Any advice re: my 6 day Paris itinerary?

Oct 6th, 2012, 04:52 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 8
Any advice re: my 6 day Paris itinerary?

My husband and I are traveling to Paris for our first visit in a few weeks: 10/20-10/29/2012. Our flight from the US arrives at 7:45 AM Saturday 10/20 and leaves Monday 10/29 at 11:30 AM.

I would appreciate any advice re: my Paris itinerary- anything to add, delete, too cramped, tips? We will be spending a portion of our trip with my brother's family.
- 10/20 Saturday and 10/21 Sunday we will have to ourselves in Paris.
- 10/22 Monday AM we have rental car reservations to drive to Normandy, returning to Paris 10/24 evening. While in Normandy: we are staying right at Omaha Beach and have a full day private tour with a historian booked for Tuesday 10/23 and plan to tour a bit on our own Monday afternoon & Wed morning.
- Wed 10/24 night and Thursday 10/25 we will have to ourselves in Paris.
- Thursday 10/25 late afternoon through Sunday 10/28 early afternoon: my brother, his wife, and their 3 children (ages 6-10) will join us from the UK.
- Sunday 10/28 late afternoon/evening we will have to ourselves.

Again, this is our first trip to France and we’re most interested in the history. A few musts: the Louvre, Eiffel Tower (actually going up- I know there’s mixed reviews but I must do it!), Notre Dame, the Army Museum, and people watching/enjoying some café type food, maybe a picnic or two if the weather cooperates. We are not foodies, more café/pub-type people. We’re from Vermont and 50 degrees F cold does not bother us!...although I know there’s a good chance of Paris October rain. The days we’re touring with my brother’s family we’d like to try to pick one large museum/sightseeing event (ideally in the AM when the kids have more energy), and spend some time in the afternoon relaxing in a park: Jardin Des Tuileries , Champ de Mars, and Jardin de Luxembourg.

My husband and I are staying at Hotel Relais Bosquet in the Rue Cler area, and my brother is renting a family apartment 4 blocks away on Ave de La Bourdonnais, closer to the Eiffel Tower.

Our Normandy time is fixed. We are flexible with our Paris days except: Versailles Sunday 10/21 (I’ve purchased le passeport tickets), tour of the Louvre (Paris Muse) for Friday 10/26 AM from 10-12:30 (supposed to keep the kids interested/entertained!) , and summit tickets for the Eiffel Tour at 5 pm Friday 10/26 to avoid the long line- hoping since sunset this time of year is around 6:40pm that we could climb in the daylight, and perhaps see the lights come on at sunset! (I’ve read it takes 1.5-3hrs for the up and down visit).

We do plan to buy the 4 day Museum Pass Thurs 10/25-Sun 10/28, and my brother’s family a 2 day Museum Pass for Friday 10/26-Saturday 10/27, primarily to save us time waiting in lines.

I also realize we’ll be exhausted on arrival. We have traveled several times to Europe by red eye flights and found that we enjoy/have enough energy for the hop on, hop off bus tours to get acquainted to the area, then walking around a bit. We are able to have our luggage held at our hotel until check in.

Sat 10/20:
AM
L’Open tours hop on/hop off bus
Walk around Rue Cler
Champ de Mars park picnic lunch
EVE
Walk around Moulin Rouge area at night to see all lit up!

Sun 10/21: leave ~8am
Versailles full day trip by RER- 4.5 hrs + travel time, purchased Le Passeport tickets, fountains on this day

Mon 10/22 travel to Normandy, Arromanches
Port Winston Artificial Harbor/Mulbery B, The Price of Freedom 20 min movie
D-Day Landing Museum (2 short videos)
Omaha Beach Memorial Museum (at Saint-Laurent-sur-mer)

Tue 10/23 Normandy, Bayeux- all day private historian tour of the D-Day beaches
Bayeux
Ste. Mere Eglise
Utah Beach
Pointe Du Hoc
Vierville-sur-mer
Omaha Beach
WWII Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
Longues-sur-mer gun battery

Wed 10/24 Normandy AM, PM travel back to Paris
More time at the WWII Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial

Thurs 10/25:
AM
Army Museum/Napoleon’s Tomb
Rodin Museum (if have extra time?)
PM (brother's family arrives ~4pm)
Rue Cler walk (Rick Steves)
Eat at Café Du Marche/people watch?
EVE
Arc de Triomphe, to see Champs-Elysees lit up at night!

Fri 10/26:
AM
10-12:30 Louvre tourTuileries Garden, lunch at Café Reale?
PM
Orangerie Museum (essentially we’re just interested in seeing the Water Lilies room)
Take metro from Tuileries to Trocadero stop (for photos of the Eiffel tower from here)
EVE
17:00 Eiffel Tower
Dinner at Au Bon Accueil?

