paris 1st timers and more

Feb 1st, 2006, 06:59 PM
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paris 1st timers and more

we are visiting paris april 12-20 .. 1st timers.. also thinking of a few days side trip to country side but where? thinking brittany or normandy coast.. is that doable or south? any advice? suggestions? we are 60, 50 , and 13 years to walk , eat and gawk ... not real big on tons of museums... more people and things thanks
rlc456 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2006, 07:23 PM
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rlc - I'm going end of March and have been reading hundreds of responses to questions like yours. To summarize, most respondants have said that you need not feel a need to do side trips, because there is more than enought to do within Paris to keep you happy. May I suggest you visit the website for the Ile-de-France (IdF)tourism board, IdF is the province Paris is located in. On the website, you can request literature from them that will have great suggestions for day trips. They will mail their stuff to you with good speed, and there is no need to make a decision quickly. So you can stay close to Paris and have a memorable trip, but if you must venture beyond. . . . I believe I have heard that Normandy is do-able. Also, consider Giverny even if you are not a Monet fan, Chartes, Fontainblue, Mont St. Martin, maybe even Strassberg. (Sorry, I must be butchering the spelling fo these, feel free to correct.)

It just so happens that my family has a few Dutch friends, who live in the States, but have travelled extensively throughout Europe, speaking no less than 5 languages fluently, just to re-enforce my own insecurities that I am a terminal philistine. (But I digress) When we posed this question to them they immediate chimed "you must visit Brugge, Belgium!" and that will be our one side trip. Am looking fwd to other responses.
docdan is offline  
Feb 1st, 2006, 07:31 PM
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I may get serious abuse for this, but if you aren't big on museums, a week is way too much time to spend just in Paris - especially with a 13-year-old. You can go out to Versailles, which will take a day or less; many of the other sites are just a quick look-by and move on. We're trying Normandy/Omaha Beach this year with our 17 and 12-year-old, but I think it's important that young teens understand the significance of what they're seeing.
edgecorp is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2006, 07:30 AM
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thank you so mauch keep the replies coming this is helping so much ! thanks again
rlc456 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2006, 07:33 AM
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You may find the chateaux of the Loire appealing. They're not as "dry," perhaps, as museums but still fascinating examples of architecture and excess.
flsd is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2006, 07:46 AM
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I must disagree with poster who says Versaille can be done in a day or less. It's definitely a day's visit if you tour the grounds and the buildings. Very interesting but a full day.
Check Citirama tours-they go to Brugges, the Loire Valley castles, etc. etc.-not for the independent but someone else drives, eh? Please let us know what you end up doing!
donco is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2006, 08:16 AM
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While one could spend that period of time in Paris alone, I'm a big fan of combining city time and country time on my trips. It's a good way to see a different part of the culture you're experiencing; just as in the U.S., the people and culture in the more rural areas are much different than those of the big cities.

Brittany or Normandy would work, especially if you're interested in the D-Day stuff (and Mont St. Michel is unique). Another great side trip is the Loire Valley. We recently took a trip with our 10-year-old that began in London, then on to the Loire Valley for 3 nights (2 1/2 days), then finished in Paris.

Considering that wherever you go outside of Paris will use up about 1/2 day travel time, plan on spending at least 2 nights wherever you go. Two days visiting chateaux was the right amount of time for all of us. We visited 3 chateaux each day, choosing chateaux of different sizes and time periods. The afternoon of our arrival, we visited Clos Luce, in Amboise, which has a small indoor museum and large outdoor display of Leonardo da Vinci's inventions. My son loved it!
Lexma90 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2006, 08:35 AM
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There's tons to do in Paris that isn't museums. Especially if you get nice weather, all the parks and gardens could take a week to see right there! Add the street markets, sidewalk cafes, street performers, visiting the monuments, riding the Metro, eating crepes, etc.
suze is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2006, 09:45 AM
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I agree that Paris will keep you busy. There are many neighbourhoods, bakeries, restos, Eiffel tower,Seine cruise,festivals,etc..The one good thing about Paris museums is that there are so many, that the image of "room after room full of paintings" is not applicable. There may be some specialized museums that could interest your family., like the Military Museum, or the Cluny medival museum that is built on top of some roman ruins. If you were to get a museum pass, you could do an "art and dash" style of visit. Anyhow...

If you do decide to take an organized tours (inside and outside of Paris), here are some choices:

I also think that guided walking tours will help "fill the days". I used and liked:

Hope this helps
Michel_Paris is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2006, 10:03 AM
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>if you aren't big on museums, a week is way too much time to spend just in Paris ...<

In May 2004, I took members of my family to Paris for a week and we visited not one museum.

