Paris for 4 nights in November

Sep 6th, 2010, 03:28 AM
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Paris for 4 nights in November

My wife and I (60) are staying at Quai Voltaire in Paris for 4 nights. It is 40 years since I was in Paris and I want to show my wife (never been) the usual Paris sights and major galleries/museums, Montmartre etc first. We expect it will be probably cold and maybe wet, however we would like to also experience Paris with the short amount of time we will have left after seeing these sights. We understand it is probably not the best time to be there and especially coming from a tropical climate, however we would appreciate any information on clothes to wear at that time, walking vs busing vs cabing, interesting places to sip coffee in November and see the real Paris go by, good pubs, restaurants where locals eat and just general information on what not to miss in such a short time. Are any of the shows still worth seeing or are they too tourist focused?
I know Paris is an incredible city with so much to see, however I sometimes see these sorts of questions asked by others in the forums for other famous places around the world and some of the information gained from replies just seems to be invaluable from others who have experienced different places many times over and they have a real understanding of what people should and probably would want to see. I would like to hear from anyone who may be able to tell a novice where to start. Thanks Beaufort
beaufort is offline  
Sep 6th, 2010, 03:45 AM
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Musee D'orsay would be good for both of you to see. It's one you may not have seen when you were there 40 years ago. I also love Musee Rodin which is smaller and has a lovely garden. The roses won't be in bloom then, but I'm sure there will be other beautiful plants at that time of year. Some of Rodin's beautiful sculptures are in the garden, including The Thinker. The various food markets are fun to visit.

I can't help with the rest of your questions as I've only been to Paris in summer, however, I think it would be a lovely place to go in the winter. The days will be short, but that's ok.

It sounds as though you have the right idea, in planning to stop for coffee and to watch the passing parade. I like the buses as you get to see the city through the windows, however the metro is quick if you just want to get from one place to another.
cathies is online now  
Sep 6th, 2010, 03:53 AM
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My suggestion would be to be fairly ruthless about the list of things you might want to see, so as to pace yourselves. Split up each day into a maximum number of "big sights"/museums, so as to leave time for just wandering neigbourhoods and sitting in cafés people-watching.

I won't say you must see this or that, since so much depends on tastes. Try the destination guides here, read up some good guidebooks and start to formulate some lists of things to see.

FWIW, here are the things I've done recently:
PatrickLondon is offline  
Sep 6th, 2010, 04:17 AM
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Buses and metro, etc: the RATP interactive map is a godsend;
PatrickLondon is offline  
Sep 6th, 2010, 05:24 AM
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I have gone to Paris the past two years in November. Weather was not all that cold, I was fine with a leather jacket.

My trip reports mention the places I enjoyed eating and other things I found to do:
Nikki is offline  
Sep 6th, 2010, 05:50 AM
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I would add to the lists you already received the Orangerie museum (for Monet and many other impressionist painters).

Go for a hot chocolate at Angelina , rue de Rivoli (near Louvre).
valtor is offline  
Sep 6th, 2010, 05:56 AM
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I agree that a good leather jacket, with sweaters and scarves, will probably do fine, but if you're from a tropical climate you might want something heavier. Just punctuate your day with stops to have warm drinks when out walking, and take advantage of those wonderful museums with few tourists. It's also been 40 years since I was there, and yes, it was in November!
WWanderer is offline  
Sep 6th, 2010, 05:57 AM
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More than the cold, the short days will be something to consider. Take lots of things you can layer to stay warm and do outdoor things during daylight hours - it will get dark between 5 and 5:30.

Things I love to see in Paris are the Musee D'Orsay, the Rodin, St. Chappelle (best on a sunny day), the Orangerie, the Tuileries and Luxembourg Gardens, Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. Walking along the Seine is lovely - I especially love to walk on the Left Bank. Lots of cafes have heaters outside. Try Cafe Bonaparte on the Rue Bonaparte across from the Eglise de St. Germaine in the morning on a week day and watch the people going to work and the children going to school. Search this forum for a list of cozy bistros for dinner. Do a lot of walking but use the Metro or a bus to travel long distances (e.g. Montmartre).

This forum is a great place to read trip reports and ask questions. Have a lovely time planning and a wonderful trip. Paris is fabulous any time of the year.
mamcalice is offline  
Sep 6th, 2010, 07:34 AM
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We most often visit Paris in November for the Bastille Brocante the first week in Nov. If you are there at the time it is truly a fun day out.Good food and wine stalls too for an inexpensive lunch.