Sat 10/27
AM
Historic Paris Walk (Rick Steves) 4 hr 3 miles:
Point zero
Archaeological Crypt
Notre Dame
Deportation Memorial
Ile St. Louis- Berthillon ice cream parlor #31
Sainte-Chapelle, Palais de Justice
Conciergerie
Take metro from Cite to Odeon stop
PM
Jardin de Luxembourg – catch a marionette show in the afternoon (on Wed, Sat, and Sundays)
Return to our hotels
EVE
evening Seine River Cruise to tour- Bateaux Parisiens from the Eiffel Tower

Sun 10/28: AM
Montmartre –Sunday artist/painters market, Sacre Coeur
Return to hotel/Champ de Mars park late picnic lunch and see my brother’s family off ~2pm
PM
Unplanned- what we didn’t get to, perhaps Cluny Museum in the afternoon? or walk the Marais area?

Mon 10/29: fly out

Thank you!
GoGreenVT is offline  
Oct 6th, 2012, 05:16 AM
  #2  
 
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You have a very busy but good overview of Paris. And of the Normandy D-day sights. Just a couple of observations: While in Bayeux, be sure to visit the Bayeux Tapestry. In Paris, your Saturday is very crowded. You may find that you run out of time. But do not miss Sainte Chapelle. You could probably eliminate the Palace of Justice and the Conciergerie if you run short of time. But definitely don't eliminate the ice cream!

Just one other note, we found the Cafe du Marche to be touristy, expensive and with bad food. There are lots of cafes in the general area that are much better.

Have a great trip and report back to us.
mamcalice is offline  
Oct 6th, 2012, 05:29 AM
  #3  
 
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Posts: 4,144
Well, you have done lots of planning....

I think your Saturday 10/27 is way too crowded. I would skip the 4 hour walk...it chews up too much time.

I would get to Ste Chapelle when it opens. The security line can get be long, so I would go there first. It is so intimate and beautiful . If I were going ti skip anything that day it would be the Conciergerie....a bit disappointing for us....no where as sinister as the Tower of London. Or, go straight to Notre Dame and get in line for the tower climb. The pass will get you in but it doesn't get you to the front of the line. The view fromthe top is worth the line and the climb and the gargoyles upmclose are just too cool.

I do recommend Musee Rodin and we did enjoy the Army museum....I think you will have time for both. The rue Cler walf will not take very long. It's not that impressive...nice street but too many now know about it.

Since you will be in the 7th, do try Cafe Constant and les cocottes for lunch or dinner. Also, Reed is a wonderful restaurant.

I would probably skip Moulin Rouge... Not really much to see. L'Orangerie is wonderful...the Monet canvases are something to see...a must for me.

See the Champs Elysee from the ADT, but the walk is not that great. Crowded and loaded with everystore you will find in an American mall. I love the view of it from Place de la Concorde.

If you do go to the Odeon area, stop in at Un Dimanche a Paris....wonderful macarons (especially the ginger citrus and strawberry). They also have amazing desserts and chocolates....it's a gorgeous store. We love that area and there are lots of great cafes to stop in!

Good luck. We love Paris and I am sure you will have a great time.
denisea is offline  
Oct 6th, 2012, 05:43 AM
  #4  
 
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Day 1 - your picnic lunch will be a picnic dinner by the time you get into the terminal, collect bags, get into Paris, check into hotel, then do the HOHO bus. A walk around rue Cler (not terribly interesting) will only take a few minutes.

10/25 - you should have more than ample time for the Rodin Museum before meeting up with family at 4:00.

10/26 - the Orangerie Museum is quite small so do try to see more than the Water Lilies. You can go through the museum in an hour.

10/27 Notre Dame offers a wonderful free tour (I believe at 2:30 but check inside to the right at the welcome desk for the time).

This is quite a full day. I'm not familiar with the RS walk but why does a 3 mile walk take 4 hours? You'll never be able to get in all the morning activities. Ste-Chapelle can take a long time waiting in the security line. Your afternoon is very light - suggest moving some things to the PM.

DO NOT take the metro from Cite to Odeon - it's only a 5 to 7 minute walk and will take longer on the metro. Also there are those 100 steps down to the Cite metro.

The Cluny Museum is wonderful - I love it. While you're in the area you might also want to see the Pantheon and St-Etienne-du-Mont church or St-Sulpice.
adrienne is offline  
Oct 6th, 2012, 07:15 AM
  #5  
 
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Posts: 471
Your trip is well thought out. Be sure to have ample time in
the parks with the children. Children get very restless indoors.

