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1 week in Paris - add a destination?

Hello! My cousin and I, both in our 30s, will be visiting Paris in mid-September for 1 week.
1. What area should we stay in??
2. Should we add a trip to a different area of France or maybe Switzerland for 2 nights during the trip? Or just stick with our home base in Paris and do day trips? We do want to explore some off the beaten path villages/areas. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!!
3. Versailles? Worth it??

Posted by
2538 posts

If you only have a week, and Paris is your main goal, then I'd stick to that. Get a good guidebook. Any will show possible day trips. If this is your first visit, there will be more than enough things to do and see to fill all of your days. As for Versailles- that's all personal preference. For some it's a highlight. For others it's a headache.

Where to stay? Anywhere in central Paris in the arrondissements that border the Seine. Just make sure the hotel is lose to a metro stop. Preferably one where two lines intersect. And make sure it has AC.

Posted by
3283 posts

I really like to stay in the Latin Quarter (5th arrondissement) You can walk to many places, but are close to the metro when you need it. Versailles can be really crowded, I would research and make sure its something you want to do and the best strategies for making the trip pleasant. We went midweek in September and it was pretty crowded. We were glad we went and especially enjoyed the gardens but once was enough. I don't think you have enough time to go very far from Paris. That said, I would decide what it is you want to cover in Paris and what type of pace you enjoy. Do you like museums and will you want to hit most of them? for how long? Will you want time to linger at parks or cafes? You need to think about what you'd like to get out of your visit. For me, I usually find 4/5 nights in Paris enough. There are many places to consider for a couple nights that are close to Paris. You would just need to decide what you are looking for and what kind of transportation you'd like to use. An easy, quick train ride from Paris is Chartres. Beautiful cathedral and lovely little old town on a pretty river. There is a light show in the evening. You also could take a high speed train to Tours and spend a couple days in the Loire for chateaus and some wine tasting. Another thought would be to stay the full time in Paris and add 2-3 day trips, like Rouen, Giverny, Fountainbleu, Chartres can be a day trip, too

Posted by
585 posts

As far as hotels, the 5th and 6th arrondissements will put you in the convenient center of the Left Bank. September is very crowded so book as soon as possible. Booking.com can give you a sense of what’s still available and pricing. Once you have it narrowed down, many people prefer to book directly with the hotel. It can be very helpful to have the direct contact in case your flight is delayed, etc

I would also vote for Paris as home base with day trips. Once you and your cousin start putting your must-see lists together, it’s amazing how a week can fly.

Hi,

Last time I went I booked via Airbnb a small apartment and made sure I was close to a metro station. As long as you are close to a station you can go anywhere you like. So you are able to book cheaper places and still be connected to the sights.
For the question to add a trip. I would not do that. Enjoy Paris without rushing. There is so much to see and do.
And as for Versailles, I believe its worth it. It's normally very crowded but wow... and as I love gardens I always have a walk around in it. But last time I was so tired from walking for days, I opted to hire one of those small electric vehicles. There is a route to take and like this, you get a glimpse of the size and beauty of the gardens.
And if you decide to go Versailles, buy your tickets online. When we were there last, the line was huge.....
Have fun whatever you decide to do!

Posted by
372 posts

I'm in the "Versailles - a headache" camp :)

There is so much to do in Paris!

If you really wanted to get out of town, you could take the train to Reims for an overnight. We had the most marvelous airbnb there. Champagne, market, restaurants, cathedral...did I mention champagne? Great shopping area, wonderful food market! All so walkable.

Love Reims ... love Paris!

Posted by
19 posts

Thank you so much for all of the wonderful tips & information! I am always blown away at the kindness of others & the willingness to help every time I post on these travel forums! Thanks again! Loving the day trip ideas. We just booked a hotel in the Latin Quarter and will be staying in Paris the entire time. Thank you again & again!!! This has helped make the planning process far less stressful. :)

Posted by
1667 posts

Last time I went I booked via Airbnb a small apartment and made sure I was close to a metro station. As long as you are close to a station you can go anywhere you like. So you are able to book cheaper places and still be connected to the sights.

I agree with Jessica. We stayed near the Glaciere Metro stop, which is walking distance from the Catacombs. We were able to go anywhere in Paris, most of it no more than 20-30 minutes from home base. It's in the 14th Arr., therefore much more reasonable than the heart of Paris (<100 Euro/night).

This sounds like your first trip to Paris. I'd hold off on making any plans for a day trip. I think you'll find your week in Paris will fly by and you'll wish you could stay a month! Instead of rushing off somewhere (such as Versailles), use that as a "down day", where you have nothing planned than just relaxing and absorbing Parisian life. For instance, there's a wonderful street market very near the Catacombs. There's also great cafes nearby. I could also spend all day just wandering around Pere La Chaise cemetery and the nearby neighborhood.

We've been to Paris three times and have barely scratched the surface. Have a great trip!

Posted by
2 posts

Personally, I hated all the touristy things - the Eiffel Tower was so cramped I couldn't find the end of the queue for the lift up to the summit, so I ended up walking around the second floor like an idiot for a while and then I couldn't find the lift down either! I made the mistake of taking the stairs from the second floor to the first, not actually realising how many stairs there are (THERE ARE A LOT) I also got quite dizzy too as they spiral a little bit so essentially you're walking in a circle for a good 15 minutes.

There are quite a few hidden gems within Paris, you just have to know where to look! There are a few on the blog -
http://bit.ly/2YDQ8OZ

The catacombs are good, and Montmartre is a lovely place to visit!

Posted by
8293 posts

“I couldn’t find the end of the queue”
“I couldn’t find the lift”

Couldn’t find your tongue either so you could ask someone, I gather.

hi,

I also went to the catacombs and I thought it was very interesting. It is something different than all the other sights in Paris.

Get absorbed by Paris and have a great time!

Posted by
3283 posts

In regards to crowds, we have visited Paris several times in September. It is definitely busy and you will want to have some strategies but it is not nearly as busy as summer.

Posted by
2000 posts

nicole is right about the stairs down from the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, there are a lot, and it is dizzying. I went down from 2nd platform to ground level, and would not do it again. It's also not recommended if you have trouble with heights.

Posted by
19 posts

Anyone have thoughts on staying in the 14th Arr?? I found a really great AirBnB here, but am wondering if that's too far out of the way?