!) It was pretty spendy but well worth it to us. We did another group walk with a guide that was unfortunately not as good as the other guides I’ve had with them. She was well-informed but hard to hear and just had a flat delivery. After I was on my own, I did 3 more walks (2 with Chloe and 1 with Bridgette who did a walking tour in 2014 for a RS Best of Paris tour I was on – she is still excellent!). I met up with another RS forum member to do a couple of the walks and that was fun as well!
Paris Museum Pass: I posted a thread about my experience with the pass. I’ve always gotten at least one 6-day pass and sometimes 2. I loved the freedom of being able to change plans at the last moment or just drop into a museum that you might not ordinarily choose to visit if you had to pay. I am going to say to forget using the Museum Pass for the Louvre. They’ve just made too many hoops and frankly it’s easier just to buy a timed entry straight out and not fool with the Museum Pass for this. My basic advice is to plot this out carefully taking in to consideration your days of the week, whether you are there on a “first Sunday” when some museums are free, whether there are any national holidays, etc. to see if a museum pass is worth it to you.