4 day itinerary in Paris

May 20th, 2014, 07:46 PM
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4 day itinerary in Paris

I know this question has been posted a bunch of times, but just wanted to get some thoughts on my itinerary. My husband and I will be in Paris for 4 days in mid June. We probably won't be back for many many years so would like to see major sights but also spend time exploring neighbourhoods, eating/drinking and looking for the perfect gifts for our two little ones who we are leaving at home! I have tried to group activities geographically and based on what is open/closed on certain days. I am also hoping that we will be able to do a lot of walking, as I feel this is the best way to see a city.

Day 1 (Saturday): arrive 8:30am at CDG. We are staying in an apartment near St. Germain, right across from Bon Marche. Do a quick settle in and spend the afternoon walking around St. Germain and the Latin Quarter. Wondering if it's worth it to go into the Pantheon or just view it from outside. From there walk to Ile de la Cite for around 4:30-5pm. Spend a couple hours touring the island, going into little shops, etc. See a 7 pm concert at St. Chapelle. Icecream at Berthillons afterwards (I assume it is open later than 8pm?) than Metro back home for the night. I am hoping that all this walking plus the overnight flight we just had won't make us fall asleep during the concert! As much as I would love to see the stained glass during the day I also thought that a concert could be fun and still give us a chance to see the church? Thoughts?

Day 2 (Sunday): Morning: Luxembourg Gardens and walking around Montparnasse. Maybe do a formal walking tour of Le Marais from 2:30-4pm (that way we can learn more about the neighbourhour). Notre Dame around 5:30 (maybe avoid some of the crowds this time of day?) then a Siene River tour in the evening.

Day 3 (Monday): Louvre in the morning. Stop by St. Eustache Church, walk around Tuilles Gardens, Place de Concorde, Champs Elysee and Arc d' Triumphe. Guessing this will be a tiring day with a lot of walking!

Day 4 (Tuesday): Eiffel Tower first thing (plan to walk to the second level to avoid some of the lines). Then Museum d'Orsay for a couple hours, walk around Montmarte and see Sacre Coeur. Not sure which makes more sense: to visit the Eifel Tower first thing in the day or Musee d'Orsay (keeping in mind that we will take the steps up so will already be avoiding some of the lines). Or we could do the Eiffel Tower at night?

Any suggestions/advice? I hope that this itinerary allows us time to also relax and sit at a couple cafes/picnic and take in the scenery. But we will be heading to Provence afterwards so can rest more there... Thanks in advance!!
chasebella is offline  
May 20th, 2014, 08:24 PM
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if you are going to the Pantheon, I would go inside to see the paintings of Puvis de Chavannes, who is one of my favorites. You can also see his work on the second floor of the d'Orsay
ita is offline  
May 20th, 2014, 08:55 PM
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Day 1 - I also enjoyed the Pantheon and would encourage you to go inside. A concert at Ste-Chapelle is enjoyable but you can only see the second floor which is the one with the stained glass. In mid June it will still be light at 7:00 so you'll be able to see some of the stained glass.

When you're in the Pantheon area stop into St-Etienne-du-Mont church and see its beautiful rood screen.

It's not worth while returning on the metro as it's a short walk from Ste-Chapelle to your apartment. It might even take longer on the metro. If you take the metro at Cite or St-Michel you'll need to change at Odeon or walk to Odeon and go 2 stops.

If you're up for it, Notre Dame has a free walking tour in the afternoon

Day 2 - Paris Walks has a walking tour of the Marais at 2:30. This is a very light day and you've packed a lot into Day 4. Consider moving one of the Day 4 activities to today. Perhaps Montmartre.

Day 3 - The Champs Elysees is a long, uphill, unspiring walk. Take a bus to the Arch and walk downhill, if you must do this. A better use of your time is to take a bus to the Arch and then continue to the Jacquemart-Andre Museum. Or see the Orangerie Museum.

Day 4 - Buy advanced tickets to the Orsay Museum so you don't have to wait in line. I like the Eiffel Tower at night for the lights of Paris but it will be quite late when it gets dark and you might be tired so go during the say or evening.
adrienne is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 08:41 AM
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Thanks for the tips. I think we will check out the Pantheon then since we will be right there.

adrienne- good to know that we are walking distance to ste Chappelle and don't need to worry about the Metro. You suggest maybe moving Montmarte to day 2- Would it make the most sense to take the metro from Montparnasse to Montmarte? Then we will be within walking distance of the Marais? I am not sure how much time we will need in Montmarte- haven't really researched that part yet. Thought maybe we would just do a lot of wandering.. thanks again.
chasebella is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 09:10 AM
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Do you have a map of Paris? I use Streetwise and love it. Many of the blocks are not typical city blocks that you find in large American cities but very short blocks.

