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Paris 5 Day itinerary - suggestions plz

Hey Guys,

My wife and I will be in Paris this mid-June and want to do the all the 'tourist' stuff on our 1st visit. Not much of a museum lover (but would want to spend sometime at Louvre). Would appreciate ur suggestions and inputs on the below itinerary - in case I have missed out anything or should drop a few things, plz let me know...cheers...

Day 1 - Saturday (3:30pm onwards)
Eiffel Tower
Cruise on Seine (if time and daylight permit)
10pm - Watch Sparkle at Eiffel Tower

Day 2 - Sunday
Musee d'Orsay (quick visit)
Arc de Triomphe (plus walk in Champs Elysees street later) - should i do this 1st instead?
Rodin museum (again quick visit)
Pass through / not enter - Des Invalides (optional) and Sacre Couvre (off route??)
Grand and Petit Palais

Day 3 - Monday
Notre Dame tower & cathedral
Saint Chapelle
La Conciergie
Stroll in Luxembourg Gardens to Pantheon
Can do Seine cruise (if missed on Day 1)

Day 4 - Tuesday

Day 5 - Wednesday
9-4pm: Versailles- Palace,Garden, Grand Trianon and Marie Antoinette's Estate
~5pm - Louvre (open till 9:45pm on Wed)

Posted by
10344 posts

Of course 100 travelers would each do this a little differently--and your list looks just fine!
Note that last Louvre entry on Wed. is 9:00pm.

Posted by
8293 posts

If you are not much on museums, I would suggest skipping the Louvre and the d'Orsay and opting instead for two smaller museums, the Nissim Camondo and the Jacquemart- Andre. Google them and see for yourselves. Personally, I would not waste a day of my Paris sojourn on Disneyland but it's your holiday. Oh, and check out the Rodin. I seem to remember something about renovations being done at present.

Posted by
2708 posts

On Monday, go to Sainte-Chapelle first. The security line gets long and moves slowly. A museum pass won't help becasue you have to go through security. Try to get there before it opens. If there is a line for Notre Dame, it moves much faster. Now if you want to go up in the towers, that's another thing. That line moves really slowly too. Sometimes it's shorter the last hour of the day. But if you get there too close to closing time, the line may be closed for the day.

I really enjoyed Disneyland Paris. I debated a long time whether or not I wanted to devote one of my six days in Paris to it, but I was glad I did. It was a little jarring at first. I felt like I had been transported back to the U.S. But it was fun to see the differences between Disneyland Paris and the U.S. parks. I'm not sure how crowded it gets in June. We went in September, and the crowds were not bad at all.

Hope you enjoy Paris!

Posted by
5697 posts

Just a personal preference -- but I can't imagine wasting a precious day in Paris on Disneyland (but I grew up in LA and went at least annually from the summer it opened until I was out of college -- and can get to Anaheim on a road trip. ) Others will disagree -- it's all what works for you.

Posted by
10344 posts

Ultimately, Paris is much more than just a list of gotta see sights.
It's slowing down, being in the right frame of emotion, to experience just being in Paris: the people, their interactions with each other (not with you), the quieter times on a cafe terrace, what kind of cheese you eat, what kind of wine you drink.

This may make more sense after you've been there.

Posted by
8293 posts

By the way, a walk on the Champs Élysées is one thing you can skip for sure. It used to be a grand and sophisticated avenue but that was then. Now it is a fast food and car dealer avenue. Take the bus (no. 73) up from Place de la Concord to the Arc de Triomphe and you will save time and still see the Champs Elysees. If you feel like a restful bus ride you can continue on the 73 bus to La Defense.

Posted by
10344 posts

I agree with Norma's post, it's one change you could make that would improve the quality of your experience.

Posted by
110 posts

Consider taking the Seine cruise after dark; its a wonderful way to see the beauty of the City of Light.
I agree with not going to the Louvre if you're not a museum lover. I do enjoy museums, and, as museums go, the Louvre is pretty great but…it is huge and overwhelming and, unless you have something specific you want to see there, you could end up feeling like your time may have been better spent elsewhere. Visit it from the outside as the architecture is very beautiful. And see it after dark too!

