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paris to do list [one month stay jan 4th through feb 4th]

paris to do list [one month stay jan 4th through feb 4th]

Dec 26th, 2012, 06:58 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 126
paris to do list [one month stay jan 4th through feb 4th]

my husband and i have booked our trip to paris and will be leaving this coming january 3rd! we will be staying for 31 days and our base will be an apartment in the 4th arrondissement. this will be our first trip since our wedding and it is our first time to paris. our goal is to experience paris at a leisurely pace... balancing the touristy things with some parisian lifestyle things. we put together a to-do list and organized it by arrondissement... we don't HAVE to do everything on the list [except of course the major sites], but at least wanted to gather some interesting things to do so we don't forget. also looking forward to discovering some things of our own without having done prior research!

a little about us...
+ we're in our early 30s and live in manhattan
+ very active and adventurous [we bike regularly through the streets of nyc, jog + run in central park, love long walks to/from dinner, snowboard, etc.]
+ foodies and love to cook
+ we can sit somewhere pretty and drink wine, beer, or coffee for hours
+ we prefer casual / traditional / rustic restaurants over very prententious, stuffy, formal establishments [i.e. we've dined at alinea in chicago, but we thought it was worth it since the food was unique]
+ we enjoy museums but can get "museum-ed out" after 2 hours
+ we love love jazz especially french and bossa nova

our to do list as of 12/26:

============================== F I R S T ==============================
EXPLORE: Jardin des Tuileries, Musée de l'Orangerie, Musée du Louvre, Place Vendôme, Pont des Arts, Pont Neuf, Rue de Rivoli

EAT+DRINK: Drinks @ Hemingway Bar, Chocolat Chaud @ Angelina, Dinner @ Régalade The Saint Honoré, Buy a baguette @ Eric Kayser Boulangerie

============================== S E C O N D ==============================
EXPLORE: Visit / Study @ Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Nightlife @ Silencio (Members Club) (not much to do in this district??)

EAT+DRINK: Gyoza Bar [when we need a break from French food], Chocolat Chaud @ Jean Paul Hévin,

============================== T H I R D ==============================
EXPLORE: Musée Picasso (unfortunately closed til Summer 2013 i think)

EAT+DRINK: Crepes @ Breizh Café, Chocolat Chaud @ Jacques Genin, Drinks @ Candelaria (Secret Backdoor Entrance)

============================== F O U R T H ==============================
EXPLORE: Centre Pompidou, Conciergerie, Hotel De Sully, Ile St-Louis & Beaubourg, Notre Dame de Paris, Place des Vosges, Sainte Chapelle

EAT+DRINK: Buy beers for apartment @ La Cave à Bulles, Dinner @ Chez Janou, L’As du Fallafel, Lunch/Dinner @ L'Alivi

============================== F I F T H ==============================
EXPLORE: Farmers Market at Rue Mouffetard, Have Mint Tea at Great Mosque of Paris, Pantheon, Walk along the Seine starting at Quai de Montebello downriver towards Mouffetard

EAT+DRINK: Dinner @ Les Papilles, Crepes @ Le Pot o'Lait

============================== S I X T H ==============================
EXPLORE: Jardin du Luxembourg

EAT+DRINK: Duck Confit @ Chez Dumonet, Buy Jean-Yves Bordier Butter @ La Grande Epicerie au Bon Marche, Macarons @ Laduree, Oysters + Seafood @ Huitrerie Regis, Dinner or Crepes @ L'Avant Comptoir, Chocolat Chaud @ Un Dimanche à Paris

============================== S E V E N T H ==============================
EXPLORE: Eiffel Tower [By Day and Night], Explore Rue De Cler, Les Invalides, Musee D'Orsay

EAT+DRINK: Dinner @ Chez l'Ami Jean

============================== E I G H T H ==============================
EXPLORE: Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, Pont Alexandre III, Burlesque show @ Crazy Horse

EAT+DRINK: Steak Frites @ Le Relais de l'Entrecôte

============================== N I N T H ==============================
EXPLORE: Opera @ Opera Garnier [already booked tickets]

EAT+DRINK: Burgers @ Big Fernand, Dinner @ Autour d'un Verre, Aurore Capucine [bakery recommendation by our wedding singer who is from Paris]

============================== T E N T H ==============================
EXPLORE: Catch a show @ Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, Explore Canal Saint Martin, work remotely @ Cafe Craft - Coffee + Free WiFi

EAT+DRINK: Buy a baguette @ Du Pain et des Idées

============================== E L E V E N T H ==============================
EXPLORE: Jazz @ L'Atelier Charonne, Nightlife on Rue d'Oberkampf

