Paris Itinerary for 4.5 Days

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Aug 25th, 2003, 08:58 AM
  #1
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Paris Itinerary for 4.5 Days

The last leg of our three week honeymoon will be in Paris. We arrive on Tuesday afternoon via TGV from the Loire Valley and we depart Sunday morning. We are staying at the Hotel Balzac, which is about 2 blocks from the Arc de Triomphe.

Here is what I have put together thus far:

Tuesday Afternoon - Notre Dame, St. Chapelle and Concierge. In the evening, go to the Ile St. Louis for a stroll and dinner.

Wednesday - Arc de Triomphe, walk through Place de la Concorde, Jardin des Tulleries, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, and the Louvre, which is open until 9 PM on Wednesday.

Lunch and Dinner ideas near the Louvre - Café Marly in the Richelieu Wing of the Louvre and Juveniles (tapas) 47 Rue de Richelieu.

Thursday - Pantheon, Musee Cluny (aka Musee National du Moyen Age) to see the unicorn tapestries, Luxembourg Gardens, St. Germain des Pres, Musee d?Orsay (open until 9 PM) and the Eiffel Tower at night upon return to the hotel.

Lunch idea - Les Deux Magots across from the church at 6 pl. St. Germain des Pres.

Friday - Pompidou Centre and the Picasso Museum.

Dinner Reservations at Taillevent at 8 PM

Saturday - Versailles (EARLY) and Sacre Coeur in the late afternoon.

Dinner idea - Go the Opera Quarter so we can walk past the Opera House at night.

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Aug 25th, 2003, 09:15 AM
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You have obviously given a lot of thought to what you want to do. I'll caution only that Versailles can easily eat up most of your day, especially if you book a tour of some of the private apartments upon arrival at Versailles(which I strongly urge you to do.)

Enjoy your honeymoon, and Paris.
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Aug 25th, 2003, 09:22 AM
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Hi Dawn,

Nice itinerary. I would suggest leaving out Versailles and spending the day in the Montmartre area near Sacre Coeur and perhaps, the Pere LaChaise cemetery.

Not far from your hotel is the Parc Monceau, which is a lovely place for a stroll.

Have you considered a sunset boat ride on the Seine?

You must, really must, tell us about your dinner at Taillevent, please.
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Aug 25th, 2003, 09:33 AM
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Unless you are a huge fan of modern art, the Pompidou Centre and the Picasso Museum may disapoint you.

IMHO, the Concierge is not worth the money. If you have a museum pass, then take a quick peek since it costs you nothing.

You might want to take a sunset boat ride on the Seine on tues or Wed.
 
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Aug 25th, 2003, 09:34 AM
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I think it sounds great, but I disagree about skipping Versailles! It is truly amazing. It will be tight to squeeze in Sacre Couer on the same day, but you can probably do it.

Have a great time!
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Aug 25th, 2003, 09:35 AM
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I would also leave Versailles for another time on such a short time in Paris. You might do a search for restaurant suggestions by searching "rue Cler". It is near the Eiffel Tower and there were many good suggestions there. You will want to get the museum pass when you arrive. Depending on your art tastes you will find that the Picasso is quite small and will not take long and the Pompidou may be beyond your tastes (but I definitely don't know that). Carve out a good time for the d'Orsay if you remotely like Impressionists. You really might, on such a special occasion, to have lunch at Jules Verne on the Eiffel Tower. It is quite spectacular.
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Aug 25th, 2003, 10:00 AM
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Climb up the Arc de Triomphe at sunset and watch the lights come on all over Paris.

You could do Sacre Coeur and a long walk around Montmartre on friday. The view at sunset is superb. Tues?

Go to the Rue Mouffetard Market Thurs?

Go to the Place des Vosges and nearby Musee Carnavalet to dream of being an aristocrat in the France of Louis XV and living in an exquisite mansion. You could do it on friday as the Picasso Museum is in the same area.

 
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Aug 25th, 2003, 10:13 AM
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I think you have a good list of things to do, and a good plan, although it's a bit crowded some days, so be prepared to maybe drop some things if you feel like it. I assume the first day you are getting into Paris early in the afternoon, so that should work.

