Paris itinerary advice

Jul 30th, 2011, 04:14 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 16
Paris itinerary advice

My husband and I will be in Paris for 4.5 days at the end of August. We want to see everything possible, but we find it just as important to have idle time to wander, or rest! Please review my itinerary and see how I've done. Thanks so much.

And forgive my misspellings; it's been 30 years since my 2 years of high school French.

Arrive Tues. a.m.
Louvre 3 hrs
Jardin de Tuileries 45 min
Place de la Concorde 30 min
L'Orangerie musem 1 hr

Eiffel Tower 2 hrs.
Musee d'Orsay 2 hrs.
Ile de Cite 1 hr.
Conciergerie 1.5 hr.

London day trip (I know a lot of you more experienced travelers frown on cramming a one-day trip into another vacation, but I've just got to go.)

Notre Dame 3 hrs.
St. Chapelle 3 hrs.
Pont Neuf 1 hr (wandering)

Nighttime cruise of Seine

Versailles in the daytime
Giverny trip
Versailles for Serenade and Fountain display

Montmartre 3 hrs for this area
Sacre Coeur
Place de Vosges 2 hrs.

Saturday seems really odd, I know. I want to see Versailles in the daytime, but I really want to see the evening festivities, too. They don't blend seamlessly into one another, due to hours of operation. Any brighter suggestions?

All of my estimated times are depending upon my purchasing in advance tickets to everything possible - surely that helps.

Thanks to you all!
Fae_Thomas is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 04:20 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 141
OMG...everything is timed to the 15 minutes ......
what about just strolling around ....sitting having a crepe and a cafe.... skip london antoher trip.... focus on paris ...
slow down....enjoy the smells and watch the people..... take in the city... paris is an amazing place...enjoy it
alane is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 05:52 PM
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That is one of my questions; I'm estimating the time so I'll have an idea how much time we do have to idle. Is this itinerary doable, leaving sufficient time to 'get lost' in Paris?
Fae_Thomas is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 06:07 PM
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Fae - you get the award for minute-to-minute planning!

- Your really big problem here is that the Louvre is CLOSED on Tuesday. I suggest you check all opening days/hours.
- 30 minutes at the Place de la Concorde? What are you planning to do that would take so much time?
- Not enough time for the Orangerie - suggest 1.5 hours.

- 2 hours is not enough time for the Eiffel Tower if you want to go to the 3rd level. You'll have to stand in line with everyone else who has a ticket. Suggest you get to the ET early and go immediately to the 3rd level before the elevator line gets jammed up. BTW - there is a separate elevator for the 3rd level.
- 2 hours is not enough time at the Orsay.

- Will you be spending the 3 hours at Notre Dame praying? What's going to take 3 hours? The free tours are Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday.
- Ste-Chappelle - you can probably allow an hour here.
- Pont Neuf - it's a bridge and would take less than an hour even if you stop to gaze.


Please tell me you're not going from Versailles to Giverny and back to Versailles??? This is more than odd. Suggest you move Giverny to another day.


You're going from Montmartre to Place des Vosges but skipping the rest of the Marais? I don't get the connection here.
adrienne is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 06:41 PM
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You have too much planned on the first day. You need time to check in to your hotel and wander. Two museums on your first day is a lot. If you have to drop a museum, I would drop L'Orangerie.

Eiffel Tower and Ile de Cite are too far from each other. Of all the things you listed it is closest to d'Orsay, I believe. Maybe you could visit Montmarte for half a day and then do d'Orsay and Eiffel tower for the other half.

3 hours at St. Chapelle is a lot of time there, unless you are really into churches/stained glass. I was there for 20 - 30 minutes (this does not include waiting on lines), but I am not as interested in churches so that's just me. It is in close proximity to Notre Dame so that is good. Move Le Conciergerie to the same day as Notre Dame b/c they are very close to each other (I cannot comment on Le Conciergerie b/c it was not open b/c of a film exhibition when I was there last year). Ile de Cite is also close to Notre Dame and nice to wander and get some ice cream (Berthillon ice cream versus gelato from Amorino or splurge and have both).

Versailles and Giverny are not at all possible in one day. Versailles is a whole day trip. You can see Trianon palace and Marie Antoinette's hamlet which are part of the Versailles and garden/fountain experience and that makes a full day.

Giverny is just over a half day trip. I do not recommend doing both Giverny and Versailles with just 4.5 days in Paris. I actually do not recommend either with 4.5 days b/c you still won''t have your fill of Paris in that time period. I would only do a trip outside of Paris if you have your heart set on something. Seems like you want to see Versailles, so it is definitely doable.

Paris is beautiful and just nice to wander around. To answer your question, your current itinerary does not allow you enough time to "get lost" and be idle in Paris. Make time for your "must sees" but otherwise leave room for spontaneity.

And keep asking questions to help you plan!
nomadder is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 07:22 PM
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Your second big problem is that the Orangerie is also closed on Tuesdays!
adrienne is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 03:08 AM
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I wouldn't advance purchase the night Versailles tickets because I suspect if you really were able to cram a.m. Versailles visit with afternoon Giverny visit, unless you're Richard Simms on uppers, you won't make it to Versailles for the evening. Or if you do, you won't be up to enjoying it fully and the next day will be a very difficult one getting out of bed!
klondiketoo is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 04:27 AM
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Trips to London, Versailles, and Giverney in 4.5 days (sic)! Please just enjoy Paris. If you "have to go" to London then no Versailles or Giverney.
Gretchen is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 05:03 AM
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I think you may have too much scheduled for day one. While I always get a second wind once I get into the city, your day one is too ambitious.

