Paris itinerary advice

May 13th, 2014, 05:39 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 151
Paris itinerary advice

My wife and I have drafted an itinerary for our 7 days in Paris this July and would appreciate any comments or advice on improvement. We want to maximize our Paris experience but do not want to overextend or rush ourselves. We are both in our 50's and while we can handle moderate walking, we would like to avoid excess and try to spread out the effort over the week. Times marked open could end up being spillover time from the earlier activity or could be used to fill in something else or to allow for rain.

Day 1 -

Arrival …. Check into apartment. Get groceries, settle in.
Walk along the Canal St Martin, some shopping

Day 2 -
Morning: Ile de la Cité, Notre-Dame, Latin Quarter, and Sainte-Chapelle.
Afternoon: open
Evening: open

Day 3 –

Day 4 Friday
Morning: Orsay Museum
Afternoon: open
Evening: Louvre

Day 5 -
Morning: Left Bank Walk shopping, Luxembourg Garden
Afternoon: Rodin Museum
Evening: Montmartre Walk

Day 6-
Morning: Walk to Pere Lachaise cemetery
Afternoon: take #69 bus to Rue Cler area
Evening: Trocadéro and Eiffel Tower
River cruise at dusk

Day 7-
Morning: Paris Greeters tour
Afternoon: Champs-Elysées from the Arc de Triumph to Tuileries Garden and Orangerie Museum. Pont Alexander III, Place de la Concorde
Evening: open
Jim143 is offline  
May 13th, 2014, 06:18 PM
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You are smart not to cram too much in. It seems that in most cases you have grouped sites together appropriately. even smarter not to overbook your first day - enjoy a cafe and don't run all over Paris with jet lag!

It wouldn't be my first choice to go to D'Orsay and the Louvre in one day---but it can be done. Do your homework on the Louvre and know what you really want to see and where it is located. It is MASSIVE and it can feel overwhelming if you don't go with a plan!

I love Paris and I hope you enjoy your trip!!
denisea is online now  
May 13th, 2014, 06:22 PM
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It wouldn't be my choice either to do those two in the same day, especially as you've scheduled the Rodin Museum for a different day, and it's a hop-skip-and-a-jump from the Orsay and is a smaller museum that could more easily and logically combined with the Orsay.
StCirq is offline  
May 13th, 2014, 10:56 PM
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Day 2 - the morning itinerary is bit ambitious unless you zoom through everything. There's lots to see in the Latin Quarter and the security lines at Ste-Chapelle can be long. You should plan on doing part of this in the afternoon since it's open.

Day 4 - sensory overload unless you have a few specific things to see in each museum. You have lots of unplanned time. Why not spread out the museums. The Louvre will probably be crowded on Friday evening as it's free for people under 26 years old. Non-EU tourists will be taking advantage of this opportunity.

Day 5 - why not do the Luxembourg Gardens on Day 2 when you do the Latin Quarter since you're already in the area?

There's a small cafe behind the Rodin Museum (in the rear gardens) which offers a lovely respite with a view of the beautiful gardens.

Day 6 - Pickup a map for the cemetery from the visitor's center inside the main entrance. It's a lovely place to escape the heat.

What are you going to do in the rue Cler area in the afternoon? There are more interesting areas in Paris and it won't take long to look at the shops. Since you have nothing specific in mind for this area you should combine it with the Rodin Museum on Day 5.

Are you going up the Eiffel Tower or looking at it from the outside? If going up you may not have time to make a dusk river cruise.
adrienne is offline  
May 14th, 2014, 01:52 AM
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I think moving the Rodin Museum to the the day you visit Orsay would be better because you can buy a combo ticket at Orsay to visit both museums at a discounted price. That is what we did and it worked out nicely since it was nice to visit the Rodin gardens after being inside all morning at Orsay.
lateinlifetraveler is offline  
May 14th, 2014, 03:22 AM
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What is the Paris greeters tour? On the last day of your trip it may be things you have already done.
As for the Champs--if you want to see that particular street, take the bus from the Arc to the bottom and save yourself some time and boredom.
Take the Seine river cruise some evening--maybe even the first.
Gretchen is offline  
May 14th, 2014, 03:22 AM
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We originally had the Louvre scheduled for Thursday but in reading other posts Friday night seemed to be highly recommended as being less busy. I didn't realize it was free to youth. We could do the Louvre on Friday morning and move the Orsay to Saturday morning and combine with the Rodin.
Alternatively we could move up Versailles to Wednesday and then the Louvre on Thursday.
Combining Luxembourg gardens with the west bank sounds good.
Our logic was to not do Versailles on our first full day but maybe we need to rethink that. Scheduling of the Louvre was based on trying to avoid the crowds.
One fear we have is in overloading ourselves....... it is Paris and you feel there are things that you must do just because. If I see a 2 hour line up at the Louvre I think I would just as soon walk away and sit on a park bench.
Jim143 is offline  
May 14th, 2014, 04:16 AM
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Gretchen - the Paris Greeters is local volunteers who take you to areas familiar to the guide. Usually not main stream sightseeing.

