personal tour guides -- Paris

Jan 4th, 2006, 03:06 PM
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The wall runs very near the Centre Culturel Irlandais - which is also nice to visit.
Jan 4th, 2006, 03:08 PM
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Would you bring Michael to the Jules Verne?
Jan 4th, 2006, 03:09 PM
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I've seen that website Robespierre and it is not nearly as comprehensive as Michael Osman's tour. His takes you to vestiges in car parks and such, places where the wall is icorporated into other buildings. Very comprehensive and I'm impressed with his breadth of knowledge.
Beatchick is offline  
Jan 4th, 2006, 03:10 PM
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I assume you mean that your answers are no, no, and no. But it is undeniable that dozens of first-timers on Fodor's ask about a guide for those reasons, not because they want in-depth cultural appreciation lessons.
Robespierre is offline  
Jan 4th, 2006, 03:14 PM
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Here's someone on virtual tourist who did a good job writing about the wall:
cigalechanta is offline  
Jan 4th, 2006, 03:47 PM
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Yep! There are exceptions and Michael is one of them. When one of the people he was guiding was hospitalized, he called their family, visited in the hospital, and made arrangements for the transfer home.

A funny story I heard from one of his tourists, the Mom said , "our tour guide will pick us up at 9..the 8 yr old said "Michael is a tour Guide??"" I thought he was our friend"

So Robes ..don't knock it if you haven't tried it!

jody is offline  
Jan 4th, 2006, 06:53 PM
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Ahhh~ Fodors is sounding more like the old days

We have never had a guide on any of our trips.

I always figured we could manage, with research etc.
So far we have done ok, but then, it is a good idea to go back over and over until you are as good as any "guide"

My husband lived in Europe and I rely on him and our own abilities, but if I did want a guide or were to recommend one, I have never heard anything bad about Michael Osman.
Scarlett is offline  
Jan 4th, 2006, 07:33 PM
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Just to offer an alternative to Michael Osman, here is a website for a very qualified and professional Paris tour guide that I found to be a very nice person:

She's not cheap, but she's excellent.
Flyboy is offline  
Jan 4th, 2006, 08:07 PM
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I have a friend I met more than 25 years ago on my first trip to Paris as a chaperone with a group of middle-schoolers. She was our tour guide for that and several subsequent trips, and we've been friends since. She's now a senior tourguide with ParisVision, among other companies. She went into the business because her first loves were art and architecture and the history of Paris.

I've made about 68 trips to Paris since, and I don't always manage to get together with her when I'm there, but when I do I am still amazed at what she can teach me about that wonderful city. She lives and breathes Paris and knows its every stone. I can walk with her in an area of Paris that I think I know everything about, and she will suddenly come out with some detail like - "in this courtyard in the 13th century, the dentists used to extract teeth. They are still finding tooth fragments when they sandblast the courtyard here." Maybe you're not interested in that level of detail, but I am, after so many decades of a love affair with Paris.

A good tour guide can offer you details like that that you'd never get in a guidebook, whether it's your first trip to Paris or your 70th. As a tourguide myself, I know how many people appreciate being given information they can't get through reading or research - just stuff that you know from having lived in a place day to day, or from having done decades of serious research.

My friend is not in the business of "sheparding newbies from the airport to hotels." Not at all. She's a senior guide now, sanctioned by the French government, and I wager any one of us who thinks we're an expert on Paris would be staggered by what we could learn from her.

Robespierre's point of view that people only hire tour guides because they don't feel they can do it on their own is in part valid - I definitely take people on tours who just want to place all the responsibility in my hands and sit back and enjoy. But he's also a miser who always recommends doing everything on the cheap, and apparently he thinks all of the anecdotal history of Paris (or anywhere else) is easily found in guidebooks. Ain't so.

A good guide is an incredible asset to any trip. Being an insatiable consumer of info about just about any European venue, I almost always try to avail myself of one unless I'm heading to the Dordogne, where I kind of think of myself as the resident expert. I'm not above looking for help beyond the guidebooks in any other destination, though. And heck, you make friends doing it, too. It has nothing, nothing, nothing, to do with thinking I can't do it on my own. I can. Have been doing so for more than four decades, thank you. Availing yourself of a good guide is just the cherry on the sundae.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 4th, 2006, 08:22 PM
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Well said, Mellen!
wren is offline  
Jan 4th, 2006, 10:01 PM
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"'in this courtyard in the 13th century, the dentists used to extract teeth. They are still finding tooth fragments when they sandblast the courtyard here." Maybe you're not interested in that level of detail, but I am, after so many decades of a love affair with Paris."
Exactement! Hear, hear, Mellen.

