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Feedback for 1-week itinerary in Paris please

We are taking a 1-week trip to Paris in June 2017. I know it's early but I like to plan ahead, plus reading and researching is so much fun!

We are a family of 4, two college age kids. We have been to Paris for a 2-day whirlwind trip before where both kids fell sleep during the seine cruise and HOHP tour. : ( This time I am trying to include everyone's interests yet not cram too many activities. The more I read, the more places I want to visit. Could you take a look at my plan and see if I am going in the right direction - that it's organized and doable? Thank you!

Sunday - arriving early CDG. No specific plan. Check-in to apartment in Montparnasse. Get groceries and oriented to the neighborhood. Maybe go to Edgar-Quinet craft market.

Monday - Trocadero, go up Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysee, Orangerie Museum.

Tuesday - Notre Dame Tower (may revisit Cathedral and Saint Chapelle if line not too bad), Il Saint Louis and Marais walking tour

Wednesday - Opera Garnier, Latin Quarter (Pantheon and Cluny)

Thursday - Bastille Market (with rue Crémeux), Pere Lachaise or Army Museum, Rodin Museum, Climb up Eiffel Tower

Friday - Musee des arts et metiers, Pompidou, covered passages, Louvre (opening late)

Saturday - Flea market at Port de Vanves, Montmartre

Posted by
565 posts

Looks good up until Thursday, which is way too busy, as well as Friday. Don't plan on doing more than 2 activities each day, especially museums, which can be exhausting just from the crowds.

Everyone needs to come up with one activity they simply cannot think of missing, and the rest will have to be a compromise, because I guarantee you, with four people, you will not be able to do all the activities listed here.

Posted by
1186 posts

It is never too early to plan a week's vacation to Paris or anywhere else. I would say you list all the things you want to see and do and do what you can and don't rush it. If you don't go to everything, well that's ok. You saw what you can and enjoyed seeing it and made sure you enjoyed it. It seems like you are planning to see things as close by as possible, which is good so that you don't run around going from place to place and waste time traveling.

I agree, going to three museums on Friday is too much. The Louvre is the most you really need in one day! It is tiring to stand and walk about the museums and you don't want to be tired when you go to the Louvre. You may be able to fit in the Pompidou on Wed if you really want to see that. You do need to make reservations or risk standing in a long line for the Eiffel Tower, so that will determine what you do that day and what time you get to see the top of the Tower. On the day you go to the Eiffel Tower even if you don't go to the top, you should go to the Rodin Museum and the Army Museum and Les Invalides where Napoleon is buried and of course the Army Museum is conneted to it. They are all in the same area so that is time saving as to getting from place to place. You should also go to the Trocadero which is right across the Street from the Eiffel Tower on the same day.

Mondays, many museums are closed, but you have a light day on Monday. The Orangerie is my favorite and allow at least 2 hours but it is a small museum. The top floor is the rooms with the Huge water lilly paintings by Monet and the first floor are the rooms with the other paintings. It won't take you all day to see it but it will take some time. You should look into getting the museum pass which covers the Arc De Triomphe and you might consider during it both during the day and the evening as it has a wonderful view. You may be able to add more things to do on Monday like the passages which I loved.

The Pere Lachasie is wonderful and is a train ride away but there is nothing else nearby and you need to go on a good weather day and it does take time to see. I did it and spend all morning seeing it. Takes time to walk around.

If you want to see Saint Chapelle you might consider going to a concert one night held there and it is an hour and lovely. The Pantheon is very nice ( I liked seeing it as I saw the one in Rome and wanted to compare) and the Cluny is nearby. The Cluny too is a small museum but worth while.

You have your list and then things change, you see other things, you have time for nice lunch in Rue Cler or other places. It will be wonderful. Have a safe fun trip.

Posted by
779 posts

Of course (except for tickets you purchase ahead of time) you can change your plans once you're there.

Consider visiting Notre Dame on your arrival day; if you arrive early, you'll have time to do so, it will be something more active to help your bodies adjust. But the tower and Saint Chapelle are likely to be busier on a Sunday.

When you visit the Arc de Triomphe, "devote" some time to people-watching all the other people taking pictures of people in front of the Arc, and of the cars whizzing around the Arc. it's great fun to watch, especially when someone is riding their bicycle through the chaos.

