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Day Tours from Paris

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Nov 5th, 2013, 11:15 PM
  #1
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Day Tours from Paris

Hey guys, will have 3 days free time in Paris after my Trafalgar tour ends.

What are the name of the tour companies that offer group/bus/coach day tours out of Paris? Also, no overnight, as trafalgar has specials if you book pre/post accommodation.

So far, I've been looking them up through viator, but I'd rather book them via the actual tour company. I will be travelling with my parents, so escorted would probably be best, as they don't like doing things independently, especially if in a new country.

Do you guys know of the major companies or minor companies that operate out of paris tours, thanks?
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Nov 6th, 2013, 12:40 AM
  #2
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So far, I've found Paris City Vision........which looks promising. Are there any other tour companies?

I prefer travelling with a group, so no private tours.
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Nov 6th, 2013, 04:01 AM
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You can go by yourself. Pick a place, look up the train schedule, buy a ticket and go.
How long will you have been in Paris?
Versailles is easy
Giverney is easy
Chartres
Reims
Even the Normandy beaches are possible, but that would take a tour--which Paris Vision probably offers.
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Nov 6th, 2013, 04:34 AM
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http://www.contexttravel.com/city/pa...urs/excursions

http://www.normandy-sightseeing-tours.com/en/

Why not book through Viator if they offer what you want.
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Nov 6th, 2013, 09:57 AM
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How many days will you have had in paris. If it's less than 4 I wouldn;t do any day trips but would just stay there seeing the sights - possibly a half day in Versailles. You just hop on a train - 30 minutes from central Paris.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 07:06 AM
  #6
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I would find it easier by train, but my parents are really worried about finding their own way around a new city, etc.

So, you think I should just book through Viator?
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Nov 7th, 2013, 07:39 AM
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What time of year is your trip? In general, no need to book bus tours way ahead of time. The night before should suffice. That way you can adjust your plans according to the weather and how you feel.

Gretchen lists the most likely destinations. I might add a bus tour of the Loire chateaux. But most of these places are not cities but small towns easy to find your way around. Maybe your parents will feel more comfortable on their own after having experienced the rest of the tour.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 07:50 AM
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If you're traveling with your parents and have no worries about finding your way then why not do some trips on your own. For Versailles and Chartres going on your own will allow you as much time as you want/need rather than be limited by a bus tour. Giverny closed at the end of October so that's not an option if you're going before spring.

Can your parents walk and go up and down metro stairs or do they have mobility limits?

You might not want 3 days trips but spend more time in Paris, especially if you've not been there before.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 07:58 AM
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Are you going to be traveling with/guiding your parents, and are you going with them on this trip?

They/you will have to learn how to get around the city anyway so I'd suggest that getting a good map of Paris ahead of time would help orient you/them to the city.

To learn how to get around Paris by métro/bus/RER use www.ratp.fr. Here is a link to a route planner:

http://www.ratp.fr/itineraires/en/ra...herche-avancee

Here is an interactive map of the system:

http://www.ratp.fr/plan-interactif/carteidf.php?lang=uk

Since parts of this website are only in French you can also use www.transilien.com or www.vianavigo.com. Via Navigo probably has the most complete English website. A good website to learn how to use public transport in Paris is www.parisbytrain.com.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 08:14 AM
  #10
 
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What Adrienne said--if you are with them, do they not trust you to get them "there".
Again, however, how long do you have IN Paris. If you are there on a tour, there is a whole lot more to do than what they will show you!!
A good guide book would help you--Michelin Green Guide to paris.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 08:15 AM
  #11
 
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My first question is how much time will you have already spent in Paris. Even if visited through your tour, there are places you might want to return on your own, and I doubt an organized tour hits all of the sites.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 11:10 AM
  #12
 
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I've used Cityrama and they were excellent, for a day tour to Vaux le Vicomte. I believe they merged with Parisvision and they have the same website now. Those are the main names I know, there are probably some others, but also you want English-speaking I presume, and some others I have heard of are French, for example.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 02:07 PM
  #13
 
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I don't post often, but I thought I'd chime in on this one.

