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mrt Jun 24th, 2015 05:11 AM

5 days in Paris
My wife and I (in 50s) are going to Paris for 5 days in October. We will see the major attractions (E Tower, Louvre, Versailles) but would like some ideas as to other should not miss sights or activities. Expect to take a open deck bus tour or river tour and would like to leave Paris for a day trip one day if there is a town and/or winery we should visit. Probably not interested in spending more time in doors other than at the Louvre and Versailles and will do a lot of walking. Your ideas are appreciated.

(I thought I posted a similar message yesterday but never saw it)

Gretchen Jun 24th, 2015 05:57 AM

For 5 days, you can fill it easily in Paris without a day trip. Another possible day trip (and more outdoors) would be Giverney, but as I say, just Paris is full.
There are the Passages--inside but beautiful!! Markets? Picnics in the Luxembourg Gardens or Champs des Mars in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.
You might consider hiring Michael Osman for a day of touring that would maximize your time AND be enjoyable and informative. The Seine River cruise at dusk as the lights are just coming on and you reach the Eiffel Tower as it begins twinkling is a great item.

ira Jun 24th, 2015 05:59 AM

Hi M,

For a short, first-time visit the usual attractions will keep you busy.

To find your past posts click on your name in the top RH corner.

Enjoy your visit.


mamcalice Jun 24th, 2015 06:04 AM

I would stick to Paris with only 5 days at your disposal. You are already planning Versailles which takes the better part of the day outside of Paris. Giverny, while a wonderful place to visit during garden season, is pretty much winding down in October.

Don't miss Ste. Chapelle, the Musee D'Orsay, Luxembourg Gardens, the Tuilleries, and Notre Dame. You will do a lot of walking outside so don't miss some of the wonderful indoor experiences as well.

Gretchen Jun 24th, 2015 06:31 AM

Definitely second the Orsay--even just for the building itself. And you will need a few indoor plans--rain is a possibility!! And the Rodin--inside and the gardens outside with the incomparable sculpture.
A bus ride down the Champs Elysees from the Arc de Triomphe to pl. Concorde--or on across the river to the left bank.

Ackislander Jun 24th, 2015 06:48 AM

Unless you have always dreamed of going to Versailles, I would skip it. You really don't have time for a day trip.

The amount of time you spend indoors will depend on the weather. If it is pouring, inside looks good. If it is beautiful, you will be happy to enjoy the outdoors,

Great outdoor places: Ile de la Cité, then the outside of Notre Dame; Luxembourg Gardens; the garden at the Rodin Museum; the Champ du Mars; Trocadero (best view of Eiffel); Tuileries Garden; Palais Royal, place Vendome, a walk through a great shopping street like the Rue du Bac or Rue des Francs Bourgoises; Place des Vosges; the Richard Lenoir Market on Sunday morning.

Indoor: Cluny Museum, Notre Dame, Ste Chapelle, Opera Garnier, Printemps, the great department store, some of the Passages mentioned above, the Big Museums and maybe one of the house museums like Cognac Jay.

Skip the hop-on/hop off bus, but definitely take the Seine cruise at dusk or in the evening. The lights are fantastic, though the food isn't, so I would not do a dinner cruise.

If you did nothing but walk from, say, Notre Dame, to the Eiffel Tower via Invalides, through the 5th, 6th, and 7th, stopping for a drink every hour or so, it would be so good use of hour time.

mrt Jun 24th, 2015 07:32 AM

Ackislander said to skip Versailles. I am curious why? And do other disagree with him

Also, as a tourist, what would be the best/most desirable area or neighborhood to stay which is centrally located to the typical attractions? I knoiw there are many great areas but I do not want to be miles from where I will be going.

Gretchen Jun 24th, 2015 08:21 AM

Several of us have said it--skip Versailles. And we have said why--you have a very short period of time and it takes at least 3/4 of the day to do. The gardens will be diminished by October. You will have more than you can do/see IN Paris itself. If, as Ack says, you have always dreamed of Versailles, and love the French Revolution, then take that time. But the Louvre is also a "chateau".

The hotel "rule" for Paris is to stay in arrondisements 1-8 and you will be in reasonable distance to the main sites, and the Metro and bus put you in close proximity to all. Some WILL be miles from where you stay, but others won't. Public transit in Paris is probably the best in the world. Plus being very walkable.
I suggest getting a guide book and beginning to flesh out some of the things you want to do besides the 3 you listed.

Ackislander Jun 24th, 2015 11:00 AM

If the gardens were at peak and the fountains were in operation, it might be worth the time to go to Versailles or if you are real history buffs, then, sure.

But if you want to see a Royal palace, the Louvre, the Palais Royal, and the Place de Vosges all filled that role at various times, and the Palais du Luxembourg was the residence of Queen Marie de Medici. Enough for a five day trip! :-)

I would stay in the 6th, as close to the Boulevard St Germain as I could afford, preferably between that street and the Seine. It won't be cheap, but you can walk to about 80% of what has been mentioned and what you can't walk to, you can get to on the 69 or 72 bus.

Have a wonderful time!

denisea Jun 24th, 2015 05:16 PM

I would also skip Versailles as it's a time commitment and with only 5 it next time. I love St Denis, climbing the towers at Notre Dame, L'orangerie and Musee Marmottan. I also love D'Orsay. I want to go to Giverny but we tend to go to Paris over Christmas and have missed it Giverny...if you are on Paris when it is open, that would be my choice of day trips!

