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5 days in Paris - advice on itinerary please!


Jan 30th, 2008, 08:14 AM
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5 days in Paris - advice on itinerary please!


This is my husband and my first trip to Paris. We are going to be there for 5 days in May. We are both early 30's, decent shape, and really excited for this trip. I have put together a tentative itinerary to see what people think about it? Nothing is set in stone right now, so if anyone has any suggestions on how this would make the most sense...trying to get a good outline of where to go on each day before picking restaurants so that locations make sense, but if anyone has any good suggestions on those as well, please let me know!

Thank you all in advance!

-Arrive at @ 7:30am flying direct from Boston and travel to apt in 6th
-Possibly sleep for a few hours if tired, or possibly go to street market/grocery for food
-Lunch at Le Comptoir? (read good things about it – want to try it at least one of the days)
- Visit Ile de la Cité/Notre-Dame/Sainte-Chapelle
-Seine River cruise - evening

Morning -
-Eiffel Tower
-Champs Elysses
-Arc de Triomphe
-Tracadoro/Palais Chaillot
Afternoon -
-Jardin des Tuileries
-Louvre – open late

-Normandy* – Tour with Fat Tire Bike (anyone familiar or have a suggestion of a 1 day tour pkg from Paris with another company?)
*this is huge for my husband - we are flexible on which day we travel there - I just thought Sat might make sense because of weekend visitors to Paris

Morning -
Afternoon -
-Montmarte/Sacre Coeur

Morning -
Afternoon -
?? – whatever we weren’t able to do? Suggestions?

smi is offline  
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Jan 30th, 2008, 10:49 AM
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Busy schedule. FWIW, I'd choose between either the Eiffel Tower or the Champs Elysses/Arc de Triomphe combo for the Friday morning because you shouldn't be trying to do all of that before lunch. Shift whatever loses out to your Tuesday afternoon.
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Jan 30th, 2008, 11:23 AM
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Hi smi,
I'd skip the nap when you arrive. You'll hear differing opinions here, my take is you want to adjust to local time asap, not give in to your home time. Many threads here on jet lag...

Thurs looks good. The Vedettes du Pont Neuf cruise is right near Ile de la Cite, so you are in the area already. Add Ile St Louis to the mix, and walks along Seine. many restos nearby also.

Friday is OK, you may not do all you plan in the morning, but spread over the day,OK. You could also add Place Vendome, Palais Royal and Opera Garnier if time permits, all in same area.

Sat OK, day trip is important. People here differ on whether on a short, first (time?) trip to Paris to do any day trips, but this seems like a his dream..

Sun. Don't think you can do all that in the morning, but spread over the day, OK.

Mon. Marais is a good idea. You also could do Left Bank. Consider a walking tour as an alternative. Paris Walks is one I've used before.

Is Sat good for a Normandy tour? If it was me, I'd do it on a weekday, assuming that crowds and demand would be higher on weekends.

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Jan 30th, 2008, 11:26 AM
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You'll get lots of advice - but just one quick comment - your Sunday morning is just about impossible.

The Rodin opens at 09:30 and if you go from there to l'Orangerie, you will be lucky to get to the Musee d'Orsay by 1 or 2 p.m.. You can't just levitate from one to the other - plus you will need to eat somewhere. So those 3 places plus just some idle wandering will fill a day. (I personally would not schedule 3 museums on the same day - but that is just me)
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Jan 30th, 2008, 11:37 AM
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Are you sure the landlord will let you in that early?

I had to traipse around town until nearly noon to "check in" to the apartment I had rented.

(Arrived from Philadelphia about the same time, 6:30)

Otherwise, leave time for cafe sitting.
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Jan 30th, 2008, 03:42 PM
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Some good suggestions above. I believe the Orangerie doesn't open until 12:30 p.m. so it might not fit b/w the others. As for Normandy, there have been many suggestions on a do-it yourself tour which involves early train, hiring a van/driver in I believe Bayeux and returning on the last train. Just a suggestion.
As for the nap, I'd follow Michael_Paris's suggestion. If you're arriving from the U.S., the jet lag will be more difficult with a nap. I'd recommend dragging a$$ that first day until you can't stay awake and go to bed early, that will hopefully eliminate the lingering effects on the other days. Our youngest son HAD to nap when we arrived at our apartment and he had difficulties adjusting to the time the rest of the week. Just my opinion, but search here for other info on Jet lag.
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Jan 31st, 2008, 06:37 AM
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Thank you all for your advice. I was thinking some of my ideas were a bit lofty, so it is good to know where I might need to restructure...

I definitely think Friday and Sunday morning are too much, so I will restructure those accordingly. I think I may narrow it down to two of those three museums, or try to fit one of them in another day.

As for the apartment, we were told that we could at least leave our bags at the apartment any time after 9:30am.

