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Paris in 3,5 days - opinions and suggestions?

Thu, 12th

7:30 Tube to St. Pancras station (London)

8:30 Eurostar train to Paris

13:00 Arrive at Gare du Nord (+1h timezone added)

13:30 Quick lunch at the nearby Subway

14:00 Drop pack at Vintage Hostel

15:00 Pick up Museum Pass

16:00 Musée d'Orsay

18:30 Montmartre exploration, grocery shopping and dinner

22:00 Sacre Coeur night city view (from outside)

23:00 Check-in at Vintage Hostel

Fri, 13th

9:30 Trocadero & Champ de Mars

11:30 Musée de l'Armée & Tomb of Napoleon

14:00 Lunch at Café somewhere near Rue Cler

16:00 Louvre Museum (1st visit)

19:00 Picnic dinner at Jardin des Tuileries

20:00 Walk on Champs-Elysées

21:30 Arc de Triomphe

Sat, 14th

9:30 Sainte Chapelle

11:00 Notre Dame

13:00 Quick lunch and RS historic walk

14:30 Louvre (2nd visit)

17:00 Picnic at Jardin des Tuileries

18:00 Place de la Concorde, La Madeleine (photo stop) and Pont Alexandre III

19:30 Seine walk to Eiffel Tower

20:30 River Cruise roundtrip

22:00 Eiffel Tower lit up (not climbing)

Sun, 15th (easygoing day)

9:30 Parc Monceau

11:00 Les Catacombes

13:30 Picnic lunch at Jardin du Luxembourg

14:30 Cluny Museum

16:30 Pantheon (photo stop)

17:00 Stroll around Latin Quarter

19:00 Dinner


Thoughts?

Is it a terrible idea to try to get night sights in Paris in May?

Posted by
97 posts

Thanks for posting this itinerary as I am planning my first visit to Paris next June for 3-4 days and need ideas!!!!

Following

Posted by
130 posts

I'm not sure I can take two visits to the Louvre (total 5-6 hours) in a single day. I tried to split the museums as much as possible with one big museum per day.

The bad thing about the night is that it only gets dark really late in the hour in May. It's kind of a hassle but since the timezone is +1 compared to London I'll probably be sleeping and waking up a little later anyway.

Posted by
646 posts

I like your decision to see The Louvre over two days. Seeing it all at once might be time efficient, but you will take in more in two short visits. I'd even consider subtitling another smaller museum for one of your Louvre visits.

When you arrive the first day, why not get your museum pass while you are at the train station? It will save you a trip?

Posted by
24 posts

A couple of things to consider...it takes metro transfers to travel between Musee d'Orsay and Montmartre so you have left very little time for one of the world's greatest museums. I still, after spending a total of about 6 months in Paris over the years, have not visited the catacombs since I have always been discouraged by the long lines. You may want to rethink going or plan a much longer wait. Another thing you may want to rethink is the museum pass. The benefit of getting one is shorter lines but, since you mostly plan one museum a day, it will end up costing you more.
May is generally a good time to see night sights. The weather can be unpredictable then so there may be some cloudiness.
Allow yourself to go off schedule and just soak up the ambience of, in my humble opinion, the greatest city in the world.

Posted by
2284 posts

This is pretty packed, but seems okay for a plan. Just be prepared to not get to everything on your list in case you run into a snag or find yourself someplace where you feel like lingering longer than you have scheduled. I try to put my higher priority sites in the morning, and if I don't get to the ones I planned for later in the day, I'm okay with that.

I urge you not to eat at Subway. Get crepes at a takeout place or grab something at a bakery - both are quick options with much better food. I have nothing against Subway, but choosing it over a Parisian bakery is just wrong. : )

Posted by
130 posts

I like your decision to see The Louvre over two days. Seeing it all at
once might be time efficient, but you will take in more in two short
visits. I'd even consider subtitling another smaller museum for one of
your Louvre visits. When you arrive the first day, why not get your
museum pass while you are at the train station? It will save you a
trip?

You can collect the pass at the Gare du Nord? I've only seen a Rue des Pyramides address on the website. I'll be buying online.

What do you mean by subtitling a smaller museum? Not a native english speak, sorry.

A couple of things to consider...it takes metro transfers to travel
between Musee d'Orsay and Montmartre so you have left very little time
for one of the world's greatest museums. I still, after spending a
total of about 6 months in Paris over the years, have not visited the
catacombs since I have always been discouraged by the long lines. You
may want to rethink going or plan a much longer wait. Another thing
you may want to rethink is the museum pass. The benefit of getting one
is shorter lines but, since you mostly plan one museum a day, it will
end up costing you more. May is generally a good time to see night
sights. The weather can be unpredictable then so there may be some
cloudiness. Allow yourself to go off schedule and just soak up the
ambience of, in my humble opinion, the greatest city in the world.

