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Kathie Apr 26th, 2014 03:25 PM

Ten days in Paris in May
We are headed to Paris soon. Consider this a first trip as I haven’t been to Paris in a couple of decades and Cheryl has never been.

We will be staying at the Marriott Champs Elysees for 10 nights (free stay), and will spend our last night at the Marriott at the airport before an early departure.

Transport: Several friends have recommended using the buses rather than the metro. It obviously doesn’t make sense to buy the Navigo pass on Wednesday, but it might make sense for the next week. Or should we just use the carnet? We expect to walk a lot, as we want to explore neighborhoods. Oh, yes, we plan to ride the batobus, and may get a two-day pass. I think there is plenty along this route to keep us busy for at least a couple of days.

We plan to buy the museum pass, perhaps a four day pass Wed-Sat (we arrive early Wed morning), then (if we aren’t tired of museums) perhaps a two day pass the next week, Tues/Wed or Wed/Thurs (we fly out on Sunday).

We plan to eat in restaurants, cafes and brasseries for lunch. We have a long list of recommended restaurants, and we know about TheFork, which we will try out. For evenings, we plan to mostly have moveable feasts of wine, bread, cheese, etc.

When we were in Brussels a few years ago we set ourselves a mission to find the “best” chocolate. It was great fun trying out so many different types. In the end, Pierre Marcolini won. We plan to set that mission for this trip as well.

I’d like some garden recommendations – there are so many that sound wonderful!. We plan to visit the Rodin Museum garden, and saw someone’s recommendation for the Albert Kahn Museum and Gardens. We spent a couple of weeks in November in Japan visiting gardens. Will the Kahn gardens disappoint after this?

There is so much to do and see in Paris, I think we won’t do any day trips out of the city this trip.

I usually hang out on the Asia board, but I’ve been reading everything I can on the board about Paris. What a wonderful resource you are!

Thanks in advance for your thoughts, ideas and feedback on our plan.

RonZ Apr 26th, 2014 04:47 PM

Why anyone would recommend not using the Metro is beyond me.

For the bus system, go to any bookstore or tourist shop and buy a copy of Le Bus, which has all of the routes and correspondences. Like the Metro, every stop has a name, and there is a name at either end of each line denoting the direction of travel.

I have a circular tour of the city by city bus I can post if anyone is interested.

adrienne Apr 26th, 2014 04:49 PM

I would not buy a museum pass for your arrival day as you won't get full use out of it. Even if you arrive early in the morning, by the time you get your bags and get into Paris, check into the hotel, and unpack and freshen up it will be around noon.

Before you buy the pass, consider how many museum you'll be visiting in 4 days and if it's worthwhile for you. Will you really be seeing more than one museum a day? That's the only way it pays for itself. Are any of the museums on your list free museums or not part of the pass?

Also think about the batobus. It's a very slow way of getting around and it only runs on the river (obviously). There's 8 stops and 5 of them are very close to each other and it would probably take you less time to walk among them.

A river cruise is a much better investment. You go from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower and back. It has commentary and costs less than the batobus. You can take day or evening cruises (1 hour).

I usually take the metro since I'm so familiar with it. Buses will be slower because of traffic but you get to see sights. I think a combination of the two is best.

I use post it flags on a laminated map (Streetwise) to plan my sightseeing. That way you can easily group sights geographically and avoid spending excess time getting from one place to another. Then decide on the method of getting to your first location and walk from there to the next place.

<< For evenings, we plan to mostly have moveable feasts of wine, bread, cheese, etc. >>

Where are these moveable feasts going to be? You won't eat in restaurants in the evening?

Paris Walks has chocolate tours. I can recommend this tour company as I have taken about a dozen walking tours with them plus one bus tour (one day to Vaux).

There are gardens all over the place. Large ones and small ones tucked in all over. There's a lovely garden behind Notre Dame and the wonderful Luxembourg Gardens.

There's also a good book about Paris gardens:

Hidden gardens of Paris : a guide to the parks, squares, and woodlands of the City of Light (Susan Neunzig Cahill).

cathies Apr 26th, 2014 04:56 PM

RonZ I'd like you to post you bus tour please.

leuk2 Apr 26th, 2014 05:05 PM

We usually walk,walk, walk. But I love the metro. plan to take the RER to Versailles.

cathies Apr 26th, 2014 05:07 PM

When we are in Paris we use a mixture of buses, metro and walking which I suspect is what most people do.

thursdaysd Apr 26th, 2014 05:15 PM

Bus map:

As in London, the metro is quicker but the bus more interesting.

I thought Hopstop might have Paris by now, but for France it just has Rennes and Strasbourg - go figure. (Loved Strasbourg, but easy to get around.)

