Questions - 1st Time to Paris

Jan 25th, 2010, 05:53 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 52
Questions - 1st Time to Paris

Hi - I am planning a trip in late June/early July 2010.Have purchased my Fodors guidebook & checked out NS Delta Flights already and am researching hotels, but have some questions. In your opinion in which arrondissemment should a first timer stay in paris? We will be staying 11 days. I would also like to visit Provence - what about a home base in Provence? Also, hubby would like to see Versailles & Normandy. Is this realistic in 11 days (really 9 days) not including travel. We like visiting museums, churches, husband is interested in history, we're both foodies and love to soak up the culture of the cities in which we are in. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
kaybee is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 05:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 34
You can do both Paris and Provence in 11 days. In Paris, base yourself in a central arrondissement like the 7th, 8th, 4th, 5th, or 6th. That will make it easier for you to get around. My favorite place to stay is the 4th.

For Provence, I suggest you base yourself in Nice. It's a bigger city, but very easy to do day trips by train and bus to other places along the coast (make sure to visit Antibes, Monaco, Eze, and St Paul de Vence).

For Versailles, it's really easy to get there by train from Paris (RER local trains go there from central Paris: Normandy is a bit further afield, but can be done as a short trip as well.
amazingview is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 06:04 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
That's not a lot of time. You could land at CDG and take the TGV train to Provence, spend time there, then finish in Paris.

If you allow, say 4 days in Provence and 5 in Paris, not sure you would have the 2 days neede for Normanday. Versailles could also be one a minimum a 1/2 day.

For a first time visit, the 4,5,and 6th Arr. I think would be best. This gives you access to lots of restos, and walking distance to some sites.

You will not be able to see all of Paris in 5 days. You could consider a Paris Walks tour to get a bit more in depth and often non-guidebook sites.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 06:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 46,968
No, I would not do Paris, Normandy, Provence, and Versailles with 11 days. I would do Paris and Normandy or Paris and Provence. You have limited time and should "settle" in in a couple of places. Even so, your time will be limited. I'd pick the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th arrondissements for a first-time visit, though there is lots to be said for others as well, and Paris is an easy city to get around in.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 08:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 256
Paris and Provence makes a wonderful trip! I have done it in about 10 days. 5 Days in Paris ( staying in the 4th) and then hopped the TGV to Avignon and based myself there. It is easy to visit Arles, Pont du Gard and many other towns and sights nearby from Avignon. On the return you can take the TGV directly to CDG from Avignon if you like. In 9 days you might want 5 days in Paris ( incuding one day to se Versaille) and 4 days for Provence. If you choose to rent a car in Provence, you can base yourself in a smaller town, since you won't be dependent on public transportation. I have done both train and car and there are pros and cons to both. However, I really enjoyed exploring Provence and a car allows you much more freedom to explore.
genio67 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 08:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,672
I think you plan too much for 11 days. We have done Paris and Provence in 12 days and had not nearly enough time for either. Of course, you will return as have we, to see both at your leisure. We have done Paris and Normandy in 10 days. But doing Paris, Normandy, Provence and Versailles is too much as they are all in different directions from Paris.

If you decide to go to Provence without a car, I suggest basing in either Avignon or St. Remy unless you want to focus on the Riviera rather than other parts of Provence. But Provence is best seen with a car. Work with a map of Provence to see what parts you want to visit. You are going at a lovely time of the year to see the beautiful lavendar of Provence. Enjoy planning and have a lovely trip.
mamcalice is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 09:01 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,228
With nine days to sightsee I would
1) stay in Paris the entire time and take a day trip to both Versailles and Giverny
2) spend 6 days in Paris (including one day trip to Versailles) and spend 3 days in Normandy (based in Bayeux, taking the one or two day tour of the WWII sites).

Remember that you essentially lose a day of sightseeing to travel there and back. You can take public transport to Bayeux and don't need a car if you do the battlebus tour. Check out all the great reviews of battlebus via tripadvisor.