I just read it's usually about a 3-4 hour wait for the Catacombs. What? I had no idea people were this crazy to see some bones.

But I also read that if you arrive early like 8:30 you'll be one of the first to enter. Is that true? I have this attraction on my easygoing day so I don't mind waiting a little, but if I have to wait more than 1 hour I'll probably skip it.

The Museum Pass is good because it covers other non-museum sites I want to see like the Notre Dame, Holy Chapel and the Arc. It costs 56 euro for 4 days, I don't see how that will cost more than buying everything separately.

Posted by
130 posts

This is pretty packed, but seems okay for a plan. Just be prepared to
not get to everything on your list in case you run into a snag or find
yourself someplace where you feel like lingering longer than you have
scheduled. I try to put my higher priority sites in the morning, and
if I don't get to the ones I planned for later in the day, I'm okay
with that. I urge you not to eat at Subway. Get crepes at a takeout
place or grab something at a bakery - both are quick options with much
better food. I have nothing against Subway, but choosing it over a
Parisian bakery is just wrong. : )

The interesting thing about Subway is that I know the food, it's reliable and easy to research locations. I'm sure I'll pop in into a few bakeries on the way to some sites, but since my itinerary is packed I don't want to risk losing time having to search for one that has something I want to eat for lunch. I like to have nutritive meals with veggies and fiber for lunch and it's hard to know what those bakeries will have available when I'm there. Maybe if you can recommend good ones that serve healthy food and that are near the places I'll be having lunch then I can be more prepared!

Where I live bakeries mostly serve full carb snacks so that's where the concern comes from.

Posted by
9930 posts

I love the Museum Pass!

I know you are on a food budget. I don't usually worry about money spent on food but I am vegan so I look for sandwich places as it is easier to get something that is vegan and also usually want something quick. You may be surprised at the number of boulangeries that have ready made sandwiches available for carry out (emporter). There is a good sandwich shop just north of Notre Dame called Hure that is pretty inexpensive. I think I paid maybe 4,5€ for a veggie sandwich on a long baguette (could have been enough for 2 meals) and a water. Standing in the plaza in front of Notre Dame and facing the doors, go left down the side street (Rue d'Arcole) and Hure is on the right almost to the end. On a Rick Steves Best of Paris tour, our guide got us sandwiches for a picnic lunch here.

There is also a chain of small carry out places called Maoz (I think there are 2 in Paris). I usually get their falafel pita sandwiches but they are very inexpensive and filling. The one I usually head for is in the St Germain des Pres area near St-Michel on Place Saint-Andre-des-Arts.

If you are willing to spend 8€ and are interested in another falafel place, go to L'As du Fallafel in the Marais on Rue des Rosiers. 8€ will get you a huge sandwich. If I have one for lunch, I usually am still not hungry for dinner. There are a number of falafel shops in the Marais which smell delicious but which I have not tried. I believe many are closed on Saturday for the Sabbath but are open on Sunday.

There is also a boulangerie on the corner of Rue Cler and Rue du Champ de Mars which has ready made sandwiches at a reasonable price if you decide to eat in this area. You can get a sandwich from here and take it to the Eiffel Tower area (maybe a 10 minute walk) to enjoy.

editing to add: Well, I was thinking and typing while you were posting. The sandwiches will obviously have carbs but the bread is SO good! All usually have vegetarian options but often they will have cheese on them which I avoid. The ones I listed I can get things without cheese or dairy which is what I look for. Your tastes will vary from mine.

Posted by
130 posts

Thank you Pam, that was really informative! I'll keep those places in mind.

I have no problem with carbs, I just need my veggies and protein with it. Like I said, here where I live the typical bakery pastry is 80-90% carb, 10-20% meat. And often fried. But I'm sure Paris is different.

Posted by
646 posts

You can collect the pass at the Gare du Nord? I've only seen a Rue des Pyramides address on the website. I'll be buying online.
Blockquote

You can buy a pass at the IT at Gare du Nord and other ITs for that matter as well as a few museums:. http://en.parismuseumpass.com/rub-t-points-of-sale-3.htm?cat=6&type=31 I've never bought one on-line. I don't know if you can collect it there if you've already purchased online. I've never heard of them running out.

Posted by
7148 posts

A 4 day Paris Museum Pass would give you most flexibility ... http://en.parismuseumpass.com/
I would recommend Pompidou over a 2nd visit to the Louvre - take advantage of museum night openings.
Sacre Coeur (Montmartre) and Musee d'Orsay on your arrival day is a good idea.
Focus each day on a general area, and plan your logistics so the day flows well. That way you minimize wasted time on the metro, get to enjoy walking, and see Parisien life 'unfolding' at street level.
Ideas below along those lines, all of which would be nearly impossible, but are offered as suggestions.

