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France Ports Cannes, Corsica, Marseille, Nice, Sete, St. Tropez, Toulon, Villefranche

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  #1  
Old January 24th, 2010, 01:17 AM
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Question Paris Tours from Le Havre?

I'm on the westbound transatlantic from Harwich to Boston on the Jewel of the Seas in September. Our first port of call will be Le Havre, and RCCL offers three different tours that go from LeHavre to Paris. Given the distance involved, I'd feel safest on a ship's tour. One tour is basically the bus transportation, with 5 1/2 hours of time on one's own. Another is the bus transportation, with a tour overview of the city before giving us time on our own. A third appears to give very little "free time" but includes a lunch cruise.
The first two tours state that "The coach will drop you off in the city center" but one of the guys on our roll call says that it really drops at the Eiffel Tower, which he says is not convenient to other sights.
Anyone have experience with these RCCL tours and know where they drop off?
thanks for your help!
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Old January 29th, 2010, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoofingPrincess View Post
I'm on the westbound transatlantic from Harwich to Boston on the Jewel of the Seas in September. Our first port of call will be Le Havre, and RCCL offers three different tours that go from LeHavre to Paris. Given the distance involved, I'd feel safest on a ship's tour. One tour is basically the bus transportation, with 5 1/2 hours of time on one's own. Another is the bus transportation, with a tour overview of the city before giving us time on our own. A third appears to give very little "free time" but includes a lunch cruise.
The first two tours state that "The coach will drop you off in the city center" but one of the guys on our roll call says that it really drops at the Eiffel Tower, which he says is not convenient to other sights.
Anyone have experience with these RCCL tours and know where they drop off? thanks for your help!
Although I have not done any RCCL tours, it seems that you are correctly looking at these three different options. Any of these options could work. It depends on what you want and what your past Paris experiences have been, if any. You're right that the Eiffel Tower location is at some distance from many of the key "walking around", best, most charming attractions. An initial bus tour would give some type of an overview and then allow some free time before going back to the ship. Tell us more on what you most want to see and do in Paris in this limited time? Below are some visual samples on a few of great things you could enjoy in Paris. Another variable would be on weather. If it's a nice, sunny day, you might enjoy more seeing the Left Bank, Ill St Louis and Marais. With marginal weather some of the great museum options might be good, if that's of interest.

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio



On a nice Paris day, people are enjoying the Louvre courtyard, the Louvre's famed glass pyramid by architect IM Pei and in the background the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel built in 1805: :




At the Sunday market near the Bastille, fresh seafood:




At the Tuileries, there are gardens, cafes and places to sit, watch and enjoy near the Louvre:




The Eiffel Tower with a statute in the foreground:




On the wonderfully charming ille St. Louis island, this flower shop is so nice along with other shops there:




The famed 1860’s Opera House has restored its spectacular reception hall:

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Old January 30th, 2010, 09:50 AM
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Terry, I've never been to Paris and don't know when I'll ever again have the opportunity, so I want to make the most of the time a tour allows.
Those pictures are wonderful, are they your own? Those are the kinds of things I want to see and experience, and I recognize that the few hours I have won't permit it all.

I'm not a big museum person so I would only turn to that if the weather was truly foul.
Our Le Havre/Paris day will be a Sunday (as well as my birthday), and seeing that Sunday market would be awesome, I love stuff like that. But I also want a glimpse at the Eiffel Tower (don't think I'll have time to wait out the line to the top), the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, etc (the big touristy sights).

One option that someone else on my roll call suggested was that I take the tour with the most free time, and get a ticket for the hop-on hop-off bus tour. That would allow me to see the major sites - and get off to spend a little time and take some pictures (I'm a bit of a photographer) rather than just glimpsing them through a bus window, which is what I fear might be the case if I take the option that combines a tour of Paris with some free time. Do you think that's a workable option?
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Old January 30th, 2010, 12:02 PM
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Default Lots of Great Options! So Little Time!

