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Tours and Excursions

Los Angeles...
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Tours and Excursions

Hello-

We are travelling to Paris for the first time in May. We are pretty self sufficient and wanted the freedom to explore and not be tied down to a tour group/time. We do want to take a Seine cruise at night and will go to all the "usual" sites.

I am curious to know how many people took a structured city/boat tour? I was just going to go to Paris and if a tour looked really good then book it there. Are there any advantages of booking a tour before I leave? Also, most people on this board seem to be totally self sufficient as well. If I don't take a tour, would I be missing something?

Merci!

Paris
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1. Re: Tours and Excursions

The boat tours are fun. It is a relatively minimal time investment and you really see Paris in all her splendour especially if you go after sunset. You do not need to book in advance and pretty much all the tours are the same. The Batobus, which is a bus that runs between major tourist sights is the only other way to visit Paris from the water, and while it is not a tour, it actually takes more time and does not run at night.

En bref, this is one tour that is an exception to the rule for do it yourself travelers.

USA
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2. Re: Tours and Excursions

I can't imagine a reason for pre-booking a Seine sightseeing cruise--day or night?? You simply show up at one of their departure point, pay your fare and cruise. No reservations necessary:

www.bateaux-mouches.fr/English_index.htm

www.bateauxparisiens.com/english/main.htm

http://www.vedettesdeparis.com/index_a.htm

http://www.vedettesdupontneuf.com/va/ (print-out internet 2 Euro per person discount coupon--if you forget..ask your hotel to print one out for you)

And, though not a sightseeing cruise per se--

http://www.batobus.com/

If you don't take one (both day and night) yeah...you'll be missing a lot.

Los Angeles...
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3. Re: Tours and Excursions

Thanks, I plan to take the Seine cruise at night definitely, not sure about during the day, although that may be fun too! I just want to see everything lit up at night.

As for the other City tours, I just wasn't sure if it was worth it. I suppose I'll probably tackle the sites on my own, this was it's much more flexible.

Garden Grove...
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4. Re: Tours and Excursions

A good guide book like Rick Steves or Frommers will get you through the city. If you want something escorted to go outside the city I recommend Parisvision. You can book from home on the web or go to their office when you get to Paris.Itis on Rue Di Rivoli near angeleina's, or your hotel can book for you.

Worcester, MA
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5. Re: Tours and Excursions

Two years ago, my husband and I learned a valuable lesson. We wanted to visit Versailles and had thought of going out there on the train but instead, booked an afternoon tour. When we arrived, the line for buying entrance tickets looked to be a half mile long and it was raining! We went out on a bus with a great guide. When we arrived she told us to go get lunch and to meet her in about 45 minutes at which time she would have our tickets. We bypassed the long line and went right in. She gave us a wonderfully informed tour using headphones so that everyone could hear her. I remembered that, although previous trips to Eaurope were quite independently done, we had also bought full day and half day tours on these trips, e.g. in England we took a day tour to Stratford Upon Avon which included a stop for a lunch of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding at a lovely inn. We traveled in summer at the height of the season. May might not be so crowded, but these tours are so well organized that they take the hassle out of trying to get to a lot of special places. We had also bought the Seine trip (we booked a dinner cruise) and it was great. I highly recommend these tours. They save so much time too. You don't want to spend your vacation trying to line everything up and then possibly finding yourself in a long line.

By

ne rien!

Garden Grove...
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6. Re: Tours and Excursions

I agree that the tours are great. We've been to The loire valley, To the Champagne Cellers, to Versailles, Moulin Rouge, Fountianblue and Brugges to name a few. We usually went with Paris Vision and the guides were wonderful. Escorted tours are not cheap but they sure are convenient for a first time visit to an unknown place when you can't speak the language and don't wish to stand in long lines.

Chicago, USA
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7. Re: Tours and Excursions

There is a good reason why I've been to Versailles twice. The first time I booked a tour. While the tour was long enough to enjoy the main Chateau, it was much to short to explore the vast gardens and other buildings on the property. Before we knew it, it was time to board the tour bus back to Paris.

Not that this is anything to really complain about, but the second time we learned our lesson. Took the RER C out to Versailles with our Carte Musee in hand. Avoided all lines, walked right in, and explored the gardens with plenty of time all on our own.