Places for Solo Traveling Near Paris

Apr 25th, 2015, 07:55 AM
  #1  
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Places for Solo Traveling Near Paris

Hi everyone!

I am going to study abroad for about a month in Spain, but before I head home I am going to visit Paris for 3 nights and 4 days. I know for sure I will be spending a day visiting Versailles and the Eiffel Tower, but I do want to make one day trip or even overnight trip to a nearby small town near Paris. I am a student so I will be on a budget but if it is something worth checking out I do not mind spending a little extra. I will be traveling solo so I would love to more about activities to do! Alot of the tours around Paris are made for couples and groups so any ideas will be great. My time is short, so I would love to make the best of it!

Thank you!
vpchuong is offline  
Apr 25th, 2015, 08:36 AM
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I think most here will agree with me that if you have only 3 days in Paris, you should spend them IN Paris. I mean, when will you have time for the Louvre, the Musee D'Orsay, L'Orangerie, St Chapelle, Notre Dame, the Cluny, the Rodin musuem, watching the kids play with boats in the Tuillerie, wandering the shops, sitting in a cafe sipping hot chocolate watching the people go buy, eating Berthillon ice cream, taking a boat ride on the Seine, the Marmottan, walking around the Marais, the Sacre Couer...and so on.

That doesn't even begin on the easy day trips, which along with Versailles, include Giverny, Chartre, Reims, Fontainebleu, the Loire, and probably lots more I'm not even thinking of.

And nobody can even begin to answer your question without some idea of what you are interested in...art, architecture, churches, food, WWII history....something. Give us some hints at least.
china_cat is offline  
Apr 25th, 2015, 09:01 AM
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I would suggest Chartres and its famous Gothic cathedral - Chartres is a sweet regional town much different than cosmopolitan Paris - and I agree getting out of Paris and into the real France to me is as valuable as spending another in Paris traipsing perhaps thru museums or churches.

Chartres is just an hour or so by train from Paris. Catch Malcolm Miller's iconic tours of the cathedral around 2 pm in the afternoon - he's been doing guided tours there for decades - brings the cold stones and stained-glass windows to life.

Yes get out of Paris one day and into the real France. See a bit of France along with Paris. Great idea.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 25th, 2015, 09:08 AM
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Cannot imagine leaving Paris on such a short visit. Leave whatever for the last day and THEN see if you want to leave--or wish you had another week!!
Gretchen is offline  
Apr 25th, 2015, 09:10 AM
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IMO the experience of say a Chartres or a Reims (Champagne cave tours and great cathedral and lovely larger regional town) will be something you cherish more than anything you do in Paris.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 25th, 2015, 09:28 AM
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After spending at least 3 months exploring Paris since 1978 (staying anywhere from 3 nights to 2 weeks), we visited Paris for 3 weeks in 2008 - our longest stay. I had a long list of day-trips planned for outside the city - including Versailles & Chartres. We didn't do any of the day trips - didn't want to leave Paris.

We'll be there again for 15 nights this Oct - with a day-trip planned to Arras (1 hr away). I bet we choose not to do it.

Gretchen has the best suggestion - wait till your last day in Paris & then decide.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Apr 25th, 2015, 10:02 AM
  #7  
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Thanks for the suggestion! I am a big fan of history and love all things old, I do realize I won't be able to see many things with my short stay, but I do want to be able to see a side of France that isn't just the Eiffel Tower.
My itinerary as of now is to arrive early in the morning and begin my exploration randomly strolling the city. On the second day I want to dedicate a whole day to Versailles because after looking through some tours, I would need a whole day to enjoy. The third day is when I want to venture away from Paris and visit a smaller town.
All the suggestions are great! I do see why staying in Paris for all three days could be a better option since it is such a short stay, what would be a must-see in Paris besides the popular tourist attractions?
vpchuong is offline  
Apr 25th, 2015, 10:11 AM
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There are more guidebooks written about Paris than any other city in the world. We don't know what your interests are, and a "big fan of history" is too general. Get the Michelin Green Guide for Paris or a Fodors guide to Paris (I think the Rick Steves guide for Paris is really poor) and you pick stuff that interests you.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Apr 25th, 2015, 04:05 PM
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If you want to do a day trip outside of Paris you can have a look at this thread to see a list of about two dozen places that might interest you:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic....html#66017674
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Apr 25th, 2015, 06:44 PM
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If you do decide to do a day trip, I also like the idea of Chartres; lovely spot and of course the magnificent cathedral and talk are divine.

I hope you'll explore the Left Bank a bit.
annw is online now  
Apr 26th, 2015, 01:11 PM
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If you insist of leaving Paris even though you are only there 3 days (you can really can see more than the Eiffel Tower if you are there 3 days), why not just take the metro out to Chateau de Vincennes to the east. It's got plenty of history and that won't take up a lot of time in travel. It's easy, also, being right on the metro line. Otherwise, I suppose Versailles would be one of the easiest suggestions, it is certainly historical.

Other options involve the regular train system which may be difficult for you, it sounds like, if you wanted to do a tour. Don't take a tour, just do it yourself.
Christina is offline  
Apr 26th, 2015, 01:36 PM
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Chartres does not have to consume a whole day and can easily be twinned with Versailles as both are on the same main train line from Gare Montparnasse - Versailles main station - Versailles Chantiers I believe it's called (and not its two separate RER and commuter train stations- Rive Gauche for RER c and River Droit for trains from Saint-Lazare) - it's one hour between Versailles Chantiers and Chartres station which is a very very short walk from the cathedral.

