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Paris Itinerary

I know this is a a lot. However we are good travelers, like to stay busy, do not spend a lot of times in Cathedrals/churches. Love Gardens, but a quick walk through is good and I can’t imagine spending 3 hours ever walking around a garden. We are not breakfast people, coffee and a croissant until lunch. We like food markets, history, art and walking different neighborhoods. This is our first trip and we want to see as much as we can and this is part of an 18 day trip. Please comment and would love suggestions to better group/order things, restaurant suggestions and anything we missed. Thanks so much!

Wednesday, July 12, 2023 - Paris
8:10 am Arrival into Paris
Drop off Luggage
11ish - Take Train to Versaille
Versaille - ½ Day Trip
Lunch at Versaille
6ish Check into Hotel
Seine River Night Sightseeing Cruise

Thursday, July 13, 2023 - Paris
Hop on Hop off Tour of City - Stay on for the loop
Explore Left Bank
Walking tour of St Germaine - St Germaine
Luxemburg Gardens, Les Deux Magots and Cafe de Flore, Église Saint-Sulpice
Lunch in St. Germaine
Museum D’Orssey - (book tickets in advance)
Rue Cler - Market Street
7:30 pm - Ballet at Le Palais Garnier
Late Dinner

Friday, July 14, 2023 - Paris - Bastille Day!
Explore Right Bank
Saint Chappelle (Book first tour)
Notre Dame
Walk Champs Elyse Jardin du Palais Royal, Tuileries Gardens
Arc de Triomphe
Picnic and Fireworks at Eiffel Tower (11:00 pm)

Saturday, July 15, 2023 - Paris
Day trip to Normandy - Best Tours - Lucca

Sunday, July 16, 2023 - Paris
Sacre Coeur
Walking tour of Montmartre - Walk Montmartre
Place St. Pierre, Eglise St. Pierre Montmartre
Walking tour of LeMarais - walking tour of Marais
Jewish Quarter, Place des Vosges Place de la Bastille, Marché des Enfants Rouges - Food Market
Canal St Martin - Walk Loop around the Canal
9:00 pm Moulin Rouge - Shows at 9pm and 11pm with and without Dinner
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Posted by
678 posts

it'll be a surprise to make Versailles at that time, presuming you're coming from CDG.

Regardless, it's July, it's hot. Cut everything in half because you will probably get exhausted in the heat.

I would definitely not do Montmartre and the Marais and Canal St Martin on the same day.

Posted by
1038 posts

If this is your first trip I would recommend that on your first day you arrive and get to your hotel and then plan maybe one thing to do that requires minimal travel time and have a nice supper and then hit the bed because you will be jet lagged and anything you do will be overshadowed by increasing fatigue. Trust me, I've tried to do what you have planned and it usually doesn't work out like you think.

Versailles and the gardens is a whole day trip when you factor in travel time, I would save it for later on when your rested because it is amazing to see and you will enjoy it so much more.

Posted by
1520 posts

I want to make sure I understand that you are already in Europe, and this is the Paris part of your trip right? Day one is not after a long international flight into Europe?

If the above is correct, then a day trip to Versailles is a good idea, but I don't know why you would go all the way to Versailles to just spend maybe 4 hours there? We needed 5 hours just to see the gardens, visit the different Chateaus and buildings in the gardens not to mention the actual Palace of Versailles, plus the walk from the train station to the palace is about 15 min....if you are just arriving in Europe and Paris is your first stop, then a day trip to Versailles is a bad idea.

Posted by
961 posts

It’s quite ambitious. The reality of how long the admission lines can be for entrance to popular sites like Versailles and the Musee D’Orsay —even by mid-morning but certainly by afternoon—is something one must see to be believed.
The Louvre, on Bastille Day is free to all. And, believe me, they will all be there.

Posted by
2955 posts

You are making a huge assumption that your flight is on time. Since COVID, flight schedules have had major disruptions, delays , cancelations. Check Flight Aware and research the dependability of your flights. In addition, France is prone to labor strikes, which are usually posted well in advance, so research those.
Your trip is obviously well-researched and planned, and I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time. Just slow down a bit, and keep the first day more relaxed.
Safe travels!

