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Heading back to Paris!!! (Itinerary)

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Feb 11th, 2012, 10:56 AM
  #1
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Heading back to Paris!!! (Itinerary)

So very excited: We are finally heading back to Paris! We visited in 2003 (9 days) and 2005 (5 days) and loved it but had to see other places before heading back…

Hubby, me and our niece, 19, for whom the trip is a graduation present, will be there from Sunday, 13 May until Monday, 21 May (8 sightseeing days). This is niece's first trip to Europe and I want her to love Paris as much as I do! We are staying at one of "Pascal's Apartments" (rue de l'universite, across from Mus. Quai Branly) chosen in part because of the awesome Eiffel Tower view—which niece requested.

We will buy 4 day Museum Passes; carnets of tickets for the Metro; prebook sights if possible… I want to balance museums, shopping (niece loves; I hate; hubby doesn't care), down time to watch Paris go by, nice meals, etc. We used Rick Steves on our previous trips so have purchased his 2012 Paris for guidance along with Eyewitness (such a gorgeous book) and Fodors.

I worked out the following itinerary and would appreciate your thoughts.

Sunday: Arrive CDG at 8:15, taxi to apartment, leave luggage (can't check-in until mid-afternoon). Walk over to the Eiffel Tower (prebook tickets for ?? time), have lunch at 58 Tour Eiffel, enjoy the views . Back to apartment for a rest then out to dinner somewhere nearby (possibly Cafe Constant)

Monday: Jacquemart Andre Museum; Opera Garnier; shopping at Galeries Lafayette or Printempts. Kind of an easy day—not sure how niece will manage jet lag.

Tuesday: Day trip to Giverny (leave apartment early enough to catch 8:15am train to Vernon); return to Paris and head to Montmartre (Sacre Couer, walk about)

Wednesday (Day 1 of Museum Pass): Notre Dame, Tower climb, walk about, Amorino vs. Berthillon taste test, St. Chappelle, Conciergerie, ...

Thursday (Day 2 of Museum Pass): Versailles day trip

Friday (Day 3 of Museum Pass): Louvre, (??l'Orangerie), Champs Elysees for window shopping/people watching, tea at Laduree, Arc de Triomphe

Saturday (Day 4 of Museum Pass): Orsay, Rodin, Army Museum and Napoleon's Tomb, (??l'Orangerie today?)

Sunday: RS Bus 69 "tour" from Eiffel Tower to Bastille, wander back to the Marais from there, shopping, stopping as we please.

I really wanted to tour Hotel du Ville but I don't think we can manage it. I really want to see the Monets at l'Orangerie.

Would love your thoughts about the itinerary. Would appreciate suggestions of places to eat (hubby wants to eat well, but we can't break the bank…).

Thank you!
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Feb 11th, 2012, 11:15 AM
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Your itinerary sounds lovely; leaving time to stroll and/or just sit.

Depending on how much you plan on riding the Metro/buses you might consider getting the Navigo Decouverte for all of you, rather than Carnets. You will be there from a Monday through Sunday, so it would work well for you, only needing to get enough tickets (one Carnet?) to handle the end days. Even if you do not save any money, the convenience of being able to just wave your pass at the machine, and not having to juggle tickets makes it worthwhile for us. Besides, the card makes a good souvenir, as you will want to use it when you come back to Paris the next time.
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Feb 11th, 2012, 12:12 PM
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I personally would make a point to go to L'Orangerie especially since you are going to Giverny. So, I would go and compare to what you see at Giverny. I don't love the Louvre, but many do and I understand wanting to go there. The canvases at L'Orangerie are magnificent!

If the niece is into high end designers then detour of the CE down Ave. Montaigne...even if it is to window shop. I also am not a big fan of the CE as it is crowded and very commercial. I love the view of it from place de la Concorde towards the ADT but as for "strolling" it...not so much.

If you get the chance, then do try Reed in the 7th for dinner. Catherine Reed is lovely and we so enjoyed our dinner there (fabulous risotto). It is a small, charming place off rue St Domenique. Cafe Constant does make a good first night place to stop in....go early to assure you get a table. She will take good care of you and it is a cozy restaurant.

One thing to consider doing is to wander down the Promenade Plantee from the Bastille. I would imagine in May that all will be in full bloom and would make a beautiful walk. I would prefer it over spending a lot of time in the Marais....just a suggestion.

If you end up in the 6th at all, check out Un Dimanche a Paris for tea and/or their lovely pastries and desserts. The ginger/citrus macaron is too die for. The strawberry is also terrific. The chocolates are also first rate and they make great souveniers!

Your itinerary sounds just great, however. Do go to L'Orangerie!!
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Feb 11th, 2012, 02:20 PM
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Thanks, nukesafe. We are defintely considering the Navigo Decouverte, for just the reason you suggest.

Denisea, hubby and I have been to Le Louvre on both previous trips and he really wants to go back. I want to do a quick highlights thing, leave him behind, grab a snack and head to L'Orangerie with niece. Then she and I can amble down CE for a couple of blocks then enjoy window shopping on Ave. Montaigne--thanks so much for the suggestion! Hubby can meet us at the Arc or for a late tea at Laduree.

Reed is on the list! I love that it's in the 7th. I'll also check out Un Dimanche a Paris. I've seen photos of the Promenade Plantee--thanks for reminding me about it.

