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Two seniors, Two teens and 10 hours in Paris--will my plan work?

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Jun 12th, 2012, 05:31 PM
  #1
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Two seniors, Two teens and 10 hours in Paris--will my plan work?

My husband and I are taking our 13YO grandaughter and 14YO grandson to London for a week. DH and I have visited Paris several times and love it, so the kids have talked us into a day trip to Paris. Neither of them have traveled outside the country.

I was able to get a good deal on seats on the Eurostar, arriving Paris at 11:17AM and departing at 21:13PM

I'm very comfortable with getting around in Paris, but I know that my DH will not be able to spend 9+ hours walking. I'm thinking that we could show the kids a lot of the iconic sights(and have some sit down time) by doing the Paris L'Open Bus, which is a hop-on, hop-off.

We will want to be sure we see the following:
Notre Dame(no climbing the dome)
The gardens at the Rodin
A walk past the golden dome of L'Invalides
Eiffel Tower--we probably won't try to go up, but will see it from the ground--DH and DGD are both not comfortable with heights.
Arc de Triomph with a stroll along the Champs Elysee

At some point, we will stop for a nice leisurely lunch, then continue the sightseeing.
We're going on a Tuesday, so the Louvre is closed.

Any input would be helpful--also, I would love for them to see the twinkling lights of Tour Eiffel as the last thing we do before getting back to Gare du Nord--any thoughts on a place to view from and then get transport(metro or cab) back to Gare du Nord?
Thanks,
Barb
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Jun 12th, 2012, 06:21 PM
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<< I would love for them to see the twinkling lights of Tour Eiffel >>

When are you going? If this summer than it won't be dark before 9:00 and that is when your train leaves. The ET doesn't twinkle until dark - about 10:00.

Your plan looks good - you'll have enough time to view these sights. Will your teens be OK with sitting on the HOHO bus? I'm sure they'll want to get out and walk around more than sit on the bus.

You might think about going into 1 attraction rather than just walking on the outside. You'll also need a plan if it's raining hard.

I like the idea of the Rodin gardens - you can see some sculpture but it's not overwhelming and won't take a long time.
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Jun 12th, 2012, 07:32 PM
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I'd discourage the use of L'Open bus; it was the single most disappointing part of our last trip to Paris. My idea was that it would give my sister, who'd never been, a good overview of the city. In fact, we spent a lot of time sitting on the bus parked in nondescript areas while the bus employees roved around hawking for more passengers. There's another bus tour company, don't know the name, possibly it's better. Or you could just do this itinerary by popping in and out of metro stations.
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Jun 12th, 2012, 10:12 PM
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Use the Metro and the occasional taxi if you must.

I would also suggest St. Chapelle, right across from Notre Dame.

There are two really good viewing sites in Paris, the roof of Printemps and the roof of the tower of Montparnasse.

MP is my favorite, as you get a good view of the EF about half way up and a great view of Sacre Coeur and the Arc de T.
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Jun 12th, 2012, 11:32 PM
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azzure can only assume you were not visiting in the summer, in the summer the bus is busy and does not sit anywhere !!

Barb I think your plan is a good one, there is a L"open tour stop near Gare du Nord where you arrive. My 14 and 11 yr old enjoyed sitting on the tp of the bus ,( and seriously is was a hoot going around that crazy traffic circle around the Arc De Triomphe!! ) , but yes, we did get off at various stops.. BUT, there is one problem , the bus only goes to about 6pm or so , ( confirm this detail) so you either have to debark near Gare du Nord , have dinner in the area then walk to station to get Eurostar home, or debark somewhere else for dinner and then make your way back to Gare du Nord on your own( taxi or metro)
Only other isssue is if its raining ,, sitting up top is not an option, and thats the bonus of taking the HOHOs,, seeing the neighborhoods as you go through them, sitting inside is not the same,, if its raining I would make other plans. There is a city bus # 69 I think that circles alot of good points,, might be worth considering. Or you could just take a few taxis, they are not so horribly expensive, and in fact are cheaper then 4 HOHO tickets( they are about 30 euros each, so no way will you end up spending 120 on taxis, even if you take it 4 or 5 times, ,just no taped commentary ,, lol )
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Jun 13th, 2012, 04:27 AM
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What about the Batobus? - You can get a one day pass and get on and off at several of the major tourist locations. And there's no better way to capture the magic of Paris than on and around the river.

