Paris Itinerary - Two Days

Jan 14th, 2011, 12:05 PM
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I too love the stained glass and the room as a whole of the Sainte Chapelle! (If you have the time.)

I still don't think the view from the Arc de Triomphe is worth it in a 2-day trip where you definitely want to go up the Eiffel Tower. But if you do decide to (a) go to the Eiffel Tower first from Trocadero, or (b) include the Arc between your stroll through the Tuileries and your visit to the Eiffel Tower, here's some more Metro help:

(a) Walk up the Champs-Elysees the equivalent distance of two Metro stops to the Franklin D. Roosevelt station. This would enable you to walk by the fronts* of the Petit Palais and Grand Palais and experience a teeny bit (albeit without the famous shops) of the Champs-Elysees. At Metro FDR, take the M9 direction Pont de Sevres three stops to Trocadero.
(b) OR, from Metro FDR, continue to walk up the C-E or take the M1 direction La Defense two stops to Charles de Gaulle-Etoile (from Concorde it's the same except it's four stops).

When finished with the Arc, descend into the Metro station there and take the M6 direction Nation three stops to Trocadero.

Oh, and jtw, when I was giving you info for returning to DLP, I didn't remember/realize the M6 goes to Nation. It's a bit of a lengthy ride, but on your day ending near the Eiffel Tower, would make for a much easier transfer than I'd provided earlier. Simply take the M6 direction Nation to the end, then transfer for the RER A back to DLP. You can get on the M6 either at the elevated Bir-Hakeim stop which is typically considered the closest to the tower, or at Trocadero just across the river.

*I mentioned previously that I prefer these museums from the Seine. This is because the fronts are set back from the avenue and shaded by trees whereas the back at least of the Grand Palais is more exposed, and thus a more stunning view.
ggreen is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 01:24 PM
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I know it's a tourist trap, but I love the walk up the Champs-Elysees and seeing the Arc de Triomphe get closer and closer. And, for what it's worth, it's a much shorter queue to get to the top of the Arc than to the top of the Eiffel Tour. Once you are finished at the Arc, I would jump in a cab to the Eiffel Tour and then explore that at ground level and then if by chance, the queues are ok you can head to the top of that.
cathies is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 02:17 PM
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Arc de T. to the ET there is the 92 city bus on Ave Marceau--one block clockwise from the Champs Elysses.
RonZ is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 06:45 PM
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HI Ronz, I just suggested the cab as they are going to be tight for time.
cathies is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 07:27 PM
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Thank you all so much for the advice!! It is unbelievably helpful.

Here's is our current plan, revamped on the advice in this thread: (I hope I've managed it all correctly!!)

Day One:
Train from Disneyland Paris to Paris (leave on 7:40 train)*
Start at the Musee D'Orsay (9:30) for two or so hours (have plan of what to see in hand!)
Walk along the Seine to Ile de la Cite and see Notre Dame.
Check out stained glass at Sainte Chapelle.
Cross small bridge behind Notre Dame to Ile St. Louis and go for ice cream at Bertillon (if it's open - we will be there July 31).
Walk down Boulevard St Michel to Luxembourg Gardens, stopping at Gerard Mulot Bakery for food for picnic at Luxembourg Garden.
Be at Catacombs around 2:00. Tour approx 2:00-4:00.
Dinner somewhere near Pont Neuf?
Vedettes de Neuf boat cruise
Train back to hotel.

