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Solo Paris 4 Days in April Post River Cruise: questions, help please

Solo Paris 4 Days in April Post River Cruise: questions, help please

Jan 25th, 2014, 06:06 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 34
Solo Paris 4 Days in April Post River Cruise: questions, help please

I am taking my dream trip. After Uniworld's 8 day Paris and Normandy river cruise (which I chose because the March 30 departure has no single supplement , I will be in Paris for 4 days. I will have seen Versailles, and on the last day of the cruise while docked in Paris, have the chance to take a walking tour of the Ile de Cite, Latin quarter and maybe a guided tour of the Musee D'Orsay. Here is where I need help.

As I need to get from the ship to my hotel, the Best Western Victor Hugo, on my own, and am averse to lugging a bag thru the Metro, are cabs available at the Seine docks, and how pricey can I expect this to be?

Should I buy a museum pass? I really would like to avoid the out of country shipping charges and wonder where I can buy one in Paris without difficulty. The places I really want to see are of course the Rodin Museum (I can see it on Sunday, the first day I am in Paris for free, I think), of course the Louvre, The Conciergerie, St Chappelle. I am not into modern art, but love history and the impressionists. Not sure what else I want to see, but would like to be free to be spontaneous. Then again, will I get the best use out of the pass in the short time I am there? What is not on my list that should be?

I've heard it is cheaper to by Metro tickets or a pass when I get to Paris. Is that true, and where do I get these?

Our cruise will miss Giverny, as it will be closed, but I wonder if it will be open by the time I get back to Paris April 6. If I wanted to take a day trip out of Paris, is Fontainebleu worth the effort or should I see Giverny instead if I can? Or something else in the suburbs?

Should I take another walking tour, and which one is recommended? What about Paris Greeters/

What is open on Tuesdays? Seems all the museums are closed, and I am not a big shopper.

Where can I buy a beautiful scarf to remember my journey without selling my soul?

Is the climb up Montmarte worth it? Is the museum at the top of the Arc worth the entry?

I would love to take an evening Seine cruise, but a little worried about being out on my own in the evening. Any suggestions?

I love to walk, don't mind cool weather and have travelled solo before to London and Rome so am okay with figuring out the METRO etc. Just know that I will likely never afford to return to Paris, so want to make the most out of it. I am 58, so need to pace myself a bit too.

Oh, and last question. I will need to be at CDG at the latest at 8:00 am on the Thursday of my departure. Combining reliability, cost and reduced hassle, what is my best option to transfer to the airport?

Thank you so much for all your patience and help!
bex1956 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 07:15 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
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"I've heard it is cheaper to by Metro tickets or a pass when I get to Paris. Is that true, and where do I get these?"
YES, wait until you are in Paris. There are day passes for the metro. You can buy in the metro station.

"I would love to take an evening Seine cruise, but a little worried about being out on my own in the evening. Any suggestions"
Don't be worried, I have done several times (solo) I recommend Vedettes du pont neuf. You can buy an internet priced ticket in advance for this.

"Our cruise will miss Giverny, as it will be closed, but I wonder if it will be open by the time I get back to Paris April 6"
Bus and minibus day trips from Paris to Giverny are operating from April 1st through October 31st (From the Giverny website)

I will be there later in April myself
hpeabody is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 07:19 AM
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Oh, and getting to CDG. I have used Paris Shuttle, shared ride without any big issues. Last time he was a little late, but I was the only passenger, so no real delay in getting to CDG. That is likely what I will do on my upcoming trip
hpeabody is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 07:45 AM
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We've used G7 taxi service to CDG many times. Efficient and always on time if not early. Yes, a shared shuttle is cheaper but several times we found them to be late causing much stress when you have a flight to catch.

Scarf? Diwalii on Ile St. Louis and many other location. Prices from low to really high. Stores all over Paris and really good buys.

One of my favorite museums is The Carnavalet near Place Vosges in The Marais. Open Tue. it's small, easy to navaigate and has a charming garden and building. Have a coffee or lunch at one of the cafes in Place Vosges.

Another thing that might interst you is tour of The Opera Garnier. We found it absolutely amazing.

Lucky you---a lovely river cruise and then Paris. I do hope I've helped a bit.
TPAYT is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 07:57 AM
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I love a Parisian cemetery for a good wander.

Pere Lachaise, Montmartre. Montparnasse.