So to maximize time in Paris and fulfill your wish of seeing something of France besides Paris - which I endorse wholeheartedly) that could be a nice thing. I'd hit Versailles first before the crowds and then leisreuly go onto Chartres where the cathedral can be visited until late afternoon or maybe later.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 26th, 2015, 01:45 PM
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I think you may be being a bit naïve.. you seem to think the "popular tourist sites" are not worth seeing.. yet you claim to love history.. what on earth do you think the popular tourist sites are filled with ??

Suggest you visit Invalids Army Museum.. you will see the history of weapons going back hundreds of years.. swords, battle axes, suits of armour( even for horses) muskets, lances, samurai swords and uniforms.. its a great museum.. and never crowded ( so no long lines to deal with )

Also.. if interested in early history.. then I would suggest you check out the Crypts of Notre Dame,, they were interesting to me.. and once again.. little to no lines.

History of France.. well a good FREE musueum to visit is the Carnavalet Museum .. I also recommend a visit to the Shoah Memorial ( its in same area) .. it is also a FREE museum and never crowded.

If you visit Louvre.. suggest you skip some of the painting galleries.. and visit the Medival Louvre and Napoleons apartments.

Versailles.. I assume you are NOT taking a tour there.. it is completely not needed and expensive to do so.. if you are a student you get a reduced or free admission( go on website ) and the train there is only 8.20 euros return. Even if you pay full price ( 18 euros on most days except weekends) its much cheaper to go on your own and very easy. You must be in line up BEFORE it opens to avoid long waits.. have ticket in hand.
justineparis is offline  
Apr 26th, 2015, 01:58 PM
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If you find the time, even though there are so many things to see in Paris, you can go to both extremes on metro line 1 which runs through the center of Paris.

One end is Château de Vincennes, dating from the 14th century: http://anyportinastorm.proboards.com...u-de-vincennes

And the other end is La Défense, which is based more in the 21st century: http://anyportinastorm.proboards.com...a-fense?page=1
kerouac is online now  
Apr 26th, 2015, 01:58 PM
  #15  
 
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As regards student discounts at Versailles or many French sites - most sights in France now IME give discounts to folks under 26 regardless of student status and as Versailles site says restricts that to folks from the UEU:

Free admission

Admission to the permanent collections of the Palace (Grand Apartments, Hall of Mirrors, etc.), the Trianon Palaces, Marie-Antoinette’s Estate, the temporary exhibitions plus the audio guides is free for:

Free- under-18s, young people under 26 years old who are residents of the European Union, schoolchildren, teachers assigned to a French establishment bearing their “Pass Education”, disabled persons and their accompanying adult, and French job-seekers on presentation of documentary proof dating from less than 6 months before, etc.

So it seems like no discount unless you are from the EU - but in any case the Paris Museum Pass if a great deal if going to more than just one or two museums - with it you may pop into lots of museums you otherwise would not have paid to get in - like the Invalides Museum - an excellent one - see Napoleon's stuffed dog! or the Pantheon, etc. Gives priority entry to Versailles I believe so saves time waiting in line and at Louvre too.

http://en.parismuseumpass.com/ - marshall your museums into two days - the other two do free things or things not covered. But things like the Conciergerie where Marie-Antoinette was held before getting her head sliced off - her cell still there and the towers of Notre-Dame climbing up to the Grand Bourdon or big bell - and several other museums you may pass by and again if had to pay would not go in. A great great deal - if going to Versailles and Louvre and Orsay you'll probably pay for it and get priority admission (not totally sure about this at Versailles).
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 26th, 2015, 02:45 PM
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Getting out of Paris to a real French town is not going to La Defense or the Chateau Vincennes - both in Paris for all practical purposes and just like Paris. The idea was to get out of Paris and into the real France - with 4 days I would not waste time on Chateau de Vincennes or La Defense with so many other 'better' IME things to do right in central Paris.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 26th, 2015, 07:51 PM
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Palen.. sorry .. Paris is the real France too.. or so the many generations of my family that have lived there seem to think.. they did not know they live in "unreal" France. Geesh.

It is a large city.. so yes.. seeing countryside is nice.. but frankly with only a few days that seems pretty low on priority list for many folks.. now if you have a week or more.. its more realistic.

Ps Some of my relatives live in Palens "real France" and I have visited them.. they have grocery stores( big mega ones too) .. banks,drycleaners,schools, and all the stuff any town in American or Canada has too.. its not all little villages with cafes lining the streets and checkered tablecloths.. that's Disney "real " france .
justineparis is offline  
Apr 27th, 2015, 03:48 AM
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just - it is what the OP wanted to get out of Paris and see for theirself what the real France is like and yes it is a lot of nice countryside - the train ride to Chartres goes thru the lovely Beauce, etc.

It's like saying NYC represents America as a whole - it don' - not even New York State/.

Of course Paris is the real France but it is far different from a town like Chartres IME. I think semantics is geteting in the way - the OP did not say real France but he said he wanted to spend a day outside of Paris - perhaps in a city where there is not another famous museum or department store or church he just has to see and can kind of relax from a tourism standpoint and just chill - hard to do in Paris itself as there is always another site to rush to get into a perhaps already overloaded schedule.

I have lived in a suburb of Orelans off and on and it is way way different than the Paris that I have also spend a lot lot lot of time in.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 27th, 2015, 07:48 AM
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We recently spent a day in Chantilly. About a 25 minute train trip from Gare du Nord. Lovely and a great restaurant in the chateau. Just a thought.
SharonG is offline  
Apr 27th, 2015, 08:56 AM
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Chantilly is great.. a fabulous museum inside the Chateau.. no crowds or lines ( and I have been in summer at least 4-5 times now), and as well as the restaurant there is a teahouse/café in the gardens that features the best strawberries and its namesake Chantilly Cream..There is also the Royal Stables and Horse Museum across street.

however Chantilly is a rather expensive little town.. the area has some upscale homes and suburbs...
justineparis is offline  

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