The 8 Best Bass Boats to Buy in 2019

This article originally appeared on TripSavvy.

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As the name suggests, bass boats are built for a very specific purpose — bass fishing. They are low-slung, with raised platforms at the bow and stern for unhindered casting in any direction, and streamlined, so you can race out to your favorite fishing spots and back for weigh-in in record time. Bass boats are configured for use with an outboard motor in order to save deck and storage space and should have a mount on the bow for a trolling motor. Look for signature features including rod boxes and livewells that can keep live bait alive for hours at a time. Many bass boats are intended for tournament fishermen and have the price-tag to match, but some are more competitively priced for the everyday angler. Here, we look at a few of the best options on the market.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Bass Cat Puma FTD

BThe Puma FTD is top brand Bass Cat’s most popular premium range option. It boasts a heavy-duty, ultra-comfortable fiberglass build and a 20’4” length that’s stable in open water yet easy to maneuver in tight spaces. The 94” beam gives you the confidence needed to go offshore. FTD stands for Full Team Deck, i.e. a front deck that’s big enough for team anglers to cast side-by-side. You’re spoiled for choice in terms of storage, with seven compartments in the front deck alone.

These include a ventilated central tackle box and an 8’ rod box with a tube organizer. The boat also comes with two ice chests and two triangular livewells, both with a pump-in/pump-out system, spray bars, and an inline filter. Use the twin Humminbird Helix 7 fish finders to choose a static spot or troll for bass with the included Minn Kota Fortrex 80 motor, powered by a battery and three-bank charger. The boat can hold 52 gallons of fuel and has a 200 to 300 maximum horsepower range. A stock engine and trailer are included. 

Runner-Up. Best Overall: Nitro Z21

BNitro’s most advanced bass boat, the Z21, was designed with the help of champion bass fishermen Kevin VanDam and Edwin Evers. With a 21’2” length and a 95” beam, it has space for four anglers on deck. Force Flex suspension in the seats makes for a comfortable ride even in rough weather while an advanced deck drainage system keeps things dry. Experience push-button functionality thanks to digital bow and console controls. The boat comes with a Lowrance fish finder and a Minn Kota Maxxum trolling motor.

Under the step to the bow deck you’ll find an insulated cooler, while the two 19-gallon livewells are equipped with digital timers, oxygen generators, and dual remote drain controls. There’s space for ten 8’ rods in the port rod organizer and integrated gunnel lights come in handy if you stay out after dark. The boat has a fuel capacity of 55 gallons. Included in the steep price is a 225 HP Mercury outboard engine. There are several engine upgrades available (up to 300 HP) and all prices include a custom-fit trailer.  

Best Under $20,000: Tracker Pro Team 190 TX

Sticking to a $20,000 budget generally means opting for an aluminum hull rather than a fiberglass one. The 2018 Tracker Pro Team 190 TX features the brand’s exclusive one-piece Revolution hull with a robotically welded stringer and transom for added structural strength. It comes with a Diamond Coat finish and a Smooth Ride Guarantee. Keep in mind this is a smaller boat with an 18’7” length and an 89” beam. You can fit four people on-board — two in the cockpit and two on pedestal folding seats.

In addition to a lockable 8’ rod box, the boat features six storage compartments and a 21-gallon, recirculating livewell. Standard accessories include a Lowrance fish finder and a 45-pound thrust Minn Kota Edge trolling motor. If you want to stay below the $20,000 mark, you’ll need to stick with the stock Mercury 90 ELPT FourStroke outboard, which has an estimated top speed of 44 mph. If your budget is flexible, you can upgrade to a faster 115 horsepower engine. All packages come with a custom-matched trailer. 

Best Under $30,000: Ranger Z175

BWith a starting price under $30K, the Ranger Z175 is a more reasonable option for those who don’t have an unlimited bass boat fund. With a maximum horsepower of 115, a 17’6” length, and a 90” beam, it’s not as powerful or as big as other boats on our list. However, it promises excellent performance and can still carry up to four fishermen. The price includes a Ranger Trail trailer and a Mercury 115 ELPT Pro XS FourStroke Command Thrust outboard engine.

Onboard, you’ll find quality Lowrance electronics and speed, tach, fuel, and trim gauges at the helm. The Minn Kota Edge 70 trolling motor is powered by the included battery and charger, while the 15-gallon, recirculating livewell comes with an automatic timer. Keep your sticks in one of two carpeted rod boxes, the largest of which has a maximum length of 8’. The boat can carry up to 23 gallons of fuel, making it well-suited to outings on smaller inland lakes. It’s also comfortable, thanks to Soft Ride Seating and an offset console that allows for maximum legroom. 

Best Splurge: Skeeter FX21 LE Bass Boat

B

Luxury features include top-of-the-range Lowrance fish finder/chart plotter combos on the dash and bow and a Lowrance Sonic Hub 2 marine entertainment system. A Minn Kota Fortrex 112 trolling motor and a Yamaha V MAX SHO VF250 outboard come as standard; and the livewell system features independent fill, recirculating/drain, timer, and pump-out modes. All storage boxes are internally lit; they include integrated rod and tackle systems and an ice chest under the center bench seat. The boat’s custom trailer boasts torsion tandem axles and a tongue step that simplifies loading and offloading.  

Best Aluminum: Crestliner 1750 Bass Hawk

BIf you have a bigger budget but like the idea of an aluminum hull’s sturdiness (great when you do most of your fishing in heavy cover), consider the Crestliner 1750 Bass Hawk. Its all-welded, deep-V hull measures 17’9” in length and it has a wide, 95” beam for extra stability. With space for five people, it boasts roomy casting decks in the bow and stern and premium bucket seats for the skipper and one passenger. There are 13 storage compartments in total, in addition to an illuminated central rod locker with 15 tubes for rods up to 8’ in length.

Other highlights include a 28-gallon, aerated livewell, and a removable SureMount aluminum accessory brackets. These let you attach cup or rod holders to the gunnels without having to drill through the metalwork. The price includes a trailer and a Mercury 90 EXLPT EFI FourStroke engine. Optional extras range from easy-wash vinyl flooring to a center seat or shallow water anchor. You can also add a Minn Kota trolling motor or upgrade to a 150 horsepower outboard.

Best Saltwater: Ranger Z520Ci Intracoastal

BIf you plan on targeting marine bass species such as the kelp, sand, or spotted bay bass, you’ll need a boat that can withstand repeated exposure to saltwater. The Ranger Z520Ci Intracoastal is built specifically for fishing in salt and freshwater, with a 20’9” length and a 95” beam that affords extra stability in the waves. It has a potent 200 to 250 horsepower range and a 45-gallon fuel capacity. The cleats and hardware are all made from stainless steel to prevent saltwater corrosion.

Instead of carpet, the deck is covered with a durable foam cushioning that’s quick-drying and easy-to-clean (important for effectively removing salt residue). You’ll have plenty of room for longer rods thanks to the space-saving offset helm, while Ranger’s Soft Ride Seating compensates for rougher waters. Other typical bass boat features include a spacious bow casting deck, an insulated cooler, and a recirculating livewell. Rod boxes are kept dry by the patent-pending Power Ventilated Rod System. A Minn Kota trolling motor and Ranger Trail trailer come as part of the package. 

