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6 days in Paris; Help with logistics, please?

6 days in Paris; Help with logistics, please?

Old Apr 9th, 2013, 07:40 AM
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6 days in Paris; Help with logistics, please?

Hi everyone,

I'm wondering if those of you who are somewhat familiar with Paris could give me some advice. I will be traveling to Paris for the second time this June with a friend who has never been before, and I need some help on how to arrange things and organize our visit in an efficient way. Last time I went, the friend I was with did all the planning and I just followed her around. That was nice, but this time planning is up to me and I want to do a good job!

I hope I'm wording this in a way that is understandable: when planning a trip in terms of day-to-day activities, what is the best method? Should I plan activities for each day by neighborhood? By arrondissement? By individual sights? By something else?

For instance, should I pick an neighborhood each day and pick specific activities/restaurants/etc. within it? Or do you think it would be better to pick one or two interesting sights each day and plan everything else around those?

While we don't want to be too tied down by specific plans each day, I do want to have a general plan or starting point.

Some things that may or may not be important:

We will be there for 6 days.

I'm interested in eccentricities; I like a little weirdness, if that makes sense, so while I do want to see the usual big attractions (will you believe I 'skipped' the Eiffel Tower last time? I just enjoyed it from a distance), especially for my first-timer friend's benefit, I really like seeing what makes a city unique. I day dream more about wandering winding little side streets and out of the way places than about the Louvre.

We will be traveling mostly on foot and by metro.

I love to eat, but I wouldn't call myself a foodie. What I am is a vegetarian on a budget (both of us are). So acquiring food will be something we will have to think carefully about and plan accordingly, possibly more so than your average tourist. We hope to sample lots of pastries and treats! Are creperies and falafel places as good a bet as they seem?

Long story short, how should I approach planning daily activities? Any advice?

Thank you
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Old Apr 9th, 2013, 08:35 AM
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I wouldn't get too stuck on arrondissement numbers, but in general, geography is a good way to start the planning. For example, you don't want to do the Eiffel Tower and Sacre Coeur in one day only to go back to the Champs-Elysees the next.

I'd make a list of what interests you and then group things by geography and type. For example, just because the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay are pretty close together doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea to do two major museums in one day. (I realize that the Louvre may not be top on your list - just the first example I came up with!) I tend to plan one or two big things per day and then leave the rest of the time for wandering, shopping, etc.

I really enjoyed walking tours - Paris Walks has a lot that are neighborhood-specific, so you can get a sense of what the different areas of Paris are like.
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Old Apr 9th, 2013, 08:35 AM
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Make a list of things you want to see and do. Get out a good map. Mark the map with the places you've chosen. Check opening days and times. Group close-by things together, planning to see 2, 3 at most, big things each day - leave the rest of the time for wandering and serendipity. Forget about grouping by arrondissement - for one thing, you'll likely never even have a clue which one you're in (there aren't border crossings) - just group things logically by location. And please don't draw up one of those itineraries that includes the two minutes you'll brush your teeth every morning - keep it simple and loose. The more obsessive you get about an itinerary, the more likely you'll toss it out the window once you're there.

A good guidebook and some internet research will help you figure out eccentric sites to visit.

Being a vegetarian in Paris is a non-issue.

Good luck!
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Old Apr 9th, 2013, 09:22 AM
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General area of town is a reasonable way to plan activities, at least for places far apart (ie, wouldn't make best sense to combine Montmartre with the catacombes on a particular day). But the arrondisement numbers wouldn't make sense as places could be right across the street from each other and be in different arrondisments.

I'll tell you generally what I do. I have in mind which sites and museums I probably want to see, at least the major ones. I never plan to visit more than one major museum a day, and I combine museum trips with things more outdoors or physical in a day. Then I check when each is closed. I might prefer to have a day in-between them, also. So that is a rough guide. Other things don't have to be planned so much, and can just fit in-between major sites and museums.
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Old Apr 9th, 2013, 09:28 AM
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We plan by picking a couple of major activities for each day, with as little booked in advance as possible. And subject to change based on weather or change in mood or interests.

But I will tend to have a tentative schedule, based on open days and times, and when places will have shorter lines. For example, I might say Day 1, Sainte Chapelle and Notre Dame in the morning, Musee d'Orsay in the afternoon. And have ideas of other things to do on those days that are close to those places.

