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paris must-sees besides museums

Old Jun 25th, 2008, 12:29 PM
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paris must-sees besides museums

We are planning a 4/5 day trip to Paris in early October and are trying to come up with an itinerary that doesn't include a lot of museums. My husband isn't too big of a fan so I might be able to get a couple out of him, but he would be miserable if we went to a lot. I want us to both have a great time, as it will be our first time in Paris. Anyone have any recommendations on non-museum activities that shouldn't be missed? We are in our mid/late 20s and are open to a lot of things. The only thing we really don't enjoy doing a lot of on vacations is shopping (I know a lot of people find that hard to believe). Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Thank you!
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 12:43 PM
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If you have specific interests (e.g. chocolate, literature, wars, Jewish history), Paris Walks (http://www.paris-walks.com/) offers some fantastic tours. I went on about 8 of them when I was in Paris last year and especially liked the Hemingway, Latin Quartier and chocolate tours.

I also liked the Paris Catacombs (http://triggur.org/cata/), where you can see the stacked bones of 7 million Parisians... very creepy.

Definitely go to Sainte-Chapelle and if you like music, see if they're holding a concert there during your visit. I went to one last year and it was a highlight of my trip.

Obviously Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower (see it at night when it sparkles and during the day), ice cream from Maison Berthillon on the Ile-de-France, the Sacre Coeur, the village of Montmartre, eating by the Paris Canals, walking through the Jardin du Luxembourg (which I liked more than the Tuilleries)...

There are so many things to do in Paris that aren't museums!
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 12:49 PM
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Any decent guidebook will list a variety of sites in Paris that might interest you. It depends on your interests. My favorites list includes Sainte Chapelle and the Conciergerie, The Rodin Museum garden, and Cafe Sitting, preferably at the Place de la Bastille.
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 01:00 PM
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Even if you are not a jock, I highly recommend the Fat Tire Bike Tours of Paris! Do a Google search to fine them. A friend and I took the evening tour in June 06. First we rode all over the city with a crazy guide in a group of about 20 people. Then, just as it was getting dark, we ended up in the Louvre courtyard and hardly anyone was around. Of course the DaVinci Code movie had come out that year so it was especially cool. Then we headed down to the bateau for a cruise of the Seine, complete with wine, just as it was getting dark. (Of course this was June and it was light until almost 10:00!) But their tours are a hoot!

Went with hubby and 9 and 12 year olds in 2000 and they also wouldn't spend hours in a museum. But there are tons of other places to see as the previous poster mentioned. Depending on the weather, just hanging around one of the gardens drinking some wine is lovely. (At the Jardin du Luxembourg we did this while the boys sailed the little boats around the pond. We also had a picnic lunch complete with wine at the back of the sculpture garden at the Rodin museum.)
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 01:13 PM
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This is our list for the same length visit. My husband and I are in our late 20's and plan on doing the following:

The Louvre
Musee D' Orsay
Notre Dame (and climb towers)
Sacre Coeur
Eiffel Tower
Arc de Triomphe (climb to top)
Les Invalides
Pantheon
Pere Lachaise
Jardin de Tuileries
Sainte-Chappelle/Concergerie
St. Sulpice
Bridges (Pont D' Alma and Pont Neuf amongst others)
Champs Elysee
Montmatre
Laduree
Berthillon
Fat Tire Evening Bike Tour

We're planning on buying the Paris Pass so that we can do museums in small doses and revisit if necessary.

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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 01:34 PM
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My first (and only so far) trip to Paris we didn't go to any museums and had a great time. I loved the Tuileries and Luxembourg Gardens. And the Eiffle Tower and surrounding area. We did lots of walking and seeing the various monuments and buildings from the outside.

The one thing I did not do that interest me if the Batobus that runs on the Seine.
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 01:44 PM
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The Batobus was okay... maybe better to do when you first arrive? It seemed a little thin to me, but definitely some kind of cruise on the Seine would be nice.
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 02:09 PM
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Street markets..especially Bastille on Thus and Sundays.. or Saxe breteuil on Wed or Sat
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 02:20 PM
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An interesting thing to do is take a cruise on the Canal St. Martin, up to La Villette (takes about an hour) and visit the Science Park there. Quite fun.
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 02:33 PM
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Thank you so much for all the info so far! I don't know how I ever planned any vacations without Fodor's!

I have already checked out the bike tour and the Sainte-Chapelle website. What kind of concerts do they have? (I found a website that I think was talking about that but it was in French, therefore no help to me--got to work on that!) And anyone know if you have to pay to get into the catacombs or do you just walk in?

Thanks again!!
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 02:44 PM
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Hi de,

See the following:

Paris Superthread
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34519236

100 Great Things to Do in Paris
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...=2&tid=1277898

Degas’s Paris Walks
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34712768

Kerouac’s Ethnic Walk
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=35095155

Jacquemart-Andre’ Museum http://tinyurl.com/p9pol

Enjoy your visit.

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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 05:18 PM
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http://www.classictic.com/en/Paris/La-Sainte-Chapelle

This is where I ordered tickets for the Sainte-Chapelle concert. As I remember, they emailed me the tickets before we left for Paris. If you go to the earlier concert, you get the effect on the stained glass of the sun setting.
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 05:24 PM
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We enjoyed the buskers on the Pont Saint-Louis. I think they may only be there on weekend evenings, not Monday to Friday, but I'm happy to be correctet on that point. We wandered in that direction on both of our recent Sundays in Paris and the buskers were fabulous!

We bought Batobus tickets on our last day in Paris and it was a fun way to end our holiday. We hopped on and off during the course of the day and revisited some of our favourite places.
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 05:25 PM
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I must second the Jacquemart-Andre’ Museum and a concert in Ste. Chapelle. Those were two of the most fun things that my wife did on our anniversary trip a couple of years ago.
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 11:25 PM
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I second trying the Night Bike tour by Fat Tire, it was so fun, and includes a cruise anyways.

The Catacombs are not free. They have a website in english, just google Catacombs Paris( there are Catacombs in Rome also so add "Paris") . They were definately a trip highlight for my teen sons.

My husband and sons( none of whom are into Museums much) all loved the Invalids, so consider it a good choice for museuming, lots of weapons etc .

Climbing Notre Dame and Eiffel Tower are both great activities .
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Old Jun 26th, 2008, 01:48 PM
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You can just show up to the Catacombs and pay when you get there... no advance tickets necessary (but get business hours and directions to the door... it can be tricky to find).

Re: Sainte-Chapelle, I bought my tickets the day of the concert after seeing flyers all over town. I'd check the link that the previous poster sent and if you're at all unsure, you should be able to buy your tickets at the box office ticket window (separate from the main ticket window).

Not sure how late it stays light, but Maryanntex's suggestion is what I did. It saves you the admission price!
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