With limited time I'd be avoiding anything you have to queue for - last time I was in Paris the queues for Notre Dame were horrendous - and that was for the cathedral - maybe make that later in the day after the tour groups have gone.

I liked the view from the Arc de Triomphe. I think there is an elevator for those with mobility issues only. And the Eiffel lights didn't start until 11pm when I was there in late June.

What lucky grandchildren.
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Jun 13th, 2012, 05:59 AM
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We were on the open bus in September and hated the wait time. I would not recommend it.
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Jun 13th, 2012, 06:30 AM
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There's wait time too for the Batobus. They arrive every 20 minutes in summer, every 25 minutes other seasons, so you could be standing around a while. Also, the boats are only on the river and you could probably walk faster than waiting for and taking the boat.
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Jun 13th, 2012, 07:57 AM
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the twinkling lights of Tour Eiffel as the last thing we do before getting back to Gare du Nord

Depending on your route, you could make the Arc de Triomphe your last stop, then hop a taxi to Gare du Nord. Or you could view the Tour Eiffel from a distance, say, on the tip of Ile de la Cite, then take the RER from St. Michel or Chatelet to Gare du Nord...
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Jun 13th, 2012, 09:09 AM
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One of our favorite activities at the Arc de Triomphe is to watch the cars, buses, motorcycles and bicycles whiz around it. Include that in your plans. The Champs Elysee has many stores, etc. that your grandkids will be familiar with from the states. I'd suggest some time strolling through areas that are more iconically Paris - le Marais or St. Germain.

Even though you have limited time, I too would suggest some time inside something, rather than just looking at things from the outside. Maybe the Musee d'Orsay, if they like impressionist art (or the Pompidou, if they like contemporary).

I would also suggest a combination of metro and taxi rides, rather than the HOHO bus, but that's a decision more for you all, from the perspective of ability to walk and climb stairs. We took one of these, once, when our son was 10, and found it a good way to get around London, but we saw the sights more easily on our own.

As your grandkids have persuaded you to take this day trip, what do THEY have in mind?
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Jun 13th, 2012, 09:50 AM
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I understand not wanting to or being able to walk for 9+ hours, what about biking? I think this one hits most of your checklist items, though probably wouldn't allow for exploring the Rodin gardens at your leisure.

http://fattirebiketours.com/paris/tours/paris-day-bike
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Jun 13th, 2012, 11:12 AM
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I can't imagine taking a taxi instead of the metro when you are only on a day trip and don't even have baggage. Yes, you can, but what is the point? It won't get you there any faster (could be slower depending on traffic). YOu are certainly going to be near some metro stop in central Paris.

I've never taken an open-air bus in Paris so don't know various qualities. I'm surprised people complain about waiting on it, not sure what that means, I thought they had a route to cover in a certain time and couldn't just be driving around hawking for customers. Those buses will always wait at a stop for maybe 10 minutes in any city, but that wouldn't bother me (I've taken them elsewhere). Well, this is the competitor, maybe they are better
http://www.carsrouges.com/

Cars ROuges has tour numbers and specific times they stop at each point, so they can't be driving around to other places or not driving for a long period. They even show you that if you stay on the bus, it will take you 1:20 to drive the entire circuit around Paris. Could be relaxing for me, I like those things.

I wouldn't do the Batobus myself, but I don't find boats on the Seine a very convenient way to get around Paris. First, you are obviously limited to thing right on the bank of the Seine (I'd rather take the metro, you are going to walk a long way to get to some things if your drop point ios always the Seine). I wouldn't want to clamber up and down the banks to get onto the boat all the time, either.

Good points about the Eiffel Tower not being twinkling until dusk. I wouldn't want to be late for the train and wouldn't plan to cut that travel time close (hwoever you do it). Meaning if the train is at 9:15 pm, I'd be heading there around 8:30 pm for sure, maybe earlier depending where I was. If the trip is this summer, which I suspect it is or one wouldn't be posting or planning it now, that may just miss the lights if they go on around 9 pm, maybe a little earlier.
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Jun 13th, 2012, 11:34 AM
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I don't think you're going to get the sparkling lights, but you sure can come close.