Go to the Paris Museum Pass site and check on the hours of operation for the places you want to go. Also check to see which days have extended hours. This could help you plan better days and avoid disappointment when a must see is closed.

It is not at all reasonable to try Versailles and Giverny in the same day Please don't attempt that! At both places, you will want to be there when they open for the day, to maximize time and avoid waiting in lines.

When you do go to the Louvre, enter though the underground mall off rue de Rivoli, to get in quicker than the main entrance. Get a museum pass to help you get into all the museums faster.

Make sure you are on the first Eurostar over to London to maximize your day there.

I would recommend you see Ste Chapelle and the Conciergerie on the same day, back to back. They are right there together and if you don't buy a Paris Museum Pass, you can purchase a combo ticket for them. I would probably see those two with Notre Dame and Ile de Cite...again all are right there, so maximize your time.

Do plan some cafe time, to relax and enjoy the food, wine and the city.
denisea is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 06:23 AM
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I guess your 3 hours at Notre Dame includes going up into the towers. That is fine if you want to but there is a lot of other things to do in Paris. 3 hours for Ste. Chapelle is REALLY a lot.
As others have said the Conciergerie is next to Ste. Chapelle--and near Notre Dame--and Ile de Cite. What are you going to "see" there?
I recommend you get the DK Eyewitness Guide to Paris which is arranged by "areas" and quarters to maximize your time within an area.
Montmartre is "interesting". Other things might be moreso.
The Versailles/Giverney day is just an impossibility from any point of view.
Out of curiosity, where are you arriving from on Tuesday, and at what time.
Do you have any interest in just browsing the street markets of Paris which are such a mainstay of life in that city.
What about the Rodin museum?
Even with museum passes, there is a certain amount of time just getting oriented to the larger museums, plus the crowds inside.
Do you plan to eat from time to time? ;o)
Gretchen is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 06:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi FT,

>Louvre 3 hrs
Jardin de Tuileries 45 min
Place de la Concorde 30 min
L'Orangerie musem 1 hr


Paris is not a place for spending x min here, y min there.

Plan one "must" site each morning and another each afternoon.

Let the rest of the day be taken up with the ambience of the city and its people. So what if you spend an hour at the Tuileries?

ira is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 06:47 AM
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what everyone else has said. far too much on tuesday and saturday, not enough on Friday.

also, you are not grouping things terribly well - why Monmartre followed by Place des Voges? and there's little point in going at all unless the thing you aiming to see is open? for example, have you checked what day Victor hugo's house [in the Place des Voges] opens?

On trips of this length, I tend to schedule one main thing [or possibly two] per day, and then have an idea of other things to fill in in the same area. for example, if you were going to les invalides, you might think about doing the Rodin museum as well. any time left over could be spent wandering along the Rue de Babylon and back through St. Germain. [BTW there is a nice little restaurant /bar on the corner here very convenient for both the tomb of Napoleon and Rodin].

it is also useful to have an idea of how long a visit to each place is going to take. the old green michelin guide was good for this - also for suggested walks. AND you need to factor in time for drinks [alcoholic generally cheaper than not in Paris, which is fun for those of us who drink, but reckon on €10 every time you stop] eating, loo stops, delays on the metro [unusual but not unknown] and the unexpected - a shop you like, a street you want to linger in, etc. etc.
annhig is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 09:43 AM
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First - get a map of Paris (you're going to need one anyway) and group your destinations so that they make sense. Your current itinerary has you rushing helter-skelter all over the city in no reasonable pattern.

Second - planning to spend 3 hours in a museum on the day of arrival is just daft. You need time to settle in, get familiar with your surroundings, get over jet lag, etc.

Third - you won't manage the Tour Eiffel in 2 hours, you don't need 3 hours for Notre Dame, and the whole minute-by-minute plan is beyond silly anyway.

Fourth - Ditch the trips out of town. They are going to take up WAY too many of your precious minutes. Your time is short and Paris is a treasure trove of sights and experiences.

Very rocky start. Back to the drawing board...
StCirq is online now  
Jul 31st, 2011, 12:10 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 98
I agree - ditch the day trips. Versailles is not nearly as interesting as Paris and the crowds at this time will be such an exhausting hassle.
nomadder is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 08:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 373
Wow. Ditto what StCirq said. My first trip to Paris I made a list of things I really wanted to see in case I was never able to return, and plotted them out on a map by area. For instance, one day I went to d'Orsay Museum, the Rodin Museum, Les Invalides, and viewed the Eiffel Tower from the Ecole Militaire, and had time to spare. Another day (Sunday) was the bird market, Saint Chapelle, Notre Dame, Crypte Archeologique, l'As du Falafel in the Marais for lunch, Musee Carnavalet, Place de Vosges, and wandering and shopping in the Marais. Sounds like overload, but I got an early start and never felt rushed or like I had planned too much and was flexible with how long or short an amount of time I spent at each site, depending on my interest level. Some places will disappoint and some will enchant.
theflock is offline  

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