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Suggestions for first day in Paris after a long flight

Suggestions for first day in Paris after a long flight

Sep 9th, 2004, 08:39 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2004
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Suggestions for first day in Paris after a long flight

I am dragging my husband to France in a few weeks so I want our first day to be as painless as possible. We will be arriving in Paris very early on a Saturday morning. We are staying in the 6th and will be in Paris for 5 days. Does anyone have suggestions for how to spend our first day given we will be extremely tired? I imagine the first thing we will want is a relaxing good meal (recs for brunch nearby). I was also thinking of a cruise on the Seine. I know we will be too tired for real sight seeing that day. Shooting for a nice dinner that night at Violon d'ingres (thanks to fodorites recs).
deb321 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 09:02 AM
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Is this your first trip to Paris? If so, I'd do the hop-on/hop-off bus tour (never done it myself so I'm not sure of the exact name of it) and get off at a couple of places that appeal to you and walk around a bit. It will help you get the lie of the land and keep you moving, which to me is important on that first day. Alterntively, you could buy a Batobus ticket if the weather is nice and hop on and off it at the major sites.
The only brunch I've ever heard about in Paris is the one at the Musée Jaquemart-André on Sundays. There may be others, but I wouldn't count on finding a real brunch. The 6th is chockablock with cafés and bistros, etc., so you won't have to go far to get a light lunch. Without knowing where exactly you're staying it's hard to recommend one "nearby."
Also, personally I would never schedule a really nice dinner on the evening of my arrival. I usually keep myself moving throughout the day and don't nap, and I'm far too tired and woozy the first night by about 7-8 pm to enjoy anything extravagant, especially since Parisians tend to dine rather late. But that's just my preference.
StCirq is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 09:06 AM
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You need to approach that first day from a different angle - choose active, though not stressful, activities. Walk and walk, and don't let yourselves relax too much, because if you do, your bodies will give in to the jet lag.

We once did the Seine cruise in the evening of our first day in Paris, and my memories of it are like a dream - we spent most of the ride trying to keep our eyes open!

Do a lot of people watching, walk along the Seine, go through the area by Les Halles, maybe do a walking tour from a guidebook. Maybe the Rodin museum would be a good first-day site, as the good stuff is outside, in the fresh air.

You may be pretty awake and lively in the morning - we don't usually start getting real tired until late afternoon. And consider whether you might be too sleepy to appreciate a real special dinner.
Lexma90 is online now  
Sep 9th, 2004, 09:15 AM
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I agree with Lex--walking, walking, walking is great. Instead of big meal (and St. Cirq is right--you aren't in "brunchville" in Paris), take little breaks at little cafes and just soak up the atmosphere. You're in Paris!

Agree, too, that making an important dinner the first night isn't giving your body the flextime it might need.

Everyone has a different way of dealing with jet lag. Some stay awake as long as possible. I need to drop...fast. Before we take our afternoon nap (be prepared not to get into your room until as late as 3), we look for a nice restaurant within a block of our hotel and make an early reservation (7:30 would be early for Paris) so that we can start orienting ourselves toward Paris time. If we physically can wake up and get to dinner, at least we don't have to spend more than five minutes in travel time. And if we can't make our reservation, we have a nice card from the restaurant to call and cancel right away.
Sep 9th, 2004, 09:15 AM
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There are places that have real brunches in Paris (hotels and others), but I think Deb just means a mid-day meal with perhaps an omelet or something like that? You can easily get omelets at cafes at lunch time. Cafe de la Mairie on the St Sulpice square would be fine for that kind of meal (which I've had there several times) as well as soaking in the local scene. It's not exactly relaxing in one sense, though -- it's very popular and sometimes you could have trouble getting a seat. A lot of the cafes around there will be like that, though. There are some more relaxing cafes I know over that general way, but more in the 7th.

HOw about one of the cafes fronting onto Luxembourg gardens on rue de Medicis? there are a couple and that might be sort of relaxing (they are off the main street) and you could walk in the park if you want.

