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-   -   Paris Trip (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/paris-trip-598375/)

Liora Mar 11th, 2006 06:58 PM

Paris Trip
 
I have discussed traveling to Paris independently with my daughter with friends and other family members who are frequent travelers. As of right now, I'm looking into independent travel for the two of us to Paris and perhaps a day trip (we both loved the Fat Tire Bike Tours trip) to Versailles. So, to start off, I was wondering what would be a good period of time to spend in the French capital and any places or districts in the city we should visit. (My 13 year old and I love shopping, would like to focus on the more old charming parts of the city, and the major sites.) If possible, I'd gladly appriciate it if anyone here has any planned itineraries from the past or will be taking a trip and has thought of itineraries to Paris. Also, what are some good vacation package websites to paris?

brotherleelove2004 Mar 11th, 2006 07:08 PM

Be sure to take her to Fauchon's for pastries and Deux Magots for hot chocolate....probably NOT on the same day. ;)

Chasteel Mar 11th, 2006 07:09 PM

Hi Liora,

I would say you would want at least a week in Paris. You would probably want to stay in a central arrondissement where there are lots of shops and young people, like the 6th or 7th,maybe 4th. Fat Tire does run a great tour, I recommend it highly. As for itineraries, I don't have one on paper but I'd have to think of it. I know there are lots of websites that will do a custom itinerary for you. And some websites that do tours are:

Http://www.ricksteves.com

http://www.paristriptips.com

http://www.karenbrown.com (she has itineraries, I believe)

Chasteel

nessundorma Mar 11th, 2006 09:28 PM

I also agree a week in Paris is just about perfect. It's hard to sit still in Paris, and keeping up that pace for more than a week almost gets grueling!

My own feeling about Paris is that when it comes to sightseeing, small museums are best and public gardens are among the greatest works of art you'll see in Paris -- so don't fail to stroll in them, sit and them and enjoy them along with the Parisians.

Equally important are two magnificent church interiors: Ste. Chappelle and St. Denis. The latter is at the very end of a Metro line, and may seem out of the way. But if you are planning a trip to Sacre Couer and Montmartre on a sunny day to take in the view, it's only 20 minutes away. It is among the greatest architectual and historical monuments in all of Europe, far supriassing Versailles. It's a terriffic history and art lesson rolled into one for a 13 year old, freeing up the rest of the day for shopping.

Favorite small museums with young people in mind are the Rodin, the Marmottan (all Monet) and -- while it's really not small, the Orsay in the evening. Personally, I think the Louvre has become a zoo, and should only be undertaken by unanimous, enthusiastic consent.

Just about my only "must-do" in Paris is taking the Batobus to look at some of Paris's best sights from the water. I like walking down the Champs-Elysees at night because then you understand that moment when Paris marketed itself as Europe's most modern "City of Light." And I like sitting up late at night in one of the "fishbowl cafes" of the Blvd. Montparnasse, spoiling myself with a delicious dessert and people watching, and I bet your daughter will too.

bon voyage

Beatchick Mar 11th, 2006 09:40 PM

Wow, Chasteel, you mentioned Paristriptips! That's run by a nice lady & her husband here in Cincinnati. A few years back they had a shop called Le Mistral in the Mariemont section of Cincy where they sold beautiful Provencale items. I wrote a tip about them on VT. Then they closed the shop, sold items via their website & are now focusing on leading tours. Thanks for plugging a Cincinnatian!

Liora, I think the Marais would be right up your alley with the great antique shops and the charming old cobblestoned areas. The place just reeks of history & it's great architecture. If you e-mail me I can send some old itineraries to you.

surfmom Mar 11th, 2006 09:50 PM

Liora, I'm glad to see that you are thinking independent travel vs. the pre-packaged tour that you previously posted about.

A week is a great way to really get to know Paris without the 5 minute drive-by of the highlights.

My favorites (for first times and subsequent):
- climbing to the top of Notre Dame and getting up close and personal with gargoyles and chimuras
- Musee d'Orsay - go straight to the 3rd floor (or 4th?) to the Impressionists and work your way down. That way if crowds get too big or too crazy, you've seen the highlights first.

Get a handfull of tour books - Rick Steves, Fodors, Frommers, etc. Spend $100 and everyone pick one and start reading. They cover the same 'basics' all with a little different twist. You certainly have saved more than that on a tour, so you can afford a few extra books.

Pick a few spots to do a day trip or two outside the city. If you are hesitant about taking the train yourself and venturing out, there are many bus tours that will smooth the logistics for you.

good luck! have fun planning! for me, planning is half the fun...

isabel Mar 11th, 2006 11:33 PM

I think you made a good decision. You'll find that the planning of an independent trip is really part of the fun. If you can afford a bit more than a week then 10 days or so would probably mean you don't feel you have to push yourself so much each day. Since you were originally considering a tour for the whole trip that included a lot of the countryside, you might be interested in a day trip or two to either Normandy or the Loire Valley. You can probably plan it in advance, but if you don't, once you get there your hotel or the tourist office will have info on organized day trips to lots of places. If you search on Paris day trips here on this forum you'll get a lot of info too.

I would try to stay in the Latin Quarter (the 5th), the 6th or the Marais (3rd or 4th).

Wandering around Paris is probably the thing most people love the most. You can easily put together your own walking tours of any area. A good way to start is with a published walking tour and then add in more things you want to do. The major guide books have them (Rick Steeves is pretty good) and there are specific books with titles like "Paris Walks". With that amount of time you could devote an entire day to each of several areas: the Latin Quarter and the 6th, The Marais, Montmartre, the Right Bank-1st and 2nd, etc. Then you could mix wandering, shopping and stopping in a museum. You'll have a wonderful time.


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