EAT+DRINK: Crepes @ West Country Girl, Poulet Crapaudine from Chicken Lady @ Bastille Market

============================== T W E L F T H ==============================
EXPLORE: July Column @ Place de la Bastille, Museum - La Maison Rouge

EAT+DRINK: Kouglof @Vandermeersch, Snack @ Les Domaines qui montent

============================== T H I R T E E N T H ==============================
EXPLORE: no major sites, just walk around the neighborhood

EAT+DRINK: Drink @ Chez Gladines, Pho @ Pho Banh Cuon 14

============================== F O U R T E E N T H ==============================
EXPLORE: Les Catacombes, Shop @ Marché aux Puces de Vanves, Buy thrift/vintage @ Emmaüs, Jazz @ Express 14 Piano Bar

EAT+DRINK: Crepes @ La Crêperie de Josselin, Italian @ Il Far'Niente, Cafes @ Blvd Montparnasse/Blvd Raspail

============================== F I F T E E N T H ==============================
EXPLORE: Rue de Grenelle Open Air Market

EAT+DRINK: Crepes @ Ty Breiz., Buy cheese @ Fromagerie Quatrehomme, Wine @ Dis Vin Gaulois

============================== S I X T E E N T H ==============================
EXPLORE: Ile des Cygnes (Isle of the Swans), Musée Marmottan Monet, Place / Jardin de Trocadero

EAT+DRINK: Food Truck @ Le Camion Qui Fume

============================== S E V E N T E E N T H ==============================
EXPLORE: no major sites, just walk around the neighborhood

EAT+DRINK: Buy a Baguette @ Jean-Pierre Cohier, Dinner @ Guy Savoy???

============================== E I G H T E E N T H ==============================
EXPLORE: Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, Café des 2 Moulins [from Amelie Movie], Blues/Jazz @ Autour de Midi, Burlesque show @ Moulin Rouge

EAT+DRINK: Good baguettes @ Boulangerie Mauvieux and Coquelicot, Croissants @ Boulangerie Gontran Cherrier, Craft beers @ Le Supercoin bar

============================== N I N E T E E N T H ==============================
EXPLORE: Par des Buttes Chaumonts

EAT+DRINK: Dinner @ Au Boeuf Couronné???, Good baguettes @ Boulangerie Mauclerc

============================== T W E N T I E T H ==============================
EXPLORE: See Jim Morrison and other graves @ Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, Parc de Belleville

EAT+DRINK: no places yet

please share your experiences, recommendations, specific restaurants/places, or ideas. we'd really appreciate it!
citychicnyc is offline  
Dec 26th, 2012, 07:06 PM
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i should have previewed the original post so the formatting looked right for the headings! oh well sorry about that!

also want to dine or have drinks at any of these places with a view:


citychicnyc is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 02:39 AM
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Citychicknyc, wow, you have really thought ahead. Have a great time. Are you planning any trips outside the city?

Looking forward to your trip report...
latedaytraveler is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 04:21 AM
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For the 5th arrondissement, I don't see a visit to Shakespeare & Company on your list, which I not only recommend for its place in literary history, but also because it carries a great many English language books about Paris and I think once you are actually in Paris, you might find yourselves hungry for more detailed and in-depth information. I would particularly recommend the book "Paris, Paris" by David Downie, which talks about the how the nighttime illumination of Paris was created and is maintained, the history of the Seine and its bargemen, and other every day details of the city.

There are other such books about unusual museums, or the covered passages (by the way, you should google up information about the covered passages which make a great refuge in rain or cold weather). Or when you get to Paris, you might find yourself fascinated by a particular aspect of it: It's cafe history, or its ancient Roman underpinnings, or you name it. You are likely to be able to find a book about it in Shakespeare & Company, or good advice about where to go to learn more.

If you get "museum-ed out" after two hours, bear in mind that you are spending a month in Paris and therefore can go to museums more than once, especially on the "free nights", which will not be crowded with tourists but filled with Parisians in January. Like Manhattan, museumgoing is something the locals really enjoy. High culture is very much part of the life of the residents of Paris. It is not an isolated for-tourists thing. I recommend that you take a look at the special exhibitions that are on right now in Paris as well as occasionally dipping into the Louvre and d'Orsay. But if you still don't like art museums, don't go!

