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jpopp24 Apr 19th, 2012 08:08 AM

Paris in July - 5 Day Itinerary
All experienced travelers,

Please review my proposed itinerary. I've attempted to incorporate a balance of structure and spontaneity for my first trip to Paris.

We will be staying in an apartment in the Marais. The location is just a block east of the Centre Pompidou.

RE: Museum Pass, I ran the numbers and I don't think we will be saving any money on the 4-day pass, however I think the luxury of bypassing most queues will be nice; therefore I am leaning towards purchasing the 4 Day Museum Pass. This is also reflected in my itinerary w/ museums being visited Sat - Tue.

So... What do you think? Does it provide an acceptable amount of balance/direction for a first time visit? I am really not inclinced to follow my itinerary step-by-step, but more so use it as a suggestion and provide structure to my days. After all, there are a lot of things I have a real interest in seeing. My soon-to-be wife (this is our honeymoon) has expressed concern in the past about my ability as a trip planner - mostly because I often try to plan too much and she prefers the spontaneous approach.

Arrive at 5:30pm. Locate Apartment. Run to store to pick up any essentials.
Evening Seine cruise. Vedettes Pont-Neuf.

Rue Montorgueil (and Les Halles - just to check it out, I'm currently reading Zola's Belly of Paris)
Meet the Parisians at Work: Au Grand Richelieu bakery (Starts 11am, duration 1 hr)
Explore Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré (Inc: Palais Royal, Jardin des Tuileries, Concord, Vendome)

Explore Boulevard Haussmann
Galeries Lafayette Fashion Show (Every Friday at 3pm. Reservations required.)

Dinner: Chez L'Ami Jean (no reservation as of yet), perhaps followed by some Live Jazz in the Latin Quarter or simply an evening stroll along the Seine.

*This would have been my ideal 1st day in Paris, however due to the Bakery & Fashion show only being available on Fridays (plus, it works better for the Museum Pass), I swapped Sat/Fri.

Sainte Chapelle

Explore SGDP
Rue de Buci
Musee d'Orsay (open until 6:30pm)

Dinner: Somewhere near the apartment in the Marais

10:00 AM Mass at Notre-Dame.
Marche aux fleurs

Richard Lenoir for dinner supplies (open until 2:30pm)
Maybe return to apt to put away groceries

Stroll the Marais - Village St. Paul, Philippe Auguste's wall remains, Place des Voges, Rue des Rosiers

Musee Carnavalet (Tue - Sun, 10-6pm) This is a must.
Maison de Victor Hugo (Free, 10-6pm)

Dinner: Cook in the apartment

Have decided to leave this day unplanned until the very last minute (day or two before).
Possible options: Versaille, Reims, Montmartre, or simply just leave completely unplanned.

TUESDAY JULY, 24 - LOUVRE & PICNIC (Last full day)
Visit the Louvre - Interested more so in the architecture and historical significance of the Louvre as a palace & fortress than the art collections. Of course I would still like to visit a few artworks. I also think my fiance would enjoy the Musee des Arts Decoratifs very much, so maybe we will spend majority of our time their. Who knows...

Rue Cler for picnic supplies
Picnic at Champ de Mars

Perhaps if we want, we can wander the SGDP more, or Latin Quarter, or Champs Elysees (I know it is touristy, but I've heard it still makes for a beautiful stroll at night)? Again this where I am hoping to encorporate the "in the moment" decisions.


jpopp24 Apr 19th, 2012 08:33 AM

*I should add that I've been ATTEMPTING to arrange a dinner reservation for Frenchie on the last day, Tuesday. However, I have been calling for the past 4 weeks and have yet to get through to anyone - Answering machine everytime. I've tried calling at 4pm, 5pm, & 6pm (Parisian Time).

So I may need an alternative dinner suggestion for a nice/low-end splurge dinner on Tuesday. A Right-Bank restaurant would be prefered.

