"Must Do's" in Paris??? Help!

Oct 25th, 1998, 11:49 AM
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"Must Do's" in Paris??? Help!

My husband and I will be in Paris for 2 nights only Nov.20-22. This is our first ever trip abroad - Celebrating our 5th Anniversary! We are NOT taking the kids - (sorry, boys!) We plan to stay in the 5th ard. (Le Notre Dame Hotel) Please post your best suggestions for Things To Do that couples would enjoy. And while you're at it, what should we not bother with? Thanks!
Oct 25th, 1998, 12:32 PM
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I would suggest getting a copy of the Cadogan City Guides, for Paris. Lots of good walking tours and history. Paris is a relatively compact city and much can be seen in a couple of days. We have always bought a 'carnet' of 10 tickets for the Metro because it's so easy to use, but many on this forum suggest the bus for it's above ground sight-seeing. The ISBN for the Cadogan guide is 1-56440-072-7.
Oct 26th, 1998, 04:50 AM
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Hello Jill,

Visit Notre Dame & St. Chapelle. Walk along the Seine. Visit the outdoor markets (there's one on Rue de Seine). Visit the Louvre or D'Orsay. Walk up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomph and see the city from the Top. Vist the Eiffle tower in the evening. Enjoy lunch or an afternoon drink at an outdoor cafe watching the world go by.

There is so much to see so pick up a good book on Paris and a map and after reading the book, you can plan your two days.

When you return, please let us know about your wonderful trip.


(previously at [email protected])
Oct 26th, 1998, 09:42 AM
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Personally, if you're only there two
days, I wouldn't bother with the Louvre,
It is very large, tiring and time-
consuming, and I don't personally find
the art very well-displayed nor an
interesting collection. Be aware of
what their collection consists of, becau7se
if you like art from, say 1850 or later,
it isn't in the Louvre (which is why I
don't care for it--I don't like those old
Delacroix), it's in other museums. Go
to them, instead (e.g., D'Orsay is best).
I will recommend a few things in the
Louvre if you insist on going--the
new sculpture wing is superb, and the
period rooms (Richelieu wing?) and
crown jewels are worth seeing. Go to
the Cluny instead if you like Medieval
art. I also wouldn't bother with things
that involve climbing stairs or elevators,
and waiting in lines in order to see
views from tops of monuments
(ie, Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe).
Oct 26th, 1998, 11:46 AM
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Hi, Jill-- Christina's suggestion of the Cluny is good. It has the famous "Lady and the Unicorn" tapestries, and part of the building dates from the Roman Empire. The Sainte Chapelle is also wonderful. It was built by King Louis IX (Saint Louis) and is painted as it was in his day-- no cold, gray stone there. Those are within walking distance of your hotel. On the other side of the city, in Montmartre, the view from the steps of the Basilica de Sacre Coeur is wonderful, and the nearby painter's square is touristy, but still has some of the flavor (and the buildings) from the days when Toulouse-Lautrec and his pals had their studios in that neighborhood. Have a great trip! Martha
Oct 26th, 1998, 01:03 PM
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To Martha: Thank you for your suggestions - You mentioned "painters square" - What exactly is this? I am very much a shopaholic, but the advice has been to give up on the idea of clothes, perfume, etc. BUT...I am very interested in trying to purchase art from local Parisians at good $$$. Is this available in "painters square"? Thanks!
Oct 27th, 1998, 05:12 AM
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Martha can speak for herself, but what
I think she meant was that in the Montmartre area around Sacre Coeur there are many painters who are selling their works, it is not an official shop or area. Some of the art is definitely aimed at tourists, but if you like it, you like it. If you want to look at
other art, try the Marais area which is an old part of Paris but there are many many dusty little antique stores.

If I had only two days in Paris (or less, depending on what time you arrive) and it was my first trip, this is what I would do, it reiterates some of the suggestions above.

