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Paris sights questions: Notre Dame mass, pre-booking museums. :-D

Paris sights questions: Notre Dame mass, pre-booking museums. :-D

Aug 5th, 2006, 09:33 PM
  #1  
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Paris sights questions: Notre Dame mass, pre-booking museums. :-D

Hello! We are leaving for our trip on 8/12 ( ) and I had a few last minute questions.

1. Does anyone know, or know where I can find information on mass times at Notre Dame for Sunday mass.

2. Do you suggest pre-booking the Louvre?

3. How long would you set aside for exploring Versailles?

We will be in Paris for 5 nights and are so excited...if anyone has last minute suggestions we are welcome to them.

Thanks so much fodorites - you have helped out so much in our planning our first European vacation.
beph03 is offline  
Aug 5th, 2006, 10:08 PM
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Hello beph03
Just thought I should let you know that we visited Versailles at the end of May this year, and were very disappointed to find that there was so much reconstruction and refurbishment taking place that we really didn't feel that it was worth the whole day out of our one week Paris experience.

They had taken up all the cobblestones at the front, and seemed to be in the process of replacing all the water piping to the fountains at the back. Hence no water features; they hadn't planted any spring flowers in the garden beds, and then the magnificent hall of mirrors was only half there - the remainder was a walk-through black curtain corridor.
Also one side of the exterior was covered in scaffolding as the stone work was being cleaned.

I realise that refurbishment must take place, and perhaps some of that work is now completed, but we felt that the time spent, and the cost of entry certainly was not worth it on that occasion.

We went to the Louvre early in the morning and had no problem with queues; we went straight to the Mona Lisa and were part of a very small group able to move around freely and not feel pressured or rushed. I think later in the day is when the crowds are at their worst.

Hope you enjoy Paris as much as we did - we're already planning our second visit!
Happy travels, Di
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Aug 5th, 2006, 10:36 PM
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kerouac - thanks for the website its exactly what i needed and could not find

di - thanks for the heads up on Versailles!

In case anyone else was wondering and looks on this thread here are mass times:
Sunday
8:30 am
10:00 am (gregorian chant)
11:30 am (choir)
12:45 am (cantor)
6:30 pm (choir)

Weekdays
8:00, 9:00, 12:00 am
6:15 pm (cantor)
beph03 is offline  
Aug 5th, 2006, 11:02 PM
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Has anyone gone to mass at Notre Dame?
I wasn't sure if there was anything 'special' we needed to know. I am assuming it is the same dress code as church in the states - am I wrong in assuming this?
beph03 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2006, 01:23 AM
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Hi

My wife and I went to Paris in April this year. I have posted a trip report with pictures and links on my homepage http://gardkarlsen.com/Paris_France.htm . Maybe you can find some useful info there Get in touch if you have any questions.

Regards
Gard
http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
gard is offline  
Aug 6th, 2006, 03:39 AM
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The way you dress for mass in the U.S. is fine for France.

You theoretically need a group reservation at the Louvre if there are more than six of you. However, the Louvre is very irregular in its observance of procedures, so it depends on who is working on the day you visit.

You need a bare minimum of three hours to visit Versailles if you go there by car from Paris and there is no traffic. Add 60-90 minutes if you go there by train. This will give you about an hour to actually tour the gardens and/or visit the state apartments. If you want to do more than that, set aside an entire day.

Versailles has a low bang for the buck for most visitors, so I don't recommend it if you'll only be in Paris briefly. With five days it's okay; it would be even easier to justify if you had seven days in the city. It may be a significant waste of time if you are only in the city for two or three days.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Aug 6th, 2006, 11:02 AM
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thanks anthony & gard
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Aug 6th, 2006, 11:10 AM
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in november we went to the louvre on one of the evenings when the price goes down. maybe wednedsay around 6pm? short line at the kiosk, and walked right up to the rope and saw mona. definitely not crowded.

is this your first time to paris? if so, you might want to save versailles for another trip. we going on our 4th visit next spring, and are just getting to versailles. only went inside the louvre on the 3rd visit.

just saying, paris is so great, it's best to know your priorities, but still be flexible.

