Prior to this past weekend's trip my opinion of Paris was "meh" and I can tell you why. I had been twice before with tour groups. First when I was 12 traveling with my cello in hand with the Orange County Junior Orchestra. I was 1 of about 50 musicians. The second time was exactly 10 years ago with my art history study abroad group in college. I was 1 of 30 girls. Traveling via tour bus going from point to point is just not conducive to a thrilling, authentic experience I've deduced. Wandering through streets and picking up fromage from the Fromagerie with your husband and two friends is. Paris this time was AMAZING. We apartment swapped with Jordan of Oh Happy Day, and its location is literally around the corner from the Eiffel Tower. You can sit on the sofa and see the tower sparkle at night. She provided us with a wonderful itinerary with a list of "the best" of everything: restaurants, craft stores, art stores, etc. Bliss! We followed the itinerary pretty closely while still providing enough time to wander and get lost on our own.