They were not bored.


You might want to consider one daytrip to Versailles, Chartres, Giverny, Bruges, Chantilly, Fontainbleau or Malmaison.

ira is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2006, 10:48 AM
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I don't agree that 8 days is too much to spend in Paris, but it is plenty of time to take one or two day trips, say Versailles and Giverny, or to spend a quick two days at the WWII sights in Normandy. I would not try a day trip to Normandy.
mamc is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2006, 11:32 AM
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I agree that is wonderful to combine time in the country and the city within a vacation. You will have more than enough to do in Paris even without museums but if you want to see the country do some research and find a quaint old town to go to that is close to Paris so you don't eat up valuable time getting there.

I took my 14 yr old son to France two years ago and we spent about 7 days in Paris and 5 days in Normandy. He is NOT a museum kind of kid.

We did the Louvre, the Pompidou, and the D'Orsay in two days and that was about it for art.

Another day we got up early and went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, wandered through the Champs de Mars, visited Rodin's House and gardens nearby, and wandered the Rue Cler market. That afternoon we went to Napoleon's tomb and we both loved the Army museum at Hotel Des Invalides right beside the tomb. Really terrific artifacts from medival times to WWII. Ancient body armor, Napoleon's horse and dog (stuffed) and lots of swords and guns.

We visited the Tuilleries, Place des Vosges, Notre Dame, St. Chappelle and the Marias one day.

We took the train to Versailles. That ate up the whole day even though we didn't do an extended tour of the house or gardens.

My son plays tennis so I took him to the suburbs to tour Roland Garros Stadium and a beautiful park we happened across on the way there from the train station.

We loved wandering and eating in the Rue Mouffetard area of the 5th and we enjoyed an afternoon at the Jardin des Plantes where there is a small and very old zoo with interesting old housing for the animals. Also at the Jardin des Plantes are several science museums (archeology, dinosaur bones) that kids would enjoy.

We went to the Opera to peak inside and wandered around the Madeleine mostly windowshopping at Fauchon and Hediards.

We spent an afternoon at Monmartre, Pigalle, Place du Tertre, and Sacre Cour.

It just goes on and on and on. He knows I'm planning another trip and he is begging me to take him with me.
amwosu is offline  
Feb 12th, 2006, 04:24 PM
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Hey, amwosu - could you elaborate on your experience at Roland Garros? What the best way to get there? Di dyou see any neat places nearby to eat? ect?
docdan is offline  
Feb 14th, 2006, 11:28 AM
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We took the Metro to the Stadium. There is a website for Roland Garros but if I remember correctly there might not have been a French translation available on the site.

There are a couple of tours of the courts each day with one given in English. However, we missed it as the times I found in a tour book differed from the actual tour schedule so we paid a little to get in and see the place ourselves.

We weren't able to get into the main court without being on the tour but we climbed to the top of one of the stands at another court and peered at the main court. There were a number of young men practicing while we were there.

We didn't eat in the area but I remember a cafe with lots of very stylish people eating outside between the metro and the stadium. I remember thinking it was the only place I'd seen collagen and botox in all of Paris. I think there was a fancy place to eat onsite as well.

My son still loves his Roland Garros shirt and hat.

If you go to my blog and scroll down through the pics you can see a couple of huge topiary designs that were at a nearby park that was very definitely worth a stroll through. I don't know the name of the park but it was across the street from the Roland Garros.
amwosu is offline  
Feb 14th, 2006, 12:05 PM
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If you get tired of being in Paris, take the train out to Disneyland Paris. It's like taking a vacation from your vacation. it's not only fun, but an interesting cultural experience, being among German, British, Spanish, etc. tourists, in an atmosphere that is not quite American and not quite European.
missypie is offline  
Feb 14th, 2006, 01:07 PM
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If you decide to do a sidetrip, I would suggest Trouville, on the coast in Normandy. It is easily accessible from Paris and would make a great base for a couple of days. If you are at all interested in shellfish, you will think you have arrived at the pearly gates! Easy access to the Normandy beaches from there if that interests you. I used it as a base for a week a while back and still think very fondly of this pretty town.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Feb 15th, 2006, 06:45 AM
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Thanks, amwosu, for the RG info
docdan is offline  
Feb 15th, 2006, 07:16 AM
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hey docdan, they do have an English version of the site.
amwosu is offline  
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