Best Multi-Species: Nitro ZV21

BSome bass fishermen choose to shun specialty bass boats in favor of multi-species designs, especially if they typically fish in big water. The 2018 Nitro ZV21 has an aggressive performance deep-V hull for standing up to the roughest big-lake conditions. Measuring 21’7” in length and 100” across the beam, it’s plenty big enough for six people. It also carries up to 64 gallons of fuel and has a maximum horsepower of 350 (although it comes with a 250 XL OptiMax Pro XS capable of around 57 mph).

Many of its attributes lend themselves well to bass fishing, including a large bow casting deck with anti-fatigue matting, a 26-gallon livewell, and a 5.5-gallon baitwell. The driver and passenger seats have premium suspension and were designed in collaboration with Kevin VanDam. Keep your rods in the three-level central locker and discover new spots with the included Lowrance Elite-7 Ti Combo fishfinder and GPS. The price also includes a Minn Kota Terrova 112 trolling motor and a custom-fit GALVASHIELD-protected trailer. 

Our Process

Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular bass boats on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 15 different boats overall, screened options from 10 different brands and manufacturers, and read over 50 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

Source: tripsavvy.com ; BY JESS MACDONALD

3 Days in Paris: The Perfect Paris Itinerary

Original Article by Laurence Norah from findingtheuniverse.com. It is so very well done we had to share!

Links to Laurence and his website are at the end of the article.

Thinking about spending 3 days in Paris? Great choice! We think that’s the perfect amount of time to spend in one of our favourite European cities, giving you the chance to see many of the top sights and attractions and really get a feel for the city. Of course, if you have longer, that’s even better, but three days is certainly enough to see a lot.

To help you with your planning, we’re going to share with you everything we think you need to know to spend three days in Paris. We’re going to give you a suggested 3 day Paris itinerary, tips for getting around, advice on where to stay in Paris, our thoughts on when is best to visit and even some suggested ways to save money in Paris.

Let’s get started!

3 Day Paris Itinerary

Paris Itinerary: Day 1

1. Eiffel Tower

What better way to start of your trip to Paris than with a visit to the Eiffel Tower. This is without doubt the most iconic landmark in Paris (if not France!), and a visit here is a must for any visit to Paris. When we visit Paris, we always visit at least once, and every time we are amazed at the sheer scale of this beautiful building.

There are a number of ways to enjoy the Eiffel Tower. First, you can just enjoy the views of the tower, which we think are particularly good from the Trocadero Gardens across the river, or the Champ de Mars gardens behind the Tower.

3 days in Paris - Eiffel Tower Paris_by_Laurence Norah

You can also go up inside the Eiffel Tower to one of the different floors, for expansive views of the city. We do like the experience of going up inside, but we don’t think it offers the best view of the city – because the view from inside the Eiffel Tower is missing the most famous part of the skyline – the Eiffel Tower itself!

Still, if this is your first visit to Paris, we highly recommend the experience. We do suggest that if you want to go up the Eiffel Tower, that you book your tickets in advance from the official website. The queues here for tickets can be very long, and with a pre-booked ticket you can skip the wait.

3 days in Paris - Eiffel Tower Stairs_by_Laurence Norah

Alternatively, if you are feeling fit, you can also take the stairs up to the first level. There is not usually a very long queue for the stairs, which have their own ticket line, and it is also slightly cheaper.

2. Seine River Cruise

Another must-do experience in Paris is a river cruise on the Seine. This is a very popular activity, with multiple operators offering cruises up and down the river. We’ve actually written a post about the various Seine River cruise options which goes through the majority of the operators and the different types of trip available.

3 days in Paris - Seine River Cruise Paris_by_Laurence Norah

We can definitely recommend the Bateaux Parisiens River Cruise. These depart from just next to the Eiffel Tower, so fit in nicely with this itinerary, and they are included for free if you pick up a Paris Pass.

The cruise takes in all the highlights from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame, and there’s commentary included. So sit back, relax, and let the scenery roll by.

3. Hop on Hop off Bus

Talking of sitting back and relaxing, we find that a great way to get oriented in a new city and get an idea of the sights we want to see is to take a Hop On Hop Off (HOHO) bus tour.

Paris is no exception to this rule, and you can pick up a HOHO bus in Paris from right next to the Eiffel Tower, which will then take you around Paris’s key attractions.

3 days in Paris - Paris Hop on Hop Off Bus_by_Laurence Norah-2

There are multiple operators running different routes around the city. If you pick up a Paris Pass, it includes a 1 Day Big Bus Tour. We took this tour and enjoyed it – it’s both an easy way to get around the city, plus you can learn about many of the sights as you go. However there are a few different operators, so pick the one that works for you!

4. Paris Walking Tour

All this sitting around on buses and boats is great for getting oriented, but at some point you’re going to need to put your feet on the pavement! Paris is a wonderful city to explore on foot, and a guided walking tour is an excellent way to do that.

We think that if you are going to do a walking tour in a city, the first day is the best, as you can ask your guide for local recommendations such as their favourite places to eat or get a coffee, as well as get suggestions for hidden gems you might not find in the guidebooks.

There are lots of operators offering tours in Paris. We’ve taken a number of walking tours with Context Travel, and have always loved their detailed tours. They have a number of tours available in Paris, and you get 10% off with this link. We particularly enjoyed their Hemingway themed walking tour of Paris.

We also love Take Walks walking tours, and they have recently launched a number of Paris Tours. For example, they have a Welcome to Paris Walking Tour with Notre Dame and Petanque, as well as a full day Paris tour, although the latter would require you to significantly alter this itinerary.

If you have a Paris Pass, it comes with a free walking tour that focuses on famous filming locations in Paris, which is a lot of fun.

5. Tour Montparnasse

Last on our list for your first day in Paris is a trip up the Tour Montparnasse. I recommend this to everyone going to Paris, as it is, in my opinion at least, the location with the best view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower.

3 days in Paris - View from Tour Montparnasse

This is particularly the case at sunset, so if you can time your visit for sunset, you will get to witness a wonderful sunset across the Eiffel Tower, and then watch the city lights come to life.

The observation level is across two levels, one is inside and one is outside. The outside area is surrounded by glass, but there are cutouts so you can get reflection-free shots of the view. You can also bring a tripod up here! No wonder therefore that it’s on my list of favourite Paris photography locations.

There’s a fee to go up Tour Montparnasse, but it’s free for holders of the Paris Pass.

Paris Itinerary: Day 2

Our second day in Paris takes in some more iconic sites including some of Paris’s most famous museums and churches. It’s quite a full day, so do feel free to edit the itinerary to suit your particular interests, pace and needs!

6. Saint Chapelle

It took me multiple visits to Paris before I finally made it to Saint Chapelle. Now I urge everyone to make it a priority on their trip to Paris!

This is a relatively small chapel that is not too far from Notre Dame, but the interior, which consists of almost floor to ceiling stained glass, is absolutely outstanding. It will definitely take your breath away.

