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How is my updated Paris itinerary?

I'm bad at planning. I arrive in CDG on Saturday September 18th at 1:50 pm.

Saturday:
- Drop off bags in hotel.
- Get food somewhere
- Go to the top of tour montparnasse
- If there is extra time, wander around

Sunday:
- Walking tour (I can't find a free walking tour that doesn't have a minimum of a party of 2 or more. I'm traveling alone. So if you have any walking tour recommendations, even if it isn't free, please let me know).
- Champs de Mars picnic
- Galeries Lafayette Rooftop view
- Seine River cruise

Monday:
- Louvre in the morning. See the tuileries gardens.
- Maybe quick stop to see Monet's Lillies in Orangerie museum?
- Get hot cocoa at Angelina's
- Go to top of Arc de Triomphe and do the Rick Steves Champs Elysees walk
- Checkout Ile St. Louis, then dinner there. Or dinner at the Buddha bar (saw a recommendation for this place and it looks cool)

Tuesday:
- Musée D'Orsay
- Rue Cler walk
- Army museum (if I'm not museumed out)
- Napoleon's tomb
- Rick steves recommends some sort of nighttime walk tour (or maybe a Deux Chevaux car tour?). Let me know what you guys recommend!

Wednesday:
- Versailles

Please let me know when is the best time to come to Versailles. Is it an all day activity? I was thinking of seeing the fireworks show at night, was wondering if it's worth it. Or to skip it.

Thursday (haven't developed this plan yet):
- Alsace area

Friday (haven't developed this plan yet):
- Alsace area, leave in the evening for Avignon

Saturday (haven't developed this plan yet):
- Avignon/Provence area

Sunday (haven't developed this plan yet):
- Avignon/Provence area
- Leave in the evening for Paris

Monday:
- Sacre Coeur + Montmatre (maybe do a walking tour?). Souvenir + gifts shopping. Go up eiffel tower during sunset

Tuesday:
- Fly out back to Seattle

Couple of followup questions:

  1. Any food places I cannot miss? I particularly have a sweet tooth and want crêpes!

  2. Any tours I shouldn't miss? I.e. at Versailles or somewhere else? The only tour I was thinking of doing so far was the walking tour

  3. Would the Paris or Museum pass be worth it based on this itinerary?

Posted by
18862 posts

It's been ages since I've been to Paris, so I won't comment on your plans there.

I think it's a mistake to try to squeeze Alsace and Provence into the little time you have left after Paris. You'd be traveling to Alsace on Thursday--about 2 hours to Strasbourg or 3 hours to Colmar. I suppose you could go to just Strasbourg and Colmar, but most folks want to see at least one of the little wine villages as well. If you rush through Alsace on Thursday and Friday and head off to Avignon on a 5+ hour train ride, it will be well into the evening by the time you get settled in your new hotel. The Avignon TGV station is not in the city; you'll need a local train, taxi or (if available) a bus from the station to Avignon. Then you'll have about 36 hours to see Provence. You could see a good bit of Avignon on Saturday, but that's hardly "Provence". I'm not sure what other city you can fit in if you have to worry about a train back to Paris on Sunday--maybe Arles or St-Remy-de-Provence.

In addition to the excessive number of hours you'd be spending on trains (about 10), there's the cost of those TGV tickets, which typically escalates as your travel day approaches. The least expensive Strasbourg-Avignon ticket I see for Friday afternoon is now priced at €146 one-way. That's a lot of money for about 1-1/2 days. That train departs at 2:12 PM (giving you not much more than 24 hours in Alsace) and arrives at 8:10 PM. Several trains that day are totally sold out. The two later trains with tickets still available depart at 2:41 and 4:17 PM and are priced at €229 and €236, respectively.

I urge you to stick to Alsace, for which the time you have available will allow a decent visit. The train tickets will be a bit less expensive as well.

Posted by
2253 posts

Here is another voice against squeezing in both Alsace & Provence!
Since you seem to have a better idea of what you want to see in Alsace, I would stick with Alsace only.

As for your Paris plan, here are my comments - which only reflect my personal opinions.

