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Paris- Trip-planning addict needs help to avoid relapse! :)


Sep 7th, 2011, 07:47 PM
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Paris- Trip-planning addict needs help to avoid relapse! :)

The short story:

What are the Must-See attractions in Paris, besides the Louvre?

The VERY long story:

Confessing is step #1 to recovery: I am a trip-planning addict.

I love to travel... But almost as much as I love to travel, I love to PLAN! I have had 2 major vacations in the last few years: Italy in 2008 and Ireland in 2010. I obsessed about planning these trips months in advance. In my planning, I would even go as far as detailing where we would eat almost every meal (after obsessing over reviews from recommended restaurants, of course).

While it was so much fun to plan, it left me slightly disappointed while I was vacationing. (What do you mean you are out of scallops?!?...that was the highest rated menu item in the reviews I read!) Do you see where I am coming from...too much planning is... too much.

Why am I posting a thread about my traveling addictions on this website?...you may ask yourself. While it may appear to be an indication that I am relapsing...I assure you it is not.

In fact, our trip to Munich-Paris-Brugge is in 2 weeks...and I haven't planned anything!! Besides finding reasonably rated/priced accomodations(that's just good, common sense) , I haven't detailed what attractions we will be visiting or what there is to do in these cities. We will be in Munich for 3 days, Paris for 4, and brugge/brussels for 3.

Munich during Oktoberfest seems to sort of plan itself... and we won't be in Belgium long enough for me to have a chance to get bored. But Paris is another story......

Paris has been on the top of my list of places to see! I want to make sure that I don't miss the essentials while there. The only set plan we have is to see the Louvre (our apartment is across the street). My husband and I are 31 and enjoy good food, good drinks, and culture. So, after this long history, I must ask the question...

What are the few things I must do in Paris that will allow me to relax and enjoy the city?? Please don't get specific on me...generalities would be greatly appreciated!
knwolf is offline  
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Sep 7th, 2011, 08:40 PM
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Musee d"Orsay for the Impressionists

Evening boat ride on the Seine

Musee Rodin is lovely

Luxembourg Gardens

Go to Trocadero to view the Eiffel Tower at night, especially the sparkle show at top of each hour.

Most importantly, DON'T plan every second. My favorite memories of Paris are always those unplanned moments: coffee at a sidewalk cafe, an elegant woman with a perfect scarf, a beautiful window display of pastries, a violinist on a bridge playing La Vie en Rose...leave time for wandering around and experiencing moments like that.
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Sep 7th, 2011, 08:58 PM
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<< What are the few things I must do in Paris that will allow me to relax and enjoy the city?? >>

1. Walk aimlessly and slowly - you'll see so many interesting things; small gardens tucked away, sundials etched into buildings, interesting shop windows, etc.

2. Go to a church concert - there are many of them in Paris. Buy a copy of Pariscope from a news kiosk to check where the concerts are held.

3. On Sundays, around noon, go to the bottom of rue Mouffetard to watch people singing songs and dancing to the accompaniment of accordians.

4. Walk around Pere Lachaise cemetery and admire the beautiful tombstones. This is a place of tranquility.
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Sep 7th, 2011, 09:32 PM
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knwolf, You're on the right track -don't plan every minute.

The first time we went to Paris, the Metro was on strike, the museums were closed (another strike), and it was raining. It was the best trip ever and a wonderful introduction to the city. We went to two concerts, one museum, and just wandered.

When we returned to Paris a few years later, we got the three day museum pass and dutifully went to the Louvre, Orsay and Cluny, three days in a row. It felt flat. I'm not saying don't go to the museums - just leave yourself time to take it slowly and savor things. You can always go back.

BTW, we loved Brugge, the museum and church were just beautiful.

Have a wonderful trip.
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Sep 8th, 2011, 02:39 AM
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I make the Friday/Saturday midnight jazz jam session at Duc des Lombards a must! It's free!, and fun! We have heard some great jazz during these midnight sessions. Just head over to Rue Lombard and line up outside the club about 15 minutes before midnight.
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Sep 8th, 2011, 06:08 AM
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Wait for a sunny day to visit the Ile de la Cite. Go to Ste. Chapelle early in the day, while the sun is shining in, to fully appreciate the stained glass and then visit Notre Dame.