3 days in Paris - Saint Chapelle Paris_by_Laurence Norah

The 13th century Saint Chapelle is quite popular, and the small size and mandatory security checks mean that the line to get in can be long. This is why I have put it on my list as the first thing for your second day in Paris – you want to get here early, ideally get in line ten – fifteen minutes before the opening time. After all, no-one wants to spend their time standing in lines.

There’s a fee to enter Saint Chapelle, which is also free to holders of the Paris Pass.

7. Notre Dame

No more than ten minutes walk from Sainte Chapelle is Paris’s most famous religious building, known for her flying buttresses, twin towers and, of course, hunchback resident.

You will definitely see two out of those three when you visit Notre Dame, the major Catholic cathedral in Paris. Construction of this magnificent building took nearly two hundred years, and was completed in 1345.

3 days in Paris - Notre Dame paris_by_Laurence Norah

Entry to Notre Dame is free, although you do have to go through security, and lines are sometimes long. If you wish to go up the tower or into the crypt, there is a fee for those activities (included with the Paris Pass), and you need to book a timeslot in advance.

You can book this time slot on site at the ticket terminals. However, we suggest instead you do it using the “Jefile” app, available on iOS and Google Play. This starts accepting time slot reservations every day from 7.30am, so just set a reminder for yourself and book your timeslot well in advance on your day of visit, so as to avoid disappointment.

8. Musee d’Orsay

If you like museums, Paris has definitely gotten you covered. Our next stop is the Musee d’Orsay, but before you get here, you’re going to take a walk along Paris’s iconic left bank, from Notre Dame to the Musee d’Orsay. This isn’t too far, but you’ll see the booksellers and get a feel for this part of town.

3 days in Paris - Musee d Orsay Paris_by_Laurence Norah

Paris’s museums are quite logically set up, with three main art museums covering three distinct time periods.

The Musee d’Orsay, first on our list, covers art dating from the middle of the 19th century up to the early 20th century, and is home to masterpieces from the likes of Duchamp, Kandisky and Picasso, to name but a few. The Louvre (see below), covers the time period before this, whilst the Centre Pompidou covers the time period afterwards, right up to the modern day. The Centre Pompidou isn’t on this itinerary, but you could fit it in if you wanted to of course!

The Musee d’Orsay is absolutely stunning. It’s set in what was once one of Paris’s main train stations,  and the grand central atrium is gorgeous – almost worth visiting in of itself.

There’s a fee to get in here, but holders of the Paris Pass get free entry as well as skip the line priveledges.

9. The Louvre

If you only visit one museum in Paris, I can highly recommend making it the Louvre. This is one of the world’s most famous museums, and is home to an incredible collection of art, including Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and Michelangelo’s Dying Slave, to name but a few.

Louvre Paris_by_Laurence Norah-2

Obviously, seeing the Mona Lisa is on the wishlist for many visitors, but this museum, which covers art from ancient times up to the middle of the 19th century, has obviously got a great deal more to offer. True art lovers could lose themselves for days in the vast collection here!

Of course, if that’s you, you are welcome to do the same, although for the purposes of this itinerary we’d probably recommend you try and limit your time to two to three hours so you can fit more of Paris in.

Venus de Milo Louvre_by_Laurence Norah

We’d also highly recommend that you pick up either a Paris Pass or a Paris Museum Pass, which will give you fast-track access to the Louvre.

You will still have to queue for security, but the fast track line is a lot quicker moving than the general admission line.

10. Wine tasting

When you think of France, a few things likely come to mind, and I suspect that wine is likely one of them. So why not take a break from the sight-seeing and museums, and indulge in a little wine tasting.

The tour costs €30 including the wine tasting, and is included for holders of the Paris Pass.

If you aren’t into wine tasting, there are a number of nearby cafes and restaurants where you can refresh and revive. We can recommend afternoon tea at Le Meuricethe Ritz or the Hotel de Crillon if you like afternoon tea (see our guide to the best afternoon tea in Paris if so). For a shorter and less expensive experience, the hot chocolate at Angelina Cafe is also superb.

11. Arc de Triomphe

We’re going to finish off the second day of our three day Paris itinerary with a visit to the Arc de Triomphe, another of Paris’s iconic landmarks. From the Louvre you can either take public transport here, or you can walk up the Champs Elysees, Paris’s most famous shopping street.

Arc de Triomphe Paris_by_Laurence Norah

The Arc de Triomphe, built in memory of those who died in the French Revolution and Napoloenic Wars, is wonderfully photogenic.

If you arrive in time, you can go to the top for an excellent view of the city, which includes the roads spanning out into the distance and the Eiffel Tower.

As you journey up into the monument, you will also come to a museum which details some of its history. Below the monument, you will also find the tomb of the unknown soldier.

To get to the Arc de Triomphe, don’t try and cross the traffic roundabout. Head to one of the underpasses, and cross in safety. Going up inside the Arc de Triomphe carries a fee, holders of the Paris Pass get free access with skip the line privileges.

Paris Itinerary: Day 3

On the last day of our 3 day Paris itinerary we’re heading out of the city centre to take in one of Paris’s most famous Royal Palaces. We’re also including some extra sights in the city at the end if you can tear yourself away.

12. Versailles

The really nice things about having 3 days in Paris is that you have the flexibility to go a little further out of the centre. My suggestion for your third day is to visit Versailles, the incredible palace that was the seat of French political power and home to French Royalty, including Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

To truly appreciate Versailles, I would suggest allocating at least half a day of your third day in Paris, if not more. There is easily enough to see here to fill an entire day, which is why we don’t recommend coming here on our two day Paris itinerary.

Versailles Paris_by_Laurence Norah

We suggest starting off by touring the Palace. You’ll want to get here for opening time, as this is a really popular tourist attraction and it get busier as the day goes on. Once you have toured the Palace and seen such highlights as the incredible Hall of Mirrors and the Kings Grand Apartments, you can head outside, where there is a great deal more to see.

A walk in the incredible (and vast!) gardens is a must. We particularity enjoyed heading over to Marie Antoinette’s estate, which is a slightly quieter part of the gardens, and home to a small model farm, tucked away temples, and walking paths.

It’s very easy to spend a whole day exploring Versailles and the grounds, and don’t feel bad if you do, it’s totally worth it.

Versailles_by_Laurence Norah-2

Visiting Versailles is quite easy, you can get a train (RER C) from central Paris to the Gare de Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche, and from the train station to the Palace it is a well sign-posted ten minute walk. Fast-track entry to the Palace, Gardens and other Versailles attractions is included on the Paris Pass – although you will still need to join the security line.

It’s worth pointing out that the travel card that comes with the Paris Pass does not include travel to Versailles.

We saw a number of people trying to use this travel card to get through the ticket barriers with no luck. The Paris Pass travel card only covers zones 1-3 of Paris, which is sufficient for everything else on this itinerary, but not for Versailles which is in Zone 4. So you need to buy a ticket separately for your train journey – these are available from ticket machines at all the train stations, and these have and English language option available.

13. Montmartre

If you manage to tear yourself away from Versailles, my suggestion for finishing off your last day in Paris is to head to the Montmartre region. This is home to a large hill, atop which sits the glorious Sacre Coeur de Montmartre, another of Paris’s iconic buildings.