Day Two:
Train from Disneyland Paris to Paris. (leave on 7:25 train)*
Get to the Louve first thing (9:00) and spend two or three hours. (with plan!)
Visit Angelina's, (hot chocolate/Mont Blanc).
Walk through the Tuilleries Garden to Place de la Concord, which is the start of the Champs-Elysees. See the Arc du Triomphe.
Crepe Stand for lunch
Walk across the Pont Alexandre III. Then either: walk down the Esplanade des Invalides, onto Ave la Motte Picquet so as to enter the Champs de Mars "behind" the Eiffel Tower.
Take Metro to Trocadero, then walk between the two Palais Chaillot buildings and bam...the best view of the tower in the city. Then walk across bridge to Eiffel Tower.
Eiffel Tower – prebook tickets for around 4:00?
Dinner somewhere near Eiffel Tower?
Take Batobus back to area for train?
Train back to hotel

*We are early risers and so sleeping in is not important to us on holiday, as mentioned above. We'll do that once return to Canada!!
jtw999 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 09:27 PM
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jtw, looks like you've absorbed it all well! That said, I'm afraid you haven't given yourselves enough time between Orsay and the catacombs. Is it possible to take a later tour?

I haven't walked those particular routes in a while, but I'd estimate at least 1/2 hour from Orsay to Ile de la Cite, and almost as much to the Jardin de Luxembourg. Visiting Sainte Chappelle (on Ile de la Cite but not part of Notre Dame) would be maybe 45 minutes(?). If I remember up-thread correctly, you don't necessarily want to go inside N-D, right? Otherwise, of course that will be more time. And I can't imagine Gerard Mulot will be a quick in-and-out! Plus time to sit on a park bench and savor the goodies you've purchased.

You might want to look at dining options near the catacombs (Metro Denfert-Rochereau); I believe there was a thread recently about restaurants in the 14th... Then the RER B back up to reach the boat tour. At any rate, the area near the Seine just off Blvd St. Michel is the Latin Quarter - one of those highly touristed places where staff stand outside each establishment and cajole passerby to enter, though some of the bakeries in the area have yummy North African offerings dripping in honey.

On Day Two, don't forget you can always take the Metro ligne 6 from near the Eiffel Tower to Nation, where you switch to the RER A. (I've never taken the batobus, so can't confirm/deny any of that.)

* * *
When I was a skinny (starving!) student in Paris, my two girlfriends and I would splurge and go to Angelina's for hot chocolate, savoring the surroundings, the thick chocolate and the ceremony of pouring it from the little pitchers. And every time, we'd notice the quintessentially Parisian "ladies who lunch", making their way through a pitcher of hot chocolate and a Mont Blanc *each*! It was all too much to watch from afar, and we finally had to try the Mont Blanc ourselves - but splitting one amongst the three of us. Well, as if to counter the unctuous richness of the chocolate, the crisp Mont Blanc was the most teeth-achingly straight-up sugary thing I think any of us had ever had. To this day, I don't know how those tiny ladies did it!
ggreen is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 09:50 PM
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Thank you, ggreen. It's so hard to imagine how long things will take without ever having been to Paris!

I think I got a little carried away adding new things to an already busy schedule. We might skip Sainte Chappelle and the ice cream on Ile St Louis. We will admire Notre Dame from the outside, although I'd love to go inside.

I have promised my husband we'll go to the Catacombs, so it's a must! The tours end at 5:00 on Sundays, so I thought it would be a good idea to plan to be there fro 2:00, so that if we are behind an hour, we'll still have ample time to tour.

Thank you for the suggestion of eating near the Catacombs (if I have an appetite after seeing all those bones ) and then catching the RER B back up to the boat tour.

If we do the boat tour on day one, we won't need to do the Batobus, so we'll definitely take your suggestion of the Metro from the Eiffel Tower. Thanks!

That's a cute story about Angelina's. It sure sounds decadent! I'm not sure if we'll order, but we'll try and check it out!!
jtw999 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 03:35 AM
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I notice that you are planning to eat dinner pretty early, at least on that first day. Many restaurants do not open for dinner until 7:30 or 8:00. There are cafes and brasseries that have continuous service; however many of the cafes may not serve their full dinner menu until later in the evening.

