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Critque my Paris itinerary, please.

Since my trips for this year have kind of tanked, I am planning for 2021! We plan to spend a week in Paris, including some time at Disneyland Paris (for dh and dd). We are going in mid/late April 2021. I'd appreciate any input you'd like to share. A few things about us, which may explain some choices:

*Dh and DD are huge DIsney fans. DD has a goal to visit all the Disney parks and has been to Shanghai, so this will be her 4th. Dh is a big DIsney fan. So please don't suggest we eliminate it, because we aren't.

*I'm a big military history buff. I'm very impacted by vising sites I've read about. So I went to Corfu and the island of Jersey because I was a HUGE Gerald Durrell fan in my 20's.

*I loved the book The Seventh Unicorn by Kelly Jones so visiting the Cluny is a big priority for me.

*Dh and I try to wine taste wherever we travel.
*I hate heights. I've tried it.....I've been in the Gateway Arch multiple times, the Space Needle in Seattle and the Tower of America in San Antonio, plus many other similar places. I don't even like being in hotel rooms that are high with the drapes open.

So, here it is (these aren't necessarily in order, just possible plans)
Day 1: arrive mid day, hopefully from a red eye from the West Coast. Take a Seine River cruise in the evening.
Day 2: Cluny Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, Saint Sulpice, Jardin de Luxembourg
Day 3: Louvre, L'Orangerie, walk the Champs D'Elysee
Day 4: day trip to Reims: the cathedral, the Surrender Museum and champagne tasting
Day 5: Holocaust Museum, Picasso Museum, Marais neighborhood wandering around
Day 6: this is a partial day, and I am open for suggestions. I'd like to see the Army Museum. This could be a good day for dd and dh to see the Eiffel Tower, if they want to go up in it and I could do the Army Museum, or something else.

I am thinking we should stay in the 6th or 7th Arrondissement, near the Seine. Does anyone have good suggestions for a hotel? Since there are three of us, I'm not sure what to do. I'm flexible with the cost, since we only have a week or so. What's most important to me is a convenient location. I'd like to stay at about 300 euros for the three of us. However, my budget is more flexible than normal, as my vacation budget isn't being spent like I expected this year.

Am I missing something I will hugely regret? As long as dh gets to go to Disneyland Paris I can plan whatever I want. Dd is also flexible, I think, as long as we do a lot! (She's an active traveler!)

Thank you!

Posted by
8832 posts

, the Space Needle in San Antonio and Seattle

Space Needle- Seattle

Tower of the Americas San Antonio

I am sure you did not mean to spread misinformation

Posted by
29 posts

I was in Paris last year with RS tour. I think that your itinerary looks very good. I'd also include La Conciergerie--it's centrally located in the ile de la cite. I also enjoyed the Pantheon very much--the architecture is incredible, and there's the crypts of some very important figures in the lower level. I stayed an extra couple nights and loved Hotel Britannique. But the truth is there's so many fine hotels in Paris. Bon chance.

Posted by
111 posts

Space Needle- Seattle Tower of the Americas San Antonio

I am sure you did not mean to spread misinformation

Hi Joe,
I changed my post to reflect the significant misinformation I previously posted, in which I noted that the Space Needle was in both Seattle and San Antonio, rather than only in Seattle. I certainly apologize to everyone who viewed this post seeking information on tall towers in American cities on my inaccuracies. I was most definitely not attempting to spread misinformation.

Moving forward, the point of my comment was to share the idea that going up in tall buildings or monuments in Paris wouldn't be at the top of my list for travel planning and why it it wasn't a priority in my itinerary.

Thanks.

Posted by
111 posts

I was in Paris last year with RS tour. I think that your itinerary
looks very good. I'd also include La Conciergerie--it's centrally
located in the ile de la cite. I also enjoyed the Pantheon very
much--the architecture is incredible, and there's the crypts of some
very important figures in the lower level. I stayed an extra couple
nights and loved Hotel Britannique. But the truth is there's so many
fine hotels in Paris. Bon chance.

Thanks Brian I will look at adding La Conciergerie and the Pantheon and I will check out Hotel Britannique.

Posted by
111 posts

My goodness, the Hotel Britannique is the 5th hotel I've checked that has no availability for my dates in April. Nothing available. I am wondering if, even though you can enter the proposed dates, the system isn't set up for reservations yet?

Posted by
2212 posts

I think with the current crisis, and hotels are most likely closed, that you will be unable to see availability this early. I would wait till things open up again.

Posted by
111 posts

I think with the current crisis, and hotels are most likely closed,
that you will be unable to see availability this early. I would wait
till things open up again.

You're probably right, at least for some hotels. I was able to find rates for the Hotel Henri 4 Rive Gauche, which has a triple, and is in our desired location and price range. I'll do some checking for reviews, and it will give me a start.

Posted by
98 posts

Re river cruise - you might want to move this to another day. Attempting evening activities on arrival day are difficult; particularly as you will be coming from a nine hour difference.

Posted by
2042 posts

So it sounds like this is your first trip to Paris.

