General itinerary advice- Paris

Mar 19th, 2003, 08:01 AM
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General itinerary advice- Paris

Message: After many wonderful trips to Paris, I have come across a good way to Plan for Paris.
*one morning at the beginning of your trip - Pick a Market - maybe the rue Poncelet - and go from 10 or 11 till one pm - take a rolling basket and buy stuff for your room - hopefully it has a fridge at least some wine, a baguette, some yogurt-I recommend la ferme du menege from monoprix, some clementines and strawberries, and a cheese - maybe some olives
-go by a wonderful flower market and pick up a luscious bouquet of flowers for your room and ask your hotel if you can borrow a vase - it's amazing how beautiful the French do flowers
*take a big suitcase- don't try to be heroic and carry it on - you'll need room for purchases - take an extra bag that you can stuff with all your books, papers, and stuff that doesn't fit in your big bag and check it. I always keep a big folder for these extra papers, maps, and such.
I like to go on Wed or Thursday
the first full day- if it's not a Monday- I go to the Louvre because it is serious serious walking. I don't recommend the cafe marly - just get a bite somewhere handy and focus instead on soaking up some culture. If I still have some juice left I go to the Palais royal gardens and then go to Galerie Vivienne on that day. When near the Lovre I highy recommend the store called Sennelier for art supplies for gifts - pastels, colored pencils, drawing pencil or paint sets and some drawing paper make great gifts from the store where famous artists got their paints mixed. 3 rue quai augustines across from the louvre.
Saturday - I love to Go to the Jardin du Luxembourg and watch the joggers and tai chi enthusiasts. Go to a lovely little cafe near there and be tres parisian. Go to christian Tortu flower shop at 6 carrefour Odeon and see the best in Paris. Maybe buy your room bouquet there. This is a good day to shop the St Germaine area - rue des St Peres is a good street - go to Othello for wonderful wonderful fabulous jewelry but don't expect detaxe. If you want a good haircut - try Jaques Dessanges nearby - I love Mari Ange - stylist. There's also a guy there who gives fabulous man's cuts to die for. Wonderful flower shop nearby called Olivier Patou at 23 Rue des St. Peres.
mariacallas is offline  
Mar 19th, 2003, 08:03 AM
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10 day itinerary continued-
Sunday-Do the Notre Dame- then go to the Marais - start at Centre Pompidou (just to see the outside or maybe ride the escalators - I'm not big on the exhibits - very contemporary) - walk down the rue de Francois de Bourgois all day (fabulous shopping open on sunday) and end up in the Places des Vosges around sunset to see the beautiful buildings in their splendor - don't try to sit on the grass
Monday _ I always do the Eiffel tower on Mondays because the museums are closed then. then go to the Arc de triomphe and then stroll the Champs de elysees un peu. Makeup fans might want to go to Sophora there - I didn't like the heavy perfume smell and it was too hot but my neice loved it.
Tuesday - go to a Galeries Lafayette fashion show - reserve a place on line at their web site and take the reservation with you. then eat lunch upstairs and shop till you drop. Keep all your tickets until you're ready to ring out - so you can get detaxe. check out their costume jewelry - it's wonderful. and their handbags are too. this is an all day affair but if you want more go to Printemps-good bags and hats.
Wednesday - is a good day for Versailles - but I opt instead for museums like the Magritte exhibit at the jeau de paume or the Grand Palais for the Chagall exhibit - check out what's current during your stay. After jeau de paume it's fun to stroll the tuileries. If you're still up for strolling - you can work in the Palais royal gardens and end up with tea at the Galerie vivienne at Priori the or the little wine bar there. While there be sure to check out Emilio robba - especially the stem flowers downstairs - available only in France - if you get a lot get them to mail them to you - no detaxe and no rumpled flowers.
Thursday - I like to go to Musee D'orsay - start out at the back of the major Impressionistes room and then work forward chronologically to see the Van Goghs and degas and definitely go see the Odilon redon and Degas pastels. do the statuary downstairs last and then swing through the gift shop. Definitely eat lunch in the most opulent Cafe dEs Hauteurs - to die for - and take pictures.
friday - you might want to fill in whatever you haven't done yet - maybe shopping - maybe the musee Jaquemart Andre and the wax museum - just some ideas.

