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6 night July Girl's trip to Paris & Amboise...HELP!!

Bonjour,

I'm sharing our itinerary (as others have) in hopes of getting feedback from "those in the know" to help make this surprise graduation gift for my 18 year old niece...the best ever, as I am the designated "Cruise - Director Julie". I have booked all of the tickets but need help figuring out timing and transportation options. I welcome any assistance!!!

Arrive CDG @ 10:35AM on Wednesday. Need to take taxi to Montparnasse Station to catch the 4:30PM train to Amboise.

Spend (2) nights in Amboise and then catch an afternoon train back to Paris on Friday. Hoping to catch the Friday Farmer's Market there to bring snacks back to Paris. RS has restaurant recommendations for Amboise but if I need to make a reservation, I'm hoping for ideas of where to go.

Friday we return to Paris. We are staying at an apartment in the 14th arrondissement near the Pernety metro station for (4) nights.

Saturday we have Eiffel tower timed tickets (to the top) for 8:00PM on Saturday night, with nothing else planned that day except maybe having a picnic dinner in the park near the Eiffel tower. I have downloaded some of RS's audio tours and plan to take the Notre Dame walk listed in his book.

On Sunday we plan to head out of town since it seems most stores and restaurants are closed. Thinking of catching the 8:15AM train to Vernon and then biking to the Garden at Giverney. I'm conflicted thought because RS says to go the museum before heading to the garden but he also says if I read the museum section of his book we can skip the museum. Not sure my girls feel the same way I do about Monet so we might skip. Hoping to rent bicycles and ride from Vernon to the garden and spend a few hours wandering....I'm a HUGE Monet fan.

Return by train to Paris and visit the Catacombes @ 6:00PM (my 15 year old niece's request).

Monday in Paris is wide open with no plans, except my 18 year old niece wants to get a tattoo and I'd add to my dragonfly tattoo if someone could recommend where. We are all about chocolate and coffee and croissants so any suggestions for the "best of" would be appreciated....oh and I love cheese. Also thinking about going to the Louvre museum gift shop.

We have to return to CDG on Tuesday to catch a 7:30AM flight to FRA so not sure the best mode of transportation. Since we are traveling internationally we would probably have to be there by 5:00AM?

Any and all thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I'm a bit overwhelmed with all the reading I've had to do, and hoping to get more personalized input.

Merci

Posted by
7400 posts

If you’re only leaving Paris on Sunday because you think shops are closed, the large Galerie Lafayette is definitely open. Here’s some info about other shops open on Sunday, and there’s plenty of restaurants open, too:

https://www.tripsavvy.com/open-paris-stores-and-shops-on-sunday-1618854

I always take the RER train to the airport. But if you have several people, you could take a cab.

If you’re interested in Monet, the Orangerie art museum is wonderful and also the top floor of d’Orsay museum for Impressionist paintings!

Posted by
7400 posts

Your niece would probably love to walk the Champ E’lysee, and I highly recommend a night Seine River cruise (not the dinner cruise) .

There’s so many options. Another favorite is walking through the Luxembourg Garden with a gelato from Amorino.

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
7061 posts

I agree that if you're only going to Giverny to get out of Paris on Sunday it's not necessary. I spent 4 Sundays in Paris a few years ago and I had no problem finding things open, especially in the Marais neighborhood where lots of stores and restaurants are closed on Saturday and open Sunday. All of the museums and tourist attractions were open and of course all the parks are open. You could do a Paris Walks walk on Sunday.

However, if you really really want to go to Giverny it's certainly worth the trip. But, just in case it's raining and you decide not to go, you could always spend time in the museums admiring Monet's works, especially l'Orangerie, the D'Orsay, or the Marmottan - all have wonderful Monet collections along with other impressionists.

I'd be a little wary of getting a tattoo while traveling in case there are any complications (infection or other problems).

I'm a little confused, are you going to Frankfurt after Paris? Or is it that your flight from CDG to home goes through FRA.

Posted by
785 posts

This may sounds like heresy in here, but it's always worth reading two different guidebooks on a place.

Amboise is a tricky place to find good food, Chez Bruno and le Parvis would be my recommendations. Because of the influence of a certain guidebook writer, many of the restaurants have been taken over by people who care not a jot about quality as they know a fresh load of US tourist will be arriving the next day.

Posted by
375 posts

We've stayed out in the 14th before and there's lots of shopping (along Avenue General LeClerc), cafes, restaurants. We had a couple of casual meals at a local brasserie (Le Maine Cafe).

Ditto on: L'Orangerie, D'Orsay and not leaving town because it's Sunday. There's often music in the gazebo at Luxembourg Gardens and a lovely little restaurant there. You can watch people, see little kids getting pony rides, watch the locals play pétanque.

And a wonderful ice cream shop right out of the Gardens: Amorino Vavin.

My favorite store in Paris is the BHV...

Take your time and relax into Paris!