The d'Orsay on the other hand is smaller and easier to tour on a quick visit but, if you're not that interested…why bother? My husband and I have never really understood all the time tourists seem to want to spend in museums seeing things that have nothing to do with the culture and uniqueness of the place they are visiting. If you travel a lot, then of course go to the museums if you want but when your time is short, soak up the culture in the streets.

Although a city's museums do, of course, reflect the culture of the city in many ways, its not the same as wandering the streets or parks or sitting in a cafe surrounded by locals. Besides, you'll be seeing enough art and relics in the churches you will visit. By the way, try to visit Sainte-Chapelle on a sunny day. I've been in sun and clouds and sun is better.

Posted by
10344 posts

One planning thing about taking the Seine cruise "after dark" in June is that it will not get dark until around 10:30.
Well worth it if you can do it, just for the lighting on the south facade of Notre Dame.

Posted by
13904 posts

To me, Versailles and the Louvre in one day would be too much, particularly if you were not really in to museums. There is a lot of walking in Versailles unless you catch one of the little trains they have from the Hamlet area back to the main entrance and doing the Louvre on top of that is a lot.

If you do decide to do the d'Orsay, is there an art time period that you might be interested in? For instance if you like the Impressionists, get the museum map when you enter and head upstairs straight to those rooms then if you want to do some more work your way down thru the other floors.

Posted by
110 posts

The only negative experience we had in Paris was at the Eiffel Tower at night. Being accosted and hounded by people trying to get you to buy their silly, overpriced trinkets became almost unbearable. This was about closer to four years ago so perhaps its gotten better (?) but I wouldn't suggest going there at all. I always feel that even a negative experience, if its part of life in a particular place we are visiting, is kind of OK but…ugh. That was so unpleasant. I did not care for the sparkle effect either but if you want to see it, see it from afar.

Posted by
10344 posts

Lisa, what you describe has not changed in the last 4 years. Walked from Trocadero, across the bridge, under La Tour (there encountering the street sellers you mention ed), walked the length of the Champs de Mars, then turned around and enjoyed the sparkle from in front of Ecole Militaire.

Posted by
6486 posts

I'd agree with others about Disneyland, but I've never been there and not into that kind of thing. If you have kids with you, or really enjoy such parks, then sure. I'm also not sure I'd give a whole day to Versailles in such a short visit. Between those two day trips you're using 40% of your Paris time -- counting that first partial day which will be jet-lagged.

A little more detail: You'll likely have plenty of daylight in mid-June for the Seine cruise, but it's also wonderful after dark (no need to spring for on-board dinner though). Best place to see the Eiffel sparkle is probably Place du Trocadero right across the river. You can get a late dinner or snack there too if you want. Whether the Orsay merits a "quick visit" or more time is your choice of course, but it's a big investment if you won't be staying awhile. Maybe you want to see a few particular pieces there, in which case go for it certainly. Getting there shortly before it opens will minimize waiting time. If you want to walk the Champs (which isn't what it used to be but isn't dreadful either) it's easier downhill from the Arc. That will take you to the Grand and Petit Palais, which are fine on the outside and house special exhibits which may or may not interest you inside. The sculpture garden of the Rodin is, I think, the best part of that museum and easily visited on its own. Sacre Coeur is "off route" for that day but not hard to reach, the church itself is less appealing (to me) than the neighborhood and view over the city, which would be great in evening. I agree with others about Ste-Chapelle first in the morning. The Notre Dame towers are great but not if the line's so long you miss something else. The Pantheon is in a great neighborhood and great to see outside, not necessarily worthwhile to go in and see a lot of tombs. Hope all that helps some, have a wonderful time!

Edit -- Forgot to mention Paris Walks, a fun inexpensive way to see particular neighborhoods if the schedule works for you. Excellent guides and very convenient, see the website.

