Paris Overload

Old Jun 13th, 2005, 04:29 PM
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Paris Overload


Ok. I admit it. I am overwhelmed. While these boards are wonderful, after printing out the 100 plus things to do in Paris, I don't even know where to begin.

We have lots of time still...not going until September 06, so I really am in the beginning of the planning stage.

We will have five days there (and 8 more somewhere else in Europe) and we don't want to spend them all in museums. Can anyone recommend a book or site that has a reasonable four day Itinerary - one that doesn't require the energy of an exuberant two year old? We like to walk, but not run! On the other hand, we want to see and feel Paris...

Thanks in advance for all or your great advice!

NannyJan
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 04:38 PM
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buy a guide book on Paris. Underline what appeals to you and to your partner. That's it. Try to find what you both want to see. Or just meander the different areas, café people watch, visit all the amazing beautiful parcs. Picnic on one. There's no right way. Paris is yours.
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 04:51 PM
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y the Michelin Green Guide to Paris. It has a wealth of information, including day by day itineraries that will save you a whole lot of backtracking.
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 05:07 PM
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NannyJan, a good start for you is on the top of this page. Click on "destinations" and follow it through. Fodor's gives a great overview of Paris, as well as "best of...3, 5 days" itineraries. This will get you going. As far as not wanting to spend all your time in museums, no problem at all in Paris. In fact, I'd venture to say you can visit Paris and NOT go in a single museum, and still have a wonderful time (not that I'd recommend that, though). There are boat rides down the Seine, sitting in the cafes, strolling though the parks, shopping...tons of things to do in Paris.

I'd go to your local library and check out a few books, coffee table books with loads of pictures included. You'd be surprised how little time it takes for things to pop out at you, and before you know it, your general idea of what to do and see in Paris will be well on its way!
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 05:16 PM
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We did not have an itinerary for our 5 days in Paris. My friend had a guidebook, and we picked up free entertainment information and a street map in the hotel lobby.

Each evening in the room or over breakfast the next morning, we set out our plans for the day. Simple as that. No stress or pre-planning truly is needed for a city like Paris.

We'd pick 1 basic destination (ex. Eiffle Tower) figure out how to get there on Metro from our hotel, then leisurely walk our way back... stopping at other sights, cafes for lunch or a glass of wine, shops that interested us, etc.

Always carry a business card from your hotel so if you get tired or lost you can catch a taxi back.

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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 05:19 PM
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Nannymer--It took three trips to Paris before we saw the Eiffel Tower. I'm serious. We were too busy walking, talking, eating and plopping.

Echoes of everyone else who has posted above--what do YOU want to see and do? Do you have some favorite memory from movies? Do you want to shop for the ultimate handbag? Would you like to visit ONE essential piece of art? Do that/those and then work outward and you'll be fine.

As you can see on this board, almost everyone who likes Paris returns. Start with that concept and you'll enjoy your planning for your FIRST trip very well. Go with your heart.
 
Old Jun 13th, 2005, 05:19 PM
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I agree suze, the first two times I did everything on a limb and loved it more than any planned trip.
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 05:45 PM
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I'd recommend the Eyewitness "Top Ten" Paris. It's divided by neighborhood (including sights, restaurants, shops, etc.), so you can plan area by area.

With only five days, there will be plenty on the top of your list for the next trip once you've returned home.
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Old Jun 14th, 2005, 06:24 AM
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Old Jun 14th, 2005, 08:50 AM
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djkbooks - Is that a book?

Thanks for the replies...I have in fact requested some books from the Library and will look into the titles recommeded.

Don't know if I could go with an unplanned itinerary...I am too anal to just "go with the flow." Wish I could be like that...I need to have at least a teeny tiny plan...

Thanks again...this board is great!