I would only go to Provence if I had a full week to dedicate to the area. There is so much to do and I wouldn't want to have to pick from just a couple of the following places which each need at least a full day or more- Avignon, Arles, St. Remy and nearby St. Paul Mausole where Van Gogh stayed and painted, Isle sur la Sorgue and the famous Sunday market, Les Baux, and the Luberon Hilltowns of Roussillon, Lourmarin, Gordes (and the Abbaye de Senanque)and Bonnieux. That is just scratching the surface. Save this area for a trip when you can devote more time there.
Ann Marie
amwosu is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 09:02 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,677
You can do Paris and one other place in that amount of time. Provence actually includes the cote d'Azure, which is the coastal area. You don't have time in 4 days to see both the inland areas of Provence (Avignon, Aix, Arles, many wonderful small towns) as well as the cote d'Azure (Nice, etc). So you'd need to pick which one most appeals to you. In July it will be crowded on the coast especially. Probably easiest is to take the TGV from Paris to Avignon and base there and rent a car and do day trips to some of small towns. But Avignon has a major festival in July so be aware of that (booked up hotel rooms months in advance and more crowds). Alternately you could pick a different base in Provence such as Arles. If you'd really prefer the coast then I'd pick Nice as your base as it is a larger city (but with small old town) with better transportation connections. You can visit several places from Nice by train or bus and wouldn't need to rent a car.

I would definitely say 5 days for Paris. I prefer the 4th, 5th, or 6th.
isabel is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 10:15 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,228
Here is a recent trip report from Normandy (and Paris as well) that may inspire some ideas on what to see there if you chose to go that direction.
amwosu is offline  
Jan 26th, 2010, 08:14 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 52
Hi All - thanks for your replies. Will looking into hotels in 4/5/or 6 arronidissements. Have decided to do Paris for 5 days and Provence for 4. Will research and decide whether to visit coast or inland areas in Provence. Amwosu: what a great trip report and stunning pictures. Will save Normandy for a future trip. Once again, thanks for your help!
kaybee is offline  
Jan 26th, 2010, 11:14 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,228
Here is a left bank hotel thread that includes recs for hotels in the 5th and 6th.

Here is the right bank hotel thread that includes the 4th.

Decide if you want to be jetlagged for the first couple of days in Paris or in Provence. Paris is open nearly 24/7 so when I visited Provence and Paris a couple years ago I hopped the TGV directly to Avignon and started my trip there. By the time I traveled to Paris I was able to stay out late and get up early.

You can get great Prems fares on the TGV if you use the SNCF site and book 3 months out. Here is a link that will talk you through it but feel free to post questions on fodors if you run into problems because there are alot of folks that will be happy to help you.

I find it easy to stay in bigger towns (Avignon, Arles) without a car and use public transport to visit nearby towns. If you decide to rent a car to maximize your ability to see the area quickly (definitely necessary to hit the Luberon hilltowns) you might choose to stay in a small town like St. Remy where parking isn't at such a premium. Parking a car in a larger city is sometimes a hassle and adds to your expense.

You might also consider staying in Avignon four days but only renting a car for the last two days. That way you can see Avignon by foot, Arles by train, then smaller towns with a car. Since you are staying in the big city of Paris for part of your trip you might chose to stay in a sleepy little town for your Provence segment. So many fun options.
Ann Marie
amwosu is offline  
Jan 26th, 2010, 05:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 103
I think you've made a good choice. My own preference would be inland Provence and Avignon/Arles is a good base. If you want to stay in or venture through the countryside you'll need a car, which is available at or near train stations. That's a busy time of year so you should reserve a car in advance.

Vaison la Romaine is another mid-size option, with lots of Roman ruins, cafes etc. in town and its near Mont Ventoux.
Eurocentric is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Mar 23rd, 2019 09:35 AM
Jan 22nd, 2007 03:32 PM
Aug 4th, 2003 04:05 PM
Oct 29th, 2002 03:22 AM
Aug 3rd, 2002 04:32 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:44 PM.