  • Do not waste time on Tour Montparnasse on Saturday, unless it is near your hotel. Yes, the view is great, but so is the view from Arc de Triomphe, Galeries Lafayette, or Montmartre. No need to multiply viewpoints, in my opinion; I would rather devote "jetlag day" to a stroll in the neighborhood aroung my accommodation, or perhaps a daytime river cruise if you are confident that you will not fall asleep on the boat.

  • Sunday: if you do not find a suitable walking tour, it is very easy to self-guide in Paris using the guidebook of your choice. Also, Champ de Mars is best combined with your Arc de Triomphe / Champs Elysées plan from Monday (quick hop on line 6 or 10€ cab between the two areas).

  • Monday: For the Louvre, you needa timed ticket these days: do you have one? Do not worry, there is plenty of availability, but book it in the coming day or two for peace of mind. Then, after Angelina you could head to Galeries Lafayette, it is fairly close. And if you still have time, you could spend the evening in Montmartre rather than Ile Saint Louis

  • Tuesday: Orsay needs time tickets just like the Louvre. Rue Cler is next to Champ de Mars, go on Saturday if you are curious, but it is entirely skippable in my opinion! So is the Army museum, unless you like those things. Same for Napoleon's tomb. Instead, from Musée d'Orsay, I would walk East towards Saint-Sulpice, Luxembourg gardens, Panthéon, working my way towards Ile Saint Louis.

  • Wednesday: Versailles will eat up most of a day indeed. The show you are talking about is only on Saturdays; if you leave Paris early I reckon you will be back in town at around 5 PM or so.

The one major sightseeing area that is missing here is the Marais (roughly north and west of Place des Vosges), it could definitely fit in one of the days but the best day depends on where you are staying.

Most importantly, your schedule should only be a rough guide (timed museum tickets aside). Follow your mood! As a single traveller, you will probably be faster-than-average, so do not hesitate to add places if you still have the energy.

Posted by
67 posts

Hi acraven,

Good point on only doing Alsace and skipping Avignon. It did feel a bit rushed. Would 4 full days in Alsace region be overkill? Or would that be enough? I also don’t drink alcohol, but I assume it still would be fun to visit the wine villages?

Posted by
67 posts

Hi balso,

Good point. I will change my itinerary.

Do not waste time on Tour Montparnasse on Saturday, unless it is near your hotel. Yes, the view is great, but so is the view from Arc de Triomphe, Galeries Lafayette, or Montmartre. No need to multiply viewpoints, in my opinion;

Good point. Maybe if I have extra time I will go to it. But I will slash it from my itinerary.

if you do not find a suitable walking tour, it is very easy to self-guide in Paris using the guidebook of your choice. Also, Champ de Mars is best combined with your Arc de Triomphe / Champs Elysées plan from Monday (quick hop on line 6 or 10€ cab between the two areas).

I actually ended up finding a free walking tour from Civitatis.com, it's 2 hours 45 mins and starts at 10:30 am. If that's too long I will cancel and either find another one or just find some guidebook. Noted on Champ de Mars, will change that. Thank you :)

Monday: For the Louvre, you needa timed ticket these days: do you have one? Do not worry, there is plenty of availability, but book it in the coming day or two for peace of mind. Then, after Angelina you could head to Galeries Lafayette, it is fairly close. And if you still have time, you could spend the evening in Montmartre rather than Ile Saint Louis

I don't have timed tickets. I wasn't sure whether I should purchase the museum pass or Paris pass or book separately. Planning on figuring that out and then booking everything tomorrow. Thank you for the point on Galeries Lafayette, will skip Ile Saint Louis and checkout Montmartre and Sacre Couer.

Tuesday: Orsay needs time tickets just like the Louvre. Rue Cler is next to Champ de Mars, go on Saturday if you are curious, but it is entirely skippable in my opinion! So is the Army museum, unless you like those things. Same for Napoleon's tomb. Instead, from Musée d'Orsay, I would walk East towards Saint-Sulpice, Luxembourg gardens, Panthéon, working my way towards Ile Saint Louis.

Noted on the tickets. Maybe will check out Rue cler if I have extra time then. Nah, I will take your advice of checking out the Luxembourg gardens, Panthéon, and eventually Ile Saint Louis.

Wednesday: Versailles will eat up most of a day indeed. The show you are talking about is only on Saturdays; if you leave Paris early I reckon you will be back in town at around 5 PM or so.