Thu 12
Sacre Coeur & Montmartre
Musee d'Orsay (closes 9.45pm Thu)

Fri 13 Right Bank
Invalides >> Pont Alexandre III >> Grand+Petit Palais >> Champs Elysees >> Arc de Triomphe >> (metro to) Place de la Concorde >> Madeleine >> Opera >> Place Vendome >> Tuileries Gardens >> Orangerie >> Louvre (closes 9.45pm Fri)

Sat 14 Left Bank
Eiffel Tower
Notre Dame >>Latin Quarter >> Musee Cluny >> Pantheon >> Jardin de Luxembourg >> St Sulpice >> St Germain de Pres >> Pont Neuf >> Seine River Cruise ... vedettesdupontneuf.com

Sun 15 The Two Isles + Marais
Saint Chapelle >> Conciergerie >> Ile St Louis >> Place des Vosges >> Le Marais >> Carnavalet Museum >> Picasso Museum >> Pompidou Centre (closes 10pm Sun)

Posted by
9930 posts

Before you make decisions on which museums to include, do some looking on their websites to see if their collections are of interest to you. I, personally, would pick a 2nd visit to the Louvre over Pompidou.

I did go to the Pompidou Museum of Modern Art on my last visit as I had the museum pass and was nearby. I had already been to the Louvre 3 times during that visit and managed to see most of what I wanted to see there, altho there were a couple of rooms I had seen on previous visits with a tour guide that I just could not find. Really, it was like they disappeared, lol. However, if you have an interest in art from 1905 on then Pompidou might be of interest to you. I enjoyed some of the earlier artists but I didn't particularly care for the contemporary artists. That's just me. You might enjoy something different.

Also, unless you have a strong interest in Picasso, I would not include it in your short 3.5 day visit. Again, I did this one because I had the Museum Pass and was in the area. I like the d'Orsay, Orangerie, Carnavalet and Cluny much better, but that is just my taste. You might prefer a more recent time frame.

To give you an idea, I was in Paris for 2 weeks Fall 2014 and did not get to the Pompidou or Picasso museums at all. I did go to the Louvre 3 times. This year I was there for 6 and a half days and did do the Louvre again X3.

David works hard on his itineraries and they are cogently laid out but for my tour style they are way too fast paced. I, personally, could never do Les Invalides, Arc du Triomphe, Orangerie and the Louvre in one day. Nor could I do Carnavalet, Picasso and Pompidou in one day. My brain would be in museum overload. For others this might be completely doable. I actually think your original itineraries might be better.

Food-wise, most of the boulangeries (bakeries) don't just have sweet stuff. The boulangeries would likely also have selections of ready made sandwiches, perhaps some kind of quiches or other snack type food, not just sweet cakes and desserty type offerings. That would probably be a patisserie that would just offer cakes, macarons, pastries. I am NOT the expert on this so others may have a better explanation.

Posted by
9930 posts

Sorry, I think my sentence was not clear. It was rooms in the Louvre I could not find, not the Pompidou. I visited October 2015.

Posted by
130 posts

Thank you David, I'll do some research on the sites you suggested that are not on my list, but I can say that the Pompidou is probably not for me, I hardly have any interest in modern art.

Pam, do you suggest any changes on the way my itinerary is laid out? Can it be more efficient in terms of routes and opening times? I know unpredictable things can happen, but if things go fairly smooth is the time I have allocated for these sites enough to get a decent taste of each of them?

Also have you visited the catacombs? What do you think of that attraction and of its inclusion on my last day?

Posted by
9930 posts

I also have not visited the Catacombs. I did not want to spend the time there in line and walking thru. I know many enjoy it, they are just not a top tier site for me.

I agree with splitting up your Louvre visit. 2-3 hours at a time is all I can do in there. It is big and crowded in some areas, especially in the route to and from the Mona Lisa.

If you are buying your Museum Pass online are you going to have it mailed to you? That is what a friend of mine does altho this last time I purchased passes for her for her May trip. You can also purchase it at the museums altho you sometimes encounter a line. It is easier to buy it at a smaller museum than d'Orsay but it can be done there. I wonder if this is also something you can purchase at St Pancras Eurostar Terminal or on the Eurostar. You can purchase carnets of Metro tickets on the train and in the departure lounge in London.

And speaking of the Eurostar, I note you plan to get the Tube to St Pancras at 730. Does your Eurostar leave at 830? The website I think says you need to be there 30 minutes ahead, but in practice I think people recommend you get there 45-60 minutes ahead. You have to go thru airline style security, then departure Border Control from UK and French arrival Passport control. They are all in a line so you walk from one to another before you enter the departure lounge but it can take a bit of time. I always overestimate the time I need but I try to get there 60 minutes ahead.

