Please Advise on my Itinerary

Old Mar 18th, 2023, 01:24 PM
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Please Advise on my Itinerary

First time trip to France. My husband and I will be spending 5 nights in Paris as part of an 18 night trip to France. Please give us your thoughts and advice regarding the Paris leg of our trip. Would appreciate comments about the order of things and anything we are missing that should be included or revised. Would love any advice for restaurants as well. Please note we are there over Bastille Day. Thanks for your help,.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023 - Paris
8:10 am Arrival into Paris
Hotel Caron - Drop off Luggage
11ish - Take Train to Versaille
Versaille - ½ Day Trip
Lunch at Versaille
5ish Check into Hotel
Dinner
Seine River Night Sightseeing Cruise

Thursday, July 13, 2023 - Paris
Hop on Hop off Tour of City - Stay on for the loop
Explore Left Bank
Walking tour of St Germaine - St Germaine
Luxemburg Gardens, Les Deux Magots and Cafe de Flore, Église Saint-Sulpice
Lunch in St. Germaine
Museum D’Orssey - (book tickets in advance)
Rue Cler - Market Street
7:30 pm - Ballet at Le Palais Garnier
Late Dinner

Friday, July 14, 2023 - Paris - Bastille Day!
Explore Right Bank
Saint Chappelle (Book first tour)
Notre Dame
Louvre
Walk Champs Elyse Jardin du Palais Royal, Tuileries Gardens
Arc de Triomphe
Picnic and Fireworks at Eiffel Tower (11:00 pm)

Saturday, July 15, 2023 - Paris
Day trip to Normandy - Best Tours - Lucca

Sunday, July 16, 2023 - Paris
Sacre Coeur
Walking tour of Montmartre - Walk Montmartre
Place St. Pierre, Eglise St. Pierre Montmartre
Walking tour of LeMarais - walking tour of Marais
Jewish Quarter, Place des Vosges Place de la Bastille, Marché des Enfants Rouges - Food Market
Canal St Martin - Walk Loop around the Canal
Dinner
9:00 pm Moulin Rouge - Shows at 9pm and 11pm with and without Dinner
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 01:43 PM
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I would be able to do about half of what you're contemplating most days.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 01:46 PM
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hi Luna, nice to see you here with your first post, though I see that you've been a member since 2018. You have been very restrained. So I hope that you won't be too disappointed with your first reply!

When I first read your post I immediately thought that the first day was a bit ambitious and having read it again, I still do. If as I infer you are flying into Paris from the US, to schedule a visit to Versailles on the same day is tempting fate. Flights get delayed, transport systems break down or go on strike, and jet lag also has to be taken into account. I would therefore suggest doing things that you don't need to book on your first day - the HOHP bus, a walk around St Germain, lunch in a nice bistro that takes your fancy, but don't reckon on staying awake for the night time cruise down the Seine.

Thursday you have quite a lot already, probably enough to fill the day but if not you might like to add in the Pantheon which is in the same area.

Friday ditto - and you might like to think about adding in the night time trip on the Seine for this day.

Saturday - no comment.

Sunday - you are being terribly ambitious again. I would identify which of those areas is most important to you and put that first. Anything else you manage to do will be a bonus.

Hope you have a wonderful trip. The great thing about Paris is that it will be there when you want to go back - which you will - when you can do some of the things you missed first time round.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 02:09 PM
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Thank you for your comments! I will put the Pantheon on our list. Yes, I understand that it will be busy and although a lot is listed, we will do things at our own pace and adjust as necessary. I am rethinking our intention to do Versaille on arrival in case there are any delays. We have done other European overnight flightsand usually we are filled with adrenaline and excitement of being at our destination that we can charge through the jet lag and have an early night. The River Cruise is only an hour and if we are too tired, we will just do it another night. It seems like a lot of this itinerary is strolling around, browsing, eating and shopping. Aside from the 2 museums, St. Chappelle, Moulon Rouge and the Ballet, we won’t have to prebook, Am I missing anything?
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 12:19 PM
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I don't think you're missing anything at all, in fact it's quite a lot busier than I like to be, but that's just different styles of travel. Please don't underestimate the time it takes to get from one place to another, nor how much fun it is just to stroll around an area in which you find yourselves and explore. Stop at a nice cafe, or bar, or pop into a shop - there are simply loads of different things to see in Paris and you will not run out of things to do.

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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 02:54 PM
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Oh dear I had assumed you were arriving by train what with the day trip to Versailles. But after an over night flight?? -- just no

On Thursday -- if you eliminate the H-o-H-o bus tour you might be able to fit in the rest.

