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1st time to Paris - Girls trip (4 days)

Hi there,

My best friend and I are traveling to Paris. We want to make the most of of time, but also want to enjoy everything Paris has to offer in terms of sightseeing, food, shopping and people watching. We are looking for advice on anything that we may want to skip or add. Any suggestions on unique or fun activities and great restaurants would be great! (Is it worth it to purchase the museum pass for 4 days for convenience sake?)

Here is our itinerary so far:

Day 1
•Morning arrival - Staying in St Germain area
•Explore St. Germian
• or visit Rue Cler
•Orsay Museum

Day 2 –
•historic Paris walk
•Includes walk by Notre Dame, Latin Quarter, St. Chappelle, Place Dauphine, Walk ends on the Seine River (Café Med mentioned as a good place to eat.)
•Seine River Cruise

Day 3
Tuileries Garden
•Paris Pantheon
•Luxembourg Garden
•Rue Mouffetard Market

Day 4
•Walk Champs Elysees
•Go up in Arc de Triomphe
-Concert at the Eiffel Tower – 8:00 p.m.

Thank you for your feedback!

Posted by
532 posts

My only suggestion would be to move the Orsay museum visit to another day. You will most likely be very tired and museums can seem tiring. Maybe do the river cruise on the first day instead. It's a great way to get oriented to the city and is relaxing.

Posted by
2 posts

Seems like quite a bit; the Louvre could easily be a full day and even then you’re only scratching the surface. Montmartre would be a good addition. Best view of the City.

Posted by
23 posts

Thanks for your suggestions. I will move the museum to another day. I think we need more time in Paris!

Posted by
5697 posts

Don't forget to check the day of the week for museum visits -- some are closed one day each week or may have evening hours. Some of my favorites are Orangerie for Monet waterlilies room, St. Chapelle for windows.

Posted by
7613 posts

On day one, i would stay in St Germain, and as others have said, defer the visit to the Orsay for a different day. You can also go just a few blocks and walk along the Seine from St Germain.

On the last day, I wouldn't bother with walking the Champs-Elysees. It's not very attractive, filled with chain stores, and absolutely packed with people. You will see enough of it from the top of the Arc.

You might want to think about visiting the rooftop lounge space at Galeries Lafayette for a nice view, or Montmartre in front of Sacre Coeur.

Posted by
337 posts

I'd move Luxembourg Garden to the day before adding it to the end of your walk.
If Seine Cruise is a Dinner Cruise, then you will need to book in advance.
i'd also wouldn't walk the Champs Elysees, see it "to and from" the Arc De Triomphe,
you could also move
Orsay Museum, to this 4th day afternoon, perhaps have lunch there as well.
It would also be helpful to know which arrondissement you are staying in.


Posted by
198 posts

Are you readers? If so, take a look at "The Paris Wife", a novel about Hadley & Ernest Hemingway. It is rich in detail about their lives in and around Rue Mouffetard, Montparnasse, etc. and there are plaques on some of the buildings where Hemingway and Gertrude Stein lived/worked. Or check out "My Life in France" by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme -- there's quite a bit about her life in Paris and the places she lived/shopped/ate, etc. If you're into Ina Garten, she's also written about Paris.

For the first day, fresh air and walking are musts for me. If you want to go to a museum your first day, consider the Rodin museum -- lots of sculptures outside in beautiful gardens (more inside the building). I know people on this forum love Rue Cler, but it didn't speak to me. There's lots to discover in St Germain.

Find the days and times of street markets in your area. Shop the grand department stores, but also your local Monoprix and CityPharma.

Plan your time at the Louvre. You could spend your life there.

One evening you could take a cooking class and eat your results. Taste some crepes in Montparnasse.

And learn to use (and love!) the Paris Metro.

Posted by
3683 posts

Rue Moufftetard is a pleasant stroll for a half-hour or so. The outdoor stalls operate mostly on weekends; this site explains the difference between a street market and market street, which is what Mouff is on weekdays. Narrow and crooked, it escaped the massive 19th-century rebuilding that shaped modern Paris.

Posted by
36 posts

Pam— “The Paris Wife” is great! I also quite enjoyed “Love and Ruin” by the same author, Paula McLain.

Posted by
23 posts

Thank you everyone! I feel like you all gave me great insight and advice.

Posted by
613 posts

Cut back on the museums & take a day for Versailles. Prepare to be disappointed. Paris is grossly over rated. Better you should go to Prague. Or London. Or Vienna. Or Rome. Or Barcelona.

Posted by
9725 posts

Oh gosh, I love Paris and I’m sure you will too! I’m back for my 2nd visit this year!

I stay in the Rue Cler area and to me it’s not really a destination. If you want some place to eat or have a glass of wine when you’re doing your Eiffel Tower activity walk over there then.

Are you fans of Midnight in Paris? I’m not a Woody Allen or Owen Wilson fan but I love this movie! When you are at the Pantheon the church steps where Gil gets picked up in the taxi are just behind the Pantheon.

Posted by
89 posts

I traveled to Paris for the first time last year and fell in love with it. Be sure to eat some croissants. Enjoying walking across the bridges and seeing all the wonderful architecture around you. See the Eiffel Tower in the evening when it sparkles at the top of the hour...we did this on the night river cruise. If you want some awesome photos we did the 1 hour photo shoot (with edited photos) with Localers. Have a great time. It’s a wonderful city!

Posted by
3030 posts

I went to Paris expecting to be disappointed (went with a friend who was dying to go) and found it quite lovely and enjoyable.

Posted by
23 posts

Thank you everyone. I love having this forum to run things by.

Posted by
16 posts

My 2 cents

Move Orsay to a day when you will be able to appreciate it. Start on the top floor for the Impressionists.

Maybe eliminate the Louvre. It’s crowded, long lines and too huge to absorb in a rush

Don’t bother with Champs d Elysee. Walking through St Germain and other areas is much more Parisian and charming.

Posted by
681 posts

You don't have Montmatre. My absolute favorite place to spend an evening...

Posted by
1808 posts

Paris is grossly over rated.

I'm not sure why kb1942 isn't a big fan of Paris, but this seems to be a consistent theme. kb1942 has certainly spent a lot more time as a tourist than I have, but I guess we've been extremely lucky and had a wonderful time in Paris every time we've been there. We certainly weren't disappointed.

Posted by
64 posts

Check which days you are arriving, and what days Museums are closed. The Orsay, (my favorite) is closed on Monday. Open late on Thursdays. I could spend hours in the Orsay. The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays. I agree with adding Rodin if you are into sculpture. It is a very peaceful garden and you can have lunch outside. It is closed on Monday also.

The Rue Mouffetard Market is cool. I stayed just down the street from there and stumbled upon it one morning. I am not sure which days they are set up. (at Place Monge) The Rue Mouffetard itself is great. Car free at certain parts. Nice restaurants. Le Vieux Bistro, and Le Volcan are good both on Rue Mouffetard.

Posted by
3336 posts

We spend a great deal of time in Paris and, honestly, I still can't figure out the fascination with Rue Cler. There is nothing wrong with it but it is like most other streets in the city that are in nicer neighborhoods. It's a bit out of the way but offers nothing unique. Don't go to any trouble to get there. Just focus on St. Germain.
For the Louvre, make sure to have a plan. You will have very limited time with everything else you have planned that day so you need to focus on the things you want to see. Study up beforehand so you have an objective.
The other advice you have been given (except prepare to be disappointed...WHAT??) is good advice. Especially putting the Orsay on a different day - just get through the first day, get to bed early, and you'll feel much better to hit the high points in the coming days.