I think you could fit in another major activity on Monday; the Arc and walking on the Champs won't take a huge amount of time. And the Orangerie won't either, as it's not a huge museum.

The Palais Garnier is not close to the Latin Quarter. But unless you're shopping, the Palais is not real close to other sights.

I agree that your Thursday is too packed, especially as the Bastille Market is not real close (except for Pere LaChaise) to anything else you're planning for that day.

Friday is also very packed - one huge museum, one large museum, and the Musee des arts et metiers.

Saturday, Montmartre. On the plus side, Montmartre will be lively on a weekend day. On the negative side, it will be PACKED.

Posted by
308 posts

I think Friday is doable considering the Louvre is open until 10.

Posted by
48 posts

Thank you all for the suggestions. That gives me something to think about and rearrange (and cut) the activities. It is one thing to look at the guidebook and map to plan, and another to try to imagine what the day will look like. I have the tendency to over-plan, so this vacation I am determined to relax more.

For Thursday, if we drop Pere Lachaise, is it still too much to visit Army and Rodin after the market? We are planning to climb the stairs for the Eiffel Tower. That should give us some flexibility without a timed entrance.

Is it possible to do Montmartre and Louvre in the same day without feeling rushed? we can go to Montmartre Friday morning and get to Louvre mid-late afternoon. I think we max out of any museum after 3-4 hours.

Should I move Opera Garnier to Monday? Maybe I should make a magnetic board to plan the activities : )

Thank you so much!

Posted by
1186 posts

You still have to wait in line to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. So it would be better to have a timed ticket. You will and I could be wrong, depends on the lines, wait in long line and they could be long or short. But it is the most popular site. What may happen is the line is too long but you do get to see the Tower without going to the top and that is fine too. But don't think just because you plan to walk up that you will get in faster. I don't recall seeing stairs to go to the top all the way, you do have to take an elevator. You can take the stairs in Arc de Triomphe and not the elevator but not the Eiffel Tower.

As you said, it is hard to plan a day, so you have your list and you start in the morning with a museum or a very important site and you work you day out from there. The best thing is to know what you want to see and do and what is nearby when you finish one museum or site or walking tour and then if there is no time, you do it the next day or not at all. But you know where things are and if they are close by so that you are not wasting time on the subway.

Do make sure the museums are open the days you want to go and are not closed. You may want to check into where you think you want to eat a head of time for dinner and make reservations a few weeks out or from your hotel during the week as resturants are small and it is helpful to have reservations.

Have a great time.

Posted by
1635 posts

A lot of travelers like to plan out their activities in advance and try to stick to a schedule. And that's fine. Personally, though, I find that I do better when planning no more than a day at a time. I make a list of all the things I want to see, make note of any closing days (or activities that are limited to a specific day of the week) and then I decide what to do the first day. Based on how each day goes, I plan the next. As much as I love art museums, it can be easy to burn out on them if I do too many in a short span. Sometimes I'll exit a site and decide I'm really not in the mood for whatever was next on my schedule, so I rearrange things at the spur of the moment.

I'm not necessarily suggesting that you take this approach, but it's worth considering, especially since you have two generations. Are you open to letting your kids either plan some of the time for the family or go off on their own and do things that appeal to them?

By the way, you mention the flea market in Montmartre. If you like flea markets, my favorite in Paris is Les Puces de Saint-Ouen. Take the Metro to Porte de Clignancourt, and it's right there.

Posted by
9101 posts

I have a similar style as Lane, I make a prioritized list and adjust constantly. I do think your plans are reasonable, especially with the adjustments from the helpful feedback you've already gotten. I love Paris and for me it is very important to spend at least half my time there in parks (Luxembourg Gardens) and cafés and just walk and explore neighborhoods. Too many sights makes me feel like I haven't really experienced Paris.

I think the Army museum and the Rodin after the Bastille market is very doable. And the Louvre, when t's open late, after Montmartre also very doable.

I love the flea market at Clignancourt but it is huge and overwhelming. The flea market at Vanves (which is on the opposite side of Paris from Montmartre) is small and super nice and not overwhelming at all - it's just right. I think that's a good choice.

