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Critique my 5-day itinerary in Paris

Hey all, first time in Paris for my wife and I! We will be spending 5 days in Paris this March and a few days in Barcelona after that. We are pretty adventurous, so we don't mind being on the go. However, we would like to stop and enjoy the Parisian way of life as well here and there. I'm an urban/landscape photographer as well, so I'd love to capture some of Paris' beauty.

Here's my first stab at a 5-day itinerary. I'm doing my best with limited knowledge trying to group sight-seeing together based on location so it's more efficient.

AM: Marais Walk - Place des Vosges, Hotel de Ville, Palais Garnier, Galeries LaFayette
PM : Musee d’Orsay?, Seine River Cruise, Le Crazy Horse Cabaret show

AM: Left Bank Walk/Shop, St. Sulpice Organ prelude
PM : Historic Paris Walk - Ile St. Louis, Saint-Chapelle, Notre Dame, Deportation Memorial, Luxembourg Gardens, Latin Quarter

PM : Lunch @ L'Affineur' Affine, Montmarte Walk - Sacre Couer, dinner @ Chez Toinette

AM: Rue Cler Walk
PM : Eiffel Tower (tickets purchased,) Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysees?, Madeleine area shopping?

AM: Louvre
PM : Montparnasse (sunset)


Posted by
11507 posts

Finally an itinerary thats not unrealistic.. not jammed full.. some time to just wander at will.

I like it.

Only quesiton,, is monday just a day built around two big meals? lol

Posted by
2030 posts

This looks pretty good, but this being your first time, it may be hard to stick to it once you are there and overwhelmed by beautiful Paris. (the whole city is wonderful for taking photos!) Things always take more time than you think, even though they might be close. If you want to spend the better part of a day in a museum, or spend time just aimlessly strolling or sitting in a cafe people-watching, this will be great also.

I suggest not missing: Marais & Place des Vosges, D'Orsay, St. Sulpice, Historic Paris walk, as much of the Louvre as you can do, and the Eiffel Tower of course.
Have a great time.

Posted by
6670 posts

It's a civilized pace you should be able to manage. A few observations:

  • Is Saturday the day you arrive in the morning? If so, you may not have the energy for all those sights.
  • The Opera Garnier is some distance from the Marais, you may want to see it on another day, like Tuesday PM when you're nearby.
  • I can't imagine spending a morning on the Rue Cler (with all due respect to Our Leader). It's a nice pedestrian market street like many others (Mouffetard, Daguerre, .....), any of which are worth a stroll and a café or meal stop, but not half a day. Consider the nearby Rodin Museum garden.
  • By Montparnasse (sunset) I assume you mean the view from the Tour Montparnasse? I like that view as an alternative to the Eiffel Tower, but if you're going up the ET you may not want to do both.
  • Paris Walks offers guided walks of interesting neighborhoods, often with themes like the Revolution, Resistance, etc. You don't need reservations, just show up when scheduled. Working a couple of these into your schedule might be a good way to see places like Montmartre or the Marais or the islands.

And, as we all know full well, assume you will return.

Posted by
1320 posts

On Sunday, you may want to visit the outdoor market at Boulevard Raspail. I'm not sure what Left Bank shops will be open on Sunday morning. Other places to consider are Palais Royale gardens, Musee de l'Orangerie, the outdoor sculpture garden at the Musee Rodin, and Pere Lachaise cemetery. Enjoy!

Posted by
28 posts

Look at Rick's 7-day Paris tour. We had never taken a tour before because we enjoy doing our own thing, but his tour was great. Good guides through the main sights and plenty of free time for on your own. At the least, check his daily schedule and you'll have a great trip.

Posted by
2261 posts

We absolutely loved the Paris Walks we went on, especially Montmartre. Sounds like you have found them-Peter Caine is his name, and he was our guide for Montmartre. There is a great little creperie on Rue Lepic called Lepic Assiette that I highly recommend after your walk. Luxembourg Gardens is a must see if you are taking it easy. The Carnavalet Museum was smaller and very unique and eclectic. PM me if you'd like to see some of my Paris photos. It's a photographer's dream, for sure.

Best, Dave

Posted by
55 posts

Why go to Spain when you have France at your feet. You could side trip to Versailles for a day, take a tour from your hotel of the Loire Valley chateau especially Chambord, or Giverney (Monet's gardens and home-fab if you are a fan) and could get a tour also of Mt. Saint Michael and D Day beaches. Research on Rick's site or Trip Advisor. Or just spend extra time in Paris so you do not feel so rushed. I have been there 4 times and last time I had 5 days---felt very frustrated to leave for the south of France as I can never get enough of Paris.
We spent a half day taking a cooking class at Le Cordon Blue-very nice. Barcelona is wonderful but I would do as a separate trip and combine it with Sevilla-easy to take a Spainair flight within Spain or other cheap airlines. I very much advise the hop on hop off bus. It stops at all the sights and is wonderful as you get a view of all the architecture of Paris. It also helps to save your feet---the metro is great but you do wind up walking a lot changing lines---the Hop on Hop off is worth every penny. Have fun and you made the most romantic choice---you may want to buy your wife a charm to put on a necklace of the Eiffel tower for a memory--easy to find in jewelry stores or online and they sell them at Sainte Chapelle trinket store-hope they have the scaffolding off when you go.

Posted by
123 posts

I don't know about crowds in March, but you may have to account time for waiting in lines. The museums, st. Chapelle, Eiffle Tower all had at least an hour wait when we were there in May.