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Paris and Amsterdam

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Jun 1st, 2016, 04:28 PM
  #1
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Paris and Amsterdam

Hi,

Want to take a family trip next summer (2017). Would like to do France (Paris for sure) and possibly Amsterdam.

How many days would it take to see Paris, Amsterdam, possibly Versailles? Anywhere in France that would be good for a 9yr and 17yr old?

Thanks
perkie1968 is offline  
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Jun 1st, 2016, 05:51 PM
  #2
 
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It's more a matter of how much time you have.

IMHO for a first trip I would want

Paris 8 nights (7 days) which includes 1 days at Versailles - about 30 minutes from paris by Train
Day in transit to Amsterdam - 1 night
Amsterdam 5 nights (4) days - which would let you do 1 day trip - perhaps to Madurodam

Since you kids are so different in age - and you don;t mention genders - I would plan on breaking up into 2 pairs of 2 to see things of interest to the two kids (much that the 9 year old will want to see may bore the 17 year old).

If you have any additional time you might consider stopping off in Brugge and/or Ghent on the way from Paris to Amsterdam.
nytraveler is offline  
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Jun 1st, 2016, 11:43 PM
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Thalys to Amsterdam: 3 hours by train from Gare du Nord. Leave on an early thalys and you'll be in Amsterdam by noon.

If you have a child under 12, there are fantastic comfort 1 deals to be had.

And no, stopping of in Gent or Brugge is NOT a good idea, travelwise. It's a spectacular, time consuming detour, where you'll see only trains and train stations throughout the day, with a little bit of time in either Gent or Brugge, without adding a hotel night. So it's also a costly detour.

Madurodam is naff. The stuff of compulsory school visits. And as a dutch adult: you go once, as parents, when your kid is about 6. That's it. Because the kid was bored, and you paid too much. Never again.


And Versailles: I wouldn't. Takes an entire day, is hugely overrated, there are huge crowds. Do something fun with the family in a park, or in the science museum at Villette.

Paris 5 days, 1 day travel, Amsterdam 3 or 4 days.
menachem is offline  
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Jun 1st, 2016, 11:58 PM
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Stop in Bruxelles it is on the way if you want to visit something inbetween. You can go to mini Europe close to the Atomium (don't go inside).

In Paris Versailles is great. or Vaux le Vicomte to avod crowds. It also depends when you visit.

Don't split your kids, that is one of the daftest comment I've ever read. We did go to La villette with kids of 14 and 5 and they both got bored, as well as ourselves.

I'd do 5 days Paris, 1-2 Bruxelles, 3-4 max Amsterdam.
Whathello is offline  
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 12:10 AM
  #5
 
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How many days would it take to see Paris, Amsterdam, possibly Versailles?

I'd do 2 days in Paris, 6 in Brussels, and 2 days in Amsterdam. But I don't have kids, I don't care for Paris,and I like to drink and would spend most of my time in Brussels parked at the Delirium cafe.

Seriously though, "how many days to see" is a relatively meaningless term because even though I don't particularly care for Paris I am sure I could find enough stuff there that interested me to keep me busy for a month and the Francophile Fodorites could find enough stuff to keep them occupied for 6 months minimum.
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Jun 8th, 2016, 01:13 PM
  #6
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Thanks everyone. We haven't decided how many days we'll be away which is why I'm trying to figure out how many days one could spend in Paris to see the major attractions.
perkie1968 is offline  
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Jun 8th, 2016, 01:29 PM
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3 full days in Paris to see major sights and a day in Versailles - just a short train ride from Paris but explore the vast gardens - maybe rent a canoe and cruise the grand canal water basin.

Take Thalys train to Amsterdam - about 4 hours only- Amsterdam 3 full days should be fine but do one day trip to a Dutch regional town such as Haarlem or Delft to see a more real Holland.