Christina Apr 19th, 2012 08:35 AM

I don't have anything to add, it looks very good to me and like you've done your homework (in times of locations and times). Looks like a good balance of stuff, also. The Champs Elysees must be seen as an important part of Paris, both in terms of city/urban planning and history. That grand avenue is still breaktaking to me if you view it from the bottom, I don't care what stores are on it. Actually I haven't been there at night much, but I know the Arc is lit up. A lot of things actually look better from a bit afar.

lantana Apr 19th, 2012 08:56 AM

I'm not an experienced Paris traveler but had to chime in, as I'll be there the same time as you :)
Congratulations on your upcoming marriage.
FYI, Versailles won't be an option on your Flex Day b/c the palace is closed on Mondays.

I will look forward to reading what the experts suggest.

Have a wonderful honeymoon.

nytraveler Apr 19th, 2012 09:04 AM

Well we aren't planners. I mean we get flights and hotels and cars - and buy tickets for the very few things you do have to buy in advance. Other than that we have a list of what we want to do/see with open days and times. then we just play it by ear. Who knows if a day will be rainy or sunny? Who knows how late you will be out the night before - and not want to get up early. Having a list like that would make me nervous - sort of like the Bataan death march.

but everyone has a differnt travel style. (When we do rod trips we do reserve al hotels in advance - but often haveno idea what we wil do on 3 days in a town - just a list of major sights and nearby towns to visit. After all - serendipity is one of the joys of travel.)

Kwoo Apr 19th, 2012 09:09 AM

I am in the midst of planning my trip to Paris for this summer, too, so I am familiar with museum schedules. I am quite sure the Louvre is closed on Tuesday.

Kwoo Apr 19th, 2012 09:16 AM

Yes, the Louvre is closed on Tuesday. You could visit the Orsay and/or Rodin on Tuesday, or switch your days around. I have an itinerary, too, but only to use it as a guide so that we don't waste time trying to figure out what to do that day. But we will also make spontaneous decisions based on weather, we might prefer to stay longer in one museum, & completely delete another museum from our trip. We will be in Paris for 6 1/2 days so I have built in 2 days for "aimless wandering/exploring" as well.

jpopp24 Apr 19th, 2012 10:03 AM

Thanks for all of the responses.

nytraveler - I do enjoy that sense of traveling via serendipity, although I am not as good w/ it as I would like. I envy the people who have the ability to simply just wing it for an entire trip. I am just at a disadvantage because my personality would deem me as a "planner". I've unsuccessfuly tried just winging it, and have always felt that although I enjoy that style, I am more comfortable with more balance - loose structure of an attainable itinerary that is both enjoyable and efficient in regards to time and interests.

RE: this 5 Day Itinerary:
I was really hoping to achieve a sense of balance. Alot of my days are suggested streets to visit and areas to wander. To me, a street to visit is an open invitation to spontaneity and adventures. But that is just me, and I realize we all have different styles and personalities.

jpopp24 Apr 19th, 2012 10:28 AM

Kwoo - nice catch on the Louvre. After all of the shuffling around, I lost sight that it is closed on Tuesday.

Perhaps I should swap my Monday (Flex day: Reims, Versailles, Montmartre) for Tuesday (Louvre, Rue Cler, Champ de Mars).

I don't know if it is justified, but I am afraid that if I see the Louvre any sooner in the trip (Friday or Saturday), I will be totally overwhelmed with Museums for the remainder of the trip. I don't want to overkill the Museum aspect from the very beginning. Maybe this is just unnecessary consideration...

Gretchen Apr 19th, 2012 11:03 AM

In the Orsay the furniture collection is wonderful, If you look in the Michelin Green Guide to Paris you will be able to plan your Louvre visit to what you want to see. The basement/architecture is absolutely wonderful. You can see the highlights and leave. Don't just go from gallery to gallery.
A pop in at the Cluny for the Lady and the Unicorn?
There is a bus that goes from the ARc down the Champs to the pl. Republique. It's a nice sightseeing trip.

