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3 Days 2 Nights in Paris: Must-Do's for First Time Visitors?

3 Days 2 Nights in Paris: Must-Do's for First Time Visitors?

Old Jul 22nd, 2012, 04:36 AM
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3 Days 2 Nights in Paris: Must-Do's for First Time Visitors?

Pls suggest the must-do's for a first time Paris solo visitor. Things that can be done within 3 days.

I am interested in architecture, local culture, gastronomy (sweet tooth / love cheese / lacto-ovo vegetarian), people-watching, taking walks in historic neighbourhoods. Am sure many of you would recommend I should anyway visit the iconic things that make Paris Paris like Eiffel Tower, Seine Cruise, Champs Elysees, Arc De Triomphe, Notre Dame, Louvre Museum, Musée d'Orsay.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2012, 06:11 AM
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Make a list of YOUR top sights, check for open/close days, mark for rainy vs sunny days, and then pick things near each other for the day.

That said, for a first visit, if you arrive a bit jetlagged and have time on the first day, take an orientation bus tour that takes in the major sights. It will give you enough familiarity to avoid deer-in-the-headlights moments and may help you refine your to do list. Also, there are sights that you will want only as a view, so you won't have to search them out.

As for your list, the Seine cruise is best after dark and NOT including a mediocre overpriced meal, the Champs Elysees is just a shopping street, the Louvre and D'Orsay museums are fantastic, but may lead to visual overload if tried on the same day, Notre Dame needs a sunny day to get the best out of the stained glass, and the view from the to of the Arc de Triomphe is quite good. Speaking of views, the top of the Eiffel Tower does not include the Eiffel Tower and involves quite a wait. Consider viewing the Eiffel Tower from across the river or from the Champs de Mars and going to the top of the Tour Montparnasse at sunset instead. As for stained glass, the best is in the Ste Chapelle on a sunny day. And, for the sweet tooth, try a different pastry every time you pass a patisserie!

When you are done, make your list for your second trip to Paris.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2012, 06:18 AM
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On this website go to Destinations, Paris, Travel Planning, Itineraries..
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Old Jul 22nd, 2012, 06:26 AM
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When you visit Notre Dame, check out La Sainte-Chapelle for the exquisite stained glass windows and wander on Ile St. Louis(have an ice cream at Berthillon or a gelato at Amorino).
Luxembourg Gardens are lovely. If you like Monet, the L'Orangerie is a wonderful, compact museum. Visit Place des Vosges -- a beautiful square -- and walk around the Marais;
have the falafel special at L'as du Fallafel. The Musee Carnavalet is free. We enjoyed our evening Seine cruise on Vedettes du Pont Neuf, and you can print out a discount coupon on their website.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2012, 07:11 AM
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Agree with Uma...but get to Ste Chappelle early. It is part of the Justice complex and security lines can be long, but Ste Chapelle is worth it (especially if you can go on a sunny day-it really allows the stained glass to sparkle)! There are concerts at Ste Chappelle in the evening, which many on Fodors have reported they enjoyed.

The ice cream at Bethillion is special and I really love Ile St Louis...very charming. The park behind Notre Dame is a great place to enjoy your ice cream (if they have the salted butter caramel, get it!)

Musee Rodin is also wonderful, especially of you have good weather. I live L'Orangerie and Musee d'Orsay because I love Impressionism. The huge canvases (Monet) at L'Orangerie are spectacular.

For three days, I wouldn't bother with the Champs Élysées...the view of it is great from Place de la Concorde, but to walk it is disappointing. It is usually jammed with hordes of people and has so many generic shops and stores you can see in any American mall. Most of the cafes are tourist traps that are not that good. Just my opinion here, but it's a skip. I do enjoy the Promenade Plantee for a nice walk.

For a great cheese shop, consider Fromagerie Quatrehomme (http://www.quatrehomme.fr/) in the 7th. As a food lover, I love to go to the Grande Epicerie at Le Bon Marche to gawk and salivate over the food!
If you are near Place de la Madeline, check out Maille for mustard, Fauchon for all sorts of great food, Hediard (the little butter biscuits and cheese straws are so good and make nice little gifts) and Le Maison du Miel are all great little foodie shops.

