Mom's First Trip to Paris (2.5 days)

May 31st, 2016, 07:41 PM
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Mom's First Trip to Paris (2.5 days)

My mom and I are traveling to Europe (for her first time) at the end of August. At this point I have all of our flights, trains & lodging arrangements taken care of, and I'm trying to finalize an itinerary that covers the most possible attractions in the least amount of time, with the least amount of strenuous activity for my mom. (I'm aware this is practically an impossible combination, yet, alas...)

Paris (3 days, 2 nights)
Flight to Rome (2 days, 2 nights)
Highspeed train to Florence (1 day)
Regional Train to Cinque Terre (Manarola home base 3 days, 4 nights)

I have been to Paris before and feel comfortable navigating the metros and have a pretty good feel of the neighborhoods, etc. I would love to see the Palace of Versailles but have heard the crowds can be horrendous. I live in NYC and deal with crowds every day; would you say it's comparable? Worth the trip seeing as we have so little time?

I know my mom would love a boat cruise. Better during the day or at night? Reviews on the different lines? Definitely not planning on a meal during the tour. Leaning toward the 9-11pm Seine Cruise via

Anyone have experience with canauxrama?

Any must-see Paris attractions other than the obvious? Restaurants? Shops?

What about the unlimited metro card (zones 1-5)? Worth the money? We'll be flying into CDG airport and most likely taking the Roissybus into the city. Our airbnb is in the Marais district so I know we'll be taking at least a metro ride or two each throughout each of the days we'll be exploring (especially if we decide on the Versailles). Also, we'll be flying to Rome out of ORY airport. (suggestions on best routes to ORY are welcomed, too!)

Any and all suggestions are totally welcomed and appreciated!!
katechristine is offline  
May 31st, 2016, 07:58 PM
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I like the one hour Vedettes du Pont Neuf boat cruises; if you take the 9:30 pm cruise, you should be at the Eiffel Tower when it twinkles on the hour.

You can buy a voucher online to be used at any time and save about 4 euros/person for the cruise. This means you can also avoid the line to buy tickets once you are there.
grandmere is offline  
May 31st, 2016, 07:59 PM
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>>Paris (3 days, 2 nights)
Flight to Rome (2 days, 2 nights)
Highspeed train to Florence (1 day)<<

You are counting things incorrectly --

2 nights in Paris will net you at most 1.5 days, 2 nights in Rome = 1.5 days, What looks like zero nights in Florence will equal about half a day.

>>the most possible attractions in the least amount of time, with the least amount of strenuous activity for my mom. <<

This may sound harsh but you have almost guaranteed few attraction w/ very strenuous activity . . .
janisj is offline  
May 31st, 2016, 08:19 PM
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@janisj correction:

Paris (2.5 days, 3 nights*)
Flight to Rome (1.5 days, 2 nights)
Highspeed train to Florence (0.5 day)
Regional Train to Cinque Terre (Manarola home base 3 days, 4 nights)

you're right, I was definitely rounding up. and also, I realize the entire trip will be strenuous, either way. mostly what I'm referring to re strenuous activity is in Rome. Which stairs to climb and which to admire from the foot, etc. Paris I'm not too worried about.
katechristine is offline  
May 31st, 2016, 10:41 PM
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You're staying at an Airbnb in Paris and have freely admitted so on here - watch out for the thunderous disdain and criticism.

I've answered your Rome post but you must also be aware that it will be stinking hot at the end of August so rushing around sightseeing will be very, very hard work. You'll be in Rome in the afternoon of the first day, expecting to sightsee when all the sensible people will be sipping a Negroni in the shade by a fountain.

I would get a Paris specific guide book and see what interests you.
Blueeyedcod is offline  
Jun 1st, 2016, 12:21 AM
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There is nothing I can think of in NYC that is in any way comparable to the crushing crowds at Versailles.
StCirq is online now  
Jun 1st, 2016, 04:19 AM
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If you go to Versailles, you'll consume all of your only full day in Paris. I've answered your other posts, and all I can say is that I hope your mother returns home whole and healthy.