have fun!!
melissa19 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2006, 11:17 AM
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Our experiene at a Sunday Mass at NDdP was mixed. The music at the 1130 choir Mass was beautiful, and the celebrants used at least three languages. It was steeped in history, but hot, hot, hot (this was in June) and despite prominent signage and the efforts of ushers there were many obnoxious tourists wandering around, traipsing into the middle of the worshiping congregation to gawk and take photos. Of course, attending Mass is a spiritual rather than a touristic experience, but it was pretty annoying.
Seamus is offline  
Aug 6th, 2006, 11:38 AM
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Oops, hit the button prematurely.
For Versailles, there is a great deal available called a "forfair loisir" that includes round trip transport from Paris, admission to all parts of the chateau and audioguide headphones (which are really quite good). We bought ours at the "Transillien" counter at gare du Nord, though I believe you can buy it at any RER station that serves Versailles. http://www.transilien.com/FR/TouVers.htm
In terms of time to allocate, it can be as brief as a couple hours for a walk through only the main chateau or an all day visit to explore the grounds. On weekends, they feature the "Gransd Eaux Musicale" where they turn on the fountains and play beautiful classical music. Some parts of the main chateau are usually closed on Monday (though Monday 15 August is an exception); you can check the schedule of events for a given date at http://www.chateauversailles.fr/en/5...php?idT=4&l=En
It will likely be crowded and hot when you are there - make sure you hydrate, wear sunscreen, and consider a sunshade (travel umbrella works just fine). Yeah, it sounds a bit dorky to be toting a parasol, but it is amazing how much more comfortable you will be with it, to say nothing of protecting your skin.
The grounds are extensive; I would recommend using the "train", a motorized tram to get from one part of the estate to another. It requires purchasing a ticket but is a hop-on hop-off arrangement with a couple stops around the estate. The "Hameau de la Reine" is not to be missed.
Seamus is offline  
Aug 6th, 2006, 11:42 AM
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this is our first trip to Paris. We have 6 full days as we are arriving at 7:00 AM and the day we are leaving our flight to Venice is not until 8:00 so we will also have some time in the morning to continue exploring.

Thanks for the info on the mass: we live in NY and have been to mass at St. Patricks in Manhattan and experienced the same thing with people wandering around. It is our honeymoon (we were married end of May) so I think we will still go to mass and deal with the wanderers.

Melissa - did you feel you had enough time in the Louvre when you went in the evening?

We have been thinking of getting a Paris Museum Pass. It is 30 Euro for a 2 day and 45 for a 4 day pass.
Has anyone gotten one of these passes? Do you feel it is worth it?
beph03 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2006, 11:51 AM
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thank you Seamus, and we will make sure to bring plenty of sun protection
beph03 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2006, 01:11 PM
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has anyone been to Moulin Rouge.... would you go/not go?

beph03 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2006, 01:34 PM
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congratulations on getting married!

we had plenty of time in the louvre - i think it was about 3 hours. you can obviously spend days seeing everything, but we hit the big three (mona, venus, wings), saw the original moat in the basement, and wandered around towards the other side. from their online maps, you can make a general gameplan. however, i find the outside of the louvre to be just as compelling!

i hear the pass is good for skipping lines, but to to make it worth the $$, you really do have to see a bunch of museums in a few days. some are free, and others don't cost too much, and you don't want to spend all your time in paris inside a museum.

have fun!
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Aug 6th, 2006, 02:04 PM
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thanks melissa
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Aug 6th, 2006, 07:10 PM
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I can't remember the time of the Mass I attended at Notre Dame, but it had great music--Latin creed, gloria, etc., with melodies that were familiar. However, if I had it to do over again, I believe I'd shoot for the earliest possible Mass because an early service might have fewer of those annoying sightseers wandering around, talking during the Mass.
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Aug 6th, 2006, 08:37 PM
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thanks Pegontheroad, we won't be arriving until Sunday morning at 7:30 AM, so I am unsure of what time we will actually get to our hotel and be able to get to a mass...so unfortunatley it looks like we will be at one of the later services. I am bringing the list of times and are planning no going to the earliest one we can
beph03 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2006, 08:40 PM
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There are many, many churches in Paris, most of them deserted most of the time. If you want a quiet Mass, you can simply go to one of these churches. Notre-Dame and Sacré-Cur are always filled with tourists.
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Aug 7th, 2006, 11:21 AM
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I agree, if you want to go to mass for religious reasons, you should obviously not go to the most famous church in the city. In regular churches, there aren't tourists. I went to Mass at Ste Trinite last month, for example, and there were no tourists there, of course. The dress there was pretty casual, and I'm not talking visitors or tourists, I mean members of the parish, some of whom were even participants in the service. I find that really odd as they violated so-called standards some people on here have claimed "European" churches have, even French ones. Like one of the main cantors was a young woman in a tank-top style knit dress which ended above her knees, and some young guys in the parish worse knee-length cargo shorts. What is really odd is that on another current thread, someone says her daughter was refused entry at Sacre Coeur due to spaghetti straps, and while that is maybe a little more bare than what this woman had on top, not much (her top was more bare than just a sleeveless shirt). This woman was up near the altar and a featured member and singer during the service. Other female parishioners were wearing tank-style tops, also (it was pretty hot that day).

Now I wouldn't recommend doing that, but just saying that I haven't encountered much of a dress code at any French church. Even in ones that had a sign posted out front about this is a place of worship, you should have proper dress, etc., nobody regulated entry or checked in any way. I forget which French church I saw that at (a sign but no enforcement), but one of them. And there were people inside who had violated the sign, also, although the sign didn't really ban shorts--it had a very lowcut top picture (with an X through it), a baseball cap and some food pictures, with Xs through them. Maybe it was the Madeleine. It wasn't clear if they only didn't like baseball caps, or if that was meant to be any hat. I think maybe baseball caps were too casual or something. They have a Gregorian Mass at 9 am in the church in the 7th over near St Francis Xavier and you wouldn't have tourists there.
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