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Eight nights in Paris in July - Itinerary feedback appreciated

Hello! We will be staying in the 7th arrondissement in July, and would really appreciate feedback about our itinerary so far:

July 8th: train from Nice to Paris, check in, and do a tour in a Citroën 2CV (perhaps by 4 Roues Sous 1 Parapluie)

July 9th: walk from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde, shop in the 8th arrondissement, walk through Place Vendôme, walk by the Opera Garnier, and hopefully see and ascend the Eiffel Tower that evening

July 10th: Orsay Museum, Rodin Museum, and the Catacombs

July 11th: Versailles and do the King's Private Apartments tour

July 12th: Louvre, Place des Vosges, Maison de Victor Hugo, and hopefully back to the Louvre again at night

July 13th: Orangerie Museum, go through the Tuileries Garden, Cluny Museum, Luxembourg Gardens, and then at night back to the Tuileres Garden for the funfair

July 14th: see the Arc de Triomphe with the French flag sometime in the morning or afternoon and go to the fireworks at Champ de Mars

July 15th: Notre Dame, Sainte-Chappelle, walk by the Conciergerie, Place Dauphine, and Pont Neuf

July 16th: check out and fly to Glasgow

Here are other things I would like to try to do but I am unsure if there will be time: see the Pantheon, walk by Saint-Étienne-du-Mont (next door to the Pantheon), walk by or see inside Les Invalides, see the Jardin du Palais Royal, Square du Vert-Galant, Jardin des Plantes (with the zoo), Sacré-Cœur, Père Lachaise Cemetery, and Château de Fountainbleu.

My goals are to see these sights but to have a very relaxing, fun visit, so I have been hesitant to add more than a few sights per day. Thank you for reading and for any comments you may have.
- Adrienne

Posted by
174 posts

Adrienne: My impression is that you are trying to do too much, and will be exhausted and/or will not get much out of the various visits. But my general philosophy is to do things slowly, and try to enjoy them slowly. I find part of the beauty of Paris is simply stopping in cafes and bistros and watching the people Bear in mind that you (hopefully) will have a chance to revisit Paris in the future, and can save some of the sites for later enjoyment. Peter

Posted by
3122 posts

The good thing about your itinerary is that you've obviously researched a great many locations in Paris and listed the ones that interest you. The bad thing is that you'll be rushing from one to the next, with inadequate time to appreciate each one. It's easy to underestimate how much time and energy it will take to make your way from one to the next, so that what looks like 6 hours of carefree tourism can turn into a stressful 10- or 12-hour day.

I'd advise trimming it down to the sights you're really most keen to see, perhaps with "optional" destinations as a fallback on a day when you're feeling very energetic.

At Versailles, I highly recommend the Private Apartments tour or any of the other "visites guidees" that take you to areas not open to general visitors. The regular entrance and rooms such as the Hall of Mirrors will be mobbed, especially in July -- you may not be able to see anything except the tops of other people's heads. Since you've wisely allowed yourself a whole day at Versailles, take time to go out into the gardens. There's plenty to see out there, including the Grand Trianon, Petit Trianon and Hameau de la Reine, if you give yourself time to walk the distances (or rent a golf cart).

Posted by
195 posts

Thank you for responding... what would you omit? I think the busiest days would be July 9th (the window-shopping and Eiffel Tower day) and maybe July 13th.

Posted by
5697 posts

Adrienne, I keep a list of "things to do/see on a later trip" on my phone -- with luck, they get checked off (eventually) but they're not forgotten. And some things get repeated -- like the Seine boat trip from Pont Neuf, Notre Dame, Louvre, Monoprix. So if we miss a sight, well, it just gets added to the list for the next trip and we enjoy what we DO see.
Don't forget to take some time at a sidewalk cafe to just enjoy being in Paris.

Posted by
3392 posts

You are trying to see A LOT but most of your days are doable.
Except the 10th...there's no way you can see the Orsay, Rodin, and the Catacombs in one day. The only way you can pull this off is if you do cursory walkthroughs of the museums, just seeing specific things and then leaving.
Maybe move one of the museums to the 14th when you don't have too much planned? They will both be open on Bastille Day.
If you want to see The Pantheon, it's right up the street from the east entrance of Luxembourg Gardens - so maybe try to fit it in on the 13th.

Posted by
9 posts

Hi: While I appreciate your ambition, this itinerary would be tough for a teen-ager in great shape. :-)

You need to allow time for crowds, for traveling (bus, Métro, walking), for deciding to stop and have an espresso in a café ... One of the beautiful things about Paris is the chance to live life a different way: slowly, and with time to savor experiences.

I'm an American who moved here permanently in 2017 for just that reason.

A couple of notes:
- You will need to make a reservation for the Eiffel Tower. That's a must. Don't count on just showing up and being able to get in.
- It's really difficult to take in more than one museum in a day unless you plan to run around, see one or two famous works, and then rush to the next museum.
- Allow time for wandering, as I noted above. Paris is about so much more than the sights.
- I live in the Marais, which is a really fun place to explore -- like rue de Bretagne and south of there, including Place des Vosges

Posted by
195 posts

Anita - thank you for your input.

"Except the 10th...there's no way you can see the Orsay, Rodin, and the Catacombs in one day. The only way you can pull this off is if you do cursory walkthroughs of the museums, just seeing specific things and then leaving. Maybe move one of the museums to the 14th when you don't have too much planned? They will both be open on Bastille Day."

The day I planned to see the Orsay and Rodin is a Wednesday, and the Rodin should be open until 8:45pm on that day. I have read that I should spend about four to five hours at the Orsay and about two hours at the Rodin. Do you think that is an appropriate amount of time? I think that I will probably move the Catacombs to July 14th, if we do that at all.