NannyJan

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Old Jun 14th, 2005, 09:06 AM
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I agree that Paris can be overwhelming the first time you go. There is so much to see and do, and of course you want to try to do it all. My first trip to Paris I made a list of the must sees, the would like to sees, and the only if I have time sees. Each evening over dinner we consulted a map, with my list and planned our next day based on arrondisements, opening/closing times of museums, stores, etc. Of course, we always had Plan B in case of weather etc. Having been there 10 times now, we usually don't have an itinerary and just go with it.
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Old Jun 14th, 2005, 09:07 AM
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Here's a list of the basic places to see.
Eiffel Tower
Probably the best known landmark in Europe, the Eiffel Tower is the symbol of Paris.

Notre-Dame Cathedral
The Notre Dame de Paris is one of the first Gothic Cathedrals ever built.

Arc de Triomphe
This triumphal arch located at the end of the Champs-Elysées commemorates Napoléon's victories.

Louvre Museum
Once the residence of the French King, now one of the world's most famous museums.

Sacré-Coeur
The Sacré Coeur is a basilica in Roman-Byzantine style located on the Montmartre hill.

Champs-Elysées The most fashionable street in the world is copied by many cities, but none can match the original.

La Défense Paris's highrise business disctrict features a modern version of the Arc de Triomphe.

Centre Pompidou A museum of modern arts, a library, cinema and cafetaria, all in one distictive and controversial building.

Musée d'Orsay This beautiful 19th century railway station was turned into a popular museum.

Jardin du Luxembourg This great park was created in the 17th century and opened for the public in the 19th century.

Hôtel de Ville The City Hall of Paris is a grand building located near the Seine river.

Opéra Garnier This opulent building in Second Empire baroque style is one of the grandest opera houses ever built

Panthéon The crypt of the Panthéon contains the vaults of several of France's famous countrymen.

Place des Vosges The oldest square in Paris also features the Victor Hugo museum.

Place de la Concorde The largest square in Paris connects the Tuileries with the Champs-Elysées

Place de la Bastille The French Revolution started here, at the site of the former Bastille stronghold

Les Invalides This former accomodation for war veterans is now home to several museums, among them a large military museum.

Tour Maine Montparnasse The largest office tower in the center of Paris features an observatory.

Pont Alexandre III A beautiful 19th century bridge, decorated with many sculptures.

Le Parc des Buttes Chaumont A park in the 19th arrondissement featuring steep hills and a 100ft high waterfall.





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Old Jun 14th, 2005, 09:09 AM
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To the preceding list, I would add Ste. Chapelle. In fact, I would put it very near the top of the list!
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Old Jun 14th, 2005, 12:14 PM
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Look at published itineraries, from here on Travel Talk, or Fodor's or Frommer's or the Michelin Green Guide. Just looking at their listings will help you decide the order in which you want to do things.

We're medium planners (and we're in the midst, ourselves, of planning another trip to Paris). I usually have a short list of "must-sees," and a longer list of "wanna-sees." Some things have to be planned or scheduled in advance, because of closing days and such. Others, I'll group together (if only in my mind), and we'll decide each day, depending on the weather, etc., which to do. Between now and then, you can develop your own list of must-sees and wanna-sees, and plan your days based on those.
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Old Jun 14th, 2005, 12:21 PM
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I hesitate to offer even more printed material, but I do have an electronic file on Paris and it's been well received. If you'd like to see it, email me at [email protected]

Here's another way I plan trips

I make an excel spreadsheet, or just draw rows and columns. Across the top, the column headings are days of the week.
Down the left side, row headings are allthe sights I'd like to see, my wish list, loosely in order of neighborhood or metro stop. (I never get to them all on one trip.) In each cell of the chart, I write in whether the place is open or closed that day of the week, or what its hours are. I make room for a special feature that I may have read about--'guided tour in English at 11am' or, 'Cafe Pierre is across the street'.
Then, when I start each day, depending on interests, weather, energy level, etc I can plan my day and not end up somewhere that is always closed that day, or criss-crossing all over the city on one day.
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