We had a tremendous week in Paris on a three generation family vacation. Our travel company put together an itinerary that not only included all the places we had asked to see as well as a few others, but also put considerable thought into how we would experience each one. Not only did we see the major sites but we had private guided tours at the Louvre, at Versailles, of La Marais, the Islands/Notre Dame, and at the Eiffel Tower which allowed us have a much more intimate experience because we could ask questions and discuss what we were seeing with guides that were very knowledgeable and personable. Beyond these private tours, our travel company also arranged a private boat cruise on the Seine River, a six course dinner on a glass enclosed double decker bus to see Paris at night, and a private macaroon baking class (so much fun). Our travel company also worked with me to find and reserve a couple of special dinners for the family, one at a Michelin star restaurant and the other at a restaurant on the 56th floor of a building overlooking Paris and the Eiffel Tower during its evening light show. We came back exhausted in the best way with wonderful memories of our family's first visit to Paris.
Our travel company was great to work with. The owner and her team listened to what we wanted to prioritize and our concerns and then came back with a draft itinerary that clearly showed they had paid attention and weren't just repackaging the last tour they put together. They were responsive and creative as we fine-tuned the itinerary. One example was in helping find the right hotel for our large party of seven. I had initially assumed we would target larger hotels and look for interconnecting rooms (7 people in our three generation family group but four were children) but quickly realized those options were very limited as European hotel rooms are considerably smaller than those in the US and rarely interconnected. The travel company came up with a creative solution by finding a boutique hotel where we could take four rooms that would be the entire floor of a small wing in the hotel, thereby giving us the privacy we were looking for since we had the whole floor of the wing. The hotel was perfectly situated on a quiet street but only two blocks over from a major retail area and the Seine River, just opposite the Louvre. We also especially liked that we had the same guides for multiple days, and so we got to know them. Also, we had the same driver for the entire week we were there. He was the first person we met after clearing customs when we arrived and the last one to see us off at the end of the trip. Each of these people had worked with this travel company for a while. Our agent and her company were very professional throughout. She was at the hotel when we arrived to meet us and give us an orientation of our week in Paris and was available throughout our stay. I would give this company the strongest recommendation if you are considering working with a local agent for a trip to France.
Our younger children liked the macaroon baking class the best while our older children and my mother liked Versailles and its gardens the best. My wife most enjoyed the more unique activities such as the river cruise, the behind the scenes tour at the Eiffel Tower, and the macaroon baking class. For me it was simply seeing three generations of my family find the same rhythm for a week. Paris is a beautiful city, rich in history and culture. The travel company helped my family have a wonderful week in Paris to end the summer, and my children come away from their first European trip with such a positive impression of Paris and France.
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