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3 Days in Paris Itinerary Help

I will be spending 3 months in Maastricht from the end of January through April. My girlfriend will be coming in for a visit for the first week in March. We're both in our mid-20s. I'm taking her on a side trip to Paris and am looking to build our itinerary. I thought I would have more days to spend in Paris, but she arrives in Amsterdam on a Sunday and I have to be in Maastricht on Wednesday evening. I was thinking about going to Paris either when she arrives on Sunday (or leave first thing Monday morning) and stay through Wednesday afternoon to catch the train back to the Netherlands. The other option is to leave immediately after my Wednesday evening meeting, and spend Wednesday night through Saturday afternoon there before going back to Amsterdam to catch an early Sunday morning flight.

We already know that the Louvre takes at least a half a day, and we don't think we want to take that much time there. Any tips on where to go, what to see, and where to stay?

Posted by
694 posts

The Louvre is open late on Fridays, I believe, so don't automatically think you shouldn't go there. When we went late, it was less busy too. Musee d'Orsay is a Must See if you love the Impressionist painters. The Orangerie is a small museum with some beautiful art also. For a beautiful view of Paris, go up Tour Montparnasse. Bonus is you won't see Tour Montparnasse in the view. Sacre Coeur and Montmartre is also great and the view from the front of Sacre Coeur is amazing. Going to the top of La Tour Eiffel is on many people's Must See list. Also an evening cruise along the Seine. Luxembourg Gardens is a wonderful place for a picnic. Buy or borrow a tour book of Paris and you'll get lots of other great ideas. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
4661 posts

I take it that you're locked into that return flight home from Amsterdam -- otherwise I'd suggest a Wed-Sun visit to Paris and fly home from there.

Diana's right about Tour Montparnasse -- a good bird's-eye view of Paris without the delays and hassles of the Eiffel Tower. Certainly do a Seine cruise on one of the boats leaving either from the Pont Neuf or the docks close to the Eiffel Tower (the tower is well worth seeing close up, just not always worth going up). Could be a daytime or evening cruise, but not a dinner cruise where you'll be dividing attention between the views and the eating. The Louvre can be overwhelming and I'd suggest just looking at the outside, unless there are some particular pieces of art you want to see, in which case you should research their locations and go right to them (trying to ignore all the rest of the magnificence on the way).

It will be cold, but hopefully dry enough for the two of you, well-bundled, to do a lot of strolling and building-watching and café-sitting and people-watching. Time will allow only an introduction to this city where one could easily spend weeks.

The Thalys train from Amsterdam stops at Schiphol so you could whisk her right from air to rail and then let her sleep off some of the jet lag on the way, if the timing works right. Takes about three hours between airport and Gare du Nord. Use a cab between station and hotel, both ways, to save time.

Look for a hotel as close to the river as you can to maximize sightseeing efficiency. The left bank (south) might be a little more efficient because you'd be inside the river's curve, i.e. closer to more attractions. There are lots of threads on this forum about good hotels, some of them quite recent. Booking.com is a good way to search, with useful filters and reviews based on actual experience, but hotel websites are usually a better way to book the reservation.

Posted by
7532 posts

You should go Wednesday night to late Saturday inorder to 1) give your girl friend time to get used to the time change and get over the flight, 2) avoid closing days, which are typically Monday or Tuesday, 3) take advantage of less crowded evening opening hours at the Louvre and d’Orsay museums, 4) possibly lower price return tickets on a Saturday.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks for the tips. In response to Dick’s comments, the plane tickets are already booked. She arrives in Amsterdam in the 4th and leaves on the 11th. Besides Paris, we’ll be spending time in the Netherlands.

Posted by
468 posts

With only a couple days in Paris, I suggest you each pick a one or two “must-see” sights and focus on them. Let the rest of your time come as it may. To me at least, one of the great pleasures of Paris is simply Paris. Walk the Seine, stop in a or shop that looks interesting, find your own special moments. That said, those iconic sights are worth it! I would suggest you get up the Eiffel Tower (get tickets ahead.) The Louve is doable if you focus on the Denon wing paintings, or whatever your specific interest might be. My mom and I blitzed it in a couple hours, and it was still massively rewarding! Saint Chappelle is also terrific, pretty quick to see and often overlooked. Skip the catacombs and Versailles, they’re real time-eaters.