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12 Days in Paris

I have looked at different itineraries touring Northern France after our 3 week River Cruise Trip. I'm finding some of the tours are a little rushed and doing it totally on our own a little challenge with luggage, Hotel and no car. Rick Steve's 11 day tour looks great but we leave two days before the tour ends so that won't work. I was wondering what everyone thought of spending all 12 days in Paris and taking day trips out either on one day tours or train out of Paris and spending the day but not worry about Hotel and Luggage.
I know they have day trips to Normandy and the Loire Valley. We are both seniors and in my youth this wouldn't have been a problem.
Let me know what you think I have to decide by Friday of either a rushed tours or basing all 12 days in Paris.

Thank You

Posted by
8537 posts

I have to decide by Friday of either a rushed tours or basing all 12 days in Paris.

Why not pick 2-3 places to stay, and just not be rushed by picking too many places to visit? To me, day trips just eat up too much travel time in going back and forth. No reason to take a tour that you have to cut short. I think 4-5 days in Paris and a few days in in the Loire Valley or Normandy would be a great way to recover from the 3-week cruise. But once you try and hit more places, you will be worn out.

Posted by
7504 posts

Bruce, how much luggage will you be wrangling? You’d certainly get a more thorough and relaxing experience by spending a night or more in the Loire, Normandy, or other regions of France, and hiring a local tour in that region, rather than a rushed say trip to and from Paris. If you’ve got extra bags and don’t want to heft them on and off of trains, and around stations any more than absolutely necessary, are you finishing your trip in Paris, and flying hone from there? Would your Paris hotel stow any excess luggage, keeping it for you (maybe for a nominal storage fee) until you returned from your Loire/Normandy/wherever excursion(s)? That way, you could take just enough luggage to get you through your side trip(s). If you’re considering northern reaches of France, is Brittany even an option? We really enjoyed our trip there 5 years ago!

Posted by
23357 posts

Twelve days in Paris would be great. And there are so many nice one day trips from Paris that you could do. It is hard to do Paris in less than a month anyway. We have been to Paris maybe six times, maybe eight, and have another week scheduled in Sept -- IF we can travel.

Posted by
14090 posts

I can easily do 12-14 nights in Paris without a problem! You'll find plenty to do. You could also consider doing one of Rick's Best of Paris tours which is 6 nights. You'll be in love with Paris after that and yes, more time before and after is needed, lol!

IF you want to do Normandy, I suggest you NOT do a day tour but take 2 or 3 nights out of the middle of your Paris time and take the train to Bayeux. Overnight for at least 2 nights there and do one of the van tours out of there for a day with the Normandy landing area.

There are many, many locations that work fine for a day tour in my opinion. Two of those are Giverny and Chartres. Very easy even for a first time traveler to figure out and you can get specific advice on the forum when it's closer to the travel time.

I'm not a fan of a "rushed" tour....

Posted by
2804 posts

Bruce, there is a RS Paris 7- Day Tour. You could do that plus use your remaining five days for day trips. Depending on your interests you might consider Chantilly, Fountainbleu, Giverny and/or Chartes. All are under two hours train ride each way, with Giverny being the farthest. The RS tour does not include the Eiffel Tower if you want to go up it. There are more things to see in Paris than what the tour covers.

I have spent the Covid year researching trip itineraries which include 5 to 8 days in Paris including a couple day trips. At 70, I'm not into rushing anymore. Other locations on my trips vary depending on the finalized itineraries. It's been over 50 years since I was in Paris. I don't remember much about it except that the guide took a bunch of high school students to a high end perfume store and we all walked out. You won't have that problem on a Rick Steves Tour.

Posted by
350 posts

I would love 12 days in Paris with a few day trips. As many have said see if you want to see a few other places see if your hotel will store your luggage. If not or you don't want to pack up you could always do an overnight trip and keep your room in Paris. Yes this will cost more but depending on the cost of your hotel outside of Paris it could be under $200 which is not nothing but may be worth it not to worry about packing and unpacking.

You could have such an amazing time in Paris for 12 days but that is just me.

Posted by
2986 posts

Hi Bruce, the only place convenient to get to in Normandy from Paris by train is Rouen that isn’t worth seeing in my opinion, and you need to sleep in the Loire Valley to appreciate it.

