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Paris itinerary - 5 days

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Hi everyone.....wife and I coming to Paris from April 23-27 and have 5 full days to explore. We're staying in Saint Germain section the first 3 days and then switching to a hotel up by the Arc de Triomphe the last two days. Anyone have a suggested itinerary for hitting some of the major sights, etc. We aren't museums and art buffs (although want to see the can't-miss ones) but more into experiencing the culture, food, wine, history, and maybe some nightlife. It's our first time so we want to do the absolute musts.

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    May I ask why you are changing hotels during your stay? Paris is sobeasy to get around in and IMO, you'll just be wasting time by changing hotels. OK, now on to the good stuff (BTW, love St Germain area, great shops and cafes)....

    There are no "musts", only do what appeals to you and what you enjoy.

    Choose museums based on what you are interested in....for example, I don't care for the Louvre. It is massive and most of the art is not my thing. If you go, do some research, know what you want see and where it is located.

    I do love Musee d'Orsay, L'Orangerie, Musee Marmottan....but I love Impressionist art. The latter two are smaller and less crowded but wonderful.

    If you get a sunny day, go see Sainte Chapelle...the stained glass is beautiful.

    I also love St Denis, burial place of French kings. It's a great walk through history.

    I love to wander around Isle St Louis and a stop at Berthillion for salted butter caramel ice cream....divine.

    I always make a stop at the original Chanel boutique at 31 rue Cambon and then to all the shops around the Madeleine church. Fauchon, Maille, Hediard, Baccarat...

    I love to visit St Sulpice. Luxembourg Gardens would be great to relax in and maybe take a picnic lunch to enjoy. I also love the gourmet food halls at Le Bon March and Galleries Lafayette.

    Go early to Notre Dame and climb the towers. You will get a great view of the city and an up close view of the gargoyles (and you can work off the great French food).

    The best part of Paris is the people watching at the cafes, sampling the macarons and pain chocolat....

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    1. I would not move to the Arc de Triomphe area unless you are planning to spend a lot of time in the museums at the Trocadero and Grand and Petit Palais and want to be within walking distance. Anything else in that area can probably be seen in a morning, and it is expensive for lodging and especially food. The Left Bank is a much more convenient location.

    2. Does your five days include your arrival and departure days?

    3. Day 1 -- church of St Germain, walk along Seine to Notre Dame, Ile St Louis, cross into Marais, Place des Vosges, Rue des Francs Bourgeois, Hotel de Ville, back across the river, Conciergerie, Ste Chapelle, home. Lunch along the way.

    Day 2 -- church of Ste Sulpice, Musee Cluny, Latin Quarter-Sorbonne, Pantheon, Jardin de Luxembourg, Odeon, home. Maybe an evening cruise on the Seine from the Pont Neuf. Lunch maybe at the Bastide de l'Odeon. Not a lot of great choices up there, though we have enjoyed a couple of good lunches on the street above the Odeon Market.

    Day 3 -- rue des Sts Peres and rue du Sevres to Bon Marche department store, down the rue du Bac to rue de Varenne to Rodin Museum and Garden. Across the street is the Invalides and Napoleon's tomb. Rue de Grenelle to Champs de Mars and the Eiffel Tower. Back along the Seine past the Musee Branly and its living facade. Pont Alexandre. The Assembly and Musee d'Orsay. Have a drink at the Cafe des Deux Magot. Home. Collapse.

    Day 4 -- cross the Seine on the Pont Royal, passing through the Louvre and passing the Comedie Francaise on your right across the rue de Rivoli. Enter the Palais Royal and enjoy its gardens and posh shops, though one of them is named "Acne," with amusing ignorance. Leave where you came in and walk down the Rue St Honore. Detour to the Place Vendome and its world-renowned luxury shops. Back on the Rue St Honore continue to the Rue Royale and turn left to the Place de la Concorde, site of the primary guillotine and the Nazi headquarters. Decide whether you are going to walk out the Champs Élysées and the Arc to your right as you face the Seine or whether you will go left into the Jardin des Tuileries and walk back toward the Louvre. It's now or never for the Louvre.

    Day 5 -- sweep up day. You can go to the area around Opera, the Grands Magasins, especially Printemps for its dome, up to Montmartre and Sacre Couer, or you can go somewhere slightly off the beaten path like Republique and walk out the Canal St Martin.

    But there you have five days of tourist sites with never a need to enter a museum.

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    I'm guessing the hotel switch may have something to do with points or something like that. Or maybe they couldn't even get all the dates they wanted in one hotel. However, I like switching hotels during visits, also, as I like experiencing different neighborhoods. I usually do one on Left and one on right Bank. I only do it when there for 6 days or more, though. But it isn't a big burden to me when I do it, only takes a couple hours. And I always stay pretty much around my hotel in the evening for drinks/dinner, I do not like going all the way across town for dinner. So that way I get to try a few different restaurants and neigborhoods I've been wanting to try.

    The itinerary question is too broad for me -- but usually one day is for Notre Dame/Latin Quarter, the islands. Another day maybe for Eiffel Tower, things in the 7th arrondisement (a couple good museums there), maybe a river cruise. Then another day maybe for Marais, Hotel de Ville, that part of the Right Bank. Another day for Sacre Coeur/Montmartre. That's about four right there, the extra can be to fit in what you want, and being near the Arc, you can visit things around there as you wish. There are a couple good museums in the area to the north of there (parc Monceau, Jacquemart-Andre, etc) but if you aren't big museum buffs anyway, the major ones to pick from are probably enough.

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    Exactly -- we have two free nights at a nice hotel by the Arc but then wanted to spend the other 3 nights in a different part of the city...Saint Germain to be exact. That's the reason for the hotel switch.

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    Got it.

    Tons of great places in the St Germain area...Gerard Mulot is wonderful and pretty much anything you buy there will be excellent. I love the macarons at Un Dimanche a Paris but my new love is the La Maison du Chou for made to order creme puffs (which I usually hate).

    Depending on what part you are in, we love Le Bonaparte (by the St Germain church) or Le Danton (near Odeon metro stop) for our hangout for breakfast, drinks, etc....

    Enjoy your trip!

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    Just had a beer at the Danton tonight.
    Then went to eat at Pouic-Pouic, not far away, nice and elaborate cuisine.
    Tartare de veau et huîtres ... veal and oysters minced together... you have to dare sometimes.

    and Who dares Win.

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