Do you think it would be worth it to move around the days to visit Versailles on Saturday to see the fireworks show? Then the new plan would be to do Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday in Paris, Wednesday - Saturday in Alsaca, Sunday - Monday in Paris.

The one major sightseeing area that is missing here is the Marais (roughly north and west of Place des Vosges), it could definitely fit in one of the days but the best day depends on where you are staying.

Okay I will probably add Marais in to replace my last full day in Paris (Monday) instead of Montmartre since I can check it out on Monday the week before. I'm staying in Saint Germain

This is all wonderful advice, and why I came to this forum to get amazing advice :)

Posted by
2253 posts

You're welcome.
You certainly don't need the museum pass for just 3-4 museums; buying individual tickets will be more convenient and almost certainly cheaper. Timed tickets are mandatory because of Covid; it might also apply to Versailles by the way (please check). Arc de Triomphe worries me less as it is typically not a crowded site.
You mention "skipping" Ile Saint Louis: I just suggested moving it to another day!

Also, I would not move my schedule around for the show at Versailles. It is a nice 'plus', but since there is no guarantee of good weather, it is not worth rearranging a whole trip!

Posted by
183 posts

You have planned a wonderful time in Paris. I would keep Ile St. Louis in the itinerary, See St. Chapelle for the beautiful stained glass windows and if possible add the charming St. Germaine area for a stroll and cup of coffee at Les Deux Magots or Cafe de Flore and the Luxumbourg Gardens as well. When you are at Galeries Lafayette stop at the nearby Opera Garnier building. The inside is gorgeous! I agree with saving Provence for another time.

Posted by
275 posts

My two cents - I'm planning my trip to Paris (end of October, fingers crossed) but outside of a few days I can't go to any certain museum because of closure, my itinerary is organized primarily around arrondissement and the weather. I'm not planning on any specific day for the Eiffel tower until I know what the weather is supposed to be, for example.

Posted by
1247 posts

I can’t comment on your itinerary other than it looks overly full. I’m planning my Sept 2022 trip which includes Paris (excited and not much to do during Covid stay-at-home).

I found this hint very helpful: put your itinerary on you phone’s calendar. It will show you how much time you really have to see what you want and schedule in meals and travel. You will see that you have lots of overlap. I had a long list of what I want to see. By using the calendar I prioritized sites to what I want to see this trip and added meals, travel/walking time, shopping/freetime.

Hope this helps with your planning. Since my 2022 trip is almost planned, I’m thinking ahead to 2023. By the way, I’m not an experience traveler like many on the forum. I just like dreaming, planning and being organized.

Posted by
8222 posts

I agree with the others to skip Provence this time and concentrate on the Alsace. We will be in the Alsace for 5 nights in late March/early April next year and I don’t feel like it’s too much time at all. In addition to Strasbourg and Colmar there are many small villages to explore. There’s no need to be a wine drinker to go there. I’m not sure about border crossings right now, but depending on restrictions it might be easy to do a day trip to Freiburg, Germany or Basel, Switzerland. I suggest basing in Colmar. It’s smaller and less expensive than Strasbourg and has both trains and buses to get you around. Some people like to walk from one village to another.

In Paris you might consider doing a Paris Greeter tour. I’ve done 4 so far and find them enjoyable. You can read about the program here. https://greeters.paris/en/

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
67 posts

Hi horsewoofie,

Good advice about the phone calendar idea, I’ll put it into my calendar and see whether it’s too much or the right amount. I’m also traveling solo so that might make it easier.

Posted by
1398 posts

I disagree about skipping the Tour de Montparnasse.
It gives you a really wonderful view of Paris, and the upper deck goes all the way round.
If you have a teeny pair of binoculars, pack them.
Also, if it's "iffy" weather, ie: cloudy or misty; the ticket office at the bottom will call up to the top to ascertain visibility for you so you can decide if it's worth going up!
I really enjoyed it, and spent ages spotting all the major landmarks from up top.
I even saw my rental apartment in the distance.
I don't know if you now need a timed ticket for the tower.
Re crepes: there are crepe stands on every second corner, so you won't miss out!
And another vote for the Luxembourg Gardens.

