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ncart Jan 1st, 2012 02:51 PM

First day in Paris in January itinerary suggestions?
Posted this earlier but see it should have been tagged for France - sorry for the duplication!

We will be arriving early in the morning after a red-eye flight from the east coast US, for a week in Paris - our first visit! I've read that the first day after an all night flight you should do a lot of walking outside if possible to fight jet lag. Any suggestions for a first day itinerary in January? We are planning to buy a Paris Museum Pass (6 day) and plan to see many of the major sites (realize we can't do all though!) while we're there, and also explore neighborhoods - the Marais (we're renting an apt there), Latin Quarter, St. Germaine, Montmartre, Montparnasse and will spend a day at Versaille. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Judy Jan 1st, 2012 02:55 PM

Where are you staying? It would help to know to suggest some things in your "neighborhood" since you may not feel up to traveling any distance. We usually stay fairly close to home the first day, especially if we are staying in an area that's new to us....sort of getting to know the neighborhood and what's there.

ncart Jan 1st, 2012 03:00 PM

We are staying in the 3rd in the Marais.

Judy Jan 1st, 2012 03:15 PM

Sorry, missed that in your first post!

Weather permitting, I'd walk to Place des Vosges first and have a coffee at one of the restaurants there and visit Victor Hugo's house (free) the perhaps walk to rue de Rosier and stop at l'As du Falafel for lunch. After lunch I'd shop a bit on my way to the Carnavalet Museum (history of Paris)

I'd have an early dinner, crash and wake on Paris time the next morning.

Renaud Jan 1st, 2012 03:38 PM

As Judy suggests, Place des Vosges is very nice for walking. However, if this is your first trip to Paris you may want to consider the Ile de la Cite, the epicenter of Paris. It gives you walks around the island, views of Notre Dame, walks along the banks of the Seine, peaks of "old Paris" with narrow winding streets, and access to the Left Bank and a visit to Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Simply for things to see and walking to beat off jet lag it is hard to beat this compact little area. Plus, it is an easy walk over to Ile St. Louis. I generally head their upon arrival for the clearest reminder that Paris is the most beautiful city in the world. . . IMHO.

FrenchMystiqueTours Jan 1st, 2012 04:14 PM

I suffer really bad jet-lag coming from the U.S. to France. If you can avoid a nap on your first day that's a good idea. Have an early dinner and get to bed early so you get a good night sleep and wake up feeling ready to go on the next day.

I think walking outdoors in the fresh air will be the best thing to help keep you on your toes. When you get tired stop at a café, drink some coffee and do some people watching. You can even sit outside at many cafés as sometimes they have outdoor heaters to keep you warm. Of course it's January in Paris and the weather will be cool/cold and likely wet too so dress appropriately and bring your umbrella.

Either before you leave or once you arrive get a good, detailed map of Paris. I have an IGN series map of the scale 1:12,000 and it shows every street, all métro/RER stops and every museum, park, garden, site or attraction in the city. If you don't like folding out maps you can buy a handy little map booklet here at just about any news stand called Paris Pratique Par Arrondissement. Will fit easily into a purse or large coat pocket.

Instead of having a set itinerary how about having no itinerary and just wander around and see what you stumble across? Maybe pick a couple of sites that are on your must see list and then walk to them. If you want an itinerary then how about a walk along the river from east to west? Just walking along the river you really take in a lot of the most famous landmarks in Paris. Start on Île-Saint-Louis in the east then head to Île-de-la-Cité and check out Notre Dame. Cross to the right bank and walk on the sidewalk next to the river the the Louvre. Enter through the Cour Carrée and then walk through the portal to the Louvre courtyard. Head past the pyramid and down through the Tuileries Garden to Place de la Concorde. Head back to the sidewalk on the right bank and walk along the river to the bridge Pont Alexandre III, the most beautiful bridge in Paris. Look to your right and see the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais. Walk across the bridge and you'll be staring at Les Invalides and its huge gold dome (beneath which Napoléon is buried). Walk towards it and just before reaching it take a right on rue de Grenelle. This will lead you to the Champ de Mars and if you look to your right you will see Paris's very famous Space Needle. ;)

ita Jan 1st, 2012 05:46 PM

I would recommend leaving museums until you are well rested in order to fully appreciate them. I would also recommend only do one a day-in the morning.

suze Jan 1st, 2012 05:49 PM

I suffer jet lag horribly especially after a red eye flight since I can't sleep on planes. So I never plan anything the first day. But make sure I have or pick up on arrival a street map (most hotels will have one for you) and explore my immediate neighborhood. I know it goes against some people's advice but I have to take a nap in the afternoon the first couple days or else I'm a zombie.

