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First trip to Europe........ Itinerary

Any advice on this itinerary for hubby & I is appreciated. We are in our 30's and in good shape to be able to tour for long days. Some days have more stops packed than others. We have never been oversees, but have had annual passes to Disney Orlando for many years & are used to going several days in a row from open to close.

Thursday, August 16th, 2018
Arrive in Paris at 9:30am (drop bags at hotel & head out) (get to hotel by11am) 30 min walk to Shakespeare bookstore
Walk through Le Jardin du Luxembourg Gardens on the way
Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore – grab lunch at a street cart somewhere? (stay there about 12-12:30)– 5 min walk to Notre dame
Notre Dame (use Paris Pass)– (stay there about 12:45- 2pm) climb to top if we have time – 20 min walk to Louve

The Louvre – (stay 2:30- 4:30) (Mona Lisa) after, get snacks & sit in Jardin des tuileries (it’s a pretty park) (Paris Pass) 15 min walk to Musse d Orsay

Musse d orsay – (stay 5- 6pm) Ballet - Degas paintings (Paris Pass)
(22 min transit or 40 min walk to Arch)
Arch de Triomphe – Triumphal Arch (Paris Pass)
Champs d Elysee (stay 6:30-830pm) (shops with Arch at end) go to Louis Vuitton to buy purse (20 min walk to La Fomagerie)
La Fromagerie(grab chesses to eat at Eiffel)
31 Rue Cler, 75007 Paris, France (15 min walk to Eiffel)
Dinner – Picnic at night at the Eiffel tower (30 minute transit back to hotel)
Musee Rodin museum– the Thinker Statue (only if have time) (Paris Pass)

Friday, August 17th, 2018 -
Versailles – leave hotel at 7:45am… (arrive when they open (9am) - 1 hour transit from hotel (Paris Pass) go straight to Hall of Mirrors
Leave by 2pm (Takes 1 hour to get to Eiffel tower)
Musee Rodin Museum if didn’t yesterday
Eiffel Tower tour & Seine River cruise
Dinner: Café Constant, 139 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris, France

Saturday, August 18th, 2018 -
Disneyland Paris- All day – Arrive when they open (1 hour 15 mins travel from hotel)

Piazza San Marco (make sure to go at night) (St. Mark’s square)
Basilica de San Marco (Church)
St. Mark’s Basillica

Sunday, August 19th, 2018 –
Travel from Paris to Venice via airplane
Arrive in Venice at 9am
Transfer on our own to hotel – arrive by 10am
Drop bags & explore on our own
Dinner then gondola at sunset

Rome- Monday, August 20th, 2018

Travel from Venice to Rome via train
Arrive in Rome at 11am
Get to Hotel by 12pm – drop bags
Get lunch
Mamertime Prison 2-3pm
Rest of day to explore
Holy Stairs (open from 3-7pm)
St. Peter in chains
Trevi Fountain

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018
St Peters Basilica & dome climb & crypt 8am-11am
Rest of day to explore
Go back to Spanish steps, Trevi fountain

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018
Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peters, Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill 9am-6pm

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 –
Transfer from hotel to airport – 6am

Posted by
7636 posts

Hopefully you are flying into Paris and out of Rome.
Book any tickets to big museums in advance to skip the lines.
You may get worn out going to museums in Paris or Rome in the same day in summer with all the crowds.
Add one a day to Venice if possible (I'd skip a day at Disneyland ).

Posted by
971 posts

Sorry my head startes to hurt a bit after Reading all that. So you have 1 week and plan to see Paris, Venice and Rome? I think you are seriously over stretching yourselves! One could spend a whole week in either Paris or Rome and still not see all there is to see. With this pace you are going to spend a great deal of your holiday in transit instead of enjoying your time in Europe. My advice would be to pick either Paris or Rome and do day trips from there.

Posted by
7720 posts

The Paris Pass is an enormous waste of money. The Museum Pass might be worth having for this short trip. IMHO you are spending too much time getting there and not enough time being there. This kind of hit and run trip is very unsatisfying to me, but it is your trip so you should do what you want. I don't understand given all that there is in Rome why you are spending two days at the Vatican. With so little time, I'd give one day to the Vatican and the rest to historic Rome. You waste time traveling to the Vatican twice.

Posted by
166 posts

I don't think you realize how tired you will be when jet lag hits you on your first day in Paris, usually I only plan to do one thing in the afternoon and try to maintain the new schedule till bedtime. Even if you aren't totally wasted from jet lag there is no way you could see all the sights listed on your first day because you will take longer getting through CDG airport and getting to Paris center than you have planned for, you will need to orient yourself to the metro system to get around, you are going in the summer and everything will be crowded and there will be lines, the Louve itself is a half day experience. Skip Disney Paris (I've been there) it's just a amusement park that will disappoint after being to Orlando. Your travel times from city to city will take up more of your day than you realize. You would benefit by buying the Rick Steves Europe through the backdoor guide book, it will give you sample itineraries that are realistic and are time proven. If you do make this your schedule, please type a tour report here on the forum, you will go down in the traveler's Hall of Fame!!