Then walk across the bridge to the Ile St. Louis and have ice cream at Berthillon. There are lots of little shops if you want to include shopping in your itinerary.

After you visit the Louvre, walk the length of the Tuilleries and visit the Orangerie to see the Monet waterlily murals - exquisite!
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Sep 8th, 2011, 06:26 AM
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As stated above, try to avoid runing around doing checklist tourism, a blend of sightseeing and meandering will provide the greatest return.

A few of the classics...

Sainte Chapelle for stainwed glass windows, add Notre Dame and Ile st Louis in area

Place des Vosges, oldest and possible nicest square in Paris, add walking Marais area, with shopping, old mansions

Night time Seine cruise (vedettes du Pont Neuf), add walking along Seine, both above and below, bouquinistes selling old books, add Square du Vert Galant, a nice green oasis with views of river and city.

View of Eiffel from Trocadero, decide from there whether to cross river and go up.

Smaller museums...Musee de Marmottan for its Monets, Musee de Cluny for its medieval artefacts and roman baths, Musee Jaquemart-Andre for feeling of visiting a rich collector's mansion, Musee Rodin for its sculptures and garden

Wander down Blvd St Germain, famous cafes, Rue de Buci area for market, cobblestone street, older resto in Paris, side trips over to St Sulpice, Luxembourg gardens

Maybe the passages: covered shopping galleries, that have nice shops, restaurants, tea shops...dating from 18th century onwards.

Paris Walks, 2 hour english walking tours, not expensive, good guides, covering many different areas of city. Also have a chocolate tour of the city.

As noted above. Pariscope or Officiel des Spectacles have listing for church classical concerts. Some good talent, great acoustics, often in historical churches. There is also a candlelit (sort of!) concert held at Sainte Chapelle
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Sep 8th, 2011, 06:45 AM
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Thank you so much for these excellent suggestions! I am excited for the view of the Eiffel tower from Trocadero and the stained glass in Saint Chapelle. And the river cruise sounds lovely And of course I will practice the art of meandering!
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Sep 8th, 2011, 06:59 AM
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Where are you staying?
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Sep 8th, 2011, 08:07 AM
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knwolf's apartment is "across the street form the Louvre".


ALL the suggestions above are spot on - I have nothing to add. OK, yes I do. You might swing over to the Picasso museum on your day of wandering through the Marais. Maybe also plan on a walking break for a meal, snack, coffe, or drink when at Place des Vosges that same day.
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Sep 8th, 2011, 08:59 AM
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Reading comprehension issues

Since in Louvre area...Louvre may/may not be an option, It can quickly eat up a lot of time. So if you go, plan your visit. The Tuileries are nice for a walk, and from place de la Concorde you can see up te Champs, the Eiffel, Arc de Triomphe. Could sit down by pool in Tuileries.

Nearby, I've gone to Laduree for a sweet, then went to place Vendome to eat it, while looking at Ritz and the high end jewelry stores,then a meander down Rue Faubourg St Honore. Palais Royal is a nice old park away from street bustle and a nice place to chill.

If you like antiques, Louvre des Antiquaires is a building across from Louvre with high end dealers.

Rue de Rivoli has quite a few souvenir type shops, I'd skip eating along here execpt maybe for Angelina's, which has good deserts and famous hot chocolate. There are also some old sidewalk arcades that are neat.

Museum-wise, also have Orangerie (Monets) and Decorative Arts museum in this area.
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Sep 8th, 2011, 09:29 AM
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Thanks for asking the question and “merci beaucoup” to those who replied with pertinent, yet doable, suggestions. I expect to visit Paris for 4-5 days in early June and hope to visit several of those smaller museums mentioned above. I am not a foodie or a shopper so that should provide more time for meandering.

