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Paris 6 days in May-a few months away and looking for planning ideas?

This will be my 4th time to Paris in my lifetime.

  1. The first time was as a teenager and we stayed in the Latin Quarter some 40 years ago. It was a grey winter period and we did the standard museum and popular sites. All very pleasant and enjoyable with easy access to everything. I enjoyed the crepe carts a lot. It was a bustling city but felt very comfortable ands safe in my surroundings.

  2. the second and third time some 25 years ago for a few days as part of stop over for flights to elsewhere. Also around December a little dreary and it was fun and as I remember very expensive. I stayed near the Champs-Elysees and ventured to some moderate priced French bistros. one that I found on my previous stop, I went back too but god a horrible bout of food poisoning. No Fun for a few horrible bed room ridden days. All that I could muster to eat was McDonalds on the 3rd day.

  3. Now it will be my 4th time with my wife and consider ourselves pretty experienced traveler. I have learned to slow down and not try and cram too much into a day. We do like to keep busy and we will do our best to enjoy something on our arrival day at least walking around the area were staying. I gleamed from this site and other RS readings where to stay. The Marais in an airbnb near where Rue Saint-Antione and Rue Rivoli converge. We will buy a museum Pass for 6 days just to give us unfettered access and hopefully easier access
    We decided to take a Taxi from CDG rather that deal with RER and Metro with Luggage although I know traffic will be heavy and slow.
    We will buy Metro 10 ticket books. I am looking forward to exploring and enjoying good meals in simple cafes and Bistros. Nothing too fancy or expensive. I am Trying to pick more local places. I am looking at suggested places on yelp, trip advisor and RS. Hope the weather is nice and not cold. I really hope we love Paris and come back again. my wife likes to travel to new places and as much as I loved Spain she still wants to go to new places. Maybe Paris will have that charm and activity to draw us back.

So any tips or research ideas. I downloaded some apps to make the trip more enjoyable.
Like Apps. next stop Paris. City Mapper. Paris for food lovers. although I haven't purchased this one as of yet.
I have been visiting web sites like Paris by mouth.
And of course RS audio Guides andGuide books by RS and Top 10 Paris

We will be near to several good Metro stops for access the cities other areas.

What other arrondissements of the City should we explore for a Day so and eat in? near a museum or something totally different?
Any Bistros, Cafes, Better restaurants we should look at trying?
And of course Boulangeries and Patisseries?

I think we will be walking the 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 Arrondissements, and tips and or ideas ?

Thanks.

Posted by
2494 posts

I've enjoyed Paris Walks. They offer a number of interesting walks through various neighborhoods with personable and knowledgeable guides. I did the Hemingway walk in April and thoroughly enjoyed it. It took you through the areas where he and his artist and writer friends lived, mainly in the 5th arr.

Posted by
5963 posts

I also recommend Paris Walks. I did a Montmarte walk with them. I like to watch videos/tv shows of the places I'm travel to. There are RS videos/shows on this site. "I'll have what Phil's having", has a great Paris episode. You can google the Paris locations for the places in the episode. You can also check your library, Netflex and Amazon prime for videos. In Paris, I like small bistros. I like Victor's in the Latin quarter. I like L'As du Fallafel in the Marais. I love to picnic for lunch in Paris. I go to a market and pick up a baquette, cheese, wine, fruit, sometimes chicken and croissants. Great places to picnic are all over, but I do like the Toulleries, Luxembourg gardens, gardens in the Il de la Cite, and the Champ de Mars in front of the Eiffel tower.

Posted by
89 posts

We used the Paris Metro App which was very helpful going from place to place while using the Metro.

Be sure to re-visit the crepes stands. We enjoyed them and got one last one before we left to leave for the airport on our last day.

Posted by
14167 posts

I'll "third" the recommendation by Judy and Jules for Paris Walks. I have found many nooks and crannies that I would have missed on my own by taking these walking tours. I have an interest in WWII so very much enjoy the Paris during the Occupation walk as well as a Hemingway one. SO interesting! I've done maybe 6 of them and look forward to them every visit. In fact on one of the Rick Steves tours I was on in Paris one of the local guides was from Paris Walks. She did a walk thru the Marais and I still head back to the little parks she pointed out to us!

