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Rick Steeves suggestion: one hour taxi tour of lights of paris at night

Rick Steeves suggestion: one hour taxi tour of lights of paris at night

Aug 24th, 2012, 05:19 AM
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Rick Steeves suggestion: one hour taxi tour of lights of paris at night

Has anyone hired a taxi to do the night tour of hte lights inParis as suggested by Rick Steeves, rather than doing a bus tour? Also, I have heard that the gypsies in Paris are quite aggressive and there have been incidents with injuries reported on American tourists. Does anyone have any updated info on this? This would impact profoundly on carrying an ipad, crossing the touristic bridges, etc. Thank you
JackGlasser is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 05:43 AM
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Don't know anything about the Rick Steves tour. Where does it go?

A great tour of the lights is to take a Seine boat at night. The Vedettes de Pont Neuf allow you to sit outside on the upper level and you get a great view.

Before or after the boat trip 91 hour) you can take the metro to Montmartre, see Sacre Coeur lit up, and then have a drink in a cafe.

Have never been accosted by gypsies in Paris and have never known this to happen to anyone else. What type of injuries have you heard about? From reliable sources? Or just hearsay.

Which bridges do you mean; which are the touristic bridges as opposed to the bridges used by Parisians? Why carry an ipad? Are you on your way to your hotel/apartment? How would anyone know you have an ipad in your bag?
adrienne is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 05:45 AM
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That should be (1 hour).
adrienne is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 05:59 AM
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It is not a Rick Steve's tour. I think the op is saying that Rick Steves suggests hiring a taxi to take you on a tour.
Micheline is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 06:09 AM
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Micheline - that it is not a Rick Steves Tour is evident by the question.

For the English language purists - I do not know anything about the suggested Rick Steves tour of viewing the Paris lights at night.
adrienne is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 07:08 AM
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I think hiring a taxi for an hour to see Paris by night would a ridiculous waste of money. I'm sure there are Parisian taxi drivers who know Paris well, but they're not tour guides, and there are myriad ways to see Paris on other, cheaper modes of transport. I wouldn't do that in any city in the world, least of all Paris, which has excellent public transportation, including lots of boat possibilities. With a bit of research ahead of time and a guidebook, you should be able to figure out what you're looking at, and if you're on a boat cruise, for example, you'll be told.

As for "gypsies," every European city has them, and as far as I know they don't just prey on Americans, and I've not heard of any incidents of injuries. I know one person's experience isn't really relevant in this context, but in 100+ trips to Paris, I've never had a problem. If you look like you know what you're doing, they leave you alone. The absolute last thing I'd be concerned about in visiting Paris is an injury from an encounter with gypsies. I'm far more likely to have such a problem here in DC.
StCirq is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 08:35 AM
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I'm not sure what particular lights this is supposed to be about. The Eiffel Tower has a light show on the hour every hour after dark that you can see from any good vantage point that you can reach by ordinary public transport. I'm not aware of any other special illuminations that would require a tour.

Likewise, though there are people trying scams as in any big city, it's not as though there are squads of malefactors lying in wait all over the place, any more than in any other big city.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 08:40 AM
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We took a Cityrama evening bus tour some years ago. Everyone had a head phone with appropriate language info.
One had the choice after of dinner at Eiffel Tower (at the less expensive resto) or at Moulin Rouge. It was around one hundred euro if I recall correctly. We ate at the tower and had a nice meal.

If you can make a deal with a cabbie who speaks your language well-enough to describe where he (never have seen a female cabbie) will take you for a good price, go for it. We actually became pals with a driver in Palermo and made a deal for his off-duty times. He saved us much time and stress. We were lucky that way--it might not work out for others.

Someone else posted a city bus route as a good way to see Paris. Can't help with specifics here.

As for gypsies, only once in a handful of trips were we ever in close quarters with a panhandler of any kind. I yelled "NO" and gave her a little (truly, little) shove away from my dear hub whom she approached with determination in her eyes. She was just too close. Others, never.

In Paris, we have had stolen: 1) a rolled up picture of a drawing that stood up in the back of a tote bag hub had over his shoulder; 2) a neck pillow that I had attached to the outside of my rolling suitcase. Nothing else in any of our travels to Italy and France over course of 15+ years.
TDudette is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 10:16 AM
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I found the Rick Steves thing: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/desti...e/floodlit.htm. Some good specifics.

I think it's a good idea. Years ago in December, my husband was finishing up a meeting near l'Arc de Triomphe, and took a taxi (unusual for us if not coming into town from CDG) to meet him for dinner. We were staying in the 6th, so my driver naturally took me up the Champs Elysee. I absolutely adored the ride. So pretty. So TDudette's idea to make a deal with the driver appeals to me.