Posted by
2948 posts

“we want to see as much as we can…”

By the check list above, it seems like you don’t want to experience Paris just “see” it. Your days, especially for July when it is the height of the tourist season, is overly optimistic and hectic. Starting Day 1 after a tiring long-distance flight and change time zones, you will regret your plan. On your flight, you’ll wake up (if you got some sleep) at 6:30am, and keep going, going, going until at least 11pm. If you want to visit Versailles, you want to be there first thing in the morning, before it opens.

Put a little more time into researching what your “must sees” are and then hone down your list to what’s really important so that you could immerse yourself in the experience. I don’t know if you did so, but reading the itinerary of the Best of Paris tour could help you decide on the highlight# of the City of Light. Note also the amount of free time in the tour.

Posted by
3920 posts

It's too much. Waaaaay too much packed into every day; even in the off season. You've failed to take into account the heat and crowds of summer high season. As suggested, try to pare the list down to your own must sees. Start with one thing each for morning, afternoon, and evening. Have a separate list of secondary things that you an fit in, only if there is time. Be aware of the heat, stay hydrated, and rest for short periods during the day. Versailles is a full day thing. And if you are arriving from overseas, I doubt you'll be in any shape to do the late evening Seine cruise. Sunset isn't until 10 pm!

Posted by
32 posts

Woo, it is a lot. I’m tired just reading it, haha.

I love a good hop on/ hop off. But it’s not great in Paris. The traffic is super slow. If you are a good walker, I would just walk.

Walking Montmartre and the Marais on the same day is also ambitious. I would split these up. The heat and crowds can take it out of you.

What is your plan with the cafes ….you have cafe de Flores and les deux magots on your list…for a walk by? The lines to get in here are intense. I don’t think you can just pop in for a quick drink. If you want a meal, make sure you have a rez at les duex magots.

We’re coming back this June and are doing a retro tour….its a motorcycle and sidecar …so 2 people can go with guide. It looks fun!

Posted by
11863 posts

Day 1, as others indicate, feels way too much. I’d advise staying in Paris, closer to your hotel in case someone has a sinking spell and needs a nap, lol.

I’d suggest for arrival day doing part of your Day 2 itinerary:

"Explore Left Bank
Walking tour of St Germaine - St Germaine
Luxemburg Gardens, Les Deux Magots and Cafe de Flore, Église Saint-Sulpice

I’d add popping in to the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres as you’ll be in the area.

I don’t really see how you’ll work in Versailles as to me it’s a full day visit.

Hope you have fun!!

Posted by
9394 posts

Most of what’s on your list for July 14 will be closed for the National Holiday. The Arc de Triomphe will be closed and the Champs Élysée fenced for the ceremony and the military parade.

Posted by
52 posts

I must say you have done a lot of good research, and you have grouped your sights well geographically.

However, this is way too much. You are losing the beauty being in Paris with this go-go-go schedule. You need to take time to stroll and take in the surprises along the way, turn down an unexpected street, pop in a darling shop and eat a leisurely lunch in an outdoor cafe.

You also are facing the triple threat of summer crowds, Bastille Day, and summer heat. All of these will slow you down and tire you out quickly. I see from your other posts that this Paris is your first destination, so you are already starting tired.

I would say rework your first day. Absolutely no to Versailles the first day. Where is your hotel? I would drop off my luggage and explore your neighborhood, knock a few things off of your list that are nearby. Enjoy a long outdoor cafe lunch. Maybe go to a museum to get out of the heat, head back to the hotel, put your feet up before dinner. Decide on the river cruise according to your energy level, I would be afraid you might fall asleep on it.

I would cut out Normandy and go to Versailles on that Saturday. I would go first thing to get a jump on the crowds. Afterwards you can move over a few locations from your Sunday list. Have a great time!

Posted by
20 posts

Thank you to all for your replies. I have rearrange and clarified a bit. I know you are all against Versaille on arrival day but I am going to leave it for now. We have decided to have a car service pick us up at the airport and take us to Versaille to save time and energy. Please take a look and see if this is more manageable...

Wednesday, July 12, 2023 - Paris
8:10 am Arrival into Paris
Car Service to drop luggage at hotel and then transfer to Versaille
Palace of Versaille will book Reservation for 2:00pm
Gardens before and after and Lunch at Versaille
6 ish Check into Hotel
Dinner near hotel in Le Marais Area - (Suggestions welcome!)

