Planning for 4 days in Paris

Apr 8th, 2011, 02:31 PM
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Planning for 4 days in Paris

My family will be tracing to Paris in July for four full days, not including travel, and I would love some help with planing what places I should vist on the same days. We want to go to
The Effiel Tower
Notre Dome
The Louvre
Arc de Triumph
Les Catacombs
Les Invalides
Maybe the gardens of Luxembourg and the Pantheon

We are staying my the Louvre and plan on traveling on the metro. Are there cards like in London that we could use or do we have to buy the pack of ten tickets? Also my daughter wants to take a cruise down the Seine, are there any companies you guys would recommend?

Dkd11 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2011, 03:16 PM
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For four days in Paris, you probably would want to buy two or three carnets (10 tickets) to share for the metro. I think you can also use them on buses.

I would go onto the Paris museun pass site and check the days of operation for the museums & monuments you are interested in. The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays. I believe that you can book online for the Eiffel Tower on their site.

The Eiffel Tower is close to Hotel des Invalides, so you might go to those on the same day. The Arc de Triomphe is across the Seine but still not far from those, as well.

The Louvre and Notre Dame are pretty close, as well.

Many enjoy Sacre Couer at night, so you might consider that.

Luxembourg Gardens could probably be done with Notre Dame. The Pantheon is not far, but not right around the Gardens.

You might take a map and plot where the sites are that you want to see and attack it that way. Maybe a map with the Metro lines and stops on it so you can plan your travel, as well.

I haven't done a Seine cruise but many love it. I would go at dusk if I were going.
denisea is offline  
Apr 8th, 2011, 04:44 PM
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I second denisea's grouping. MaybeTour Eiffel very early in the morning if you plan to go up, then a Seine cruise as it is by the tower then move on to Hotel des Invalides. Make sure you sit on the upper deck of the river boat to have the best view. I like Montmartre (Sacré Coeur) anytime of day but know that the later the busier...of course. I do enjoy having a crêpe for dinner and walking in this lively area. Enjoy your time in Paris!
voirglobe is offline  
Apr 8th, 2011, 06:05 PM
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Thank you guys for your suggestions.

I have paired the Eiffel Tower and Les Invaildes together and Louvre and Notre Dame together like you guys said, I though I might add the Patheron to the Louvre group if we decide to go.

I don't know what to but the Musee d'Orsay with because I don't know if my family could do many museums in one day. What should I group with Arc de Trimphe and Sacré-Coeur?

I forgot to add Versailles to the list. Have any of you guys been out there? Did you take a tour or did you do go out there on your own?

Also there seem to be mixed reviews on going to the Catacombs? Are they worth going to see?

Thanks again!
Dkd11 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2011, 09:01 PM
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This is the Seine cruise we've taken several times.Print out a coupon for a few Euros off. We like it at night better.

I'd buy several of the ten pack of Metro tickets.

Just my opinion, but we found Invaldes huge, gray, and boring. The Pantheon was far more interesting.

OTOH, Luxemborg Gardens is one of our favorite places.

Notre Dame and Ile St. Louis are places not to be missed. Also St. Chapelle, right near Notre Dame. The Seine around Notre Dame is our favorite place to be at night. So much street entertainment---it's just fun.

Another place we love is Place Vosges in the Marais.

As far as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, it all depends on how long the lines will be as to how much time it will take. We prefer the Eiffel Tower at night---the lines are shorter and the lights are stunning. The Louvre is bigger than you could ever imagine. When you go there, have a plan on what you want to see. As far as museums, we prefer D'Orsay, The Rodin, or (our personal favorite) the Carnavalet in the Marais near Place Vosges.

I say this after many trips to Paris. On our first 4 day trip we did The Eiffel, the Seine cruise, Notre Dame and the Left Bank, Luxemborg Gardens, Sacre Coeur, Arch de Triumph, D'Orsay, The Rodin, and Place Vosges. Since then we keep adding---actually we didn't do the Louvre until our 3rd trip.

There is so much Paris info on Fodors and all of the "Paris Fodorites" have their favorite places. These are just some of ours.

On our 2nd and 7th trip we went to Versailles. It is fabulous, and very easy to do by yourself, but would require a whole day---maybe save it for next time.

