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Trying to get the best out Paris in 2 and a bit days...

Trying to get the best out Paris in 2 and a bit days...

Jul 30th, 2008, 03:24 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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Trying to get the best out Paris in 2 and a bit days...

I've been posting so much lately on this forum, and here's another question!

So we now have 2 days and a bit in Paris, not long enough by a long shot I know. We can't extend it as our train tickets are non-exchangeable, non-refundable etc..

Anywho...here's the scenario:

We arrive in Paris from London on the Eurostar at about 8pm on a Wed night. Our hotel is the Hotel des Grands Hommes on place du Pantheon. We then have Thursday and Friday, and then we take the TGV to Avignon first thing Saturday morning. We're back in Paris the following Friday at about 11.30am, and our train to London is at 4.15pm.

So here's the question:

(1) What could we do on the night we arrive? I want to take advantage of our every minute in Paris! I'm thinking that maybe a nice dinner could be a could introduction, but also open to other suggestions? If dinner is the go-er, any suggestions on a nice restaurant? Mid-price range would be good..

(2) Thursday - the Louvre, Jardin des Tuileries and a Seine river cruise at night? Would this be enough for the day?

(3) Friday - Musee d'Orsay, Notre Dame, Luxembourg Gardens and the Eifel Tower at night.
I would LOVE to fit in Montmarte, so maybe I need to give up the Gardens?

(4) The following Friday on our return - we have a few hours in between trains, it would be great to fit in some shopping. Any suggestions on a good place to do that?

Thanks very much guys from a grateful Aussie in a freezing Melbourne tonight
aarathi23 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 03:48 AM
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I haven't read your other posts, but if you only have this time in Paris your plans sound good, but you could add in the area around the Arc de Triomphe, all the shopping in that area looks wonderful. We didn't get to spend as much time there as I'd have liked in 2006, but we're going again this October and want to explore that area much more. There are some very high end stores, very nice restaurants, and maybe best of all, cafes where you can combine eating with what we consider one of the best things about Paris: people watching. Just watching the traffic is amazing. We saw people in all sorts of clothing, from Japanese kimonos to African robes to whatever the teenagers were wearing that year. And after all you have planned, you might enjoy this little break. When is your trip?
Challiman is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 04:04 AM
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Thank you

We're leaving in 4 weeks - so will be there in September. We're splitting our time between France and England, planning the England itinerary is another story altogether

But god, the closer it gets, the more excited we're getting..its our first time and it feels like we've been waiting forever! And heaven knows, it'll be great to get some warm weather!
aarathi23 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 04:16 AM
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I just came back from Paris last weekend - it was absolutely packed full of people (and I left before the final day of the Tour de France on Sunday).

It gets dark quite late so it should still be quite lively. You'll spend about an hour getting from Gare du Nord to your hotel and checking in so you'll probably be looking for a dinner spot straight away. You're located in the 5th and 6th which has plenty of food options. Perhaps not something typical of Paris, but given the lack of Yakitori in London, I like having yakitori on Blvd St Michel. Otherwise, north of Jardin Luxembourg is St Germain and there's plenty of choices there.

The Louvre - how long you spend here depends on how long you can last in art galleries and this is huge. The Seine and Tuilleries won't take you more than 2 hrs so that leaves the rest of the day at the Louvre. I'd say have some backup plans in case you get bored after an hour or so at the Louvre.

If you want shopping, there's the obvious big ones like Printemps and Galleries Lafayette - but other main shopping areas I wouldn't skip are Marais and St Germain.

Paris has so much to offer and you've skipped quite a few spots - so I'd say take a brief look at a couple of common guidebooks (eg TimeOut and Rough Guide) and check out their Top 10/25 and gauge your interest from there.

If you're at Printemps - head to level 9 cafe Deli Cieux - very plain with not much on offer, except it has a view over Paris. Another "free" view over Paris is at Sacre Coeur.

Be prepared for the smell though - so many parts of Paris are now starting to smell like urine and many Metro stations definitely stink of the stuff.
kwcm is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 04:21 AM
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Looking at your hotel on PagesJaunes I notice a very nice looking restaurant nextdoor (corner Clotaire) which maybe a good idea for dinner around 9.30pm when you have checked into your hotel.
Lots depends on how tired you may feel. Short stroll further along is Place du Contrascarpe with lively bars and cafe`s/restaurants.