This area of Paris was particularly famous as being home to artists, and folks like Dali, Picasso and Hemingway all either lived or frequented this area. It’s still popular with artists, and the Place du Teatre is the place in Montmartre is the place to go to get your portrait or caricature painted. Fans of Dali will also want to visit the Dali Exhibition, home of the largest collection of works by Dali in France.

Montmartre is a maze of cute little streets, cafes and shops. The Basilica is free to visit, if you get here in time, although there is a small fee if you want to climb the tower. Montmartre is also a popular place to watch the sunset across the city, and what better way to finish your 3 days in Paris than by watching the sun set across this magical city from atop Montmartre?

3 Days in Paris Itinerary Map

To help you visualise our 3 day Paris itinerary we’ve put together this helpful map which shows the attractions for each day. You can access this on Google Maps here.

3 Day Paris Itinerary Map

Where to Stay in Paris

As you would expect from a major European capital city, Paris has no shortage of options when it comes to accommodation. We’ve stayed in a variety of places, from hotels to homestays to apartments.

Ideally you want to be fairly central if you can, to minimise your travel time. Our suggestion is to take a look at the listings for Paris on booking.com. They’re our favourite booking engine when we travel, `usually giving us the best choice and the best prices. They also have everything, from apartments and hostels to high end hotels. Here are some options we suggest, depending on your budget.

Of course, there are lots of other options when it comes to finding accommodation when you travel. Check out our travel resources page for some of our favourites.

When to Visit Paris

We’re actually happy to visit Paris at pretty much any time of year, and this Paris itinerary would work at any time of year. Summer brings sunshine and warmth, although of course the city is a lot busier at this time of year, so if crowds aren’t your thing, you might want to skip the summer months.

We also love Fall and Spring in the city, when the temperatures are a bit cooler and the crowds less. In the run up to Christmas, the city is beautifully decorated and some of the stores in particular are worth visiting just to see the elaborate decorations they put up. After Christmas the city is a lot quieter, and of course temperatures are at their lowest.

Ultimately, we think Paris is worth visiting whenever you can, so just decide how busy you can handle, and if you’d prefer it to be warm or cold, and go from there!

How to Get to and From Paris

As the capital of France, Paris has multiple options for visitors looking to visit. There are three major airports in Paris. Charles de Gaulle is the main airport for international arrivals, with Paris Orly being the second most popular international airport. Both of these airports are easily reachable by public transport from the city centre.

Eiffel Tower from Arc de Triomphe_by_Laurence Norah

Paris Beauvais-Tille airport is where you will likely arrive if you are flying with a budget airline. This is some way out of the city centre, but regular shuttles buses are available to take you into the city.

Paris is also connected to the high speed French and European rail network, and there are a number of train stations in central Paris. You can even travel from the UK by train, taking the channel tunnel to do so.

Finally, of course, you can reach Paris by car from France and the rest of Europe. Our advice would be to park your car in a secure long stay car-park on the outskirts of Paris and take public transport to the centre. We recommend against driving in the city centre, as public transport is cheap and fast, and a lot easier than stressing about driving around the crowded city streets, and trying to find a parking space.

How to Get Around Paris

Paris has an excellent public transport network, and in particular the Paris Metro system is really good, getting you around all the major parts of the city at minimum cost. There’s also a good bus network, as well as local trains.

For public transport, you can purchase t+ tickets which allow for one-off travel on the Paris bus, RER trains and metros. These are available at train and metro stations using the ticket machines. These machines accept both credit cards and cash, and can be configured for English language.

Paris Metro_by_Laurence Norah

Each ticket can be used for a single journey of up to 2 hours on the metro (including transfers) and 90 minutes on buses (including transfers). For more information on these tickets, see the official page. We suggest that you purchase them in packs of 10, which is much more cost effective than buying them individually.

Alternatively, if you buy a Paris Pass, this come with a travel card which is valid for the duration of the Pass. So if you buy a 3 Day Paris Pass, it will come with a three day travel card. This will cover you for all your travel in Paris within Zone 1-3, so will get you nearly everywhere you need to go. Notable exceptions include Versailles and the Paris Airports, for which you will need a separate ticket.

Walking Tours of Paris

If you’d like to take a guided tour of Paris, the two companies we usually use are Take Walksand Context Travel. These both offer small group walking tours in Paris, which are a great way to learn about some of the sights and history of the city. Of course, if you decide to take a walking tour you will have to adjust the itinerary accordingly to suit.

If you were interested in a tour, Take Walks has this Paris in a Day tour which includes a Skip the Line Louvre Tour, the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre & a Seine River Cruise – an excellent introduction to the city!

Context travel offer a number of very focused tours of Paris, and these offer very specialised insights into particular subjects. We’d suggest maybe taking one of these for a specific area of interest that you really want to learn about, perhaps for Versailles. They also offer an introduction to Paris tour.

There are of course other options for various tours in Paris, including all the tours on this page, which offers a variety of things to do from different providers. So definitely check out the options to figure out what is best for you!

How to Save Money in Paris

Being a major European city, Paris is definitely not a budget destination. There are a few ways to save money of course, even on an itineary as packed with attractions as this one is. Food is one way – rather than eating out for every meal for example, you could stay in an apartment or hostel that lets you cook your own meals.

If that’s not an option, consider having picnic lunches or breakfasts, and eating out in the evenings. Also, keep an eye out for the “menu du jour”, most restaurants offer a fixed lunch or evening menu which includes a number of dishes at a fixed price.

You can usually get a meal for between €12 & €18 which includes two or three courses, bread, and sometimes even wine or coffee. Check out our guide to the best restaurants in Paris for lunch deals.

The cheapest way to get around Paris is to walk of course, followed by the excellent public transport system. We usually walk as much as we can, and then take the metro for the longer trips. Taxis can be convenient, but they will eat into your budget very quickly.

RATP cards Paris_by_Laurence Norah

One of our favourite ways to save money when we visit a major city where we want to see a lot of sights is to invest in a city sightseeing pass. In Paris there are two main passes that we recommend, the Paris Pass and the Paris Museum Pass.

The Paris Pass actually includes the Paris Museums Pass, which gets you into many of Paris’s major attractions, including the Louvre and Versailles. It also includes invaluable skip the line access to some of the major attractions in Paris.

The Paris Pass also comes with a number of other benefits including a travel card for the duration of the pass, access to the hop on hop off bus, a Seine River cruise, a walking tour, wine tasting and many more.

Paris Passes_by_Laurence Norah

One thing to be aware of is that the three day Paris Pass, which we would recommend if you were to do this itinerary, only includes a 2 day Paris Museum Pass, as there is no three day Paris Museum Pass. So you would need to arrange your days to visit the attractions covered by the Paris Museum Pass over two days.

I have in fact already done this for you in this itinerary. The first day includes attractions that are not covered by the Paris Museum Pass, whilst the second and third day include the main attractions covered by the Paris Museum Pass.

As an idea of savings, if you were to visit all the attractions in this itinerary that are covered by the Paris Pass, plus buy a three day travel card, you’d be looking at spending over €220. A three day Paris Pass currently costs €165 – so that is a good saving!