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Originally Posted by RoofingPrincess View Post
Terry, I've never been to Paris and don't know when I'll ever again have the opportunity, so I want to make the most of the time a tour allows. Those pictures are wonderful, are they your own? Those are the kinds of things I want to see and experience, and I recognize that the few hours I have won't permit it all. I'm not a big museum person so I would only turn to that if the weather was truly foul. Our Le Havre/Paris day will be a Sunday (as well as my birthday), and seeing that Sunday market would be awesome, I love stuff like that. But I also want a glimpse at the Eiffel Tower (don't think I'll have time to wait out the line to the top), the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, etc (the big touristy sights). One option that someone else on my roll call suggested was that I take the tour with the most free time, and get a ticket for the hop-on hop-off bus tour. That would allow me to see the major sites - and get off to spend a little time and take some pictures (I'm a bit of a photographer) rather than just glimpsing them through a bus window, which is what I fear might be the case if I take the option that combines a tour of Paris with some free time. Do you think that's a workable option?
Hi, Cindy! THANKS for the nice comments on the pictures! YES, I plead "GUILTY" as being responsible for taking the pictures. Have lots and lots more from Paris and other places in Europe. Looked at your website with your travels, especially in South America. Have been to Argentina, Uruguay and Cuba. Nothing else down that way, yet.

On Paris, your wishes in that limited time in Paris are all possible. The big variable or question is about budget. If you have more flexibility, having a guide might be nice. Without a guide, you can do and see lots in a short time period because so much of the great stuff in Paris is fairly close together. A hop-on, hop-off bus is an option. Some people love that. Others can have problems in that those buses can sometimes get rather crowded. Don't worry about wasting time going to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Much of the joy of Paris can be seen by walking around in the heart of the town around and near the Seine River, up the Ille St Louis, etc. You could also grab a cab, give them a list or route of what you want to see and drive-by, etc. How many are in your party? You might look at this website for an introductory bus tour of Paris and then do a walk-around for the rest of your time in Paris.
www.pariscityrama.com/en

Here is my summary on Paris:
WHAT MAKES PARIS GREAT/UNIQUE: With style and sophistication, Paris is correctly proud of its cultural achievements over the centuries. This confidence is expressed in Parisian life, including its architecture from ancient structures to controversy over Hausmann's bold late 1800's master plan and more recent modern developments. Paris has taken bold decisions, including the Lourve with is now well-accepted glass pyramid by I. M. Pei. Although at the heart of Europe, Paris is very individualistic and intuitive. The city has attracted great writers artists and thinkers. Historically, it has been a city of unrest, rebellion and revolution (an idea they helped finance in America and that lead to the sharp-edged 1789 removal of the Royal family). Paris has a special style and soul. It is a high-flying mix of architecture, fashion, history, idiosyncrasy, style, texture, color and atmosphere. Paris is romantic, distinctive!

Below are some added visuals on options in Paris. Let me know added info on your budget, other priorities and personal interests, etc. I can also suggest a great guide who took us to the Sunday market and a number of other places on a nice Sunday in early April in 2007. Lots of great options and it can work out great in a short time period, especially since you don't have the need for the museums. Enjoy! Terry in Ohio



In the Marais, this covered walkway is a part of the Place des Vosges that was the prototype for the residential squares of European cities that were to come. These brick designs date to 1612.:




In the historic Marais area, here are some of the many interesting doors.:




This is one scenic part of the large park grounds around Luxembourg Palace:




In Paris, along the Seine, this is a view of the Louvre from the d’Orsay Museum:




Looking at Notre Dame, this angle shows the flying buttresses supporting the walls:




At Notre Dame, a little jazz is being played in front of this famed church:

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Old January 30th, 2010, 12:12 PM
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Awesome pictures Terry... God, I love Paris!!!
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Old January 30th, 2010, 12:51 PM
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Let me start by saying that Paris is one of our favorite cities in the world, and we have been to lots of cities. That being said, the amount of time spent getting to and fro from LeHavre really puts a damper on using that place as a "Paris port of call." We are talking about nearly 6 hours on a bus (a little less if you take the train on your own) for perhaps 5 hours in Paris. Folks would be a lot better off by extending their European cruise visit with a multi-day stop-over in Paris. As to the drop point for tour buses, it does seem to vary. Sometimes the tour companies will use an area adjacent to the Eiffel Tower and other times they will use a point on the Place de la Concorde. Keep in mind that Paris does have a great metro (subway) system so it is possible to move quickly around the city from either of those points. But, the best way to enjoy Paris is by walking. Personally, we recommend that cruisers consider spending their day closer to LeHavre (and avoiding 6 hours on a bus) but understand that some cruisers feel that this will be their only opportunity to ever see Paris.