Personally, with only 3 or 4 days in Paris I wouldn't bother with any day trips. However, if you really want to get out of the center, consider Sceaux. It's a lovely little town (suburb?) 15 minutes away on the RER (the station is across from Luxembourg Gardens). Just a short walk from the train station there's a fine chateau in beautiful grounds -- and it isn't crowded. You can go into the chateau/museum for a few euros, walk the grounds, have a bite in the outdoor snack shop if the weather permits. A truly enjoyable couple of hours. I think it's been mentioned here in the past, or you can Google it.
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Nov 15th, 2013, 08:42 PM
  #14
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Nope, they wouldn't trust anyone, unless it's guided/pick-up....they can be a bit stubborn, unless I can convince them it's safe.

I'll be going in the winter, around boxing day and up to a few days after new years.
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Nov 16th, 2013, 04:16 AM
  #15
 
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Well, you came back but still haven't said how long you will have spent in Paris proper (unless it is the boxing Day reference). ;o) There is a lot to do--and at the time of year the days will be very short.
Then the Paris tours mentioned would be very reliable and "canned".
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Nov 16th, 2013, 05:03 AM
  #16
 
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Why would they think doing this on their own is unsafe? How would doing a group tour make it safer?

If they want a tour any of those companies you list would do the trick. Just pick one that offers what you are all interested in.
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Nov 16th, 2013, 06:11 AM
  #17
 
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There is nothing unsafe about doing a day trip on your own from Paris. If you can find your way to a train station in Paris then you simply take the train from Paris to your destination and there you are. In my last post I gave you all the info you need to learn how to get around Paris by public transport. You still haven't said if you will be doing this trip with your parents or if they will be going without you. If you are going to do this trip with your parents then they'll have you as a guide and if you spend a few minutes looking at the websites I gave you then you'll see how easy it is to get around Paris with public transport. You're going to need to learn that anyway if you plan on exploring Paris at all.

Here is a brief list that summarizes many of the most popular day trips from Paris (within an hour and a half by train). With the exception of Reims and Rouen I haven't included places that require advance train ticket purchase to get the cheapest train ticket prices. The rest of the destinations are all local trains with fixed prices. There are certainly many other day trips you could also do but this list covers most of the biggies:

Provins (an authentic walled medieval town): http://www.provins.net/
Trains depart from Gare de l'Est. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5.
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Château of Chantilly (wonderful fairytale château, famous art collection): http://www.chateaudechantilly.com/fr/
http://www.chantilly-tourisme.com/
Trains depart from Gare du Nord. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
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Senlis (beautiful small medieval town can be combined with a visit to Chantilly):
http://www.senlis-tourisme.fr/gb/accueil-senlis.php
Take train to Chantilly (see above). Take bus number 15 from Chantilly to Senlis. Bus schedules here: http://www.oise-mobilite.fr/index.asp
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Reims (champagne tours, great historic cathedral, museums):
http://www.reims-tourisme.com/
Take TGV train from Gare de l'Est. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices. Train tickets cheapest if purchased 3 months in advance.
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Epernay (champagne tours): http://www.ot-epernay.fr/
Trains depart from from Gare de l'Est. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
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Fontainebleau (former royal town with famous château):
http://www.musee-chateau-fontainebleau.fr/
http://www.fontainebleau-tourisme.com/
http://www.uk.fontainebleau-tourisme.com/
Trains depart from Gare de Lyon arrive at Fontainebleau-Avon. Take Bus A from train station to château. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5.
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Versailles (obvious):
http://en.chateauversailles.fr/homepage
http://www.versailles-tourisme.com/en/accueil.html
There are several possible ways to get here by train from Paris. Easiest (least confusing) is to take RER C from Paris to Versailles Rive-Gauche. Use www.ratp.fr for train info.
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Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte (the château after which Louis XIV based his garden renovations for Versailles and IMO one of the most elegant château in France):
http://www.vaux-le-vicomte.com/
http://www.vaux-le-vicomte.com/en/useful-information
Trains depart from Gare de Lyon and arrive in Melun. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5. Take taxi from Melun to château or in high season use the shuttle bus from Melun to château. See 2nd link above for further transport info.
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Rouen (small city, lots to do, wonderful cathedral, medieval old center): http://www.rouentourisme.com/
Trains depart from Gare Saint-Lazare. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules. Tickets cheapest if purchased 3 months in advance. Last minute tickets cost 22.80€ each way (45.60€ round trip).
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Giverny (Monet's house and gardens):
http://fondation-monet.com/en/
http://giverny.org/giverny/
http://giverny.org/gardens/index.htm
http://www.vernon-visite.org/index.shtml
Trains depart from Gare Saint-Lazare and arrive in Vernon. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices. Look at links above for info about shuttle bus to Giverny, or walking or renting a bike.
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Chartres (the famous cathedral and wonderful old medieval town):
http://www.chartres-tourisme.com/en
http://www.discover-chartres.com/

