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1 Day in Paris

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I have about 24 hours in Paris and want to know what should i make a priority to see? the Lovre? Notre Dame? Pantheon? Also any suggestions for places to eat would be appreciated (it is our 1 year anniversary on this day).

We arrive around 11:30am on Oct 3 and leave around 3pm on Oct 4th. I assume we get in and grab lunch and then see what we can. I do want to make a point to go to the Eiffel Tower (although I missed my opportunity to buy tickets in advance so).

I can't decide if it's worth it to try and do the Lovre if we buy a skip the line ticket in advance or to just walk by the outside and go see Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle. I would like to at least take a stroll by the Arc, I don't have to walk to the top. Luxemborg Gardens is also an option as is Sacre-Coeur.


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    I would walk, walk, walk.

    If the weather is nice yes I love the Luxembourg Gardens, also Tuileries Garden. Yes to stroll by the Arc.

    For my own interests and with such a short time frame, I probably wouldn't take the time to actually go "inside" anywhere (unless the weather was poor).

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    Actually, from the top of the Arch is a great view. It's pretty easy to get up there without long lines. If it was my anniversary, I'd be looking for a great place to have dinner. And yes, a boat ride on the Seine at dusk is a lovely idea.

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    Forget the catacombs. I can't think of one single thing in Paris that would be less appropriate for a single day there - a long, dark, dank walk underground to view thousands of bones - on an anniversary?

    It's LoUvre, and no, I wouldn't go inside. I probably wouldn't go inside much of anywhere with only a single day. I'd walk all over, take a Seine boat cruise on the Vedettes de Paris, go up to Montmartre or the Parc de Belleville and enjoy the views, and have a lovely meal somewhere.

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    Catacombs and up the tower--no, not really worth it. If you want a view from high, go to the Montparnasse tower or the roof of Galeries Lafayette.
    I would walk also, stop in cafes, soak up the city. Seine cruise at dusk.
    Just "enjoy" the time and then come back.

    Go to the Champ de Mars and enjoy the view of the tower from below.

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    I have a walking trip that I call the "Heart of Paris." I think it's would be a good way to spend that day:

    This is an orientation tour you can take your first day upon arriving in Paris. Even though you may be jet-lagged, it’s best to stay awake until after dinner, and the best way to do that is to get some exercise. Walking is the best! Leave your bags at the hotel, and head to the nearest point on the following tour. The route takes you in a circle. Feel free to stop anywhere along the way for a light lunch, or spend some time sitting at a sidewalk café.

    1. The Jardin des Tuileries is a large formal garden in the center of Paris featuring straight rows of trees, fountains, flower gardens, and people enjoying the lawns and benches. There’s even an operating ferris wheel in the summer. Go to the center of the garden to get your bearings. You will see, past the east end of the garden, the Louvre with the glass pyramid in front. Beyond the west end of the garden is the Place de la Concorde.

    2. Head west to the Place de la Concorde. This is the largest square in Paris. Thought the traffic can be very busy, cross to the obelisk in the center (if you dare!). This is square where, during the French Revolution, the guillotine beheaded numerous members of the French aristocracy. The 75-foot tall, 230 ton Obelisk of Luxor in the center of the square originally marked the entrance to the Amon temple at Luxor. It was given to France by the viceroy of Egypt.

    • Look to the west. Between the twin “Horses of Marly” you will see the beginning of the Champs Elysées, the broad avenue heading up to the Arc du Triomphe.

    • Looking to the north, you will see twin hotels on either side of the rue Royale, the five-star Hotel Crillon to the left and the matching Naval Ministry to the right, framing the Eglise de la Madeleine.

    • Looking to the south, you will see the Pont de la Concorde and, on the other side of the river, the Palais Bourbon, the home of the Assemblée Nationale de France.

    • Looking to the east, at either corner of the Tuilleries, you will see, on the left, the Jeu de Paume which formerly housed a great collection of Impressionist art and, on the right, the Orangerie, formerly the home of Monet’s Water Lilies.