Posted by
18862 posts

By the time you figure in the steps involved in relocating (packing up, checking out of hotel, getting to train station, riding train, getting to new hotel, checking in) you won't actually have four full days in Alsace. I'd figure on one day in Strasbourg and one day in Colmar for starters. The Unterlinden Museum in Colmar is very good; the Isenheim Altarpiece is a masterpiece (and I'm not remotely religious). Bus service to the smaller spots is not frequent, so you won't be moving around really efficiently when you check out the villages. I think most are more accessible from Colmar than from Strasbourg, which is a good reason to base in Colmar.

This is the websites of a bus company operating in Alsace; there may be others: https://www.fluo.eu/en/public-transport-schedules/23

To check on whether there might also be rail service to a place you want to go, you can use the SNCF website.

You might also find Rome2Rio.com helpful in identifying where you might need to transfer. However, it's essential not to trust the specific fares, travel times or frequencies shown on that website. You need to keep drilling down to find the name of the company providing the transportation and go to its website (URL usually provided) for accurate information.

I nearly always make the local tourist office my first stop when I arrive in a new town. They normally are very happy to provide guidance on out-of-town trips and can save you some time through their knowledge of transportation schedules.

Posted by
17 posts

Thanks for sharing your itinerary. It's a little difficult to fully evaluate without knowing your interests and which neighborhood you'll be staying in Paris. I do have a lot of thoughts though:

  • Pick one excursion. It's usually more efficient to do it at the beginning or end of the trip so you're not checking into/out of lodging in Paris twice.
  • We love Alsace, but it's best with a car to do the Route des Vin. Tastings are typically free, but it's customary to buy a bottle or two. If not renting a car, then you'll need a guided tour. Strasburg and Colmar are both nice and deserving of a day apiece. Make sure to enjoy Alsatian cuisine like Flammekueche (pizza) and Choucroute aux 5 viandes (sausage and sauerkraut).
  • Don't underestimate the time it takes to get from place to place - whether it be by foot, metro or train. I saw someone recommended Rome2Rio which is a great site. Google Maps also works well for clocking these things.
  • Your Paris itinerary is heavy on "going high". Unless if you're a serious photographer, you can skip some or most of these. Tour Montparnasse gives you great views of Paris without the ugly building you're standing in cluttering them up. IMO, going up the Eiffel tower isn't as essential as people think it is. The top of the Arc de Triomphe gets great shots, but is a lot of stairs. The Gallerie Lafayette isn't as tall as the others, so the views are relatively minimal. The top of the Arab World Institute does have nice views up the Seine.
  • Versailles will take (and easily deserves) nearly a full day since it's about an hour away. Get there early and enjoy the gardens, the hamlet and the Trianons. We're going next week and am a little concerned about visiting the Chateau since it's usually a sardine can.
  • The Orangerie is fantastic. I always find the Champs Elysées a little underwhelming - possibly because I'm not interested in shopping or famous brand. Rick's other walks are terrific though.
  • I didn't see Notre Dame listed, but it's obviously a must-see (at least from the outside due to the fire). Ste. Chappelle is also a beautiful place to visit. We once attended a sunset concert there which was magical.
  • The Rodin museum is worth visiting, and is near Napoleon's tomb and the Army museum.
  • If you have a sweet tooth, and love crepes, then I recommend Lucette fait des Crepes. Their savory crepes are also very good.
  • If you like falafel, then definitely try L'as du Falafel in the Marais. It's terrific and a fun scene.
Posted by
445 posts

Candidly this sounds like a grueling adventure of endless stops and tours. What do you want to see in Paris? Not “don’t miss” destinations but what do YOU want to see.?

Like others have suggested skip going to Alsace and Provence as you have not factored travel and have no apparent sites in mind in a very short time.

Ultimately see less and enjoy it more but if this is what you want this seems to be an all encompassing tour. Good Luck!

Posted by
67 posts

Hi Jeff,

I guess that’s a good point. Although no one has said to avoid Alsace, just to not combine Avignon with Alsace I believe. I think just Alsace (or even just Strasbourg + Colmar) would be doable. Although without a car maybe not?

I’ll make changes again

Posted by
2253 posts

You have four full days in Paris plus one for Versailles, so you do have time for Alsace, and it is perfectly possible to visit without a car. 3 nights will do for a first taste, even if you just manage to visit Strasbourg and Colmar it will still be very satisfying and different from Paris.