My food choices are different from most but I enjoy eating falafel in the Marais. There are some very good falafel restaurants on the Rue des Rosiers. Of course, if you live in a location with a lot of ethnic choices this may not be as appealing to you as to me, lol!

What day of the week are you arriving? If you arrive on a Monday you might consider the metro pass called the Navigo Decouverte. It does require a small passport type picture.

On the Museum Pass, don't buy it ahead of time, even though that option is available on the website. They are very easy to buy at one of the smaller, less busy museums. Last time I purchased it from the Tabac down the street from my hotel which is what I'll do next time. If you "walk around" your hotel's neighborhood on googlemaps, look for a Tabac, then look for the Pink Museum Pass logo posted outside. If there is the green RATP one you can also pick up a Navigo card there if that plan works for you.

May is a lovely time of year in Paris!

Posted by
424 posts

It sounds like you have a lot of wonderful things planned, and I agree with your idea about taking it slow and really enjoying being there. Also, indulging in a Nutella crêpe is essential!

If you are a Monet fan, I would second in the recommendation to go to the Musée Marmottan. Also consider a day trip to Giverny, but I would absolutely recommend getting there as early as possible before the hordes descend.

We had amazing soufflés at the restaurant La Cuisine de Philippe right near the Luxembourg Gardens. The main course wasn’t that great for me, but my husband loved his. The soufflés were outstanding and I was charmed to see the chef visiting with each guest at the end of the meal. I even tried to ask him in French how he made the pistachio soufflé so smooth, and he gave it his best effort in French and a little English to explain it to me.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187147-d3243644-Reviews-La_Cuisine_de_Philippe-Paris_Ile_de_France.html?m=19905

Next time we go to Paris, I will go back there again simply for the soufflés!

Enjoy your trip!
Laurie

Posted by
937 posts

Odds are you’ll have nice weather in May, especially during the day. I’ve enjoyed Paris in the winter, but boy is it just lovely when it’s nice out. Take time to stroll and explore Luxembourg Gardens and Tuileries, tremendous people watching. A little off the beaten path is Parc Monteau with Musee Jacquemart-Andre nearby, makes a nice few hours. Strolling along the Seine and browsing the book stalls is an essential experience. There will be tons of people out enjoying Paris, you will be one of them.

RS restaurant recommendations in Paris have all been solid. In a city overflowing with restaurants and cafes, it makes sense to go by the book when you can. If you’re staying at an AirBnB, the host will typically have a list of their favorite places nearby. And since they’re French, it will usually include all categories of shops, cafes, boulangeries, patisseries, etc. Reservations for dinner are smart.

You can skip Montemarte I think. I’ve been a few times, and I find it both super touristy and kind of sketchy, especially via Metro. It’s not all that easy to get to and very hilly if that matters. If you’re set on it then go, but it’s not essential.

Posted by
31 posts

Be careful on the taxi. Ask how much it will cost in advance. We took what we thought was a regular taxi from CDG into Paris and it cost us 150 euros. Turns out, it wasn't a standard taxi.

Posted by
2577 posts

Be careful on the taxi. Ask how much it will cost in advance.

Taxi fares are fixed to/from either CDG or ORY. Do not accept offers from clandestine drivers soliciting from within the terminals. There are warnings at baggage claim about illegal drivers. There is even a video, in English, that explains the dangers about using unlicensed transportation.

When you approach a taxi, have your destination address written on paper. Include the arrondissement number as that is the key to the fare; from CDG fares are 50€/55€ to the Right/Left Bank respectively.

Taxi drivers are not tipped.

Posted by
5963 posts

I agree there are parts of Montmarte that feel a bit seedy and it wouldn't be highest on my priority list in Paris with so much to do and see. However, I very much enjoyed my Paris Walks tour of the area which took us to nicer areas and provided a lot of history. I ended up going to the recommended Musee de Montmarte It is very well done and the views from the gardens are lovely. I also enjoyed walking around the plaza with all the artists close to the Sacre Cour (Place du Tertre) It is an area with a lot of intersting history.

