first day in Paris suggestions

Sep 4th, 2008, 03:34 PM
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first day in Paris suggestions

Our flight arrives in the early AM, and knowing we will be exhausted but excited too, we don't want to waste time by going to the hotel to sleep.

My first thought is to park myself at a cafe and people watch, then make my way to the Eiffel Tower. After that, dinner and bed!

I also would like to take a Seine cruise at night on my second night. Is this expensive? We only have two full days in Paris, so trying to make the most of the short time there.

Thanks for your help in advance.
hazardnc is offline  
Sep 4th, 2008, 03:42 PM
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I wouldn't do the Eiffel Tower my first day, after arrival. You won't get there, in all likelihood, until mid- to late morning, and the lines will be fearsome. Nothing's worse than having to stand around doing nothing for an hour after an all-night flight.

Assuming the weather's nice, though, I would definitely plan to stay outdoors - Vitamin D helps you recover from jetlag. Pick a part of the city to meander in - the Marais or Latin Quarter or Montparnasse or St-Germain - plan out an easy-going route, and just meander around and make a stop or two at a café for a good strong coffee and, at lunchtime, a small bite to eat. I wouldn't go into museums on Day 1, either, but no reason you can't enjoy parks like the Tuileries or Jardin de Luxembourg or even the Musée Rodin, which has lovely gardens and is very light-filled.

If you take it easy, you should be able to make it through dinner to 9-10 pm at least before going to bed. Next morning you should be on schedule.

Seine cruises, assuming you mean without dinner (which I would advise against) aren't expensive at all. The Vedettes de Paris are the ones I like best, and you can get a discount coupon online at their website. Maybe the Bâteaux-Mouches and others have discounts as well. But even without the discount they're not expensive.
StCirq is offline  
Sep 4th, 2008, 03:46 PM
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I would head straight to your hotel, dump your luggage and try to check in. Often there are rooms available early. That way you can shower, change and spend a few minutes on the bed depretzelizing from the flight - before you head out for a nice long walk.

Agree the sunlight is good for jet lag and the exercise will help you relax. And there are a bunch of cute neighborhoods to explore.

Then do a very late lunch or early dinner in a cafe (with some people watching) and have an early night so you can start bright and early the next am.
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 4th, 2008, 03:52 PM
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and spend a few minutes on the bed depretzelizing from the flight

If it were me, I would avoid even sitting down on the bed, because I'd fall asleep and probably not get up until nighttime, thereby screwing up not only that day but the next as well. I'd drop the luggage, take a shower and change clothes if possible, and head out for that walk and something to eat. The evening Seine cruise is wonderful. It's such a great way to see the city (and all the bridges along the way).
Sep 4th, 2008, 03:53 PM
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I like to venture to the Tuileries w/a light lunch, & watch the children push the little boats around.
SAnParis2 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2008, 04:21 PM
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The Vedette de Pont Neuf is another good cruise line: a one hour evening cruise is just perfect. I think it's about 12 euro but you can get a discount with a coupon online.
grandmere is online now  
Sep 4th, 2008, 05:22 PM
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I don't know how long you have in Paris, but when I arrive I GO, GO, GO! Since it's usually morning, I leave my luggage at the hotel and head toward the Eiffel Tower. However, I don't take the tour to go up. Instead, I shop for cheese, wine, bread, olives, etc. and relax in the park in front of the Eiffel Tower.

I've done the Seine cruise (no dinner) at sunset and it was lovely watching the lights of Paris turn on during the tour!

I'm returning to Paris next month and will continue my picnic tradition the first day. I am counting the minutes...
RobertaL is offline  
Sep 4th, 2008, 06:10 PM
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Thank you for all of the tips. Our hotel is in the Latin Quarter. Assuming we cannot check in early, any tips on cafes on the Left Bank for people watching?