Ile St. Louis is my favorite neighborhood, so don't drop it from your list... : ) But make sure you walk all the island, not just the small touristy area in the first half of the main street (rue St. Louis en l'Ile). And make sure to eat some Bertillon ice cream!

Posted by
48 posts

Thank you all for the helpful advice! I didn't realize I must have mild OCD until I started planning this trip. I have to stop myself from wanting to plan every detail. Thank you for the encouragement to take time to relax and enjoy Paris. It's interesting looking back at our family vacations, what's most memorable were the unplanned wanders. I will take the advice and make a list of what we really want to see and make a sublist of what's nearby. The rest of the family really wants to take the stairs to the 2nd level of Eiffel Tower so I guess line or no line that is what we will do - I'd rather take the elevator any time. LOL. Since we are staying in Montparnasse, the market in Vanves is closer and smaller too. I would love to fit Palais Garnier in somehow - will see if it happens once we get there.

That said, I cannot help but still make a "flexible" daily plan that is subject to change due to jet lag, weather, or interest. It just makes me feel more secure. : ) Please let me know if it looks better. Thank you!

Monday: Musee Metiers, Arc - Champs Elysee - Orangerie

Tuesday: Notre Dame Tower, Marais Walking tour

Wednesday: Latin Quarter, Luxembourg Garden

Thursday: Bastille Market, Army Museum, Rodin Museum, Eiffel Tower

Friday: Montmartre, Louvre in the evening

Saturday: Flea market in Vanves

Posted by
7175 posts

It's good that you are trying to keep your focus on a different neighbourhood for each day. Slot in the appropriate sights for each area so you avoid time consuming trips across Paris.

Monday: Right Bank
Tuesday: Marais
Wednesday: Latin Quarter
Thursday: the 7th
Friday: Montmartre

Posted by
2466 posts

The Thursday market at Bastille doesn't have as many vendors as the one on Sunday does, so it won't take too long to see what's there. You should get there around 10 AM, and it will take you about 45 minutes to visit all the stands. The whole thing starts shutting down around 12:30 - 1 PM, because the street cleaners have to do their thing.

Rue Cremieux is just a short little street with colorfully-painted small apartment buildings.

If I were you, and if you're interested in open-air street markets, I'd skip the Thursday Bastille market and instead go to Marche Aligre, which is not too far from rue Cremieux. Marche Aligre has a covered market, as well as several streets full of food, and other shops and interesting restaurants radiating off from this area.

Posted by
15450 posts

Things that you should consider:

  1. Most supermarkets and grocery shops are closed on Sunday. Know before you go if there are any open near your apartment - the owner should be able to give you info, but check with the store's website.
  2. Sunset in June is well after 9 p.m. You won't see the beauty of Paris after dark until 10 p.m. or later. The, for instance, Eiffel tower starts to light up about 15-20 minutes after sunset and the first "twinkling on the hour" isn't until 11 p.m.
  3. Good things to do at sunset - a Seine cruise (Les Vedettes du Pont Neuf is very good), a concert at Sainte-Chapelle, watch the lights go on over the city (and the Eiffel Tower) from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
  4. Try to get a handle on how long you'll need/want at major sites. And accept that just about everything will take longer than you think and spontaneous choices are sometimes necessary, whether it's "popping" into a sight you're passing or plopping down at a cafe to rest and reset.

The Louvre is huge. They have a great deal of information on their website. Figure out what you most want to see there and where they are in the museum. One way to see it is through a self-guided tour - look at the "Thematic Trails" section on the website.

Posted by
3948 posts

A gentle reminder that your college-age "kids" are adults, or close to it, in Paris. It will be nice to see the city through their fresh eyes, if they make their share of the decisions after doing their share of the research. Maybe the two generations can agree that there will be times to go separate ways so everyone is happier.

Posted by
2565 posts

Saint Chapelle is stunningly beautiful and my favorite site in Paris. You could easily do it on Wednesday. Do it first thing in the morning because the lines can be long. Even if you have a museum pass, you still have to go through the security line. Or as someone else suggested, you could do a concert at night. It's pricey but worth it. Pick a time before sunset so you can enjoy the stained glass.