I will also do a little more research on Normandy and see if there is a better way to get the highlights in, and perhaps I will move the trip to Monday rather than Saturday.

Thank you all so much! I am so excited for this trip!

Does anyone have any suggestions for things that I haven't included that I should try to fit in?

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Jan 31st, 2008, 09:41 AM
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It might be sacriledge, but I'm not a big Champs Elysee fan. I might, while at the Tuileries Garden look up the street and take a picture, or go up the Arc to see the city, but as to going up/down the street...

You seem to like Impressionists. As an alternative, consider the Marmottan museum for Monet and his waterlillies. Also located in a nice residential area if you feel need to get away from crowds.

In Montmartre you have the funiculaire to take you up. You can also consider the Montmartrobus that shuttles you around the sites.


In the Louvre area I like Place Vendome (Ritz, high end jewellers), Opera Garnier and Palais Royale. Walking along the galleries on rue Rivoli is interesting, I also walk along rue Faubourg St Honore. Across from the Louvre is the Louvre des Antiquaires, which is three floors of high end antique stores.

Walking above and below street level, along Seine, is one of my most do's I'd start at the far tip of Ile St Louis, on the Left Bank and work my way west until Pont des Arts. Fun to take in bouquinistes selling old magazines,books, prints. Might also see plaque above Seine commemorating young soldier who was killed at that spot during WWII.

ON Ile St Louis, Brasserie de L'ile St Louis was one place I had lunch my last trip. You can get a table oeverlooking main street, bridge to Ile de la Cite..and see Notre Dame and Pantheon in the distance. Also on the island is Berthillon ice cream (famous) and possibly Amerino to compare with. Some nice shops also along this street.

I'd also add Place des Vosges as one of the must sees in the Marais. And a nice place for a meal at an outdoor table.
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Jan 31st, 2008, 10:11 AM
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Also not a fan of the Champs Elysses(am I in New York feeling) although the Arch de Triumph is good.

I agree, skip the nap. Also skip the "Orangerie". The "Rodin", the "D'Orsay", and also the "Carnavalat" and "Place Vosges" for lunch in the Marais are wonderful.

Don't miss Ile St. Louis--some good restaurants there "Sorza" and "Le Fleur en Isle". Also, the best ice cream in Paris. I prefer not on the corner, but in the middle of the block on Ile St. Louis.

Good tip: "Au Bougnat", a small, plain restaurant 1-2 blocks from Notre Dame. Outstanding food at a very reasonable price, we ate there 3 times. Favorite restaurant is Italian--"Marco Polo" on Rue de Conde near the Odeon, left bank.

I'd check St. Chapelle before I went. We were there in Sept. and the largest, main windows were out for restoration.

Of course, a "Seine" cruise is a must, but avoid "Bat O Bus"(terrible experience). All the others are wonderful.

Another thing we saw people doing was a "Segway" tour, it looked like fun. Have you seen them(2 wheel automatic rolling vehicles). Also, Paris now has rental bikes in many, many locations, put in a charge card and go, then drop off somewhere else.
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Jan 31st, 2008, 02:41 PM
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Can you expand on your experience on the Batobus? It's been recommended a lot on this board, but I'd be interested in hearing your experience. Thanks

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Jan 31st, 2008, 02:48 PM
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The Batobus is a bus that travels up and down the Seine and stops at various places near major tourist spots. It's a fun way to get from one tourist site to another, but it's not a good substitute for the metro/RATP nor for a cruise on the Seine.

smi: I'd skip the Champs Elysees too (yaaaawwwn).

Sunday brunch at the Musee Jacquemart-Andre is a wonderful experience, but your trip is already overloaded and you'd have to do some rearranging and eliminating of other activities.
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Jan 31st, 2008, 04:02 PM
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GOODNESS, are you just walking in and out of these places? You need to pick about 1/3 of this to do or you will find yourself exhausted, angry and hating each other!
Do sleep on the plane so you arrive refreshed...do not drink too much on the plane, unless it is water.
Do not expect to get into the hotel or apt before 3ish, just in case, you can hang out at a bistro for awhile, but pack lightly in case you have to crag your luggage about.
The Louve is not a quick walk through. Pick one museum and do it well, not each one poorly.
NORMANDY...we drove; the tours are expensive and on a rigid schedule;
we paid less for the auto rental and took our time to see some of the scenery, stopped a visited with some locals at the resturants,too. Lovely drive from Paris to Normandy Beach and worth the trip. We stopped in Bayeux and Caen, nice to explore along the way.
Expect all trains to be late;except the Metro, it is usually on time.
Expect everything to be more time consuming that you can imagine, they are in NO hurry in France!
Expect to leave your heart and your money there! HAVE A GREAT TIME AND MAKE SOME MEMORIES!
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Jan 31st, 2008, 04:25 PM
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Jeez, I can't believe I typed that....the Batobus is a BOAT, not a bus!
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