We had a wonderful trip. Everything was well organized by this France travel agency with no glitches. This company was easy to work with. I was worried about investing so much "sight unseen," to be honest, but I did not need to worry, everything was perfect. Our agents always answered my emails and questions and were always very helpful.
My favorite part was the "Paris Charms and Secrets" electric bike tour of the city. The bikes were great fun both for middle-aged me and for my college and high school aged son and daughter. Our guide was a hoot who knew so much history and had a knack for storytelling. He had an unbelievably interesting story about the paintings in a cathedral - I still hope he gets around to writing a novel, as it will be as good as the DaVinci Code! My son loved it so much that later in the trip he insisted on going back to a number of the sites we had seen to show his brother, who missed the bike trip due to a stomach bug. We all also loved the day trip to the Champagne region and the day trip to Normandy, both of which were led by personable and very knowledgeable guides. The Champagne trip included a stop at a family-owned winery where we were treated to lunch with the owner, including a lot of delicious champagne. The Normandy trip included a heartbreaking tour of Omaha Beach and surrounding areas and the American cemetery. Our guide knew a lot of history and was able to get us into the interesting battle sites early so that we saw them before the very large tour buses pulled in. We had some flexible time in the afternoon and chose to have a lovely lunch at a restaurant specializing in the foods, especially cheeses and cider, of the area, and to visit Bayeux and see the 1000 year old tapestry there - definitely worth a visit. The Orsay was the best museum we saw. Having lunch in their dining hall, which looks like Versailles, was such a treat - the best food we had during our stay and a lovely, peaceful hour.
I also should mention a great Eiffel Tower tour - we saw the underground bunker where the military sent messages during the war, went up to the middle level and toured, and then climbed up to the roof, which gave a spectacular and very un-crowded view of Paris - not one was up there other than our small group. We loved it!
We stayed in a lovely hotel with very nice staff and a delicious breakfast included, but it was in an area in the "Golden Triangle" where it was somewhat difficult to find a place to eat as the restaurants are quite fancy and mostly require reservations. We were busy every day and never knew exactly when we would eat, so we might have been better off in an area like the Latin Quarter. We were, however, fairly near a Metro stop and the Champs Elysee, so the location did have upsides. We went in August, which had an advantage in that Paris traffic was not bad at all, but a disadvantage of huge, massive crowds at tourist sites like Versailles - where we were physically shoved through the palace by hordes of people wanting to rush along taking "selfies". All the was visible were bodies and arms with cameras reaching into the air from people smacking others in the face while not looking where they were going. A very unpleasant experience - I would stick to just the gardens if I went again, they were lovely. Parts of the Louvre were also absolutely jammed with people pushing and shoving others to position themselves to take "selfies." Still, it's the Louvre, I'd definitely go again, and the "skip the line" tour is a good way to go. The Orsay, blessedly, bans cameras and so did not have the problem of selfie-takers crashing along into everyone else.
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