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Completely Overwhelmed!! 2 day Paris Itinerary Help!!

Completely Overwhelmed!! 2 day Paris Itinerary Help!!

Apr 27th, 2013, 07:33 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 17
Completely Overwhelmed!! 2 day Paris Itinerary Help!!

I have been scouring this site and many others for months to try to come up with an itinerary that works. I am completely overwhelmed!! My husband and I are going to be arriving in Paris at 1:45pm Sept. 1st. Our flight leaves Orly at 8:30pm Sept 3rd. We are staying at the Hotel Du Cadran near the Eiffel Tower.

I have been looking at guided tours but can't decide if those are a waste of time and backtracking because they don't actually go into any of the museums/monuments.

These are the things I know we want to do:

Eiffel Tower
Louvre (quick visit to see the highlights)
Notre Dame
L'Arc du Triomphe
Champs Elysée
Sainte Chapelle
Seine 1 hour river cruise
Sacre Coeur and Montmarte
Walking tour of Montmarte (2 hours) maybe?
rue cler
romantic dinner somwhere

Also should we purchase a museum pass and book all the activities ahead of time? Do you have any websites you prefer for booking? I have seen so many sites that offer skip the line tickets but I don't know if those are legit or are overpriced etc.

I'm sure I am forgetting some important things to see. I can rattle off places but I have no idea how to put them together. I have looked at a map to try to make an itinerary but it is not working. TIA!
MrsOtter is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 07:38 AM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 427
I think that is way too much for two days. You have a week's worth of items there - and the Louvre is so huge that even a quick visit will take longer than you think.

Cut back, prioritise and you will enjoy your time there more. You can always go back in future.
mjdh1957 is online now  
Apr 27th, 2013, 07:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 332
You really don't have that much time. Just relax and soak in the city. You will not be able to accomplish much, at least try to enjoy what you can accomplish.
travelingnomad13 is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 08:02 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
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You really have two nights, one full day, and two travel days.

I'd drop off Montmartre and Sacre Couer, because they are a bit out-of-the-way. Invalides might be better for your second visit.

And Champs Elysee is not 'elegant' as you might expect, so if time doesn't permit, I'd chop off that part of your itinerary, along with the L'Arc du Triomphe.

Rue cler is just a simple street market, and not worth a big effort to see IMHO. BHV to shop? I'd skip that, too.

The Eiffel Tower is easy, since you are staying near there. For your cruise on the Seine, you could combine that with your romantic dinner if you'd like and take a dinner cruise. Or take the Batobus for an easy hop-on-hop-off way to ride on the Seine. Definitely cruise on the Seine after dark, when Paris is especially magical.

I think you could do this, without too much rush:
Eiffel Tower
Notre Dame
Sainte Chapelle
Seine 1 hour river cruise
romantic dinner(s)
Tabernash2 is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 08:10 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 516
whooooaaaaaaaaaaa .......is this modeled after Clark Griswald's pig in the poke itinerary? Far too many tickmarks for such a small window of time IMO. I realize you've only got 2 days to work with but you're going to exhaust yourself racing from place to place. Everyone here will have their own opinions on what you should do/see/skip/include so here are mine:

1. Skip the Louvre this time. I know that sounds criminal but you simply don't have the time to visit this goliath of a museum.

2. Visit the Eiffel Tower but don't go up. You'll be two dots in a longggg line of visitors. visit the Tour Montparnasse instead for a breathtaking view of Paris that INCLUDES the Eiffel tower. Cheaper and quicker. take a peek here:

3. Skip any kind of "guided tour" and do a little bit of research. You've got til September and we're all here to help you. I promise it's not as daunting a task as you might feel. A hop on hop off bus might be a good substitution as it will give you a great overview of the city.

Please don't underestimate how long it will take to get from place to place be it metro, bus, etc. At such a hurried pace your dogs will get tired and by the time the sun is going down you'll both be worn out. understand that a guided tour is designed to whip you around attractions in as short a time as possible so they can make money on the next tour. You might find the info very useful but if your guide is trilingual and has to explain things in different languages or you have a large group you're done.
tailsock is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,150
Hi MO,

As noted: Slow Down.

You are staying near the ET. Walk up to it. Go oooh. aaah.

Buy a daypass for the Batobus.

Take a cruise around the Seine.

Have dinner.

