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Another Paris Itinerary, May 2013 - But I've done my homework!

Another Paris Itinerary, May 2013 - But I've done my homework!

Old Feb 11th, 2013, 05:26 AM
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I am glad you have left Versailles for the last day. You may decide you want to do more in Paris.
On your first day you could take the Seine boat ride. It is undemanding and a good intro to Paris. We like it late in the day as the lights are just coming on. I don't know what time that would be in May.
Another museum you might like to add is the marmottan and I don't see the Cluny or Carnavalet on your list.
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 07:13 AM
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Here is just one traveler's opinion, everyone is different.

I agree with all that you want to see but IMO, take every other place out. Paris is not something you "do" it's something you experience. Unless you plan to rush from site to site, take a quick photo and move on, you have way too much on your plate. You will miss the "feeling" that is Paris.

In the Marais, Place Vosges(coffee or lunch) and The Carnavalet Museum(maybe 1-1/2 hrs,) are some of our favorite places.

IMO, I'd save the Pantheon and Mouffetard for another trip---for us it was just something to see after many trips. Exploring the St. Michel-St. Germain area & Lux. Gardens is more fun. Now if it happens to rain, add The Pantheon.

Also, IMO, you have way too much packed into Day 2. I'm going out on a limb hear to say that the Champs was one of our biggest disappointments in Paris. I know everyone (including us) wants to walk it but it's long, extremely busy, full of car dealerships and businesses, and some mall type shops that you find in almost every city at home. If you want shopping, Galleries Layfayette(near the Opers House) or the streets around St. Germain, Ile St. Louis, The Marais, or for extreme high-end around the expensive hotels in the 8th.

I'd do the Eiffel, the Arch then on to the Opera House & Montmartre. You can see the Tuilleries & Pl. Concorde when you go to The Louvre. or The Orangerie.


I like your Day 3 because The Rodin is small and won't take that long so you have plenty of time to enjoy the rest of your plan for that day.

Versailles is an experience you won't forget so try to keep that in the plan for Fri.

We have been to Paris many times and I have to say that there are so many places you will come upon where you will just want to stop and savor the moment.

Also, put in your plan a return trip because once is just not enough for this wonderful city.
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 08:14 AM
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Museum Pass - I did not see the Opera Garnier or Espace Dali listed on the pass as free entry. Sacre Coeur is a church and free. Arc de Triomphe is E9.5 and included on the pass, Louvre E10 (although there is a discount for late afternoon/evening admission). You need to figure out which way is more economical for you.

Paris Walks are fabulous, that's why I mentioned them above. They are reasonably priced and all guides are certified. I've taken about a dozen of them and have enjoyed them all.

I do the same thing as you with guide books. I've been creating my own guides for years. If you want, I can send you what I have in Word format. If there is any pricing or hours they will have to be verified as they are not up to date. My email is in my profile - click on my name for access.
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 08:28 AM
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Updated itinerary feedback:

<< Is an afternoon enough to explore the above areas in a relaxed way without rushing >>

Yes - the area is not large. There is a Paris Walks tour of the Latin Quarter on Monday at 2:30. I would try to do this if you feel up to it. There is no reservation - just show up at the appointed time and place. After the tour you can stop and get some prepared foods and eat in and have an early night.

Day 2 - it depends on the lines for the Opera House. Are you taking a tour or going through on your own. The tours sell out quickly. You do have enough time to see these things in the afternoon.

Day 3 - the Rodin Museum is not large and unless you are spending a lot of time looking at each work you can see Ste-Chapelle before lunch. The Deportation Memorial closes from 12:00 to 2:00 (approximately - I can't exactly remember the times but they are posted on a plaque). There are cafes for lunch around Notre Dame - basic food - salads, sandwiches.

Accessing the Deportation Memorial - this is tricky and I think that's why so few people see it. Directly behind Notre Dame is a garden with shade trees. Directly behind that is a street (the easiest way is to walk through the garden (away from the church) and cross the street). You'll see iron fencing. Look for the low white plaque at the entrance to the Memorial. The Memorial is down some steps and not visible from the street. Even though it hasn't been maintained and is looking a bit tacky it has an interesting concept and makes you think. Read a description on line about it before you go so you understand it.

Is the AdT worth climbing? I'm lazy - I paid for the elevator.

BTW just a small point that's driving me crazy
- It's Louvre, not Lourve.
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 08:38 AM
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Day 1 - at the bottom of rue Mouffetard is a nice cafe - Duke de Bourgogne.

Then you can wander over to the Mosque, visit (doesn't take long). As you're leaving the mosque, turn to the left and then left again at the corner (and then possibly left again) and have some mint tea and cookies in the delightful garden.

