John M

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John M

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Sep112013

Tour/Activity

Paris Shuttle Departure Transfer: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)

Paris, France

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This bus service ran flawlessly. We go to/from CDG with ease and comfort. Recommend.

Sep102013

Tour/Activity

Small-Group Montmartre Walking Tour: Fine Wines and Famous Artists

Paris, France

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

We had a lot of fun on this tour. The guide was very knowledgeable and pleasant. The visit was fun and took just the right amount of time. We would recommend this,

Sep092013

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: Notre Dame Cathedral, Tower and Ile de la Cite Half-Day Walking Tour

Paris, France

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

A good tour with a good guide. It was dampened by the crowds and the weather, but none was the fault of our US-born tour guide. I would recommend this based on bypassing the crowds in line for Notre Dame. However, you could grab the Metro and do basically them same thing if you read up on this history of the area beforehand. We ended up leaving the group and had a fabulous lunch in a small cafe, and visited La Chappelle which was not on the tour.

Sep082013

Tour/Activity

Versailles Small-Group Tour from Paris with Audio Guide

Paris, France

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This tour is highly recommended. We were put in with a nice group of like-minded tourists and enjoyed the sites and a great lunch. It was more fun than seeing it alone. We would recommend this tour. Our tour guide was wonderful.

Sep072013

Tour/Activity

Fontainebleau and Vaux le Vicomte Small-Group Day Trip from Paris

Paris, France

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

We liked the tour and our guide was wonderful. This was less of a hassle than the Loire Valley tour. Take this tour, and learn.

Sep062013

Tour/Activity

Eiffel Tower Dinner and Seine River Cruise by Minivan

Paris, France

My Rating
3 star rating: Worth doing

My Review

I guess you need to do this tour while in Paris, but it was out least favorite experience. Our guide was wonderful Nothing was the fault of the tour company. That said, this was the Disneyland version of Paris. Food was the most bland we had in France, and the river cruise was on some giant barge - very impersonal. There were lots of dodgy people milling about and approaching you to buy junk souvenirs. OK, go see the Eiffel Tower, but focus your visit on the neighborhood walking tours.

Sep062013

Tour/Activity

Small-Group Gourmet Food and Market Tour of the Bastille District in Paris

Paris, France

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This was the most memorable little tour of our entire Paris trip. In spite of dreary weather, we enjoyed the walk. The little shops were places we never would have found on our own. Food sampling was fun and educational. Tour guide was top notch. Highly recommend this tour if you do nothing else....

Sep052013

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: Chateaux de Chambord, Chenonceau and Loire Valley Wine-Tasting Day Trip from Paris

Paris, France

My Rating
3 star rating: Worth doing

My Review

This was fun and educational tour. The US-born tour guide was very knowledgeable and fun. That said, this was LOTS of of tedious riding in the bus. The 3.5 hour trip back felt exhausting, and we weren't even driving. The chateaux, as you can imagine, were really impressive. The wine tasting was NOTHING like you would find in a place like Napa or Sonoma, CA. It was a small, private chateau, and the proprietor was a witty fellow, but you spent VERY little time trying his wine, and much longer listening to him trying to sell it to you. The actual chateau was off-limits as it is a family home. They did let you see the small barn and the unused dovecote. O_o. From the looks of the wine-making equipment, the proprietor is no longer making wine on the premises. We had MUCH more fun doing wine tours in California, Calling this a wine-tasting trip is a bit misleading. There is a lot of wine production in the Loire Valley, and this one place you stop is hardly representative.

The food served at this stop was baked chicken, baked potatoes and baked tomatoes. All baked the same way and likely baked in the same oven for same amount of time. Who knew my Illinois mother was a French cook?

Go to see the Loire Valley and some difficult-to-get-to chateaux if you like. Don't expect much else.

Sep042013

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: Louvre Museum Walking Tour including Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa

Paris, France

My Rating
3 star rating: Worth doing

My Review

Good way to see the Louvre. It skips some incredible lines, and the tour guide gives you a good sense of art appreciation by showing you some classic pieces of art.

Sep032013

Tour/Activity

Paris Shuttle Arrival Transfer: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)

Paris, France

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This shuttle service worked without a hitch. They were always right on time. Highly recommended.

Sep182010

Tour/Activity

Rome Angels and Demons Half-Day Tour

Rome, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
A stellar tour - and I'm not even a huge Dan Brown fan. Robert our tour guide made it a VERY fun day. He was animated and extremely knowledgable on the history of Rome. I'd take this tour again - it was that good.

Sep172010

Tour/Activity

Rome by Night Tour

Rome, Italy

My Rating
1 star rating: I do not recommend this

My Review
This tour was the only lousy "tour" we booked through Viator. It was so bad, we simply ran away as soon as the bus stopped and we saw a taxi stand. We were joined by over a quarter of the others people on the bus. The wouldn't offer us a refund, so we chalked it up as a naivete tax. We were picked up at 7:00 pm, and rode in a dirty bus with streaked windows to see Rome at night. We were late leaving their offices, and our guide was caustic to everyone except the few Italians in the front of the bus. She kept up an animated conversation with them instead of giving us our tour. When she did stoop to talk to us foreigners, she had to translate everything into FOUR different languages for this one bus. Although she was conversant in these languages, the sheer number of translations made her comments nearly incomprehensible. After two hours on the tour, and a long hike from our bus stop, we had only seen the Trevi Fountain, and it was jammed with tourists. She left us to see it ourselves. It would have been far cheaper and more beneficial to simply pay a taxi driver to whisk you around the fountains at night. When we finally were able to get off the bus at our first stop (Trevi Fountain) and found a taxi stand, over a quarter of the people on our bus walked away from the tour (sans refund) simply to get away. We got a taxi and went to a nice restaurant to enjoy the evening instead. We were told "No Refunds" as we escaped from the bus, so we swallowed our loss and vowed to let others here know to NOT use this disreputable and slipshod outfit.

Sep152010

Tour/Activity

Private Tour: Venice Half-Day Walking Tour

Venice, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
All I can say is "wow!" This was a great tour, and Alex, our guide, was very knowledgable and quite fun. We had a wonderful afternoon with him discovering many of the less-touristy parts or Venice. He even took us for refreshements at a quiet little cafe where the owner served us light snacks and a local beverage made with bitter Campari and Prosecco. Alex was a rock star guide, and we can't recommend him enough. He made it a great day we will remember forever. Thanks, Alex (Alessadro)!!

Sep142010

Tour/Activity

Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour

Florence, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
I detest bus tours, and went on this one at my wife's behest. This was far better than even she expected. Sandra was our knowledgable and well-versed guide. She made some of the longer driving stretches very fun, and we even stopped for a lunch on an organic farm. I was anticipating the usual "bus tour lunch&", but was blown away by the fresh Italian foods, copious servings of their own fine wines, and stunning views of Tuscany on a shaded veranda. This was a first class tour, and I'd recommend it to everyone, old or young. Make sure you get the bus with Sandra. Thank me later.

Sep122010

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: Ancient Rome and Colosseum Half-Day Walking Tour

Rome, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
This was a very good tour. It was well-organized, and very fun. Our guide was very knowledgeable and even had us tasting the wild vegetation. He also gave us tips on places to eat that turned out to be excellent. This is a great tour to take to get a good understanding of ancient Rome. Take this tour!

Sep112010

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: Vatican Museums Walking Tour including Sistine Chapel, Raphael's Rooms and St Peter's

Rome, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
Very good tour. Highly recommended.

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