Paris small group tours with Annie and Elyse, Episode 152
A few months ago Annie and Elyse decided to take the plunge and organize some Paris small group tours. Elyse has extensive experience as a tour leader, but Annie had none up until now. But, what do you know? The tour was lots of fun and we’re ready to do it again!
On today’s episode we reminisce and discuss future plans. Why should you listen even if you have no desire to go on a tour with us? Because we share a lot of travel logistics gems in this episode, listen and learn!
Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.
What You Will Learn About in this Episode
4’30 While leading the Inaugural Tour we ran into a lot of tour groups where there were so many people that it was just a one-way conversation. It’s like factory tourism. What we’re doing is totally different because our groups are so small.
5’16 Touring with Annie and Elyse is like touring with family.
5’50 Because group members chose us based on the podcast, they were looking forward to it and knew what they were getting into.
6’20 We had group members from all over the US, we also had various ages, and it all worked out really well.
7’10 Our next Paris Tour is going to be October 1st through Oct 7th 2017 and we hope to announce 4 more Paris tours in 2018 as well.
8’50 Our tour started by going to a wine bar called Chez Nous, followed by a river Cruise on the Seine River. Next time we’ll probably start a little earlier on Sunday and visit the Luxembourg Gardens.
9’45 Two guys who thought the Luxembourg Gardens were ugly. When you look at something with no context, it’s hard to see the beauty or appreciate anything.
11’30 On Monday we didn’t start too early
12′ We lucked out on all the places we went to eat. Annie’s goal was to keep it around 15€-20€ for lunch and 30€-35€ for dinner. We were looking for good value and we found it!
13′ France is not a good place to keep a strict diet. No vacation is good for your diet, really, is it? We eat a lot of meat and dairy in France. Lots of duck and lamb, fish (fish is usually the “diet” choice on a French menu). But we also don’t eat fried food very much in France.
17′ We’ll be looking for a good audio solution to use all the time. We had a whisper system in some of the museums, but even there, they limit you to a specific amount of time. So we’ll be looking for a good solution.
17’50 Monday activities: Conciergerie (where Marie-Antoinette was held before she was beheaded), Sainte-Chapelle, restaurant Saint-Régis.
19′ Annie being recognized by her voice, an eerie experience for sure!
20’41 Notre Dame, Place de la Concorde, the Orangerie. “Droit de parole” complications. They give you an appointment at a specific time, which is not always suitable.
22′ Tuesday: Orsay Museum which isn’t very big as far as Paris museums are concerned. Lunch by the big clock. Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysées. In future tours we will do a drive by night that will include all the big sights of Paris by night.
25′ Wednesday: Louvre Museum. If you want to have some peace in the Louvre you have to get off the beaten track and choose other pieces that are of interest to you ahead of time. There are lovely sections of decorative arts, music, Egypt, Roman and Greek, Babylonian, Islamic Arts, etc. Next time we do a tour we will spend a little time with each participant to help them decide about a good section for them so they can go explore that part and enjoy the Louvre with some peace and quiet.
29’30 Montmartre: Annie is not in love with the area, it’s too touristy and crass. Elyse will plan a different itinerary where we don’t spend so much time in the middle of the crowds. Wine tasting with a sommelier. Next time we’ll take the time to have dinner right after the wine tasting.
31’20 Thursday: Opéra Garnier, Galleries Lafayettes, Musée Rodin, then we went to Montparnasse, ate at a crêperie, we got soaked that night.
34’20 Friday: Marais walk with Elyse, lunch at l’As du Fallafel, Picasso Museum, dinner at Bouillon Racine on rue Racine.
37’40 Saturday: we split up that day. Annie went to Père Lachaise and Steve from Florida helped greatly because of his surveyor powers. Elyse went to the Pantheon, Sorbonne, Saint-Eitenne-du-Mont church, the Cluny Museum and the Latin Quarter in general. Then we all met together at the Centre Pompidou which was an add-on, and had some free time.
45’30 Next time we will add more shopping time and we’ll give people the choice of two different shopping areas. We’ll also add some time at a flea market or food market and a drive by night Uber ride around Paris. Next time we’ll choose a concert with more approachable music, probably not Notre Dame.
48’40 We will also add some excursions one day before the tour and another after the tour. We’ll do a day at Giverny on the Saturday before the Tour and a whole day at Versaille on the Sunday after the Tour. For 2018 we’ll set some dates for a Tour in April, another for May, then one in September and one in October. We won’t do a Tour in July and August because it’s too hot and June is too busy in Paris.
55′ Annie didn’t grow up wanting to be someone who evangelizes about France and a tour organizer, but Paris small group tours are so much fun, this is something worth investing time into.
56’38 Thank you for your support new Patreon donors Nancy Calkins, Todd Costella, and Stephanie Ellis. Thank you also Sophia Semensky and Paul Goess for tipping your guide.
58’37 Feedback on the previous episode on using Uber in Paris: using Uber between Disneyland and Paris city center. They had a really good experience using Uber in Paris, but it is true that most Uber drivers in Paris do not speak English. They had one bad experience with an Uber driver who never showed up at all and they grabbed a taxi instead. The Uber to get back to the airport to go home went well, but the ride took 1.5 hrs because the traffic was heavy.
Feedback on the Inaugural Tour from Steven Struck, his impressions and experience as a tour member. He also shares about his experiences moving to France.
People who have been to Paris before should not discount this tour because they are going to learn so much, my head got filled every day. And for people who have never been to Paris, what a great way to see Paris for the first time. Steven Struck, Inaugural Tour member.
Paris small group tours are hard to find because most tour operators would rather go for numbers. But we’re not like everyone else: a small group is the only sort of tour worth doing in our opinion. Hanging out in Paris for a week with people you will get to know and enjoy is the best way to make a lovely break from your daily life and recharge your batteries. We loved the 10 people who toured with us on this Inaugural Tour, we are so glad they chose to come see Paris with us and hope to have many wonderful small groups again.
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