As for your Paris plan being rushed: the key thing in your favor here is that you are travelling alone. Meals are quicker, there is nobody to wait for, and full flexibility on what YOU want to do. I have done some crazy whirlwind tours of foreign cities when on my own, and they went very well. Attempting the same pace with a companion becomes very frustrating.

By the way, in my very first comment I totally missed that you were spending another full day in Paris on the following Monday. So you definitely have time to spread things out a little vs. my suggestions.

Since you are coming at the end of the week, I would stop making changes and perhaps look at accommodation in Alsace. I suggest Strasbourg if you feel like staying in a city (which will feel very different from Paris), or Colmar for staying somewhere more chill, but pick ONE base. Transportation is good.

You will also need to book the train tickets to and from Alsace (but not the local trains within).

Posted by
2798 posts

In reference to a possible walking tour of Montmartre, we enjoyed a 2.5 hour tour with https://sightseekersdelight.com/ The name of our tour was “Time Travel to Montmartre.” We enjoy walking tours when we travel and this was at the top of our favorite tours. The history of the area as well as the spectacular view from Sacre Coeur was the highlight of our time in Paris! In addition we took the fabulous Jewish Tour of the Marais. We stopped for lunch at the famous L’As Du Fallafel.

Posted by
2785 posts

Sainte Chappelle is a wow and a concert there is one of France's best experiences.

Posted by
67 posts

I have listened to everyone and have adjusted my intinerary:

Saturday:
- Arrive in CDG, take the RER to my hotel
- Drop off bags in hotel
- Get food
- Checkout the night view of the Eiffel Tower

Sunday:
- Walking tour (Sandemans)
- Wander around!
- Seine River cruise

Monday:
- 9 am Go up Eiffel Tower, Champs de Mars at 11 am
- Louvre in the afternoon
- Walk through the Tuileries gardens. Maybe quick stop to see Monet's Lillies in Orangerie?
- Angelina's afterwards
- Galeries Lafayette rooftop view
- Champs Elysees walk from Arc de Triomphe (go on top!)

Tuesday:
- Musée D'Orsay
- Open time (can do Marais, can do Montparnasse if I feel I need another viewpoint)
- Option for some nighttime tour if I want. Otherwise just relax and take in the Parisian night

Wednesday:
- Versailles. Haven't planned this out yet, but I think most important thing is knowing the general gist of things.

Thursday:
- I think I'm going to rent a car and stay in Colmar. So TBD tomorrow but gonna book a hotel in Colmar just in case.

Friday:
- Colmar (road trip somewhere)

Saturday:
- Colmar

Sunday:
- Colmar and Return to Paris in the evening.

I will admit I haven't fully researched what to do in Alsace (besides Strasbourg + Colmar + Wine route), so in this critique focus on Paris. I will make another thread for what to do in Alsace.

Monday:
- Honestly not much. Do whatever I missed. This is a no plan day. Most likely Montmatre + Sacre Couer to finish the list of places I wanted to see :)

Tuesday:
- Fly back home to Seattle, Washington.

Posted by
2253 posts

The first Monday now looks too full; you will probably not have time to go to the Champs Elysées... but if you end up missing it, it is no big deal - it is basically a broad boulevard with lots of traffic, chain stores on one side, luxury stores on the other.
And you could always go there on the second Monday.

Also, do not drive from Paris to Colmar and back! Take the train instead, it is much faster and it costs about the same once you factor in gas and tolls.
If you want a car in Alsace, take the train to Strasbourg and rent a car there. I just checked, Hertz is open on Sunday evenings, so you will be able to rent from them and return the car without issues. Same for Sixt and Europcar apparently. Whereas if you rent in Colmar, you might pay more (small location) and end up unable to return the car on Sunday.
But you might as well save the expense... trains and buses are plentiful there.