Malcolm Miller Cathedral Tours:

Daily tours of Chartres Cathedral from Easter until late October are at 12 noon and 2.45 p.m. Not on Sundays, and during the winter occasionally or on request.
E-mail address is [email protected].
Trains depart from Gare Montparnasse. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
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Compiègne (château with museums, wonderful old town. Can be combined with a visit to the château of Pierrefonds): http://www.compiegne-tourisme.fr/
Trains depart from Gare du Nord. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
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Château of Pierrefonds (Magnificent fairytale looking château. Reconstructed in the 19th century but magnificent nonetheless. Can be combined with a visit to Compiègne):
http://www.pierrefonds.monuments-nationaux.fr/
http://www.pierrefonds-tourisme.net/
http://www.compiegne-tourisme.fr/Le-...errefonds.html
Take train to Compiegne (see above). There are shuttle buses from Compiegne to Pierrefonds but they are infrequent. Use www.oise-mobilite.fr for bus info. Easiest means of access is taxi from Compiegne to Pierrefonds. The tourist office in Compiegne will assist with taxi service.
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Troyes (lovely small medieval city):
http://www.tourisme-troyes.com/
Trains depart from Gare de l'Est. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Auxerre (lovely small medieval city):
http://www.ot-auxerre.fr/
http://www.burgundy-tourism.com/page...erre-1034.html
Trains depart from Gare de Lyon. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Laon (medieval hilltop town with a spectacular cathedral): http://www.tourisme-paysdelaon.com/
Trains depart from Gare du Nord. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Crécy-la-Chapelle (small charming renowned artists village):
http://www.cc-payscrecois.fr/Crecy-la-Chapelle,203.html
Trains depart from Gare de l'Est. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5.
__________________________________________________ __________________________

Moret-sur-Loing (charming walled medieval village/artists village):
http://www.ville-moret-sur-loing.fr/rubrique.php?id=189
http://www.msl-tourisme.fr/index.php/francais/accueil
Trains depart from Gare de Lyon. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5.
__________________________________________________ ___________________________

Auvers-sur-Oise (Van Gogh and other impressionist art history):
http://www.auvers-sur-oise.com/heading/heading899.html
Trains depart from either Gare Saint-Lazare or Gare du Nord. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ ___________________________

Rueil-Malmaison (château of the Empress Josephine and a nice old downtown. On the RER A line and could be combined with a visit to Saint-Germain-en-Laye):
http://www.chateau-malmaison.fr/
http://www.rueil-tourisme.com/
Take RER A to La Défense and then bus 258 to Château de Malmaison. Also possible to take RER A to Rueil-Malmaison and then walk 1.5km to 2km to old downtown and then to château. Bus number 144 also available from RER station to get to downtown then walk to château. Use www.ratp.fr for transport info.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Saint-Germain-en-Laye (former royal town with a wonderful château now home to the national museum of archaeology. On the RER A line and could be combined with a visit to Malmaison):
http://www.ot-saintgermainenlaye.fr/en/
http://www.saintgermainenlaye.fr/en/...ulture/musees/
Take RER A from Paris to Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Use www.ratp.fr for train info.
__________________________________________________ __________________________