    3. Walk back through the Jardin des Tuilleries on the pathway closest to the Seine. You will come to a pedestrian walkway on the right, the Passerelle Solferino. Use it to cross the Seine to the “left bank.” Turn left, and begin walking to the east. Across the street is the Musée d’Orsay. Formerly the Gare d’Orsay, this large train station was converted into a large museum that holds the world’s greatest collection of modern French art dating from 1848 to 1914, featuring especially the works of the French Impressionists, Claude Monet, Eduard Manet, August Renoir, and Edgar Degas.

    4. As you continue to walk along the Seine, notice the bookinistes, stands that sell used books, posters, postcards, and other merchandise. These are a Parisian institution.

    5. After walking about a half mile, you will come to the Pont Neuf (the “new bridge”). Despite its name, it is actually the oldest bridge in Paris. Construction started in 1578 and was finished in 1606.

    6. Keep walking along the Seine. You will pass the pont St Michel, the Petit Pont, and come finally to the pont au Double. Cross the street (le quai de Montebello) and turn left. Look for Shakespeare & Company at 37 rue de la Bücherie. This is a bookstore that sells English literature. If you need to stock up on reading material for your flight back home, there are bookshelves of used paperbacks at bargain prices outside the store (in good weather). This is the bookstore in which a scene from Before Sunset was filmed.

    7. Walk to the right and behind the bookstore. You will come to the Square René-Viviani, a shady small park graced with lime trees, lilac bushes, and a false acacia planted in 1601. It is said to be the oldest tree in Paris. The square offers a superb view of Notre-Dame.

    Go into the small church on the south side of the square, St-Julien-le-Pauvre. In the sixth century, this was the busiest intersection in Paris. The church now standing in this location was finished about the same time as Notre-Dame and, like its big sister across the Seine, marks a transition from Romanesque to Gothic architecture. In Romanesque architecture, buildings are supported by massive load-bearing walls. The interiors, as a consequence, are quite dark. You can identify Romanesque churches by their rounded Roman arches. Because Gothic architecture provides a completely different support system, large stained glass windows can be placed in the walls of churches. This allows much more light to come in. You can identify Gothic churches by their pointed arches.

    8. Go back to the Seine and cross over to the Ile de la Cité. Walk towards Notre-Dame and go into the cathedral. Sit for awhile in one of the back pews, letting your eyes appreciate the upward thrust of the arches. Notice how they draw your vision upward, and let the architecture of the building do for you what the original architect intended: give you a sense of the transcendent. Walk through the church and admire the windows and the carvings.

    9. When you leave the church, go around to the east side (behind the chancel). This is a beautiful small park called Square Jean XXIII, named after Pope John 23. Enjoy the park for awhile.

    10. Then cross the street, quai de l’Archevéché, and go down the stone steps to the right. Here, at the eastern tip of the island, is an impressive memorial to the French victims of the Holocaust, Mémorial des Martyrs Français de la Deportation. There is a moving display of 200,000 quartz pebbles commemorating the 200,000 French deported by the Nazis.

    11. Time for an ice cream break! When you come back up the steps, turn to the right and cross the Pont St-Louis, going over to the other small island in the center of the Seine, Ile St-Louis. You will find a Berthillon ice cream stand at the first intersection you come to. Get a chocolate ice cream cone. Trust me. It’s the best ice cream you’ve ever had.

    12. Cross back over the Pont St-Louis to the Ile de la Cite. Walk along the north side of Notre- Dame. In the block just past the cathedral, you will see the Hotel Dieu de Cité. Built in neo- Florentine style, this is the main hospital for central Paris. Go inside, and take a break in the courtyard within the complex. This is a beautiful, peaceful garden that very few tourists ever find.

    13. Walk all the way to the western tip of the island. There is another beautiful small park here, the Place Dauphine. Enjoy the view of the Seine and of Paris.

    14. Leave the Ile de la Cité by walking north on the Pont Neuf over to the “right bank,” and turn left. You will come to the Louvre, Napoleon’s palace, now a huge museum.

