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8 night Paris Trip (May)

Hello All, looking for a bit of advice on my planned itinerary. My wife has never been to Europe. I have been to Paris once before about 10 years ago in the dead of winter.

Here's the plan:
Day 1 (Saturday): Arrive in Paris after overnight from O'hare (arrival about 1030am)
Train to Bayeux via Gare Saint-Lazre at around 330pm
Overnight in Bayeux

Day 2 (Sunday): D-Day Tours
Overnight in Bayeux
D-Day Tours (thinking 2 day tour)
Overnight in Bayeux

Day 3 (Monday):
2nd day of D-Day tour
Train back to Paris
Overnight in Paris

Day 4 (Tuesday)
Explore Paris
Overnight in Paris

Day 5 (Wednesday)
Day Trip to Giverny
Explore Paris
Overnight in Paris

Day 6 (Thursday)
Day Trip to Versailles
Explore Paris
Overnight in Paris

Friday-Saturday
Explore Paris

Sunday
Depart

Please let me know if you have any advice on where to stay or any changes to the above plan. Thank you!

Posted by
774 posts

For your first or almost-first trips to Paris, I would suggest you plan to spend more time in Paris. Once you get there, if you want to head out of the city, then you can add on a day trip to Giverny and/or Versailles. Of course, it depends on your interests. I've never been to Giverny, but my mom has - she likes gardens, and that's why she went. Is that your interest in Giverny and Versailles?

We like staying in the St. Germain area (6th Arrondisement); it's centrally-located to a lot of places, and has many cafes and restaurants.

Posted by
7327 posts

I actually think this is a good itinerary. Of course you can do many things differently, but I think this is good. Versailles and Giverny are well worth day trips. There's not enough time in Paris but it gives you a taste and hopefully you can return!

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks for your responses!

My wife is not a museum Person, why I cut down on Paris a bit.

I am a huge WWII buff and have always wanted to visit Normandy, hence spending two nights in Bayeux. We are debating not going to Versailles at all, think we will save that for when we go back again. My wife has specifically requested to visit Giverny because of Monet's Garden.

I knew we would be fine if we spent all 8 night in Paris but I really want to make that Trip to Normandy. We will be back again I am sure.

Posted by
7327 posts

I love Paris and Normandy and am also very into WWII history so I understand you wanting to go there. But Paris is much, much more than museums. I just spent 15 days there and only went to one, the Orsay for a few hours. My favorite thing to do is leisurely walk along the river or through a neighborhood (the Marais is my current favorite) and explore, go in shops, outdoor markets, parks, take photos and spend plenty of time sitting outside at cafés relaxing and people watching. I don't go to tourist sites anymore and you don't have to go to any either to have a fabulous time in Paris.

Posted by
741 posts

Pretty ambitious but realistic, I think. We had only a day trip to Normandy and I wish we'd been able to do more. Bayeux is very pleasant and well worth more time than we had. Take an hour to see the famous Bayeux Tapestry. It's one of the most well-presented historical artifacts I've ever seen.

As for Versailles, we enjoyed strolling around the gardens more than the palace, which is hideously crowded. I'm glad we went, but if you had to skip something, it would be a candidate.

If your wife loves Monet, do make the "Water Lillies" room at the Orangerie a priority. The impressionist collections there and at the Orsay were highlights for me.

I think it looks like a great trip. Enjoy!

Posted by
7124 posts

You might want to arrange your schedule around a 4 day Paris Museum Pass - Wed to Sat.
Note the applicable late closing times so you can extend your days.
This let's you enjoy a proper restaurant lunch, and then perhaps a late evening snack with wine in a bistro.

Day 4 (Tuesday)

Day Trip to Giverny


Day 5 (Wednesday)

Paris Museum Pass - Day #1
Louvre
 (Closes late at 9.45pm)

Day 6 (Thursday)

Paris Museum Pass - Day #2
Musee d'Orsay

 (Closes late at 9.45pm)

Day 7 (Friday)
Paris Museum Pass - Day #3
Day Trip to Versailles

Day 8 (Saturday)

Paris Museum Pass - Day #4
Pompidou Centre (Closes late at 10pm)

Posted by
9454 posts

I would do one day trip, either Versailles or Giverny. More time in Paris, sans museums, is in order. Paris Walks does some amazing and enjoyable tours and Paris by Mouth offers gastronomic diversions. The gardens in Paris are also grand. We loved Les Jardins des Plantes. It was peaceful and uncrowded when we were there last year.