mariacallas is offline  
Mar 19th, 2003, 08:04 AM
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While we're at it
things everyone needs to see and do at least once in Paris -
*Go to the Place des Vosges at sunset.
*Eat at Chez Julien -fois gras d'oie with toast and reisling, steak and bernaise with frites, profiteroles au chocolat
*boat ride down the seine at dusk
*go to the musee d'orsay and see the van goghs and degas at least
*Go to the Jardin du Luxembourg on a Saturday or sunday
*Go to a flower shop
*go to a market
*Notre Dame on a Sunday
*Go see the ritz hotel and at least see the espadon room
*go to a french cheese shop and take some cheese and bread and wine to your room and sit by the window and laugh at your former problems
*walk along the seine near the Notre dame - maybe get your picture drawn there
*hang out at the champs de mars near the eiffel tour on a sat or sunday and watch the skaters and see the fountain (it was closed a few weeks ago)
*sit outside at a cafe and drink coffee and have a pastry at 3 or 4 pm like the parisians do
*eat pate fois gras d'oie
*have french fries and mayonnaise
*eat clementines
*go to the louvre if for nothing else to at least see Napolean's aparttement
*hear the bells at St. Sulpice in the evening around 6ish?
*go to the wax museum
*see the gallerie vivienne
*stand at the arch de triomphe and look down the grand boulevards
*stroll through the Tuileries and imagine it as it was when the kings lived there
*go to a pastry shop and buy something decadent
Well, that's a start anyway - I'm sure I left out lots

mariacallas is offline  
Mar 19th, 2003, 08:10 AM
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US citizens are allowed 1400 worth of purchases - for each person in the family. That might sound like an unfathomable amout but you'd be surprised how much it can add up over course of a few weeks. I usually save out a few seasonal purchases and buy them in Paris- for example a handbag or sunglasses, maybe some costume jewelry, I also buy Christmas gifts there and save them and get a store card to go along wtih it. Even a remnant from a fabric store made into a pillow makes a wonderful souvenir. I always buy postcards and stamps for them early in the trip and then mail them out about midway through my trip. A box of chocolates from a trendy chocolatier-Pierre Herme on rue Bonaparte for example, makes a good gift. I also like to bring back notecards from museums - also a good place to buy postcards.

Favorite handbag places are La Bagagerie and Nannini (extraordinarily great styles and wonderful prices compared to the designers. Lancel has some nice things and you can find them all at Galeries Lafayette I think.
Hats are really coming back in style - if you buy one, get a box for it and carry it on the plane home. This makes a great major purchase you will cherish always.

Save money for food and snacks for the airplane for the terribly long ride home. I recommend taking some kind of fruit and nuts or crackers on the plane.

It is very difficult to find larger sizes in France- shoes 9/12 plus and size 12 and up is super hard to find. Marina Renaldi has larger clothes and Galeries Lafayette has them too. Shoes - forget about it.

and while it is all fresh on my mind. I just got back Sunday. Clothes are very very expensive in Paris - really everything is, especially food. Rather than searching down certain restaurants, I like to search for certain dishes - for example, for me, no trip to Paris is complete without choucroute, escargots, huitres-oysters, fois gras d'oie, tart tatin, a millefeuille, onion soupe, frites, steak with sauce bernaise, and a croque madame. I just try to work those into my trip and that seems like enough.

And on clothes. I always try to get one great coat or jacket because they do those better than anything I can find in the US. Their raincoats are just super. I usually try to get one great scarf if it really speaks to me - I like Kenzo scarves the best. Other than that, I don't kill myself over trying to find clothes. It just takes too much time and I'd really rather see the sights and take in some culture.

Not to say my way's the only way. I just have really benefitted from your comments over the years and wanted to pass on a few if they might help.

a tip I learned from a guide I hired in Paris once. He says to go see several hotels each trip so you can find where to stay next time. I recommend you get something close to shopping and restaurants so you can just walk to dinner and shop along the way. For this reason I recommend the St. Germaine area or the marais near Place des Vosges. Ask people in the area where to stay. Just be careful what you give up for the price. I think having a refridgerator, a lift, safe, phone, TV, and bathtub are critical. And I really like having a view of the street and a little table I can pull up to the window for meals- and general well being. And, I really want to be able to pay with a credit card.

mariacallas is offline  
Mar 19th, 2003, 08:11 AM
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Also, don't foget taxicabs. When you start getting tired. cabs can really make things a lot better. Get a map that shows taxi stand locations. If you need a cab, ask your hotel to call one for you plenty in advance. Restaurants are usually happy to call a cab, just ask them to call when you ask for your bill. There is a 2.50 E supplement for four people in a cab.

And learn to ride a bus. It's super easy and much nicer than the metro except in traffic - then the metro rules.