Posted by
6578 posts

Well, Rouen is worth seeing, as are many other places in Normandy and the Loire, but I'll join the chorus -- not as day trips from Paris (whether guided or not). I suggest you either split your time between Paris and one of those regions, or spend the whole time in Paris, perhaps with non-rushed day trips to places like Versailles, Chartres, Giverny, Fontainebleau, or others (but not all of them). This assumes that you haven't been to Paris before, or your visit was brief or long ago. Paris alone has more than enough to fill 12 days, and that much time allows you to really enjoy the city.

Posted by
2307 posts

hey hey bruce
where does you river cruise end at?
maybe spend couple days near then train to paris. have you been to paris? so much to see and do. take day trips or keep hotel and do an overnighter, extra cost of hotel.
decisions decisions. let us know what you decide and we can help you with more advice.

Posted by
112 posts

Bruce - One more vote for the "no day trip to Normandy". You'll spend most of the day in transit and barely scrape the surface of a few sites. It'll be an expensive blur of a day. Normandy needs a minimum of 4 full days, in my opinion.

Having said that, you could fill 12 days in Paris just fine. We were there for 5 full days and didn't even have a chance to set foot in the Louvre! Day trips to Giverny and Versailles would be lovely.

Posted by
24 posts

I have probably spent at least 6-7 months (3 as a retirement gift to myself) in Paris and still have things I want to do and see. You may find you do not even want to leave the city. A guided day trip to the Loire chateaux ( I felt I got a good sampling of the area when I did it) is much more doable than the Normandy beaches. Either would be difficult to do on your own in just one day.

Posted by
27261 posts

From my perspective the problem with a one-day bus tour from Paris to the Normandy invasion sites is the sheer distance. ViaMichelin estimates the driving time to St-Mere-Eglise at 3-1/2 hours, and that certainly doesn't include any bus- or van-loading time or the traveler's time spent getting from hotel to pick-up point. If the tour vehicle makes multiple pick-ups in Paris, considerable time could be wasted doing that. And the same in reverse at the end of the day.

The invasion sites are scattered; it's not like making a day-trip to one particular tourist sight or to one modest-sized town. By the time you subtract the travel time from Paris and the time on the road just driving between the sites in Normandy, how much time will you be off the bus? I take a lot of day-trips when I'm in Europe, though mostly by public transportation. I choose them carefully to assure that I'll have enough time at my destination to see what I want to see there. I would not want to pay the comparatively high price for a Paris hotel room and then spend 7+ hours sitting on a bus, taking a "one-day" (actually a few-hour) tour to an area with multiple days' worth of sights. The opportunity cost is very high--you'd be trading a full day in Paris for a paltry number of hours seeing a few of the invasion sites in Normandy.

Posted by
23357 posts

Acraven is correct. The D-day beaches are not a single point. The beach area itself is over 50 miles east to west plus another 15 to 20 miles deep. In day trip from Paris you could hit one of the beech areas for a few minutes, the American cemetery, and maybe one of the museums but that is it. Unless you spend time along the whole beech area you don't get the understanding of the magnitude of the invasion Omaha beech where hundreds died to where Roosevelt walked ashore with one killed. He was lost.

Posted by
3270 posts

Agree with Frank and Acraven about spending a night or two in Bayeux as opposed to doing a "D-Day" day trip from Paris.

Another possible day trip from Paris is Reims. It's a pretty town with Champagne houses, an interesting cathedral and museum, plus the Surrender Museum at the school building where the Germans first surrendered to the Allies.

Posted by
1190 posts

There is a book...I think it is called An hour From Paris. A bit of time googling and you should find it. Under $11. It is a thought. Chartres is less than an hour away. Charming place. One of the great cathedrals. Consider this. Pack an over night bag. Take the train to Chartres, stay at Sylvi Menard's Les Convivhotes, B&B, she speaks excellent English. The B&B is cute. Spend the night, then next morning. catch the train back to you hotel. I know it is a bit extravagant to have pay for two places.

I wouldn't worry about running out of things to do in Paris. The cemetery is a great place to visit, Pierre La Chaise.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
30 posts

Thanks Everyone for your response and suggestions. We have decided to go with EF Go Ahead Tours so they can handle all the travel between Paris, Normandy and Loire Valley and back to Paris. I would have liked to have gone on Rick Steve's Tours but the dates didn't match up. Our River cruise ends on Oct 2nd and EF starts on October 2nd and ends on October 13 and we fly home on October 14.

Thanks Bruce

Posted by
7504 posts

Perfect timing! Have a great and meaningful trip!