First time trip --only have 5 days...

Nov 11th, 2006, 05:00 PM
  #1  
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First time trip --only have 5 days...

Hi,

I have been browsing this site and have found so many useful tips and advice --thanks! We are visiting Paris over Thxgiving and staying at the Littre.

Here is our itinerary:
Day 1(Fri): Arrive 7am, check into hotel, visit Louvre, Rodin Museum (if time).

Day 2: Versailles (not sure if half day or full day, or if should do guided or self directed tour --any ideas?)

Day 3: Day Trip to Brugge (I know people probably think I am crazy since I dont have much time in the city, but I have been dying to visit forever and cannot resist)

Day 4: Husband wants to do the half day "Historical Tour" from Cityrama --I would rather do a walking tour or do the hop-on-hop off since we get to see so little of the city already.

Day 5: Landing Beaches of Normandy Day Trip (According to my husband, this trip is not "negotiable"

Day 6: Depart

Comments: I am worried we have filled it up with too many tours, but we wont budge on Brugge or Normandy. I think we need a day to explore the city on our own, but am not sure if we should cut out Versailles or just cut out the "Historical Paris" tour instead. My husbands thoughts are that since its his first time in Europe (and he is less adventurous), he likes the organization and not having to worry. I just dont want to feel trapped on a bus and have a stale experience. I have been to Europe a couple times before and this is his first trip.

kitamaria is offline  
Nov 11th, 2006, 05:11 PM
  #2  
 
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Forget Versailles this time.
stokebailey is offline  
Nov 11th, 2006, 05:21 PM
  #3  
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Hi, I keep going back and forth. I am considering not going to Brugge, after all (even though I seemed so adamant in my post) --It is a 3.5 hr drive there and back, so we will only get 4 hrs in the town, whereas Versailles is much closer. Perhaps I should shelve Brugge for next time and spend a couple days there?
kitamaria is offline  
Nov 11th, 2006, 06:08 PM
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I just don't think you'll regret hanging out in Paris the extra day.
stokebailey is offline  
Nov 11th, 2006, 06:12 PM
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Frankly I think you are very wrong to insist on all these side trips when you have so short a time in Paris. Forget Versailles for sure.
Visiting only the museums on your first day will be tough - you'll be jetlagged and have a hard time concentrating. The Rodin is great and part of the time there you will need to be outside which will help keep you awake!
Really, you only have one day in Paris too see all the other wonderful things there. And you'll have no time to soak up much atmosphere.

When I see posts like this where people want to cram so many side trips into a very first visit, I always wonder "Why go?". Better to wait until you have more time if you have so many "must do" day trips IMO.
taggie is offline  
Nov 11th, 2006, 06:24 PM
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Kit..Sincere advice....do not do this trip according to your "unshakeable" itinerary. Unthinkable. Follow the advice you'll be getting on this thread..please.

Brugge and Normandy..save for another time. Versailles...yes, nearby, you can toss this in for a half day side trip.
Paris will intrigue you the rest of the time.

Stu T.
tower is offline  
Nov 11th, 2006, 06:37 PM
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I would skip Brugge and Versailles. By giving your husband his non-negotiable Normandy, can you compromise on the historical tour and see whether you feel like taking it when you get there? I don't know what it covers, but it might cover the same ground as the hop-on-off bus tour that you say you would prefer. If they are really similar, either one would probably be a good idea.
Nikki is online now  
Nov 11th, 2006, 06:57 PM
  #8  
 
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During Thanksgiving you're not going to have any difficulty buying tickets to anything at the last minute, so you don't need to decide now.

My advice:

Do the Cityrama tour your first morning. You can sleep on the bus if you want to and your husband will get his wish.

After the Cityrama tour, you and your husband will have a much better idea what you would like to do in Paris, and if you would like to stay there or head out for day trips.

Versailles is not at its best in November when the gardens are bare.

Brugge is 90 percent outdoor sightseeing. If the weather is nice, you might want to take the train there and back (remember: daylight is short that time of year) or maybe you would prefer to hang around Paris. Ditto Normandy.

Are you really going to Paris to see the art in the Louvre? Are you a big museum buff in your home town? Rather than spend your time in the Louvre looking at art on walls and disattached sculpture, you might visit the immovable treasures of Paris -- such as teh stained glass windows of St. Chappelle, view its famous bridges and the Eiffel tower from a boat cruise, or stroll in some of its oldest, historic neighborhoods where the streets are too narrow (or full of staircses) for buses to go.

I think the Rodin Museum (near the Eiffel Tower) is quite enjoyable. So are several other small museums in Paris. Visiting the newly renovated Grand Palais might be more exciting (and they have art exhibits). Unless you really crave to see some particular painting in the Louvre, I suggest that you spend as much time as you can discovering Parisian architecture and the cityscape.

Hopefully, you'll get more than one nice day. There are many websites and small guidebooks with self-guided walking tours of Paris. Pick one that sound interesting to you and try to do it early on in your stay.

Bon Voyage!
nessundorma is offline  
Nov 11th, 2006, 07:24 PM
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I wouldn't do any of the side trips...especially Versailles. Just enjoy the city and all that it has to offer. I also would skip the museums on this short trip. Definately do a hop-on/off tour....I really enjoyed just sitting through the entire tour for the first run through and then got off on a few sites during the second run.

