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4 Days in Paris May 2014 - Can we do all this?

4 Days in Paris May 2014 - Can we do all this?

Feb 13th, 2014, 10:34 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 421

We will have a car, but certainly not as much time as we would like! Just finished reading several of your trip reports and thoroughly enjoyed them. This is our first trip to France, but certainly not the last. Know you speak fluent French...we were intimidated slightly by not knowing any French (I speak German and hubby Spanish so we had concentrated on German or Spanish speaking countries). Trying to learn as much as we can by early May when we leave and then continuing when we get back for future trips.
leslieq is offline  
Feb 14th, 2014, 08:04 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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how long is the rest of your trip, leslieq?
annhig is offline  
Feb 14th, 2014, 08:47 AM
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I highly recommend a concert in St Chapelle, as suggested above. We bought the tickets from a café/restaurant(?) across the street a couple of days in advance. If you like ballet, I would suggest an evening performance at the Opera Garnier. You will enjoy the performance and see the interior, which is very worth seeing. They have a good website and you can buy your tickets in advance.
Gina_07 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2014, 09:34 AM
Join Date: Feb 2012
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I’ve read online that the Musée Marmottan will be having an exhibit “Impressionist Works from Private Collections.” Evidently, various works from around the world will be shown, then be retired again from public viewing.


propita is offline  
Feb 16th, 2014, 09:36 PM
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annhig - we have 5 nights in Paris, 5 nights in Sarlat, 1 in Carcassone and 3 in St Remy. Leave home May 3, leave from Marseilles airport Sunday May 18. Too short, but all the time we could manage away from my job and my husband's law practice.

Gina, I absolutely do want to hear concert in St Chappelle...walking distance from our hotel Saint-Louis en L'Isle. Thanks for advice on how to get tickets. I had tried to get them awhile back online but think it might have been too early. Ballet is sold out at Opera Garnier, darn!

propita, super suggestion for the Musee Marmottan Impressionist exhibit. Just checked out the link and will try to go on the additional day we now have in Paris. Looks like it's over by the Bois du Boulogne, a park/woods I had just read about today. Do you know this park? It looks lovely.
leslieq is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 01:39 PM
Join Date: Feb 2012
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leslieq, I’ve never been to Paris. This will by my first trip. Pretty excited.

There’s also an exhibit of Gustave Doré at the Musée d’Orsay. The first retrospective of his works in 30 years. I know nothing about art, more of the like-this-don’t-like-that person.


If you’re into trains, the Arab World Institute is hosting an exhibition dedicated to the Orient Express, and you get to go inside a few of the cars.


And a bit late for your trip, but maybe not for others, there is European Opera Days on May 10-11.

propita is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 07:53 PM
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propita, when are you going? Are you going just to Paris, or elsewhere? Thanks so much for the tips!
leslieq is offline  
Feb 19th, 2014, 07:12 AM
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<< I can't skip Pere Lachaise...Looks gorgeous and atmospheric. >>

It is a beautiful cemetery; one of the best I've been to. It's huge so get a map when you arrive. They're available at the information center that is just inside the main entrance. I once did a Paris Walks walking tour of the cemetery and found it informative but it's also nice to just walk around looking at all the beautiful tombstones.
adrienne is offline  
Feb 19th, 2014, 09:38 AM
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I go to classical music concerts a lot in Paris, as that's one of my main interests. I never buy tickets in advance, there is no need to, there are so many going on all over Paris. And few of them would even be mentioned online anywhere or sell tickets that way. Some are free, but usually they may be around 10 euro. I just look in the entertainment guides when I get there to see what appeals (you mentioned Pariscope, so that is one). The ones in Sainte Chappelle are rather expensive and are for tourists who are mainly going because of the venue, not the music, so they have the same light repertoire repeatedly (Vivaldi, etc). They have good ones in St Germain church, St Julien le Pauvre, St Eustache and many other churches (also in the Madeleine which is an impressive interior).

FYI there can be only one Catholic cathedral in a city as it is the seat of the bishopric. In Paris it is Notre Dame. I believe there is an Episcopalian one, also, but no one goes there as a tourist much, it's not that old, relatively.
Christina is offline  
Feb 19th, 2014, 10:08 AM
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leslieq, we'll be in London April 23-May 5, then Paris May 5-13.