Kathie Jun 24th, 2015 06:15 PM

I would also skip Versailles. We spent 10 days in Paris last year and felt there was so much to do and see, we didn't want to do a day trip.

DebitNM Jun 24th, 2015 06:36 PM

We went to Giver my at the end of Ocotber. Con = gardens not nearly as flowering but still lovely. Pro = hardly anyone there. 2 dozen people, maybe. I have many hoots of the bridge with NO ONE on it or even near it! I have amazing photos.

WWanderer Jun 25th, 2015 06:48 PM

Bookmarking. Also spending 4.5 days in Paris in October.

TPAYT Jun 25th, 2015 07:27 PM

All the usuals and Place de Vosges for a coffee or lunch along with the Carnavlet Museum (by far our favorite small museum---and free.)

Biggest disappointments---Champs E. and Invaldies.

IMO, skip going in the Louvre---a tourists nightmare. We didn't go in until our 3rd visit. BUT, definitely see the courtyard--outstanding for photos.

On our 8th or 9th visit we took an English tour of the Opera Garnier----how did we overlook this fabulous place. we are not tour people, but loved this one.

We love Ile St. Louis and also the pedestrien streets of the Left Bank. Don't know how it will be in Oct. but a few years ago we were there in the beginning of Oct. and that part of Paris plus Lux. Gardens was spectacular on the many warm sunny days.

That Oct. the trees were a glorious golden color, it was warm, we ate outside along The Seine at night and when the boats came along the river, the trees were lit up in all their splendor.

The Rodin, and by far the best was The Marmottan----oh, take me away!

Christina Jun 26th, 2015 01:00 PM

I disagree with the idea that you can't do a day trip with 5 days in Paris and that you should skp Versailles.

I never go to a big city for 5 days without doing a day trip myself, I don't want to just see one big city when traveling. I like to see some smaller place for a change. As for Versailles, if you want to see it, I assume you have a reason and it interests you. That's reason enough, it's only about 30 minutes on the RERtrain from St Michel to Versailles Rive Gauche, not much different than going from one end of Paris to the other by metro, actually. In fact, I went out to Chateau de Vincennes by metro a couple times and that takes at least 20 minutes from central Paris with no transfers, it took me longer from where I usually stay.

So if you really wnt to see it, go. If you don't really have any interest in it and just think you must, then don't go, there are easier places to see that may not be as crowded.

One day trip I really enjoyed a lot was going to Auvers-sur-Oise which is a small village just outside Paris wehre Vincent Van Gogh lived and died, you can see some of the scenery in his paintings. His house is a museum and it's an easy little village to walk around. So you do get a real different feel there than in a big city. It's on the RER also, but I transferred around Pontoise or somewhere. I think there are some other methods. Versailles is a direct shot.

There are other options also, but I definitely don't discourage someone for wanting to get outside of Paris, a huge city, when they are there 5 days.

mrt Jun 28th, 2015 06:00 AM

Between Giverny and Auvers-sur-Oise is either more quaint and village-like than the other?

LSky Jun 28th, 2015 08:22 AM

I too, would skip Versailles.

With only 5 days, you'll just have enough time to take some of what Paris has to offer.

It's just such a personal choice but it's also an easy daytrip to make. Just hop on the train and viola, you're there.

Personally and surprisingly, I found the Normandy Beaches much more interesting than Versailles.

It's your trip and either way, you'll have a great time.

ssander Jun 28th, 2015 12:58 PM

...another vote for Carnavalet Museum...and for skipping Versailles -- unless, as stated, you are history buff with interest in the French monarchy of the 17th-18th c.

I'd also recommend St. Denis, if the OP were not a first-timer with only five days. In its own way, it is more mystical than Notre crowds, towering light-flooded spaces, and the tombs of all those French kings going back to the 6th century. Just remember to save it for your return trip -- and there <strong>will</strong> be a return trip...Paris is addictive.

You will absolutely love Paris regardless of what you do.


blueslipper Jun 28th, 2015 06:02 PM

Someone in our travel group really wants to see Versailles, so we are making it a day trip (we also have 5 days in Paris). I booked a biking tour that day - so we travel together as a group to Versailles, and then we will bicycle around the grounds with a guide and also have skip-the-line passes. I hope it works out well for us!
I'm also taking one of my Paris days and booked a shopping/cooking/eating tour at LeFoodist. It's a splurge for my budget - but thought it would be a memorable experience. Has anyone heard/tried it? Great reviews on Trip Advisor.

trips4me Jun 29th, 2015 02:55 PM

Sadly you won't be able to visit the old la Samaritaine department store - seems to be involved in a decade long "renovation" saga. Its roof terrace and the mosaics there were one of the secret spots not many people knew about. Hope they thought of saving them in all that renovation craze ...

Try to go for the little streets of Cartier Latin instead, try the Dôme des Invalides - well, depends on how fit you are ... climbing to the top it's a real experience, the Rodin museum and gardens are a must if you love art and are looking for smth. special and you also might love to visit Balzac's (the famous novelist) memorial house which is hidden just behind Trocadero terrace. (

For modern art lovers I'd reccomemd the Orsay museum as well.

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