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Paris - tours versus "do it on your own" - what's your experience?

Paris - tours versus "do it on your own" - what's your experience?

Oct 6th, 2007, 03:05 PM
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Paris - tours versus "do it on your own" - what's your experience?

There are a lot of tours available in and about Paris - they seem expensive and wondering what we really can do easily on our own and what are the advantages of taking a tour guide. Some sample planned tours are Versaille, Giverny, Chenonceau, Cheverny, Chambord, Bruges. Thanks for any suggestions
dolciani is offline  
Oct 6th, 2007, 04:26 PM
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Took the train to Versailles and did it on our own,but you might find a tour good after you arrive there. We took the train to Loire area(Tours-stayed a night and took a tour suggested out of our hotel to the castles for the day. Also took the train to Chartres for the day which would be easy to do. There is a wonderful tour through the cathedral there.
We found taking the transpo there and having some type of tour after we arrived worked for us. Wish we had gone to Giverny.
maryanne1 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2007, 04:41 PM
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Most of those in my opinion are overnight trips..except Versailles and Giverny. Yeah you can get tours from Paris but it's like herding cattle!

For short day trips on your own do Fountainbleu, Chantilly, Chartres, Auvers sur Oise any number of places!
jody is offline  
Oct 6th, 2007, 04:48 PM
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Versailles, Giverny and Bruges are easily reached by train - and there's no reason to do a tour.

The Loire Chateaux really need to be done by car - since public transit to many of these tiny towns in very scarce. So - for that either rent a car (IMHO preferable) or take a tour.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 6th, 2007, 05:13 PM
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Europe is expensive enough and if you can read a map and sort out a transit system, which can be done with a bit of time, do it on your own. Focus on one region of the city, say the 5th or 6th for example and chart out the spots that you want to see. Generally, they are easy to find. Always carry a map!
savannah is offline  
Oct 7th, 2007, 08:50 AM
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DITTO SAVANNAH1
virgi is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 01:10 PM
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After many trips to Paris,I can confidently say that you don"t need tours.
Versailles is a very easy train ride for a day trip.
The Loire Valley is just stunning, but needs a few more days. We took the train to Tours, picked up a car at the train station, and then stayed at the beautiful Chateau Perrrux(Nazelle region near Amboise. We only had time to visit 3 chateaus in the valley. We will go back in the future to tour the remaining chateaus.

It is very easy to get around in France, even if you only speak english.
TPAYT is online now  
Oct 8th, 2007, 01:54 PM
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I've been to Paris multiple times. The last trip, I took the two Paris Walks tours of the Marais. I've been to the Marais before, but it had been a while so I wanted a highlites tour of the area. Plus I was in the mood for someone entertaining me for a couple of hours..and the price was right.

There are many tour books of the places you want to go. I think it probably boils down to do you want to have an effort free tour but not personalized, or something that could take a bit more planning, will be cheaper, and will allow you maximum flexibillty. For example, Versailles. on your own you could easily take the RER, get there early before the tour buses, get the same tour they will of the palace, then spend as much time as you want in the gardens...have a picnic,etc..With the bus, you just show up near the Louvre...and get dropped off back there when it's done.

But for the Loire or Normandy, doing on your own might require renting a car. Is this OK, or is taking a packaged tour better.

For a newcommer to Paris, I might recommend a Open Tour, Cityrama/Parisvision tour just to get an overview of the city. Similarly I might want to do a night time illuminations tour. But I wouldn't do a tour with a Seine cruise or a tour with a Seine cruise dinner...since I can easily do the Seine on my own, and I've heard many times the Seine dinners are big euros but not big quality.

Thoughts?
Michel_Paris is offline  
Oct 9th, 2007, 10:52 AM
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We rented a van and did our own tours of Versailles, Chenonceau and Chambord.
We bought several guide books and ripped out the sections we needed for our trip.
Driving is fairly easy on the highways.But then there's always small towns to navigate. You just have to get used to driving a big car on smaller roads and you'll be fine!Definitely economical for 6 people. Driving in and out of Paris is not for the fainthearted, but we made it.

We did the two Loire Valley chateaux in one day. Plus we drove in from Normandy that morning. It was a great day! I would have liked to stay longer, but weren't able to.
sabbaticalmom is offline  
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