Kwoo Apr 19th, 2012 11:07 AM

This will be my first trip to Paris, so I can't give advice based on first-hand experience, just what I've learned from planning the trip. Swapping your flex day (Monday) with Tuesday probably makes the most sense because if you decide to go to Versailles, you can go on Tuesday. It's closed on Monday, as Lantana mentions.

I plan on buying the 4-day Museum Pass, too. One drawback is that you then have to visit the museums & monuments 4 days in a row but I think the fact that you can skip the ticket lines makes up for the drawback. I have saved our free days for wandering & exploring streets & neighborhoods at the end of our stay in Paris. I guess if the weather forecast is for rain on those 2 days, we'll have to move our museum days to the end of the trip.

You seem to have a good balance of visiting a museum for part of a day & then exploring streets & neighborhoods for the remainder.

We arrive in Paris on July 29. I hope we all have great weather!

lantana Apr 19th, 2012 01:25 PM

@Kwoo - I'm planning to buy the 6-day pass, just so I won't have to worry about the 4-in-a-row thing you mentioned. I only have to buy one pass, though, as my daughter is 15 and will get in for nothing most everywhere :) I think the 6-day pass is only $20 more than the 4-day. The flexibility of the 6 days makes it worth it for me.
I hope we'll all have great weather in July! (We arrive on the 19th, for 7 nights.)

jpopp24 Apr 19th, 2012 01:26 PM

Kwoo, do you have any restaurants on your radar? I have a good list of some I've collecte from Fodors and Chowhound, but have yet to actually make a decision on any (atleast in terms of making a reservation).

RE: Paris Museum pass. Like I mentioned earlier, I am still debating on whether or not to purchase the pass.

I am more sold on the pass becuase of it's queue skipping benefit vs than what I will be saving financially. I wish I had a better idea as to how long (in duration) the avg wait time actually is for Sainte Chapelle, Louvre, Orsay, and Rodin for a typical 11-4 time slot?

kelsey22 Apr 19th, 2012 05:16 PM

I second the good weather! I am there the same time! I am toying with the Pass. Anyone know if there are any other disadvantages to this Pass?

lynnalan Apr 19th, 2012 06:38 PM

I personally love the Musee Picasso and since you are staying in the Marais you might want to try to get there. Also you might note that it is fun to tour the champagne houses and you may need a reservation so it might be worth looking up the times for the tours in advance so you could call from the train if you choose to go to Reims. I enjoyed the English tour at Clicquot.

Centralparkgirl Apr 20th, 2012 04:21 AM

Musee Picasso is closed for renovation until summer 2013.

mamcalice Apr 20th, 2012 04:48 AM

You have a very well planned (but crowded)5 days in Paris. I wouldn't leave the city as there are so many things to see in Paris that you haven't included. The gardens of Paris are lovely. We always find time to visit the Luxembourg Gardens, the Tuilleries and the sculpture/rose garden at the Musee Rodin. You also might enjoy the Orangerie and its exquisite Monet murals.

Christina Apr 20th, 2012 08:57 AM

The only disadvantage of the Pass would be that it could cost more than you'd spend if you don't go to a lot of places, and then that you have to use it on sequential days, of course. Any days museums are closed are treated the same as any other day on the pass. I think even if there are strikes, too bad you can't get a refund on the pass, but that has happened very rarely (museum staff strikes).

All the museums are busiest in the middle of the day. I would guess during a busy period (which is most of the year), a wait at the real top ones like Orsay or Ste Chapelle could be 30-45 minutes. I know I waited at the Orsay that long last year. I've never waited longer than about 15 min at the Louvre as tey have ticket machines which speed things up. I haven't been to the Rodin in years but never thoguht of it as being any particular problem in terms of waits, it's just a small, niche museum. If people wait in line there, I've never heard of it but maybe I missed that point. I don't think its garden is any big deal myself, although others seem to. I would never go there for that garden.

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