We booked online at Foxity.com to go on a combined City bus tour of Paris and Boat Cruise along the Seine for 25 euros. Since we were only in Paris for 5 days, we thought it expedient to see the main sights by bus that we might miss by walking the city. So on Monday we turned up ½ hour early for the 1½hr non-stop bus tour at Place de la Madeleine, and asked if there were any public toilets available for use as the weather was freezing cold and the bus did not stop for toilet breaks. The women at the Foxity desk just said “No. There is Nothing here. This is a luxury area, and there are NO toilets”. And indeed there were none (despite an out-of-date sign pointing to some) unless you bought a coffee at a coffee-shop or a very expensive snack at Fauchon across the Place. The bus tour ended up being a Hop-On, Hop-Off tour which took 2hrs. Some of the headsets only had one side working (we swapped seats) – It did the job, but it was nothing exceptional.
The woman printed out a voucher for the Seine cruise and said that the Seine was ‘Too high for the cruise today’ and told us to take the tour on Tuesday. So the next day, we showed up at the Cruise departure point and no-one was there or a sign to say that the cruise was not going: but along with a couple, we discovered the Seine was still ‘too high’ and boat tours weren’t going. On Wednesday, I rang Foxity to ask about the cruise, and was abruptly told it wasn’t going and to ring back. Thursday, the same thing. So in the afternoon, we rang again and was hung up on. We rang back and asked for a refund and was rudely told to come in within 20 minutes, or show up at the office (hugely inconvenient as we were staying quite far away and had other plans) at 9.30am the Friday morning. So on Friday morning, I waited at the office until 9.50 when an older gentleman finally opened the office – and to be fair, he didn’t argue and just handed back the refund of the Seine cruise. However, I really feel they should have been more pro-active in keeping people informed of the cancelled cruise and offering the refund instead of reacting (aggressively) to tourists ringing and ringing about the situation. I would imagine that many, many people lost their money because they were strung along waiting for the cruise to eventuate. By which time it was too late, and they left Paris. If it was only a few euros, I would have left it. But we got back 18 euros, which is a lot to us, as we saved a while for this holiday.
There wasn’t much that could be done about the cancelled cruise as it was due to heavy snowfalls melting from the mountains. But the attitude of the staff IS something that needs to be addressed. After all, their livelihood depends on the tourists. And my memory of Paris was tainted by how consistently rudely we were treated.
Also, beware of buying any extras packages with any tour company e.g. tours with food included, because only the bare minimum will be provided and nothing will be ‘good value’. Paris has become complacent with tourists, and it’s quite unusual not to feel ripped off/ badly treated on a trip here
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