I would spend about an hour or less in the Louvre (art classicists, forgive me), so that I could appreciate the building, and I could say I saw the Mona Lisa (not a moving experience), Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory (which I do think is a moving experience). At some point I would spend a couple of hours in the Musee d'Orsay. The building is magnificent, as is the art. You won't see it all, but if you like
19th century art, including the
impressionists, you will be very happy.Go early in the morning and start at the top level of the museum which will not be crowded at that time.
I would visit Notre Dame of course, and the nearby Conciergerie for a feeling about the history of the French revolution. I would not miss Ste Chapelle which has magnificent stained glass, and which is shown to its advantage on sunny days. These three places are quite near each other and you need not linger unless you want to.
I would have a leisurely lunch on at least one day at a trendy place like
Cafe Marly (it's tucked inside the Louvre) or at any neighborhood cafe in the Notre Dame or Pont Neuf area where you can relax and watch Paris go by for a couple of hours. I would walk
along Faubourg St Honore to admire the shops. I would take the metro to
the Eiffel Tower and walk (a long walk)
to the Arc de Triomphe, and then walk down the Champs Elysees. You will pass
disappointments like McDonalds, but you are still walking down a beautiful boulevard. If you want, and you are dressed a bit, have afternoon tea at one of the beautiful hotels like the Plaza Athenee or the Georges V.
When you reach Place de la Concorde, admire the sculptures and the traffic,
and walk through the Tuilleries
Gardens. And since you're staying on the left bank, don't miss at least an hour or two's walk around the St Germain area, interesting shops, markets, churches, etc. Actually, you could walk from the D'Orsay museum to St Germain as well.
Oct 27th, 1998, 03:46 PM
william jahnke
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Paris sine quo non

Notre Dame (inside & gargoyles on top)
Eiffel Tower, outside deck, top floor
at night
Seine walk, Left Bank, at night
any appealing looking cafe
*any* bakery
Musee d'Orsay, esp top/4th floor

If time:
Place des Voges
Galleries Lafayette, ground floor (perfumes)-look upward!
Rodin Museum on quiet morning
ice cream on Ile de St.-Louis

And don't forget a couple of good
meals in the resto's!
Nov 1st, 1998, 08:57 PM
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Agree with lots of the above. St. Chappell was glorious and the interior of Notre Dame was truly awesome. The D'Orsay was the greatest if you love the Impressionists. Van Gogh is my favorite and they have quite a few of his works and virtually everyone else you can name. The city monuments were nice, but the art blew my away. Monet's Waterlillies at Le Orangerie (sp?) were mesmerizing to me and the Rodin museum was excellent also. Didn't get to see the Louve because of strikes. Enjoyed the Isle St. Louis and purchased a watercolor from a retired gentleman painting on the bridge. Toulleries Gardens were wonderful with the fall colors! You'll be busy and have a great time!
Nov 2nd, 1998, 04:00 AM
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The "painters square" is actually called La Place du Teatre. From one angle, it is highly photographed of the square with Sacre Coeur in the background. See the art work there. Yes it can be very touristy, but it's a great place to visit. Buy a painting if you like it. You will be "attacked" by artists who will want to do your portrait, which I had no interest. Check out the view of the city from Sacre Coeur.
Nov 6th, 1998, 10:48 AM
Kimberley D. Byrd
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Jill, My boyfriend and I just returned from a short vacation in Paris, we arrived Wednesday evening and left the following Tuesday afternoon. For us, some of the greatest "must do's" that we actually found in the Fodor's forums, were visiting Angelina's - it's a tea shop on Rue Rivoli, I think 226, that has the most amazing hot chocolate and pastries. The tea is fab as well. Let's see another must see for us was Notre Dame, at night the outside is gorgeous and the inside on a clear sunny day, so that you can see the sun streaming through the stained glass windows. Oh, also, try a clear day to walk up to the top of Notre Dame, the view is worth it. But the caveat is that one must be in somewhat good shape as the ascent seems neverending and the winding stairwell shrinks down to nearly one-person passage at some points. We also enjoyed walking along the Seine at night - its beautiful. Hmmmm, the Eiffel Tower at dusk is breathtaking as well. There's so much to see and do. Please feel free to email me for anything else.

Nov 8th, 1998, 12:45 PM
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Happy Anniversary You'll never get over your first trip to Paris. It's the most beautiful and romantic city in the world. Study a little before you go. Use the metro - fast and easy - once you figure it out. Maps are abundant.
DEFINITELY go to the top of the Eifel Tower - go early to avoid crowds. AND to to the top of the Arch de Triomphe. A good romantic and very French restaurant (they do know English) near you - Cote Seine. On the left bank near Ile De Cite. Use a few French words - Bon jour etc. The French do appreciate you effort. Walk and walk an do the abbreviated tour of the Louvre - at least the high spots. Have fun!!!

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