I often recommend public bus routes, particularly Line 42, as cheap sightseeing during the day. I hate the Hop On/Hop Off headphone/loudspeaker deal. If I find what I posted in the past, I'll get it up here. It took me a long while to appreciate that buses may take time in traffic but don't involve miles of correspondences

TDudette--My gypsy experience is about the same as yours, and it happened last year. Two teens were waiving petitions in my face, speaking nonsense very rapidly, on a bridge near the Île de la Cité. When they refused to back off, I took my tote pack, ready to swing it, and screamed at the top of my lungs, "Va t'en!" (Get away from me!).

Husband who speaks zero French, said, "What she said." They ran off. A French man passing us said he knew there was a policeman stationed up ahead and he'd report it. Later on we saw police cornering similar teens in a clothing shop.

Our daughter living in Paris said that these gypsy action was huge for around two straight weeks in the 7th. Hoards would enter corner stores, Starbucks, etc and generally steal goods or pickpocket everyone with distraction. But after two weeks, they seemed to be gone for the rest of her stay.

There are regular cons, too. My same tote backpack "weapon" was opened (empty water bottle, broken umbrella, rain poncho, gum wrappers, probably used tissues)in a con-artist "stall" method in the Metro a few years back. Guy in a suit with a briefcase goes ahead me in the machine, stops abruptly, and says, "Il ne marche pas", making me back out and bump into a guy behind me, also in a suit. I get onto the train, and my daughter notices the pack has been unzipped.

Nothing stolen-- I certainly never keep anything valuable in that thing--but I'd like to think they caught my cold.

As to the ipad stuff--the daughter who lived in Paris bought a really strong big purse she could carry her MacBook Pro in when she traveled daily via Metro (two stops) to and from school. She kept it crisscrossed her chest when nearing Metro. No personal hassles in four months.

Those city vibes were turned off, though, at a "students only" mixer. Someone lifted her cellphone in the time it took to turn her head. It was a cheapie, but she was pretty miffed that she might know the person who did it.

She has commented that people who check their cellphones or who are texting on street corners can expect pickpockets, be they locals or tourists.

Husband does bring his ipad now, but we don't take it out of the hotel or apartment so I can't tell you about any trouble.

As most of us maintain, we feel very safe in Paris.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 12:15 PM
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I think that's a really dumb idea. Do you have any idea how much a taxi for an hour costs in Paris (and at night time when the rates are higher?). I noticed Rick left that little item out. I suspect it might cost around 50 to 100 euro.

I haven't been in Paris in about a year, but it's hard to believe gypsies are that aggressive that there is a big problem with actual physical attacks. I'm not saying it is impossible, but usually they beg or pickpocket. Some can be aggressive verbally if they aren't happy with you and what you do or say to them (or don't give them), but I wouldn't worry about physical thefts too much. I would worry about pickpocketing or other careless behavior with your belongings, and whatever you do, please do not engage in conversation with them or do dumb things like tak anything from them.

I rarely have any interaction with them as I won't have anything to do with them and won't talk to them, I mainly just see them begging in the metro or other places (and I do see them try to scam tourists in popular places, tourists who are dumb enough to talk to them or answer their stupid questions, such as "does anyone here speak English" while they walk along a crowded area full of tourists). The tourists who interact with them or do stupid things have the most problems.
Christina is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 01:12 PM
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I think it's a good idea if you are accompanied by family members over the age of 75 with mobility problems.

And if they are still mobile enough to get on a bus, even then the taxi idea is ridiculous.
kerouac is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 01:48 PM
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I was really surprised about how aggressive they were last year. I had never seen it before in Paris. Rome, sure. Reason I stay the heck away from Termini. Paris, no.

A literal swarm invaded the 7th's Starbucks last year. One of the workers there was reacted quickly--she locked the doors and immediately called the police. My daughter body checked two teens that were doing a similar act at her local corner store (her Coca Lite purchase was on the house for quite some time). But as she said, the "swarm" mode of the 7th was gone in two weeks. We didn't see any activity when we visited her there later on.

Approaching people on bridges with petitions on clipboards was apparently the new thing last year too. I think I took them by surprise when I a) knew that they were speaking utter nonsense and thus totally ignored them, walking straight ahead and b) then was determined that they had to accept my bodily boundaries.

Christina, one was literally inches from my face while the other was coming up my side. I wonder if someone was behind my husband, ready to pick his pockets.

The French gentlemen said it had happened just too much lately. That was why he was determined to report it.