You'd absolutely need to take the metro from Montparnasse to Montmartre. Depending on where in the Marais you're going I would also take the metro to that area.

A couple hours in Montmartre would be fine. Consider the Montmartre Museum or the Museum of Romantic Life.

One thing I forgot to mention is rue Mouffetard on Sundays around noon. At the bottom of the street are accordion players and people form a circle and sing while others dance. It's really a fun thing to watch for a while and everyone is having a great time.

adrienne is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 09:43 AM
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dwdvagamundo is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 09:46 AM
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Some thoughts:

The Pantheon---i read on trip advisor that the pendulum was out for repair so check on that. I has been swinging for a couple of hundred years and one of the best things there.

St. Germain---don't miss the pedestrian streets.

Berthillons---on Ile St. Louis. Actually we prefer Amorino, open until 11pm, where every cone the ice cream gelato is made in the shape of a flower. It's on the Main Street thru the ile and across the street from Berth.

Marais---don't miss Place Vosges, if only for a short look, a place to remember. Also close by is Carnavalet Museum, free, small building & garden that will wow you. Small & easy to navigate, maybe an hour.

Seine cruise---Vedettes at the Pont Neuf, excellent. Go on the 1/2 hr. at night & you will reach the Eiffel when it lights up. Check their website for a discount.

Eiffel---we've done both day & night. Both are fantastic but the night is magical.

How old are the little ones? If young girls I have a great find of a shop on Montparnasse.

If you are still awake, Sat. night around Notre Dame and along The Seine is such fun with street entertainment.
TPAYT is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 10:00 AM
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I don't agree that near Bon Marche dept store is a short walk to Ste Chapelle, but I guess that's a matter of opinion but it sure isn't a couple blocks. It's about 2 km or over a mile, so it's up to you. it is true transferring lines can take time, if that is of the essence, so just take line 4 to St Suplice and get out there, you don't need to transfer and your apt is only a block or two from there. Also, I like taking the bus when it is direct, and you can take bus 70 which runs across Pont Neuf directly to the Severes-Babylone metro stop or the next one, if that is closer for you.

As for the Pantheon, I enjoyed it but not as one of my top sites, but I m really interested in some of the historical figured interred in there. If you weren't, I wouldn't make it a must see.

YOu should get a map of some kind so you can see where things are, as Montmartre isn't anywhere near the Marais, for example. Streetwise is a good idea for starters for a tourist, and it's easy to carry around (plasticized). It doesn't really cover the whole city which is one thing I don't like about it, though. It covers the center, though -- not sure how far north into Montmartre it covers, I think it ends in the south around cemetery Montparnasse or a bit farther. But it's the easiest one to buy in advance (on Amazon or in Barnes and Noble) for planning.
Christina is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 10:10 AM
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Ohhh thanks for all the great tips. Adrienne- cute photos. Will definately need to hit rue Moufettard

TPAYT- Great tips. Especially the gelato place. Let me know the name/location of that children's shop. My daughter is 4 and my son 18 months. I am looking for something unique or that you can't get back home (i.e. a nice doll for my daughter) Something they probably won't appreciate! I tried looking on line for toy stores, etc. but there were so many.
chasebella is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 10:26 AM
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Christina - at home a 2km walk would seem endless but in Paris, with all the sensory diversions, a 20 minute walk seems short to me.
adrienne is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 03:54 PM
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So head to Rue Vavin, just outside of Lux. Garden. Several children's shops on that street. the shop where we have bought outfits for our granddaughters for many years is Mini Junior , right off the corner of Montparnasse and Raspail.
Closed on Mon.
In particular was a size 4 brown velour dress with red plaid simple ruffles on the bottom. My daughter said that she wore it to school day after day, washed many times and still looked new. Expensive? Yes, but well worth the price. Also a red dress that both the older and now the younger girls have worn over & over and have got so many comments on.

Vavin has many baby shops. As far as toys??? Nothing I shopped for.

Here's a look at the fantastic flower shaped cones at Amorino. Berthillon? My favorite is pistachio, coconut, and vanilla in 1 cone. Berthillon---I know it's advertized often but for us it was just OK. the best being the salted carmel ice cream.


Again, just one Paris lovers opinion. Our first 3 day Paris stop has turned into our 10th with our granddaughter in June.

Have fun, and please post a trip report.
TPAYT is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 03:56 PM
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BTW, here's the Vedettes website for a discount:
TPAYT is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 06:31 PM
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Thanks TPAYT. I just booked the river cruise and have marked down the addresses for the children's store and gelato!
chasebella is offline  
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