I finally got Husband to look at some info. To max our Navigo Decouverte and Museum Pass, we're probably going to Disney before the museums. That'll also avoid "closed days" at museums and let us use 6 days for the museum pass. Even 1 museum/day will make it worthwhile for us. Ymmv. As Christina posted, we'll worry about concerts there. Our interests are just walking around museums, the city, etc. We look at things, we don't have to DO things.
propita is offline  
Feb 19th, 2014, 11:44 AM
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The first two days look great but the second two look a little overbooked. Based on my experience you always get more tired than you think you will. I would have in your mind what your priorities are and be OK cutting the rest out if you get tired. Remember to leave time for the wonderful Paris experiences of relaxing at a park and having a lingering lunch at a cafe.
sanderskn is offline  
Feb 20th, 2014, 08:56 AM
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Unless you sleep well on the flight, i would advise you to not plan anything much for the evening of day one.
We too loved Rodin and D'Orsay
As for tickets our apartment rental agency obtained ours for sainte Chapelle's concert so you might check with your hotel. Frankly, if you are a serious classical music aficionado you will probably be disappointed with the commercialization.
The Eiffel Tower lights up for about ten minutes on the hour, every hour, beginning at 10pm. We took the 9:30pm Vedettes and missed the lightings! They began twinkling as we rounded back towards i'le de la Cite and we could only see the very top. The boat does not linger! How disappointing. You might take the hop on, hop off, Batobus beforehand with a late picnic at the Trocadero to view the lights.
MarySteveChicago is offline  
Feb 20th, 2014, 08:35 PM
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propita, maybe we'll cross paths in Paris!

Adrienne, have been looking for a map of Pere Lachaise online and have a general one now, but glad to hear of the detailed ones at the cemetery. I want to spend quite awhile there. Not interested so much in ticking off famous graves as just wandering around. Lucky that hubby humors me in these cemetery outings.

Christina, you make me feel a lot better about just getting concert tickets in Paris and not worrying about reserving in advance.

sanderskn, to solve the too long list we decided to rearrange our trip so that we now have an extra day in Paris. We do love to just wander around in neighborhoods and gardens and realize we won't get to do everything. If something is captivating, we stay with it and just can't worry too much about what we might be missing...hope to be back!

MarySteveChicago, great advice about the lights on the Eiffel Tower! Sounds gorgeous.

We're getting more and more excited about the trip and trying to learn as much French as possible before we go.
leslieq is offline  
Feb 21st, 2014, 09:25 AM
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leslieq--wouldn’t that be fun!
propita is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2014, 12:22 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Ok! Two things you shld def do. Take a night boat tour from pont d'alma. It takes just over an hour, the light are really beautiful and you see everything. Don't eat on boat. Take the simple 12.50euro tour. Under 12's 1/2 price.
Secondly, go to the Orangerie. The 2 rooms with Waterlilies are v beautiful and downstairs is a really fantastic small collection of Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse etc.
other advisory points!
Go up the Arc de Triomphe, not the Eiffel Tower, better views and less crowded.
Do not bother with the Champs Élysées. Tired, tatty and full of chain stores.
Louvre. Vv big and exhausting so only see what u want to see!
Be v careful about the museum passes etc.
Teenagers are free to 16 I think so wasted for them. And only but it for yrself once there as plenty if scams online.
Buy a carnet for metro travel (10 tickets for approx 13 euros).
Plan yr metro trip as not that clear inside and lots of stairs.
Be vvvv aware of pickpockets. I love Paris but it has huge issues with poverty, immigration, and unemployment. Be wise to the petition scammers and gold ring scammers and street artiste scammers. They will take yr stuff in a second!
Make sure you visit les Deux Magots cafe at St Germain des Pres. Yes expensive, yes touristy but pretty, nice area, and food still good!
Paris is expensive but remember the best sights are free! Walking and taking a baguette sandwich with you is still the best!
Gd luck!
susiereid is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2014, 05:26 PM
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susiereid, wow...great stuff!! Good advice on boat trip; want to do a night one but wouldn't have known to take from pont d'alma.

Glad you mentioned that the Champs Elysees is not as wonderful as it sounds. We have limited time in Paris and not a priority of mine, but hubby seems entranced. We're probably going to just look at Eiffel Tower, not spend all the time going up. Maybe Arc de Triomphe instead.

Thanks for note also about museum passes. We'll get them in Paris, not online.

So many folks have told me the same thing about just walking everywhere and enjoying the "free" side of Paris. Added an extra day in Paris (by cutting out the Chateau de la Caze/Gorges du Tarn...which I just HATED to do!) so that our visit wouldn't be so rushed.

Thanks so much for your super advice. Oh, and we ran into the petition signers scammers in Italy. They must be everywhere now.
leslieq is offline  
Mar 5th, 2014, 11:02 AM
Join Date: Mar 2014
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I was searching the forums before posting my questions for my own trip to Paris in may. I could have written OP's post; I had the exact same questions and are heading there in May as well. Just wanted to chime and say thanks to all the responses; you've helped more than one person! I'll be posting my remaining questions in another thread so I don't hijack this one (looking to add a couple of day trips; we have a bit longer than 4 days but not much).

Thanks again!
WeWalkEverywhere is offline  
May 5th, 2014, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,178
Leslie--Are you in Paris now, hope you will share the fun things you have been doing.
We will be there in few days, thus looking for the latest things to do to add to my plans.
Have you taken a boat trip to see the sights in the evening? If yes, which one did you take?
Have a safe trip.
ileen is offline  

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