Finally, don't fret about how to look as stylish as the French. Really, that's their area of expertise. Let them shine in their uncomfortable shoes. You go for comfort so you can enjoy your trip more. Learn from them and pray that one day you too will be able to wear pointed shoes while walking 20 miles a day. Think of it this way, if you lived in Paris, you could look like the impeccable French ladies too because they have the pick of the best in the world.
mariacallas is offline  
Mar 19th, 2003, 08:14 AM
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What great suggestions, I have printed this report to use for my trip to Paris this fall. I love having fresh flowers in my room. I was particularly pleased with the suggestion of the art store, Sennelier. As an artist, it will be fun to go there and pick up a few special things.
Barb is offline  
Mar 19th, 2003, 08:34 AM
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And whatever you do, make your first investment this priceless little book - overcoming jetlag - by Ehret. this method was used by Nixon in his many travles. I have used it about 15 times and is worked flawlessly. This last trip home I didn't follow it to a T, and I am suffering big time. You start the plan three days before you fly.
mariacallas is offline  
Mar 19th, 2003, 08:34 AM
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Great info here. I agree with you that to really enjoy and appreciate Paris a visitor needs to take some time to "do nothing", that is to say: don't try to fill everyday you are there with all of the tourist sites to visit, but rather allow some time for Paris to enter you soul. Get a good map, and just start walking down interesting streets, check out the markets, stop for a caffe creme on the terasse of a bistrot...and your appreciation of Paris will increase.

Thanks for yout thoughts!
Michel_Paris is offline  
Mar 19th, 2003, 08:35 AM
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Wait a minute! Is the Jeu de Paume open again? I though it was going to be closed for another year! This is good news indeed if it's reopened.
StCirq is offline  
Mar 19th, 2003, 08:58 AM
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StCirq - A Magritte exhibit opened at the Jeu de Paume last month.
Mara is offline  
Mar 19th, 2003, 09:05 AM
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MC, thank you for the thoughtful notes. Wonderful to read and contemplate, and am saving for the "next trip".
Chicago_Heather is offline  
Mar 19th, 2003, 09:43 AM
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Thanks for all the good advice. We will be making our 5th trip to Paris this May and can't wait!!!!!! Your trip report/advice just made my feet want to hit the Pairs ground even more!!! I have always wanted to do the flower thing in the room but never have...maybe this time.
aj is offline  
Mar 19th, 2003, 10:03 AM
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I went to the Magritte exhibit - it was glorious. Curiously many works from the De menil collection in Houston ranked high among my faves. I just think it's adorable how the French study things so carefully, the art, the fashion, the food.

Another funny note- went to the Musee du mode et textile to see the Jackie O exhibit. It was curious how the French were so captivated by Jackie O and her clothes. Letters to Jackie from charles de Gaulle, videos of JO being interviewed at the white house. All her clothes on mannequins and accompagnying pictures and videos of her wearing them at Versailles, etc. Si mignon.
mariacallas is offline  
Mar 20th, 2003, 05:50 AM
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Mariacallas: Thank you so much! I'm traveling to Paris Apr 11-15th with my 15 yr-old daughter for my 50th birthday!
I've printed your Plan and will use it often. Am hoping to do the Giverny/Versailles day trip, any comments?
Lee2313 is offline  
Mar 20th, 2003, 06:08 AM
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Thanks for the info on the Jeu de Paume and the Magritte exhibit. I am putting it right on my April itinerary!
StCirq is offline  
Mar 20th, 2003, 09:15 AM
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The Galerie National du Jeu de Paume is a different museum than le Musee National de l'Orangerie des Tuileries, which is the one that is closed (where the Monets were/are). They are across from each other at the end of the Tuileries -- the Jeu de Paume is on rue de Rivoli, l'Orangerie is on the quai.
Christina is offline  
Mar 20th, 2003, 09:40 AM
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Just a quick note about Sennelier - it is indeed just across from the Louvre but it is the quai Voltaire. Even if you aren't an artist, it is a wonderful visit - old dark wood cabinets, wonderful art supplies, and a friendly staff.
palette is offline  
Mar 20th, 2003, 09:44 AM
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Sennelier has also a shop south of the Luxembourg Gardens, in Montparnasse.
48bis, Rue de Grande Chaumière, off Blvd. Montparnasse.
Ursula is offline  
Mar 20th, 2003, 10:54 AM
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Wow, MC. Sounds formidable! I wish I were leaving tomorrow. Where did you stay? Anything you would have done differently?
mclaurie is offline  
Mar 20th, 2003, 04:13 PM
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To answer questions, I thought this was as close to a perfect itinerary as I've planned for Paris yet. Next time I will definitely make time to go to a hamman at the mosque - now that I really was sorry I missed. I also dearly want to go to the Parc Monceau and the musee Carnavalat. I highly highly recommend attending an event at the Opera Garnier - what a jaw dropping spectacle that was. We sat in the beautiful little boxes you enter through your own door. Sat right along the front of the balcony with a perfect view of all the gilt with a capital G, ooh la la. The Chagall ceiling was too beautiful for words. But the splendor of simply walking in the grand entrance and going up the stairs made me weak in the knees. Of all the wonderful things I have done in Paris - Maxim's, staying at the Ritz, Versailles, the Musee d'orsay, honestly, this was the best of all - and only for a 52 buck ticket - formidable.
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