Overall it was just fine but mostly because we adapted. Not sure the itinerary was put together with timing put in place. For example we arrived in Paris at 9:30 am and went to the hotel which didn't allow check-in until 3 PM. Would have been great to check in, freshen up, and then go out and about. Also there was a three hour activity scheduled around 4 PM which after flying all day and only able to check in at 3 PM was too much. Next we asked for a cooking class and was paired up with an 8 year old child and his Mom....definitely not what was envisioned when we booked a cooking class in Paris. The travel agency did a poor job of understanding what we were looking for...we spent a fair bit of money for a very simple cooking experience. And you don't get to know the exact places on the itinerary until a couple of days before you leave so it's difficult to research the places booked. We also booked a tour of Versailles and that was canceled due to a union strike.... and no time to book another tour. Felt we missed out on one of the highlights of the trip. Last our hotel in Paris had quite a few plumbing issues and light bulbs out which for some reason they couldn't fix within the three days we were there. The concierge was fantastic but his back up was not. In Bordeaux it seems the travel agency couldn't book a cheese tasting because there wasn't any English speaking employees??? Not sure a lot of talking is necessary when tasting cheese and it would probably would have been fun trying to understand each other.
The food, streets, Louvre, cathedrals, wineries were fantastic. Train ride was a nice way to travel to Bordeaux and the hotel location was brilliant although the hotel itself isn't very nice at all....can't believe it rates a 4 star rating.
Book things ourselves or from France rather than the states. The concierges know their business very well. The only thing I would do from the states is the travel, transportation, and lodging arrangements - we are seasoned travelers so can adapt easily and we know what we liked. The travel agency didn't really ask the right questions to see what we wanted...too generic. And I still haven't see the refund from the Versailles cancellation which I don't think I should have to initiate....
TRAVEL COMPANY COMMENTS:
I am glad that you enjoyed the concierge at your hotel. We completely agree with you that most concierges know their areas quite well and they are invaluable. Some are even truly fantastic and we work hard to find hotels with that level of service. Some things are outside of everyones control and the Versailles tour being cancelled due to a strike was certainly disappointing. Unfortunately strikes are not unusual in Europe but we were able to process a full refund and have sent you a check for that. With a last minute inquiry and flights already booked we did the best we could to follow instructions for specific activities you wanted and work around things you planned separately. There was not a lot of latitude in availability especially during the shoulder season and early check in cannot be guaranteed without paying for the prior night. The English speaking owner of the cheese shop was not available on that specific day so that is why we offered you options such as find an alternative cheese shop or other option for you. Since it worked out for you to cancel so that you could pursue some of your other plans we were able to refund. I know our agent did her best to review all of the details with you prior to your departure to make sure that your trip was as close to what you envisioned as possible, helping you book your own rental car and reviewing so you were aware of the tour times. I'm glad that you were able to enjoy some of the special things France has to offer such as the Louvre and the wineries. Traveling by train is also one of my favorite things. I hope that you will go back to Europe soon!
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