How to plan routes and itinery in Paris.

Old May 13th, 2013, 08:11 AM
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How to plan routes and itinery in Paris.

I am trying to organize our first trip to Paris in September. I have looked at tour books and searched the internet but am having trouble figuring out where attractions are in correlation to each other. We would like to avoid back tracking to see things and waste time in just transporting ourselves back and forth. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to best research this? Should I just google every attraction and get distance from each other? Would certainly like ideas of how others do this in a new city.
Thank you for any assistance you can offer.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 08:26 AM
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I recommend getting a map of Paris and highlighting the locations of interest for you. Most maps will have the locations of the usual suspects already marked. Simplified maps of this sort are found in most guidebooks, also.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 08:27 AM
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Paris is not a huge city and if your target attractions are the main ones they won't be far apart. A city map and a Metro map, either paper or online, will be all you need to figure it out. In some cases you can, with the aid of your map, group sites in close enough proximity to walk from one to the other, my favorite way of getting around Paris. To add to the mix are the buses but the routes are a bit less transparent when compared to the Metro so I'd start with Metro.

Any guidebook and all attraction websites will tell you the closest Metro stop or stops. That's were most of us start. Follow the Metro map from the stop where you'll be starting to the target stop. Sometimes the easiest way is not the closest so taking changes into account you may find a longer way is the quickest if there are no changes to be made.

That's a good place to start. Once you get a grip on the Metro system you'll find it's one of the easiest cities to negotiate.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 08:29 AM
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In most guide books, near the sections on attractions, there are usually maps showing where these attractions are located. Fodors and Rick Steves guide books for sure have such pages. I don't know which guide books you are using.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 08:37 AM
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What you need is a good detailed map of Paris of around the scale 1:12,000 and it will show all streets and street names, museums, monuments, gardens, parks, sites, attractions and the location of all RER and métro stops. If you can't find one at a bookstore it will be easy to find one in a google search. I use either the IGN maps or the Michelin maps. Blay also has good maps of Paris.

You can figure out walking times and distances between sites by using a mapping website like or a similar website.

To learn how to get around Paris by métro/bus/RER use Here is an interactive map of the system:

Since parts of this website are only in French you can also use or Via Navigo probably has the most complete English website. A good website to learn how to use public transport in Paris is
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Old May 13th, 2013, 09:45 AM
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That's exactly what maps are for. I use my Paris Par Arrondissement when I want real detail; otherwise any IGN or Michelin map or even a tourist map will show you where everything is in relation to everything else and the distances between - as long as you understand scale.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 10:09 AM
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We love the Streetwise Paris map both for planning and for use while in Paris. It is simple, clear and has little pictures of major attractions so you can see those located near each other. The map also clearly shows the metro stops. And there is a Metro map on the back. You can get Streetwise maps at Barnes and Noble or Amazon. The map is laminated so that it stays neat - we've been using ours since 2002.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 10:11 AM
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The Paris Mapguide is cheap and comprehensive, and has a very readable Metro map plus bus routes.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 10:13 AM
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You just need a map.

I used a paper one I got for free in Paris at my hotel. It showed all the major sights and monuments on it. I'm sure you can find something like that online or in a guidebook.

I like to use a paper map (not a laminated one) because I write on it in ballpoint pen, adding my hotel, or other places of interest, as I go along.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 10:16 AM
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When you look at a map of Paris, you'll see many of the attractions/museums are near the Seine.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 10:42 AM
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A little bit of study goes a long way.

I like maps and have more than a couple that I use in Paris, but I think Streetwise and Paris Par Arrondissement are more than enough when I get there. Usually just the Paris Par eme but sometimes the Streetwise too.

But for me, it's the planning and plotting out things that make it all the easier once I'm there. Having a general sense of which attractions are in which areas is invaluable.
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