Cool you're headed for Paris, looking forward to the TR.

ziggypop Apr 26th, 2014 05:46 PM

>>I’d like some garden recommendations<<

The only recommendation I have for you is the day you visit Rodin go to the Museum of Natural History. They are close together and there is a fantastic garden area as well as many interesting buildings to explore.

Kathie Apr 26th, 2014 06:24 PM

Thanks to all of you for your comments. I'm sure that ultimately, we will use a combination of types of transport. The advantage of using the bus as several of you said, is that you can see a lot and really learn your way around by bus. For more distant places, the metro makes good sense. RonZ, I'd also like your circular tour of Paris by bus. Thanks for the link to the bus map, thursdays. We also have a couple of transport apps for our iPhones, City Mapper is the one recommended by friends who just returned from Paris.

We have a list of museums we'd like to see that is at least two trips long! The plan is to go to the ones on the museum pass on the days we have a pass activated.

I have to admit to being rather adverse to tours. We'd much rather self-guide.

Thanks for the book recommendation on the Hidden Gardens of Paris, Adrienne - that is the kind of thing I'm looking for. I know about the major gardens, but love the little hidden gems.

chutney Apr 26th, 2014 06:35 PM

We used the site constantly when we were in Paris this past December. You plug in where you are (address) and then where you want to go and it tells you what line and how long it will take, including the walk to the bus stop or the metro stop. You even plug in what time you want to get somewhere and it will tell you what time you need to leave! I would never visit Paris again without using this site. The Paris Perfect people told us about it.

StCirq Apr 26th, 2014 06:47 PM

I think the Batobus, which is essentially a slow water taxi, is way overrated as a means of public transport. You have to wait forever to board it at most stations, and I can walk between the stops faster than it goes. And it's expensive.

In addition to La Fourchette, there are Groupon discounts for Paris.

Unsolicited advice: there is a difference between "adverse" and "averse." Averse is the adjective you want to use if you mean you're not against doing something, not adverse.

thursdaysd Apr 26th, 2014 06:52 PM

"I think the Batobus, which is essentially a slow water taxi, is way overrated as a means of public transport"

If you think of it just as transport, that's no doubt true. However, I thought of it as sightseeing combined with transport, and enjoyed it. I did make sure that all that day's sights (as opposed to just enjoying the river) were close to the stops. If you're thinking of taking a cruise on the Seine anyway, which a lot of people do, then it's certainly reasonable to combine it with transport.

Kathie Apr 26th, 2014 07:14 PM

Thursdays has the right idea. We are thinking of the batobus as transport and sightseeing combined. As she says, we will plan the days sights around the stops. I have to admit that the river cruise with commentary would be irritating to me. For those of you who have been to Bangkok, think of the difference between the public water taxi and the tourist boat. I actively avoid the tourist boat.

And StCirq, you are quite right, I meant to say that I am averse to tours. I assume the "not" just slipped into your sentence, as I am against taking tours.

StCirq Apr 26th, 2014 07:23 PM

Thursdays is absolutely right,if that's what you use the Batobus for. Perfectly reasonable.

And thanks for understanding the correction, Kathie. Understood, and yes, we're none of us above correction and the "not" crept in without me wanting it to.

cathies Apr 26th, 2014 09:45 PM

We used the batobus when we had a sunny, lazy afternoon with nothing in particular planned. For that it was great. As a form of public transport, not so much.

goldwynn Apr 27th, 2014 03:47 AM

.......too bad Batobus has cancelled the 5 day pass as it was one of the best values in Paris.

santamonica Apr 27th, 2014 04:11 AM

Velib bikes are fun!

LancasterLad Apr 27th, 2014 04:41 AM

I had the pleasure of working on the Rue de Faubourg St Honore for nearly 4 years from 1996-1999. Didn't go much on the Parisians or their well-earned infamouus reputation of not cleaning up after their dogs, but we loved the place, the sights and the food and wine.

I worked along this road, one of the most chic in town...

As central Paris is relatively compact we used to enjoyed walking around the various arrondsissements at weekends.

A few unusual sight worth seeing, which will also offer a lot on the history of Paris, and how it works are...

- The Paris Sewer Museum on the Left Bank...

- The Catacombs, also on the Left Bank...

- Pere Lachaise Cemetery, and meet some famouus people

- Jardin du Luxembourg...

- The Versailles Market, especially the open air one every Sunday

And if you want to visit a lovely town just to the west of Paris then you can't beat St Germain en Laye. It's easy to reach by train, being at the end of the RER Line A.

thursdaysd Apr 27th, 2014 05:04 AM

For a day trip out of Paris I highly recommend Chartres. I did both the morning and afternoon tours of the cathedral, and liked the town enough to consider staying there on some future trip. But I'm a big fan of stained glass.

RJD Apr 27th, 2014 05:22 AM

For amazing gardens you should explore a day trip to Monet's home in Giverny. See:
It is a bit of a hassle to get there, but well worth it if you love gardens. And the house is great too.

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