Book Thalys tickets very early to get deep discounted train fares - like 39 euros instead of a few hundred! www.thalys.com for fares and booking - for info on trains check www.seat61.com - good advice on discounted train fares and for general info www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
PalenQ is offline  
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Jun 8th, 2016, 01:59 PM
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I think you could see the "major" attractions in Paris in probably 2 days, maybe 3 (Notre Dame and island, Tour Eiffel, Louvre, maybe Arc de Triomphe/CH Elysees and I guess throw in a park). The Orsay museum is probably next on the list as major. Those are probably the major ones, but doesn't leave time for wandering around some neighborhoods much (like Latin Qtr, Marais, whatever). And that's not spending a lot of time in museums. Then another day for Versailles. Amsterdam maybe one less.

But I think NYTraveler's agenda is about right for the basics.
Christina is offline  
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Jun 8th, 2016, 02:21 PM
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Please resist the urge to run around Paris to see the major sites. Some of the best are the people watching in cafes (the kids may not love that but you will have to stop to refuel) and some of the smaller attractions.

If you venture outside Paris, there are tons of towns to visit. I love Chenonceau in the Loire valley.

If the 9 year old can make it (400 steps), the towers of Notre Dame are fun to climb and the view is wonderful. Seeing the gargoyles up close is a treat. Go about 30 minutes before it opens to beat the crowds.
denisea is offline  
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Jun 8th, 2016, 02:30 PM
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Some of the best are the people watching in cafes

I not disagree with this statement.
sparkchaser is offline  
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Jun 8th, 2016, 03:14 PM
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If the 9 year old can make it (400 steps), the towers of Notre Dame are fun to climb and the view is wonderful.>

My son at that age had no problems with it - he was excited to see the Grand Bourdon (sp?) or big bell up in the tower.
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Jun 12th, 2016, 07:14 AM
  #12
 
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Just returned from umpteenth trip to Paris and 4th to Amsterdam.

You can not "do" Paris in 2 days. Period.

You need at least 6-7 days.. otherwise your trip is a nightmare of rushing about and being stressed about the time you will spend in lines.. why put children through that.. I have no idea.

We met friends from UK.. they brought their 4 yr old . He liked parks.. and not much else.. but he is an easy happy child so we had no issues with him, depends on your child. He enjoyed the 2 hour wander we had through the Pere Lachaise cementary.. all the interesting "little witches houses"( thats what he called the mini mauseleums) and the beatiful trees .. He also enjoyed Jardins Des Plantes.

I would also suggest skipping Versailles.. it IS worth a visit.. but children under 10 are truly squished inside.. my 11 yr old had mostly views of elbows and buttocks on her first visit. its really unpleasant for tots.

May I suggest a visit to Provins.. a world heritage site and lots lots of fun for kids to see one of the live outdoor shows there.. look it up "Provins"

We just spent 2 full days in Amsterdam( 4th visit) and really needed at least one more full day.. for a first timer perhaps a total of 4 days..
I wanted to visit the Dutch Resistance musuem but we had no time ths trip.. did get hubby into Ann Franks house.. ( I went once decades ago) .. thank goodness for pre booked tickets. It is on my list of "must see" sites in Amsterdam.. we found it profound.. even my 25 yr old stepdaughter who had no idea who Anne Frank even was and had never read the diary.

I think with 4 days in Amsterdam you could do a nice daytrip out of city..

So i vote.. 4 days Amsterdam. 1 day transit.. 6-7 days Paris.

PS for older child do consider Catacombs.. my older kids loved it.. not my youngest ( when she was 11 but now she likes it) also.. do not overlook the Invalids Army Musuem.. my kids all loved it.. and I like it too.. been several times, a great alternative to just art musueums for kids.. and adults.
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Jun 12th, 2016, 02:27 PM
  #13
 
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The number of day 'needed to really' see Paris or any city is a very subjective question and depends in part on what ones'interests are - if not into museums at all - then there's a few days in Paris you do not have to spend there- the old canard IMO that you need say a week in London or Paris or ???? is just what one person thinks -plenty will think less is fine - I'd say 4 days in Paris is about what the average first-time visitor would like - Paris like many big cities can be fatiguing and Paris can also be very smoggy - sometimes last year rivaling Beijing in air quality- a big busy city - I like justineparis' idea of day trips - and yes Provins is awesome though not on many Americans' list - see some of the real France and not just Paris.

Here is a trip report I wrote a few years back on Provins for a day:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-in-france.cfm
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