Frankly, I'm a little surprised that someone who's taken on the moniker of a well-known French political & historical figure seems to care so little about French history. And the Philippe-Auguste wall is a very important piece of that history. Besides, it's just old and I love old things, I don't apologize for that. Plus, I just love the way Parisians try their darnedest to keep the old alive. Not an attitude you'd find in my part of the country. Besides, I just find it fascinating.

And Robespierre, it's not that people want to chop off your head because they disagree with your opinion. It's the way you're going about spouting your opinion. Do you find it absolutely necessary to carry a condescending tone when disagreeing with someone. Do you find it easier to make your point by insulting others?
Beatchick is offline  
Jan 4th, 2006, 10:48 PM
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The wall of Philippe Augustus - 4th Arr.,Rue Des Jardins-Saint-Paul. Metro: Saint-Paul
Featured in one of my favourite books on Paris called "Unexplored Paris" by Trouilleux - page 31.
My two books by Thirza Vallois arrived yesterday so haven't had time to read up what she has to say in Around and About Paris" Volume 1 but looking at the index see she has Philippe Auguste mentioned on no less than 22 pages!
If you want detail about the sights of Paris look no further than this author.

I'm not against hiring a guide if that make Paris come alive for you. For me, I like to do lots of research and am lucky to have the time.
tod is offline  
Jan 5th, 2006, 05:37 AM
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In answer to your question about buying Michael lunch, etc.--

Yes, we (our group of five couples)bought his lunch, and we all ended the day at Harry's Bar for a drink or few.

All except one couple of our bunch had been to Paris before, and we so enjoyed Michael's tour of the catacombes, Pere Lachaise, and Montmartre.

None of us had ever used a guide before, but everybody was glad we had our day with Michael.


Byrd is offline  
Jan 5th, 2006, 08:08 AM
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I just made a New Year's Resolution:

I will not answer any further posts containing the phrase "worth it" - it's just not worth it.
Robespierre is offline  
Jan 5th, 2006, 08:39 AM
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Agree with you on that one, Robes... can't get a more undefinable term than "is it worth it?"...
Travelnut is offline  
Jan 5th, 2006, 09:53 AM
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Tod, I have all 4 of Thirza's books but even she is not as exhaustively researched as Michael, the tourguide!!

I think there's an assumption made here that some of the people who posted on this thread don't research nor read guidebooks, but that's so untrue. I know StCirq has TONS of books she's read over the years. But a guidebook just cannot provide the space for everything that can be written about a subject. At best, there is are 2 paragraphs devoted to any subject (unless it's one of the big attractions & even then you won't find everything in one book). You'd be stunned at the amount of guidebooks I have devoted just to Paris alone. And that doesn't include books I've bought on England, London, Dublin, Ireland, Florence, Rome, Italy.
Beatchick is offline  
Jan 5th, 2006, 07:26 PM
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I vote for Michael. We learned and saw more in the 3 days with him than we ever could have on our own. We were a group of 7 ranging from 18-50 and we all loved him. We paid him about $100 for 8-9 hours, tipped him, and paid for his lunch and felt like we got off cheap. We gave him an idea of what we wanted to do and he took us to more than we ever thought of. We would have never wandered into some of the gourmet food stores, gardens, vespers at Sacre Couer, the burial place of St. Catherine and on and on...
Amart is offline  
Jan 5th, 2006, 10:28 PM
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Righto Beatchick - Whats the 4th Book you have by Thirza Vallois? I only have Vol 1,2 & 3 on Around and About Paris but would like to get hold of anything she has written.
At one point I did try and email Osman for a booking but gave up when there was no response. Maybe next visit I will get hold of StCirq's tour-guide friend as I have her name and phone number.
tod is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 04:29 AM
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Oh, tod, it's Romantic Paris and it has gorgeous photos! You'll love it. Cigalechanta recommended it to me 3 or 4 years ago when I bought it and I've been grateful ever since.
Scroll down to see the 4th book.

Am rereading Vol. 1 right now in anticipation of my trip in JUST 4 WEEKS!! Hoping to get all 3 vols. reread by that time.
Beatchick is offline  
Jan 7th, 2006, 06:33 AM
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Beatchick - I rushed over to the bookshelf the moment I read the title in your post and am happy to tell you I HAVE it!! Forgotten in amongst other new recently purchased books and also because I have only 10 pages to go of her Vol.3 Around & About. Just loved it. You sure have a lot of reading to! There was a TV documentary on Paris(fairly recently) which featured all the places the Philippe Auguste Wall can be found.
Did anyone else ever see it?
Wishing you a divine trip Beatchick(I am SOooooo envious!)
tod is offline  

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