I'm going to surprise myself by saying that I think Batobus (plus a Metro run) might do the job if the weather is good. The narration is crappy, but it sounds as though YOU will be the narrator anyway. I love, love, love the Seine, and Paris would be nothing without it.

I hate that darn Hop On bus thing but...

...I DO love Paris bus lines. In fact, Line 69 ranks in the top three of "most scenic bus rides in the world" on a top of tour guide stuff.

Line 69 runs east-west and without traffic could get you across the city in twenty minutes, so that will give you an idea of how efficient it could be. It's the stops that would really work for you. You could start that bus at Père-Lachaise Cemetery (from Gare du Nord take Metro line 5 to Republic and switch to line 3 for Pere Lachaise). Note: My kids never cared about Jim Morrison's grave--they WERE Edith Piaf fanatics, though. Then boarding the bus 69, catch Place de la Bastille, Place des Vosges, Rue de Rivoli, Notre-Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, Palais-Royal, Les Tuileries, Musée d’Orsay, Les Invalides and the Eiffel Tower.

You could WALK from the Eiffel Tower to l'Arc de Triomphe in about 30 minutes. Your husband has difficulty, so you could just cab it easily, too. Or you could just backtrack away from the Eiffel Tower a bit towards Ave Bosquet (might get a shot at Invalides) and take Bus 92 straight to the l'Arc.

Bus schedule for 69 : http://www.ratp.fr/informer/pdf/orie...loc=bus_paris/

Bus schedule for 92 : http://www.ratp.fr/informer/pdf/orie...loc=bus_paris/

Return to Gare du Nord either by taxi or Metro Line 2 from the Ternes stop.

Have fun. Am envious of your "grandma-dom:.
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Jun 13th, 2012, 03:27 PM
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your plan looks great. i would advise you do avoid HOHO bus though. Metro is fast and efficient enough.. also consider a stroll from Place de la Concorde along the Champs de Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe.
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Jun 13th, 2012, 06:49 PM
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they are certainly old enough to help decide what they want to see. aim them towards acouple of good guide books- with pix - and ask each to id 3 places they really want to see worked very well with our dds when they were 11 and 14.
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Jun 13th, 2012, 07:45 PM
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Great comments-thanks everyone! We did consult the kids, and they came up with several of the ideas. I am still waffling about the HOHO bus, but we can set out on our own and join it at several places if we need to.

We are going on July 3rd but I didn't think about the fact that sunset is so late in the summer. We usually go in spring or fall, and the lights came on around 8.

I'll have to think about the bike idea--I haven't been on one in 30 years...
Barb
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Jun 14th, 2012, 07:54 AM
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I'm not sure I'd recommend the hop-on hop-off bus either.
You could perhaps do a walking tour? See the main landmarks, get a bit of historic info and few anecdotes?

Another suggestion would be to go on a boat cruise. This is a great way to really get a feel for the city and see a few landmarks while you relax at the same time.

http://www.discoverwalks.com/paris-walking-tours/
http://www.vedettesdupontneuf.com/
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Jun 14th, 2012, 08:48 AM
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Took my daughter last summer to Paris. We were there July 1st through 7th and it took us 3 nights to figure out the eiffel tower doesn't twinkle until about 10:45-11:00 in the middle of summer. We kept leaving too early.

I know a lot of peole don't do Rick Steves on this site but he has a 2 hour detailed taxi plan to see the city in one of his Paris travel guide books. We seriously considered doing it. I think it was to see the lights of the buildings at night but it would work for seeing the major sites during the day as well.

Will also second the Montparnasse Tower as a great way to see the city from above and avoid all the lines from the Eiffel Tower.
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Jun 14th, 2012, 09:01 AM
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you really DON'T have 10 hours IN Paris...by the time you get to the city (from time you lend) it will be close to one, to get to the airport, pass security,board the flight , you need to leave the city not much later than seven in the evening.
That gives you six hours more or less.
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Jun 14th, 2012, 09:02 AM
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sorry, I just realized you are taking a train...
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