Paris Itinerary

Nov 12th, 2009, 06:50 PM
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Paris Itinerary

This is my first time writing in a fodor's forum although I have read many forum topics before. I need help with organizing my itinerary for a Paris trip in June of next year. Please feel free to comment or make suggestions for the following four day itinerary:

Option 1
Friday--Orsay and Rodin
Sat-Versaille and Eiffel in the evening
Sun-Louvre and Marais including Carnavlet
Mon-Notre Dame and Latin Quarter including Cluny

or Option 2
Friday-Notre Dame and Latin Quarter
Sat-Versailles and Eiffel
Sun-Orsay and Rodin
Mon-Louvre and Marais no Carnavalet (closed)

Friday--day of arrival we arrive early in the morning. Can we see the Orsay and Rodin in the same day? Instead Is it okay to go to the Louvre on Friday since it is open late or will we be too tired from jetlag?

When is the best time to go to the Louvre--Sunday morning or Monday morning or Friday evening? What time will have the least crowds? Is the Louvre crowded on Monday because Orsay, Rodin, Carnavalet and Versailles are all closed on Monday so everyone goes to the Louvre?

Has anyone been to the Carnavlet on Sunday? Is it worth seeing?

Has anyone gone up to the top of Notre dame towers? Is it claustrophobic? Do you go up the same stairs as others are coming down? Is there a railing? When is the best time to do this?

It is difficult to plan because Orsay and Rodin are closed on Monday and the Louvre is closed on Tuesday. We are open to other suggestions that fit in the things we want to see. Thanks in advance for comments/suggestions
europeannovice is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 08:01 PM
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Hi and welcome!

Option 1 - I think you will find plenty of time to visit the Eiffel Tower after Musee Rodin. You could do a leisurely stroll from the D'Orsay to Rodin and enjoy lunch in the garden(nice little cafe`). After viewing walk to Eiffel Tower for late afternoon and evening viewing.
I can't say about jetlag except in my case, and that would be my concentration and appreciation of the museums might not be up to it!
You may just want to do a bit of Rue Strolling and park yourself on a cafe terrace every now and then. Even a visit to the Luxembourg Gardens is very enjoyable - Cafe`s there too.

I prefer your Option 2 Friday.

You have a lot of time left over each day planned so far, and I would suggest a metro or bus ride up to the Sacre Coeur at some stage.

You are going to get some good suggestions from others I'm sure!
tod is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 08:23 PM
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Hi, When are you reaching Paris? I am also going to Paris on 18th dec-09 (Morning 11 am) and leaving from there on 20th dec-09 (Evening 7 pm). I know that i have very few days to explore Paris. My Hotel is very near to Eiffele (around 0.5 Kms). This is the first time I am going to Paris. I know its going to be windy/rainy during those days and trip could be spoiled to weather as well. But still I have decided to go for my trip.
Can somebody suggest what should I do in the Time available to me. I have Planned for Versailles on Sunday; as I read that it will be take 5-6 hours.
Please advise for other days too.
khushi2k is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 11:02 PM
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Versailles is a full day trip -- take a picnic, enjoy the grounds etc -- and then do the Eiffel Tower at night

I love the Louvre -- but most people find half a day in a museum enough -- so spend at least 3 or so hours looking at the things you are most interested in and then go out and walk around Paris -- perhaps start with the Tuilleries adjacent to the Louvre --perhaps the Champs -- but there are lots of charming places to stroll around -- Get a book with 'Paris Walks' and pick one or two areas to just stroll and enjoy
luperon is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 11:03 PM
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Versailles is a full day trip -- take a picnic, enjoy the grounds etc -- and then do the Eiffel Tower at night

I love the Louvre -- but most people find half a day in a museum enough -- so spend at least 3 or so hours looking at the things you are most interested in and then go out and walk around Paris -- perhaps start with the Tuilleries adjacent to the Louvre --perhaps the Champs -- but there are lots of charming places to stroll around -- Get a book with 'Paris Walks' and pick one or two areas to just stroll and enjoy
luperon is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 04:28 AM
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To the OP - your trip is in June. One thing to keep in mind is that it will be light out till after 10:00PM. So to see the Eiffel Tower "at night", as well as other nicely lit monuments, you need to be up late. So don't plan that for your arrival day. Also, while it may well be beautiful weather, it could be rainy on one or more days so you'd want to do museums on those days. The walks, the trip to Versailles, etc are better on nice days. You obviously can't know that till you get there so trying to plan a day by day itinerary months in advance is not the best idea. Instead, do as you have started to do and make a list of the things you most want to do in your time and note which ones are best saved for sunshine. Your list above looks fine in terms of not cramming too much into any given day. But keep reading up and the list will probably grow.