Posted by
1384 posts

If you plan on walking up the towers of Notre Dame. Get Duck the Line App. It is used to reserve your time to walk up. You book it beginning at 07:30 the morning of. Then use your Museum Pass once you arrive at the middle portion/gift shop/desk on the way up the towers.

Posted by
1103 posts

On our last trip to Paris, we enjoyed the Musee Marmottan (not on the Museum Pass). The Marmottan contains the world's largest collection of Monet paintings, including Impression Sunrise.

We also liked strolling around Parc Monceau.

Posted by
2215 posts

On our last trip to Paris we bought our Paris Museum Pass and a carnet of metro tickets in the airport terminal at the TI. I looked up the CDG terminal map to see where the TI was located and stopped on our way to the taxi rank. I think there was a small fee ( really small) and it saved us time. The illegal drivers that wander inside the terminal looking for fares look really legit - even though we knew to go outside to the taxi line, they almost got us.

We are also fans or Monoprix and Carrefour for snacks and incidentals.

Posted by
6629 posts

After your winter visits Paris in May will be delightful. There are actually leaves on those trees! And flowers in the parks!

Lots of good ideas above. Your priorities and pace will depend on how long you'll be there, seems like at least a week if you're investing in the six-day Museum Pass. Paris Walks has lots of good choices. If you can forego the popular trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower, consider the easier trip up the Tour Montparnasse for a comparable view that includes the ET and doesn't require reservations. A Seine cruise will give you another view of the city, day or evening or both (but not dinner), again no reservation needed.

Posted by
8 posts

I was in Paris for the first time in October and have 2 strong recommendations.

  1. City Mapper app. I used it every day and it was the best ap I had. Made getting around Paris so easy.
  2. Paris offers something called Paris Greeters. It’s a non-profit that offers walks with a Paris resident tailored to your taste. They can run between 1 to 3 hours. You sign up on their website and they send you an email asking your preferences. They then assign a greeter to you close to your trip. My greeter reached out with 3 suggestions. I chose and we made arrangement for a meeting place. Norbert and I had a great 2 hour walk around the Bastille area and I saw things I’m sure I wouldn’t have seen without him. And this is all free. And you can not tip the greeter.

I stayed on the Ile Saint Louis and will be going back there when I return to Paris. It became “my” neighborhood. I loved it. If you have a chance, spend some time on it. Good luck. I’m thinking of returning in May also. Enjoy!

Posted by
10337 posts

I second the suggestion for Paris Greeters. I've been to Paris 6 times since 2006, most recently last June. I've done 4 walks with Paris Greeters. Some are better than others, but the walk is geared to your own interests. I recommend them. I haven't done any of the Paris Walks tours, but have always heard good things about them.

I assume you will venture into the area around the Eiffel Tower. If you do, Cafe Constant is a great place to eat. It's located on Rue Dominique.

Posted by
3204 posts

On my last trip there I visited the Petit Palais Museum.
It's free; and is stuffed full of art, sculpture and amazing furniture.
The building itself is amazing too.
There is also a little café in the centre, with a charming garden in there too.
And NO tourists!
People don't seem to go there on the "tourist trail".
You could also go to the Jardin des Plantes, for a lovely walk in the gardens there.

Posted by
11453 posts

We have had two fine meals at Les Papilles, which I think is also in R.S. We have had dinner, which is a prix fixe affair, and lunch which was alacarte. Both were excellent. Dinner can be a bit pricey depending on the wine you choose, but still an excellent value in terms of quality and experience. Reservations a must. I emailed them and received a confirmation promptly a couple of weeks in advance. You then have to call the day of to confirm you are still coming, at least that is imperative for dinner. Worth the trip and not too far from a Metro.

We also like Le P’tit Troquet in the 7th and Cafe Constant. The former you can reserve online, the latter you wait in line.

The cafe at the Musee d’Orsay is excellent.

Posted by
187 posts

Thank you all for such great ideas and recommendations.
This forum is wonderful.
Please keep keep sharing your experiences.
We are looking forward to our visit to Paris....