I do not think the Conciergerie (which is the building, a concierge is a person working in a hotel or such) is not worth visiting. First, it doesn't cost anything as I believe it is included with the ticket you have to get for Ste. Chapelle, anyway. Second, it is a very important part of both French and Parisian history and an excellent example of Medieval architecture, one of the best in Paris. IN fact, as I recall, I think it may be the oldest intact building in Paris (aside from churches). So, I would not skip it myself. You don't have to spend hours and hours there. FYI "conciergerie" is the name of a place or building where the king's concierge lived (plus some of his other household administrators) after he had decamped for the Louvre. This is part of the first palace and it was then later turned into a prison where both Marie Antoinette and Robespierre, plus many others, were kept.

I was just thinking the day you plan two museums -- Cluny and the Orsay -- that is an awful lot for that day, in combination with everything else. I think you can do it, of course, as the museum is open late that night, but you'd be doing major museums two days in a row. I also think I might drop Versailles for this trip and concentrate on the other things. I do like the idea of maybe seeing a little more of Montmartre with Sacre Coeur at some time ... the Musee de Montmartre is a very interesting little place to see up there and tells you a lot about the history of the village.

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Aug 25th, 2003, 10:14 AM
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Suggest you have a few more places/ activities identified to do if you finish up early. Wed & Fri are not busy at all.

Okay, okay, maybe you planned to rush back to the hotel every afternoon to REST! And you might do a search on the forum for "best places to kiss in Paris" or something like that.
 
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Aug 25th, 2003, 11:52 AM
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Hello -

Thanks for all the ideas...here are the changes...

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will remain the same. Someone expressed the idea that we needed more to do on Wednesday (the day of the Louvre), but we think the Louvre will take us quite a bit of time and we do not want to rush. Regarding the "two museums are too much for Thursday" comment...don't worry we are really just walking in the Cluny to see the unicorn tapestries. We want to devote a good deal of time to the Orsay.

Friday...I have dropped the Picasso Museum. We will still go to the Pompidou Centre, but then move on to Sacre Coeur and the Montmartre area.

Saturday...Versailles only. I have moved Sacre Coeur up to Friday.

Two new questions...

1. What is there to see in the Montmartre area? Are their cute shops, etc.?

2. We were going to the Opera Quarter for dinner on Saturday night so I could see the Opera House (I saw the Opera House in Hanoi a few months ago and the Paris Opera House is the model so I was interested in that), however, several people mentioned the river cruises. Would you suggest the river cruise over the Opera area or do the cruises even serve food?

Thursday will also remain the sm
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Aug 25th, 2003, 11:56 AM
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One more change...

I have moved the Eiffel Tower from Thursday night to Wednesday night to cut down a little on Thursday's activities.
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Aug 25th, 2003, 12:18 PM
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Hi
In Montmartre you will find some charming streets, and some sleazy streets. In many people?s opinion, Place du Tertre is a tacky tourist trap, and lots of artists and ersatz-artists will want to sell you their artwork. Caveat emptor, and be prepared to negotiate. But if you just walk 50 m away, you'll find the some of the most charming and romantic streets in Paris. Try rue Saint Vincent, with the only remaining vineyard in Paris?there is a grape harvest festival there the first Saturday in October, at the corner of rue des Saules and rue St-Vincent.
For more information on that: http://www.paris.org/Ric/oct/08oct95/08oct95.html

There is an electric Montmartrobus that climbs up to Sacre Coeur from Jules Joffrin (metro Jules Joffrin) and then down to Place Pigalle. Because the streets are mostly one-way, you get a nice tour of Montmartre, including the vineyard, the Lapin Agile, etc. With the Carte Orange Hebdomadaire you can get on and off as many times as you like. For a route map: http://www.ratp.fr/ParisVisite/Image...s_paris/18.pdf

I doubt that you will want to add another museum, but your time on the left bank would be enhanced by a visit to the Rodin museum, assuming you like sculpture. It has a pretty garden as well, and the museum is small.