Posted by
7175 posts

It looks good, and 4.5 days is about right for a first time visit.
I really think you have to choose between Versailles and Disneyland.
After a day at Versailles your feet would not stand up to the Louvre I can assure you, so split them.
St Chappelle and Notre Dame Towers both have to be done first thing, so split them too.
Purchase 2 day Paris Museum Pass if doing Disneyland, 4 day if doing Versailles.

Saturday PM
Eiffel Tower / Seine River Cruise

Versailles or Disneyland

Notre Dame / Sacre Coeur & Montmartre / Arc de Triomphe & Champs Elysees

Musee Rodin / Invalides / Pont Alexandre III / Grand+Petit Palais /Place de la Concorde /Tuileries Gardens / Madeleine / Opera / Musee d'Orsay

St Chapelle / Conciergerie / Latin Quarter / Pantheon / Luxembourg Gardens / St Sulpice / St Germain de Pres / Orangerie ?? / Louvre (open late Wed)

Major cultural sites closed in Paris on Monday
Musée d'Orsay
Musée Carnavalet
Musée du quai Branly
Musée Rodin
Musée Marmottan
Musée Picasso

Major cultural sites closed in Paris on Tuesday
Musée Eugène Delacroix
Musée du Moyen-Age (Cluny)
Musée de l’Orangerie
Centre Pompidou
Musée du Louvre 

Posted by
216 posts

I like it!

Day 1 - watch sparkle from Trocodero or from top of Arc de Triomphe. Quite lovely. I'd try and fit the Louvre in here.
Day 2 - rejig the order. d'Orsay, walk to Rodin, walk past Invalides admiring view of Eiffel Tower, cross Seine over Pont d'Alexandre III admiring the statues, Petit Palais for lunch or tea in the garden, hang a left past the Petit Palais onto the Champs Élysées and walk to Arc de Triomphe. "Walking along the Champs Élysées" is iconic. Do it! I met a French woman who met her Australian boyfriend on that street. Good thing they didn't listen to the Champs Élysées naysayers on the Forum!
Day 3 - tower lines start an hour before opening. Groups of 20 or so every 10-15 minutes. Walk up to Panthéon and then down to Luxembourg Gardens.
Day 4 - I think some of us on the forum are looking for an explanation for this aberration. Feel free to not explain yourself!
Day 5 - Versailles. Daughter and I stayed until 6 or 7. We relaxed by renting a row boat for an hour. Well, she relaxed; I rowed! Go to Louvre if you are not too tired and your accommodations are nearby. I found the train ride back to Paris lulled me into a stupor. We ended up enjoying the sunset over the Seine, had ice cream from Berthillon while watching the bubble man street performer on the bridge between Île de la Cité and Île St. Louis and staggering home at 10 pm.

Posted by
1825 posts

I laugh when I see itineraries planning every minute of the day. There will be so many unforseen circumstances that the plan will go out the window by the second day. I know its not for everyone but the bike tour we did covered half your list in three hours and I am not reffering to sites that you will want to go back and visit from the inside. You dont seem to have included time for meals and sitting at a sidewalk cafe which might just be the best thing you can do in paris. If you only visit one museum it should be the Louve and just hit the highlights with the audio guide. Good luck!

Posted by
216 posts

I laugh, too because we have such a great time (over) doing it! Four and a half year old daughter's idea to do the Awesome Foursome. Going to Paris in September and the first thing on her list is the Awesome Foursome, again. She's a tad goal-oriented and I'm along for the ride.

Currently, we don't enjoy sitting and having long leisurely Michelin-starred dinners when we're travelling. But I can see how that would be a highlight for others.

Find your own travel style; there are plenty of ways to enjoy travel (and life).

Posted by
1825 posts

Awesome Foursome? Sandra, on behalf of the Rick Steves' forum I must ask, what the heck are you talking about?