Fri is extremely busy and stretches over almost the entire width of central Paris. Just too much and too far.

Sun: Again you are jumping all over the place from one side of Paris to another and back again.

If you eliminate Versailles, eliminate the H-o-H-o bus, and re-group things more geographically, you could fit many if not all of your list.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 03:22 PM
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The river cruise on arrival day is a good idea. Sit on the top deck outside and the breezes will keep you awake! You will get a good feeling for the major monuments and museums of Paris that line the Seine as you sail by them.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 04:28 PM
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You will need at least double the time to do everything you have there and even then you would need to go through them at a hectic pace. I would get rid of Versaille and Normandy which would make it more doable.

Versailles is a full day thing if you want to enjoy it. 2 hours on transit, 3 or more hours in the palace and you can easily spend another 3 hours in the garden which is my favourite part (been twice with diff people). I have never been to Normandy so I can't comment.

What you need to do is group up the itenary by location and calculate how long it takes to get from one spot to another and remove that from your day which gives you the time you will spend enjoying the sites. It takes a lot longer than you think.

Once you have grouped your targets, you should prioritize what to visit each day so that you at least visit your top targets. I tend to leave 20% or so of my vacation time blank so that I fill it with things I don't get to within my schedule or take breaks or just walk around. Going frantically from one place to another sometimes takes the fun out of things and so random walking breaks can be a lot of fun.

Ditch the Hop On bus and go for Bateau Bus. Wonderfully enjoyable way to get around the main sites for a good price. Look at getting 2 or 3 day ticket. This would also serve as your river cruise. I use it every visit and never gets old. Stay in a central location even if a bit more pricy. You want to maximize your time seeing things and not traveling to things.

Try to space out days that require more walking or effort so you don't burn yourself. Make sure you always buy tickets ahead of time that allow you to skip the line ups to buy them there. That alone would probably save you ~4 or more hours.

Day 1 (not necessarily first day) - the top attractions
Morning:
Louvre - been there 4 or 5 times and spend half day each time. You can easily spend the entire day. I would do this in the morning and then have lunch at Tuileries Gardens . No need for Jardin Palais Royal or pick that instead.

Evening:
Saint Chappelle and Notre Damme is probably another 3 hours total. Not sure how it is after the burning but I think exterior of Notre Dam is much more impressive than interior. Saint Chappelle has a more beautiful interior. If you have time before dinner, walk around.

One thing I wanted to say is the Louvre grounds are beautiful at night. Consider taking your dinner and having it there. A couple sandwiches with a bottle of wine makes for a great relaxing night.

Day 2 - Champs Elysees and around
Morning:
Eifel Tower: if you want to climb it is probably half a day. I have done it a couple times (with diff people); to me not worth it but people seem to love it. If you don't care about climbing you can leave it for a dinner spot like your original planned. If so, you can do this the day you get there.

Evening:
Champs Elysee - I like to walk from Place de La Concord but may be too much for most people

Arc de Triumph - enjoyed the view from the top as the sun was setting but you can skip it. Lots of nice restaurants around this area for dinner

Day 3: (Left Side)

Morning
Muse d'Orse (my favourite museum) - 2 to 3 hours.
Get lunch and take it to Luxumber garden or have it at one of the nearby wonderful restaurants.

Walk Saint Germain, Latin quarter and the streets you wanted

Day 4: most expendable day. I would leave this last in case you can't make it. Assuming this is not your top attractions as they are not mine lol

Morning
Le Marais, Jewish Quarter and Marche des Enfants Rouge (been to Paris 6 or 7 times and not been to this Marche)

Evening
Montmarte and Moulin Rouge (never been to Rouge either). You should do this together as they are close.
Montmarte and Sacre Ceaur are nice but nowhere near the other attractions IMO. Only been this side once though I probably will give it a second try on my next trip.

Last edited by Travel_To_Eat; Mar 19th, 2023 at 04:31 PM.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 05:15 PM
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Thank you so much for taking the time to revise this. I will definitely be looking into it and taking some of your suggestions. Just so you know, we are not planning to spend more than a few minutes inside the cathedrals and churches. I want to see the stained glass at Saint Chappelle and I thought Notre Dam was still closed to visitors???? We are not interested in going up the Eiffel Tower and I don’t think I can handle all those steps in the Arc du Triomph... ( do they have an elevator, I thought I read it’s about 300 steps). Also, I do not see us spending 3 hours in the garden at Versaille, what is there to do there for 3 hours??? We are staying in Le Marais, although we can change that if there is a better location you would recommend.