Not just the grave sites of the famous. Moving monuments to those who've died during the wars, including those in the Holocaust, as well as the touching burial grounds of common citizens.
wanderful is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 08:05 AM
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I buy metro tickets by the "carnet" which is a pack of ten tickets at a slight savings over single ticket purchases. Carnets can be purchased at Metro stations ("Une carnet s’il vous plait") from a ticket booth or vending machine. I buy from a real live person at a ticket office as I don't read/speak French and suck at buying them from vending machines with other people waiting for me to finish. The vending machines require cash or credit/debit cards with an embedded chip which US credit cards don't have. The smaller stations only have vending machines, no ticket office. Tabacs (little shops selling tobacco products, newspapers, etc) with the RATP logo also sell tickets by the carnet.

I think a Fat Tire Bike tour on the first day in Paris is a fun way to get an idea of the layout of the 1-8 arrondisements. No need for a reservation, just go to the meeting point near the Eiffel Tower. http://paris.fattirebiketours.com/

I buy a two day museum pass and visit as many of the museums as possible during that time after which I spend my time visiting neighborhoods and city and private museums not on the pass. In addition to saving money, the pass saves time by allowing entrance (to some attractions) via a separate line than those who have to purchase tickets.

I like to buy the museum pass at the Cluny (no long line to get in) which is a lovely little Medieval museum close to Jardin du Luxembourg (which is my favorite first day place to walk and people watch).

If you like the Impressionsists, you need to visit both Musee D'Orsay and L'Orangerie. I don't know what kind of lines there are in late March but in the summer and fall months I've saved a good bit of time at both L'Orangerie and D'Orsay by having the museum pass.

You mentioned the Arc de Triomphe, it's also on the museum pass. I've never been up it but I've heard its a lovely view.

Sunday is a great day to visit Notre Dame and hear mass while you walk through the cathedral. Be sure to visit the nearby bird market at Place Louis Lepine (flower market every other day of the week) for a truly wonderful photo opportunity. The birds, the customers (and their dogs) and the stands where the markets are held are all photo worthy subjects. http://onlinetravelfrance.blogspot.c...-in-paris.html Then head the the Marais on the right bank which is bustling on Sundays. Perhaps go to the top of the Centre Pompidou (free first Sundays) just for the great views of Paris.

Ann Marie
amwosu is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 08:17 AM
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I would like to visit the Paris pet cemetery next visit. http://europeforvisitors.com/paris/a...g-cemetery.htm
Judy is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 08:23 AM
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Do not buy anything online before you go.
You have only 4 days. Get a guide book and make a list of what you want to see. One good feature of the DK Eyewitness Guide to Paris is that it shows sites in an area so you can maximize your visit to a particular area--for instance, Notre Dame, Ile de St. Louis, and Ste. Chapelle are relatively close. And lunch at the Brasserie en l'ile de St. Louis (just across the bridge in back of Notre Dame) would be a good part of a plan for that part of Paris.
I would not plan to go up in the Eiffel Tower, but you could buy a sandwich on rue Cler and eat it on the Champs de Mars looking at the Tower.
I would take a Seine boat ride at dusk to see the lights of Paris come up, although that might be a part of your cruise.
As for getting to CDG, I would get your hotel to call you a taxi and take all the drama out of it!! When the taxi arrives from the stand it will have some time on the meter so don't think you are being cheated--but DO be ready at the curb when it is due.
For a view of Paris rooftops with no wait go to the roof of Galeries Lafayette.
Ride a bus up the champs Elysee for a view of the Arc and walk around to see it. Don't go up--not enough time.
You don't have enough time to go to Giverney from Paris--your time is just too short.
For a real taste of old Paris, go to Le Train Bleu at the Gare de Lyon and have a glass of wine in the lounge just before lunch and enjoy watching the Parisians arrive for lunch in that beautiful room.
Do not miss the Musee d'Orsay for its stunning architecture from the old Gare it was, and for its collections.
If you go to the Louvre, get a Michelin Green Guide and choose what you will see--a wing, the Mona Lisa, etc.
I too love the Carnavalet and it is free. It is interesting also in that it is the history of Paris in art. I particularly like the floor with the French Revolution.
Gretchen is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 08:35 AM
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This advice is amazing. Thank you all soooo much.

Noone mentioned Fontainebleu. I have been toying with the idea of visiting it on my last day if I am tired of the city hustle and bustle and want another palace in my dreams, but wondering if it is worth the day trip?
bex1956 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 08:55 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Don't do it. There is sooooooo much to see in Paris that it would be a shame to spend part of your very limited time on transportation going elsewhere. I've been to Paris for 14 days, 10 days, 7 days and have run like crazy to fit in as much as possible without ever leaving.