Day 1: I would probably pick up some food in London at St Pancras BEFORE you go thru security. There are 2 M&S food shops which have takeaway sandwiches and salads at reasonable prices as well as a Boots which someone mentioned to you in your London thread. You can eat on the train. After you drop your bag, I would go straight to d'Orsay and purchase your museum pass there instead of having to go somewhere else to get it. David's plan is also good but I suspect your idea was to see Paris at night from the aspect of Sacre Coeur.

Day 2: If you are going to Eiffel Tower another day, then I would go directly to Les Invalides and Napoleon's tomb. Lunch on Rue Cler and that puts you near the Ecole Militaire metro stop to get you near the Louvre. (Ecole Militaire to Concorde, change and go 2 stops to Palais Royale/Musee du Louvre) Walk thru Tuileries and see how you are doing. Possible Orangerie if you can do another Museum. If you are pooped you can hop on the Metro at the Concorde stop at the end of the Tuileries and go to the Etoile exit for the Arc d'Triomphe.

Day 3: Are you planning to go up the tower in Notre Dame? That does require the Museum Pass, just entering the Cathedral does not. The line for the tower is long. The line to get in the cathedral looks long but moves fast. There is a slowdown since only one or 2 people can get thru the door into the Nave at one time so it slows things down. There is no security or ticket check so that does not slow it down. I'm not in to towers and climbing stuff so others can advise you as to whether you need to do this first thing. Otherwise this day looks pretty good to me. You can eat lunch either at Hure or Maoz. Louvre and Eiffel Tower are fine for the afternoon. I love the walk from Louvre or Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower area BUT you need to judge how your energy level is running.

Day 4: If you skip the Catacombs you could do Les Invalides this morning and free up some time on Day 2. That day you could do the whole Louvre/Tuileries/Orangerie/Place de la Concorde/Champs d'Elysee, Arc d'Triomphe, Trocadero, Eiffel Tower. Today you could do Invalides, Rodin (if you are interested), Cluny, Pantheon, Latin Quarter today.

Everything is a tradeoff. My interests and energy level might not match yours. I did wind up walking 13,000 to 23,000 steps per day in Paris (and London, lol) so that is 6.5 - 11.5 miles a day. I'm old, you may be able to do more than that.

Posted by
130 posts

Jen said I can buy the Museum pass at the Gare du Nord, so I'll probably do that. Metro tickets are also sold at the GDN I imagine.

There's a eurostar leaving St. Pancras at 8:31 on May 12th.

08:31 11:47

02h 16m Direct

£45.00

I intend to be inside the Victoria line by 7:30 (catching it at the Oxford Street station), so I think I'll arrive at least 45 minutes early. I put a 13:00 arrival on my itinerary so there's some flexibility to buy the pass and the metro tickets.

There's also a train leaving at 9:17, but this one would arrive an entire hour later (slightly longer duration). Also, only 1 ticket left for this one. I wonder if I should go ahead and purchase the 08:31 right now to secure it?

Day 1: I would probably pick up some food in London at St Pancras
BEFORE you go thru security. There are 2 M&S food shops which have
takeaway sandwiches and salads at reasonable prices as well as a Boots
which someone mentioned to you in your London thread. You can eat on
the train. After you drop your bag, I would go straight to d'Orsay and
purchase your museum pass there instead of having to go somewhere else
to get it. David's plan is also good but I suspect your idea was to
see Paris at night from the aspect of Sacre Coeur.

Good idea about the food. Can you give me directions to the shops so I don't lose at lot of time when I'm there?

Day 2: If you are going to Eiffel Tower another day, then I would go
directly to Les Invalides and Napoleon's tomb. Lunch on Rue Cler and
that puts you near the Ecole Militaire metro stop to get you near the
Louvre. (Ecole Militaire to Concorde, change and go 2 stops to Palais
Royale/Musee du Louvre) Walk thru Tuileries and see how you are doing.
Possible Orangerie if you can do another Museum. If you are pooped you
can hop on the Metro at the Concorde stop at the end of the Tuileries
and go to the Etoile exit for the Arc d'Triomphe.

I'll be going to the Tower the next day, but very briefly just for a night sight. Is the Tower passable at daylight?

Day 3: Are you planning to go up the tower in Notre Dame? That does
require the Museum Pass, just entering the Cathedral does not. The
line for the tower is long. The line to get in the cathedral looks
long but moves fast. There is a slowdown since only one or 2 people
can get thru the door into the Nave at one time so it slows things
down. There is no security or ticket check so that does not slow it
down. I'm not in to towers and climbing stuff so others can advise you
as to whether you need to do this first thing. Otherwise this day
looks pretty good to me. You can eat lunch either at Hure or Maoz.
Louvre and Eiffel Tower are fine for the afternoon. I love the walk
from Louvre or Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower area BUT you need to
judge how your energy level is running.

