My family (minus one) and I recently took a trip to Paris! We had a lot of fun, and I thought I would break down the experience into three parts. (Part 1, Part 3)
Part 2: Versailles and the Seine
We took an Artventures tour to see Versailles, and we were extremely impressed with our guide (Onje? I’m unsure of the spelling of his name. Sorry!). He was very enthusiastic about the history behind Versailles, and had fascinating things to say about each room. We saw a lot of other guided tours happening at the same time (it was VERY crowded), but no one else had the animation or excitement that he had. I highly recommend him (and this company) for your tour guide.
That being said, I’m not sure I’d recommend taking a tour of Versailles itself. The Gardens, yes. The Palace, no. It was an opulent monstrosity that had very tiny (other than the Hall of Mirrors) rooms that were extremely crowded. If you really like history, yes, go see it (and a tour guide was excellent to have). Otherwise, I think the Gardens would be much more enjoyable.
Seine River cruise:
Worth it! There was an audio tour on the cruise we chose, in multiple languages, and the cruise itself was beautiful. We got to see multiple major highlights of Paris from the water, including the amazing carvings on the bridges themselves!
We got there around 7:30 pm, and were able to get on the 8 pm cruise. The timing worked well for us because it wasn’t too dark during the cruise, for the most part. We boarded directly in front of the Eiffel Tower, so it was really easy to find.
A couple things to note: no bathrooms in the waiting area before you get on the ship. No seating either. Ships depart every hour on the hour. If you have an Expedia voucher, you need to trade it in to get the ticket before you can enter.
General Paris thoughts
In Spring, even if the weather network indicates 0% chance of rain, it will rain. Dress accordingly.
There are smokers everywhere. They might pay attention to where the smoke blows in relation to their kid, but everyone else is ignored. No 9m law in France.
The sidewalks are not very well paved, and sometimes have posts in the middle of them.
The likelihood of finding an elevator or escalator down to the subway platform is practically 0%, and not 0% like the rain forecast.
Wine and cheese are very cheap and delicious. Milk isn’t necessarily refrigerated. If you can, visit a bakery for baked goods and/or quiche.
Top sheets apparently aren’t used in France – just a duvet. Am I weird that I like a top sheet, or is it a Canadian thing?
I was told in advance that I would have to dress semi-formally in order to get any respect from people in the service industry. I ignored that advice (I’m on vacation! I’m going to be comfortable!) and dressed as I usually would, in my Hufflepuff hoodie with a geek t-shirt, and I had zero problems with any services. Possible reasons for this: I have an adorable daughter who charmed everyone, I was with my parents and husband (husband and mother both dressed as I did, husband and father can look intimidating, mother has a special ability to draw the life story out of everyone she meets), or I was lucky. Who knows?
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Are you interested in travelling to Paris? You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. firstname.lastname@example.org