Also in the area is Le Vin Sobre, 25 Rue Feuillintines. Do look it up on the web and you will see whats on offer.
We ate lunch there in May and loved it.
If you do a Seine cruise you may want to have dinner at their other branch near the Eiffel Tower.
Bistro Le Vin Sobre,
35 Avenue Duquesne,
75007. Ph: 01 47 05 67 10.

Have a lovely 2 days!

tod is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 04:46 AM
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Thanks so much...

Tod - checking out those restaurants now....will let you know how we go!

kwcm- I'm warned! Urine smell hey? Classic! Thanks for the suggestion on TimeOut Guide, lookng at it now, it looks good. Fantastic idea.

The one thing I didnt think about, and just realised as I was reading your post kwcm, is how to get from Gare Du Nord to the hotel...take a cab?
aarathi23 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 06:03 AM
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Personally, I can't imagine spending more than 3 hours in the Louvre at one go - sensory overload after that point. So you could see the Tuileries, have some lunch and go to Montmartre for a good couple hours before dinner and a Seine cruise.
Travelnut is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 06:07 AM
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You could take a cab (and I've done it a couple of times), but you might line up for a bit.

I don't have the Paris Metro map in front of me but if I recall correctly - there is a RER (the bigger train network system) Line B from Gare du Nord and gets to Luxembourg station in 3 stops. These trains are bigger than the standard Metro trains so are less painful - I suggest taking this if you're on Aussie dollars. (it'll actually probably be quicker than a cab).

I usually get a carnet of 10 tickets (each trip requires one ticket) which cost about €11.70 in total. You can get them from the ticket machines.

Ignore the touts trying to sell you these tickets. Also ignore anybody coming to you at the train station asking "do you speak English" - they're beggars.
kwcm is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 06:16 AM
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I would take a TAXI - just join the line( may not even be one) it moves fairly quickly.
You could take the RER to Luxembourg metro stop and walk, but don't even think of walking uphill from Cardinal Lemoine metro with suitcases! we did it and it's heavy going.
tod is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 06:26 AM
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aarathi23 - The photo of Le Vin Sobre in rue Feuillintines that appears on their website is not how it looks today. It's much nicer. If you want to see it go to my trip report - type my name in the "search" box and look for "Our Sprintime stroll through Paris" written about our trip this past May 2008 togeher with photos.
We stayed just along from the Pantheon in Cardinal Lemoine at Hotel Les Grandes Ecoles - do walk in up their entrance and look at the beautiful Provence country garden!
tod is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 07:11 AM
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We were there in May.. We had a delightful dinner at Le Petit Pontise in the 5th at 9 rue Pontoise.. we did not have reservations but we got in.. very small.. I would put my name in before if possible.. Mid range.. 01 43 29 25 20..that might be a good spot for you the night you get in.. walk around Notre Dame,have dinner .. and then head off for more walking..
coxbox is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 07:38 AM
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One more , one more!

A place we never got to try but it's a definite for our next visit to Paris is Kerouac's suggestion:

Restaurant Ziryab, on top of the IMA which I think stands for Institute Monde Arab with great views of the Seine and Notre Dame.
tod is offline  
Jul 31st, 2008, 05:28 AM
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love your work tod

am savings your suggestions and going to see if i can make reservations this weekend

thanks guys...i absolutely can't wait!
aarathi23 is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 09:18 AM
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For a really appealing prix fixe lunch with a panoramic view of Paris, check out the Menu des Gourmands at cieldeparis.com: choice of four starters, four main coursees, four desserts, service, and elevator ride for €33. Wine or bottled water extra.

Note that each course offers a bouche à oreille - this literally means "mouth to ear" and means that the waiter will verbally offer a daily special that's not on the menu.

Their site navigation is a little primitive, so here's a direct link to the menu: cieldeparis.com/menu/2-menu-des-gourmands.html
Robespierre is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 09:32 AM
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Ste. Chapelle is my favorite place in Paris and it is only a couple blocks from Notre Dame so it would be easy to visit before or after Notre Dame.
Shanti is offline  
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