Of course, your individual situation will vary, and you might have different attractions you want to visit. In addition, you should be aware that if you are an EU citizen under the age of 26 that many attractions are free or discounted to visit (you need ID!). Also, on the first Sunday of every month, many museums are free to visit – although very crowded as a result!

We think the Paris Pass is good value for money (click here to buy), but do feel free to check out our detailed review of both the Paris Pass and the Paris Museum Pass, and come to your own decision as to what works for you!

Practicalities for visiting Paris

Safety

Paris is a safe city in our experience, although it does have a reputation for being home to a number of scams. Most of these are easy to avoid once you know about them (read up on some of the common scams in Paris here).

As with any major city, of course you need to keep your wits about you – keep your possessions in view all the time, keep your wallet or phone in a front pocket (with a zip if possible), and don’t do anything that you wouldn’t do at home.

We’ve not had any problems in Paris, although there are a few scams to be aware of – check our guide to avoiding common Paris scams so you are prepared in advance.

Power

Electricity in Paris is of the 220v standard, with the 2 pin European style plug. Travellers from countries like the UK and the US will need an adapter like this.

US travellers need to check their equipment supports the 220v standard – it will be written clearly on the power adapter. As a general rule, we have found that laptops, phone and camera chargers and other small electronics are universal, whilst larger devices like hair dryers and hair straighteners are not.

Currency

Paris is part of the Eurozone, so the currency is the Euro. You can get Euros from ATM’s, banks and currency exchanges, although credit cards are of course widely accepted, and there is no need to carry large quantities of currency.

Internet Access

Internet access is widely available in the form of WiFi all around the city and in hotels and coffee shops, so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting online. You can also pick up local SIM cards if you have an unlocked phone. Travellers from the UK on the Three network will be able to use their Feel At Home data, which is a great deal if you’re a regular traveller from the UK.

For more options on getting online when travelling, check out our guide to getting online when travelling to help you figure out the best options. We also have a guide to picking the best travel router, which can help you extend a weak WiFi network and share it across multiple devices.

Water 

The water in the taps in Paris is safe to drink unless otherwise indicated. If you don’t like the taste, bottled water is widely available. We usually recommend you travel with a re-usable water bottle like this to save on having to buy water bottles.

Eating in Paris

If you want to eat at one of the more popular restaurants in Paris, we recommend that you book in advance. We recommend and use La Fourchette, which is the most popular online restaurant booking website in France.

It’s easy to use and makes booking restaurants a breeze, especially if you don’t speak French. Check it out here to find reviews, sample menus and book a table.

Further Reading for your 3 Days in Paris

We have visited Paris on a number of occasions, and have written a good deal about our experiences in the city. To help you further plan your stay in Paris, here are some of our favourite posts and external resources.

Last updated: 5th February 2019. Written by Laurence Norah

Pahlmeyer Opens Jayson by Pahlmeyer Tasting Room in Napa Valley

Pahlmeyer has opened a tasting room for its Jayson by Pahlmeyer wines in The Village at the new Vista Collina Resort in Napa Valley. The stylish and sophisticated space gives Pahlmeyer fans a venue to enjoy the world-class Jayson wines and meet the Pahlmeyer team. 

Jayson Pahlmeyer established Pahlmeyer in 1986 and the Jayson label in 1992. In 2017, Jayson’s daughter Cleo Pahlmeyer took over as president of the winery and now oversees the Pahlmeyer family of brands along with over 100 acres of estate vineyards in Napa Valley and the Sonoma Coast.

Tastings of the Jayson by Pahlmeyer wines include The Jayson Flight, a personalized tasting featuring a selection of current release Napa Valley and Sonoma Coast wines, including the new Jayson Sauvignon Blanc and distinctive Jayson Cabernet Sauvignon. Tasting experiences are offered seated at a large community table or at the tasting bar for $35. Guests can also relax on the outdoor lawn and in the lounge areas, while they enjoy a bottle of wine. The Village at Vista Collina is a destination for food and wine lovers with an artisanal market, additional tasting rooms, music and special events, and ample outdoor space for picnics.

Visitors to the Jayson by Pahlmeyer tasting room can also take advantage of the membership program. The Jayson by Pahlmeyer membership includes guaranteed access to each new release from Jayson by Pahlmeyer at a 10 percent savings with complimentary shipping, and an invitation to the Pahlmeyer’s annual harvest event. Two annual shipments include an average of four bottles of every new release. Members receive complimentary tasting experiences with up to three guests, and access to the limited production Pahlmeyer wines.

The Jayson by Pahlmeyer tasting room is open daily from 11 am to 7 pm. Reservations are recommended, but not required. Tastings are available for $35. Wines including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Red Wine and Cabernet Sauvignon range from $30-$80. Jayson by Pahlmeyer is located at The Village at the new Vista Collina Resort, 850 Bordeaux Way, Suite #7, Napa, California. Visit www.jaysonbypahlmeyer.com for more information or call (707) 512-1142.

About Pahlmeyer

Founded in 1986, Pahlmeyer is an iconic Napa Valley family winery born from Jayson Pahlmeyer’s dream to create his own “California Mouton.”  Initially inspired by the wines of Bordeaux, Pahlmeyer creates limited quantities of world-class wines that are the essence of power and finesse. The portfolio of sought-after wines features the flagship Proprietary Red, complemented by Merlot and Chardonnay, and the Pahlmeyer “Jayson” tier including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet and a Red Blend. Cleo Pahlmeyer launched WayfarerPinot Noir and Chardonnay in 2014 from the family’s 30-acre Wayfarer Vineyard in the Fort Ross-Seaview appellation of the famed Sonoma Coast.

About Vista Collina Resort

Nestled amongst the rolling hills of Napa, Vista Collina Resort ushers in a new way to discover Wine Country. With thoughtful, Tuscan-style décor, nine tasting rooms, a locally-sourced, artisanal market, and a spacious community lawn for picnic, play and private concerts, Vista Collina elevates Napa’s standing as a must visit destination.

Source: wineindustryadvisor.com ; Press Release

Joe’s Italian Restaurant (Local Eats)

Joe’s Pizza was voted BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT in Montgomery County, as well as ‘Number One‘ for Italian food in the greater Houston area, by KHOU-TV viewers. Eat at Joe’s Italian Restaurant in Conroe, Texas today, and discover for yourself why so many folks like eating at Joe’s Pizza.

Yelp

Who better to ask about the local, family owned restaurant than the guests?

“Joe’s is Our ‘Go-To’ Lunch Place” — Whenever we are stuck for a place for lunch, Joe’s Pizza and Pasta always fits the bill. But, that doesn’t mean it’s the last choice, rather always at the top of our list. Their lunch specials are awesome and the fresh rolls are tremendously delicious. The service is always good and the owners/managers are always on site. The atmosphere could use a little sprucing, but you won’t be disappointed in the food.

“The Best Italian food- our favorite restaurant” — My husband and I went to school at Sam Houston State University, and Joe’s became our favorite place! Every entree we’ve had has been excellent, but my absolute favorite is the spinach tortellini. When joking about if we had to eat one thing for the rest of our lives, it would definitely be a dish from Joe’s! We now live out of state, but any chance we get to come back to the Houston area, Joe’s is always on our list.

