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Day Trip to Paris in May

My husband and I will be taking a day trip to Paris in May – on a Tuesday. We arrive at Gare du Nord approx. 9:30 am. We’ll return there by 6:30 pm for a 7:30 train back to Amsterdam. We have 9 hours in Paris and know this day trip wouldn’t appeal to everyone. (It’s not the way we typically travel, either, but it’s a chance to get a glimpse of Paris!) We’re in our 50’s and capable of extensive walking, but obviously need to be efficient with our limited time so we’re open to traveling around the city by taxi or utilizing the Metro or a bus – what do you think is “best” from our starting point of Gare du Nord? Would it be too rushed to see Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and maybe walk around Montmarte in that time frame? A smaller art museum would be wonderful, too, but I’m guessing we just don’t have the time once we add in a stop for lunch (any suggestions?). We would appreciate any recommendations!

Posted by
12 posts

I'm doing the same thing in May (on a Wednesday) and based out of London. I think you'll have a couple more hours than me and kinda envious of it. I looked at starting at the Arc de Triomphe and working my way back east. Obviously you won't have time to do everything and see the majority of the below but it gives you a starting point to research. Check out the Paris metro and the stops to get you around faster between some of the locations.

Moulin Rouge (metro on the way to Arc)
Arc de Triomphe
Jardins du Trocadéro
Eiffel Tower
Pont Alexandre III
Grand Palais
Place de la Concorde
Musée de l'Orangerie
Jardin des Tuileries
Louvre Museum
Notre Dame

Posted by
117 posts

Was just in Paris in October for the third time, found the Batobus on the Seine the best way to see many sights that are spread out in a short time. It is the hop on hop off boat. It make a circle route from Notre Dame area to Eiffel Tower all day. Take the RER B train from Gare Du Nord to St Michel/Notre Dame (2 stops) View Notre Dame and possibly St Chappelle. Then board Batobus near Notre Dame or Hotel DeVille and ride until you get to the Louvre. View the Louvre, walk in the Tuileries til you get to the Place du Concorde. Pick up Batobus again to Eiffel Tower. Batobus turns around near Eiffel Tower and the next stop is the Musee D'orsay. Eventually you will get back to Notre Dane and the RER B back to Gare du Nord.

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you, Lynn! The Batobus sounds like a great option for us and I really appreciate the details you've provided on accessing it from Gare du Nord. Crump - we may not have much time in Paris (9 hours for us and 7 for you), but I have a feeling even just our few hours will be very rewarding. :) Enjoy your visit and thank you for the suggestions!

Posted by
95 posts

With that limited amount of time, I would simply take taxis everywhere. It's really not that expensive and will maximize your time. I wouldn't spend a single minute waiting for a bus or metro. I would head for Notre Dame first because the longer you wait the longer the line is going to be.

Also, I would not bother going up on the Eiffel Tower. If you're ON the Eiffel Tower you can't be looking at it. Going up means you have a view of Paris that doesn't include the tower. With that in mind, you should have enough time to then walk around the Marais.

Posted by
12 posts

melodyesch - Did not even think about reversing my trip and starting with Notre Dame first! You are so right, the lines will be crazy towards the end of the day and might miss out with having to get back to Gare de Nord.

Lynn - Will have to look at the Batobus as well. Thanks for the info.

Wendy - Enjoy your time in Paris as well!

Posted by
5777 posts

Batobus would be a good strategy for you, I think. I'd suggest a taxi to whatever first stop appeals to you -- say Place St-Michel near Notre Dame -- and then use the boat as your all-day shuttle. A one-day pass costs 17 euros. You get the scenic benefits of a traditional river cruise, though not the narration. You can also do a lot by just walking, like to the base of the ET or into the Latin Quarter or Marais or to the Arc de Triomphe. I agree with the other poster that going up the ET might not be an efficient use of time. You can go up the Arc with little delay for a good overhead view. Montmartre might be "a bridge too far" on a one-day trip though. Hopefully you'll have good weather and you can minimize what you have to carry.

Another taxi -- or Metro or RER -- back to Gare du Nord allowing plenty of time to make that return Thalys -- keeping in mind that you'll be going through the worst of evening rush hour by whatever means.