Cheers!
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Feb 11th, 2012, 02:46 PM
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I would rearrange the visit to the Jacquemart-André so you can enjoy brunch there on your second Sunday.
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Feb 11th, 2012, 03:25 PM
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I think if you and your family like to do that kind of itinerary, it's fine, but a couple of the days seem like a museum death march (I can't believe you really would go to four in one day?). Are you going to force the people you are with to do all these things? because I would rebel at so many museums (I would never do the Louvre and l'Orangerie the same day and would not do two of any art museum in one day, actually).
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Feb 11th, 2012, 03:28 PM
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Thanks, StCirq, I like the idea of swapping Monday and second Sunday! Doing the bus "tour" that morning would be a nice introduction for my niece to Paris and we could walk about the Marais, shop (BHV is open!), explore, perhaps stroll Promenade Plantee... If I can figure it out, this may provide a chance to also visit Hotel du Ville.
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Feb 11th, 2012, 03:30 PM
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On your first day, you might collapse once you get settled in your hotel room. A casual picnic meal might be a good idea that evening, in the hotel room or the Champs de Mars, the lovely park in front of the Eiffel Tower.

I am plotting to return to Paris, myself!
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Feb 11th, 2012, 03:35 PM
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Hi Christina, yeah we do like museums a lot! I love the Orsay and can't imagine not visiting it if I'm in Paris. I love Rodin's house and garden (it's museum desert to me). Hubby wants to go back to the Army Museum but niece and I will probably skip it and hang out in the area but we gotta see Napoleon's Tomb. Ideally we wouldn't see more than one "big" sight per day, but we have only so much time. This pace is not for everyone but it works for us...
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Feb 11th, 2012, 08:23 PM
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Peaceout, yeah, we probably will want to collapse--jet lag hits hard. Hubby and I try to stay up 'til around 930-10pm on arrival night to help us acclimate to local time. I hope niece can hang with us old folks We are all excited about having the apartment so close to ET and the gorgeous Champs de Mars! It has a terrace with view of ET which we plan to take full advantage of.
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Feb 11th, 2012, 09:33 PM
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If time permits, take the English tour of the Opera Garnier. It is fabulous and the guide shares many interesting facts and stories.
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Feb 11th, 2012, 09:52 PM
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If you really love museums, you must include The Carnavalet with lunch or coffee at Place Vosges---our favorite stop after 8 visits to Paris.

If you love Monet, The Marmottan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mus%C3%A9e_Marmottan_Monet
is really fantastic. L'Orangerie was really nice, but the Marmottan was beyond nice. I have to add that L'Orangerie is more convenient.

I like your research and organization. It will definitely help you in your trip.

IMO, the English tour of the Opera Garnier was the highlight of our 8th trip to Paris. If you want to see the opera house, this is a must. It's one of the few escorted tours we've taken in Paris, and we enjoyed it to the max.

Can't wait to read your trip report.
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Feb 11th, 2012, 10:21 PM
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Can I make a recommendation to go to the l'Orangerie as soon as you get back from giverney? Friends of mine did that and loved it. perhaps you and your niece could go to Mont m

And I agree that you should skip the military museums if they don't interest you. Perhaps you and your niece could go to Montmartre while your husband is at the military museums?

The trip sounds lovely, I wish I was going......
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Feb 11th, 2012, 10:26 PM
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TPAYT, unfortunately, the Carnavalet is off the list this time. We went on our first trip and hubby isn't keen on returning. He also kiboshed the Cluny, but I've not quite given up on going back there.

We went to the Marmottan on both our previous trips and Loved it (true highlight). But since it's not as convenient to get to and we haven't been to l'Orangerie, I left it out this time.

Thanks catcrayzf and TPAYT, for the suggestion about the tour of the Opera Garnier--sounds perfect; will try to make it happen!
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Feb 11th, 2012, 10:57 PM
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Ooh sorry about my weird half sentence. It disappeared while I was typing and then reappeared after I submitted. Very odd.
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Feb 12th, 2012, 09:49 AM
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Cathies, I wanted to maximize the Museum Pass so that's why I put Montmartre on same day as Giverny. I agree that it would be lovely to see the paintings right after visting the gardens so may do it anyway! Thanks for the suggestion.
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Feb 12th, 2012, 09:58 AM
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Regarding the Musée de l'Armée, you might be surprised at some of the exhibits on the lower level. SO and I wandered around there last time we were in Paris and saw a couple of really interesting exhibits only tangentially about armies and wars - including a holographic exhibit of the life of DeGaulle that was really well done.

I think you meant Marmottan, not Montmartre, in your 12:49 post.
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Feb 12th, 2012, 10:27 AM
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I would add the Musee Nissim de Camondo, which is a fabulous home with a poignant backstory. Include a stroll through the Parc Monceau. Having said that, I would drop at least one of the other museums to do so, as I think you are very heavy on that and Paris needs to be strolled, as well

Also, the top of the Arc at night--incredible views.
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Feb 12th, 2012, 11:01 AM
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StCirq, I was talking about Montmartre because nothing there requires the Museum Pass, which we would activate the day after we get back from Giverny... I don't think we're going to make it to Marmottan this time.

MelJ, I really want to see Mus. Nissim de Camondo and if we swap Monday and Second Sunday, we can do it. Would involve missing Jacquemart Andre, which hubby and I have seen twice, though. What do y'all think for a 19 year old girl? Which might fire her imagination more, Nissim or Jacquemart?

And I am hoping to end Friday at the ADT and catch some night views!
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Feb 16th, 2012, 09:16 PM
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Another question just occurred to me: Where is best place to buy our Museum Passes? ON the itinerary we are swapping Monday and Second Sunday if that helps y'all give me an idea of where to get it. Thanks!
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