Over Thanksgiving of 2016 I had the privilege of going on another training tour as an experienced group leader with Education First (EF) Tours to the lovely city of Paris. Paris has everything, and quoting the Austrian Prince, Klemens Von Metternich, "When Paris sneezes, Europe gets a cold." Paris is a trendsetter in so many ways because of its unique and robust culture. This was my first time on a training tour to Paris, and I had a great time.
Working on training tours is awesome because you get to meet a lot of first-time traveling teachers, who have a lot of questions, but also a lot of good ideas, as well as the EF Staff, who are always enthusiastic and energetic. I decided to go a day early. as their is so much to see and do in Paris, and I wanted to visit some new sites on my own, such as the Musée d'Orsay and Rodin Museum.
The Musée d'Orsay, or as the French say, simply the Orsay, is a beautiful old train station renovated into art museum. It has some of the best Impressionist and Post-Impressionist pieces in the world, and with short lines and small crowds, it was a welcome change from the Louvre (which I still love and visited two days later). The museum has a lot to offer in its artwork, but I was enamored with the architecture. I often caught myself looking up instead of looking at the paintings. I loved sitting in the funky chairs on the top floor looking out through the massive clock (see picture above for view). I paired my ticket with the Rodin Museum, and for 18 euro, this is one of the best deals in Paris.
The Rodin Museum was another location I ventured to from my hotel (the Regina Hotel). Although a little pricey (my wife told me to 'treat yo self'), it was right next to the Tuillere Garden and right across the Seine River from the Orsay. I definitely recommend this hotel. The Rodin Museum is about 20 minute walk from the Regina Hotel, and luckily the weather was pleasant for my walk. I had been to the Rodin museum many years ago, but The Thinker statue was under renovation (hard to fathom, but renovation of important landmarks needs to be done). The Rodin statues are incredible, the estate they are housed in is magnificent, and I didn't recall how beautiful the rest of the garden was. These two museums were such a great way to begin my trip to Paris.
Paris has so much to offer, and on my other Paris trip pages I have highlighted other things to do. A couple of things that aren't typically on the EF itinerary, but would be great for free time are Napoleon's tomb combined with the military museum and the Musée de l'Orangerie which has some magnificent water lily paintings by Monet. Below are a couple of pictures I took from the Versailles Palace, which is typically an optional tour, but this palace is a definite must see.
The Versailles Palace, the "humble" abode of the Sun God, King Louis XIV is something that continues to amaze me every time I see it (hence my face in the Hall of Mirrors picture). The Palace is wonderful but I always get the more excited about the gardens and the fountains. One of the benefits of EF is you get to go in the group line which saves you countless hours. The summer of course is the peak season, and it can get hot, so be prepared.
This is the view from the top of Montparnasse Tower. Parisians don't like the tower, but they will admit the view is spectacular. To get to the top, it does cost about 15 Euro, but you can stay up and enjoy the view as long as you want.