My suggestion is to get a map of the city, make a plan, then plan to have your "plan" undone as you travel around. Every street and around every corner you will fall in love with just "being" in Paris.

Sorry for going to such lengths, but Paris makes me feel like I've come home.
TPAYT is offline  
Apr 8th, 2011, 10:04 PM
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It so good to read information from someone who has been and loves Paris.

I have a question, do you buy your tickets for the museums online or do you buy them when you get there?

When is the best time to go to the musée d'orsay? Morning or afternoon?

Have you done the catacombs too?

When you went to Versailles did you happen to go to Marie's country house? If we go my daughter, who loves French history, wants to go out and see it, but I heard it's kind of far from the main part.

Sorry for all the questions.
Dkd11 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2011, 05:07 AM
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The petit trianon is beautiful walk or you can take the train around versailles, not to be missed even though small the gardens and newly renovated ballroom are great, this is a whole day trip you can plan some ideas at myweekin it is important to take some day trips from paris, giverny is also great.
aliwallace is offline  
Apr 9th, 2011, 02:18 PM
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Can any one else help? Still trying to figure out the itinerary and many questions about Versailles.
Dkd11 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2011, 02:26 PM
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We sort of wing it. If the line is not too long at the museum, we go in. We've bought the tickets when we got there. I know you can get a pass to save money, but I don't think you have enough time to do enough museums to warrant the cost. We hate to spend alot of time in line when there is so much to see.

We haven't done the Catacombs---just not in our interest.

Versailles---We walked out to Marie A.'s little houses and it was far, but doable. Next time we'd take the train. It's an enchanting place and we stayed quite a while. We had lunch outside by the pond on a beautiful day. The whole place is stunning, but again you need a whole day to visit it all.

All of us who love Paris have our favorites. As I mentioned above, one of ours is The Carnavalet museum in the Marais. It's free and if your daughter love French History, this is a good place. I'd have lunch at place Vosges along with the museum.

Keep reading the trip reports and comments on this site and you'll be prepared for a wonderful trip. The research time adds weeks to your adventure, as the photos do when you return.
TPAYT is offline  
Apr 10th, 2011, 02:37 AM
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My first time in Paris I started by taking the Seine cruise. This gave me a perspective of the things that I would see up close on the rest of the trip. I thought it was a lovely introduction to this beautiful city. I haven't heard anything particularly complimentary about the dinner cruises so stick with the cruise only option.

There is nothing like Versailles but it will take one of your days. You might want to consider for another visit and just stay with the city sights. I think I'd pass on Les Invalides as well. Everything else on your itinerary is a big yes!

Enjoy stopping occasionally for a glass of wine and doing plenty of people watching. That alone is fun in Paris. Enjoy.
CYESQ is offline  
Apr 10th, 2011, 08:45 AM
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I would go to Versailles...don't go on the weekend. Easy RER train out and it is spectacular.

I actually enjoyed Hotel des Invalides more than the Pantheon, but you will always get differing opinions. Haven't made the catacombs yet, but it could be cool for an offbeat site.

I much prefer Musee D'Orsay over the Louvre...the Louvre is massive and overwhelming. But, I also prefer Impressionistic art to the type of paintings seen at the Louvre.

If you had to skip the Pantheon & Hotel des Invalides this trip to go to Versailles, I would do it.

Try not to run yourself to death and really enjoy the city.
denisea is offline  
Apr 10th, 2011, 10:12 AM
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We have looked into the museum pass and you were right it won't work for us. We are so excited to do Versailles so thanks for the information. I was wondering how to get to Marie's little house, so the little train is easy to use? Yeah we were going to go to Versailles earlier is the week, but not a weekend because I would think it super crowed.

I don"t think we will go in the pantheon but just do a pass by if we have time. That is kind on the bottom of the to do list. We are going to be there on Bastille day so we have to plan around that, I think that day we will just walk and enjoy the day!
Dkd11 is offline  
Apr 10th, 2011, 10:20 AM
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On museum tickets, you can buy them online ahead of time. The tickets are untimed, so you can use them any day, any time, but you get to skip the ticket lines. I think you can have them sent to you, but I waited too long (thinking that they were the kind of tickets that I could print out at home), and didn't have time to have them sent. So I picked them up from a store near our hotel; the instructions on how to do that is on the museum website (in English), and it was very easy.