to khushi2k - You are going in December. It will be dark shortly after 4pm and more likely rainy. Since this is your first time in Paris I would definitely NOT go to Versaille. That would leave you with only two partial days (short days) to explore Paris - no where near enough. Unless your main reason of going to Paris is so see Versailles then don't waste a whole day there especially in December when the gardens/fountains won't be at their best. Isn't there anything you want to see IN Paris. It will be all prettied up for Christmas, even if you just walked the streets and shopped and soaked up the atmosphere it would be a better intro to Paris.
isabel is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 06:22 AM
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Hi EN,

You aren't going to the Orangerie for the Impressionists?
You arenlt including brunch at the Jacquemart-Andre'?
You are skipping the Cluny and the Branley Museums?
The Luxembourg Gardens, a visit to Malmaison............?

IOW, there is so much to do in Paris that the order in which you do it really doesn't matter.

Relax and just enjoy being there. You will return.

ira is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 06:56 AM
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You can do a whole lot more in Paris in 4 days than you have planned. That said, I'm not really a fan of making city itineraries except to note what days places are open and closed - I'd always much rather make my plans every morning based on the weather and what I'm feeling like doing. Having everything set out in stone is not my idea of a vacation. But on any given day in Paris I would be doing at least four times the things you have listed.

Versailles IMO can be done in half a day if you just concentrate on the main palace. If you want to see everything, it's pretty much a full day. You can take a picnic or eat at one of the snack bars on the premises or in town.

The Musée d'Orsay and Rodin museum, for me, take about an hour each. You may want to linger, but you still have time to get to any number of other places on that day. Notre Dame takes maybe an hour at most, even if you climb up to the top to see the gargoyles and visit the crypt. The Latin Quarter, maybe two hours tops to cover it on foot and visit a few shops. You'd easily have time for Sainte-Chapelle and the Conciergerie on that day as well as a tour of the Ile St-Louis.

The Carnavalet, BTW, is fascinating if you're interested in the history of Paris. Be advised, though, the placards are only in French (at least last time I was there).

What about the Tuileries? Cluny? Tour Montparnasse? Centre Pompidou? Marais? I think you'll realize once you get there how geographically small the city actually is. On a typical day in Paris I take the métro from the 7th to, say, the Bastille area, walk all over the Marais, visit the Centre Pompidou and the Place Beaubourg, walk over the Seine and by Notre Dame, through the Latin Quarter, over to St-Germain, back by the Musée d'Orsay to the Musée de l'Armée and the Resistance Museum, then over to the rue Cler and rue Ste-Dominique to visit some shops I like, then back to my hotel, then out again around 8 for more wandering around the 7th for a drink and dinner.

You'll figure this out once you're there and get the lie of the land.
StCirq is online now  
Nov 13th, 2009, 07:29 AM
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Thanks for the comments so far.

My itinerary does include the Luxembourg Gardens, and Cluny when visiting the Latin Quarter and I do want to go to the Orangerie as well which I think I can do in 1-2 hours one morning. My main concern is being able to see the things we want to see, not be rushed and do it logistically without going from one end to another in the same day. Is Paris really that compact? From google maps it appears a little more spread out.

Do you recommend doing walking tours of the Marais and Latin Quarter or is it best to do on our own?

I am also worried about jetlag on the first day and need comments on whether doing the louvre is too much on arrival day.

Has anyone climbed the notre dame tower? Is there a railing? Do people come down the same steps that those go up?
europeannovice is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 07:51 AM
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Yes, I do recommend walking tours of the Marais & Latin Quarters IF you do not possess a detailed guide such as the one written by Thirza Vallois.
Otherwise you will have absolutely no idea what the heck you are looking at. A building or street is just that until the history or story behind it is exposed to you!
tod is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 08:20 AM
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I would NOT do the Louvre on your arrival day. If you are jetlagged you will get very little from it, and it is a museum that really deserves your attention. Especially because it requires some sorting if you're going to see what you can in three or four hours. It is huge; you want to make a plan, because if you just wander around, you may well miss the stuff that you're most interested in.

If you haven't flown transatlantic before, you just don't know how you'll handle it. Some people land full of energy and ready to roll, and others, like me, can do little more than stagger around the rest of the day and try to stay awake until bedtime. I never plan ANYTHING for arrival day besides arrival and walking. If I went to the Louvre that day, I would waste the price of admission.
artsnletters is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 08:49 AM
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I agree about not doing too much on your arrival day.