I am thinking of moving the Louvre to Bastille Day in the late afternoon early evening as I read that they are open late on that day and that it is usually not as crowded. Do you have any thoughts on this? Love the idea of having dinner on the grounds. Again, thank you for your help.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr
The river cruise on arrival day is a good idea. Sit on the top deck outside and the breezes will keep you awake! You will get a good feeling for the major monuments and museums of Paris that line the Seine as you sail by them.
Thank you, that was my thought.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 05:31 PM
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Just quick -- "Just so you know, we are not planning to spend more than a few minutes inside the cathedrals and churches. I want to see the stained glass at Saint Chappelle "

Even so (and I'll bet you end up staying longer than a 'few minutes'). But even if that were the case -- one doesn't merely walk in, look around, and walk out. There is a queue, security screening (security alone can take 30 minutes), walk through the Palace of Justice complex and back out. So your few minutes in Sainte-Chappelle will likely take about an hour. 45 minutes absolute minimum.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 05:42 PM
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Maybe she could make all those stops if she jogged between each....at maybe a 6 minute mile rate.

Might be cheaper to just google videos of all those tourist spots

yes, there's an elevator at Arc de Triumphe, but as I recall it holds about 6 people, and there's competition for it. Too, if one is from Flat River, Kansas, and never been up in a skyscraper, you might like it. If you're from Chicago or NYC, it's just another "high spot overlooking rooftops"
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by luna2018
Thank you so much for taking the time to revise this. I will definitely be looking into it and taking some of your suggestions. Just so you know, we are not planning to spend more than a few minutes inside the cathedrals and churches. I want to see the stained glass at Saint Chappelle and I thought Notre Dam was still closed to visitors???? We are not interested in going up the Eiffel Tower and I don’t think I can handle all those steps in the Arc du Triomph... ( do they have an elevator, I thought I read it’s about 300 steps). Also, I do not see us spending 3 hours in the garden at Versaille, what is there to do there for 3 hours??? We are staying in Le Marais, although we can change that if there is a better location you would recommend.

I am thinking of moving the Louvre to Bastille Day in the late afternoon early evening as I read that they are open late on that day and that it is usually not as crowded. Do you have any thoughts on this? Love the idea of having dinner on the grounds. Again, thank you for your help.
Forgot you can't go into Notre Dame but still a couple hours for walking around and visiting Saint Chappelle (prob 1 hour just for this as post above mentioned) . You would be surprised how much time it takes.

The Versaille garden is probably the most impressive one you will ever see and it is massive which takes hours just to walk. It should take at least a couple hours including lunch. I have spent 3 hours each time and I am sure there are who spend 4 or 5.

Did not know you could not go up the Arc. Maybe check if you qualify for the elevator. Sacre Coeur not as fun if not going up to the top either.

Le Marais is a popular neighborhood just make sure within walking distance to a metro station. I personally prefer the left side (6th especially) as closer to the river and nicer neighborhoods IMO.

I can't speak to Louvre on Bastille but going in the evening when they open late is a good idea but you won't get to see garden during the day. We normally go early in the morning and it is less crowded than mid day and I imagine same late in the day. We also use one of the side entrances which have smaller lines if any.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by tomboy
Maybe she could make all those stops if she jogged between each....at maybe a 6 minute mile rate.

Might be cheaper to just google videos of all those tourist spots

yes, there's an elevator at Arc de Triumphe, but as I recall it holds about 6 people, and there's competition for it. Too, if one is from Flat River, Kansas, and never been up in a skyscraper, you might like it. If you're from Chicago or NYC, it's just another "high spot overlooking rooftops"
Be nice lol! First time I visited I overplanned too not realizing how big Paris waa and how long it took to see. I left a couple days empty which helped but even still did not see everything I planned.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 08:34 PM
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It took us 2 days to visit Versailles in early/mid October 2018. First trip took us about 4-5 hrs door-to-door from the 7th, and we only visited the gardens. This was on a weekend when the fountains were in full gear. For a visit to the chateau itself, here was at least a 1 1/2 hr line to get through security, get tickets, and into the chateau. But the gardens have a separate entrance once past security.

Several days later we arrived at 9am for the Royal/Kings Apartments guided tour. We booked about 4 weeks in advance. Separate entrance, so no line. After the tour, we were already in the chateau, so we visited the rest of the interior. Shoulder-to-shoulder people. We got back to our apt around 3pm. Again - this was in early/mid October.