Posted by
7501 posts

Do you mean "next Wednesday 7/3/19" or do you mean some Wednesday? This is a hot, crowded, peak time of year. (Aside from sweaty discomfort in an AirBnB, there might be [for example] no bikes left at the Vernon train station.) Do you have the Amboise tickets already? The Loire is lovely, but I would not go so far on a six-day trip. Do you know you have to change trains in St. Pierre des Corps? (That's not hard, it's a small station) Are you coming from the U.S. for six days, or from elsewhere in Europe?

If you have Rick's book, maybe you have made no-car plans for Amboise?

Your question about FRA is confusing. Are you going HOME to FRA or is your second flight to the USA from there? It's really hard to give good advice when you give imprecise information like that. We actually need to know if you have a single ticket for two flights, or if you bought entirely separate tickets for the two flights.

Posted by
5 posts

Wow...what great responses....TYVM! Sounds like we will be consuming sweets at Amorino and walking around the Luxemborg gardens. I really want to see Monet's garden and Sunday seemed like the best day to do it. It might be too busy to get bikes and if so, we'll take the train to the gardens. Thank you Nancy (from Corvallis) for your thoughts about a tattoo. I think we'll think of something else memorable to take home from Paris (by the way I'm originally from Portland).

Tim (from NJ)....Frankfurt is not our final destination. We change planes and fly home to the states after a 1.5 hr layover, which is why it sounds like we will have to take a taxi to the airport, as there are (4) of us and we should probably be at the airport around 5:00AM for an international flight back to the states. Thank you Jean (from Mill Creek - we are just south of you near Redmond) for the suggestion of the RER train but it looks like it doesn't start running until 4:56AM.

We are arriving on the 16th and leaving on the 22nd of July. I'm wondering if a "taxi" is the same as "Uber" in France. We are taking a taxi from CDG to the train station that takes us to Amboise and in some places, Uber can't operate from/to an airport so I'm hoping someone has advice about this.

We are already booked in at Amboise because we wanted to see more of France than just Paris. Simon (from the Loire Valley), should we make a reservation at a restaurant there or just walk and see where we end up? Yes, we will not have a car in Amboise but from what I've read, that's okay because we want to rest up for all the fun we will have in Paris. We are staying at the 16th century manor house called Nazelles. I know it isn't in town but I couldn't resist and looking forward to a dip in the pool. Any additional information you can share about the town and what/where to go would be most appreciated.

Again thank you all so much. You have really helped me..and I'm sure our trip will be more memorable due to your assistance. I look forward to hearing more from you all.

Merci!!

Posted by
8594 posts

macksweet, it seems like a lot of effort to get to Amboise and only spend one day there. Your first, jet lagged day at that.

Posted by
785 posts

Staying at Nazelles without a car Amboise won't really be a concern to you unless you're spending money on the taxi.

Ask your hotel to book a taxi to collect you from the station, but be prepared for it to not arrive: there are only a couple of taxis in Amboise and regular clients and transferring people to the hospital takes precedent. We have had clients who booked a taxi, but an hour after the train arrived they were still at the station waiting - they had rung the hotel for advice and had been told "sorry - there's nothing we can do" (see above reasons). Luckily our cars are insured as taxis, so we can take paying clients so we were able to collect them (we were waiting for them at their hotel anyway).

We never book restaurants when it's just for us (with clients it's different) but we only visit Amboise to dine 2 or 3 times a year, and never in summer. I would probably not book, but you probably should - you dont want to be wandering around town hungry and tored looking for somewhere)

Mo'pak - not really. Many people who claim "jetlag" on a transatlantic flight (if from the east coast) are just tired because they spend all night watching movies on the flight. Same symptoms, different cause.

Posted by
11507 posts

Mack - the taxi from the airport to train station will cost 55 euros - offices taxis ( taken ONLY from the official taxi stand ) have set pricing - the train is 10.50 euros each so for four of you it makes sense to pay a bit more and have door to door service . Write down full address and hand to driver - have “ 55 euros “ written down on paper so driver is aware that you know it’s a set price - most are honest but there is always one you have to watch out for lol

Taxis from Paris to airport do not have set pricing and can run anywhere between 55-70 or so euros , at least at that hour morning traffic won’t be too bad . Call a taxi night before G7 is decent and has English speaking dispatch .

I would totally skip the champs élysées it’s just mostly chain shops / spend time wandering the Marais - it’s so much nicer . and quite a few shops are open on Sunday .

