Usually, the day when Mr. Misadventures and I arrive in Paris we arrive at our hotel, shower, go out for a meal and end up in bed at around 5/6 pm. We are beat from our flight, but in reality, we are wasting precious hours.
On a trip when we had an additional traveling companion, a friend of Mr. Misadventures, we wanted to ensure that he got to enjoy every single hour of Paris while we were there. I knew the best thing to do was to plan something that we had to pay for and therefore couldn't talk ourselves out of, so I decided to book us a tour inside the Musee d'Orsay.
Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Opinions are always my own and I’ll never promote something I don’t use or believe in. Also as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
I picked the Context Travel Orsay Museum Tour: Musée d'Orsay Tour: Crash Course and loved it!
We met our docent Katherine for a 3-hour Musee d'Orsay and Paris in the 19th Century tour.
Mr. Misadventures and I have been to the Orsay many times. The building's architecture calls to us. We have wandered through the rooms looking at paintings, statues, and furniture, but I very quickly become overwhelmed by everything there is to see.
That's why this tour was such a delight. There was a focus to the tour, a story we followed and it was so refreshing. As with every Context Travel docent, Katherine masters the intricate knowledge needed to make the tour interesting. She had just completed her dissertation on Parisian art and had been awarded a Ph.D., she is one smart cookie.
And that is what you need. Not someone who has memorized a bunch of cards and God help you if someone wants to veer off-course or off-topic. Katherine's deep knowledge allows her to customize the tour to fit our curiosities. She took us on a 3-hour journey about one particular part of Parisian art history and 3 months later I remember a lot of it.
Not something I can say about any of my other visits to the museum. It was amazing. I saw the paintings with a new eye, I got a lot of background on the museum itself and had some interesting light bulb moments.
One of those was while viewing paintings from Toulouse Lautrec. I was always familiar with his name but found a keener interest in him after the movie Moulin Rouge (sorry, it's true!). We usually go look at his work, but I never, ever knew that they were on cardboard boxes.
Lautrec had no money so he painted on what he could find. I don't know how I ever missed it, but after Katherine pointed it out, I couldn't NOT see it!
I learned about the Académie des Beaux-Arts, how it was started and why, the movements that came from it including the Salon, Barbizon school, and much more.
The art is interesting, but I really just love the building. It is light and airy, beautiful. The restaurant on the first floor is gorgeous it feels like nothing has changed since it opened in 1900.
It was the perfect way to sink into our trip to Paris. We started at 4:30 and finished at 7:30. By the time we went to dinner and returned back to the hotel, it was 10:00 p.m. Mr. Misadventures and I had never stayed up that late on our first night, but I can tell you from now on, we will definitely be booking a tour of our first night to maximize every hour of every day we have in the city we love.
Once again Context Travel came through. They are a company that practices and deeply believes in sustainability, they have even created the Context Travel Foundation for Sustainable Travel and operate as a certified B Corporation a relatively new kind of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.
More Context Travel Tours
These are my reviews of the Context Travel Tours I have been on and LOVED!
These are extremely important initiatives to me and I am happy to promote and support Context Travel by spreading the word!
If you are not doing a tour and are visiting the museum on your own, I always recommend that you buy your ticket ahead of time.
How about you? Do you have a first-night ritual to beat jetlag?
Like it? PIN it!
- Look for fares using sites like Skyscanner or Expedia.com.
- For France (Paris) coming from the West Coast, I typically fly Air France or United. From the East Coast, I typically fly Air France or Delta.
- If you travel frequently, consider investing in a Priority Pass for airport lounge access. Not only will you have a spot to relax before your flight and charge your devices, but you can eat and drink for free (without paying crazy airport prices!)
- I use Expedia.com, Booking.com, and Hotels.com to find lodging. Always check the reviews on TripAdvisor before booking!
- For rental car agencies, try Rentalcars.com. When traveling in Europe, I use AutoEurope to make reservations. They find the best rates and allow you to compare different car rental agencies. I typically book with Sixt.
- For transportation from the CDG airport to anywhere within Paris, consider pre-booking with Get Transfer. It is one way to be stress-free and you can request an English-speaking driver.
- Tours + Atractions
- I book tours with companies like Viator and GetYourGuide. Both have a wide variety of activities for every travel style. Other companies to look at include Tours by Locals and Withlocals.
- If you’re visiting a city with multiple attractions, be sure to check out a discount pass, such as CityPASS or Go City.
- Context Travel is another option and they offer more educational-based activities.
- If you are looking to buy tickets to attractions, check out Tiquet.
- Don't Forget Travel Photos
- One of my favorite things to do is to get photos taken of me while on vacation. Flytographer is a great option with photographers all over the world.
- Peace of Mind
- It’s important to have some type of travel insurance to cover any unforeseen accidents, illnesses, threats, or cancellations. I always travel with insurance and would recommend SafetyWing, SquareMouth or Travelex Insurance are good options.
- Should you have any trouble with flight delays to the extent you feel you deserve compensation, I encourage you to check out and use AirHelp. I used them and for 1 claim I got compensated (transparency: a 2nd claim did not, but I was still glad I tried!).