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LOVERS OF PARIS, PLEASE HELP ME DODGE THE CROWDS

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DD and I are going to Paris for almost a month – 18 July to 14 August. It is our first trip to France, and we are so looking forward to it. As part of a home exchange, we will stay in a suburb called ILLENEUVE LE ROI. The more I read, the more I become aware of how very crowded the central areas are going to be.

As a matter of principle, I would rather NOT try to see the Mona Lisa than peeking through 100s of people (I am short!). I assume that sections of the Louvre with (e.g.) Arabian art will be less popular. What else?

I think what will make it easier is to focus on day trips to smaller towns, lesser known museums, streets a few blocks away from the main routes. But, since I do not know Paris at all, even this may be difficult to work out.

I know it will be better to go early or late to main attractions. But will this really help for places like the Louvre? (In Rome I was the only person that I could see, watching the sunrise over the Coliseum and Forum one morning in summer.)

One place at the top of the wish list is Monet’s Giverny (for me). Another is Versailles (for DD).

I love art, music, architecture, very old places, cats, books, food … I would prefer to travel by bus or train. We have this house in Paris, but we can perhaps spend a few nights in a small town somewhere (yes, I know it is late).

Those of you who know and love Paris – can you help me plan so that we have some experience of the ‘real Paris / real France’ – not just of jostling crowds?

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