Here is a link to the Menu.

Which Watch Would You Wear?

We take a look at some incredibly complicated time pieces. Which one suits you?

aBlogtoWatch

This stunning piece debuted in
2015 from Jacob & Co. The sheer complexity is jaw-dropping (as is the price). Known as the Astronomia Tourbillon
Baguette, this watch dazzles as the Earth and Moon rotate and spin accurately in time. It’s an extraordinary work of art and engineering. It can be yours for a shade over $1M.

Hublot

In keeping with the baguette theme, we offer the heavily embellished Hublot Big Bang Tourbillion. It certainly is eye-catching. While we tend to favor the less obvious Big Bang Iterations

aBlogtoWatch

The ultimate in complications is the Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 5002.  
The Sky Moon Tourbillon Watch is one of the most famous names in the modern Patek catalog. The over $1 million watch is rare, beautiful, and exotic, even by Patek Philippe standards. One of the watches just set a record of $1.2M at auction, by far the highest any watch has gone for at auction in this economy. Some are now listed over $2M.

World’s Best

Bringing back the baguettes is the Ulysse Nardin Royal Blue Tourbillon Haute Joaillerie.
Limited to 30 pieces and features a flying tourbillon, manual winding movement, a Platinum 950 case, crown set with 8 diamonds / 1 sapphire 43mm case, and bezel set with 48 baguette diamonds and 137 baguette sapphires. It is water-resistant up to 30 m with a platinum bracelet set with diamonds. Wow!

Sailboats 2019 (Tuesday Cruise-day)

Sailing season is just around the corner. Today we are going to look at some impressive offerings for the upcoming season.

Monohulls Cruising

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1
Beneteau Oceanis 46.1

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1

An offshoot of last year’s Oceanis 51.1, the Beneteau Oceanis 46.1 offers the same “stepped hull” as its predecessor, as seen in the chine running all the way forward. This, in turn, allowed designer Finot-Conq to maximize accommodation space in the bow while retaining a fine entry. Topsides, the Oceanis 46.1 boasts a complicated deck molding that incorporates a spacious twin-helm cockpit with easy access to the massive drop-down swim platform and an attractively drawn cabintrunk. Forward, a combination sprit/anchor roller will help keep the gelcoat safe when dropping or weighing the hook, while twin rudders ensure control in a blow. A “First Line” performance version of the boat is also available. Beneteau, beneteau.com/us

Dufour Grand Large 360
Dufour Grand Large 360

Dufour Grand Large 360

The Dufour Grand Large 360 packs a lot of boat into its 33ft of LOA (36ft if you add in the combination anchor roller and sprit), including twin helms and chines to increase both stability and interior volume. Aft, the helm station features a pair of sleek steering columns and consoles that have been placed in close proximity to the winches to facilitate sailhandling when shorthanded. Even farther aft, there’s an outside galley equipped with a barbecue and a sink concealed in the seats. Dufour Yachts, dufour-yachts.com

Hanse 348
Hanse 348

Hanse 348

If there’s one thing we love more than well-designed big boats, it’s well-designed little boats, what with all the ingenuity required to pack as much yacht as possible into a shorter LOA. And the new Hanse 348 looks to be another excellent example of the type, thanks to the way it offers so many of those same features found aboard its larger cousins, including twin wheels, a self-tacking headsail, a plethora of windows and ports, and as many as three full berths. This being a Hanse, a variety of different aesthetic and performance options are also available. Hanse Yachts, hanseyachts.com 

Hanse 418
Hanse 418

Hanse 418

Another one of the many new Hanses to hit the market over the past year or so, the Hanse 418 is pure Hanse through-and-through: whether it’s in the boat’s angular lines topside (long a company trademark) or its easy-to-handle rig, complete with self-tacking headsail and the company’s one-rope reefing system. Twin wheels (and a pair of flip-up helm seats) provide clear sightlines forward and easy access to the huge swim step aft—another Hanse trademark. A plethora of hatches and hull windows admit an abundance of natural light belowdecks and also provide excellent ventilation, either underway or in a stuffy anchorage. Hanse Yachts, hanseyachts.com

Hanse 458
Hanse 458

Hanse 458

One of the newest arrivals in Hanse’s “8” series, the Hanse 548 is designed by Judel/Vrolijk, and couples a powerful, semi-balanced spade rudder with plenty of waterline length and a self-tacking jib to provide a combination of speed and ease of use. (A reaching sailing can also be tacked onto the combination anchor roller/fixed sprit for additional power off the wind.) Aesthetically, the boat appears to have hit a real sweet spot thanks to the way the minimal sheer and cabintrunk are set off by the plumb bow and stern. For the epicures in the audience, an integrated BBQ can be found hidden in one of the twin helm stations aft. Hanse Yachts, hanseyachts.com

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 490
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 490

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 490

The big brother of the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440—one of SAIL’s Best Boats winners for 2018—the Philippe Briand-designed Sun Odyssey 490 includes many of the same features and innovations that made the 440 such a success. First and foremost are the sloping wraparound sidedecks that make it possible to get from the cockpit to the foredeck and back without having to step over the coaming. Other great touches include separate terminals for the cap and lower shrouds, creating a clear passageway forward in way of the chainplates; hinged lounging pads that lie hidden in the aforementioned coamings; and ergonomically friendly inboard positions for the primaries. Jeanneau and Briand started with a blank sheet of paper when creating these boats, and the results are impressive. Jeanneau, jeanneau.com

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 410
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 410

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 410

Fresh out of the mold and having only been announced in July, the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 410 represents the third iteration the of Best Boats Award-winning Sun Odyssey 440. As such it includes the same sloping wraparound sidedecks, which make for such an easy transition in and out of the cockpit; the same ergonomically positioned winches that make grinding that much easier, especially when the headsail is fully loaded; and twin rudders and twin helms, in the interest of control and good sight lines forward. It’s good to see these design features making their way toward the smaller end of the company’s product line. Jeanneau, jeanneau.com

Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 42
Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 42

Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 42

Drawn by Berret Racoupeau Yacht Design, the Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 42 combines a sophisticated bluewater hull form with a raised-saloon configuration to provide both good performance under sail and superb comfort (and great views of the outside world!) when belowdecks. A plumb stem and nearly plumb transom maximize the boat’s sailing length, while chines and a broad run aft create additional power and sail-carrying ability. Completing the hull package are twin helms and rudders to ensure control even when the boat is on its ear. As has long been the case with Wauquiez, joinerywork is impeccable throughout. Wauquiez Boats, wauquiez.com

Smaller Boats

Hood 24
Hood 24

Hood 24

Chris Hood, builder of the drop-dead gorgeous CW Hood 32 daysailer, has come out with another eye-catching daysailer, this time designed by Stephens Waring Yacht Design of Belfast, Maine. As is the case with Hood’s 32-footer, the new Hood 24’s classic lines belie its thoroughly modern underbody, which comes complete with spade rudder and bulb keel. Topside, the boat’s square-top main and slightly overlapping headsail provide plenty of power while remaining easy to handle for a singlehander. There’s also a spacious cockpit with room for as many as a half-dozen sailors. It would be hard to imagine a nicer way to spend an afternoon on the water than aboard a boat like this. CW Hood Yachts, cwhoodyachts.comstephenswaring.com