Yes, I want to climb but not enough to wait a long time in a line. I'll make a judgement call when I'm there, if the line is too long and slow I'll skip it.

Day 4: If you skip the Catacombs you could do Les Invalides this
morning and free up some time on Day 2. That day you could do the
whole Louvre/Tuileries/Orangerie/Place de la Concorde/Champs d'Elysee,
Arc d'Triomphe, Trocadero, Eiffel Tower. Today you could do Invalides,
Rodin (if you are interested), Cluny, Pantheon, Latin Quarter today.

Yes, good point. I'll need to do some research on the lines. If I find out that early in the day, in May, the lines are anything like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-E1s2APhIWg

I'll definitely skip it. And that is on a winter day judging by people's clothes.

Thank you for being so helpful!

Posted by
2349 posts

Before you head off to a museum, stop at some shops and pick up lunch. Get a sandwich or baguette, some cheese, and fruit. Of course, a pastry. Just pack it in a tote bag and check it at the museum. When you get hungry or need a break, take it outside and eat. We did that at the Orsay last year and it gave us the break we needed. We went back in for another couple of hours.

Posted by
2284 posts

I am sorry, Psyche, but I can't recommend specific bakeries. I just go to whatever one is nearby or looks good. They are pretty much on every block and I've never had any trouble finding something I like to eat. I eat a Balance Bar in the morning to get some protein in, and then I can eat all the carbohydrates I want until dinner and I am fine. I think you are smart to consider nutrition, and if Subway is the easiest way for you to get what you need, go for it.

Posted by
3709 posts

Catacombs: this is a full day visit. 2-4 hour wait, 90 minutes to walk thru, plus it's in a remote part of Paris at least 45 minutes each way with transfer. You could go early and pay for a guide to skip the line but it's still more than half a day.

It's great to plan in detail like this as long as you're still happy only getting thru half.

Posted by
9930 posts

Here is a map to St Pancras.

http://stpancras.com/maps

See where it says Eurostar departures? You enter thru ticket turnstiles which are located between the numbers 38 and 39. That feeds you thru the security lines and then the Border Control formalities for exiting UK and Entering France. The places for food are numerous, but the day I was there I liked the selection at #46 and at the far end at #23. At the time I was there, the 46 store was jammed and the 23 store was nearly empty. There is also a Pret a Manger and a Boots which you will be familiar with by the time you leave London. Everything is geared to travelers so I think nearly every store has takeaway food/water/drinks. You do not have to keep to the airline regulations regarding liquids on Eurostar even though you go thru airline type security.

Posted by
7719 posts

You say:

I'm sure I'll pop in into a few bakeries on the way to some sites, but since my itinerary is packed I don't want to risk losing time having to search for one that has something I want to eat for lunch. I like to have nutritive meals with veggies and fiber for lunch and it's hard to know what those bakeries will have available when I'm there. Maybe if you can recommend good ones that serve healthy food and that are near the places I'll be having lunch then I can be more prepared!

Let me say: any of them, anywhere (and they are everywhere), will have much healthier and nutrient-rich options than Subway with its faux cheese. If you're concerned with finding a good bakery in Paris, maybe you haven't read enough about the high value that French culture places on delicious, healthy food.

Here's my main tip for finding a good bakery with healthy food: open your eyes while you're walking around.

Posted by
7719 posts

Also, lines for metro tickets at Gare du Nord are extraordinarily long, so take advantage of the chance to buy some tickets on the Eurostar, saving yourself time and frustration upon arrival in Paris.

And a second to the poster up above who counseled that you need to be in line at the Eurostar at least 45 minutes and possibly an hour before your train's scheduled departure. You have to be all the way THROUGH security and immigration 30 minutes before your train departs. Walking up to the line at 30 minutes 'til is not going to cut it.

Posted by
130 posts

Thank you all for the help.

Do you recommend that I buy the Eurostar ticket this far in advance? 45 pounds sounds like a good price.

Also I see there is a selection of food included in the standard (cheaper) ticket? Can anyone who has used Eurostar provide more details on this?

Posted by
9930 posts

Buy the Eurostar tickets as far in advance as you know your exact schedule. The prices only go up as the cheap fares sell out.

Posted by
8436 posts

Try to add the Luxembourg Gardens to your itinerary, well worth some of your time.

Posted by
130 posts

I forgot to mention that I will be going to Lauterbrunnen the following day (Mon, 16th). What train lines and routes should I be looking at? Best to depart from GDN or other stations?

Try to add the Luxembourg Gardens to your itinerary, well worth some
of your time.

It is there on the last day.

