Help with My Paris Planning

Old Mar 3rd, 2003, 09:04 AM
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Help with My Paris Planning

I am going to Paris with my Mother in a couple of weeks. We have a list of things of interest to us. Can you please help me group them together in a way that best utilizes our time? We arrive on a Mon. around lunchtime and leave the following Tues. very early in the morning. I have reservations at the Hotel Danube in the 6th. Any other thoughts, tips etc would be greatly appreciated.

Jardin des Tuileries
Notre Dame
Place de la Concorde
Saint Chapelle
Arc de Triompe
Boatride on Seine
Eiffel Tower
Musee Carnavalet
Musee Cognacq-Jay
Jardin de Luxemborg
Musee de Orsay
St Germain des Pres
Musee de la vie Romantique

I fully realize we can't see/do all of this. I would just like to put together a generalized plan for each day based on how things fit together geographically and then go from there. Adding or deleting as we go along.

Thanks for all your help.
Georgeanne is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2003, 09:51 AM
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You've got a whole week, you can do it all if you want.

If you go elsewhere here at under the Paris destination heading, or if you consult any good guidebook, there will be lots of suggestions for walking routes or itineraries that will help you organize your days. You also need a map to organize yourself.
Streetwise Paris is excellent.
I can't tell you how much time to allow for each place; that's up to you. Some people skim through the Louvre in two hours; others spend two days there and still leave feeling unsatisfied.

Here is what I do when I have a lot of things I want to see.
I make a worksheet (excel can do this easily if you know it) with a grid.
Across the top I make column headings, one for each day of my trip. Down the left I make row headings for each sight that I have any interest in . It helps if you generally list the sights in groups that reflect their proximity to one another, and I also note the nearest metro stop. That's why you need a map and guidebook.

For example, the Conciergerie, Ste Chapelle and Notre Dame would be listed one after the other because they are all quite near each other, ditto Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries, etc.

In the box for each sight and day, indicate if it's closed, or what its admission hours are. For example, under Monday , for the Musee de la Vie Romantique, you would write "closed". Under the LOuvre, indicate its open hours. Under Tuesday, you would indicate that the Louvre is closed, the Orsay is open, and also Museum de la Vie Romantique is open approx 10-5.

You have enough time so that you don't need to decide now what you want to see on each day of your trip. Wait and see how the weather is, what your energy level is, if you want a long lunch, if you've seen too many museums in too many days etc.

Also remember that you have some evening options that can go on your grid. I recommend the boat ride from Vedettes de Pont Neuf, at night. The lights of the city are beautiful.

Also, the Louvre and the Orsay museums have at least one night each during the week when they stay open late. Check their excellent websites for schedules; not every Louvre gallery is open all the time.

Here's a rough guide

one day
Notre Dame
Ste Chapelle
then walk to the Pantheon

another day
Place de la Concorde

another day

another day
add in, Place des Vosges and more walking around the Marais

Eiffel Tower
walk to Arc de Triomphe
walk down Champs Elysees to the Place de la Concorde, or branch off elsewhere

another day
St Germain des Pres
Jardin de Luxembourg
you can put the Pantheon here too if you like

If you want another day out of town, Chartres has a beautiful cathedral, and try to take a guided tour with Malcolm Miller. It's an easy train ride followed by a short walk from the station.
elaine is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2003, 10:47 AM
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Excellent advice, Elaine. I certainly wish this site had some kind of categorizing scheme for classic questions and responses like this one. Right now there are several threads on this site asking how to plan trips--through cities and from city to city. Yours is a classic response concerning a large city and should be on some kind of master, easily accessible list for continuous consult.
JmVikmanis is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2003, 01:37 PM
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If you are in the area of Fauchon, be sure to take a couple minutes to go through Madeleine and then stop for a break at Lauduree (5 rue Royal) for a Macaroon & café. They are all within a block for Fauchon.