Ventura 23
Ventura 23

Ventura 23

Where do we start with the Ventura 23? With the 8ft-long cockpit that provides room for a family of five? Or should we start with its 6ft—that’s right 6ft—of headroom belowdecks? (In a boat with a 23ft LOA no less!) Then again, maybe we should talk about the boat’s four berths and two settees, or the functional galley and enclosed head. Or maybe we should talk about the fact it can make 9 knots off the wind under sail or up to 25 knots under power. Or with the fact that it’s trailerable or…oh, we give up. You’re just going to have to check out this clever little sloop for yourself! Ventura Sport Boats, venturasportboats.com

Seascape 14
Seascape 14

Seascape 14

After making its mark with such offshore, shorthanded cruiser-racers as the Best Boats-winning Seascape 27 and Seascape 24, the Slovenian-based boatbuilder (recently acquired by Group Beneteau) is now venturing into the dinghy space with its new Seascape 14. Of course, this being Seascape, not just any dinghy design would do, and to this end, the Seascape 14 can be sailed either singlehanded under main alone, or singlehanded or doublehanded with a main, jib and A-sail. The hull is vacuum-infused in vinylester resin to keep it as light as possible, in the interest of boatspeed and easy launching. The mast, which breaks down into two parts, and sprit are both carbon fiber. Wide sections aft and chines serve to promote easy planing. Seascape, thinkseascape.com

Corsair 760R
Corsair 760R

Corsair 760R

An evolution of the company’s standard 760 and 760 “Sport,” the Corsair 760R (“R” for racing) includes such go-fast features as a tall rotating aluminum wing mast (carbon is an option) with high-modulus shrouds and a hull in which the cuddy has been minimized and the cockpit enlarged in the interest of providing room for boathandling and minimizing weight. Like the 760 and 760 Sport, the 760R also features longer, more buoyant, wave-piercing amas than the Dash 750 from which they were all derived, thereby ensuring stability and security even when the boat is hard-pressed in a blow or a rough seaway. Corsair Marine, corsairmarine.com

RS21 Sport Boat
RS21 Sport Boat

RS21 Sport boat

The UK’s RS Sailing has long-since made a name for itself by producing a dizzying array of small boats for everyone from rank beginners to high-performance skiff sailors. Now comes the RS21 Sport Boat, a performance keelboat specifically designed and manufactured for club and fleet ownership with an eye toward making one-design sport boat racing accessible for as many sailors as possible. As such it includes all the fun features you would expect from a sport boat, like an A-sail flying from a retractable sprit, complete sail controls and a spacious cockpit with room for four sailors to hurl their elbows around handling lines. Chines aft provide additional form stability, which works with the boat’s 50 percent ballast ratio to help keep the boat on its feet while under a press of sail. The two-part, carbon-fiber mast is light and easy to step by hand. A durable Mylar laminate mainsail, jib and gennaker are supplied as standard. RS Sailing, rssailing.com

Source: sailmagazine.com ; SAIL EDITORS

2020 Alpina B7 xDrive Arrives As The Ultimate 7 Series

This is the super-limousine to buy.

BMW recently revealed a refreshed, 2020 model year 7 Series, which features a newly revised front end. The “entry-level” model with the 3.0-liter inline-six starts at $87,445 while the top V12 M760i model costs $158,695. The M760i’s 6.6-liter V12 is quite a beast with 600 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque, though it is now being joined by an equally powerful new model.

Introducing the new 2020 Alpina B7 xDrive, the new ultimate 7 Series. This B7 is the sixth generation full-size performance model from Alpina and the third generation to be offered in the US, where Alpina cars are extremely rare.

The B7 may not have 12 cylinders but its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 has been tuned to produce 600 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Without so much weight over the front axle, the B7 is actually a tenth of a second quicker to 60 mph than the M760i at 3.5 seconds. And unlike the M760i, the Alpina isn’t limited to 155, so it can hit a top speed of 205 mph – that should come in handy on all of those speed-limited US roads.

In order to coax all that extra power out of the V8 (the standard 750i xDrive produces 523 hp), Alpina used unique intercoolers with an interconnection to “equalize and reduce pressure pulsations between the two cylinder banks of the V8 engine.”

Along with new engine management software, the engine’s 590 lb-ft of torque is available from 2,000 rpm up to 5,000. Alpine has also reworked the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, giving it closer gear ratios and a new lock-up clutch, so no torque reduction is necessary during upshifts.

Alpina has also gone to work underneath the 7 Series to improve its ride and handling. The standard two-axle air suspension system and Dynamic Damper Control combine to minimize body roll during cornering. Alpina says the self-leveling suspension is capable of being adjusted by up to 1.4-inches and automatically lowers itself by 0.6 inches at speeds of over 140 mph.

The B7 should also turn tighter courtesy of rear axle steering. BMW steering feel hasn’t been perfect lately but Alpina calibrated the variable-ratio electric steering system to work with the suspension and model-specific Michelin performance tires. Of course, those tires will surround Alpina’s legendary 20-spoke wheels measuring 21-inches in this application.



Inside, The Alpina B7 is equipped with Nappa leather multifunctional comfort seats, a leather instrument panel, ceramic inserts on control elements, and soft close doors (all interior and engine photos are taken from a 2018 model and weren’t available for this new 2020 model). We will be interested to see interior pictures because Alpina says it has created a unique design for BMW’s new digital instrument display.

As you’d expect, the B7 comes nicely optioned with a head-up display, rearview camera, and the latest iDrive 7 with navigation. Alpina’s classic blue and green stitching appears throughout the cabin and Contemporary Piano lacquer or classic Myrtle Luxury Wood adorn the doors and dashboard. The cabin can optionally be decked out with the Rear Executive Lounge Seating Package, including a touchscreen tablet and two 10-inch full-HD displays with a Bluray player.

This B7 will even include a unique individual production plaque to remind the driver they are behind the wheel of something special. Pricing begins at $141,700 plus a $995 destination fee and deliveries will begin in the third quarter of 2019.

Source: carbuzz.com ; JARED ROSENHOLTZ 

Houston from Below – Weekend Traveler (Saturday Edition)

Weekend Travel Ideas in Houston

Image Source

Highlights

  • Discover Houston’s underground Tunnel System with a local guide
  • Explore the newest and oldest tunnel sections that are open to the public
  • Learn about the history of Houston through its architecture and art
  • See beautiful art deco treasures and sculptures by world-famous artists and learn how Houston’s 7 miles of pedestrian tunnels came to be

Overview Walking through the streets of Houston is pretty special but did you know that there is a whole underground system of tunnels below the city? This Houston tour will take you through the city, over and underground, until you get to know the city from every angle. What to Expect

You’ll meet your local guide and begin your Houston tour with a walk down Main Street towards the Chase Bank Building, which features eight frescoes depicting Texas history. With your local guide to explain these pieces, you’ll gain a greater understanding of the history of the city and state alike. From here, we’ll enter the Downtown Houston Tunnel System and walk over to Chase Tower, the tallest building in Texas. Your guide will lead you outside for a photo op in front of Joan Miro’s 1982 Personage and Birds.