Try not to miss Sainte Chapelle. I remember seeing the slides of the stained glass in my French class back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and they made such an impression on me that seeing Sainte Chapelle in person was one of my prime objectives when I first went to Paris.
Nikki is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 05:23 AM
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By all means, don't miss Ste. Chapelle. It is one of the most impressive sights in Paris and we return each time we visit Paris. If necessary, skip the ice cream (you can get Bertillon (you can get Bertillon ice cream at restaurants and cafes all over Paris) and go directly to Luxembourg Gardens.
mamcalice is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 06:23 AM
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Which does everyone think would be the longer line: to get into Sainte Chappelle or into Notre Dame? To give jtw an idea of timing.

I have to say, those Sainte Chappelle vitrines from the inside are such a manificent sight! And for me personally, something I'd choose over the circumnavigation of Notre Dame's interior.
- Sainte Chappelle is one room surrounded by glorious light - and thus, I'd add, doesn't take long once you're inside, just some time to soak it all in.
- Notre Dame is dim and musty, but very evocative in its own way of all the time it's been around. IMO, it would take longer to look at all the artwork etc inside the cathedral, probably at least a half hour.

Oh, and I'm not sure if you've heard about this, but outside the entrance to N-D, there are demarcations in the pavement showing where there were other buildings during medieval times. Kind of helps to put it all in context!
ggreen is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 08:23 AM
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I agree don't miss Sainte Chapelle. The stained glass is stunning. The first floor is also impressive but once you climb the narrow winding steps, you are left breathless by the beauty (not the climb).

As I said before, in Paris be prepared to wait in line for everything and factor that into your schedule.

If you go to Sainte Chapelle though on a weekend then the security line will be less because the Palace of Justice is closed so it is just the tourists that are waiting on line. We went on a weekend morning and I think the line was only approximately 20 minutes. Even with a museum pass you wait on the security line which is to be expected.

Notre Dame was more crowded but somehow we didn't have to wait long to go in to view the cathedral. The line if you wanted to climb the towers was at least a two hour wait but it doesn't look like JTW planned on doing the towers of Notre Dame anyway.

I also think by the time you travel in to Paris, spend a couple of hours at the Orsay, you will be hungry way before you get to Luxembourg Gardens for a picnic lunch especially if you plan on visiting Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle before then. The restaurant in the Orsay is also beautiful and for us was a great place to stop for lunch.

If you are going to the churches on Sunday just double check they allow visitors. I think they do in Paris, it was in London the churches did not allow visitors on a Sunday unless you were attending service if I recall.

Not too far from the Eiffel tower is Fontaine de Mars restaurant where President Obama ate when the family visited Paris. I think there are a lot of restaurants on that street Rue Sainte Dominique.
europeannovice is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 08:41 AM
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JTW, not sure if you looked into getting a museum pass. For only two days it may not be worth it but it would help to skip some of the lines and since you want to pack in a lot in a very short time frame, it may be worth it from that viewpoint.

We arrived at the Orsay early in the morning and there was already a very long line to buy tickets. Since we had the museum pass they let us through the special entrance and we proceeded to the security line quickly saving a lot of time. Same thing with the Louvre.
europeannovice is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 09:06 AM
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I'm looking at your day 1 and do not think you can fit in all the stuff between Orsay and the Catacombs.

If you left Orsay at 11:30. I would think at least 1/2 hr to 45 mins to get to Ile de la Cite. Along the way...temptations for stops: Pont des Arts (pedestrian bridge, romantic), nice Square du Vert Galant park at tip of Ile de la Cite, bouqinistes,etc.. It's now around 12:30. Line up for St Chapelle and get in...1/2 hr +. Now it's 1:00...
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 09:46 AM
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That is if they get into the Orsay at exactly 9:30AM which without a museum pass, I think is highly unlikely after the line up for tickets and security. Plus of course, once you are in you don't want to rush out. There is plenty to see inside to keep you occupied for a long while.


