Advice for paris in 2 1/2 days please!

May 6th, 2019, 12:27 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 31
Advice for paris in 2 1/2 days please!

Hello! I am bleary eyed from all my countless hours of internet research and would love some help from real time recent travelers. Passing through Paris with my kids and we have 2 1/2 days in early July. Specifically, our plane is scheduled to land at 10:40am on a Tuesday and leave at 11:15pm on Thursday night. This is a once in a lifetime for my kids so I want to cram as MANY sites as humanly possible! (I grew up visiting Paris but haven't been in 30 years!) First question: I endlessly researched purchasing the Paris Pass. Seems to make sense that only I purchase it as all my kids will get free admission to the places offered other than metro rail passes and a cruise on the seine and montparnasses. DOesnt seem worthwhile to go on the off and on bus as we will be hussling from one place to the next and walking and/or metro seem to be a better bet. Correct? Will they be able to enter the fast track line with me if only I have the Paris Pass? I dont know what time I would arrive in the 9th arrondisement if my plane is scheduled to land at approximately 11:00am. But I was thinking to drop the bags off at our hotel and then head to Versailles as that seemed to be the only day to squeeze that in. Does that make sense? It would be Tuesday and they have musical gardens... Then the following day we would have a full day in Paris. How many of the main sites could we manage in one day? What happens if I buy the timed entry tickets which everybody recommends but we don't arrive at the time on the ticket?? We also have Thursday until whatever time we woudl have to ehad to the airport which would probably be 7:00pm I imagine... Does anyone have an ideal itinerary that would take into account what look like insanely huge lines to get in to the Louvre and Tour Eiffel (things seem to have drastically changed in the last 30 years!!!) I want to go to the Louvre, Arc de Triumphe, Tour Eiffel, Seine River Cruise, Opera, Musee D'Orzay if possible, Montparnasse, Champs Elysee, Place Vendome and Concorde and Jardin Tuilleries walkthrough. And I'd love to walk around by Lafayette a bit and Fabourg Saint Honore. Trying to hussle but I have several kids who range from 4 - 17 and every intention to hussle my younger ones so that we can take advantage of our short tenure in Paris! All ideas and plan totally appreciated!
shifrap is offline  
May 6th, 2019, 12:36 PM
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>>I endlessly researched purchasing the Paris Pass. <<

Haven't read the whole post yet (paragraphs would help ) but the Paris Pass almost never makes sense. And you do not have 2.5 days free in Paris. With a 10:40 arrival at CDG Tuesday you will be lucky to get to your hotel by by 1:30PM. Then on Thurs you will need to leave central Paris by around 7PM. So you have 1.5 days and some jet lagged time on Tues.

In that short a visit I would not try to cram in as much as possible -- just a couple of major sites, a boat ride, and enjoying just walking around soaking in Paris.

Now . . . I'll try to get through the rest of the OP
janisj is online now  
May 6th, 2019, 12:41 PM
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" . . . This is a once in a lifetime for my kids so I want to cram as MANY sites as humanly possible! . . . "

I disagree with your premise, to assume your kids will never be back and that force-marching them around a city designed for strolling will be a good thing in any way. So my suggestion is general. Be a relaxed & flexible guide to ensure your children will have the best possible experience & fond memories, encouraging them to return on their own, time after time as many of us do. Include them in the planning, let them each decide where they'd most like to visit and make it their own, not a manic version devised by someone not them.
MmePerdu is online now  
May 6th, 2019, 01:15 PM
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How old ARE these "kids"?

ooh,,,,I just reread the unparagraphed post......4 thru 17

the 4 year old would probably be happy watching boats at Jardin Luxembourg.
the 17 year old might want to do his OWN internet research

Last edited by tomboy; May 6th, 2019 at 01:18 PM.
tomboy is offline  
May 6th, 2019, 01:24 PM
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OMG -- 4 through 17 (!) and you want to do a week's worth of sites in 1.5 days.

Horrible idea IMO. You'll only guarantee they will hate Paris.
janisj is online now  
May 6th, 2019, 01:36 PM
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Your trip plans mimic your posting - all jammed together, no paragraph breaks, run-on sentences, gibberish. .That might be a lesson. It's totally unreadable! Try to start over and write something comprehensible.

