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How should I spend my 8 hour layover in Paris?

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Jan 11th, 2018, 01:32 PM
  #1
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How should I spend my 8 hour layover in Paris?

First time here in the Fodor's Forums.

We are taking a family trip to Greece at the end of March/early April, and have an 8 hour layover in Paris with our three boys ages 10, 14 & 14. We arrive in Paris midday, so jet lag shouldn't be too bad. My husband and sons have never been to Paris, so we'd like to take in some highlights. The kids of course want to see the Eiffel Tower. I would prefer to spend the time at the Musee D'Orsay (Ha! not gonna happen). What are the must dos with 3-4 hours in the city? How can we do this at a minimum expense? What is the best way to get from CDG to center city and back? Is there a perfect cafe to sit and have a croissant and cafe au lait near the Champs Elyssee?

TIA.
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Jan 11th, 2018, 01:44 PM
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Don't even think about "must-dos" for such a short time. You can take the RER from the airport into Paris for 10 euros. If you need to see the Eiffel Tower (I completely understand that), the RER B will take you to Saint Michel-Notre Dame and then you can transfer to the RER C (on the same ticket) to the Eiffel Tower. How much time will you have left after that? Who knows? If you want to go up the Eiffel Tower, it will probably use all of the time that you have available. If you just look at it from the ground, you can do something else. Perhaps a boat trip on the Seine? You still have time to do some research and consult the kids.
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Jan 11th, 2018, 02:50 PM
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This is one hour more than this one 7 hour Paris Layover.
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Jan 12th, 2018, 08:26 AM
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I would just take the RERB to/from the airport if you must see the Eiffel Tower. People are batty about it, don't know why. You don't have that much time, I don't think you understand that. The trip to/from the airport will take about an hour each way. You have to be back to CDG about 3 hrs in advance of your flight. So that's five hours right there, you have maybe 2-3 hours in Paris.

As kerouac says, if you just want to gaze a the Eiffel Tower, that doesn't take long. If you want to go up it, that's all your time. You have to buy tickets in advance, also. If you have extra time, you can spend it around Notre Dame and the islands, which is where you have to transfer trains anyway (in-between the line to the Eiffel Tower and the aiport). If you have no idea how to manage easily public transport in a strange city, have never ridden an underground system, and don't know French, that will make it more complicated for you.

Forget the Champs-Elysees if you are stuck on the Eiffel Tower. There are plenty of cafes around Notre Dame, anyway.
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Jan 12th, 2018, 08:53 AM
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Do not spend any time trying to find a perfect or even imperfect café near the Champs Elysées. You don't have time and the reality is probably not what your mental image of it is.
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Jan 12th, 2018, 06:36 PM
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Take the kids to the Jardin des Plantes where there is an amazing handmade wood merry go round from the early 20th century, walk through Luxembourg Gardens, stopping by where they sail toy boats, then walk up the 6th arrondissement to one of the famous cafes --I'm blocking the one that I like.
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Jan 12th, 2018, 08:25 PM
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>>We arrive in Paris midday, so jet lag shouldn't be too bad<<

IME - time of arrival doesn't make much different (assuming you are on an overnight flight). I'd play it by ear and wait until you arrive - hopefully on time - to decide Have a Plan A (quick trip in to the city) and a Plan B (maybe a day room at a CDG hotel). Do understand you will not have anywhere near 8 hours free. More like 3, or 4 absolute max. after accounting for immigration, checking your carry-on's if necessary, travel in to Paris then travel back to CDG and security
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Jan 12th, 2018, 08:48 PM
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I would be more inclined to do the D’Orsay than CE and a Cafe. I can’t see teen boys enjoying that perfect cafe, anyway, even if it did live up to your imagination (I really disliked CE).

I’d probably take the boys to either arts de metier (even the metro station is cool) or check out Notre Dame, stroll through the parks, and find a patisserie.

Or if you have cell phones, set the kids and your husband loose while you go to D’orsay. There’s a lot within walking distance that they could check out, and I don’t agree with Christina about Metro being difficult. I don’t speak French at all, and had no problem.
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Jan 26th, 2018, 03:18 AM
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You do NOT have a lot of time...here are a few suggestions:
  • Take RER B to Saint-Michel/Nortre Dame (allow an hour to de-plane and clear control and another hour to get to the RER, buy tix (you're new!) and get to the city).
  • Take a short, self-guided walk around the historic core/left bank (many guide books have a good one)...one hour
  • Have lunch...one hour
  • Take the Vedettes du Pont Neuf boat tour (If more interested in art, spend an hour at the Orsay.)
  • Take the RER B back to CDG. (You need to back at CDG two hours min in advance, so this take 3 hours.)
You WILL be jet lagged if flying from the US regardless of arrival time.

ssander
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Jan 26th, 2018, 11:29 PM
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A cafe on the Champs Elysses is the last place I'd go !!!

Take the RER to Notre Dame , then walk around the Latin quarter and find cafe .
Dont count in getting up the Eiffel Tower unless you.book a ticket in advance , and they are not easy to come by .
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