Day 4. Stay in Paris. No need to leave on your first trip.

Things to consider instead Orsay Museum. I would actually think about doing this with the L'Orangerie instead of on your Louvre day. The Louvre is HUGE and overwhelming... doing another museum after that is exhausting.

For your military history experience do NOT miss this place http://www.museeliberation-leclerc-moulin.paris.fr/ It's fascinating!

Another option is a history walk on the war in Paris. ParisWalks does one, I took it and it was "OK" but I think my guide was just having a bad day. I also took one with another guide, Corey Frye, in the Latin Quarter that was really good showing us exactly where and how the liberation of Paris battles occurred.

For you wine/champagne tasting try O'Chateau in Paris. Lots of cool options.

Be sure to leave time to wander a market and sit and people watch!

For hotels, even major changes only start booking 330 days in advance. You are just WAY too early!

Posted by
3332 posts

The one thing I would critique is going to the Louvre & l’Orangerie on the same day is a bit much. And let me add that I am a museum goer! Yet I wouldn’t go to any museum on the same day I go to the Louvre.

I stayed in a boutique hotel called Hôtel Le Clos Médicis 2 blocks from Luxembourg Gardens. Not only was it a spectacular location as it is the 6th arr abutting the 5th arr but it is 4 minute walk to RER B train that goes to/from CDG. Commuting to/from the airport could not be more convenient.

Next, I would wait to book until at least until ALL travel restrictions worldwide are lifted. April is a great time if you were to travel by the way.

DH/DD. I know that the DH is the designated hitter. DD is Dunkin’ Donuts.

Posted by
5149 posts

Many hotels do not book rooms this far out. You might try emailing them, rather than going to their websites.

I also concur with the suggestions to skip the trip to Reims. We absolutely love Reims, but since you have so little time, you might do better staying in Paris. I also agree with moving the Seine cruise to another evening, or even skipping it. Although... on our last visit to France we joined some friends on a Champagne Seine cruise. I've been on three Seine cruises, and this was by far the best. :-)

Posted by
3699 posts

The military museum at Invalides can appeal to spit-and-polish buffs, but maybe not so much to casual visitors. It's big. Overr the course of recent years the exhibits have been refurbished along the lines of modern museum outreach and experience. A decade ago the displays ran to many assorted uniforms, sort of the clothes-closet approach to storing treasures. https://www.musee-armee.fr/accueil.html#

If you want a day trip on your own, it's a half an hour's train ride from Gare de l'Est to the Musee de la grande guerre in Meaux. The newish museum is dedicated to WW1 (which to the French is the "grand", as in big, war) pays attention to the experiences of foot soldiers and common citizens as well as to the generals and their strategies. Very worthwhile for those interested. https://www.museedelagrandeguerre.eu/

Posted by
111 posts

Thank you to everyone who gave input. I will definitely consider all of the input and work on round 2 of planning. For me, planning is fun, so even though it's early, it makes me happy to consider out choices.
Thanks

Posted by
9898 posts

I 2nd Carol's suggestion of the Resistance Museum. I went last fall (it's free) and it was excellent.

I'm also a fan of the Army Museum, particularly the galleries for WWI and WWII however...this is a huge museum and if you've just got part of a morning and need to meet with your husband and daughter you may be pushed to get thru just the 2 World War galleries. It IS convenient if they are going to the ET while you go do something else. I recommend being very focused here if you have a short amount of time.

Day 2 - I am not sure if this is just a list of what you want to do that day or the order in which you plan to see it. If it's the order, I'd do Cluny, Saint-Sulpice and the Luxembourg Gardens (or the reverse), then move downhill to Notre Dame which you can see from the outside and Sainte-Chapelle. Or start of at Sainte-Chapelle, see the Flower Market at the Cite Metro stop and walk by Notre Dame, then up Rue Saint-Jacques to the Cluny.

Day 3 - I'd have no problem doing the Louvre and Orangerie in the same day if I gave myself a time limit for the Louvre. I can overdo it in there and now try to leave after 2.5-3 hours. Walking thru the Tuileries to the Orangerie on the far end gives your brain a bit of a break. Stop at the Amorino gelato kiosk by the Octagonal Basin, rest your feet by sitting in one of the metal chairs around the pool, then head on to the Orangerie. If the weather is fine, I also like to eat at one of the cafes along the main walk thru the Tuileries. Yes, a bit overpriced and maybe a little touristy but oh gosh, what a setting! April weather can be iffy so you'll have to play this by ear.

Just a bit of trivia....one of the Metro stops for the Eiffel Tower is Ecole Militaire which is the Military School at the end of the long green esplanade in front of the Eiffel Tower. Yes, this is where Napoleon went to school. The green area is the Champ de Mars which is Field of Mars (God of War) and it's where the cadets had maneuvers. I sometimes sit on the benches along here and just think about who when to school there and who would have walked the tree-lined paths. Then you jolt back to the present and are aware of the petition girls and the hordes of tourists, lol! Can you tell Paris is on my mind right now?