I can't follow your blistering post because I'm tired here in France and it's late, BUT:

The pace of your trip sounds like Medieval torture. Can't you slow down a bit (a LOT)? Of COURSE your kids will never want to revisit Paris if this is what you throw at them.
StCirq is offline  
May 6th, 2019, 02:02 PM
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I think it's great you have ANY time in Paris -- I LOVE Paris -- and hopefully the weather is good while you're there! Since your time is limited and you want to appeal to the childrens' interests, I would suggest first concentrating on the things within Paris you know you want to see. A side trip to Versailles is very time-consuming. A visit to the Eiffel Tower is a "must" and fortunately can be done at night after other things are closed; it's also fun to take a nighttime stroll down the Champs Elysee and end at the Arc de Triomphe, which is well lighted. Obviously you have to visit the Louvre during opening hours, but it IS possible to make a lightning-fast visit there, just to make a beeline to the Mona Lisa and back out. I hate to say that because of all of the treasures there, but on one of my visits to Paris with my then-10-year old son I agreed to his request to go to the Louvre only to see that one painting and though it "killed" me to speed past the Da Vincis, etc., I did what I had agreed to do and as a result he was very happy and when he was older we returned on a family visit and spent a day in the museum.

The kids enjoyed going to the top of Montparnasse the first evening we were there; because it was summer it stayed light late and it was fun to see the setting sun over Paris; again, that can be "after hours" when other things are closed.

I think you'll be able to see quite a lot if you don't leave Paris to go to Versailles, and if you take advantage of seeing some things at night. Have a great trip.
bakerstreet is offline  
May 6th, 2019, 02:07 PM
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bakerstreet: You stressed several times about doing major sightseeing at night -- but the OP will have several children along - as young as 4 years old. Not all that practical.
janisj is online now  
May 6th, 2019, 02:16 PM
Join Date: Feb 2016
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That sounds exhausting. We crammed a lot in and dang... this makes us look like a bunch of loafers.
We just got back and my teens really loved walking around the city. Sitting in Cafes. Saint Chapelle. The walk along the river. The boat ride. They loved L'Orangerie and even though tired they liked Musee D'Orsay and Pompidou. But if you cram too much into a city of strolling, they will hate it. Maybe better to whet their appetite to return.
RubyTwins is offline  
May 6th, 2019, 02:44 PM
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So many souls posting questions here don't like the comments they get so I'll encourage and say Go For It. You will be miserable, your kids will be miserable, you'll face miserably long lines and miserably thick crowds but heck, it's your trip. There are no fast track lines. ( Reports last weekend were of 2 to 4 hour waits for Versailles.) This is not the Paris of 30 years ago. But if this is your thing, Go For It.
Envierges is offline  
May 7th, 2019, 08:52 PM
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Thank you all so much! Sorry for the paragraph-less post!
I guess since I haven't been back in 30 years I wasn't as hopeful that my kids -- or myslef! -- would be back sooner. Hence, me wanting to take it all in!
Definitely sounds as though things have drastically changed since my youth!
I read that there WERE fast track lines if you purchased the fast track pass. That was one of the main reasons I myself was going to purchase it. The question on that one was if my kids could join me in line as they were entering for free...
I emailed "the guide" and they said that could be done...
My 4 year old is not an average 4 year old. He rolls with the punches and we always do summer trips that cater to my older kids. The younger kids manage!
Would that line at Versailles be the same in the afternoon?
Should I anticipate those lines at the other major attractions?
If I buy tickets in advance and am tardy, what happens to my ticket?
Thank you all so much!
shifrap is offline  
May 7th, 2019, 09:12 PM
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I honestly don't think we can help you much. That is not being snarky -- just honest. Several people have taken the time to explain that you have less time than you think, that dragging all the kids around from site to site won't be fun for anyone, that the Paris Pass is not a 'deal', and cramming in a lot is problematic . . . and your only response is how to get fast passes and avoid lines.

Sounds like your mind is made up.
janisj is online now  
May 7th, 2019, 10:31 PM
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I'm IN Paris now. You need to seriously re-think the whole thing and as to what your children think of this I can only imagine. Perhaps they'll actually glance away from their phones at some point.
Dukey1 is offline  
May 7th, 2019, 11:06 PM
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Do ONE museum, at most two. I suggest the Branly, your kids will enjoy it, it has some of the shortest lines of the big museums and it’s one you have not seen yourself.