So this was not the old "Does anyone speak English?" thing.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 01:54 PM
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I know that in Washington, there is an hourly rate for taxis that is very reasonable (around $50, with 15-minute increments) so it can be an economical way to tour the monuments at your own pace, especially for those who have trouble climbing on and off a bus or for a family of four, when nighttime monuments bus tours are upwards of $30/person.

Of course, the monuments route in Washington is less spread out than the highlights of Paris are, and if there's no set hourly rate you could be at the mercy of the cabbie. But for some visitors, it may be an idea worth looking into.
kayd is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 05:40 PM
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Taking a Seine cruise on the Vedettes de Pont Neuf seems a much better idea to me. If you leave at dusk, you can see the lights coming on all over Paris. And it is a lot less expensive and a lot easier to see than from a taxi.
mamcalice is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 05:59 PM
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thanks. the rick steeves description is a suggested itinarary. I read recently of tripadvisor about two senior aged new yorkers being mugged recently on the ponte neurf (they wrote about it). A collegue of mine just back fromParis mentioned that when you see these gypsies to cross the street and avoid them since they are quite physical. Definetly the boat tour will be first for a night outing.
JackGlasser is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 06:01 PM
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I just don't "get" the whole "lights in Paris" thing, as PatrickLondon mentioned. No matter where you are in Paris at night, unless in some far-out arrondissement where most tourists won't be, you can see all the illuminated buildings, and in many places can spot at least or actually see the Eiffel Tower illuminated, as well as anything else that's lit up. I guess I'm just not getting the concept. Driving around in a taxi to see things "lit up" seems really odd to me.

And I don't get the comparison to DC, either. I live here in DC, and there's nothing special at all about the monuments at night, and I'd never take a taxi around the city to see them. We have a decent metro system, and there are Peddicabs that will haul you around to see whatever you want to see for a fraction of the price of a taxi. The Peddicabs aren't even allowed to quote a fare - they just rely on "tips," so if you offer then $20 to take you around all the monuments, you've got a better bargain - and a far better view - than from inside a taxi anyway.
StCirq is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 06:03 PM
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I would be hesitant to do this taxi drive - unless you knew that the driver was interested in providing some sort of commentary as to what you were seeing. I would organize this through the hotel concierge if you want to do it - at a fixed price - no just pick up a random cab at a stand.

We have walked and looked at a lot - but I think a boat ride would be good too.

I am not aware of pickpockets attacking anyone. That is not what they do - or want to do. they want your valuables. You can foil them by 1) not carrying an iPad around - why do you need it? and 2) keeping any valuables secure in a front cross-body bag.

As for crossing bridges in Paris - I have done this umpteen times and never had a problem. Perhaps it has something to do with being a New Yorker and able to walk right past people - no matter what they are saying or doing, eyes straight ahead, and completely ignoring them. Just as I would the panhandlers or whatever at home. The mistake is in engaging with these people in any way.

The worst I have seen was in Spain.

One woman tried the give me a flower ploy - and yelled at me when I just let it drop on the ground and kept walking. She was successful with most tourists, who, though confused,, took the flower, and then couldn't get rid of the woman. In Toledo a woman selling some raggy looking lace tablecloths was mad that I didn't stop and look at her wares - and put a curse on me - and was REALLY mad when I laughed at her. A nearby american tourist told me to be careful - or the curse wold come true. I mean, if you think that way then buy all her ratty tablecloths - but don;t complain about it.

The key is being attentive to what is happening around you - and determined no to be conned.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 06:31 PM
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The problem I see is that con artists who ask "do you speak English" or "pardon! can you help me" are SAYING much the same things you, an English-speaker with limited or no French, would be saying if YOU needed directions or assistance--although their English would be accented and their appearance/attire would likely be different.

YOU would like an English-speaker to reply to you, but you would not want to reply to the con seeker. That might not always be as easy a distinction as one would like. Having said that, even when approached by individuals we have had no real trouble disengaging, and if course we get away immediately from clusters of potentially-annoying strangers.
d_claude_bear is offline  
Aug 24th, 2012, 09:01 PM
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One of the charms of Paris is the elegant use of artificial light, especially along the Seine and the Île de la Cité.

That deserves a leisurely stroll to appreciate it. A taxi cab ride is a bit insane for many accounts, including practical aspects, such as being in a cab zooming by things and craning your neck to see what you are supposed to see. It sounds like a scene out of a bad movie.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2012, 07:13 AM
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on trip advisor-the couple who got attacked on ponte neuf- were new yorkers-go figure.
JackGlasser is offline  

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