First time in Paris

Jul 3rd, 2013, 07:22 PM
  #1  
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First time in Paris

My husband and I are flying to Orly on August 2nd and staying in Paris for a day. Getting in at 11:00 am and training out from Gare de L'est at 8:00 pm the next day. it's our first time in Paris and I would appreciate suggestions on how best to use the time to see a few of Paris' highlights. We are both foodies so while we are on a budget, I would like to squeeze in memorable dining experiences, whether in a bistro, a cafe or a take out for lunch or snack. We would like to take in the sights of Paris and will do the boat ride on the Seine at dusk, as suggested in other threads.
Lastly, because we will be traveling for 18 days, we have a lot of luggage. I thought staying at a hotel at the train station is practical (10 arondissement) as we can leave everything there until we are ready to leave. Does that make sense? Thanks!
Jojojg is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2013, 08:02 PM
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So you've got basically 1.5 days? It should be easy to find a list of the "Paris highlights" and pick and choose which ones most appeal to you. Museums? Notre Dame? (Jardin du Luxembourg? Beautiful garden, one of my favs in Paris.) What appeals to you? You'll have to make a list of priorities and draw a line through it, with so much to see in such a short time.

Last month, I was taking an early train out of Gare de L'est so I wound up staying at the Holiday Inn literally across the street from the train station. It was very basic and convenient (I got a decent deal on it via Priceline). Not sure if they'd keep your luggage the whole next day, though before you leave (I'd contact any hotel and ask before you make assumptions; many nicer hotels would keep your luggage that whole day, I've done it). Otherwise, there may be lockers at Gare de L'est where you can leave your stuff the second day.

I'm not sure what else is on your itinerary that leaves you such a short time in Paris...but, I would urge you to re-thinking having "a lot of luggage." I used to take way too much stuff to Europe on my first few trips, but I've since learned to shrink down to taking only carry-ons to Europe, even when gone 2-3 weeks. (And that includes a lot of camera equipment.) No matter what you do in Paris, having a ton of luggage will only make getting around a much bigger hassle.
Andrew is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2013, 10:36 PM
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The magic word for left luggage is "consigne", and yes there are lockers at Gare de l'Est:
http://tgv.voyages-sncf.com/services/consignes-gare
PatrickLondon is online now  
Jul 4th, 2013, 12:27 AM
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For 26 days I took one small bag.. you will be so sorry you took a lot of luggage, remember what I said , trust me at some point in your holiday you will really regret over packing. No one will help you most of the time you must carry everything, and there are stairs and broken escalators and ledges to lift them over and pickpockets will love you because they will be watching you struggle with all your bags .. seriously rethink travelling with "lots of luggage".
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Jul 4th, 2013, 02:36 AM
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I too suggest you seriously consider your quantity of luggage - we travel for up to 7 weeks with one carry on and one wheelie bag (not much bigger than a carry on)each.

No one but your partner is going to know if you are wearing the same clothes over and over, and being able to easily manage your luggage makes the whole travel experience so much more enjoyable.

Our experience with leaving luggage at the hotel was fine, but it's usually a very small room that they have for this purpose, so once again the less you have, the better.

Most stations in Paris are underground with no elevators; many are 2 or 3 layers down with no escalators, so that's a lot of stairs to contend with.

There are a number of threads on this board about what to pack, so you might do well to look at what others have lived with (or without!). I only take 3 of everything from undies to tops and skirts, 2 pairs of shoes, one warm layer and a hat. All are individually rolled; this avoids creases and makes it much easier to find things in the case.

I'm not a foodie, so can't offer any expertise there. My most memorable meals have been the crepes and pannini from street stands - because there's just nothing like them on offer at home!

Hope this helps, and enjoy as much of Paris as you can see, Di
di2315 is online now  
Jul 4th, 2013, 04:16 AM
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I also recommend you trim your luggage needs. And a basic hotel near the Gare should be fine--and even the one mentioned might keep your luggage (even one bag would need to be "left"). Many years ago we left from the Gare de l'Est and did what you are saying.
There would be many wonderful places for you to have a good and economical foodie experience.
The Fontaine de Mars might be a nice classic bistro for dinner. Make reservations wherever you plan. Bofinger would be another.
Gretchen is online now  
Jul 4th, 2013, 04:17 AM
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I might add, in 18 days you could only spare a day and a half for Paris!!
Gretchen is online now  
Jul 4th, 2013, 06:06 AM
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"I thought staying at a hotel at the train station is practical (10 arondissement) as we can leave everything there until we are ready to leave. Does that make sense? Thanks!"

That doesn't make sense to me, sorry.

Do you mean that when you leave Paris you want to leave your luggage somewhere?

How long will you be traveling all together?

Is there a reason that you have so much luggage? Are you traveling with equipment that you must have or do you just like to have an assortment of outfits?
LSky is offline  
Jul 4th, 2013, 06:10 AM
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If you are asking if your hotel will take care of your luggage upon your arrival to when you leave, yes it's usually done.