Posted by
4 posts

This is wonderful, thank you everyone for the responses....

Susan, this describes my wife... "my favorite thing to do is leisurely walk along the river or through a neighborhood (the Marais is my current favorite) and explore, go in shops, outdoor markets, parks, take photos and spend plenty of time sitting outside at cafés relaxing and people watching"

Thank you again everyone, I am enjoying the responses.

Posted by
7327 posts

jc, then your wife will be in heaven! Paris is the perfect place to wander and explore. That's the "real" Paris for me.

Have you chosen where to stay in Normandy? We've stayed at Hotel d'Argouges in Bayeux 6 or 7 times, for a week each time, and we love it. Highly recommend. It's in the center of Bayeux, a very charming and friendly town, and close to DDay sites.

Posted by
4 posts

We are indeed staying at Hotel D'Argouges.

I have quite a few Hyatt Points so we are staying at the Hotel du Lourve Hyatt for the first 3 nights in Paris. Not the greatest I hear but we won't be spending much time in the hotel. The last 3 nights will be spent in Hotel Malte - Astotel

Posted by
7327 posts

Good choice with Hotel d'Argouges!

Hotel Malte-Astotel is highly rated on TripAdvisor so I think you're in for a real treat. Both hotels in Paris are not in my favorite neighborhoods but both hotels will be very nice. Right behind Hotel du Louvre, at the entrance to the Palais Royal, is Café Nemours... I love this café and go out of my way (and out of my favorite neighborhoods) to eat here. Try it and see what you think... : )

Posted by
194 posts

I think your plan sounds good, and I applaud you for the time you've allotted in Bayeux. I was there in October for my 5th visit, and I never tire of it. There is so much to see and do in Bayeux that you might think about only a 1/2 day D-Day tour after the full day one (though, hopefully you've booked already), to see the tapestry, the Battle of Normandy museum, the British cemetery, the journalist memorial, the cathedral...
As others have suggested I would cut out Versailles for this trip. For a non-museum fan I would suggest the Rodin garden outside the museum - it really is lovely. Be sure to include some time for strolling through some markets or market streets - gather makings for a picnic.

Posted by
7327 posts

You and your wife might enjoy rue Mouffetard in the 5th arrondissement. It's my favorite market street. Best to go before noon and not on a Monday.

Posted by
216 posts

I think it's sounds like a perfect itinerary.

I highly recommend Macéo which is just north of the Palais Royale. Excellent, fancy food. Not too expensive for lunch

Enjoy!

Sandra

Posted by
12139 posts

"...a huge WW2 buff...." Do you want to see Rommel's HQ, ie,the HQ for Army Group B in 1944, since you'll be in the vicinity in Giverny? . Rommel's HQ was at La Roche Guyon, which is parallel to Giverny. If you have a car going out to Giverny, then it's easy to get to La Roche Guyon., the chateau on a hill.

Posted by
7791 posts

Just this morning I did a wonderful Paris Walks tour called Paris During the Occupation. Brad was extremely knowledgeable and the walk was great. There is another tour with Paris during WWII which he does as well. If either is being presented when you are there it is an excellent use of time.

Posted by
4304 posts

Looks like a good plan. You're wise to give Normandy the time it deserves instead of trying to "see it all" on a stressed-out day trip from Paris. I found the Bayeux Tapestry fascinating, depicting sort of a much lower-tech D-Day in reverse. And a useful reminder that it's the winners who write the history.

I too would recommend skipping Versailles on this trip, since otherwise you'll have only three full days in Paris itself. Make that four.

Posted by
1043 posts

I am a World War II buff as well. You will not be sorry that you are spending two days visiting Normandy. When I was in Paris, I took a 12+ hour tour from Paris to the invasion beaches. I wished I could have stayed longer. I think my visit there was the highlight of all the places I have visited in Europe. Walking along Omaha Beach and visit the cemetery there was something I will never forget.

Posted by
455 posts

Ditto to spending two nights (at least) in Normandy if that is your interest. I have visited five times, four for a week each, and I'm still going back this year. Personally, I have never been to Versailles. I love castles, museums and grandeur, but the descriptions of the horrendous crowds and lines at Versailles have conspired to keep me from allotting my precious vacation time to standing around looking at other tourists' backs.