Posted by
2930 posts

As a vegetarian, I can tell you that you will have no problem finding veggies to eat. And if you are not vegan, oh my, the brie on some of those veggies is to die for...my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Don't bother worrying about where you are going to eat. Paris is a foodie's paradise, when you are hungry, it will be there! Just learn some of the French words for what you like to eat. Your itinerary is nothing I would choose, but to each there own. Many of the museums you name, I have yet to go see...and this from an art history person. Everyone has a different style, but as you are hurrying around fitting in all the sites, I think you might miss Paris and the ambiance of it. Paris is not about hurrying. It is about joie de vivre. I have probably spent almost a month in Paris, but I plan to return again and again so I'm in no hurry. You don't really need all the museums on your list all at once, just look around you.

Oddly enough, I have been to the Paris catacombs. It was quite interesting. This was the end of April several years ago, no lines at all. There were maybe 5 other people in the entire place when we were there. It is surprising to me that it has become that popular. I'd consider it a third tier site. I'd also skip Rue Cler, unless you want to be surrounded by American tourists, my experience.

It is great to plan, but allow yourself to deviate from the plan once you are there. And don't forget to get a religieux(sp) at a patisserie...a nun's cake...before you leave. Have a great time, Wray.

Posted by
1345 posts

As far as food I was able to find prepackaged salads at most places, and then there are these stores that have all kinds of foods in bowls on display, like what you would see at your local grocery store deli, but much much fresher and huge variety. I like your Subway idea, but maybe use it for a back up. I also HATE wasting time wondering around for a place to eat.

As far as the Catacombs we had your same idea got there and saw that the line was about a 4 hour wait as they only let so many people in at one time. I suggest you move this to a first thing in the morning activity, get there at 8:15 and wait..and wait...and wait...they open at 10. We got in line at 8:30 (already about 75 people long) and got in at 11:00 and we were out by noon, there went our whole morning but totally worth it!!! There is a Paul bakery close by to grab breakfast while you wait and chat up other people in line and people watch (very busy area). OR you can prebook an afternoon time slot and just walk in if it works with your itinerary (did not for us).

My itinerary looked much like yours....we were able to do about 1/2 the stuff...so I guess I will just need to plan another trip.

Posted by
317 posts

Reading this thread with interest and remembering our trip this past summer...

I wanted to add that I have been to Maoz on two different Paris trips in recent years, and we really enjoyed it. The place is very tiny (see link), but all the falafel sandwiches were made to order, and there was a delicious assortment of fresh salads and pickled veggies to top our sandwiches. Prices were very reasonable for our lunch - especially appreciated with our family of five!

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Maoz+Vegetarian/@48.8529874,2.3455288,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x4735817ebc2e626

This location is close to the Cluny - another site that we really enjoyed. My husband and I went there a few years ago, using our Museum Pass and not knowing much about it ahead of time. It was so interesting, and very manageable in size compared to some of the other great museums in Paris. We took the whole family this summer (during the heat wave) and spent time relaxing in the relatively cool Frigidarium in the Roman ruins part of the museum. I'm glad you have the Cluny on your list. That whole part of the Latin Quarter was interesting to explore. There are lots of food places to choose from in the St. Michel area - our kids (teens/young adults, really) chose a picnic dinner and enjoyed it in the garden area of the Cluny museum grounds while we had a special dinner date nearby.

Because it was so very hot while we were there, we didn't spend much time in the Luxembourg Gardens - but I would definitely recommend strolling through there on your visit.

We were there in early July, and I remember it being light past 10:00, so we didn't see dramatic lighting in the evenings because we were tired and back in our hotels before it really got dark. (Very different from my February visit and Notre Dame's illumination in the early evenings.) The positive side, though, was it felt like our days were endless, and walking around in the twilight was lovely...even though the temps remained in the 90's that late! More ice cream, no hot coffee! :-)

Enjoy your trip!
Laurie

Posted by
6734 posts

If you have catacombs high on your must see list then get a timed ticket so you don't have to wait in line. Those tickets are sold on line by the site for late afternoon visits. With so little time in Paris, I would not go if it meant queueing for 2 hours. You can see our trip here; we were lucky and there was no line at all on a November day. https://janettravels.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/catacombs-a-creepy-paris-stroll/

Obviously you visit the museums that you want to see, but I personally would never substitute the Pompidou for a second visit the Louvre. The Louvre is enormous and with the museum pass you can do two 3 hour visits rather than a marathon visit and see the highlights of what interests you. I would also give more time to the Orsay than you have here. If your Louvre day is rainy you could get lunch at their cafeteria (not great) or at the food court in the mall attached to the Louvre. Otherwise the Tuilleries is lovely. The Orangerie is also in the Tuilleries and with the museum pass you could nip in for a quick look at the water lilies while you are there.