When were you in Paris before? The number of visitors there (and in Rome and Florence) has exploded since my earlier trips. All three cities have plenty of hidden gems, where you can enjoy art and history without being shoved and stomped on, but it seems that you only want to see the "top attractions", which are all impossibly crowded.
bvlenci is online now  
Jun 1st, 2016, 04:45 AM
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From Marais you could get a taxi to Gare Montparnasse (about 10 euro) and there are buses every half hour to Orly airport. Much more comfortable than taking the trains with luggage and easier on your Mom.
Musée d'Orsay and Musée de l'Orangerie are great and the queues aren't as long as the Louvre. Better to buy your tickets in advance online and skip the queues.
Musée Rodin is lovely- walk around the gardens and have lunch.
August is warm but I wouldn't say too hot. However the city is fairly quiet then as many French are on vacation that month. Have a wonderful time!
ConsistantTraveller is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2016, 05:31 AM
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I certainly wouldn't attempt Versailles as you hardly have time to see much in Paris. Given the fact you will only have time to see a few places, what interests your mother the most? She should took a look at a guidebook and pick her top sites.
KTtravel is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2016, 06:20 AM
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Forget Rome. Or Paris. It would be Rome for me--it is spread out and more strenuous than Paris (since that is one of your guidelines).
You are not doing your mother any favors here, IMO. Let her thoroughly enjoy Paris--and the countryside of Italy. I assume you are not walking in the CI--which is also VERY crowded at your time of travel.
AND no to Versailles.
Gretchen is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2016, 06:36 AM
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I'm doing a whirlwind type trip in September and we have decided there is no way to see everything. We will enjoy what we see. I think it's a great idea to consult the guidebooks and pick out one or two top sites. The rest will just be extras. Make sure mom gets time to just sit, relax and take it all in.

I would love to read a trip report you write so I hope you do that. I hope you both have a great trip.
barbrn is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2016, 08:30 AM
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Rome is no more spread out than Paris. I would say it's actually less spread out. Of course, it depends on what you include in your itinerary, but you can easily walk between all the major sights of Rome. In fact, I visited Rome on the day of a bus strike with some American visitors, and we walked from the Colosseum to the Pantheon, to Piazza Navona, to the Vatican with no problem, on a hot day in June.
bvlenci is online now  
Jun 3rd, 2016, 09:08 AM
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You have a tight schedule but I hope you have a wonderful time with your Mom.
Everyday I wish I could take my Mom back to Europe.
cafegoddess is offline  
Jun 4th, 2016, 04:43 PM
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In Rome, Doria Pamphilji is a welcome respite from crowds and heat in central Rome. For us, the unexpected "gem" of our trip a few years ago.

I do think you are trying to cram too much in. Skip Versailles. If you really must do something grand outside Paris, look at Vaux le Vicomte which was the inspiration for Versailles. In central Paris, my favorite small museums are L'Orangerie, Musee Marmottan and Musee Rodin .
denisea is offline  
Jun 4th, 2016, 05:18 PM
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Just read all three of your threads. I have not seen anywhere that you mention your/your mom's ages. Are you a twenty something with a 40-50 year old mom or a 50 year old with a 75 year old mom? It can make a huge difference in the advice you should be getting. And does your mom have any physical conditions limiting her? All you've said is that you don't want it to be too 'strenuous' for her don't define that. You said you live in NY but what about her? I find this also makes a huge difference - some people I know who've gone to Europe for the first time and were from an urban area in the US found things very different from people who are from a very rural area. I was about to answer some of your questions but I think knowing a bit more about you and your mom would result in your getting better advice.
isabel is offline  
Jun 4th, 2016, 05:23 PM
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Yes, but if the OP goes to Versailles (and I think of it as similar to the ground floor of Macy's the couple of days before Christmas - you need to use your elbows to get through the crowd and be careful not to fall on short people) they will have a grand total of 1/2 day in Paris.

Have you sat down with your mother and gone over this itinerary versus what she wants to see where? And how much will be covered each day?

I fear this is totally overplanned and in the heat of summer just exhausting.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 4th, 2016, 07:10 PM
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I think mom will disinherit the OP when they return home (if she survives the trek)
janisj is offline  
Jun 4th, 2016, 08:25 PM
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Janisj and NYtraveler, I have been thinking the same thing as I read all the OP's other posts about this trip. Even when I was much younger, it would have left me feeling terribly frustrated, realizing I had spend nearly as much time traveling as actually being anywhere, and no time to see much of anything.
Sassafrass is offline  
Jun 4th, 2016, 09:58 PM
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I do note that OP hasn't responded on her other two threads and hasn't been back to this one since the 31st . . . My guess is she doesn't like the advice all that much . . .
janisj is offline  
Jun 5th, 2016, 10:29 AM
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Agree with what the others are saying. With such a short time in Paris, I would never spend a day going to Versailles. You say you have been before, and maybe it would be worth it to you, but for your mom? I think there are so many other ways for her to spend her time in Paris that would be more rewarding.
grandmere is offline  
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