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lhs624 Jan 25th, 2006 04:42 PM

How to spend the arrival day in Paris?
My husband and I are travelling to Paris for the first time this April. We arrive on a Sunday late morning. Just wondering how all of you suggest we spend our first afternoon/evening in Paris? We are staying at a hotel in the 6th near the Luxembourg Garden. I don't want to pile on too much the first day but want to make it a good use of our limited time (will be there only 7 days)

Julienas Jan 25th, 2006 04:47 PM

Have you traveled overseas before?
If not, you might want to gauge first how you feel on your first day. Some people like to nap, some people try to stay awake, but there's no one right answer.
If you think you will be up and around in the afternoon, think about booking a walking tour, Paris Walks is one good organization and they have a website. It will keep you moving, but not force you to try to concentrate in a crowded museum.

Just out of curiosity, I love the Luxembourg Gardens area, which hotel did you book?

mileagemaven Jan 25th, 2006 04:50 PM

We also arrived on a Sunday (and stayed in the 6th). Some museums are less expensive on Sunday; we had planned to "take it easy" with a visit to the Rodin Museum (which is still a fine idea, and was recommended by others), but we only managed to relax and go out for a leisurely walk and dinner in the 'hood.

Lori Jan 25th, 2006 05:04 PM

Be sure to get outdoors and walk around, it really helps to fight off jet lag. I don't mean walking marathons :-) but being out in the air rather then inside a museum seems to make jetlag less of an issue for us when we travel to Europe. Don't take a nap, try and stay up till a reasonable bedtime and you should be good to go for the rest of your time in Paris.

Pausanias Jan 25th, 2006 05:26 PM

Paris is one of those cities where your room is not likely to be available until the official check-in time. We usually leave our luggage at the hotel and go for a walk -- once took a boat ride on the Seine -- then have a bite to eat. Then we return to the hotel, nap, shower and head out for another walk, ending with dinner and an early bed time.

This works for us though others swear by the full first day approach.

Given your location, a boat ride and a visit to Notre Dame should absorb a few hours. Have a great trip.

Mimmel Jan 25th, 2006 05:48 PM

I agree with Pausanias. Definitely walk to Notre Dame & get a crepe from a street vednor. The nutella ones are the best!
Don't forget it takes quite a while to get your luggage, clear customs & get to your hotel. Our flight landed at 9:45 & we didn't get to the hotel until noon. Where are you staying in the 6th?

Mimmel Jan 25th, 2006 05:49 PM

Obviously that's street VENDOR.

lhopp Jan 25th, 2006 05:51 PM

We do the same thing as Pausanias. Drop our luggage at the hotel and then take a walk, grab a snack, get the lay of the land. Then, we return to the hotel at check in time, take a 2hr nap, shower, and head out for dinner. After a good night's sleep, we're right up to speed for our trip. We've tried several times to go straight through and not take a nap, but we can't do it.

sandykins Jan 25th, 2006 06:06 PM

This April it will be my husband's and my second visit to Paris, and my 9yo's and 5yo's first visit to the city. We'll check into the hotel by about 1:00 p.m.

I'm usually a zombie after a trans-Atlantic flight, so I thought we'd kick off our vacation with something high-impact for the kids but low-effort and mindless for the adults: go up the Eiffel Tower (which my husband and I have done before). Then we'll walk across the Pont de l'Alma and have dinner at a restaurant just off the avenue des Champs-Elysées (where my husband and I ate our last dinner in Paris). Then early to bed.

Don't know about you, but that's my idea of taking it easy the first day.

Underhill Jan 25th, 2006 08:28 PM

I think the idea of a boat ride on the Seine would be just about perfect--relaxing, out in the fresh air and light, and an introduction to the sights of that beautiful city.

My husband and I usually take a short nap when we can get into our room, but I know others prefer to get out an about. I think the boat trip would be the perfect compromise: out in the fresh air and light, but nothing strenuous.

AnthonyGA Jan 25th, 2006 08:43 PM

Spend the first day on non-critical sights. Boat rides are a good idea. So are visits to parks or strolling along the streets, with light meals. Don't hit any museums or cathedrals or anything, as you won't be in very good shape on the first day and you don't want to see those things until you're in top form. Make sure you don't go to sleep before 9 PM, and once you're in bed, try to sleep through the night (if you wake up too early, get back to bed). Thereafter you should be okay and you can do what you want.