As others have noted, bakeries have great and varied sandwich choices. You can easily get a tasty cheese/meat sandwich at any bakery, a tuna, whatever. For my tastes they are far superior to Subway and cost no more. You can also get little quiches that they will heat for you as well as drinks, yogurt, fruit cups and desserts and they will put it all in a bag for you. Some bakeries do a lively lunch trade and have 'formula' which include choice of sandwich, pastry and drink.

Posted by
13026 posts

Hi,

I'll comment on arriving at Gare du Nord. Good the way you have it since walking from Nord to Vintage Hostel is ca 15 to 20 mins if you don't stray off. Once you exit from Nord there are lots of restaurants en route and across the street, pizza places, Chinese (pour emporter ), chain places like Buffalo Grill, (not bad but not worth the money either), fast food chains like Quick, Subway, plus pricey restaurants, eg the Mercure Terminal. The "Subway" place is perpendicular to Gare du Nord, ie, one street over on the way to Vintage, ie to the right of the fancy Mercure Terminal restaurant. When you arrive at Vintage, see if you can check in at 1400. I don't know the names of the streets exactly only know the area to hit the right street. walking from Nord to Montmarte, the first indication of it you'll see is the merry-go-round, is ca 30 mins. Vintage is more or less half way.

On the 13th Friday...the Cafe at the Musee de l'Armee is good food wise, located on the ground floor. One can eat there without having to pay for a museum entry ticket first.

Posted by
13026 posts

Hi,

one other comment...don't be surprised if you find yourself running behind schedule. That may be at lunch or at the Musee, esp if you get hooked into seeing the Napoleon exhibits, the exhibits on WW 1 and 2 plus the documentaries shown, taking pictures (no flash), going to the Museum shop/ afterwards, a table is set aside for books on French military history and Napoleon in English too. Keeping to your time schedule depends on the the depth of your interest, ie hitting almost each exhibit diligently (that takes all afternoon ) or doing a survey.

Posted by
6734 posts

Fred makes a good point. We tend to organize our itinerary by half days with one main thing morning and then afternoon -- the other things we would like to go are then grouped to be near those things, so if we get the prime thing done we can then do the other like to sees nearby. I would for example never put the Louvre or Orsay and then Montmartre adjacent each other as they are a goodly distance away,but would pair these museums with a small museum like the Orangerie which is near them or a neighborhood wander etc.

Paris is best savored and on foot and less is more.

Posted by
5697 posts

Just a suggestion -- your picnic lunch places are just "ideas", correct ? Don't waste time getting to a specific place if it's not near where you are when hunger strikes. Good reason to carry snacks in your day bag.

Posted by
19 posts

I was in Paris for 5 days and did not get to all of this stuff, but I appreciate your enthusiasm!! Versailles needs to be on your list. Also, I am probably going to get hate replies, but I think Le Louvre is overrated. Go in, see the Mona Lisa.... Anyway D'Orsay is exceptional and you might also want to squeeze time in to just sit at a cafe and people watch!

Posted by
19 posts

I was in Paris for 5 days and did not get to all of this stuff, but I appreciate your enthusiasm!! Versailles needs to be on your list. Also, I am probably going to get hate replies, but I think Le Louvre is overrated. Go in, see the Mona Lisa.... Anyway D'Orsay is exceptional and you might also want to squeeze time in to just sit at a cafe and people watch!

Posted by
130 posts

Thanks everyone for the later comments, all very helpful stuff! I'm sorry I have not answered earlier, was on a small vacation over here in Brazil.

Just a suggestion -- your picnic lunch places are just "ideas",
correct ? Don't waste time getting to a specific place if it's not
near where you are when hunger strikes. Good reason to carry snacks in
your day bag.

Yes of course! I'll eat while walking to the next site if that's what I have to do. I'll have snacks with me all the time, and I'll carry even my lunch with me to eat on a specific time on certain days.

If you have catacombs high on your must see list then get a timed
ticket so you don't have to wait in line. Those tickets are sold on
line by the site for late afternoon visits. With so little time in
Paris, I would not go if it meant queueing for 2 hours.

That's interesting, can you tell me more? It can only be bought at the site? And you get a guaranteed no line entry? How does that work exactly?

Laura:

I don't think I have the time to go to Versailles with just 3.5 days. It's a full day trip from Paris.

Posted by
49 posts

Agree with some posts such as JanetTravels and Christa. We have done the Louvre but just small pieces as it is overwhelming. I would suggest - plan to see just some one day, and then include the other wonderful sites you have planned. Musée d'Orsay is a must. We really enjoyed Orangerie, but only got there on our fourth trip but it is a quick museum relatively speaking. We did stand in line for the Catacombs - two hours - and really enjoyed them. However, with your itinerary and the other many wonderful sites, I'd say it isn't worth it. It will take you longer between sites I believe than your timeline. This past time, we also did a food walking tour of St. Germaine - an area I had never really had a chance to explore before and just loved it.