Barbizon (famous artists village, can be combined with Fontainebleau):
http://www.barbizon-tourisme.fr/
Trains depart from Gare de Lyon and arrive in Fontainebleau-Avon. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5. It is necessary to take a taxi from Fontainebleau to Barbizon.
__________________________________________________ ___________________________

IMPORTANT NOTE: When using the http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ website here are a few tips. When entering Paris as your arrival or departure point you will notice a drop down menu appears when you start to type the word ''paris''. Select ''Paris (all stations – FR)'' and this will automatically bring up the correct train station in Paris for your journey. Be sure to uncheck the box marked ''Direct Trains'' to see all options.

If you are redirected to the RailEurope then try again and select ''Antarctic'' as your ticket collection country to avoid being redirected to the RailEurope website. The RailEurope website usually doesn't show all the trains and shows higher ticket prices. Be sure to also look at other ticket purchase options. If you are having troubles with the SNCF website you try using a new ticket selling website called www.capitainetrain.com. You can also use the German rail site www.bahn.de for schedules but it will not give train ticket prices.

These are the most popular day trips and all are worthwhile but there are many other less popular and equally worthy day trips. I could easily list a couple dozen more but only if what's on this list doesn't interest you. A good guide book for the Île-de-France region should give you more ideas.

You'll need to take a train from Paris to do these day trips. For info on trains in Paris and the nearby suburbs (métro and RER trains and those TER trains that operate within zone 5) use the website www.ratp.fr. Use the interactive map on this website to plan your trip: http://www.ratp.fr/plan-interactif/carteidf.php?lang=uk. Parts of this website are in French so you can use an English language companion site www.vianavigo.com. You can also use www.transilien.com for métro and RER trains and those TER trains that are part of the Transilien network. Some TER trains on the Transilien network go beyond zone zone 5. It's a personal choice as to whether you prefer using the RATP or Transilien website.

A great website to learn about the Paris métro/bus/RER network is www.parisbytrain.com.

For trains that go further beyond the Île-de-France and outside of the Transilien network use the website http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ A great website to learn about trains in France (and Europe) is www.seat61.com if you have any train questions/problems.

Paris and many of the places nearby in Île-de-France are divided into zones, numbered 1 through 5. Paris is in zone 1 and areas outside Paris are in zones 2 through 5. Some of the destinations I mentioned are in zone 5 (Provins, Fontainebleau, Moret-sur-Loing, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Crécy-la-Chapelle, Barbizon). For these journeys it will be more cost effective to buy a one day Mobilis pass for 15.65€ for zones 1 through 5. This will be cheaper than the point to point tickets round trip. Plus, this pass is good for unlimited travel on all public trains and buses for one day in zones 1-5. Buy it first thing in the morning before your first métro ride and it gets you to your train station, your round trip tickets, any buses you need to use at your destination and any traveling you'll do in Paris when you return. Before you use the ticket make sure to write your name and the date on the ticket. You can buy these passes from the ticket machines in métro/RER stations. The machines have an English language option. If so, look for the one day Mobilis pass option. When you get to the screen that lists your zones to choose from press zone 1 and then press zone 5. You can also buy them at any ticket counter. They are good for 60 days so you can buy it in advance if you want to be prepared. It's not valid until you write your name and date on it and validate the ticket on your first métro/RER trip or at the train station. If you buy the ticket at a main line train station before boarding a train be sure to stick it in the machine that validates tickets and it will punch your ticket.
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Nov 16th, 2013, 07:50 AM
  #18
 
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Great detailed response, FMT. I'm bookmarking it.
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Nov 16th, 2013, 09:24 AM
  #19
 
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Zoey23,
We have used Viator several times and always found the tour companies that they use to be excellent.
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Nov 16th, 2013, 10:10 AM
  #20
 
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Wow FMT! This is a great reference and guide. I am bookmarking for my next trip to Paris.
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