Day two.

You are a 0:30 hr walk from the Musee d'Orsay via the Invalides.
Visit it.
Continue along the Seine to Notre Dame.
Check out the Louvre via the Pont des Arts
See Saint Chapelle if you have time.
Visit the Isle St Louis.

See www.maps.google.com for walking directions.
See www.ratp.fr for directions from the Sulley-Morland metro stop back to your hotel.
For your last 1/2 day. Just wander through Montmartre.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,821
don't do the Batobus.
Don't do the champs or Montmartre.
For an AHHH moment, at least look into the Orsay and see that beautiful space.
Agree with soaking in the city.
Walk around Notre Dame--have lunch at the Brasserie en l'Isle just behind ND and on a bridge to Ile St. Louis. The food is good, and the place is wonderful
Please don't waste precious time on a dinner cruise on the Seine, but do take the hour long Seine boat ride--and then have dinner some place that will be good--and a great memory.
Plan for St. Chapelle and Notre Dame at the same time.
Gretchen is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 08:50 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
well, i agree with Ira here and disagree with Gretchen - the batobus is a really good idea.

This is what we did with our kids when we had only a day to show them Paris, AND there was a transport strike:

After we'd walked from the Arc de Triomphe to the Eiffel Tower [which you won't need to do] we went up the Tower - i suggest that you book for this. WEll worth it.

then we got the batobus to Notre dame, saw the Cathedral and Sainte Chappelle, crossed over onto the right bank, walked past the louvre [you could drop in for a quick visit, especially if you have the museum pass] past the Orangerie [again, if you have the pass, drop in to see Monet's lillies] and either walk up the Champs elysees to the Arc, OR follow the river to the Grand Palais [check up on what's going to be on while you're there - it's not on the museum pass] and cross back over the Seine to your hotel near the Eiffel Tower.

the 2nd day, depending on the amount of time you have, explore the left bank - Les Invalides, the Rodin museum nearby, the Musee D'Orsay - with a museum pass there is no need to queue and you can just dot in and out as you wish.

have a great trip!
annhig is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 08:58 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 371
If this is your first visit to Paris, and with such limited time, I'd recommend the hop on hop off bus , called L'Open Tour in Paris. You will see all the main sights of the city and you can get off and spend as much time as you want at the sites that interest you, while bypassing the ones that don't. Many people on this site will tell you that the HO HO bus is a waste of money because you can use public transit for less, but with so little time I think it's the fastest way of finding your way around and getting an introduction to the city. It's 31 euros for one day or 36 euros for a 2 day pass. There's a stop at the Eiffel Tower and you can buy the tickets on the bus.


Have fun!
baladeuse is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 09:14 AM
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Posts: 371
I also agree that the batobus is a good option.
baladeuse is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 09:41 AM
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baladuese - the trouble with the HOHO bus is that it's a very expensive way of NOT seeing anything - as you only drive past.

with a combination of a museum pass and a carnet for the metro, the OP can actually visit and enter many of the most famous sites for as long or short a time as s/he likes.

i think it's actually a better bet for people who have longer than the OP, to get an overview of the city before they visit specific places, or for people with only half a day.
annhig is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 10:04 AM
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Here is a map of the neighborhood. Click on Metro and bus:


Heading to the Louvre area, catch the 69 bus on rue Dominique.

Florimond and Suffren are two very popular restaurants close to your hotel. Note that the the twinkling lights on the Eiffel Tower are lit for a few minutes on the hour after dark.
RonZ is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 10:30 AM
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well, you don't just drive past things on the HOHO bus, obviously, you can get on and off, that's what the name means. It's just not very efficient for someone who really has limited time, as it is quicker to take the metro.

I don't think the itinerary is that bad, if anything, I'd certainly drop BHV which is just a department store. Why is that even on there. And I wouldn't drop the Champs which is a very famous street, I would think it odd that anyone could go to Paris and literally not see it, you'd have to work at that.

At least rue Cler is something different than monuments and museums, although I agree, I wouldn't put it at the top of my list. But this won't take any time, the OP is staying at the Hotel Cadran which is practically right on it, so it isn't really an itinerary item.
Christina is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 10:44 AM
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well, you don't just drive past things on the HOHO bus, obviously, you can get on and off, that's what the name means. It's just not very efficient for someone who really has limited time, as it is quicker to take the metro.>>

christine, you're right of course, what I meant was that you pay €30 or so for the right NOT to go in anywhere that the bus takes you.
annhig is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 10:49 AM
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No - the HoHo and the Batobus are both huge wastes of time.