Posted by
130 posts

Marna:

With a 2 hour wait I think the Catacombs might be doable. That last day is really not that busy. I can move Parc Monceau to the 13th, or even scrape it altogether. I can also explore the Latin Quarter after 17:00. I still didn't do much research on routes and things to see there but I don't think it'll be a problem to start at like 18:00.

If I arrive one hour before the Catacombs open and wait 2 hours, it could go like this:

Sun, 15th (easygoing day)

9:00 Be at Catacombs line
11:00 Catacombs start
13:30 Picnic lunch at Jardin du Luxembourg
14:30 Cluny Museum
16:30 Pantheon (photo stop)
17:00 Stroll around Latin Quarter
19:00 Dinner

The real question is, are the Catacombs worth standing 2 hours on a line?

The Parc is a huge detour on this day. I could do it early in the morning on the 13th before the Eiffel Tower.

Posted by
914 posts

Had a "quick" lunch at Evangelista near the Orsay a couple weeks ago. Sandwiches, tartines, big salads. They have a takeaway window too. A lot of places have the jambon and fromage type sandwiches. (Life is too short to eat Subway in France.

Posted by
776 posts

My recommendations: Skip eating at Subway! find a shop or bakery that has a sandwich already put together to take out; many bakeries have these. Monop is a food store part of the Monoprix store chain. Look up addresses before you leave; they cater to small meals, picnics and meals on the go. I have picked up small containers of salads and other finds that I can put in my daybag; when I find a good picnic spot, I pull out lunch. Many Parisians use parks to eat their lunch; it is so much fun to have lunch like a local! Nannies minding children visit the parks too.

I plan a lot into my days from home, then when I am on vacation, I decide at the moment if I will stick to the plan or spend more time sitting in a cafe or strolling down the Seine.

I also suggest fitting in an open air Market. The President Wilson Market is on the opposite side of the river as the Eiffel Tower but within walking distance. Whether you purchase anything or just marvel at the beautiful cheeses, fish, veggies, it is an experience.

I took a nighttime Seine Cruise in November and enjoyed it.

Posted by
11 posts

We visited the catacombs in May and found them to be very fascinating. We went later in the day and waited less than an hour. I think you will enjoy them.

As for museums, I liked the Rodin. Also, when visiting the Louvre make sure you follow Rick's instructions about entering through the side entrance. There was a huge line to get in (as usual), but we went to the side entrance and walked right in. You might also consider going on the evening it stays open late as most tourists arrive early in the day.

Posted by
13026 posts

@ Psyche...Unless you know the Gard du Nord area I don't think there is anything worth going to in terms of a local bakery in the immediately area, say on Rue Dunkerque on the way to Vintage. I know that area, mainly because I stay there, one chain after another, some Chinese hole in the wall places, (two I know of). The Subway is located just up the block from one of them.

Given the time factor, finding something in the same direction and quickly, etc, I would go for the Subway. The big "M" is too far away, ie en route to Gare de l'Est, so is Monoprix, across the street from Est. There is an Italian pizza restaurant two buildings or so down from New Hotel on Rue St Quentin. This pizza restaurant is almost literally across the street the Chinese restaurant "Le Jumbo"...a good place.

Posted by
130 posts

Thanks for all the tips.

Speaking of the Louvre, I have a question about the Museum Pass. Since I plan to visit the Louvre in 2 different days I'm wondering if the pass will cover that? Do I get unlimited visits for every attraction?

Fred, I've seen that there is a Franprix on Dunkerque right next to Vintage. Do you know that unit? Is it a good spot for grocery shopping? The location is insanely convenient but I don't know about their selection of products.

Posted by
9930 posts

Yes, unlimited visits. There is no place on the pass for them to indicate which sights you have been to. They will usually look closely at the activation date to make sure you are still valid. I fill in the date (using day/month/year) as I am walking up to my first museum.

editing to add: Here is a picture from the website showing the front of the pass. The back cover has a place for your name and the activation date. The cover is about the size of a credit card. It is thicker because it has the fold out with all the museums as shown in the picture.

http://en.parismuseumpass.com/rub-t-price-36.htm

Posted by
13026 posts

@ Psyche.... Franprix is a place to get groceries, sandwiches, etc, it reminds me of a small Monoprix. There is also a Monoprix or Franprix (can't remember which) as you exit Gare du Nord on Dunkerque opposite of the big Mercure Terminal Hotel, One of these is located where the street forks into three streets, make you stay on Dunkerque to reach the hostel. I believe there is a Chinese restaurant opposite of the hostel, it was going through remodeling, when I saw it a couple of years ago...if it's still there.