Posted by
1825 posts

Your itinerary is good in theory but in reality is more of a checklist of tourist attractions. I would fill in some more "normal" activities such as shopping (or window shopping) at Bon Marche or Galeries Lafayette for example. I also plan like an OCD patient but stop short of daily itineraries and instead have a list that has been researched for ways to miss lines and crowds. The only things I have scheduled would require a reservation, otherwise I decide on the day. I would also assume that college age kids would want some time to do their own thing, especially at night. I'm also a big fan of Fat Bike or Blue Bike tours and the almost free Velib bike system. Even if you and your spouse don't want to take a bike tour I highly recommend it for your kids. It would be a great outdoor activity to help combat jet lag on your first day and give everyone an overview of the city.

Posted by
48 posts

Thank you for the kind reminder - will definitely get the kids involved. In the past they tended to give me their must-see list and let me do the planning. If I didn't have a plan, every morning we'd have to go through the "What do you want to do? I don't know. What about you? I don't care - whatever you want." kind of thing. But now they are older, it will be good to get more of their input. We usually liked to do things together, but in a museum we spread out and look for things that interest each individual. It will be interesting to see if the dynamics change this time. Still learning to adjust to having adult children. : )

I agree this itinerary may seem like a check list. I am starting a list of fun activities, like watching kids sail wooden boats in Luxembourg garden, having hot chocolate somewhere (I think there are quite a few places), etc... So thank you all for the good suggestions! I'd love to see Saint Chappelle again this time, or Orsay, but it's ok if we don't. There is just so much to choose from.

Thank you again!

Posted by
2466 posts

Some families appoint a supervisor who keeps all the passports, money, tickets, etc.
This is obviously a bad idea, for many reasons.

Everyone should get used to carrying a color copy of his passport, some cash, maybe a debit/credit card and daily transport tickets - in a neck pouch or moneybelt worn under clothing. Remember you're not in Kansas anymore, and everyone has to get serious about protecting valuables.

Always keep Metro/Bus tickets handy after validating and toss them once you're on street level - you risk a fine if you can't produce a valid ticket. If you have trouble figuring out which ones have been used, just fold them in half.

Keep real passports, extra cash, plane/train tickets, extra debit/credit cards locked in the hotel safe where they will be secure.

Security alerts are at the highest level in France, and it's conceivable that anyone could be asked for a passport (a color copy is fine for this).

Kids might be asked for ID if they want to buy alcohol - a copy is fine for this, too.

Driver's licenses will be needed if you want to rent audio guides in museums - copies are not allowed.

Keep a card with the address of your hotel, as well as the phone number, in case you need to leave a message.

You might want to look into options for phone/data use. There is free WiFi in many places, but the reception isn't always good.

If anyone becomes hopelessly lost, go to the nearest busy intersection and look for a taxi with a green light on top. Hand the driver the address of your hotel. A red light means it's unavailable.

Go to the center of the Metro platform - usually there's a clock - and board there, instead of rushing to get in the front wagon. It can be easy to get separated when you rush - if you don't all get in the same wagon, everyone gets off at the next stop and waits under the clock for the next train (about 3 to 5 minutes).

Posted by
48 posts

Thank you for the advice. We were only thinking about where to go, what to see, and haven't thought about the practical issues like store opening hours on Sunday, or a plan for metro if we are separated. We will be better prepared thanks to all the great suggestions.

Thank you!

Posted by
15450 posts

You'll also benefit from getting Navigo weekly passes. They start on Monday morning, so you won't be able to use them for Sunday. They cost about €6 each for the card itself, plus whatever the rate is for a week, and you need a small photo (smaller than a passport photo - I think about 1" x .75"), then you'll have unlimited transportation of the metro and the buses. You can keep them for your next trip . . . and a souvenir.

Posted by
10 posts

Check out Rick Steves' Guide To Paris.
It will answer all your questions and more.

Posted by
3091 posts

When you are visiting the Arc, you might want to consider walking down to Rue Poncelet, 5 minute walk, which is a small market street most days street shops, kiosks, etc. This is a real neighborhood food market, not Rue Cler. Many non-tourist restaurants on Wagram as well.