Ask the older kids to go online and let them choose a second major sight.

River cruise is fine.

Pick a park/leafy square near your hotel...the Rodin Musem gardens, Luxembourg Gardens, Tuileries, Place des Vosges, Parc Monceau, whatever. Spend some relaxing time there with an ice cream unless it’s the coldest July on record.

Have the kids create a short list of rainy day options.

Give your kids a taste of Paris that has them wanting to come back for more.

Skip Versailles. Just no. Not on this trip,

WeisserTee is online now  
May 8th, 2019, 01:21 AM
Join Date: Apr 2016
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The impossible lines have to do with the security inspections of each and every person visiting the attraction. There's no way to get around them. That's what security is all about.
Envierges is offline  
May 8th, 2019, 01:23 AM
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I one day I would suggest the naval museum in the Trocadero. Very good for kids. Outside of it you get the best view on Eiffel Tour which is 10 minutes walk after the museum.I do recomand to visit Eiffel. After that a boat trip can be nice and relaxing.

Monmartre is one of my favorite places for a walk.

Also recomandable for kids is the Atelier des Lumieres. Currently there is a Van Gogh exhibition. Check the availability of thickets before because it's on a very high damand.
Another good experience for the kids is Tutankhamun exhibition and from ther you can stroll along canal St Martin. Again Check the availability of thickets.
Zvi is offline  
May 8th, 2019, 03:46 AM
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I support the idea of letting your kids choose a sight they want to visit!
frvrtrvlng is offline  
May 8th, 2019, 06:06 AM
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I agree with everything previous posters have said here. Part of the charm of Paris is the slow pace, strolling along the Seine, exploring the neighborhoods, sipping un café, reading and people watching in the gardens. These are the experiences that will whet your children’s appetite for Paris and inspire them to return with more time to digest the true Paris later on in life – not a frenetic, mad dash from one site to another. That being said, it’s possible to experience a little bit of both – Paris wandering + Paris sites. If I were you, I’d completely nix Versailles, then choose 3-4 of the sites you listed in your original post and build two magical days around those sites.

Others on this site have more experience with Paris than I do (and they live there!), but just as an example, you could do something like this:

One possible day:
Start out at Montparnasse Tower
Wander to nearby Luxembourg Gardens, let the kids play with the boats, enjoy some crepes or ice cream
Walk to the Seine, perhaps by Notre Dame
Enjoy a leisurely stroll by the Seine, stop at cafes, etc.
POSSIBLE Museum in late afternoon, although I'd leave the afternoon free for soaking up Paris

Another possible day
Enjoy nice croissants and coffee at a café in your neighborhood
Musée D’Orsay followed by stroll/playtime in Tuileries garden
Walk to Place de la Concorde
Walk to Eiffel Tower and do an Eiffel tower tour
Rest of the afternoon for exploring

If you choose a few sites that are near each other (like in the example above) and build in lots of strolling/playtime/cafe time in between visiting these sites, then you and your kids can enjoy Paris at a nice, leisurely pace and still experience some of the great sites without feeling insanely rushed and stressed. Easier to take in the sites when you're relaxed and enjoying the slower European pace, then when you're rushing from place to place without time to catch your breath in between.

(P.S. I added the Luxembourg Gardens as one of your 3-4 sites, as I second the poster who said the little one will love playing with the boats there (and in my experience, Luxembourg is not to be missed even for adults, and is a great place for kids to run around and work off excess energy)

Hope you have an amazing time!!
Fleur_de_Lis is offline  
May 8th, 2019, 06:13 AM
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DON'T buy the Paris Pass. It's a marketing ploy. NO ONE gets a "fast track" past security. Don't waste your money.

Forget Versailles. Why would you think it would be less crowded in the afternoon? It's not. If you want to herd your kids through endless hallways nose to nose with other people's armpits and kneecaps, go for it.

Pick a park, have an ice cream, take a boat tour. Maybe visit one museum. Have the kids pick something to do.

You only have the blink of an eye to enjoy this. Make it enjoyable, not a chore.
StCirq is offline  
May 8th, 2019, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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There is actually a way to do a major site in little time:
AJPeabody is offline  

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