We also prefer Vedette du Pont Neuf for our boat cruises, and have always taken them in the evening. They're magical!

You can buy tickets for the Eiffel Tower ahead of time, but those are for a specific day and time - if the weather's bad, you go up anyway and don't see anything, or "eat" the ticket cost.

Versailles - there's so much to see and do in Paris that we keep skipping going here, though DH and I have each been once (on separate trips).

The Pantheon is nice, and the street market near there is really fun, but I think you have it at the correct place on your list - we went primarily because DS was a big fan of Victor Hugo, and he's buried there.
Lexma90 is offline  
Apr 10th, 2011, 10:47 AM
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One of my favorite places not on your list is Ste Chapelle with its amazing stained glass windows.
Vttraveler is online now  
Apr 10th, 2011, 10:48 AM
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We also spent four days in Paris. First of all, the museum pass is well worth it for the money savings and most importantly the time saved. I read that you thought it would not be good for you. I don't know why you think that.

You skip a lot of the lines and believe me they can be very very long. Versailles is worth going to on a weekend if you plan on seeing the fountains running. The fountains really make the gardens come alive. The gardens are not nearly as crowded as the chateau.

Check out my trip report. We planned the Louvre on a Friday evening when they were open late.

If I am not mistaken you are also spending four days in London, correct?
europeannovice is offline  
Apr 10th, 2011, 03:22 PM
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The cost of the places we want to go compared to the museum pass it seems to be cheaper, but I am still looking into it. We though we could buy our tickets online to avoid the line, I am still looking into if that works. We are staying by the Louvre so we plan to go there many times.
At Versailles we more want to see the chateau and Marie's little house rather then the gardens.
We don't know when or if we will ever be able to go back so we want to make the best of our time.
Dkd11 is offline  
Apr 10th, 2011, 03:36 PM
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cybertraveler is offline  
Apr 10th, 2011, 04:18 PM
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Dkd 11,
A couple of things . . .first of all, I can not agree with denisea that the RER to Versailles is easy. At least, the last time I did it you had to know which RER C was going to the correct one of two or three Versailles stops. You can ask in the metro station but language could be an issue as well. If this sounds daunting, you may want to consider that tour. About the catacombs, they are quite near the Denfert-Rochereau metro stop (the 4 metro line or RER B) and on the back side (coming from the station) of an island in the middle of the street. They are not at all well marked and only interesting if you like intricately stacked piles of femur bones punctuated artistically with skulls or if you want a look at the only(non-sewer) part of the Paris underground open to the public (cf: interesting article in this or last month's National Geographic about what's under Paris). Also, the person who commented about the Pantheon not being right near the Jardin de Luxembourg is incorrect; they are across the Blvd. St. Michel from one another although the Pantheon is set back from the road a ways. I agree with whoever commented that you might like to see St. Chappelle which can be found by entering the Palais de Justice a few streets west of Notre Dame. Early in your trip, you may want to check out the collection of inexpensive eateries found near the river off of the Blvd. St Michel (Rue de la Harpe etc.)- you can certainly find a creperie there as well as many other cheap restaurants- I will not, however, vouch for their universal quality. I might suggest as a first day Notre Dame, St. Chappelle, cross the river at Place St. Michel, and go to the Jardin de Luxembourg and maybe the Pantheon or maybe take the RER C down to Les Invalides, hitting this "food court" area off of the Blvd. whenever it worked in your schedule. Second day, I would start at the Louvre,walk the Champs d'Elysees and work my way up to the Arc de Triomphe, take the metro toward the Eiffel Tower(the right one gives you a great pre-view) get some dinner and go up for sunset, and then walk to the nearby docks for the bateaux mouches (I think the Bateaux Parisiennes are okay) for a river cruise. Then you can add some of the more outlying sites like Sacre Coeur and Musee D'Orsay as you see fit around whatever you decide to do with Versailles. Bon Voyage et Bonne Chance.
petet27 is offline  
Apr 10th, 2011, 04:25 PM
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With only 4 days I would not go to Versailles
Gretchen is online now  
Apr 10th, 2011, 04:25 PM
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The D'Orsay is an outlying site??
CarolJean is offline  

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