By the way, the restaurant at the Pompidou Center offers a good view of Paris, but like others, that museum is not my cup of tea. If you do go, take a side stroll to Place des Vosges, the oldest, and imo the prettiest, square in Paris. Lots of good places for lunch or browsing.
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Aug 25th, 2003, 12:26 PM
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DawnRainbows,

I've seen the Hanoi Opera House too and have often wondered how it compares to the one in Paris. If you do get a chance to go, please post a comparison on the two. I thought the Hanoi Opera House was fabulous but highly ironic considering the history between Vietnam and France!
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Aug 25th, 2003, 12:37 PM
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Happy to hear that you have not dropped Versailles. To save some time, and your legs, at Versailles I would recommend that you take the "glass train" for a ride around the gardens and other areas. If I remember correctly, you can get off the train at a couple of stops and get back on to continue later. I took it about three years ago and it was only about 38F. Sorry, you will have to convert that to euros.

Besure to leave some time to sit in a cafe and have an expresso or two and watch the people.

I looks like you have done your research. Hope you have a wonderful trip.
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Aug 25th, 2003, 12:39 PM
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I second the idea of the Place des Vosges and nearby Musee Carnavalet.

IMHO, you will burn yourself out if you spend more than two hours in the Louvre. Wed looks light.

Skip Versailles this trip.

Add Rodin museum
 
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Aug 25th, 2003, 01:32 PM
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First, don;t schedule Paris tightly. That is a mistake. Why? Paris has a way of happening while you are there. Therefore you need to allow time for it to unfold as you walk and explore.

Second, you have scheduled too little time at the Musee d'Orsay and overrated the Picasso. It is not a good museum and I did not think the paintings there are truly representative of his work. Moreover, they are poorly presented.
There are better places to spend your time and your money!!

We liked the Musee Jacquemart Andre on Blvd Hausmann.

I think you will also find you have not allowed enough time for the Louvre unless you have definite objectives.
I suggest you formulate a "battle plan" for that place, go in, see the items on your list, and get out before the lure of the Louvre engulfs you, and you end up staggering around with glazed eyes trying to find a door that goes out.

It is a great museum, but unless you know what is it you want, it can be overwhelming.
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Aug 25th, 2003, 02:11 PM
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Hi Dawn,

The Cluny Museum is so interesting and there's much more to see there than the Unicorn tapisteries. If you like guided tours there's an English tour of Notre Dame on Wednesday at noon. Gives a history of Paris and of the cathedral.

While you're at the Pantheon save a few minutes to take a look at the church next door - St. Etienne du Mont.

If you want to rest for a few minutes there's a beautiful garden behind Notre Dame. Also behind Notre Dame is the Deportation Memorial. You shouldn't miss that. It won't take more than 15 minutes. It's quite moving. I believe it closes between noon and 2:00.

Take the guided tour of the Kings and Queens apartments at Versailles. Much more interesting than the audio of the general state rooms.

You can do the Eiffel Tower in the evening on the way back from Versailles. It's on the same train line - RER C. Get off at Champs du Mars and you'll get a great view of the tower through the trees. The lines should be short in the evening. The Eiffel Tower web site is running a contest all this year for 2 free tickets. I entered earlier in the year and won 2 sets (I was obsessed with winning tickets since it meant that I didn't have to stand in line).

The Orsay has guided tours Tuesday through Saturday at 11:30 (1.5 hours).

I also wouldn't miss the Jacquemart Andre. I didn't see it until my 6th time to Paris and am sorry I didn't do it sooner. It was so much more interesting than the Louvre.

adrienne
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Aug 25th, 2003, 02:41 PM
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I know that a lot of people consider Place du Tertre in Montmartre very touristy, but we enjoyed looking at all the art (and after all, aren't we tourists?). I would think that a portrait of the two of you would be a very nice momento of your honeymoon. You can look them over and choose the artist whose style you like best, that's what I did last year. Also, the dome inside Sacre Coeur is unbelievably gorgeous, don't miss that.
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Aug 25th, 2003, 03:02 PM
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IMHO, Thursday sounds wonderful, but rather crowded. I agree with others who have said that the Pompidou Cente and Picasso Museum may be a bit disappointing if you are not a great lover of modern art. My husband and I spent more time outside the Pompidou Center watching what was going on there! Don't spend an entire day there. Please DO plan on some time at the Orsay. You will love it! Versailles is wonderful, but a long day if you see it all (or most of it)! Relax, don't hurry, enjoy!
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Aug 25th, 2003, 03:03 PM
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Behind the Pompidou, there is a plaza with a fountain -- can't remember the name. There are several restaurants there and the one I really like is called Creperie Beaubourg. You can sit at one of the outdoor tables, eat lunch and people watch.
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