I seldom wear more than my short raincoat and often have had to remove the liner if I'm wearing a sweater underneath.
avalon is offline  
Sep 6th, 2010, 08:00 AM
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I would skip the Musee d'Orsay. Part of it is undergoing renovation and the Impressionist works are in San Francisco De Young Museum.
Lynnaustin is offline  
Sep 7th, 2010, 05:46 PM
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Thanks to everybody for the excellent information. We come from the Gold Coast in Australia where shorts tee's or polo's are the norm, however we will definitely drag out the old leather coats from a previous OS trip. Patrick and Nikki your exploits of Paris for the last few years have wowed me. It has taken me most of the morning in between business phone calls to keep going back a few years with your forum remarks. Amongst the many places mentioned to visit, Bon Marche and DIY at BHV will definitely get a geurnsey!
I recently went to Canberra ACT to see the Impressionist works at the Australian National Gallery. They were loaned by Musee d'Orsay and I think it went from there to San Francisco.
I had not booked this trip at the time I went to see the exhibition, however I am now going to be staying 100 metres from d'Orsay and I would have been very annoyed if I had missed it. Thanks
beaufort is offline  
Sep 8th, 2010, 05:54 AM
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The D'Orsay is still worth a visit. Much of the Impressionist collection is on tour but some is still there. And the other art is definitely worth your time. As you are staying so close, it shouldn't be missed.
mamcalice is offline  
Sep 9th, 2010, 03:24 AM
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Thanks mamcalice, that is good information and as you say I will be so close to it, so I will definitely drop in. Do you know if Cafe Bonaparte is open for breakfast and about when does it open that time of year? I am told it wont be daylight till around 8am, does that sound right? If so do many of the other Paris cafe's open early in November? Early in the mornings in any city you tend to find only locals getting around and it can be a great experience just sitting and watching what is going on compared to dining in the evening which can be totally different.
beaufort is offline  
Sep 9th, 2010, 05:42 AM
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Cafe Bonaparte is open for breakfast - we go nearly every day we are in Paris. Not sure when it opens but it has always been open when we get there. Try their petit dejuner Anglaise - bacon and eggs with wonderful bread and a small salad. Yummy.

As for daylight hours, check It will give you the times of sunrise and sunset in Paris during November.
mamcalice is offline  
Sep 9th, 2010, 07:04 AM
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The Grand Palais is having the first Monet Retrospective in 30 years and it will be on while you are there. You can purchase tickets online to avoid the crusg. L'Orangerie is also full of Monet's .

Paul on the rue de Seine does breakfasts from a very early hour.
avalon is offline  
Sep 9th, 2010, 08:42 AM
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Good area to be staying in.

Winter? I've been in November, and at times the temps were shirt sleeve weather. Be prepared for showers.

I'll top a thread about major Monet exhibits this fall.

Nearby is the Pont des Arts. It is a pedestrian only bridge and is quite pleasant to hang around there, watch some of the artists and take in the views

Also, at the tip of Ile de la Cite is Vedetttes du Pont Neuf. This is a Seine crusie company and I recommend an end of evening cruise. The city is fantastic at night. You can book tickets online

With the time you have, the above ideas of museums is good. Stick to small ones. The Louvre is right across from you, at most I might do a "pop in and see". Other good smalls ones Jaquemart-Andre (house and collection of wealthy patron) and Musee de la Moyen Age (aka Cluny)which houses artifacts from the MIddle Ages (famous unicorn tapestry for example) and is housed over roman ruins.

Along with the Louvre, the Tuileries gardens are worth a walk. From there you can chekc out Place de la Concorde and look up the Champs Elysee. General concensus...the Champ is just OK. Maybe a visit to the Arc for views over city. Nearby I like the Palais Royal garden and arcades.

Being near the Islands, Notre Dame and St Chapelle are definitely worth a look. The archeological crypt in front of Notre Dame might be of interest too. There is a flower market/bird market near Notre Dame too. Off the back is a bridge to Ile St Louis, which is one of my fav locations. Few nice shops, some good restaurants.

Walking along the Seine you will get to see the bouquinistes ...old paper/prints/books sellers.

Eiffel TTower..think abotu approaching it from the Right Bank, via Trocaredo Metro stop, then wlkgin between the Palais Chiallot buildings. Fantastic views. Then walk over. Yuo can book tickets online for the tower.

Hope this gets you started.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Sep 9th, 2010, 08:59 AM
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Cafe Bonaparte..I had a fine Croque Monsieur for lunch there, sitting outside. Place where french intellectuals went back in the day
Michel_Paris is offline  
Sep 9th, 2010, 12:43 PM
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You are staying in a wonderful location and can walk everywhere from Notre Dame to the Louvre and Orangerie and Opera Garnier. I am a few years older than you and not very fit, but even I can manage it. The Metro is close if you need to cross the city, and buses are nearby for more scenic trips.

We have been in November on a couple of occasions and have not needed more than a raincoat and pullover, but my wife suffers from cold and always travels with gloves, a hat, and a scarf.

I envy you!
Ackislander is offline  
Sep 12th, 2010, 04:53 AM
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Fantastic information from everybody. This Fodors is just such a good site to be getting all of this wonderful feedback from experienced Paris travellers. I love the little tips on Museums and breakfast favourites etc which I definitely intend to check out, thank you. I have been on a diet to lose a few kilos, just saving up for these 4 days in Paris, not to mention the 10 days in Tuscany and 2 weeks on a Mediterranean cruise which cannot come quick enough. I am just wishing I had allowed more time in Paris, although it is a good reason to come back again in a few years eh? Many thanks to all for comments. beaufort
beaufort is offline  
Sep 12th, 2010, 05:13 AM
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For your short time and wishing to maximize it for your wife, you might contact Michael osman for a day--or two. He could maximize your museum tours also. We had been MANY times and when we hired Michael for our family trip, he showed us things we had not seen.
Don't forget the Orangerie also. We have been in November, and it is really just the short days that affect you. It may be rainy, but that can be ANY time in Paris.
Gretchen is offline  

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