Posted by
1220 posts

Hi Ally,
I had to chuckle at that first day in Paris. I don't know if you are accounting for LINES. Man of these places have lines that can take 1-2 hours. And once you get into a place, you will want to spend more time there than you think. Just because you think you only want to see the Mona Lisa, you will be awed just by the ceilings in the Louve! Not only that, but I would not wait in line for 90 minutes just to see the mona lisa. Honestly, I am very fit and when Ive gone to Paris Ive walked from 8 am - 10pm and I would not want to do your list. Its just too much of a grind. Here's what I suggest. When gong to Europe for the first time, there is a frantic feeling of longing to see it all, to do as much as you can because for the money you are spending to go, and the buffet of amazing things you could do, why not try to do as much as you are physically and mentally able. But it will be crowded and HOT and crowded. The walking may be fine, but you will be in rooms filled to the brim with people with the same longings you have. Could you narrow this down. You have 1 week! I would cut out Versailles or Disney, and spread some of the things from the first day to the second (honestly, I would cut out Venice too, and just do Paris and Rome)
I would also say, try to imagine that you will go back. What would you want to see for sure this time, knowing that you could come again? Trust me, once you go the first time, you figure out how to go back (financially and otherwise, priorities shift: "my kids don't need braces, they need travel!" - kidding of course, but you get the idea)


Posted by
6 posts

Thank you all!!!!! We will try to combine the Vatican tours for the same day! And will cut out some of the Paris museums (not too into Art, just wanna see some main stuff like Mona LIsa)........ So we don't plan to walk around museums for hours. Appreciate your feedback. And will get the RS book for sure.

Posted by
6 posts


Are there hour long lines if we have the Paris Museum Pass? I will be re-working that first day of Paris for sure :) I also know it looks like a ton, but I figured to have more of a strolling by the Notre dame & possibly go in for 30 minute type of thing....... I will consider cutting out disney or Versailles.....

Posted by
839 posts

Oh, to be young, again.
I must say....this itinerary looks more like an errand schedule than a holiday.
You obviously have stamina and determination - once upon a time, I had that, too.
Have a wonderful experience.

Posted by
11065 posts

Your Day 1, August 16, is overly ambitious even for young, fit people. Jetlag may well hit you like a ton of bricks at 3:00 pm and you will not remember much. Best advice on Day 1 after an overnight flight is to stay outdoors as much as possible.

Also, prepare for the unexpected. What if your flight is late or Passport Control lines are long? You may be lucky to get to your hotel by Noon. And won't the shower be calling? Your minute-by-minute schedule may be dashed to pieces by one unexpected delay, so expect that. I would schedule outdoor time - the parks and just wandering - and maybe one museum, certainly not the Louvre on my first day in a time zone 6 hours different than mine.

Posted by
1904 posts

I personally think a better way to plan each day is to choose your one or two "must sees" that are located closest to each other. Then, don't have a timed schedule. Go and take the time you want to really soak up the site, enjoy it fully, not rush from one thing to another. Once you hit your must sees, and if you have more time, then go to #2 or #3 on your list. Part of the pleasure is being there and wandering, eating, etc. Of course the sites are amazing, and you should see them, but you will have a more enjoyable time if it isn't a checklist on a schedule, in my opinion.

Posted by
15297 posts


OK, your day 1 in Paris needs to be cut by half or more if you're not even getting into the city until late morning. There will be a line at the Towers of Notre Dame (pass-holders do not get to skip it) so I'd scratch that. As well, scratch the Champs -one of the most overrated streets in Paris - and I'd choose the Louvre or d'Orsay but not both. BTW, they keep the crowd a crowd a good distance from the Mona Lisa, and that crowd will be DENSE. There are actually better works, albeit less well-known, in that same room and other parts of the museum than La Gioconda.

Disney fan or not, if you've done Orlando umpty times, I'd skip Disney Paris versus rush or miss what the city has to offer that you can't see at home. But that's just me, and it's your trip. :O)

You may need to keep an open mind and itinerary in case of rain?

Venice: I'd skip that too if you can only give it part of a day so you don't have to rush Rome...

....which is really, really rushed. But yes, do the Vatican on one day, the Colosseum/Forum/Palatine on another, and walk-bys like Trevi and the Spanish Steps (these only need to be seen once) at night. Mamertine Prison (Carcer Tullianum)? I'd skip that one other than for some archeological/historical value, 'other' claims are speculative, and there not much to see (been there). If you were to do it, it makes more sense to combine it with the Colosseum/Forum/Palatine as it's in that area.

As you're interested in religious sites, you might combine San Giovanni in Laterano - which is officially the Pope's church, as the Bishop of Rome - with the Holy Stairs (Scala Sancta) as it's right THERE, and an important basilica with a very long history.

Posted by
6 posts

Fantastic advise Kathy thank you!!!! I appreciate all of you experienced travelers on here!!! I am such a planner.... but of course am completely open to "winging" certain things once over there. As well as change things up if it rains. And of course I would love to extend the trip by about a week, but can't even extend 1 more day due to work & obligations back home.