Having a nice dinner can help reset your biological clock and is low-stress and pleasant. Don't go to any three-star places on the first evening, but find a decent sit-down restaurant and enjoy that.

All of this assumes you're coming over on a long flight. If you're just hopping over on the Eurostar, there's no reason to observe any particular restrictions the first day.

moxie Jan 25th, 2006 09:59 PM

IF possible stay awake. The boat ride would put me to sleep so I suggest:
walk towards bvd st michel (stopping at a little metro station to buy your carte orange), look at the river and any book/poster sellers there, then go to the notre dame, have a snack, take a bus or metro to the louvre (free on sunday) and see the one or two 'top' works ie mona lisa (browse the gift shop). metro or bus back to left bank; early dinner (7.30pm)then back to hotel and pass out.

hhildebrandt Jan 25th, 2006 11:33 PM

Maybe you will like to walk around your block to get a glimpse of the neighbourhood. There are free city plans available at every hotel desk for free, these are issued by the department stores Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps, these plans are very useful for your Paris visit.

If you want to do a little more, why not to walk around Jardin du Luxembourg, as your hotel is in its surrounding? It is very Parisian, to be there.

If you feel ready for more, what about a walk over Champs Elysees? The Wirgin and FNAC stores there are opened on sundays, so you can get your ticket for Le Louvre in advance at FNAC´s biletterie (ticket shop) in the basement. Oh, Le Louvre. Check out its homepage for the openening and the opening of the sections you want to see, as these are opened to a schedule. Btw, check out the other big museums´homepages, as Musee d´Orsay and Centre Beaubourg (or Centre Pompidou) before you leave. If you feel tired on Champs Elysees - restaurants are expensive there, especially at la terasse, the little tables outside for seeing and to be seen - they also have some cinemas there. yes, the movies are in French, but you might get a movie to be understood just by its action and images.

Nikki Jan 26th, 2006 01:24 AM

If you do decide to see a movie as suggested by the previous poster, which I'm not sure I'd want to do on my arrival day, you don't necessarily have to see one in French. The movies which are shown in their original language, such as American movies in English, will be advertised as VO, for version original. The ones that are dubbed into French will say VF, for version francais. French movies will be shown in French though.

opaldog Jan 26th, 2006 04:14 AM

I always need to walk as much as possible, just taking in the city. I also do not plan much and get to bed at a reasonable hour. I never nap.

Gretchen Jan 26th, 2006 04:32 AM

We do as many have said. Drop our luggage and then walk around the neighborhood a bit. Go to the Metro and do "housekeeping" stuff--buy our Carte Orange, if we are going to do that, buy our Museum Pass, if we are going to do that. Then find a place to have some soup and salad for lunch. Maybe go to one "big place"--Notre Dame or the eiffel Tower (not up in it) or a boat ride. We have an early dinner (nothing too special that first night) and are home in bed by probably 9PM. The next day we seem to be pretty much on "time" and rested.

bardo1 Jan 26th, 2006 04:35 AM

agree with everyone else here. Get as much sunlight as possible. Either walking or a boat ride along the Seine.

The Batobus is great and very inexpensive.

SusanInToronto Jan 26th, 2006 04:42 AM

This post is particularly relevant to me - we're going to Paris for a week in September and are arriving very early on a Saturday morning. (I've been to Paris before, but not since 1978, so I figure I'm almost a first time visitor. Husband has never been.) II know what the original poster is saying - with only a week, time is limited, but we also need some time to recover from the flight. like the idea of a boat ride along the Seine - something I will definitely look into.

Margaretlb Jan 26th, 2006 05:42 AM

To deal with the jet lag and reset my internal clock, after a transatlantic flight I always have a Turkish bath and massage. Paris has several very nice day spas and the steam bath with massage usually takes about 2 hours. Then back to the hotel for a one hour nap, a walk, an 8pm dinner and bed by 10:30. The next morning I'm good as new.

pmmg8r Jan 26th, 2006 05:47 AM

Naps are essential, and the Seine boat trip is really nice if the weather is good. Paris is open late...the lights are lovely at night. Take your nap then go out for a late dinner.

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