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Old January 30th, 2010, 12:53 PM
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Default More to Enjoy in Paris!!!

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Awesome pictures Terry... God, I love Paris!!!
THANKS so much! I like the sound of the word "awesome". Sounds nice, like Paris!!! My wife doesn't tell me that word much, any more. Here are a few more visuals from Paris. Lots more to share if there are some special interests in that great city. Enjoy! Terry in Ohio


Inside the d”Orsay Museum with post-1850’s art, an old train station was converted to housing treasures, including from Monet, van Gogh, Renoir, etc.:




At the d’Orsay Museum, this was the grand dining room of the hotel that was part of the previous train station. Now, dining here breaks up the day during a long day of standing and walking:




Inside the Louvre, this is one of the enclosed courtyards filled with sculpture:




At the wonderful small and charming Rodin Museum, his studio/home and the grounds are filled with his sculpture. Here’s some folks looking at the key parts to one of his famed pieces:




Dinner at Bofiner with its unique ceiling and charming interior:

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Old January 30th, 2010, 02:23 PM
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Terry, what kind of camera do you have? Your pix are amazing! I finally broke down and bought a digital SLR (Canon 30D) last spring (tax refund!) and my Seattle/Vancouver/Alaska pictures were taken with it, but most of the rest are taken with a Fuji S5100 that I actually got for free with "attaboy" points from work. I was really torn about which camera to take to Peru - it would've been great to have it at Machu Picchu, but I was spending 2 weeks after that on a Fuller Center for Housing build and didn't want to risk my expensive camera on the jobsite (or take 2 cameras), so the Canon stayed home and the trusty Fuji came along.
This trip will definitely be a Canon trip, though!

Thank you for posting the pic of Notre Dame, I completely forgot about that, it's another place I'd like to see. Hated Art History 101 back in college but it did give me an appreciation of architecture like those flying buttresses. It was on the list of things my niece recommended seeing. Her high school band was invited to Paris for the 2009 New Year's Day parade - and a piece of video from that trip ended up on "America's Funniest Videos"!

Not sure whether I'm a party of one or a party of more. It's kind of far away still, and I don't know whether my roomie will want to do the same thing, ditto some of the Cruise Critic friends who will also be on this cruise (whose presence influenced us to book this particular transatlantic....)
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Old January 30th, 2010, 02:50 PM
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I did summer school in paris in university..tough I know but you gotta do what you gotta do...so its impossible to do Paris justice in a day..so don't try...so either pick one or two must sees and do them...or go for a taste...there is a hop on hop off boat...I did that with my wife...we did the whole loop and then got off and walked around a few spots...you will not have time to go up the eiffel tower..or up notre dam..or into the Louvre...but you can walk along the Seine and through the Luxemburg
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Old January 30th, 2010, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoofingPrincess View Post
Terry, what kind of camera do you have? Your pix are amazing! I finally broke down and bought a digital SLR (Canon 30D) last spring (tax refund!) and my Seattle/Vancouver/Alaska pictures were taken with it, but most of the rest are taken with a Fuji S5100 that I actually got for free with "attaboy" points from work. I was really torn about which camera to take to Peru - it would've been great to have it at Machu Picchu, but I was spending 2 weeks after that on a Fuller Center for Housing build and didn't want to risk my expensive camera on the jobsite (or take 2 cameras), so the Canon stayed home and the trusty Fuji came along. This trip will definitely be a Canon trip, though!
Thank you for posting the pic of Notre Dame, I completely forgot about that, it's another place I'd like to see. Hated Art History 101 back in college but it did give me an appreciation of architecture like those flying buttresses. It was on the list of things my niece recommended seeing. Her high school band was invited to Paris for the 2009 New Year's Day parade - and a piece of video from that trip ended up on "America's Funniest Videos"!
Not sure whether I'm a party of one or a party of more. It's kind of far away still, and I don't know whether my roomie will want to do the same thing, ditto some of the Cruise Critic friends who will also be on this cruise (whose presence influenced us to book this particular transatlantic....)
THANKS, Cindy, for the added comments and questions! If you go to this link on these CC Boards
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1130139
you will see some detailed photo and camera tips and comments by me and others, plus added Europe pictures.