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you all for your feedback and suggestions...immensely helpful !!
have taken another shot at the itinerary n pushed disneyland for another time and place..plz let me know if this sounds more relaxed and doable

Day 1 (starting 3:30pm) - Nissim Camondo, Sacre Coure, Montmarte tower@night
Day 2 - Notre Dame, Orangerie (white lilies), Orsay (impressionist gallery), Luxemborg Park, Pantheon, Seine night cruise
Day 3 - St. Chapelle, Conciergerie (only outside), Tuileries, Louvre
Day 4 - Eiffel Tower (not climbing), Invalides (napoleon tomb), Rodin (thinker), Grand Palace (roof), Arc, La Defense (tindaro & Grand Arch)
Day 5 - Versailles

maybe day 4 is hoping too much, but can do some on day 3 if I have time.


Posted by
7175 posts

A few points that came to me ...
Consider Pantheon (closes 630pm) & Luxembourg Gardens after Versailles - get off RER at St Michel by 5pm
Sacre Coeur for me is much better in the day time when its gleaming white in sunshine
Montmartre - were you confusing with Montparnasse Tower?
Orangerie (white lilies) is in the Tuileries Gardens so will be done together
Still try and take advantage of Louvre's late closing (9.45pm) on Wed

Slight re-jig to ...
Day 1 (starting 3:30pm) - Nissim Camondo, Eiffel Tower (for night lights)
Day 2 - Versailles, Pantheon (closes 630pm - get off RER at St Michel), Luxembourg Gardens
Day 3 - Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur (much better day time gleaming white in sunshine) & Montmartre (were you thinking Montparnasse Tower), Arc de Triomphe, La Defense (tindaro & Grand Arch)
Day 4 - Eiffel Tower (not climbing), Invalides (napoleon tomb), Rodin (thinker), Grand Palace (roof), Orsay (impressionist gallery), Seine night cruise
Day 5 - St. Chapelle, Conciergerie (only outside), Orangerie (white lilies) (is in the Tuileries Gardens), Louvre (take advantage of late opening on Wed)

Posted by
7175 posts

Apparently the awesome foursome is to get Paris views from these 4 spots in the one day ...
1 Eiffel Tower
2 Sacre Coeur
3 Towers of Notre Dame
4 Top of Arc de Triomphe
Now you could make it 6 by including the Tower of Montparnasse and the roof of the Pompidou, but probably not in one day.

Posted by
1825 posts

I think it might be a kids cartoon. That's what my wife said. How do you go from giving advice to admitting that a four year old is dictating your itinerary?

Posted by
6 posts

Hi dip_syd,

My bad...I confused montemarte with montparsnne - realized both are not walking distance. I wanted to have a night view of the city from the top of montparsnne. A couple of days later, I plan to take an early elevator to Eiffel n have a day view.

I'm liking what you have suggested but 2 questions:

  1. It's Versailles a good idea on Sunday? I get a sense that given musical fountains n spl shows on weekends n Tuesday, it is all the more crowded. Wednesday on the other hand is relatively better

  2. Is it possible to do Lux n Pantheon after Versailles? People have been suggesting a rest after Versailles.


Posted by
7175 posts

I swapped Wed & Sun to give you the Louvre til late on Wed. They say Versailles is very busy every day in high summer - I can't say if one day is better than another. It's a big place however so can handle large crowds (somewhat).
The Luxembourg/Pantheon was a suggestion, and time dependent really, on how long you spend in the gardens at Versailles. The RER stop at St Michel is handy coming from Versailles. It may become one of the things that you have to find time for somewhere else. With daylight til 10pm the gardens would be lovely 7-9pm before dinner in St Germain.

Posted by
15576 posts

Please note that sunset is at 10 p.m. in June. That's when the lights will start turning on around the city. It takes 15 minutes or more for the Eiffel to be fully lit. It will not twinkle until 11 p.m. If you want to see Paris after dark, plan to take a Seine cruise that starts at 10 p.m. or later.