Posted by
9429 posts

I agree w everyone, that your itinerary is way too much. In July it will very likely be very hot which makes everything much more challenging. As others have said, the very best experience in Paris is not the sites, it is walking around exploring, spending time in parks (Luxembourg Gardens is my favorite) and sitting outside at cafés absorbing it all, people watching and relaxing. Always assume you will be back.

Posted by
195 posts

I do like the idea of wandering around a little bit, but the idea of sitting in a cafe and people watching for more than a few minutes isn't my cup of tea... and with two teenagers, this will just mean they will pull out their phones out of boredom. I wouldn't blame them, either. I think we would prefer to actively do things, rather than sit around.

Posted by
776 posts

With two teenagers, you might want to consider the activities at the parc de la Villette

Have a look and see what you think. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parc_de_la_Villette

The swimming pools might be set up at the time of your visit. Unlike lots of Paris in July, this area, well out of the center, isn't overly crowded except for a couple of attractions.

Posted by
9429 posts

Adrienne, good point. In that case, do as much of your list as you comfortably can and don’t stress about what you run out of time for. Allow time for serendipity because that’s usually the best part of a trip.

My son has grown up going to Paris/Europe for the summer every year, or every other year, and he has always loved Paris best. He’s a world traveler now, but he’s looking forward to spending 2 wks in Paris in Oct... it never gets old for him as there are always so many fun things to do no matter what age you are. Hopefully your teenagers will really enjoy it too!

Posted by
31 posts

You mention that you plan to 'walk by' several place. One thing that we did upon arriving was to take a sightseeing tour bus. The tour place is next to the Louvre. You get headphones that plug into the seat for the audio part of the tour. They take you around to many of the major sites/sights. If you do this early in your trip, you might decide that you don't need to go back to certain places (having seen it on the bus was good and it was enough). If you do this, you might be able to hit several places that can come off of the list and save time in the process. Then, you could do some rearranging of your remaining schedule. It would mean some flexibility to rearrange your plans upon arrival but that shouldn't be too bad (unless you have made reservations for things). I recommend the tour bus but with a warning. We did this on our first day there - jet lag was a challenge and we struggled to stay awake during the tour. :-)

Posted by
195 posts

I think that our approach will be to do what we can do and have fun with our day. I think we have enough energy to do a lot of these things, and then we can rest and sleep at night to recharge for the next day. July 14th will be a very laid-back day as well.
Carson, I like the idea of a tour bus, but instead we are going to do that in a tiny clown car (just the three of us and one driver) on the first night.

Posted by
143 posts

Hi,

I think it is good that you have a detailed itinerary of what you want to do. If you feel like you want to skip something while you are there, great; but the opposite "what are we doing today?" I don't like because time is wasted researching things, research that could have been done at home. I am not one to stay in a cafe and watch people either. My only downtime use to be lunch or when traveling by train. I don't like relaxing vacations but busy ones (BUT I had to change when I started traveling with my children who are still young and there is a charm to spend the afternoon in the Luxembourg garden). So if you are anything like me, by all means follow your itinerary.

If you are active, I highly recommend the bicycle tour called Paris Charms and Secrets.

Also maybe I missed it but I don't see a Seine River cruise... super fun and you see so many of the sights. There is one company that you take at Notre Dame and drops you off at the Eiffel tower. You could go up and then take the boat back. Make sure you get your tickets for the Eiffel tower long in advance. If you are sport oriented, you guys can climb up to the second floor. To the third floor is only access by an elevator that you can take from the second floor or the bottom of the tower.

Posted by
8293 posts

I think you could forego the July 9 walk from the Arc de Triomphe and just take the bus down to Pl de la Concorde, but go to the top of the Arc while you are there. Far more interesting than a walk down the Champs Élysées, in my not very humble opinion.

Posted by
195 posts

Arya - I definitely want to do a Seine river cruise and I have researched a couple of those, but I honestly wasn't sure I would have time with all of the other things I want to do! That is very high on my list of things to try to do.

Posted by
598 posts

I recommend that you try to keep things as flexible as possible. Maybe arrange your days so you start the week with the outdoor activities in case it rains later in the week. Maybe put the most important sight of each day first so if you stop for ice cream or a Ferris wheel or lunch you aren't stressed out at missing something really special to you.

I second the recommendation of a Seine cruise. Vedettes du Pont Neuf has a hour cruise that gives you a break off your feet and fits nicely into your Notre Dame day.

Depending on how much your family loves art versus climbing stairs to marvelous views, you might swap out a museum to spend a morning climbing the towers of Notre Dame. Download the "out of the line" app in advance (might be called Duck the LIne), book your climb at 7:30 am when the site opens for that day's reservations, and show up at the time you book. If you don't have a smart phone (or your hotel doesn't have wireless) there are kiosks along the left side of the cathedral. Don't be confused by the fact that the French word for tower is "tour".

Posted by
195 posts

Martin, thank you for your recommendation about keeping the weather in mind. I tentatively "scheduled" certain sights on specific days of the week based on when they are known to be less busy, but I certainly wouldn't want to shop or see a garden while its raining, so everything has to be kind of tentative. The only two things that are firm will be when we go to the Eiffel Tower and Versailles, because I will be purchasing those tickets months in advance.

I love your idea about doing a Seine cruise on the Notre Dame day, because I wasn't sure when I could fit that in!
If my joints would permit me, I would definitely climb the Notre Dame tower, but I have rheumatoid arthritis, and so I have limitations - walking is generally fine, but climbing will really hurt.