Here is one tip from our recent week in Paris. We arrived in early morning at CDG, took RER B into Paris and exited the
wrong way at Notre Dame/St. Michel station. We found ourselves
in front of Notre Dame with the plaza all to ourselves. We
had a glorious time studying the beautiful stonework on the
outside with no interuptions at 8 am. Then, to our surprise,
the cathedral opened at around 8:45 and we took turns going
inside-no lines etc. It was a great way to visit this beautiful church.
wanttogo is offline  
Oct 6th, 2012, 07:24 AM
  #6  
Uma
 
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Posts: 435
You list a possible dinner at Au Bon Accueil. We had a wonderful meal there in 2009. Had heard it was under new ownership?? If the food is still as good, you will enjoy it.
And, weather permitting, if you sit outside you can see the Eiffel Tower all lit up at night.
Uma is offline  
Oct 6th, 2012, 10:13 AM
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1. Seeing the Moulin Rouge area "all lit" up is some sort of fantasy. There's absolutely no reason to trudge all the way to Montmartre, especially that early in the trip when you're bound to be tired, to see things lit up, and the Moulin Rouge is just a silly icon. It's a windmill, no big deal. All Paris is lit up at night - take a Seine cruise if you want to see it.

2. The Café du Marché is one of the most disgusting eateries in all of Paris. Don't go near it (or at least, before you sit down to eat, go to the back room and peek in the kitchen - you'll run screaming).

3. Au Bon Acceuil used to be a decent place to eat - not so much anymore. You're staying in the 7ème amid a plethora of great places to eat, so make the most of that: Le Florimond, La Fontaine de Mars, all the Constant places, l'Auberge Bressane, the Café du Champ de Mars, and a host of other places are all nearby.

If you've got time before the trip, I'd lay down the Rick Steves guide and pick up a Michelin Green Guide.
StCirq is online now  
Oct 6th, 2012, 02:34 PM
  #8  
 
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Posts: 63,581
I may be wrong, but I suspect much of your planning is based on a Rick Steves guidebook The walks/Rue Cler/Au Bon Acceuil,etc.

I'm w/ StCirq - step away from RS and get a good guidebook.

You'll have small kids w/ you part of the time and those days will be long and hard.

Just a few random thoughts . . . I'd definitely skip the Moulin Rouge. The Champs Elysee will probably be very disappointing and take a lot of time. The Arc is sort of iconic so you'll probably want to see it. But I'd personally put it down at the end of my wish list. 100% take vedette from Pont Neuf one evening -- preferably when both families can do it. On your second day you have to be out before 8AM and you'll likely be jetlagged - that may be a tough wake up call and hard day . . .
janisj is online now  
Oct 6th, 2012, 03:37 PM
  #9  
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 8
Thanks for all the wonderful, speedy advice!

Does anyone have recommendations for Eiffel Tower area family-friendly restaurants (maybe with a view?) if Au Bon Accueil is no longer recommended?

What are the differences/recommendations re: Bateaux Parisiens vs. Vedettes du Pont Neuf river cruises? I was thinking the former because it's near our hotels.

REVISED:
Sat 10/20:
#69 bus to Bastille- walk around, explore the Marais
Check into our hotel, go to bed early!

Sun 10/21: leave ~8am
Versailles full day trip

Mon 10/22 - Wed 10/24 Normandy

Wed 10/24:
EVE
Montmarte: hill at sunset, Sacre Coeur, see Moulin Rouge
(What's wrong with fantasy? )

Thurs 10/25:
AM
Army Museum/Napoleon’s Tomb
PM
Rodin Museum
(brother's family arrives ~4pm)
explore Rue Cler area with them
eat at Café Constant
EVE
Seine River Cruise tour

Fri 10/26:
AM
10-12:30 Louvre tour
PM
Tuileries Garden, lunch at Café Reale?
Orangerie Museum
Take metro from Tuileries to Trocadero stop (for photos of the Eiffel tower from here)
EVE
17:00 Eiffel Tower
Dinner at Au Bon Accueil?

Sat 10/27
AM
Sainte-Chapelle- arrive by 9:30 opening
Point zero
Archaeological Crypt
PM
Ile St. Louis- lunch at Café Med?, Berthillon ice cream #31
Deportation Memorial
Notre Dame
walk to Jardin de Luxembourg – catch a marionette show
EVE
Arc de Triomphe

Sun 10/28:
Unplanned, possibilities are...
Montmartre –Sunday artist/painters market
Champ de Mars park picnic lunch
Cluny Museum (Mike & I will likely see in PM alone)
OR anything else we didn't get to...

Mon 10/29: fly out
GoGreenVT is offline  
Oct 6th, 2012, 04:02 PM
  #10  
 
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Posts: 4,144
You might consider Pasco, Le Florimond or La Terrace for dining options....all in the 7th. I can't recommend Reed highly enough. Very charming spot, reasonable prices, wonderful food.