Reed in the 7th is a terrific new restaurant, small and charming and Catherine Reed can cook! She is a lovely woman and we enjoyed our dinner there. I also love Le Comptoir, which was one of the first in the new gastrobistronomy movement in Paris. (it's in the 6th at Relais St Germain). Nearby, is my favorite spot for macarons and other sweets, Un Dimanche A Paris ( so good)! I also love Gerard Mulot, which is close by for pain au chocolat and great items for a picnic lunch at Luxembourg Gardens.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2012, 07:12 AM
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Oh, and take a look at O Chateau for wine tastings, if that is of interest to you.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2012, 07:19 AM
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Hi RT,

>... Must-Do's for First Time Visitors?<

You could start by looking up Paris under "Destinations" and then go on to a few more guide books.

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Old Jul 22nd, 2012, 07:19 AM
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PS,

Why do you have only 3 days and 2 nights in Paris?

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Old Jul 22nd, 2012, 07:28 AM
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My picks:

Again, Sainte-Chappelle, go on a sunny day, not too early or too late.

Seine cruise, after dark.

Musee Rodin

Our first time in Paris, we stayed in the 8th arrondissement. With map in hand , we were looking for the Arc de Triomphe, and a Parisian businessman directed us to walk through Parc Monceau on our way there.

What a beautiful introduction to Paris that was, in June with the roses blooming!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2012, 08:32 AM
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AJPeabody, Uma & denisea, thanks a lot for your detailed and personalised advice. I am making a note of all that you shared. I can read on all forums and guidebooks but it is things like these that helps the most!

Happytrvlr, ira, yes ofcourse I'm doing the same, thanks.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2012, 01:21 PM
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Rtwin80days, I would suggest the Hop On Hop Off bus. Expensive at €22 a person but gives you a great view of Paris’s premier sites which are quite spread out. Good for 24 hours – so don’t lose your ticket.

I also vote for the Musee Rodin for first timers – if Saint Chapelle line is too long – move on.

I am sure that you will return….
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Old Jul 22nd, 2012, 02:22 PM
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For such a short stay, the Museum Pass may be the wisest way to cut out line waiting time. It does not, however, let you skip security lines.
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Old Jul 25th, 2012, 01:01 PM
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Hi ALL..thanks!

I got a little caught up in finalizing the acco and haven't gone through each of your replies. Will do soon (it is 2:30 at night and I have work tomo, I should catch some sleep)
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Old Jul 25th, 2012, 11:06 PM
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ira, yes i have 3.5 days and 3 nights there..tweaked my spain itinerary to make more time for Paris! So I have atleast time for a proper first date with Paris
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Old Jul 26th, 2012, 03:24 PM
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With 3 days, I'd see EITHER the Louvre OR d'Osay...not both, unless you are an art fanatic.

For the river cruise, get your ticket to Vedettes de Pont Neuf in advance on their website...you'll save money without having to lock in a day or time...the only cruise company that does that:
http://www.vedettesdupontneuf.com/
This is important, since you want to be sure to do it on a nice-weather day.

For first trip, I'd do the day cruise...just my opinion...but the night cruise is great, too.

Find a left bank or historic core self-guided walk in one of the well-known guide books. In a couple of hours you'll see a lot.

SS
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Old Aug 21st, 2012, 09:08 AM
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Hi all. I just spent three beautiful days in Madrid. I was staying close to puerta del sol. The whole experience was amazing (trip report to follow once vacation over).

Bottomline is that I learnt some important things about travel. The most important one which I'm going to use in my upcoming Paris trip is that I am going to significantly reduce number of to-do's from the day and allocate more time to just walk around. I don't want too many museums and palaces to overwhelm my senses. Hence, I'd take the trip as an introduction 101, a date if you will, with Paris, with no hurry to see everything, but just to enjoy the company.

Walking around is the one thing I enjoyed the most in Madrid and it is the same thing I'm enjoying the most in Seville right now. Many of these monuments, museums and sites would be covered over my subsequent trips to Paris!

Thanks a lot to each one of you again for your kind responses.
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Old Aug 21st, 2012, 10:21 AM
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rtwin80days...

Good plan...I recommend guided walks in any of the major tour books. (Though I have to admit that on our first Paris visit, we did do a lot of running from place to place as well as the walks)

...and Madrid and Sevilla are both wonderfully walkable.

SS
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Old Aug 21st, 2012, 10:43 AM
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In our recent trip to Paris, we made a point to never pass a pastisserie or chocolate or candy shop. Definitely a good plan! We liked the :'Orangerie for a museum. Best pain chocolat (chocolate croissant) we had was at the chain Le Pain Quotidien. http://www.lepainquotidien.fr/#/fr_FR/menu And we tried a lot of croissants!
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