A Seine river cruise is a good way to see the city while sitting. We like but there are several others. It depends where you're staying for convenience. At that website you can get a coupon for a few Euros off on any cruise at Vedettes---we have used the coupon on several trips.

Another good first day thing to do is Luxemborg Gardens---slow walk, enjoy a coffee or wine at the cafe in the park.

The Rodin may be possible for a first day as it is small and easy to navigate.

The Carnavalet-----one of our favorites. Also small and easy to navigate.

IMO, I'd add a some time on Ile St. Louis and St. Chapelle to your Notre Dame time.

Paris is very easy to get around in. The Metro is easy, but mostly we just walk. During our last trip in Sept.2009 we only took one cab home from dinner one night.

As others have said, read, choose what is important for you to see, take your time and enjoy. You will never see it all in one trip. After 7 times there we still have much on our list to see.
TPAYT is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 08:52 AM
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In adding----if you choose the Carnavalet for your first day you could check out Place Vosges and have lunch there(very close to Carnavalet). It's very scenic and a "Don't miss" spot.

Tell us where you are staying so we can suggest a spot not too far from your hotel or apt.
TPAYT is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 09:05 AM
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We will be staying near the Louvre so easy walk to the louvre or Orsay. How far of a walk is it to Marais area? It looks like a 10 min metro ride to St Paul.

If we don't do the louvre on Friday because of jet lag then is Sunday morning better (less crowded) than Monday? And if I do that then when do I fit in Orsay and Rodin because it is closed on Monday?
europeannovice is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 09:15 AM
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Whatever you do for your first day we have found it is good to include some outdoor walking time to shake off the jet lag. So perhaps walk Champs Elysee from Arc de Triomphe back to Louvre or around the Luxembourg Gardens and then to Notre Dame.
laurie_ann is offline  
Nov 14th, 2009, 09:17 AM
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This is just my opinion after thinking about our trips to Paris:

Fri.--arrival day---you'll be tired but excited to get out there & see something. I'd walk to the Marais (not that far, we've done it many times) have lunch at Place Vosges and see The Carnavalet(small & charming). Then walk to Pont Neuff(right in the area you are staying in) for a sit down Vedettes cruise. Or if really tired, have a rest, early 7ish dinner and then a river cruise(you'll be glad if you do the cruise as it is a good way to see the city day or night).

2nd choice---the Rodin(again small & charming) and a river cruise.

Sat.--Versailles and Eiffel at night.

If your out & about at 9,10,11 at night on Fri.or Sat. the street entertainment is fabulous around Notre Dame and the river or on the left bank around St. Michael.

Sun--Orsay, Luxemborg Gardens (Sun. is the best day in the park as there is a lot going on), St. Germain and the left bank. You could possibly squeeze in the Rodin or the Cluny depending how long the line is and how much time you spend at D'Orsay.

Mon.--Louvre, then Notre Dame, Ile St. Louis(stop at Amorino on Rue St. Louis en Ile for some of the best gelato on the planet, IMO better than Berthillon) St. Chapelle if the line is not too long.

2nd choice--Louvre, Notre Dame, Rue St. Louis en ile on the way to the Marais.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the Louvre is huge & overwhelming. We didn't go inside until our 3rd trip. We walked through the gorgeous courtyard on many occasions, but the lines were just too long. Another disappointment to us was the Champs, not in the lest interesting except for the Arch d'Triumph---just a very wide street. I know many people love it, but it was just far too commercial for us. We much prefer the neighborhoods near the river.

Maybe just plan your first place in the morning and then let Paris charm you and take you along. Walking the streets will probably be one of your favorites things you do in Paris.

Sometimes the lines are very discouraging---when we were just there in Sept. we saw the longest lines ever to go up top on Notre Dame. We walked by there every day from our apt. and every day they were just unbelievable. So, I guess pick out what you REALLY want to see and otherwise just wander. You'll be enchanted in so many ways no matter where you go.

Good luck!
TPAYT is offline  
Nov 14th, 2009, 09:48 AM
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Didn't see that anyone answered the Notre Dame question...yes, not only is there a railing but they've also put up a heavy gauge large mesh covering so you don't need to be afraid. It is quite a hike up, but it also is quite a view (if the day is clear). With so little time to spend, I would personally choose to do something else with my time, though.

I, too, would definitely save Versailles for another time.

Lastly, I personally prefer to "mix it up" and generally not do 2 museums, especially the Louvre and another museum, on the same day.
klondike is offline  
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