I found having our 17yo son, who was a vegetarian, not as easy as in other countries. But at places like creperies, it will be easy. I've never had falafel in Paris, so can't speak to that. At cafes, both my kids will have croque monsieur or croque madame "sans jambon," which is easy and tasty.
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Old Apr 9th, 2013, 09:48 AM
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Oh, and out-of-the-way places, I've found that using a good walking tour, out of a book or found online, can help me find some of those interesting back streets. I've used a book called "ParisWalks." I also have two volumes of a book with very detailed descriptions / walks called "Around and About Paris." I love those little side streets too!
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Old Apr 9th, 2013, 10:31 AM
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Google Paris vegetarian restaurants and get lots of hits including this one from David Lebovitz -

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/04/vegetarian-rest-1/

We enjoy the falafel on the rue des Rosiers in the Marais. Here's one blogger's take on what's on offer there -

http://www.seriouseats.com/2008/08/b...is-france.html
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Old Apr 9th, 2013, 10:48 AM
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Thanks for all the tips, everyone! I think I'll make a master list of places I'd like to see and mark them on a map as StCirq and jent103 suggest.

Then once I've done that we can just pick and choose what we want to do day by day.

I'm not intent on finding specifically vegetarian restaurants in Paris; I'm flexible as long as they are vegetarian-friendly, serve one or two things I can eat or are willing to be flexible. Mainly I don't want to have to go TOO far out of my way after a long day of sight-seeing to find something good, so that's why I thought it would be a good idea to find a few likely options in each areas I visit before leaving.

MaineGG: I have read and bookmarked the David Lebovitz link, but thank you for reminding me about it!

Maybe I should start another thread for this, but my friend is really into plants and gardening. Could anyone suggest your favorite gardens and parks in Paris? I think she favors gardens that are a little less manicured and more 'natural' looking.
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Old Apr 9th, 2013, 10:54 AM
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When we started spending time in Paris about 20 years ago, vegetarianism did not seem well-understood or well-received at eating places (and, BTW, in Winter vegetables and salads seemed scarce), but over the intervening years both situations have improved to the point that perusal of the always-posted "La Carte" (a "menu" to us Americans) will tell you how easy it will be to find non-meat dishes at a particular place.

If you are vegans, it will be harder, but if you eat fish it will be very easy. In between, it will be very possible but may require some negotiation with the waiter/waitress.

Others here can advise better about language, but I have found "sans les viandes" communicates you don't want meat, and "un plat vegetarian, s'il vous plait" will likely get you something suitable.

Crepe, falafel, salad, and sandwich choices are very easy to navigate.
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Old Apr 9th, 2013, 11:13 AM
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Great article on gardens: http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/06/29...anted=all&_r=0
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Old Apr 9th, 2013, 11:41 AM
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Parks and gardens:

I like the Promenade Plantée, but that isn't exactly informal for the most part, being squeezed into the space of an old railway line, but it is still worth a visit.

The Buttes Chaumont makes full romantic use of the quarry it used to be.

And try Googling "Paris secret gardens"....

To revert to your original question, you may find this useful:

http://www.ratp.fr/plan-interactif/
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Old Apr 9th, 2013, 12:45 PM
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On vegetarian places, we were specifically seeking out places that had good French food and at least one (always just one) vegetarian main course. Here are what we came up with: Willi's Wine Bar; Fish le Boissonerie (we actually haven't eaten here, just stopped for wine a bunch of times); Mon Vieil Ami; Semilla. Le Reminet, nice little places, indicated they could have put together something for DS, but he wasn't eating with us that dinner. And for a special meal, if you're looking for one, Le 39V has a vegetarian main course. DS liked it, it was pasta, I thought it looked boring. But their Spring soup appetizer was vegetables-only, and one of the best dishes I've ever had.
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Old Apr 9th, 2013, 02:48 PM
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I don't particularly like crepes, I wouldn't plan on making that my mainstay. I would think you'd get real tired of them. I guess they are somewhat cheap, but most of them I see are just on the street. There are a few crepe restaurants, especially in Montparnasse and they do often have vegetarian crepes. Here is one near where I often stay: http://parisbymouth.com/creperie-josselin/

AS for falafel, I'm not as crazy about that, but the most famous one probably is l'As du Falafel on rue des Rosiers. I ate their once, it was good for falafel, but not the greatest ambience, that's for sure, inside. I think most people just walk around with them, but I really do not like eating while walking around. Here is a discussion of the famous one and a another one that is vegetarian http://www.secretsofparis.com/latest...n-falafel.html
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