Let us know any other questions, comments and interests. Post your comments and reactions on that thread. Happy to be helpful and get the nice feed-back.

Enjoy! Terry in Ohio
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Old February 7th, 2010, 04:39 PM
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The "magic and majesty" of Terry's photos are not in his camera (though it IS a very nice one). It is in his eye and his skills. We were fortunate to be on tour with he and Penny in the Baltics and Russia in 2008. Some of the very best photos you can imagine of St. Petersburg and Moscow were taken by Terry (also great photos in Helsinki of a church built inside a rock). We also benefited from his extensive research and planning regarding private tours.

Cindy
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Old February 7th, 2010, 05:09 PM
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The "magic and majesty" of Terry's photos are not in his camera (though it IS a very nice one). It is in his eye and his skills. We were fortunate to be on tour with he and Penny in the Baltics and Russia in 2008. Some of the very best photos you can imagine of St. Petersburg and Moscow were taken by Terry (also great photos in Helsinki of a church built inside a rock). We also benefited from his extensive research and planning regarding private tours. Cindy
THANKS, Cindy, for the nice comments! It is fun having the pictures as such nice memories from the travels. I find that taking pictures is much, much cheaper than buying souvenirs. No size problems that way. With digital photography, it is much easier to know what you have shot . . . AND GOT! You can take lots of pictures and you don't have to wait to have processed when you return home. We really enjoyed our Baltics and Russia travels with Mike and Cindy. Have lots more Paris pictures that I can post from four previous visits to this super great city. Let me know if there are any special areas of interest.

Enjoy! Terry in Ohio
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Old April 11th, 2010, 10:21 AM
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Hi Fellow "jewel",

I had the same questions and concerns as you. We are a party of 4 (never been to paris) and we have finally booked with the ship tour LHO5. With some guided tour and some free time. I have asked RCI where they drop us off and it will be at the Eiffel tower so if you want to join us, you are more then welcome.
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Old April 12th, 2010, 07:05 AM
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I "bit the bullet" a while back and signed up for "Paris on your own", as did my roomie. I figured I'd be better off getting a ticket for a hop-on hop-off bus tour than I would be with their tour - I was afraid that the tour would be all on the bus, and with my luck I'd be seated on the wrong side when we went past the good stuff!
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Old April 12th, 2010, 12:30 PM
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You can put together your own tour of a few of the high spots of Paris using the subway system, called the Metro, and you'll have the added fun of feeling like a native, not a tourist.

Our Celebrity "Paris on your own" bus dropped us on Avenue Gustave Eiffel near the east pillar of the Eiffel Tower which is probably where yours will let off. Walk through the tower area down to the river and across the bridge to the art deco Palais Trocadero (great vantage point for shots of the Tower, but does involve climbing some steps) and get on the Metro at Trocadero station. Ask the attendant for a carnet (kar-nay, ten Metro tickets sold at a discount).

Trocadero station serves the #6 line; go to the platform marked Direction Charles DeGaulle-Etoile and it will take you to the Arc de Triomphe and the beginning of the Champs Elysees. Walk down the Champs Elysees and re-enter the Metro at George V or Franklin Roosevelt station depending how far you've walked and take a #1 train on the platform marked Direction Chateau de Vincennes. The next few stations are Concorde (for the Place de la Concorde), Palais Royal (for the Louvre, although I wouldn't waste time going inside on such a short day), and Hotel de Ville (about two blocks north of the Seine and the bridge which will take you to Notre Dame). If it is a nice day, wander around the back of Notre Dame and take the bridge over to the Ile St. Louis, which is a charming and rather wealthy residential area of Paris, and/or continue across the Ile de la Cite (the island on which Notre Dame sits) to the Left Bank, the student area where there are bookstalls along the Seine and great vistas of Notre Dame.