Just around the corner from Opera Bastille is the entrance to promenade Plantee...great for a stroll to get you in fresh air to beat jetlag. It is an elevated, plant filled walkway that used to be train traks. Just a thought fir your first Saturday.

Cafe Constant gets very busy....no reservations, so arrive at 7pm or close to that time to get a table.

We had a wonderful lunch on Ile St Louis at L'Orangerie (restaurant, not the museum) ad I recommend the oark behind Notre Dame for eating your Berthillon ice cream ( the salted butter caramel is heaven).

Another dining option is across the Seine at Chez Francis....perfect Eiffel Tower views.

There is nothing wrong with your fantasy regarding Moulin Rouge....I don't think you will be imoressed and no one is trying to kill your fantasy, at all. It's just one of thise things that for most, turns out ro be disappointing. If you want to see it, do it. It is your trio.
denisea is offline  
Oct 6th, 2012, 04:32 PM
  #11  
 
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<< Sainte-Chapelle- arrive by 9:30 opening >>

I would arrive before 9:30 to get in line for security. Especially on a Saturday the line could be long. After security you go to the right for the chapel.

You realize Point Zero is just a bronze marker?

The Deportation Memorial is closed between noon and 2:00. You might want to see it on the way between Ste-Chapelle and Notre Dame crypt. It's a bit hard to spot since it's below street level. There's a park behind Notre Dame and the Memorial is across the street (the street behind the park going toward the river). You'll see a small sign showing the entrance.

If you're going to Montmartre on Wednesday why are you going back to Montmartre on Sunday? It's a ways from Champs de Mars and not near the Cluny either.

You might want to combine the Eiffel Tower with Versailles as it's on the way back from Versailles.
adrienne is offline  
Oct 7th, 2012, 04:22 AM
  #12  
 
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Posts: 4,144
Agree with Adrrienne an all the above, especially regarding getting to Ste Chapelle well before the opening. I is worth ii!
denisea is offline  
Oct 7th, 2012, 04:40 AM
  #13  
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@ adrienne- Thank you for the info. re: the Deportation Memorial closing midday- did not know that, very helpful! We can easily work around that. Yes, I'm aware Point Zero is a marker . Our Sunday activities are just possibilities- we would likely do one thing, not bounce around to the Cluny Museum and Montmartre- would only return to the latter if my brother's family wanted to visit in the AM to see the artists on Sunday mornings?...I realize it's a ways. Eiffel tower and Versailles are fixed- already ordered tickets (we want to do the former with my brother's family, and the latter on a day when Mike and I are alone- hence, splitting them up). If we have time and energy after Versailles we certainly will explore something- but we may be exhausted still from jet lag!

Do any of you have opinions re: which company to do a Seine river cruise with? Not interested in a dinner cruise, would prefer an evening one, the less crowded the better, good/understandable commentary?

Thanks!
GoGreenVT is offline  
Oct 7th, 2012, 04:48 AM
  #14  
 
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There's no way to avoid crowded boats if the weather's nice for a cruise. I much prefer the Vedettes du Pont Neuf over the others because the boats are smaller, but there's really not that much difference. The commentary is pretty much the same on all lines.

The "artists" in Montmartre are more annoying than iconic. I doubt you'll want to return. A far more interesting aspect of Montmartre would be to do the walk of the old ateliers there described in, among other things, the Eyewitness Guide.
StCirq is online now  
Oct 7th, 2012, 06:28 AM
  #15  
 
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We definitely prefer the Vedettes du Pont Neuf but since the Bateaux Parisiens is near your hotel, especially if you plan to start from there, it may make more sense.
mamcalice is offline  
Oct 7th, 2012, 06:46 AM
  #16  
 
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I also prefer the Vedettes as there is both indoor and outdoor seating and there is a person commenting rather than commentary from a PA system. I find the commentary is very difficult to understand no matter which boat you're on.

If you choose the Vedettes, there are booklets at the ticket office showing the route and the buildings you pass so you will be able to identify them.

Prepaid discount tickets available on line. I don't buy for a particular date since you probably won't want to do this if it rains.

After dinner take a leisurely walk along the river to the Vedettes and then take the metro back or walk if you still have energy.

Have you decided on the Notre Dame tour? It's a very good tour that describes Gothic churches in general (outside the church) and then you go inside for the last part and the guide talks about Notre Dame. You get to go inside the altar area where the public is generally not allowed.

The Montmartre artists are disappointing. They're either in your face wanting to sell you a caricature or looking very bored as they paint. It's not at all animated.

Paris Walks has a Sunday walk of Montmartre which will be the part you won't see on the top. It's very interesting. Starts at 10:30 at Metro Abbesses; no reservations required. They also have a Marais walk at 2:30.

http://www.paris-walks.com/download-pdf.html


Don't forget Daylight Savings Time begins!
adrienne is offline  

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