Posted by
8222 posts

I agree that taking the train is preferable to renting a car in Paris to drive to Colmar. I want a car when in Colmar and I’m finding limited hours for Hertz, which may be the only rental place there. It is definitely not open on Sundays. Renting and returning in Strasbourg is a good idea. I will be arriving in the Alsace from Germany and decided to spend a night in Strasbourg. I can’t buy tickets yet, but hope to arrive late morning. We will pick up a car later the next day and drive to Colmar. We have an Airbnb with parking. We will be in Colmar for 4 nights, leaving on a Sunday to go to Lyon. I’m thinking that late Saturday we can return the car in Strasbourg and take the train back to Colmar. Our situation is a little different from yours. Driving in Paris is a BAD idea. France has toll roads, so be sure to read about them. Otherwise it’s not hard to drive there. Do research the rules of the road and what the signs mean.

Posted by
67 posts

The first Monday now looks too full; you will probably not have time to go to the Champs Elysées... but if you end up missing it, it is no big deal - it is basically a broad boulevard with lots of traffic, chain stores on one side, luxury stores on the other.

True, I’ll skip it or go 2nd Monday like you said. How does the rest of the itinerary look?

Also, do not drive from Paris to Colmar and back! Take the train instead, it is much faster and it costs about the same once you factor in gas and tolls.

Huh? I meant take a train to Strasbourg and rent a car there or train to Colmar and rent a car in Colmar. Sorry maybe my wording was confusing.

But you might as well save the expense... trains and buses are plentiful there.

Glad to hear! I prefer to not drive in a foreign country if possible

Posted by
67 posts

Hi Andrea,

I don’t know if my itinerary made it seem confusing, but I never said drive from Paris to Alsace. I meant take the train to Alsace and rent a car there. Sorry, I probably need to be better at being more coherent.

Would you say a car is vital in Alsace? If possible I prefer to not drive there but if it opens up a lot of experiences I would be okay with it.

Any input on the Paris portion? Besides the busy first Monday?

Posted by
18862 posts

The little wine villages are truly small. Small places usually have spotty bus service. So depending on public transportation can make it quite difficult to get to more than two of the small places in one day, and even going to two might present a challenge if buses are timed only for the benefit of commuting workers and students. I'd make a list of little places I wanted to see and check their bus schedules. Day of week will be very important.

It appears that Bus 106 goes to both Ribeauville and Riquewihr, which should make it possible to combine visits to those two villages. Perhaps there are other interesting places on that particular bus route.

This web page has links to old schedules from 2019, but they may give you an idea of frequency. In addition to Bus 106, Bus 109 also goes to Ribeauville, though not to Riquewihr: https://www.ribeauville-riquewihr.com/en/come/bus.htm. As you can see, there's not a lot of service around the middle of the day, so you might need to decide ahead of time whether you were going to need to push through your visit to the first town or were going to plan on a leisurely lunch and some slow wandering.

Distances in the area are not great, so making one leg of an excursion by taxi probably wouldn't be horribly costly. The issue would most likely be finding said taxi. I don't imagine they hang out in the little villages.

Posted by
67 posts

Thank you for the info acraven, I will take a look and see if I can rely on buses based on the places I wanted to visit!

Posted by
67 posts

I’m thinking of switching Versailles to Tuesday, so that I can combine Orsay and Orangerie on Wednesday. Or is it fine as is?

Posted by
1398 posts

Another vote for Paris Walks walking tours.
You pay, but they are well worth it.
All the guides I've had on mine certainly knew their history of Paris.
I recommend the Montmartre Walk.

Posted by
2253 posts

Orsay and Orangerie combine very well so sure, go ahead!
And indeed a car is convenient if you want to tour lots of small Alsace villages - I was under the impression that your main draws were Strasbourg and Colmar.

Posted by
67 posts

Okay sweet! So is this a good itinerary now? I’ll look at more things but from a structural standpoint looks okay?

Posted by
67 posts

Strasbourg and Colmar are the main draws actually. So maybe it won’t be needed. But I’m going to do more research now about Alsace area (Strasbourg/Colmar/etc) and figure that out :)

Posted by
8222 posts

My original goal was to not rent a car while in Colmar. After looking into modes of travel to get to the smaller villages I determined that a car would enhance the visit. If you only have 3 full days (4 nights) in Colmar you could probably do without a car, especially if villages aren’t that big a deal to you. If you have 2 days (3 nights) I definitely wouldn’t bother with a car. You could train to Strasbourg for a day, spend a day in Colmar, and if you wanted to experience a village or two find somewhere accessible by bus or train. I want to explore the area, so decided a car meets our needs better.