I think the Seine cruise is okay for the afternoon, and just strolling around the Seine, bookstalls, and general area. Get metro tickets, money, etc if you want. If you do lunch at Luxembourg Gardens and walk around it, you could then walk from there down to the Seine (which isn't that far) and pass some bookstores which have some sidewalk stands. They can be good if you need to pick up maps, guidebooks, travel dictionary, etc. At the Seine, you can then walk along it to see the bookstalls and maybe visit NOtre Dame at this time which is not that stressfull and doesn't take that much time.
Christina is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 09:40 AM
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Thanks - This will be our first trip and we will be staying at the Bel-ami. We are landing at 7:30.
deb321 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 09:51 AM
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Thanks, I think you all are right, I was probably too ambitious with doing a big dinner the first night. I was looking for the omlette type restaurant, something easy on the stomach after all night flight and jet lag.
deb321 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 10:11 AM
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Your hotel is just steps from Deux magots, Flore or cafe Bonaparte, all of which would do for a light lunch/ brunch. You are practically right next to St Germaine de Pres and just about 3 blocks from the Seine. You could easily walk to Notre dame and Ile de St Louis , the Louvre, D'Orsay and just stroll around..actually it is not too fa even to walk to the Eiffel Tower. You'll findlots to amuse you right in your own neighborhood.

I would skip Violon d'Ingres and schedule that for another night when you are rested and will enjoy it more.
jody is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 10:16 AM
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I agree with the walking around suggestions. We always stay up as long as we can the first day and go to bed at 9:00pm and then get up the next morning bright eyed and bushy tailed. I wouldn't really even plan anything too much. Just follow your nose and get to know your neighborhood and the area. Maybe even have a light snack while Walking.
jay is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 11:38 AM
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we had the same problem in London - we did the hop-on/hop off bus and just didn't hop off. This way we saw all of the sites which helped us determine what we wanted to do on other days and the round trip was 3 hours so by the time we were done, the room was ready!
radiofanatic is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 11:39 AM
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Get familiar with the locale you're in-yes, do some walking but don't overdo it. Keep the same hours as you normally do but sleep a bit earlier. You may be overcome with sleep quite quickly due to time difference-at least I was.

francophile03 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 12:09 PM
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A brunch-like meal at Café Marly in the courtyard of the Louvre might be just the thing. It's an easy and interesting walk from your hotel. Ask for a table on the terrace so you can watch the activity both around the pyramid and in the café (interesting clientele) and a choice of light meals, salads, sandwiches, omelettes. Not cheap, but worth it for the ambiance IMO.
shellio is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 03:57 PM
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Like others have said, get out in the fresh air and walk. We arrived at Paris airport around 10am after a 26 hour flight from Sydney. Luckily we were staying at a friends apartment so could unpack and shower immediately on arrival but if you are staying in a hotel be prepared to have to wait several hours to get into your room.

Have a decent lunch/brunch and sometime during the day pick up a baguette sandwich that you can eat in your room when jet lag hits late in the afternoon. That way you don't have to worry about going out for a meal.

It may take 2-3 days to get over the jet lag so don't plan any special dinners out during that time. We actually found it nice to have big lunches, after a solid morning of sightseeing, and then just have light dinners.

