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Paris "must sees" and Versailles Tours

After my 21 Day BOE tour (end of May) I'm staying three extra days in Paris. Basically I have Saturday after breakfast (tours end), Sunday and Monday- then Tuesday I'm off to Scotland. I want to make the most of my Paris days and I'm trying to figure out the best way to do the most. Here are my thoughts:
Saturday~ Versailles Tour. There are so many Versailles tours to choose from, each with a different focus! The one I'm leaning towards is an afternoon tour of Versailles and Petit Trianon. It leaves at 1PM, which would allow me to enjoy my final tour breakfast, check out of the hotel and into the new one (Hotel Sublim Eiffel). It would also let me be back 6ish, which is when my friend should be arriving from Scotland to meet me. My friend doesn't like palaces, so this is definitely my time to visit, if I'm going to. Has anyone taken this tour? It's offered by a few different companies, but I've always been pleased with Viator and the tour seems to have good ratings. Afterwards, possibly dine beneath the Eiffel and watch it light up.
Sunday~ Catacombs tour at opening. I'd like to tour the Eiffel and go up to the top. Then I want to see the Musee de l'Orangerie, Musee' Rodin and Le Musee des Arts Forains. I realize it's probably not possible to do them all, so I'm trying to narrow down to one for sure and a backup if there's time. I've not been to any of these museums. I love sculpture, but would love to see Monet's Waterlillies. The carnival museum is only available by appointment, but I love that its not stuffy or "typical". What to do? I want to do and see some of the unusual things.
Monday~ I want to see Pere Lachaise (and Jim Morrison's grave), but I'm also intrigued by Cimetiere des Chiens. Has anybody done both? Are they pretty far from each other? Then I was thinking about walking around Monmartre in the evening. I've heard it's lovely at night- all lit up. Hope to see Sacre Cour and other highlights of the area.

My friend is a regular visitor to Paris so has pretty much left the itinerary up to me, though she helped me narrow things down a bit.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions, especially concerning Versailles. I've not listed Mont Saint Michel. Should this be a must see? HELP!

Posted by
684 posts

I don't have any wisdom for you except I think you could do Orangerie and Rodin easily in one afternoon or morning. I "plan" on checking out Waterlillies at the Orangerie and since we'll have a 2 day Paris Museum pass, I won't feel guilty if that's all I see while there. I've been told it isn't necessary to take a tour at Versailles....why don't you get the 2 day museum pass where all of these things are covered? You could go to Versailles plus those museums cheaper, I think. Start it on the morning after last day breakfast and use for 2 full days......on Monday you could do Montmartre and visit Mr Morrison's grave....

Posted by
10339 posts

Looks like you're seeing the Louvre on the BOE tour, but not the Orsay, so these are the highlights not included on your BOE tour:
Orsay Museum
Notre Dame
Orangerie Museum
Rodin Museum
Napoleon's tomb
Sacre Coeur & Montmartre
Eiffel Tower
Arc Triomphe

Leave Mont St-Michel for another trip, you don't have time.

You can go to Versailles on your own for less money, just read up so you know what you're seeing. But it will be a long line, two long lines if you don't have to Paris Museum Pass (line to buy tickets and security line). So maybe the tour looks better after all, if it can save you that time.

Posted by
333 posts

Thank you~ I appreciate the responses!

I've done the search box. I've listed the places I hope to see, I'm just not sure how to narrow it down further or how much time those places will take. I know paying for a Versailles tour is more expensive, but since I'm limited to half a day, I'm willing to pay more to skip the line and have a guided tour of the highlights. I really appreciate guided tours to those big places, so much more efficient when you have limited time.

I found day tours to either Mont Saint Michel or Omaha Beach WW2 tour. I'm a huge WW2 buff, so Omaha Beach calls out to me. But MSM looks interesting and unique, a departure from so many museums. Of course that means I lose more museum/cemetery time. I'd have to narrow down more to one museum, one cemetry if I did one of the Normandy trips.

I really struggle with these decisions.

Thanks again,

Posted by
10339 posts

You don't have time for Mont St. Michel or D Day Beaches on this trip.
You've gotta go back.

Posted by
5429 posts

I saw the D-Day beaches and MSM ... but not until my FOURTH trip to Paris (spanning 40+ years) Worth seeing ... but not in the time you have.

Posted by
660 posts

This past September, we took our first trip to MSM and Normandy. You don't have time for these. Stay in Paris and enjoy it to the hilt. L'Orangerie and Rodin are the two museums to pick of your 3 choices. L'Orangerie is small and doesn't take too long. Best to have the museum pass to skip the line. Rodin is special with its gardens. It might be possible to squeeze in that other museum depending on location but you'd be rushed.

Posted by
11779 posts

I'll agree with the rest: no, you don't have time for Mont Saint Michel or Omaha Beach.

Yes, Cimetiere des Chiens is a long way from Pere Lachaise. If you do Lachaise, you'll probably find Morrison's tomb to be one of the less interesting of those in that cemetery. I spent five hours in that that one, and found far more visually engaging monuments - and interments - than Jim's. If you go to the Sacre Cour, Montmartre cemetery is very close, and would make more sense than des Chiens from a time perspective. You'd have to go before evening, though, as it closes at 5:30 - 6:00 (18:00). Hours are approx. the same for Pere Lachaise.ère-de-Montmartreère-du-Père-Lachaise

Posted by
14103 posts

Go to Versailles. There's nothing quite like it. The tour sounds good because it should make the most of your limited time. My ideal tour would include the Palace (the most beautiful in Europe - the others were all trying to imitate it), the Petit Trianon, and the musical fountain show and if possible, the Queen's Hamlet.

I would not bother going up the Eiffel Tower - there are other good places to elevated views of Paris that won't take as much of your time. You can go up the Tour Montparnasse, there's the view from Montmartre (esp. good around sunset) and the top of the Arc de Triomphe - all good ones. For something a little less "typical" go to the Carnavalet Museum (free) in the Marais. It's a museum of the history of Paris and there is a lot to see, some of it will be unexpected. Then you can spend an hour wandering around the neighborhood, one of Paris's oldest. You can see a couple of 14th-15th century buildings, the trendy boutiques and have a glass of wine at a cafe on the beautiful Place des Vosges. It's a short metro ride from the Orangerie. On the weekends the streets are turned into pedestrian malls and the locals are out in full force.

On Saturday, you could take a one-hour Seine river cruise (I like the Vedettes des Pont Neuf). Right around sunset is the best time to start, that way you get a bit of the daytime view and then cruise as the lights go on and Paris turns magical. The cruise gets pretty close to the Eiffel Tower toward the end, so you'll see that all lit up too.

According to the tour schedule, on the last full day you have the afternoon free after visiting the Louvre. The Orangerie is a short walk from there and the Orsay is just across the river.