And where should we go to catch the Bâteaux-Mouches for a twilight tour (sans dinner)?
hazardnc is offline  
Sep 4th, 2008, 06:30 PM
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Bateaux Mouches has a web site:

Since you mentioned "sleep," I am presuming you are expecting a jet lag? In my case, I avoid sitting down or standing still in a waiting line for any length of time -- I would doze off. I agree with StCirq on this topic.
greg is offline  
Sep 5th, 2008, 05:47 AM
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Any cafe that has seats outside is great for people watching. St. Germain has many to choose from. I'm not sure where exactly you're staying but you shouldn't be far from this area.

Regarding the sunset boat cruise, we bought our tickets in advance by walking over the Pont de l'Alma bridge to the right bank. Just walk down to the river, you'll see the signs for the Bateaux-Mouches and purchase a late cruise for appx. 10 euros. I'd pick the 7:00pm or 8:00pm depending on what month you're going and when it gets dark. If it's in the summer (I went in July), it didn't get dark until after 10:00pm so we picked the last cruise.
RobertaL is offline  
Sep 5th, 2008, 06:00 AM
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With only 2 days, I would do a few things the first day that don't require a lot of concentration. And truth be told I would not try to go to the top of the ET in that time frame.
As others have said, go to the hotel and at least drop your luggage. We usually go have an early lunch on a sidewalk to people watch. Go somewhere near the ET with a view of it and enjoy that. Then I'd head for Notre Dame and walk around--or the Tuilleries and walk around. Take a Seine boat trip just at dusk as the lights are coming on--this could be around 5. Have an easy dinner early and go to bed.
Gretchen is offline  
Sep 5th, 2008, 06:28 AM
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Sorry, I meant Vedettes du Pont Neuf, not Vedettes de Paris, which doesn't exist!

Since you're only in Paris for a short time, I'd try to make it to one of the famous cafés, just to say you've been - La Coupole, Les Deux Magots, Les Editeurs, for example. I can't think of a café in the Latin Quarter I'd really want to sit in for more than 10 minutes, though I guess some of the ones on the Place St-Michel are good for basic people watching.

If you want a view of Paris without waiting in line, you might go up the Tour Montparnasse on your first day. Then you could walk around Montparnasse and over to St-Germain.

StCirq is offline  
Sep 5th, 2008, 06:46 AM
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If this is your first trip to Paris I would suggest taking the hop on hop off bus. It is about a 2 hour trip around Paris and will at least allow you to see some of the highlights. You can get on and off the bus as you please, walk around and have lunch or coffee and people watch. I would strongly suggest not trying to rest on the bed for a short time. You may find yourself sleeping away the afternoon.Have fun.
tdk320n is offline  
Sep 5th, 2008, 08:02 AM
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Thanks - this is the 3rd trip to Paris, but the first time staying in the 5th. Also, this is the shortest trip - it's a jumping off point for areas around France.

We can skip going to the top of the tower, since seeing it lit up at night from the ground is good, too.

We've never done the Seine tour, so that's a definite for our first night - romatic excape sans kids for the first time ever!

Only 15 days til takeoff!
hazardnc is offline  
Sep 5th, 2008, 09:02 AM
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I usually stay in the 5th and like others, agree that exercise (walking) and sunlight help on that first day. My tradition if I arrive early is to head to the bottom of rue Mouffetard. I begin with a cafe creme at the foot, pop into St. Medard, and then head up the rue, shopping along the way. I stop somewhere for a light lunch, whatever grabs me off of rue Pot de Fer or if not up to a full lunch at the take-out stand at the top of the hill. I'll then wander through Contrescarpe a bit, head over past the Pantheon, and then downhill towards Blvd. St. Michel and my apartment (with lots to do if I have any energy left). The routine works for me because the walk is most strenuous for the first half mile or so, which seems to energize me, and then if I tire out I can coast going downhill. After this I'll stop and half a half carafe of wine and head to bed.
zeppo2 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2009, 06:49 AM
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Thank you all for the suggestions. I had just posted my own first day question and then found this thread. Great thread. Great suggestions
nancylgartner is offline  
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