I disagree about taking the Seine cruise the first evening as you may fall asleep from fatigue.

<< Combining Luxembourg gardens with the west bank sounds good. >>

It's the Left Bank (south side of the Seine).

You can buy Louvre tickets from their web site and by pass the ticket line although you still have the security line. It's not going to be a 2 hour wait.

You can also buy an Orsay and Orangerie combo ticket and you have 4 days to use the Orangerie ticket. The Orsay and Rodin combo ticket must be used on the same day.

I don't think you have too much planned. There are many small things you can see and you should add some of these to your itinerary in case you feel like doing more. That way you have an option to sit in a cafe or garden or visit a small museum or church during your open times.
adrienne is offline  
May 14th, 2014, 04:42 AM
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I'll add that while it will be crowded, I would try to do Versailles on the weekend to see the fountains in their full glory. (Perhaps you are, can't tell from you list days.) We did this on our first trip to Paris, and it was worth the crowds and it was the first weekend of the season, no less.
DebitNM is offline  
May 14th, 2014, 05:01 AM
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I'll just say we like the cruise the first night because it is easy, you sit down, and can go home to bed after. To each his own.
I will say we also like the cruise at dusk to see the lights come up and in July this could be very late! In any case, it wasn't on her list at all, and we like it. Take some wine with you.
Gretchen is offline  
May 14th, 2014, 06:57 AM
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Adrienne, could you tell me where to buy those combo tickets for Orsay / Orangerie?

We're leaving tonight for our trip!
MarySteveChicago is offline  
May 14th, 2014, 07:15 AM
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Some thoughts from another Fodorite who loves Paris:

If you are staying near the Canal St. Martin(Day 1,check in, walk along canal) this would be my Day 2:

Walk to Place Vosges, have coffee, spend an hour or so at The Carnavalet Museum, then walk to

St. Chapelle, Notre Dame, & along Ile St. Louis.

The Carnavalet museum & garden are quite small & charming as is Place Vosges and some of our favorite memories in Paris.

Maybe do the river cruise from the Pont Neuf---Vedettes---in the evening on the 1/2 hour so that the Eiffel is lit up when you get there on the hour. I think it's important to do the river cruise early in your visit.

Day 3:
Arc de T.---take a cab or bus down to Pl. de Concorde---the walk is long & boring with car dealerships, huge stores like Virgin Atlantic etc., and not charming at all---IMHO
The Orangerie (small and easy to navigate)

The Tuilleries walk down through the gardens to

The Louvre Plaza which is stunning. The Louvre itself is huge, extremely crowded, and overwhelming. If you do decide to go in, please do your homework and know exactly what you want to see.

If you didn't do the cruise on night 2, do it on this night.


Day 5:
Rodin (nice outside café)
Luxem. Gardens (they also have a nice outside café for coffee or lunch)
Left Bank(don't miss The Buci & pedestrian streets) from Lux. G. toward St. Michel & the Seine.

Day 6:
Rue Cler (just OK IMO)

You could easily switch any of these days according to the museum closings(make sure you check on this beforehand)

Skip the Paris Greeters unless you are going to do it on Day 1 or2.
The rest of the day to go back & see things you found along the way you missed or want to see more of. I know we can never get enough of walking along the Seine on the Left Bank in the St. Michel, Notre Dame area--especially at night.
Book a guided tour of the Opera Garnier. About 1-1/2 hrs. it's fabulous and inexpensive.

You have some great suggestions in the posts above. Everyone is trying to help with their opinions. I'm sure however you choose to build your itinerary you will have an adventure to remember. We'll all be waiting for your trip report to relive our memories in the city of light.
TPAYT is online now  
May 14th, 2014, 05:55 PM
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Fantastic. Thankyou everybody for all you great suggestions. We are going to need to study up on all this before deciding on changes. A few comments and questions for now.
The Paris greeters seemed like an interesting activity to get away from the mainstream but its not high on our list. We may drop that.
Great advice on the Champs-Elysé feet are sore just thinking about that long street.
I would like to do the cruise early in the trip and we liked the idea of the dusk ride. But in July that is a bit late and after all day doing something else then we have to fill in the time until the boat departs. It could be a very tiring day if we don't schedule it right. The cruise is set up through our apartment and starts at the Eiffel tower. We just need to pick a day.
We were thinking about getting a 3 or 4 day museum pass and doing the museums in that time frame.
The fountains at Versailles sound good but isn't there going to be much larger crowds there on Saturday?
The Rue Cler walk came from the Rick Steves guide. It seemed to fit with the Eiffel Tower day. But based on the comments we will probably drop that and find something else to fit when we do the Eiffel tower area or perhaps the tower is enough on its own. Oh by the way we do not intend to go up in the tower...just view and walk around.
Jim143 is offline  
May 14th, 2014, 06:23 PM
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Rue Cler is not that interesting; it's nice but not really worth a trip over. Many streets in Paris have the exact same type of shops (cheese, butcher, flowers, wine, bakery, etc...). I know Rick loves it and if you are staying close to it...sure, visit but otherwise you can find the same closer to "home".