Posted by
7694 posts

What is the day for actually going to Disney Paris?

Posted by
111 posts

Thank you for the additional comments/suggestions. I will definitely consider them all.

Pam & Carol, I will look more into the Resistance Museum. That's actually another interest of mine.
Pam: Day 2 (and all the days) are just what to do. They aren't in any order.
Kim: We expect to be at Disney on TH & FRI. We expect to leave Saturday morning.

Thanks.

Posted by
6721 posts

Since you are a war history buff -- are you doing Normandy and the beaches? It would take a couple of days in Bayeux. And an easy day trip from Paris is the Museum of the Great War in Meaux. There are buses from the train station that take you to the museum and back to the train station.

Posted by
9898 posts

"Pam: Day 2 (and all the days) are just what to do. They aren't in any order."

Hahaha...I thought I was being a bit too OCD! Yikes! That grouping of things will work fine for a day's worth of touring!

Quite a bit of the Resistance/Liberation Museum is in English but not all. It took me probably 1.5-2 hours and I am the kind of museum goer who looks at everything. I did not go down in to the tunnel area (claustrophobic) which you sign up for when you enter the museum. I was excited to go to this newly opened museum and found it fascinating. At times the stories were just jaw-dropping- the risks, the bravery, amazing.

I hesitate to add another suggestion but keep it in mind for your next visit, lol. There is a wonderful walk thru Paris Walks on Sunday afternoons with the topic of Paris during the Occupation. I've done it twice and learned new stuff each time. There are also just random interesting things that pop up related to WWII as you walk around Paris. At several places you'll see plaques or niches in walls with memorials to fighters who fell on August 25 as the fight to liberate Paris ensued. At one of the Metro entrances on Place de la Concorde (the one just below the Jeu de Paume Museum) there are I think 4 or 5 niches with small memorials to resistance fighters as well as other places along the Seine. Keep your eyes peeled as you walk around!

Posted by
111 posts

Pam, I will (after I finalize my plans a little more) develop a spreadsheet with morning, afternoon and evening plans. Kind of like you see when you travel on a tour. I find it really helps me figure out what I'm doing and then when we are actually traveling, it helps us see what will happen when we change plans (okay we can do this spontaneously and that's okay, it just means we won't do this).

I did it for the first time a few years ago when I took my mom and a friend of hers to Hilton Head. We flew into Atlanta, visited Charleston and Savannah and I kid you not, every night they would have a glass of wine and read the itinerary for the next day. They LOVED it. And I discovered I did too-it really helped me be realistic about my plans and organize everything.

Posted by
31 posts

About Cluny, a great museum, the problem is that it was already scheduled to be closed for renovation until May 2021, and with the covid lockdown, it will be later...

Posted by
5697 posts

Seine cruise is a must-do for us -- but you can squeeze it in when you have a free hour, no need to book in advance. Afternoons are nice, although an evening cruise to see the illuminated buildings is great too. I am referring to the regular cruise, rather than the pricier dinner cruise. (See many other posts comparing the two options.)
I understand DD and DH are Disney fans, but what about you ? Would splitting up for the day work if your Disney interest is low ??

Posted by
111 posts

About Cluny, a great museum, the problem is that it was already
scheduled to be closed for renovation until May 2021, and with the
covid lockdown, it will be later...

Well, that's what I thought, but on the Cluny website itself it doesn't mention it. If it's not open, I definitely will be disappointed, but I work in education and my timing for trips are pretty specific.

Seine cruise is a must-do for us -- but you can squeeze it in when you
have a free hour, no need to book in advance. Afternoons are nice,
although an evening cruise to see the illuminated buildings is great
too. I am referring to the regular cruise, rather than the pricier
dinner cruise. (See many other posts comparing the two options.) I
understand DD and DH are Disney fans, but what about you ? Would
splitting up for the day work if your Disney interest is low ??

I like Disney as well and want to go. It's just not a deal breaker for me like it is for dh and dd.
I know it's "touristy" but I am a tourist! And I like water cruises when I travel; I enjoyed our canal cruise in Amsterdam and our Sydney Harbour cruise, and all the others I've taken.

Posted by
8 posts

Hi Panda,
I'll just chime in here to agree with everyone who has advised against visiting the Louvre and L'Orangerie on the same day. If you really want to see another museum that day you might consider the Musée d'Orsay, which is much closer to the Louvre -- a 10-15 minute walk across the river. If you like Impressionist art this is a fabulous opportunity to see some phenomenal works.

Good luck! Have a great time.

Pete

Posted by
1156 posts

PandaBear, you also might want to check out A French Frye in Paris on his Youtube channel.
Corey Frye is an American married to a French woman and he is a professional tour guide in Paris. He offers free video tours on Saturday mornings of various neighborhoods. He's up to about 80 separate videos now, but they are all archived on Youtube and easy to find.
He's very knowledgeable as well as personable and I have done some of his in-person tours while in Paris, which I could also recommend, but mostly I am recommending the online stuff since your days will already be so full.