Paris is so beautiful, and so easy to walk around, and also the metro is very efficient.
jjester is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 04:55 PM
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I fly from the west coast...I call it the flight from hell...but oh so worth it. I have trouble sleeping on the plane so I usually kind of doze here and there, drink lots of water, no booze or pills (that's just a personal choice not an indictment of others), and when I get to the hotel, leave luggage, or check in depending on what time etc, take a nice walk around the neighborhood, have a light meal sometime in the early afternoon, get to my room early, usually crashing by then, go to bed at a somewhat normal hour.maybe 9 or so, and usually that first morning am awake REALLY early. Thats ok, go out take a walk, come back, shower, get dressed, have breakfast and I'm good to go and NO jet lag. I find it works for me every time. My problem is the going home...don't know why but it wipes me out for a couple of days after I get home. I agree with the others, save your special dinner for another night, you don't want to be falling in your soup and be too tired to enjoy it. Have a great trip. I'll bet that once your husband sees Paris you will never have to "drag" him there again, he'll be planning his next trip on the flight home. Be sure to give us a report when you return. Bon voyage
crefloors is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 06:18 PM
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I've arrived about that time, too, and find that after retrieving bags, clearing customs and getting into town it is usually about 10:00 AM. The hotel may or may not have your room ready at that time, but if not you can usually leave your bags and go off to see a bit of the City. If the room is ready, avoid any temptation to nap!
Exposure to sunlight and fresh air is what re-sets your pineal gland to take care of jet lag, so by all means do some strolling. The hop-on hop-off is not a bad idea, but be sure you do actually hop off occcasionally. Our last visit was my niece's first experience with overnight flights; after stashig our bags we grabbed a coffee and pastry then took the Metro to the arc de Triomphe, walked along the Champs, did lots of window shopping, had a nice late lunch at a place we found while walking, then strolled down the Champs to the Tuileries, hopped the Metro back homeward. This seemed to work quite well. Once home we had a light dinner in the heighborhood then hit the sack about 9:00 PM, and slept through the night.
Seamus is online now  
Sep 9th, 2004, 06:25 PM
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crefloors-I fly from the West Coast also. I agree with calling it the flight from hell but at least it's not 26 hours like jjester' flight!!

deb321-I agree with everyone else about walking that first day. The hop on, hop off bus might be good but even on that I was afraid I might get sleepy. I think the Seine cruise would put you right to sleep. On my recent trip, we stayed right around the corner from the Bel Ami at Hotel St. Germain des Pres. After we arrived and dropped off our luggage at the hotel, we did go have lunch/brunch at Deaux Magots. We arrived on Sunday not Saturday but it was the weekend. We had no problem getting a table but the waiter was very surly (actually the only one in Paris that wasn't nice). I think at those cafes (Magots, Flor) they just have to present that perceived French waiter image. I actually had a good omelet which was perfect after my trip. You can then walk the area as suggested by others and try to stay up until around 9:00 pm.

A suggestion for dinner although probably not for the first night would be Relais de l'Entecote right down the block at 20 rue Saint Benoit. They have a set menu for 20 euro that includes a salad with walnuts and steak frites. They serve the steak with their wonderful sauce and bring out platters with second servings. Desert and drink are extra. The restaurant is very popular. We tried to go Sunday evening and the line was long, went back on Tuesday a little earlier and got a seat just before the crowd started. If your husband likes steak, he will enjoy this restaurant and it's a very good value.

paula1470 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 07:44 PM
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I suggest let the first day happen more naturally. No plans for siteseeing or great dinners. Agree with all the tips of walking and if sun is available, get some. Just go out and explore the neighborhood of your hotel (take a business card in case you get lost, no kidding, good tip). Sit in a park. Have wine in a sidewalk cafe and people watch. Find the corner store and buy small snacks and beverages to stock your room. Eat a simple dinner somewhere friendly and welcoming nearby (low-key Italian has been good for me). Watch French TV. Get some sleep and hope for the best the next day.

Jet lag effects everyone differently. And is not the same for me every trip. I've been wasted going over in the past. Or last month I was in great shape arriving, but coming home was a mess for a week. Go figure.

suze is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 07:50 PM
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Oh, true, ask for a calling card from your hotel! If you don't know how to speak French you can just show it to someone like the taxi driver! Learned my lesson after I didn't have a calling card and the taxi driver could not understand the way I pronounced my hotel's name! Was taking me to the Vernet instead of to the Verneuil-LOL~
francophile03 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 07:54 PM
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We like to walk in parks on our first day overseas. The Luxembourgh Gardens are a good choice; handy for your hotel.
tuscanlifeedit is online now  
Sep 9th, 2004, 07:57 PM
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I have to add 3-1/2 hours of flying from Alaska just to get to the west coast for my flight! I knew about having the hotel card for the taxi driver but it's a good tip to have it walking. I hadn't thought about the possibility of getting lost on foot.
hopingtotravel is offline  

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