To get Monets gardens it’s the train and a bus - or take a Fat Tire Bike tour - at least the teens will likely enjoy that part ( I enjoyed it more than the gardens myself )

Posted by
4684 posts

Some personal chocolate recommendations:

Jacques Genin - 133 rue de Turenne
Michel Chaudun - 149 rue de l'Universite
Richart - 27 rue Bonaparte or 258 boulevard St Germain (nothing to choose between the two shops)
A l'Etoile D'Or - 30 rue Pierre Fontaine (note: more about traditional French sweets in general than just chocolate, also the proprietress is a bit of a "character" and can sometimes be brusque with non-Francophone customers)

Posted by
5 posts

Bonjour,

Again, thank you all for sharing your thoughts. Some very good ideas here and I've taken your advice and put it to good use. First, I have decided to spend our 3 full days in Paris...relaxing and seeing the sites (the Marais neighborhood, Luxembourg gardens etc.) I will visit the Gardens at Giverney (via Fat Tire bike tours) when I return with my french husband...as his family is from a small town in France and we will be visiting the "romantic" side of Paris soon.

Until the posts here, I did not realize how far the train station is from the Chateau and how far the Chateau is from the town of Amboise. The RS book is a bit deceiving...I just fell in love with the place based on pictures and the reviews that I missed these small details. That being said, I have reached out to see if a car/taxi can provide transportation to and from the station...and hopefully...to get us in to town for the day on Thursday. Hanging out at the Chateau and relaxing will prepare us for the days/nights in Paris. And now that I've taken our Paris days down a notch...we will relax and just enjoy the Paris you all have come to love/enjoy. I've made notes of all of your suggestions and will keep them in mind.

Mo'pak - I've been on trips with Aussies and they explained the same thing. You all have to take at least 3 weeks for vacation because of the distance for you from home. I hope to get to your beautiful island someday and I'll then get to experience the "time travel" you have.

Stan - It was suggested to get out of town for the first couple of days and I am looking forward to seeing France by train. Spending a relaxing (2) nights there should take care of the jet-lag. Now that I know we are so far from town...hanging at the Chateau (with a pool) doesn't sound so bad.

Simon - I'll ask the Chateau staff to help us get a reservation at either Chef Bruno or Le Parvis...and great advise about the taxi/car.

Pat - Great advice about the taxi. I'll definitely do that leaving CDG. What I'm not sure of is how to contact a taxi service. I don't think my AirBnB has a phone. Can I use the UBER app. and get one that way?

Phillip - I've got your list in my phone....so excited!!!

This has been a most informative way to get some of the best thoughts/ideas. You all have contributed so much and our trip will be better for it. Merci!!

Posted by
26 posts

I had great luck with G7- We were able to schedule a taxi in advance when we had to make it to a train station before the Metro started running.

I'm guessing you have timed tickets already purchased for the Catacombs? I hope so.

Second the recommendation for A l'Etoile D'Or. I speak a VERY small amount of French based on 3 years of study in high school (15+ years ago) and some brushing up with the Duo Lingo app. The shop owner (Denise) is a treasure. Hands down one of my favorite experiences on both of my two Paris trips. I walked in, said (in French) hello and that I was sorry I only spoke a little French. She didn't care that I only understood about every 16th word she spoke- she gave us a full tour of her store and her favorite items with such passion. We bought things I'd never heard of (poppy candy? bergamont candy?) as well as the most potent chocolate covered raisins and the best caramels I've ever had.

This was my reference when it came to Paris sweets and bakeries:
https://www.davidlebovitz.com/paris-pastry-shops-chocolate-bakeries-patisseries-french-france/

I haven't kept track of what cheese shops I've been to. I've popped into many in various parts of town and I've never been disappointed.

Posted by
25 posts

I was recently in Paris with my daughter and we stayed at a CDG airport hotel (CitizenM) the night before our flight home. I didn't like giving up a night in Paris, but I'm a nervous traveller when it comes to making flights/trains on time, so it was worth the peace of mind to be close to the airport (the hotels at the airport are a quick walk to the airport train that takes you to Terminals 1 and 2). We took the RER out to the airport. The irony is that our flight was delayed almost 4 hours :( .

to Mo'pak: A direct flight from San Francisco to Paris is about 11 hours, so I think most people experience some degree of jet lag flying from the West Coast.

Posted by
5 posts

Hoping to reach out to Scott here on this forum. Our plane from the states was turned around due to a mechanical problem. They are flying us out again 7 hours later than our original departure time. We missed our train to Amboise but will try and catch a later TGV train after we arrive in Paris. Wondering if Scott could notify Veronique at Chateau de Nazelles that we will be coming in later than expected and if we can still get a ride there. I can check this forum when we land to see what suggestions might appear. I'm afraid to just go there and be stuck at the Amboise station. Need some local help to get our vacation back on track. Merci

Posted by
5 posts

Bonjour. We made it....no worries....life is good. Missed our train so we rented a car and just arrived at our Chateau at 1:30AM local time.

Posted by
5697 posts

Glad to see you made it to your chateau -- but that experience may make you consider sierra2's suggestion to spend your last night at the airport so you will not have to worry about traffic on the way to CDG. We go out to the Ibis after a final delicious meal in Paris and can just walk out to the CDGval shuttle train in the morning, no hassle.