Is a tour guide needed in Paris

Old Mar 12th, 2008, 06:03 PM
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Is a tour guide needed in Paris

Will be in Paris this May for 2.5 days. Do I need to look for a tour guide (if so any recommendations for individuals or companies) or is a good tour book good enough.
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Old Mar 12th, 2008, 06:13 PM
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A guide book will be just fine.
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Old Mar 12th, 2008, 06:19 PM
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No need for a tour guide whatsoever, though the tour guide experience is always enjoyable.

Also do a search on here for free tour guides. Someone recently posted about local Parisians who will meet and take you around.
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Old Mar 12th, 2008, 06:24 PM
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NO! Use a guide book and your feet. Actually the Paris Walking Tour Cards are fun and reasonable itineraries that will get you to the places you "have to" see plus get you to some interesting places that tours never find.
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Old Mar 12th, 2008, 06:46 PM
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We enjoyed a tour guide for the museums. We used Paris Muse for the d'Orsay and the Louvre. The best way to see the city is to have a good map and start walking.
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Old Mar 12th, 2008, 07:14 PM
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I think a good map, like the big Michelin street map, is a good place to start.

Then take a look at the bus routes at RATP website http://www.ratp.fr/

YOu can plot your route by metro and bus. The maps are interactive and good.

I developed a distinct preference for the bus because I could see where I was going. Sometimes the bus may take a little longer, and sometimes the most convenient way is to take the Metro, but on the whole I prefer the bus.

Then I made a long list of places I wanted to visit and prioritized them and then grouped them geographically.

Then I visited about half of them in the available time.

That gave an excuse to go back, twicee!

Let me make one suggestion: Don't plan your day to the fullest extent possible. Let Paris have some time to unfold as you go because there is always an attraction you did not plan for which takes your attention.

For example, one Sunday we set out for the Musee d'Orsay. We walked from our hotel to Blvd. Raspail to take the Metro. When we got to the corner of rue des Rennes and Raspail, there was a huge farmers' market in progress. We were fascinated by the whole thing and lingered there for over an hour.

We got to the museum, stood in line a little longer than we would have had we gotten there earlier, and the day passed before we got to whatever it was we had planned for later that day. No matter, the market was more interestingly alive than some old museum that dwelled in the past.

One day we wandered through the Marais and finally reached Place des Vosges. We had a seat in the park area and watched various parenting styles as kids became enthralled with the bubbling fountain.

We gave the 5 pits award to the mother (or nanny) who neglected her child, just about let him fall in, and then drug the child away from the fountain kicking and screaming. The 5 diamond award went to the mother (or nanny) who stood very close by while the child splashed happily. Then she dried him off with a towel she had brought and away they went with the little guy laughing and running.

Another time we left the Musee Rodin and went wandering past Ecole Militaire to Champs de Mars. Some young hotshot on a skateboard bumped into a middle aged woman of ample girth. She gave him a royal tongue lashing. I could not understand a word she said, but the meaning was very clear. Then she gave the skate board the mightiest kick she could muster and sent it flying down the steps.

I laughed at the whole scene. The young skateboarder should have been happy that is was not Michelle Akers or Briana Scurry of 1996 vintage doing the kicking. Had it been, that skateboard would have flown into the Seine.

I hope the woman did not hurt her foot!!

The point being that Paris will surprise you with all kinds of experiences. Give her a chance by not rushing madly to the next item on your list. You cannot see them all, and there is more to Paris than museums, churches, and monuments.
Get a taste of all of it - particularly the bakeries!


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Old Mar 13th, 2008, 04:16 PM
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Do they offer and Tour bus rides such as the double decker buses in New York City ? My fiance has a hard time walking on his own due to a double hip replacement. A guided tour bus ride of the major sites in Paris would be great. If they do have such things , Which tour company is the best and from where do we find them located at ?
Thanks
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Old Mar 13th, 2008, 05:52 PM
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I love taking a bus tour for an overview in each major city that I visit. You get an orientation to the major sights, and can go back later to visit more in depth. Some, like L'Opentour, offer the ability to hop-on, hop-off, and use the ticket all day.

Check out Cityrama tours and L'Opentour.
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Old Mar 13th, 2008, 10:11 PM
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A good suggestion for first timers, especially with only a few days is to try the L'Open Tour bus tours. They are the hop on and off type, and they go by all the major tourist sites. No need to think, or plan how to get somewhere, just sit up top , get a great view of city streets,, and jump off and on and whatever site interests you , all the while listening to a taped guide( they provide earphones) that give a basic blurb on each site you pass.
It is not an indepth tour by any means, but you will see all major sites, you will get to decide which ones you want to get off at at, how long you want to spend there, and where to go next. The cost is cheap, about 28 euros for two day pass, and you do not have to buy ticket until you board the bus, so no need to order it ahead( and pay more) and worry about losing tickets ..

Google L'opentour.com
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Old Mar 13th, 2008, 10:13 PM
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Do NOT use that link, I did not mean for it to come up,,

just google "L'Opentour bus Paris" to find site ( is associated with Cityrama as Barb said.
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