This photo plus the next 6 or 7 will show some pix of the mosque and garden.

http://modigliani.shutterfly.com/paris2007/126#123
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 08:46 AM
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Right next to Sheakespeare is a small restaurant called Le Petite Chatelete. We arrived for an early dinner on a week night without reservations in January and were seated without any problem. In May you might need reservations, especially on a Friday night.. We really enjoyed our meal here.
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 09:08 AM
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Keep in mind that some things you want to do, especially Ste.-Chapelle and Notre Dame, need sunlight. Stained glass is not interesting without it, and these two places have the world's best glass. Watch the weather forcasts and re-arrange days if needed.
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 12:45 PM
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TPAYT - This is not the first time I've read that the Champs was a big disappointments. Perhaps we will just take a look at a section of it and skip walking it in its entirety. Thank you for that feedback and the idea of combining Tuilleries & Pl. Concorde with other sites. Thanks also for the shopping tips and affirming our choice to see Versailles. I definitely plan to have "GO BACK" on my Paris "TO DO" list!

Adrienne - I will message you. I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate your time and very generous help. You've truly gone above and beyond! Sorry about the misspellings. I do know better, but it's not something I type often, and my fingers aren't always doing what they should.

Allisonm - I have copied your restaurant suggestion to our itinerary. Thanks so much!
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 12:53 PM
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Just want to add my opinion about the Champs - sterile, boring, waste of time. Arc de Triomphe is fine, as is Place de la Concorde, just don't waste your time traversing between them on the Champs.
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 01:24 PM
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StCirq - thanks for confirming that. I do think we'll pass on traipsing from one end to the other.
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 02:22 PM
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Whew!! Totally agree with StCirq and TPAYT. I understand where you're coming from -- and have been there myself -- when, in 2010, my wife and I made a similar one-week trip. I would recommend less structure; prioritize what you want to do; and do what you can -- remembering that factors like the weather could intervene. Start out with a double-decker bus tour to give you a feel for the city and the lay of the land. Although it may be too laid back for you, I like the idea of doing only one major activity each morning and afternoon. After dinner at a neighborhood brasserie, just walk around, as it stays light until after 9. Since our trip in 2010, we have returned to Paris each year -- and recently spent 3 months there near where you will be living. We enjoyed it tremendously!! You picked an excellent neighborhood. We absolutely adore the Luxembourg Gardens, which you should take the opportunity to walk through at various times of the day and early evening while coming from and going to your apartment. If you like coffee in the morning, you might try a small coffee/snack shop run by an American expat on Rue d'Assas near Rue de Rennes (not far from your apartment). Also, we enjoyed the Oudinot Restaurant on the same-named street in the 7th Arondissement, near Boulevard Invalides. Trés français. I too would recommend the Paris Walks tours, especially the one in Marais. Not that you have any more time, but we also highly recommend for your consideration two other smaller museums -- the Marmottan Monet (an Impressionist gold mine in the 16th Arondissement) and the Jaquemart-André (18th c. paintings in a 19th c. house in the 8th Arondissement -- go for a light lunch or afternoon tea!). You may also want to visit the Cluny (especially the 15th c. tapestries), near your apartment. And, have you considered the Père-Lachaise Cemetery? You could go there after visiting the Marais. Have fun!!!
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 02:38 PM
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Bill - You echo my sentiments exactly. I've accepted that we can't do it all; it's just so darn hard to choose what NOT to do as it's all so wonderful. My daughter and I both love impressionist art. I have the Marmottan on my "2nd list" which are things to do if the first ones don't work out due to weather, etc. I am not familiar with the Jaquemart-Andre, but I have considered the Cluny, if for nothing else to see the unicorn tapestry. Probably will not get to the cemetery this trip. As appealing as it sounds, for me, that's a 2nd trip item.

I appreciate the restaurant tips. We will be staying about 2 blocks away from the St. Michael metro stop, just off of Rue St. Andre des Arts. Looking at street view on Google, there seems to be many dining options in the area, but personal recommendations are always the best! Thank you for your comments!
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Old Feb 12th, 2013, 05:49 AM
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Here's our favorite place on Ile St. Louis. We've been here many times, it's a "must" on every trip. They have a 36 Euro, 3 course dinner and the room is charming.
http://restaurant-ilotvache.com/inde...o=presentation

This was our new find Sept.'12. On the left bank across from Notre Dame. Small, lovely room, excellent food. This definitely goes on our "return to" list.
http://www.lereminet.com/
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Old Feb 12th, 2013, 06:26 AM
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TPAYT - Thank you - both of these look AMAZING! I know this sounds "gauche" but I was happy to see both websites and menus offered in English. I speak no French. I am learning a few basic phrases for the trip but was wondering how I would decipher an all-French menu. One certainly can't expect the waiter to explain every item! Both of these are also within easy walking distance of our apt.