You need to pick the 4 (yes 4) things you really want to see and then just go see them - the inside - whatever there is. Then just allow yoursefl to explore a couple of neighborhoods and have dinner in local restaurants - preferably preceeded by a drink in an outdoor cafe for an hour of seeing the world go by.

Racing around - by foot or bus or boat will only exhaust you and there is no way you will actually see much or remember anyhting.

If you want to see Paris from the river that's fine - but just take the one hour ride - don't moon around all day on it looking at buildings that could be in almost any city in europe.

Decide what is most important for you - d'Orsay or Notre Dame or whatever - and just go and see those few things and actually get something out of your very short visit.

(What you are trying to do wouldn't work even if things were open 24 hours and you didn't sleep at all.)
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 11:19 AM
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don't understand why the batobus is a huge waste of time. All it does is to get you from the eiffel Tower to Notre Dame in the easiest and quickest way - and the most relaxing.

it's a long way to walk otherwise and a lot nicer than the RER C.
annhig is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 11:35 AM
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Arriving in Paris at 1:45---at the airport or at the hotel at 1:45?
At the airport? By the time you get checked into the hotel it will be 4ish.
At the hotel at 1:45, more of the afternoon left to tour.

Since your hotel is right there I'd go & see the Eiffel. Then do a Bateau Mouche boat tour (I actually prefer Vedettes from the Pont Neuff but since you are at the Eiffel do BM)

The boat tour will give you a good overview of the city.

If time allows you could Metro over to the Arch de Triumph and also check out a few blocks on that end of the Champs.
IMO, the Champs is very disappointing, Very comercial with car dealerships, stores in mall type settings that you can see anywhere. It's about 2 miles long, extremely wide and uninteresting.

The next full day, the 2nd, I'd head to:
Notre Dame
St. Chapelle
Ile St. Louis
BHV if you must, is close by
Walk back toward the river thru the Louvre Plaza (it's stunning and you really don't have time to go into the museum--it's overwhelming, gigantic)
Walk along the river
Check out Left Bank charm
If you want to do a museum go to D'Orsay (much more manageable)
Also for Lux. Gardens is a don't miss place to see

These are all walking distance of each other and there are so many cafes to stop and watch the world go by for a few minutes.

IMO, skip:
Invaldies(huge,gray, and boring)
Rue Cler(not enough time and it's like so many others)

On the 3rd, I Metro to Sacre Cour for a couple of hours. Then if it was up to me, I'd Metro to Place Vosges for lunch and visit the Carnavalet Museum. It's free, small, and very charming.

If your plane leaves at 8:30 at night you'll probably have to head back to the hotel.

Many other Fodorites will chime in with their suggestions. See what works best for you. Definitely look at the Paris restaurant threads. There are so many wonderful choices.

Try not to be overwhelmed. Take your time and see what you can but don't rush too much. Paris is to be savored.
TPAYT is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 12:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 17
Thanks for the advice everyone! I guess I forgot to specify that we are arriving to the Gare du Nord as we are coming from London.

I wouldn't mind skipping the Louvre but my husband (who is ultimately footing the bill for the trip) insists on going inside.

I will look at all these suggestions further and trim down my list. Hopefully then I can make heads or tails of where to go when.
MrsOtter is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 12:17 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,525
I was in Paris in Dec/January--have been several times before--and we visited the Louvre twice, both times for about two hours. I understand your husband's desire to go in; I think it's something many people want to see (along with the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame) when they decide to go to Paris. Just plan what you want to see in the museum and go do it. You probably can't see all the highlights, but you can view several.

We had the Museum Pass and cruised right in. In fact, our longest wait was to get into Musees d'Orsay. Even the line for passholders was very, very long.

I think trying to see one monument, taking a river cruise and then having a nice dinner is a good plan for you arrival afternoon/evening.
Leely2 is offline  
Apr 27th, 2013, 01:38 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,726
I suggest you email guide Michael Osman. Tell him what you want to do/see. He is a delightful excellent guide.

[email protected]

Have a great trip.

Byrd is offline  

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