I'm agree with others that trimming your luggage is a good idea, if possible. An attachment to stuff can really lug you down.

If you don't think it's possible, do a search here for "packing light" and you may be pleasantly surprised how easy it will be to be free.
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Jul 4th, 2013, 06:16 AM
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Thank you so much for your suggestions. We will seriously rethink our luggage situation.
Gretchen, we are traveling with another couple and the plan is to train into Strasbourg, Stuttgart, drive to parts of Switzerland before flying to Venice for an adriatic cruise. I am now regretting not having opted out of the other pre-cruise destinations because I will be missing so much of Paris (to think that Paris has been my dream destination). But the IT is set so I will just have to go back on my own for the museums (hubby not too keen on museums).
Last might as I wrote my post, I began to wonder whether it made more sense to stay at a more centric hotel, say at the Latin quarters, so we can stay out late on our first night and then just walk back to the hotel. we would also be right there for the next day.
Can anyone give suggestions on where to stay nearer the city center?

I just watched Rick Steves' Paris video and I am curious about Rue Cler. Looks like a mecca of food! the video might be old. Is it still a good place to walk around in and savor the freshest food?

Thanks again for all your insight!
Jojojg is offline  
Jul 4th, 2013, 06:29 AM
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Think about it in terms of having to leave for the train station by 6Pm or so also. You'll like to be in sight of the station, I think. You can get on the Metro or even get a taxi to anywhere you want to go.
Adriatic cruise will be lovely--are you going to Greece also?
Gretchen is online now  
Jul 4th, 2013, 06:29 AM
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Think about it in terms of having to leave for the train station by 6Pm or so also. You'll like to be in sight of the station, I think. You can get on the Metro or even get a taxi to anywhere you want to go.
Adriatic cruise will be lovely--are you going to Greece also?
Gretchen is online now  
Jul 4th, 2013, 06:34 AM
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Sorry for the double post--got an error message, etc.
You will open a can of worms about rue Cler, but don't pay any attention. It is a lovely market street--of which there are "many". Rue Mouffetard is another, rue de Buci. rue Cler is the one everyone loves to hate because of Rick Steves, but it is as authentic as any==a street of all kinds of wonderful food and flower market stores.
You might also really enjoy discovering one of the moving street markets that set up in different parts of Paris each day except Monday (I think). Find one of those for your day and just walk through for the beauty of Parisian food, bought that day and prepared for the family.
Rue Cler is fairly near the Eiffel Tower so if you opted for a picnic lunch on the Champ de Mars, it would be a good place to buy a sandwich and a bottle of wine to take to the Champ.
Gretchen is online now  
Jul 4th, 2013, 07:43 AM
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Hi Gretchen, yes we are doing Turkey, Croatia and Greece on this cruise. we are so psyched about the street markets but will definitely try one restaurant for dinner on Aug 2nd. I noticed that many restaurants are closed for a few weeks in August. I just hope Bofinger is open on Aug 2nd.
I will look up the moving market. Thank you so much!
Jojojg is offline  
Jul 4th, 2013, 07:57 AM
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There are plenty of good restaurants in the 10th if you end up staying there http://parisbymouth.com/our-guide-to...aurants/#tenth
Patty is offline  
Jul 4th, 2013, 08:51 AM
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DH and I took a Cityrama Paris at night tour with dinner in the Eiffel Tower one time and enjoyed it. The other option was Folies Bergeres. Since you are short on time, it might work. Also a boat trip on the Seine could be fun--some serve a meal but I can't speak to the quality. On our very first trip to Paris, we rode the hop on/off bus to get our bearings and then walked or taxied to the places we wanted to see more of.

http://www.pariscityvision.com/en/cityrama

You could also look for a hotel near the Pompidou Centre. It's near the 10th. Have a great time!
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Jul 4th, 2013, 09:54 AM
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The night tour, IMO, is just not worth it. And I suspect the meal at the ET was not at the Michelin restaurant. The Seine meals are off the table also.
Have a great meal somewhere at the proper meal time (8ish) and linger over it like a Parisian would do!! Stroll around your hotel, wherever it is and enjoy the ambience. Lights out a bus window are NOT interesting.
I liked the idea of the regular Seine river trip as the lights are coming on along the route.
Gretchen is online now  
Jul 4th, 2013, 10:54 AM
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Thank you TDudette. Will report on our boat ride when we get back.
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Jul 4th, 2013, 12:51 PM
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Sorry, but I would never suggest the huge outlay of Euros for the Michelin one-- that's the one not worth it, IMO. The other one is fine and the views are good. Plus one gets up the Tower without waiting in line.
TDudette is offline  
Jul 4th, 2013, 12:57 PM
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Well, we can agree to disagree. The lunch at Jules Verne is a Paris experience--and a dining experience. I would guess you paid more for your bus tour and dinner than we did.
Gretchen is online now  

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