Question: What does "Net Price" or "Prix nets:tva 7%" mean on the menu? Is this the bottom line or the price before VAT and tip? I've not gotten this far in my research yet, so any "dining" tips are welcome! I have learned that entree is an appetizer and the distinctions menu and carte, but beyond that, I'm fairly clueless.
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Old Feb 12th, 2013, 07:18 AM
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I know what you mean as our French is definitely not up to par. This has really not posed a problem in Paris for us. Both of the restaurants I mentioned, and many others, have English menus plus the servers speak enough English to be of help. I usually can read French for the meat or fish but where I have trouble is in the part of the animal it comes from(no sweetbreads for me.)

Even with very little French you will be fine in Paris. Just remember that politeness counts so always greet--Bon Jour Madam, please and thank--SVP, Merci, and you will be fine.

The service charge is included so no tip is required but we usually leave a few Euros extra. If you charge dinner there is no place to add a tip.
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Old Feb 12th, 2013, 07:36 AM
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Just for an example: I looked up our bill at L'Ilot Vache last Sept. and it was 92 Euros for 2-3 course price fix dinners along with a 1/2 bottle of Rose and coffee including all charges. Not bad for Paris and good to boot.

Le Reminet was more expensive but we had a full bottle of more expensive wine. We got a great deal though. The bill was 135 Euros but by booking on line ahead of time we received 40% off for a final cost of 97 Euros. I don't know if they still are featuring that perk but you could check on it.
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Old Feb 12th, 2013, 11:47 AM
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TPAYT - "I usually can read French for the meat or fish but where I have trouble is in the part of the animal it comes from(no sweetbreads for me." Ditto, so I'll present this to you: I've been told that I MUST try foie gras. I've had it in the US and am not a fan, but in Paris maybe it's better. Your opinion? Thanks for the additional information - I will be sure to look for that discount as it's quite generous!
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Old Feb 12th, 2013, 12:02 PM
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I think you are smart to be flexible on Versailles. We have been to Paris twice, but never made it to Versailles. Both visits, we decided to stay in Paris, because we still had places in town to wander around. We were glad we stayed. I am sure Versailles is gorgeous, but Paris might just pull you in!

Secondly, do not be concerned about not having a concierge. It is not true that Parisians are unfriendly. We had no problem at all, getting around without speaking French. You will be fine.

We were in Paris last fall. Two restaurants we liked are Le Petite Prince de Paris, in the 5th, near the Sorbonne. http://www.lepetitprincedeparis.fr/

Across the street from Le Petite Prince is Le Coupe Chou, where we also ate, but preferred the other one much better.

And one restaurant on Ille St Louis, which we returned to because we'd liked it so much our first visit. Le Caveau de L'Isle. http://lecaveaudelisle.com/

Both of these restaurants have wonderful food, but neither is intimidating or snooty. Le Caveau has had the same chef/owner for about 40 years, and service is perfect.
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Old Feb 12th, 2013, 12:04 PM
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PS. I forgot to recommend the Batobus, boat transportation on the Seine. You can get one day or multi-day hop on/hop off passes. It stops at all the major sites. It's a nice way (and inexpensive) to see the city from the River. Be sure to do it after dark at least once. The Batobus does stop running around 9 p.m., so be aware of that.
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Old Feb 12th, 2013, 01:15 PM
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MDH absolutely loves foie gras which is odd because he usually only likes very plain, basic food. For me it's just OK. Of course, some is better than others as in any food. Maybe give it try and see what you think. Since you're in an apt. you could buy a little in a shop and try it on some bread.

What I love in France is lamb chops(especially good at L'Ilot Vache.) Something we both can't get enough is dauphinnoise(sp?) potatoes. They are served many places (again great at LiLot Vache.)

http://s708.beta.photobucket.com/use...11233603514939

A couple of things we've learned in our visits that might help:
Always order tap water in the restaurants, the water in Paris is just fine to drink and you won't be paying a high price for bottled water.

When you exit into the lobby after customs, there is an ATM on your left for easy access to some Euros.

Head the other way (right after exiting) towared the RER train into Paris. You will see some Info (accueil) booths along the way. We stopped and they sold us our tickets on the RER. When you come down the escalator and see the long lines for tickets you'll be glad you already have one.

Here's a few photos from Le Reminet
http://s708.beta.photobucket.com/use...37829041447076

We have also been to Le Caveau de L'Isle and enjoyed it.

PeaceOut has a point about Versailles and staying flexible. We loved the Louvre courtyard but didn't enter the museum until our 3rd visit as it's very overwhelming. I'm sure you'll get a feel for what you want to see as you go along.

For us, it's not what we see in Paris, It's the feeling we have when we are there. Sometimes sitting in a cafe with a glass of wine, watching the world go by far outweighs standing in line to get in an attraction.

After all this reminiscing about Paris I want to be there. I'll be watching for your trip report. Have a wonderful trip.
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