Next on this historical Houston tour, you’ll cross the street and enter Philip Johnson’s award-winning Pennzoil Place. You’ll ride an escalator down to the tunnel where you’ll get a sweet treat at a unique boutique bakery with some of the best cookies in Houston.

Finish your Houston tour by walking through downtown’s oldest and newest tunnels, and see the only remaining portion of a 1913 hotel known as “The Cotton” before returning to Café Express with your guide.   Departure Point -Cafe Express Departure Time – 9:30am Duration – 2h Return Details – Returns to original departure point   –  

Inclusions

  • Local English-speaking guide

Exclusions

  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Food and drinks
  • Gratuities (optional)

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Comfortable walking shoes and clothing is recommended
  • Please wear comfortable walking shoes and clothing. While the weather outside from May-November can be hot and humid, the Tunnel System is air-conditioned. While the weather from December-February can be cold, the Tunnel System is heated. Please check the local weather forecast and dress appropriately in case of rain and/or high winds.
  • This is a child-friendly tour. Children under the age of 6 are permitted to join this tour free of charge. Please inform us at the time of booking if you’ll be bringing a child under the age of 6.
  • Downtown parking: Do not park in a parking meter for this tour. The meters are good for only two hours, and violation tickets are quite expensive. Please park in an indoor garage or on an outside lot. For more information about parking downtown, go to www.DowntownHouston.org.

Cancellation Policy For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Source: TripAdvisor.com

Joseph Phelps Insignia 2013

Wine Down Friday

Winemaker Notes

First produced from the 1974 vintage, 2013 Insignia marks the 40th vintage of our flagship Napa Valley wine. Deeply pigmented, the 2013 Insignia opens with heady blackberry and plum aromatics laced with baking spices, cardamom and espresso. Focused and fresh, this exceptionally concentrated wine showcases elegant tannin structure and a silky mouthfeel layered with dark fruit, sweet vanilla bean, cracked black pepper and bittersweet chocolate.Blend: 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 3% Merlot, 3% Malbec and 1% Cabernet Franc

Goldwiser Conroe

Critical Acclaim

RP98 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate The 2013 Insignia (their 40th vintage) is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, and the rest Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. This wine is aged 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels, and the production can vary from just over 10,000 cases to nearly 20,000 cases in a very abundant vintage. There were 12,300 cases produced in 2013, and this vintage of Insignia is certainly going to turn out to be one of the great ones. The wine offers a stunning inky blue/purple color, a gorgeous nose of blueberry and blackberry liqueur, pen ink, graphite, new saddle leather and barrique. The wine has fabulous concentration, a full-bodied, multi-layered mouthfeel, and tremendous finish with moderate tannin. It’s interesting to note that the Phelps winemaking staff had been gradually reducing the amount of Merlot in this wine over recent vintages. The 2013 should hit its peak in 5-7 years and last for 35-50. Rating: 98+   –   WE98 Wine Enthusiast The mighty Insignia shows a vibrancy of purpose and craft in this, its 40th vintage, combining 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 3% Merlot, 3% Malbec and 1% Cabernet Franc. Together they find a higher calling of perfumed violet, dark plum and berry along with graphite and an edginess of dried herb. Firm, structured tannins show tremendous potential for aging and decanting. This is a near-perfect effort from a blockbuster vintage. Editors’ Choice.

  WW96 Wilfred Wong of Wine.com Another outstanding Napa Valley wine from the superb 2013 vintage, the Joseph Phelps Insignia—a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 3% Merlot, 3% Malbec, and 1% Cabernet Franc—shows up with a big-time performance. The wine exhibits exceptional ripe fruit flavors—black currants, cassis, and blueberries. The finish delivers endless pleasure and long-term cellaring potential. (Tasted: October 10, 2016, San Francisco, CA)   –   JS95 James Suckling Extravagant aromas of crushed blackberries, mint, eucalyptus and flint. Full body, round and velvety textured. Rich and flavorful finish. Lusciousness with form. Reserved palate. Very attractive now but better in 2020.   –   W&S95 Wine & Spirits Insignia has been built as a regional blend since its first vintage in 1974, becoming an estate-grown wine in 2004. It’s based on cabernet sauvignon grown in six vineyards, from Suscol in the south to sites in Oak Knoll, Stags Leap and Rutherford, up to Phelps’s Spring Valley Home Ranch in St. Helena. Ashley Hepworth has fine-tuned the style, so Insignia is still a rich wine, but now, especially in 2013, shows the kind of firmness of structure that makes the richness profound. This vintage is fresh and lively, even while it is dense and powerful, as if the power is coming out of the black raspberry fruit as well as the bright, sparkling-fresh mineral tones of the tannins. Delicious now if you give it several hours in a decanter, this is destined to evolve into a classic.   –   WS93 Wine Spectator Rich and full-bodied, but exhibiting the lift of a brighter red. The dark berry flavors give this an elegant mouthfeel and ease the tannic strength. Tempting now but worth cellaring. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2018 through 2032.  

Source: Wine.com

Tony’s Italian Delicatessen (Local Eats)

Rated the Number 1 Restaurant in America 2017 on Yelp and Still One of the Very Best

Photo: Tony’s Italian Delicatessen

So, what’s all the hype about? A counter service, self service beverage, sandwich shop, in an obscure strip center beats out Michelin Star restaurants and world class establishments? Well, in a word, YES. While we are happy to share our experiences (all wonderful), why not see what a few reviewers had to say:

If you have not made a visit to Tony’s yet, you are missing out. These are some of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had and their deli is a must visit for any Houston area foodie. Calling Tony’s a sandwich shop is an understatement as from the moment you walk in, you’re welcomed by the smell of an authentic New York Italian Deli,” wrote a reviewer from Spring. “Everything was, on a scale of one to ten, off the scale. The owners, Mary and Hootie are the nicest of people, they greet their regulars by name and make even the non-regulars like me feel welcome and appreciated.

Best sandwich I have ever had. The people there are great. The food is outstanding. Some days you can wait 30 minutes for a sandwich but it is worth every second of waiting. Get the Lucky Luciano. Also get the peppers on it and have them hollow out the bread. You will thank me,” wrote a Google Local Guide.

Seeing is believing, here are just a few sandwiches offered.

Lucky Luciano with Crusty Italian Bread
Genoa Salami, Sweet Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Marinara, Roasted Red Peppers, Provolone – Traditionally Served Hot
Muffaletta with Crusty Italian Bread
Mortadella, Genoa Salami, Maple Ham, Provolone Cheese, Olive Smear & Sub Oil – Served Hot or Cold
Ham Melt with Crusty Italian Bread
Maple Ham, Apple Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Roma Tomatoes

Tony’s now has well over 400 five-star reviews. With mainstream sandwich shops on every corner, this little spot has more to offer than any other. We have mixed feelings about Yelp and tend to let hype settle before giving a place our dollar vote. The hype was more of an accurate assessment and if you haven’t been we think you’ve been missing out.