Have a great trip.
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Sep 8th, 2011, 10:13 AM
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Check out the Vedettes du Pont Neuf website, where you can purchase discount tickets. Attending a classical music concert at La Sainte-Chapelle is a lovely way to spend an evening.
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Sep 8th, 2011, 10:25 AM
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I like the Seine and its bridges. Pont des Arts is a pedestrian only bridge that attracts artists, since it has a panoramic view of a lot of the city. It also has its share of lovers who leave the padlocks there to symbolize eternity.

The bridges off of Ile de la Cite (to Right Bank) have an appeal at night...the Eiffel sparkling in distance, Conciergerie lit up with floodlights, boats passing by, Seine cruises and their commentary...their spotlights highliting couples snuggling along the Seine, cafes and their neon signs...magical moments.

Another to-do on my list is a cruise up the St Martin canal, passing through a swath of Paris, locks, bridges, etc..
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Sep 8th, 2011, 10:44 AM
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when I go on a trip, I love to do research, especially on this forum. But I only plan in a general way-each day at a time when I reach my destination. I put all my information "in my back pocket" and I recall it when I am in the area. Stop and smell the roses. That will provide your best moments.

I also research eating places, but only make reservations for very special places (Tickets and Cinq Sentis). I find it a waste of time planning where to eat each meal. There are lots of good places wherever you are and again I have the info in "my back pocket". This is my philosophy of travel.
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Sep 8th, 2011, 10:59 AM
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Take a macaroon and/or chocolate tour. Since you want to avoid overplanning simply stop at any shop that has an interesting display and try the macaroons or chocolates or both. You can start at Pierre Herme which should be real close to your apartment.
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Sep 8th, 2011, 11:25 AM
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The Picasso musuem is closed for renovation, but I second, third, fourth, etc., the idea of just wandering and visiting smaller museums if/when the mood strikes. The tiny Victor Hugo museum is right on Place des Vosges if you are interested in Hugo. In the Marais I love, love, love the Carnavalet but I don't really consider it a quick stop. Though it could be, I suppose.

The Petit Palais is free--so no pressure to "see everything"! Nice little courtyard cafe too. A good place to relax.

The deportation memorial behind Notre Dame is for me a must-see.
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Sep 8th, 2011, 11:49 AM
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If you were wandering the Left bank, maybe rue Moffetard area, could go buy a lunch to-go and go sit in the Arene de Lutece, which is a roman arena discovered this century. Quiet place to relax before moving on.

Another samll museum is the Cognac-Jay, another collector's mansion with collection.

On my way to Jacquemart Andre last trip, stopped at Chapelle Expiatoire. This is a small chapel built over the ditch where the bodies of King Louis and Marie-Antoinette were thrown after their visit to the guillotine in the nearby Place Concorde. A royalist planted a tree on the spot, and kept an eye on the location until political winds changed. The bodies are now at St Denis (another place you could visit). Story is that when the body of M.A. was disenterred, the royalist fainted at the sight of the recognizable skull of M.A (her chin!). The chapel itself has statues and inscriptions, and a basement with altar making burial locations which was closed when I visited. Not on your typical tourist route.
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Sep 8th, 2011, 12:19 PM
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Hi kn,

>...don't get specific on me...generalities would be greatly appreciated! <

You are my kind of person.

Get up in the morning.
After a short round of intense love-making, have hubby go out and bring back several croissants and two or four coffees.

Take a short walk and stop for lunch.

Take another short walk and stop for an aperitif.

If, during your walks, you find something interesting to visit do so.

Return to the apartment and get ready for dinner.

After dinner, make love before going to sleep.


Enjoy your visit.

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Sep 8th, 2011, 12:35 PM
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I love hanging out at the counter in a cafe. I love testing pain au chocolat to see which is best. I love the D'Orsay!

You must go to Bethillon and try the salted butter caramel ice cream...to good to be believed! A stroll around Ile St Louis is great (be sure to stop in at Cacao et Chocolat).

I also love to gawk at how fantastic the food hall is at Le Bon Marche (housed in it's own building across the street).

Just grab a crepe and wander the streets and find your own "finds"! You really can't go wrong and even getting lost in Paris is a treat!

We close every night in Paris with a glass of champagne!
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