Yes, there will be more crowds at Versailles on Saturday - depends on if the fountains will be worth it to you.

For me, Champs Elysee is not that interesting--crowded and full of stores that you can see in many cities. For me, it's disappointing. The view of it from Place de la Concorde is the best part of it.
denisea is online now  
May 14th, 2014, 06:24 PM
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We figured that Versailles was a once in a lifetime; bucket list thing and were willing to deal with the crowds to see the fountains.
DebitNM is offline  
May 14th, 2014, 11:38 PM
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<< The Rue Cler walk came from the Rick Steves guide >>

Rick Steves loves rue Cler and ignores all the other market streets, some of which are much more interesting than rue Cler.

If the only guide you are using is Rick Steves's then please look at other guides. Rick's guides are good for what is in them but he ignores tons of things in favor of the things he likes. I once bought his Paris guide and it was the worst guide book for Paris as everything I was looking for was not in the book.
adrienne is offline  
May 15th, 2014, 03:44 AM
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There is nothing wrong with rue Cler except Rick Steves writing it up and everyone loving to bash him. It is near the Tower and other things they want to see that day. The markets are beautiful, there are good restaurants nearby, and the neighborhood a typical upper class Parisian area. And yes, there are other market streets with equally beautiful shops--not near the Eiffel Tower.
The Champs is a long sterile avenue albeit iconic, but no with car dealerships and such. As said, the view up the Champs to the Arc is great. As I mentioned, there is a bus that goes the length and turns to cross the river at Concorde.
Gretchen is offline  
May 15th, 2014, 04:51 PM
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You are leaving far too much time for the louvre. It is easily done in a very short time, according to Art Buchwald:
AJPeabody is offline  
May 17th, 2014, 08:20 AM
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I've been to Versailles twice, and if the recent trip had been my first I'd never go back. Both times were on days when the fountains and music were running. Visit 1 left me with a beautiful memory of grand rooms and gorgeous gardens, fountains and music. I was alone and followed Rick's advice on going immediately to sign up for a special tour--this allowed me to skip the main line. Read up on what Rick writes, and other authors write, for tips on visiting Versailles.

On Visit 2 we arrived shortly after opening on a June weekday (with fountains). I was with 4 other people and there was no room for 5 people on a special tour unless we waited about 4 hours (and we could not access the gardens in the meantime, so I was told). My magic line-avoiding technique would not work! So we stood in line for over an hour and a half to enter and went to the public rooms--which I now know I never even saw on my first trip. I call this visit "The Battle of Versailles." The rooms are so ridiculously crowded, most of them wall-to-wall people, with people frequently shoving past really rudely. I wanted my family to enjoy the lovely time I'd had on my first visit, but this was instead a feat of endurance and trying to see attractive furniture over the heads of many other people, or waiting and waiting to get a spot at the rope. If you don't do a special tour I think the public rooms are much quieter towards the end of the day, and no line at the gate (probably because the fountains were finished)

Another Versailles tip I would add is that there's a cafe close to the end of the public rooms, note it on the map and/or watch for the signs. We took a break for cold drinks but although the sandwiches and pastries on display looked really good we waited to eat until we'd seen some of the fountains. We did eat at a late lunch-time, and the cafes out in the gardens were out of half the things on their menu and the food we did get was barely acceptable--as in, my cheese sandwich was 3 stringy tiny pieces of baby lettuce and enough cheese to cover half of the bread.

I hope you're able to manage your visit to Versailles to ensure it's a better one than my second visit!
zhoffritz is offline  
May 17th, 2014, 08:46 AM
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I thought TPAYT gave you VERY thoughtful and logical advice, and you have obviously done your homework. How nice.

It's good that you are considering doing the Orsay in the morning. It's a very likeable, approachable museum, but you should be "fresh" to enjoy it. The Rodin afterwards is certainly fine.

RE Champs--while I always tell friends not to STAY on the Champs because they are inevitably disappointed, I have always enjoyed walking DOWN the Champs at night because of people watching. So you can just get up there...
Metro: lines 1, 2 and 6, station Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile
RER: line A, station Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile
Bus: lines 22, 30, 31, 52, 73, 92 and Balabus ...
and walk down to the Seine.

Re Rue Cler:
Yes, Rue Cler is cute. My daughter lived around the corner there for four months and loved the neighborhood. But as everyone is saying, there are a lot of cute streets in Paris, and one of my favorite evening walks actually bisects it, but is not on it. Starting at the corner of Boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg, one walks down the the Rue St. Dominique and soon walks INTO the Eiffel Tower view.

I commend you that you left a lot of time open. May I suggest you KEEP it that way no matter how many suggestions we throw at you. Whimsey, not any of us, is one's best travel companion in Paris.

Enjoy, enjoy.
AlessandraZoe is offline  

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