    • Tip: when you plan to visit the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, get a Museum Pass. One of the benefits is avoiding the long queues to buy tickets. Pass holders have a special entrance to the Louvre. It is to the north of the Pyramid in the Passage Richelieu.

    • Another tip: Forget about the Mona Lisa (La Jaconde). All you’ll see is an immense group of tourists crowding around a tiny, plexi-glass covered painting. The best exhibit is the 19th century decorative arts on the first floor in the Richelieu wing. You can see the apartments of Napoleon III and other exhibits that display the [decadent] lifestyle that the wealthy of that time enjoyed.

    15. Leave the Louvre on the north side, and continue your walk west along the rue de Rivoli. You will come back to the Jardin des Tuileries, where your tour of the heart of Paris began.

    Hope you enjoyed your first day in Paris!

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    Ditto on a nice self-guided walk through the heart of the city covering Left bank, Ile de la Cite, & Marais. [This would be a l-o-o-n-g walk, but fun.]

    If you opt for museum, get a guide book and pick one--and only one, based on that you're interested in (following are generalizations):

    20th c art: Pompidou
    19th c art: Orsay
    Earlier art: Louvre (You can only scratch the surface in one visit)
    History of Paris: Carnavalet Museum
    Medieval & Roman: Cluny
    Picasso: Picasso Museum (only if you are a big fan)

    There are, obviously, many other museums in Paris, but these, IMHO, are the list from which you should choose if you can only visit one.

    Perhaps you could do the museum the afternoon of your arrival, take an evening river cruise, and do the walk the next morning starting early. (Be sure to get to CDG with LOTS of time to spare.)


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    Awesome walking tour travelhorizons, and one I'll use for our first day with our adult daughter in a few weeks. Paris is our favorite city, and this will be our 4th trip, her second, but her first was only 3 days, jet lagged, with several hours spent waiting to get into the catacombs with her anthropologist husband, plus they had their 8 year old with them, so she didn't do much of what she would have otherwise.

    Our first day is always low key after an overnight flight, and your loop looks good. We did l'Orangerie last trip first day, and had planned on that this trip as well, perfect size for the jet lagged, but I noted you said "formerly the home of the water lilies". We saw them there a couple years ago. Have they been moved?

    Our last trip was a retirement gift from my husband's employer, dtatum. I have no idea what this portion would cost, but we were met at the gate by a limo driver who whisked us through customs (a special line, for which he showed a badge, zero wait), then out a back door to the waiting limo, a larger sized Mercedes. Rather than driving straight back to the hotel, (near Place Vendome) we did a circular tour past all the important monuments: Sacre Coeur, around the Arc de Triomphe, back toward the Eiffel Tower, past Invalides, Grand Palais and Petit Palais, d'Orsay, Notre Dame, the Conciergerie was in there somewhere, past Place de la Concorde, then to the hotel. For an anniversary, some form of that would be a fabulously romantic introduction to Paris, dtatum! You have so little time...hit the highlights. The Louvre would just frustrate you!

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    With only a day, I'd do one long walk from Saint Germain to Le Marais passing by Notre Dame De Paris and Ile St Louis.

    Lunch somewhere.

    Another walk from the Louvre to Arc De Triomphe passing through Jardins des Tuileries, La Concorde and the Champs Elysées.

    Then a boat tour at night. And Montmartre on the second day.

    Ditto on Tour Montparnasse. No queues there and views as good if not better than Eiffel Tower.

    Go there at sunset.

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    So many great suggestions! I'd add Saint Chapelle near Notre Dame - be sure to go upstairs for the amazing stained glass windows. Another thought for your one night - a late night tour in a classic 2cv to see the city landmarks lit up. We used 4 Roues sur 1 Parapluie. Definitely agree that the roof of Galeries Lafayette has amazing views. Paris has great public transportation to help you get around if your legs give out!

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    Big "no" with the catacombs. Walking areas of interest is great advice perhaps stopping for a fresh crepe with Nutella along the way. However I would make time for a quick trip to the D'Orsay to see the impressionist paintings there. The Louvre takes much too long for a one day visit.

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