Michel_Paris Jan 1st, 2012 07:58 PM

Agree on Place des Vosges for lunch, I've eaten at Cafe Hugo at an outdoor table.

First day, no naps, lots of sun and walking. Depending on day of week, could do one of Paris Walks Marais tours. Otherwise a wander down Rue des Rosiers and Rue des Franc Bourgeois.

could also wander around Village St Paul {antique shops, interesting bldgs) and end up at Seine, then wander over to the Islands.

could have dinner on Ile St Louis. Nearby is Seine cruise, which should be done after dark. Maybe decide based on how tired feel at this point.

Could also do misc like getting metro tickets, finding bakery near apt, groceries,etc...

ira Jan 2nd, 2012 04:05 AM

Hi nc,

On our first day we don't do anything that requires thought or concentration.

Wander around the neighborhood. Get some euros from an ATM. Stop at a cafe or three. Make a reservation for dinner somewhere. Just soak up Paris.

Enjoy your visit.


avalon Jan 2nd, 2012 04:06 AM

I rent an apt in the Marais. I often spend my first hours in Paris ging to thw grocers and boulangerie to stock op for breakfast, Our apt is across fron St Louis catherdral and a short walk from the place de Vosges , Village St Paul, and Pl marche de St Catherine, ANd about 10 mins. from the Isles! I do not suffer jet lag on arrival but the DH does so I keep him outside as long as possible. Also i get my carnets or NG pass loaded. the 3rd is not really Le Marais but is close by. Lots of buses along rue de Rivoli and the quais

suze Jan 2nd, 2012 06:56 AM

To nap or not to nap is a personal choice. There is not a hard and fast rule. It depends how each person adapts and handles jet lag. If I didn't nap the first few days, it can basically ruin my trip. I've tried it both ways.

TC Jan 2nd, 2012 07:37 AM

We did a little combination....walking, a boat ride on the Seine, a nap before dinner. (see trip report) I agree...nothing that required too much concentration. Really couldn't have done a museum.

Michel_Paris Jan 2nd, 2012 09:11 AM

There are a few threads here on jetlag. I have my routine, wnich does not include naps first day, since IMHO a nap just lets body go back to 'home' time. For shorter trips I start adjusting sleep patterns before leaving.

ncart Jan 3rd, 2012 04:03 AM

Great suggestions. Thanks for your replies!

Gretchen Jan 3rd, 2012 04:17 AM

We usually go to the hotel. If a room isn't available, they keep the luggage for you. Then have a nice bowl of onion soup and a salad at a cafe with a view--either people watching or a "sight". I like the idea of walking around Notre Dame. You could do a river boat ride but because of the short length of days, do it in mid to late afternoon to see the lights coming up on the city. Take a bottle of wine and some glasses with you. Head to your hotel--have a bite to eat and go to bed early. This has always worked well for us to get us up and going well the next morning. And because of the time change, we are usually awake pretty early.
I also would not make reservations for a particularly nice dinner the first night. chances are you may fall face down in your plate!!
I might advise looking into the economy or lack thereof of a 6 day pass. You certainly won't need it to bypass lines in January. BUT if you DO plan to do a museum a day, it will "work".

ncart Jan 4th, 2012 05:02 AM

Thanks Gretchen! So you would recommend a boat ride in January?

Gretchen Jan 4th, 2012 08:32 AM

Oh, sure. you can sit inside. If you've never done it, I certainly would.

Michel_Paris Jan 4th, 2012 08:35 AM

Vedettes du Pont Neuf is a good cruise, tip of ile de la cite

Judy Jan 4th, 2012 09:24 AM

If you google vedettes de pont neuf you can print out a discount coupon for the board ride.

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