Want to see fabulous over the top interiors? Visit Napoleon's Royal Apartments while you're at the Louvre. http://ritournelleblog.com/2010/12/1...ii-apartments/

Want to see an incredible recreation of an 18th century house complete with amazing interiors and decorative arts? Visit Musee Nissim de Camondo. A Jewish banker built the home in the 19th century but in the style of the 18th century. He purchased architectural items (including wood paneling that required he build a circular room to accommodate the panels) and furniture at auctions to complete the home. There is an audio guide to go with the tour. Well worth a visit then stroll through the lovely nearby Parc Monceau. There is a very sad family history that goes with the home, his son died in WWI and his daughter's family died during WWII in Auschwitz. The father donated the home so that it is faithfully preserved. And, its also on the museum pass.
Ann Marie
amwosu is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 09:10 AM
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If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, escape to the heart of the city, Ile Saint Louis, the island just east of the Ile de la Cite (where Saint-Chapelle and Notre Dame are located). It was laid out in the 1600s with only a couple of narrow one way streets and has retained it's original charm. http://gofrance.about.com/od/paris/a/ilesaintlouis.htm

Wander the vast grounds then sit and people watch at Jardin du Luxembourg. http://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum...-du-Luxembourg Then stroll down the cute little rue Vavin off the southwest corner of the garden.

Visit the Musee Jacquemart Andree (a well-preserved 19th C mansion donated by the original owner to become a museum) then enjoy a leisurely lunch or tea at the beautiful onsite café. http://www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com/en/home
Ann Marie
amwosu is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 11:42 AM
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I'm convinced! So much to do, so little time. I will have to use my time wisely. Thank you everyone
bex1956 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 11:59 AM
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Stay in Paris for the 4 days. You will have seen much outside Paris on your cruise. You note that most museums are closed on Tuesday. In fact, many are closed on Monday so there should be museums open on Tuesday. Get a good guidebook and check opening days.
mamcalice is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 12:15 PM
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National museums are closed _______
Paris museums are closed________
Orsay is Paris. Louvre is national
You will have NO time for anything outside of Paris!!
BUT don't forget to sit at a café or somewhere, have a glass of wine, and just enjoy the passersby.
Gretchen is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 12:22 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Check out Paris Greeters if you want a little companionship with a local and a tour for FREE (donation to organization, not to greeter if so inclined). I've never done it but intend to next time as it gets rave reviews. More likely than not, you'll go off the beaten path with a local.

Official Website: http://www.parisgreeters.fr/?lang=en

Tripadvisor Reviews: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio...de_France.html

Fodor Reviews: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...volunteers.cfm
Ann Marie
amwosu is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 12:44 PM
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Nice thing about Paris - lots of benches! It's easy to pace yourself.

On Montmartre I say YES! But not just the Place du Teatre. My recommendation is take the 80 bus to Caulaincourt Lamark. Then switch to the Montmartrobus. It will take you through the most charming windy cobble streets.
Belinda is online now  
Jan 25th, 2014, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,755
You can't buy metro tickets online ahead of time, anyway, the only thing you can buy is the Paris Visite tourist pass, which is too expensive for what you need. YOu can't buy public transportation tickets to the Paris metro online from some private company, only the tourist passes.

Not sure if anyone answered about your taxi from the docks. I imagine taxis will be where cruise ships dock, they are at most typical places where transportation ends. As for how much this would cost, you'll have to say where it is as I don't really know, but I think I've heard some cruise ships dock down near parc Andre Citroen near Javel RER stop. If so, that isn't terribly far from Victor Hugo metro in the 16th, which is the closest metro to that hotel (about 2 long blocks). The fare should be 10-15 euro, I imagine. COuld be a bit more if it is nighttime or Sunday, or really bad traffic.

I really liked Fontainebleau, actually, probably more than Versailles. Don't think I"d do it on a four day trip, but it depends--I usually don't do day trips on the last day of my stay, that's too hectic for me, though.
Christina is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 02:13 PM
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When you visit Musee Rodin, you can buy a ticket for entrance only to the gardens; it was 1€ last year. That is where the marvelous sculptures are located.
You don't want to waste a precious day on a day trip out of the city ; there is so much to enjoy in Paris.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 02:24 PM
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There is a nice little self-service cafe in the Rodin gardens....great for lunch or a glass of wine.
Judy is offline  
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