Finally, I do not see on your list the Basilica St Denis, which is the single greatest work of architecture in the area and of incomparable importance to the history of France. Before you go see the tomb of Jim Morrison, please go see the tomb of Marie Antoinette (and King Clovis) there, and go on a sunny day when you get the full effect of the magnificent stained glass. I assure you, there is nothing to equal it in Manhattan (and there are plenty of restaurants and shops in Manhattan that give the ones in Paris a run for their money). I appreciate your interest in hugging Paris close to the ground of its everyday life and food and shopping treats, but be open to the beauties of Parisian high cultural achievement, because the remain the real reason Paris was a beacon of aspiration for so many people -- it the love of books, architecture, art that still makes Paris a great city.
goldenautumn is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 05:04 AM
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citychicnyc : What a beautiful stay you are planning!
Some comments: We were in Paris last september(6th time, but first time with friends); and we went to Crazy Horse.Just a strip tease sgow, with gorgeous girls of course,IMO, the Moulin Rouge and / or Lido are much better.

I think you are not planning a Seine cruise, it takes just one hour and is a charming experience.

Not on your radar, but if you go to Brasserie Lipp; roasted chicken and the millifeuille are both really good.

We wait for you report!!! Enjoy your trip(I am sure you will).
jelopez33 is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 06:09 AM
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@latedaytraveler: hi! yes we are definitely going to visit versailles. we're still currently debating on our side trip. some ideas: loire valley (to see a castle/chateau - chambord i think), champagne region, barcelona, london, switzerland (hotel cambrian but it's a logistical mess to get to), or snowboarding at chamonix. if you were us, where would you go?

@goldenautumn: thank you so much for your thoughtful reply! we actually did have shakespeare & company noted as a place to visit in the fifth i just forgot to mention it here. hehe. i believe it's on rue de la bûcherie, just one street off of and parallel to quai de montebello, which is where our planned walk down the seine river starts. i appreciate the book recommendations! we will definitely visit on our first week so i can pick up one of the books you suggested and start reading it right away.

our must-visit museums are louvre, d'orsay, and l'orangerie and we want to visit go twice at least. louvre is free on friday nights between 6:00PM-9:45PM and first sunday of each month. d'orsay and l'orangerie are free only on first sunday of each month.

oh wow i don't know how i missed basilica st denis. i guess maybe because it is outside central paris. i just added it to our list... it looks gorgeous! i will make a note to visit both st denis and notre dame on sunny days for optimal stained glass viewing.

@jelopez33: thank you for your input! i will put asterisks on moulin rouge and add lido, seine cruise, and brasserie lipp to our list. do you recommend the seine cruise by day or night?
citychicnyc is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 09:59 AM
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The Ritz is under renovation and won't re-open until 2014, so no Hemigway's.
denisea is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 10:15 AM
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Denise I was just going to post that. We had a great time at the Hemingway Bar a few years ago. 35 euro drinks!!! But the bathrooms were fabulous!!
lrock is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 10:19 AM
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Also, another vote for St. Denis. You may also want to try Reed in the 7th. Great food.
lrock is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 10:30 AM
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@denisea: oh darn. thanks for letting me know!

@lrock: added reed since we don't have a lunch place yet! thank you!

** new items: added
+ Cooking Class @ La Cuisine Paris in the 4th.
+ Ice Cream @ Maison Berthillon in the 4th
+ Bercy Village in the 12th.
citychicnyc is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 10:45 AM
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Definitely do the Seine cruise in the evening, when the city is lit up.

Also, you might want to substitute Chantilly and Senlis for the Loire (IMO, it's not worth going there just for one castle, and Chambord, while huge and of historical interest, is almost devoid of furnishings). Chantilly and Senlis are very close to Paris; together they make a nice daytrip; and the château of Chantilly is totally furnished and has a delightful miniature portrait collection.

Besides Berthillon, there's Amorino (which I like better).
StCirq is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 10:51 AM
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Soem other museums you should not miss:

Musee Cluny (art of the middle ages including wonderful unicorn tapestries)

Watch for film festivals - often held at the rive gauche theaters. the films will be shown in the original language - with French subtitles when necessary. We went to a triple featuer Marx Brothers - but it was a 2 day festival with various combinations. Can be oldies, classics or specific topics.
nytraveler is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 11:00 AM
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Totally agree with St Denis...easy ride on the 13 line. Also, agree with Reed in the 7th...for some reason I am thinking that it is only open for dinner now. Definitely check on that.

L'Avant Comptoir is more of a stand up, saucisson, bread, etc...before dinner place. You can get crepes at the window and they are terrific (and huge). You may already be aware of that...next door is Le Comptoir which is the sit down part. It is a favorite.