Get a good map of Paris and try to have a good mental picture of Paris in you mind before you go. A good plan is a job is half done. Plan, plan, and plan some more. I have been to Paris five times and I could easly tackle your list in 5 or 6 days.

The problem you are going to find is that there is "eye candy" all over the city and you will be distracted.

I assume you will be using the metro and the bus system. Get to know how they work, they will save you a lot of time.

I noticed you have not put Ile St-Louis on your list. Take a couple hours to walk the streets an shop on this small island behind Notre Dame. If you have time, try a lunch at Auberge de la Rene Blanche (set aside a couple hours for lunch).

If you get near the Bastille area, I would recommend La Table D'Aligre. Excellent three course meal for about $23. They are located about 3 blocks behind the new Bastille Opera and open for dinner about 8PM. They were noted in Bon Appetite acouple years ago. Call for reservations. I have never been dissapointed there.
La Table D'Aligre
11 Place d'Aligre
75012 Paris
01 43 07 84 88

Also use, Paris Shuttle to and from CDG and your hotel.

Another tip: Get a GOOD Michelin map of Paris and then go to a copy machine and make copies of the three or four areas you will be covering in Paris and carry these in your pockets during the day. They are a lot easier to unfold on a windy corner that the large map. You can also use a highlighter and mark them up for your own use.

If you plan on doing some shopping, be sure not to miss La Bazarr de la Hotel de Ville (BHV). This store has everything and is right next to the Hotel de Ville.

If I can help you in any other way, please do not hesitate to e-mail me. [email protected]

Bon Voyage!
Randy is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2003, 03:00 PM
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Hi Georgeanne,

Some good ideas here already. I recommend the Michelin Blue guide as a good map of paris/Metro lines. It is not too large and can be carried aorund easily. I also looked at the Michelin "Orange" map, more compact but less detailed (not all streets on it).

You might consider a Parisvision tour on your first day, to get a quick overview of all of the sites. Another plan might be to take a half-day walking tour. I did the Paris Walks tour for St Sulpice and Ile St Louis, both are 10 Euro, with the former being the better of the two. I find it nice to let someone else tell me about sites and add in stories not always found in the guides.

Ditto to Ile St Louis. Nice area to browse and Reine Blanche is one of my favs.

If you like classical music, you could combine an evening canldelight concert at St Chappelle in your to-do's. Many churches have nigth time concerts, but this location is one of the better ones. Only thing to remember is that restaurants serve dinner starting around 8 PM, which is usually around the starting time for these concerts.

Boat tour is recommended, I've done the daytime and nighttime ones, recommend going after sundown. Major buildings, bridges, Eiffel Tower are lit up..quite nice. Haven't done the dinner cruises, but my understanding is that they are a bit expensive for what you get.

For Versailles, you have the choice of going on your own, or taking a tour bus. If you choose on your own, it is easy to take the RER train to get there. Not too far a walk from the station. Doing it this way means you can plan your trip to avoid some of the crowds (hint:avoid weekends). Also means you can stay longer if you want to tour the grounds (there is a lot to see). They also have evening classical performances as well as a "festival of the fountains" show.

Many people have recommended Angelina's for its decadent hot chocalte and deserts. It's a nice place for a break from walking, and it not far from Place Concorde, on Rue Rivoli. Nearby are a couple of large Enlgish language book stores.

You might want to pick up the pocket sized Pariscope magazine that comes out every Wednesday. Found at most newstands. Lists events for the following week. It has an English section in it.

Hope this helps!

Michel_Paris is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2003, 03:07 PM
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Since you arrive on a Monday you might want to consider a Carte Orange for transportation (Metro and Bus) in the central city.
PaulR is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2003, 11:27 AM
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We just returned from Paris on the 2nd - we also stayed at the Du Danube and loved it!

We found a good map that indicated all the churches, parks and museums, etc - it was extremely useful in planning our intinerary. I'd recommend finding something like this. FYI you should have no problem covering the things on your list - just make sure you have comfortable walking shoes. Enjoy!
switty is offline  
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