Modifying Paris Plans :: sniff ::

Old Sep 9th, 1999, 04:26 PM
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Modifying Paris Plans :: sniff ::

Our long-awaited European trip has been temporarily derailed by bad weather between DC and JFK. We were flying to JFK to connect to Orly on American; but tonight's 4:45 JFK flight was weather-delayed so badly that we hadn't even left DC when we knew we wouldn't make the flight. We're rebooked on tomorrow's flight, and will leave DC earlier to allow more wiggle room...but the initial part of our trip, four days in Paris, is now three days in Paris.

:: sniffle ::

Anyway, the question is: we had originally planned on three days exploring Paris--museums, Tower, Arc, Montmartre, Marais, Notre Dame, markets & cafes, etc.--and one day at Versailles. To you Paris veterans, if you had *never* been to Paris before and this monkey wrench were thrown into your plans--would you go with just doing three days in Paris and forgoing Versailles for another trip, or two days in Paris and one at Versailles? I'm inclined toward the three days in Paris, since we'll be doing some of the more medieval castles later on (like Chillon and St. Goar), but I thought I'd seek some "expert" advice. Thoughts, anyone?
Old Sep 9th, 1999, 04:41 PM
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Don't miss Versailles. Go there early and get it done in a morning. That way you will actually have 2 1/2 days for Paris sights. Tip: Go to the Arc at night; it is quite a sight when lighted up.
Old Sep 9th, 1999, 05:47 PM
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That's a tough choice! In one way I do agree with Maira about Versailles, yet I LOVE Paris that 3 days won't be enough with all that there is to see. Paris is a great walking city with lots of beautiful architecture, museums, outdoor markets, cathedrals, the Seine. You could do as Maira suggests and plan to return to Paris again. I personally would skip Versailles IF I knew I would return to Paris in the future.
Old Sep 9th, 1999, 06:13 PM
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Skip Versailles. Stay in Paris. I just returned from a five-day trip and it wasn't enough. You'll barely hit the museums you want to see in 3-days. Enjoy Paris.
Old Sep 9th, 1999, 06:51 PM
dan woodlief
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As much as I love history and enjoyed Versailles, I personally would stay in Paris unless you have some overriding interest in seeing Versailles. Just plan on doing it next time. If you really don't think you will get back, then go to Versailles. I think it is close enough to Paris to be considered one of the city's must see places. It depends on what you want to see there too. You can just tour a few rooms, some of the gardens, and see the outside in a couple of hours or less at the chateau, but to see a lot of it can easily eat up most of a day.
Old Sep 9th, 1999, 07:40 PM
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If you leave early and arrive at Versailles just before opening time, you can see plenty and be back in Paris by 2PM with the rest of the afternoon and evening ahead of you. I, personally, would recommend skipping Montmartre. For stunning panoramic views, go to La Samaritaine, Magazin II (Store #2), take the elevator to the 9th floor, then the staircase to the outdoor terrace, then another staircase to the roof. We found Montmartre tacky and mobbed with tourists, and a bit sleezy - at least the area around Sacre Coeur and Place du Tetre. But, I think it's important for you to do what you think will be most appealing to you.
Old Sep 9th, 1999, 09:59 PM
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Agree with Donna...Especially views from La Samaritaine. Note that roof is open same hours as store. However, better to enjoy the views here, perhaps, than waiting in line at the Eiffel Tower. Be sure to have someone snap your picture with the view of your choice in the background!
Old Sep 9th, 1999, 10:47 PM
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The first time I went to Paris I only had 3 days too and did Versailles, but I was with a tour group. The convenience of the tour group was that everything was scheduled already. One of the highlights of that trip for me was Versailles. There was a huge line to wait in, but for me it was worth it. It was so exciting to see the actual bedroom of Marie Antoinette. So even though you have 3 days if you plan your time out while you're on the plane, you should have enough time to fit it in the morning. I would also suggest you give yourself a set time for seeing the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay. You won't be able to see everything in the museum in 3 days, but you still wouldn't be able to even if you had 3 weeks! I must admit, I loved Montmartre too. The basilica is the most beautiful I've ever seen. I would not have skipped it for anything. The artist village is also wonderful. It's true it's a crowded tourist trap (in other words wearing your money belt is a must), but it is also a fun and lively place. Usually there is a band playing rock music on the steps in front of the basilica, and all the people sit and sing along. It is a lot of fun.

I would suggest that on your first day You head staight for Notre Dame and walk around the Ile de la Cite. You can also see the Marais and just get a feel for the city. Also, watch the sun set from the Eiffel Tower (again, watch your wallet, my friend got pickpocketed in line).

Your second day can include a morning at the Louvre followed by a visit to Montmartre.

The third day can include Versailles in the morning and the Musee D'Orsay in the afternoon.

I think it can be done, but you may be very tired. You can sleep when you get home though, right.
Old Sep 10th, 1999, 12:12 AM
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Rather than skipping Versailles right away, I would take a different approach : why not skipping the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre, two time consuming and rather tacky tourist traps ? You will answer me : "Yes, but where will I get the sights from ?" And this is where I tell you : "Forget about the Eiffel Tower and its pickpockets and busloads of tourists. Go to Tour Montparnasse : no lines, an elevator straight to the 56th floor, and a better view since from there on you'll see the Eiffel and not the Montparnasse, which is kind of ugly." As for Montmartre, it can be easily replaced by a more authentic and cuter hill : the Jardin de Belleville in the 20th arrondissement (metro : Pyrénées), at the intersection of rue Piat and rue des Envierges. The best view over Paris, not one tourist in sight, a real Parisian neighborhood, a nice café to sit at. And for Versailles, I would take Donna's advice : go as early as possible (it's only a 30 minute train ride), and be back for early afternoon in Paris.
Old Sep 10th, 1999, 06:53 AM
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Thanks so much for everyone's advice! I think we're going to play it by ear at this point; Versailles was slated for Sunday (when the fountains are on), so we'll proceed on Saturday as originally planned and see how we feel; if we do go on Sunday, we'll definitely take the advice about leaving early and coming back by 2ish. And of course we're getting the 3-day museum pass which will hopefully minimize line-waiting for most places.

I'll let you all know how it goes! (Monica--thanks for your e-mail, I'll get in touch when we get back!)
Old Sep 10th, 1999, 08:21 AM
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First, I'd have a word with God about that weather thing...
If you have a museum pass (or are planning to get one) and get to Versailles at the opening (9am for the chateau, the grounds open at 7am), as suggested, you should be able to see the palais in around 3 hours, getting back to Paris by 1:00pm. Vincent is right; the Eiffel Tower *lines* will chew up a lot of time; just go look at it. Montmartre has its positives: Sacre Coeur and a panoramic view of Paris from the steps in front of the church. The Arc de Triomphe isn't really much to see up close; if you go up inside it, you get a view of the city, making the trip worthwhile. Notre Dame can be seen early in the morning (it opens at 8:00am); anything that doesn't have an 'opening' time, do early in the morning or later in the evening, saving the daytime hours for the museums, etc. that have opening and closing times.

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