I find the best part about visiting Paris is just sitting at a cafe and people watching or wandering the streets to check out the shops. The days are quite short this time of year, so keep in mind the limited daylight hours you'll have.

margyb is offline  
Nov 11th, 2006, 07:30 PM
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Your days are too full. I agree that Brugge, Versailles, and Normandy should be saved for another trip to France. If you do insist to visit Brugge and Normandy they are full day trips and you will not get back to Paris until late at night (9 pm/10 pm or so).

So how many days would you end up with for Paris itself? Three days. That's too short.
francophile03 is offline  
Nov 11th, 2006, 07:59 PM
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Everyone, thank you so much for the wonderful advice. I did think we were making a mistake with all of the trips outside of Paris and we have revised our itinerary to be more Paris-centric (nix Brugge and Versailles for next time given the time constraints). I will read some other posts to get itinerary ideas, and post my revised itinerary shortly. Thanks for all the suggestions --I am soooo glad I found this site!
kitamaria is offline  
Nov 12th, 2006, 02:14 AM
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With only 5 days and your first visit to Paris, why would you even consider side trips!!

I have been to Paris so many times. Will be there for 6 days in Feb. and it will be spent within Paris keeping me very busy.
gracejoan3 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2006, 07:08 AM
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I'd ditch Versaille and Bruge. I'd ditch Normandy too, but that's non-negotiable. You need to have a few days to just "be" in Paris. You won't regret it. Bon Voyage!
Danna is offline  
Nov 12th, 2006, 08:23 AM
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Versailles is definately more interesting in the Spring, summer or fall when the gardens are at their best. I have been twice...in March when the gardens were not worth seeing...and in late September when they were still in their glory. I think you are wise to keep it for another time.

I wouldn't make any decisions on the city tours in advance. In off season, you'll not need reservations. You'll likely want to see how you feel and weather will be a factor as far as the open top tour or cruise along the Seine. I suggest taking the cruise at night...it is lovely with all the buildings including the Eiffel Tower lit up at night.

The Louvre is the type of museum you could spend several days and not see it all. We selected a few exhibits of interest and spent a few hours there very much enjoying what we did see....instead of trying to see it all.

The Rodin is nicer when the gardens are in bloom and I would likely skip it favour of the Musee d'Orsay. There you will find all the masters of Impressionist Art as well as countless other masterpieces housed in an interesting old train station.

I think doing an orientation bus tour on your first day when you are tired from jet lag may might be the best plan since walking might wipe you out.

Your hotel seems to be close to the Eiffel Tower which has a stop for the Batobus near the river. It is a ferry service that delivers you to various points in the city. You might take that service as far as Notre Dame and work you way back to the Eiffel Tower.

I would take time to stroll the avenues as that is part of the charm of being in Paris. A good walk will take you from the Louvre through the Jardin des Tuileries to the Place de la Concorde...down the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe... to the Trocadero...across the Seine to the Eiffel Tower.

What ever you decide, I'm sure you'll fall in love with Paris and plan to return in the future. I have been 4 times and still feel like I've only stratched the surface....Enjoy!!

CRAZY4TRAVEL is offline  
Nov 12th, 2006, 08:23 AM
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We spent five days in Paris in October and only did a side trip to Versailles. Even that took too much time away from all there is to see in Paris.

I loved the Louvre and wouldn't have missed it, even though you can't expect to see it all. We also really liked Montmarte, which was just like the Paris I always imagined.

Sounds like a great getaway! Have fun!
jayne1973 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2006, 09:22 AM
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sounds like you already decided and changed the plans... but I would definitely not attempt to fit in Brugge or Versailles with only 5 days in Paris. Give your hubby Cityrama and Normandy, and yourself the Louvre, throw in an evening cruise on the Seine, and imo that's enough to have planned in advance for such a short stay.
suze is offline  
Nov 12th, 2006, 09:38 AM
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On Day 4 let your husband do the historical tour while you do the walking tour or the hop-on hop-off bus. That's one of the nice things about sightseeing in a city. Everybody can do their own thing. However, be sure to get a central hotel; works better when you separate.
Mimar is offline  
Nov 13th, 2006, 11:04 AM
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The advice and counsel of fellow travelers on here was SO helpful for our trip to France this fall. We had so many wonderful ideas from which to choose.

We remembered, however, that it was our trip and so if we elected to do something that was recommended against, it was our choice. For example, most people recommend the Louvre, but we went to Paris with no intention of visiting it. We just didn't have all that much time and felt that spending our limited time out and about in that amazing city was a better choice than hiding out in the massive museum for a few days. No regrets. We had wonderful visits to D'Orsay, Rodin, Cluny, Carnavalet (though in all except Musee Rodin we sort of just saw what we wanted to see, rather than trying to do it all), and spent an unforgettable 90 minutes with an English-speaking docent at Sainte Chappelle. Mostly though we walked and wandered (often in the Marais) and loved stumbling across wonderful discoveries. Our memories are ours, not the guidebook's.

Since you can't do it all, just make sure you are doing what you want to do, not what someone else thinks you should do! Enjoy!

cageym is offline  
Nov 13th, 2006, 11:43 AM
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Kit,

I want to second what cageym said. I use these forums all the time, and post trip reports so other can benefit in the same way I have.

That being said, everyone's tastes are different. It is your trip, and if it is something you might not be able to do again, make sure you do what *you* want to do.

Take other's advice, but take it as just that - advice.

I've been to Paris twice and am about to go for my third time. I didn't see the Louvre on the first two trips. I did, however, see Versailles and was very disappointed.

Those are opinions probably not shared by many other Paris lovers on this board, but that is the point. Everyone likes different things

Remember, even with the worst possible itenerary, you'll still be in Paris

Kevin
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