Someone also mentioned, Parisians eat dinner later between 8-9PM, I think 9PM is peak time. Some restaurants don't open until 7:30 or 8PM.

On the second day I would recommend more like a 5 or 6PM ticket time for the Eiffel Tower to allow you time to enjoy the other items on your itinerary without having to rush over to the Eiffel because you have a timed ticket. I bet even with a timed ticket somehow there will be a line That is just the way it is.

I also would not discount the Arc. It is very impressive up close even if you don't climb up. I loved the climb up there though because the Eiffel Tower was in view. I think you can take metro #1 from Place de la Concorde to the Arc and then from the Arc take transportation over to either Champs de Mar for the park or Trocadero for the better view of the Eiffel Tower before going up.
europeannovice is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 09:57 AM
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With museums being closed on Monday, my concern is how to maximize the Sunday.

With limited time, I would think twice about the Arc. I would personally choose...say Palais Royal or Place des Vosges over the Champs. The exit of the Tuileries will give a fine view of the Arc, from a short distance.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 10:08 AM
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To a previous comment, some churches in Paris do not allow visitors on Sunday, so you do want to check that out. We were there recently and St Genevieve (right by the Pantheon) does not allow visitors. I am sure that some do but it is an excellent suggestion to check that out beforehand.
denisea is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 10:13 AM
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Agree that Palais Royal and Place des Vosges are better than the Champs.

My suggestion was only that they get closer to the Arc to appreciate its size and to see the markings at the base. You don't get the same appreciation from afar.

Can they move something from day 1 into day 2 which would make day 1 more manageable from a time perspective?
europeannovice is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 10:21 AM
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Thank you for your experienced advice! It's so helpful!!

Earlier it was suggested that we purchase our Louvre tickets on the Sunday. That would help with the lines a bit, correct? Also we will definitely be there early to line up.
We will do the same the day before for the Musee D'Orsay.
How far apart are the two museums? Would it work for one of us to wait in line at the Musee D'Orsay, while my husband runs over to the Louvre to get tickets for the following day?

I've looked into the museum pass, but it's only available in a minimum 2 day pass.

I guess I've been too optimistic with our plan on day one Unfortunately, it looks like we might have to skip the St Chapelle, judging by how tight things will be. It's a shame, but it doesn't sound like it's realistic.

With not going in the St Chapelle, does the timeline seem a bit more reasonable? As mentioned, we could really get to the Catacombs by 3:00. I was just shooting for 2:00.

We really have priorities of the two museums, the Catacombs and the Eiffel Tower. We have to work around those.

Thank you for the later time suggestion for the Eiffel Tower.

Oh, but I wish we had a 3rd day!!
jtw999 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 10:57 AM
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Try not to skip Sainte Chapelle. It really is amazing and once you are in, it doesn't take long to view. You really should see it.

I also don't think it is advisable for your husband to run to the Louvre to get tickets while you wait at the Orsay because you don't know how long each of the respective lines will be. It could be a five minute wait or it can be an hour long wait. It all depends on the timing and crowds at the moment.

If they sell the museum pass as a two day pass, doesn't that work out well for you then since you will be there two days? The pass is not just for museums, it covers a lot. What is the cost of the two day pass vs. the cost of
Saint Chapelle separately?

Remember the time savings too--it really does make a difference.

Arc is included in the pass but Eiffel tower and Vedettes Pont Neuf are not included in the pass.

Also included in the pass is Napoleon's tomb, the Rodin museum, the Orangerie at the Tuilleries Garden if you can manage to fit any of those in.

See how much ground you cover in disneyland Paris in one day. Maybe you do have a third day for Paris after all.
europeannovice is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 11:34 AM
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Is there a way to choose Orsay OR Louvre? What are your goals?

I'd drop Notre Dame versus Sainte Chapelle, if I had to choose.

At some point, it may make sense to do a city bus tour, to at least see all of the sights, then go back to a couple and visit.
Michel_Paris is offline  

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