Not sure if you are looking for other restaurant suggestions...if so:

Le Souffle ( in the first, I think)
Les Cocottes (7th)
Cafe Constant (7th)
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon ( the older one in the 6th)
Citrus Etoile (8th)

You will love Un Dimanche a Paris! You may like Hotel Crillon for a drink in beautiful surroundings....thimk it will be open through March. Otherwise, the Four Seasons, Georges Cinq or Plaza Athenee would be great for drinks in luxury surroundings.

Opera Garnier is gorgeous. The bar at Le Grand Hotel-Intercontinental is great. Goumard is nearby, and the seafood is wonderful (but pricey).

I also love all the shops around Place de la Madeleine....Maille mustard, Fauchon, Hediard, Maison du Miel ( honey). Worth checking out. At Berthillon, if they have the salted butter caramel ice cream....it's a must. Best ice cream I have ever had!

Good luck.
denisea is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 11:04 AM
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What a great list! I hope you'll report back.
One of our favorite museums is in the 16th, Marmottan
A small, somewhat unusual museum is the Delacroix

For eating a couple places we enjoy for lunch esp are the
Christian Constant restaurant, Les Cocottes [135 rue Saint Dominique in the 7th) & right down the street Cafe Constant [139, rue Saint Dominique )
Very convenient to the Delacroix Museum is Le Comptoir [5 Carrefour de l'Odeon 75006]
Have a wonderful trip!
yestravel is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 11:53 AM
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@StCirq: did some research and going to go with the night cruise with Bateaux Vedettes du Pont-Neuf.

the only advantage of going to loire valley over chantilly [although you sold me on chateau chantilly over chambord] is that we can go to some of the wineries for tastings?

my husband is a huge ice cream/gelato person [he had gelato every night while we were in italy] so i will add amorino to the list! he can't have enough of it!

@nytraveler: thank you so much! i love your suggestions and have added them to the list. having a list of museums to go to is great especially for rainy days.
citychicnyc is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 12:04 PM
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Reed is open for dinner only. Les Cocottes is great spot for lunch. (Dined at both 10 days ago.)
Weekender is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 12:07 PM
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Well certainly, if the wines of the Loire hold special appeal for you, it might make sense to visit a couple of wineries (but it's quite possible they'll all be closed at that time of year - and you certainly won't see anything but jagged sticks in the vineyards). Besides, there a gazillion places right in Paris where you can do dégustations (or even take a wine-tasting class). Google wine pasting Paris. Here's just one: http://www.frommers.com/articles/6983.html
StCirq is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 01:46 PM
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Vedettes du Pont Neuf is good(we did our cruise with them); and the internet price is lower than on site tickets.Definitely take it at evening.
I prefer Amorino over Bertillon,but why not try them both?
Another vote for Rodin Museum;godd in 2 hours or less and has gorgeous gardens to walk or even have a pic nic(weather permitting of course.In the gardens there is a place where you can see (and take a picture) of The Thinker,Eiffel Tower and the Dome of Les Invalides; if I am not wrong.
jelopez33 is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 02:06 PM
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Another very worthwhile day trip is Chartres. Try to go on a sunny day to see the windows of the cathedral to best advantage and, if he is around, try to arrange a tour of the cathedral with Malcolm Miller.
mamcalice is offline  
Dec 28th, 2012, 02:16 AM
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You are wise to be flexible about your list. Maybe you don't feel that you have to work through lists to be happy, but even the existence of a list as detailed as this would make me tired before I go.

You are young, you are clearly well-off, and this is not going to be your last trip to Paris. Trust me, it won't.

Here is a suggestion if you like to be really well organized. Put all your ideas on note cards. Use pink cards for indoor activities, blue cards for outdoor activities, green cards for food and restaurants. File them by arrondisement so you are not running from one end of the city to the other. Then every morning, pull a site card or two and a food card or two depending on where you want to go given the weather, which will be a factor at this time of year. There are, of course, high tech ways of doing the same thing.

There is also a terrible trap some of our friends fall into of having to seek out "the best." With enough time to make reservations and enough money, you could eat every dinner in a Michelin starred restaurant. Would you have eaten the best food in Paris? It depends. It depends on your tastes and the menu and the night and how the chef is feeling. On our last trip, we ate twice at the same restaurant. The first meal was spectacularly good; for the second, there was some sort of tiff going on in the kitchen and it was just average at best. An English friend met us in Paris and insisted that we go to Fauchon. Meh.

So give yourself time to find your own best places. If it is on a list -- and especially if it has appeared in the Times -- it is going to be filled with tourists who are planners like you. Walk around and look at menus and look at the people who are going into places. Are they your kind of people? Should you follow type or break with type? With a month, you can do both.

So have the list but don't feel guilty about not working through it. Make Paris your Paris they way you have your own Manhattan.
Ackislander is offline  

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