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5 days in Paris

Hello, I am traveling with my family (husband and 2 adult children) to Paris for a pre Christmas trip.
With travel days excluded we are in Paris for 5 solid days, Dec 18-23. We are staying at the Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel.
I was in Paris last November for a day and a half, and fell in love with the city of lights! I had to share with my kids, so here we go!

I am hoping for tips and "can't miss" suggestions.


Posted by
16131 posts

Hi rashonna -
As we don't know anything about you and/or your family's interests, the best place to start would be a good guidebook but my personal list of favorites so far includes but is not limited to:

The Louvre
Musee d'Orsay
Musée de Cluny
Notre Dame Cathedral/towers
Église de Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Top of the Arc de Triomphe
The Panthéon
La Conciergerie
Dôme des Invalides
A walk about Père Lachaise or Montmartre cemeteries, Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin du Luxembourg, the Marais, Ile St Louis and Ile de la Cité , Montmartre and too many other places! Skip Champs-Élysées.

You'll notice I left the Eiffel off the list? We wandered over to see it from the ground - Esplanade du Trocadero is a great viewing spot at night - but didn't have a huge desire to go up in thing. We also didn't shop at all. So, you see, everyone's must-dos can be different!

I'll highly recommend purchasing the Paris Museum Pass. We're not usually big on tourist passes but this one is especially good, and if you're interested in enough of the attractions it covers, you can even break even on thing. You don't have to purchase it in advance - buy it when you arrive in Paris - and don't confuse this one with the overpriced Paris Paris.

Posted by
2 posts

Kathy, I appreciate your input and we will definitely grab a Paris Museum Pass.
We may be interested in doing 1 or 2 day trips, the Eiffel Tower is a must for the kids but mostly we look forward to leisurely taking in The Louvre, Musee d'Orsay and Notre Dame Cathedral.

Posted by
2399 posts

We liked Sacre Coure (spelling?) as the view on a clear day was fantastic. For the Louvre, you can enter through another entrance which is not as crowded. I just can't remember exactly so someone else can help with that. We planned our visit to the Louvre ahead of time as we all had different interests and we all did our thing and met up at the entrance later. Enjoy.

Posted by
16131 posts

The Pyramid entrance to the Louvre is the busiest. Galerie du Carrousel entrance worked well for us as it's indoors. We were there 20 minutes or so before opening on a rainy morning and it was very nice to be able kill time out of the elements.

A friend of mine who visits Paris often swears by the Porte des Lions entrance. The website notes that "this entrance may be closed for technical reasons" but she's yet to find the doors barred.

Extra note on the Louvre: it's really too vast to cover in a single visit. The nice thing about the Museum Pass is that it allows you unlimited entry to the attractions it covers. This allowed us to break the thing into one long visit and two shorter ones on evenings it was open late (Wed. and Friday) so take advantage of one or both of nights if you can?

Posted by
8240 posts

If you get tickets ahead or have a museum pass you can use bypass lines to enter the Louvre through the carrousel or pyramid entrances. In October our wait at the Carrousel without tickets was about 15 minutes; December is however high season in Paris.

See if the Musee des Arts Forains is open to the public during your time there. It often opens around Christmas to the public:
Our trip was in fall with reservations -- they added us onto a French tour group and the whole thing was in French. My understanding is that it is more generally open around Christmas and that all the rides and booths are functioning.

It is a good time for the opera and such; if you want to go, get tickets ahead.

Be sure to ride the Grande Roue at Concord. The views, at night, from the gondolas on the giant ferris wheel are stunning. I was dubious and it was 10 Euros when I did it, but my nephews wanted to ride so I agreed and was so glad I did. Great photos and just great fun.

Posted by
64 posts

Hi Rashonna,
I am so happy for you! I know this will be a wonderful adventure for you and your family. I've never been to Paris at Christmas, but I'm sure it will be wonderful. The Rive Gauche is my favorite area to stay in Paris. Last time I went, I visited the "menagerie" but that was in late summer, and it might not be the most fun in the cold weather. Happy travels!