Cut your destination in half. We've spent on average 2 months in France every year since 1999.

Stu Dudley

Last edited by StuDudley; Mar 19th, 2023 at 08:36 PM.
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by tomboy
Maybe she could make all those stops if she jogged between each....at maybe a 6 minute mile rate.

Might be cheaper to just google videos of all those tourist spots

yes, there's an elevator at Arc de Triumphe, but as I recall it holds about 6 people, and there's competition for it. Too, if one is from Flat River, Kansas, and never been up in a skyscraper, you might like it. If you're from Chicago or NYC, it's just another "high spot overlooking rooftops"
Didn’t I mention that we are Olympic speed runners?

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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 07:37 AM
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<<Day 1 (not necessarily first day) - the top attractions
Morning:
Louvre - been there 4 or 5 times and spend half day each time. You can easily spend the entire day. I would do this in the morning and then have lunch at Tuileries Gardens . No need for Jardin Palais Royal or pick that instead.>>

Travel to Eat, this was my choice for lunch after a visit to the Orangerie at the end of May last year - I was amazed how busy the Tuileries restaurants were and we had terrible trouble getting a table; we ended up splitting up and queuing up separately for each of the restaurants with the one who got a table first texting the other! If I did it again I would pick a nearby restaurant where I could make a reservation and skip eating in the Tuileries. I know that I was stupid enough to arrive on Ascension Day when the world and his wife were in Paris along with the fans of Real Madrid and Liverpool, but the city surprisingly busy nonetheless.
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Old Mar 21st, 2023, 06:29 AM
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Thank you to all for your replies. I have rearrange and clarified a bit. I know you are all against Versaille on arrival day but I am going to leave it for now. We have decided to have a car service pick us up at the airport and take us to Versaille to save time and energy. Please take a look and see if this is more manageable...

Wednesday, July 12, 2023 - Paris
8:10 am Arrival into Paris

Car Service to drop luggage at hotel and then transfer to Versaille
Palace of Versaille will book Reservation for 2:00pm
Gardens before and after and Lunch at Versaille
6 ish Check into Hotel
Dinner near hotel in Le Marais Area - (Suggestions welcome!)

Thursday, July 13, 2023 - Paris
Explore Left Bank
Notre Dame (outside)
Saint Chappelle (Book first tour)
Concergerie (if time) / Pantheon (if time)
Lunch and strolling - Ile Saint Louis
Walk along the Seine
2ish pm - Museum D’Orssey - will (book tickets in advance)
Dinner and Walking St Germaine (suggestions welcome)
Luxemburg Gardens, Les Deux Magots and Cafe de Flore, Église Saint-Sulpice (outsides and walk throughs)
Take Cab to Sightseeing Cruise on the Seine


Friday, July 14, 2023 - Paris - Bastille Day!
Explore Right Bank
Louvre - (Book first ticket)
Lunch and walk in Tuileries Gardens
Walk Champs Elyse
Jardin du Palais Royal,
(outside)
Arc de Triomphe - (outside)
Dinner around area

Fireworks at Eiffel Tower (11:00 pm)

Saturday, July 15, 2023 - Paris
Day trip to Normandy - Best Tours - Lucca


Sunday, July 16, 2023 - Paris
Walking of LeMarais

Jewish Quarter, Place des VosgesPlace de la Bastille, Marché des Enfants Rouges - Food Market
Lunch in Le Marais
Sacre Coeur - outside only
Walking of Montmartre
Place St. Pierre, Eglise St. Pierre Montmartre (outside and walkthroughs)
Dinner (Suggestions welcome)
9:00 pm
Moulin Rouge Show


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Old Mar 21st, 2023, 06:53 AM
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Don't know what time you expect to have dinner - but most (almost all) of the 700 or so restaurants we've dined at in France don't start serving dinner till 7:30 at the earliest. And it will consume 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hrs to have dinner. Simple cafes & brasseries open earlier, however. Bofinger in/near the Marais might be a good choice - it opens at 6:30.
https://www.bofingerparis.com/en/ Ask for a table in the main dining room under the dome.

Good luck with Versailles - you'll need it!!!!!

Stu Dudley

Last edited by StuDudley; Mar 21st, 2023 at 07:00 AM.
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Old Mar 21st, 2023, 07:24 AM
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Thank you Stu. This looks like a wonderful restaurant and it’s only a 6 minute walk from our hotel! Appreciate your help.
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