To get back, retrace your route to Hotel de Ville station only this time go to the platfrom marked Direction La Defense and get off at Etoile. Look for a sign marked Correspondence (transfer) for line 6 and go to the platform marked Direction Nation. Get off back at Trocadero, or two stops later at Bir Hakeim on the other side of the river, about a 10-15 minute walk to the Tower which can be clearly seen.
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Old April 15th, 2010, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by RoofingPrincess View Post
I "bit the bullet" a while back and signed up for "Paris on your own", as did my roomie. I figured I'd be better off getting a ticket for a hop-on hop-off bus tour than I would be with their tour - I was afraid that the tour would be all on the bus, and with my luck I'd be seated on the wrong side when we went past the good stuff!
Hi Roofing Princess

A friend and I did 'Paris on your own' in 2006 (gosh was it that long ago?). We were dropped off at the Eiffel Tower, walked to the Arc de Triumphe, then walked down the Champs Elysees, past the Louvre, then on to Notre Dame, taking in other buildings and sights, had a stop at a cafe and then took the metro back to the Eiffel tower with plenty of time to spare for the return trip home. We didn't rush the walking, stopped, looked, took photos - so it can be done. It was hot (at least 36 degree) and that was August. If you are a walker, you don't see everything, but you get a great feel for the place and soak up a lot of atmosphere. Just debating if I will do that again this year or do something closer to Le Havre.
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Old April 16th, 2010, 08:48 PM
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I've done the lunch cruise and while I enjoyed it, I would not spend 2-3 hrs. doing that when I only had 5 hrs. or so in the City itself.

I'd do the middle tour you mentioned that gives you an overview tour of the city with some time on your own.

For us, the most memorable things we saw were the Eiffel Tower and the Musee d'Orsay. Also, we loved just riding the metro around since we don't have anything like that in our part of Calif. You can get tickets to the Musee d'Orsay ahead of time and it'll save you time at the door. One hour is enough time to see your favs there, then go over to the Eiffel Tower.

I think the lines would be less crowded there in the late afternoon.
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  #18  
Old April 21st, 2010, 01:14 AM
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JandBR_PHX JandBR_PHX is offline
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RoofingPrincess: We're looking into the hop-on, hop-off buses. It looks like there are two: Cars Rouges and L'Open Tour. Either one is about 30 Euro. We're thinking about doing the latter because they have more stops.

We're not sure how we're getting into town, yet; cruise exursion (bus) or bus on our own, or train on our own (leaning toward the latter).

Our cruise leaves Oslo on 5/6/10, so we may be just watching travel videos from our home in Phoenix, AZ, USA!

Great photos, Terry! Thank you for sharing.
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  #19  
Old April 21st, 2010, 08:52 AM
John Bull John Bull is online now
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Train is cheaper & more comfortable, and even allowing for the extra time to station & waiting time it's quicker too. But with such limited time in Paris you don't really have time to give yourself leeway with an earlier return train, so I can understand your reluctance to travel independently.

If you want to tick the boxes and don't expect to ever return to Paris, then the guided tour is the way to do it. And although getting into & out of Paris can be fraught, it always amazes me how light the traffic is in the central area.
But Paris On Your Own would be more fun.

There's dozens & dozens of buses at the Eiffel Tower - make sure you'll recognise yours
It will probably park-up all day so will probably but not neccessarily be exactly where you left it - note the bus, location & instructions, and be wary of whether ship's time is the same as local time.

As Capn Canuck suggests, consider the ho-ho boats, there's a stop right across the road from the Eiffel Tower and it passes Place de la Concorde, the Louvre & Notre Dame. The Arc de Triomphe is just about walkable from the river, for Sacre Coeur you'd need a bus or metro.
You'll not have time to ascend even to the 1st stage of the Eiffel Tower.

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