Sight Seeker’s Delight is building a walking tour of Versailles! Will it surprise you to know that you, yes you, are very directly involved in 2 of these 6 steps? We’re thinking about you all the time of course, with every note we make and story we tell. But you, Seekers of Sights, are 100% of 2 steps below!
Disclaimer: I’m kidding about the “Easy” up there… these 6 steps are a lot of work! But honestly, it’s work that we love, it’s what we live for and what we do for you! So without any further ado let me show you some pictures, and allow you a peek into our collective tour-creation brain:
Step 1 – Have a Great Idea
It all starts here. As you know, Karen is the creative force behind Sight Seeker’s Delight and it is safe to say that she is simply chock-full of great ideas. Though, we must really give credit here where credit is due: it is thanks to YOU, our amazing and loyal clients, that we are working on a tour of Versailles! You asked for it again and again, and we are pouring our little hearts into delivering.
So thank you, to all of you, for the (crossing fingers) success of our newest tour once we launch. And if it doesn’t sell, well… we know who to blame. Just kidding!
Step 2 – Get your butt to the Library (and oh, learn French)
When it comes to tours, we are sticklers about a couple things. First off, Wikipedia-based tours are a huge no-no! And sadly, you would be wrong to think there are not companies out there who base all of their tour information on Wikipedia searches.
Now I love Wiki as much as the next guy or gal, but we all know it’s not the most trustworthy source by a long shot. No, we like to go much deeper than that. And typically, for the best and most unique information, we turn to real, live BOOKS.
The municipal libraries of Paris are incredible resources for the history of Paris. What’s more, they are completely free (cha-ching!).
Of course, there’s one catch… you better be able to read French. Of course, we could have ordered 20 books on Versailles in English off of the internet. But, when in Rome! Actually, I’ve found many more unique stories about Paris and France in general in French books, than in English language books. It makes sense I guess!
I don’t want to tell you how many pages of notes I have of the Versailles books I read during the research phase. But I will: 57. That’s 57 shrunken-margin size-11 font pages worth of notes. That’s enough to be a book on Versailles all by itself. But can you be surprised, with the stacks of books that went into it all? Combine that with Karen’s pages of notes from Versailles documentaries and we’re approaching 70 pages full of dates, anecdotes, important timeline events, and juicy facts plucked from more than a dozen books about Versailles.
This is Versailles in 1620 – what a change 400 little years will make!
Not a bad start, huh? The tour of Versailles research is granted a bit chunkier than our other tours since it will be a longer one… but this process is pretty similar for all of our tours.
But that’s just the start. Now you must…
Step 3: Write the Versailles script
Wow, this step is a doozy. By now, we’ve sifted through those 70 pages of notes 2-3 times to pick out the most unique, entertaining, and fascinating stories for you. Now it’s time to organize those into a cohesive story that follows a beautiful route. Not so hard, right?
Well… it’s not easy, but it is one of the most fun parts of creating a tour. Suddenly, you see everything coming together: what you’ll see and the story to go along with it!
I really do have a love-hate relationship with this step, though. Why? Well, it normally means cutting out the bulk of the stories we’ve found (70 pages, remember?). And that’s always sad. It’s like how directors say that the hardest part of their job is always, without fail, having to cut their favorite scene. Heartbreaking! But we don’t want to bore you, we need the real crowd-pleasing tales, and that means snip-snip to at least 50% of our notes.
Step 4: Test it out at Versailles
This is the step that makes me feel so lucky for working for Sight Seeker’s Delight. It’s an excuse to wander around Paris (or in this case, Versailles), talking out ideas and testing stories. We have to wander through the gardens, time our walks and talks, and make sure everything flows smoothly. Hint: it rarely does, the first time around.
That’s why we must…
Step 5: Re-Work
This is a process that honestly never ends for us. All of the Sight Seeker’s Delight tours are perpetually updated. For example, we’ve just altered the route and added stories to our Secrets of the Night tour, and have been putting together a Pere Lachaise Cemetery tour bulk-up for a couple months now. Not to mention our Tickle Your Tastebuds tour, which has been evolving every month for the past year and a half!
However, the pre-tour-launch re-work is one of the most important. Since we’ve put our boots on the ground already, we know what works and what doesn’t. We know which gardens are blah, which ones are jaw-dropping, and how we are on time. Now we make sure that we remove what isn’t Sight Seeker’s Delight approved, and make any alterations that are required.
At this stage, we may remove more stories that didn’t work, or put back in anecdotes we cut in Step 3. We often alter our original planned route as well. Something that looks good on a map and a memory may not be logistically feasible, after all!
Step 6: Listen to YOU
This step is practically more important than all the other steps combined. We take note on how you, the travelers, respond to the stories and the route. We ask you for your feedback (yep, like right now: http://www.sightseekersdelight.com/index.php?option=com_contact&task=view&contact_id=1&Itemid=5 send us an email to let us know what you think of Versailles!), both in real time on the tour, and afterwards. We closely monitor our http://www.tripadvisor.fr/Attraction_Review-g187147-d1520118-Reviews-Sight_Seeker_s_Delight_Unique_Walking_Tours-Paris_Ile_de_France.html TripAdvisor page for both positive and negative reviews – both are infinitely helpful to us.
The point here is to always be better, more entertaining, funnier, and more memorable for you! We’re your friends in Paris and we want to do everything we can to make sure your Paris vacation is everything it should be. If we can build a better tour with your help, we can add a little something extra to your trip. And that’s all we want!
We still have a lot of work to do on the new Versailles tour, but I can tell you that at this point it’s looking like our most fascinating tour yet! We can’t wait to unveil it for you this summer. Until then, bookmark this page whenever you’re in need of some Versailles eye candy. See you soon!