Posted by
2253 posts

The OP has 3 nights / 2 full days, so I think there is plenty to see and fill up this time without a car! Not having the car will save time in the journeys to/from Colmar, too (no time wasted going to a car rental office, dealing with paperwork, and driving between Strasbourg and Colmar (which is slower than the train).

Posted by
67 posts

I’m debating adding 1 or 2 days to Paris (removing 1 or 2 days from Alsace), and just doing 1 or 2 nights in Strasbourg/Colmar to get the general gist of the area. I feel like it would be enough, especially when the train ride is only 2 hours.

Or maybe instead of Alsace doing a bus tour to Mont Saint Michel/Normandy instead and 2 days would be enough for that. It’s mainly Mont Saint Michel that interests me, as I took French in high school and remember learning about it.

The reason is that I want more time in Paris. It seems that for example, the Louvre needs a full day. Versailles needs a full day. I also wanted to checkout a lot of other attractions like Rodin, Saint Chapelle, marais district, Maison de Victor Hugo, Père Lachaise cemetery.

Also how are the lines right now for the attractions? I’m considering also getting a tour guide for the Louvre both for the niceness and for the skip the line convenience. But another option is just some audio guide too.

I feel really overwhelmed. Any advice would be helpful.

Posted by
8222 posts

You will never run out of things to do in Paris. It’s not a bad idea to just stay there and concentrate on things that interest you, leaving time to just enjoy being there.

Posted by
67 posts

Yeah now I’m leaning towards just staying entirely in Paris or shortening Strasbourg to just a day trip or two.

Posted by
2253 posts

Your previous Alsace plan was fine (nothing wrong with it really!), but it will be easier to just stay in Paris the whole time. You will not regret it. Just do not attempt Strasbourg or Mont Saint Michel as day trips, it is too far. There are plenty of interesting day trip opportunities which are closer and cheaper. Chartres is a very good one.

And you could even do without any day trips, there is just so much to see in Paris... Look, I lived here 30 years and I still have to go to the Sainte Chapelle!

Just take a deep breath, there is no 'wrong' choice here.

Posted by
12 posts

"The reason is that I want more time in Paris. It seems that for example, the Louvre needs a full day. Versailles needs a full day. I also wanted to checkout a lot of other attractions like Rodin, Saint Chapelle, marais district, Maison de Victor Hugo, Père Lachaise cemetery. "
My wife and I recently did a week in Paris. We had been before over the years, so we knew we could pick & choose what we did without worrying about missing much. That said, our week went FAST - especially with a day spent at Versailles - so your 10 days or so will likely go fast too just in the Paris area.

One thing I know is that the trip there - direct from DC - is tough with the time change, so your coming from Seattle will likely be even rougher, so that Monday you arrive will be all about adjusting and keeping it "light" is a great idea.
I'd say stick to the one big (all day) or two medium (1 in am & 1 in pm) sites per day approach. Then, the small stuff - a walking tour (unguided), shopping, the evening boat ride, "minor" churches, general city sightseeing, or relaxing in a park - fills all the gaps. It results in VERY full, but fun, days. An example would be get up early, eat breakfast, hit a "medium" site (Rodin, Pere Lachaise, etc), grab lunch, walk a bit (maybe to the next site's area), visit the next "medium" (St Chappele, Opera, etc.), then find a park or a seat by the river. Relax & have a beer or a pastry, explore some by foot, go to dinner, wander the city after dark or visit the Eiffel Tower, head home. Restart the next day with fresh objectives. You will EASILY eat through a long list of "must" sees and "should" sees, but still have plenty of reasons to revisit in future years. I've been to Colmar and Strasbourg and similar, and those are really great as a driving tour where those smaller cities are included with the surrounding countryside as well as maybe even a dip into Germany or the like.

Posted by
25 posts

There is an Angelina's at Versailles, in the cafe! Same excellent hot choco.
Also, Versailles is not super busy now, so it's a great time to go.

You know that the Arc de Triomphe is wrapped now, very excellent timing on your part for a cool experience.

Posted by
6586 posts

You have a question mark next to l’Orangerie. We visit it every time we are in Paris. Small and very special so do visit. Convenient location too. The large Monet water lilies are displayed there.