Thursday, July 13, 2023 - Paris
Explore Left Bank
Notre Dame (outside)
Saint Chappelle (Book first tour)
Concergerie (if time) / Pantheon (if time)
Lunch and strolling - Ile Saint Louis
Walk along the Seine
2ish pm - Museum D’Orssey - will (book tickets in advance)
Dinner and Walking St Germaine (suggestions welcome)
Luxemburg Gardens, Les Deux Magots and Cafe de Flore, Église Saint-Sulpice, Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres
(outsides and walk throughs)
Take Cab to Sightseeing Cruise on the Seine

Friday, July 14, 2023 - Paris - Bastille Day!
Explore Right Bank
Louvre - (Book first ticket)
Lunch and walk in Tuileries Gardens
Walk Champs Elyse
Jardin du Palais Royal, (outside)
Arc de Triomphe - (outside)
Dinner around area
Fireworks at Eiffel Tower (11:00 pm)

Saturday, July 15, 2023 - Paris
Day trip to Normandy - Best Tours - Lucca

Sunday, July 16, 2023 - Paris
Walking of LeMarais
Jewish Quarter, Place des VosgesPlace de la Bastille, Marché des Enfants Rouges - Food Market
Lunch in Le Marais
Sacre Coeur - outside only
Walking of Montmartre
Place St. Pierre, Eglise St. Pierre Montmartre (outside and walkthroughs)
Dinner (Suggestions welcome)
9:00 pm Moulin Rouge Show

Posted by
1520 posts

So now on day 1 you have 6 hours between landing and Versailles then only like 3 hours at Versailles? How does that make sense?
Have you looked at the Versailles website and understand that the gardens are massive, with sculptures, fountains, different buildings you can enter and explore. We rented a golf cart to get around and we still spent 3 hours just in the gardens had lunch (in the golf cart we split a baked potato with all the toppings) then spent another another 90 min in the castle and before that we had done a 90 min tour of the apartments.
It is your trip and if this is what you want to do then do it, but just adding my .02...since you asked.

I plan like you, I put all that I want to do each day, even if it does not make sense and in over packed. Then I separate the activates into an "A" list which is MUST see and I have paid for or have a reservation for and a "B" list which is everything else I may have time for. I Usually do not even make it through my A list (these activities go on the list for next time I visit).
Then separate your day into AM/PM...some of your A list may move down to the PM portion of your list, may move to the next day etc. of course this is based on research of open/close days and times and proximity to each other.

Posted by
11863 posts

You should certainly do what you think you want to do but you asked for advice both here and on TA. On TA there were 5 or 6 posts recommending against Versailles on day 1 and what, 7 or so on this thread? Even with the car service taking you to Versailles, I'd still recommend slotting something else in Day 1 and since Versailles seems to be a must for you, do it on another day.

editing to add: I agree with Letizia that Versailles is huge. To me the gardens and the outside areas are more interesting than the Palace but YMMV. You will also want to be pickpocket proof inside the Palace. On one tour I did there on a RS Best of Paris tour the local guide came on the whisper sets and said the room security guard had just called her over to tell her pickpockets were working the room and to warn her group. Not sure why security could not intervene but...there you have it. If you do it on your first day you'll be tired, perhaps not as aware of your surroundings and more vulnerable.

BTW on TA ignore the troll who goes by the name of "Guido Locatelli" as they also go by several other handles including Chunky Charlene. There is some speculation it's some kind of bot with all the word salad they throw out although I think it if was actually an AI thing the posts would make more sense, lol.

I also understand you tour differently than I do. Everyone has their own style. The price of admission to Versailles is not onerous as it's around 20E so if you had to lose that money due to either an airline delay or in case you weren't up to it it wouldn't be a catastrophic loss. Probably less than you would spend on dinner.

12th: You could do your itinerary for the 16th today and move Versailles to Sunday.

13th: Still looks overloaded to me. If you are in the area of the cafes you listed during the dinner hour, just eat at one of them

16th: Versailles

Posted by
20 posts

Letzia, Thank for your comments. We are scheduled to land at 8:10 am. I wold hope to get to Versaille by noon, maybe earlier if things are not delayed. I will book the Palace tour for 2pm. We will do gardens before and after Palace for as long as we like and then take a cab to hotel. That should give us time. Forgetting that we are traveling in that morning, this seems like enough time. We will not be dining for lunch. We will just grab a quick something,

Pam, yes, I am stubborn and I want it to work the way I want! LOL! But I do understand and all of these comments have been very helpful. I tend to put everything on the itinerary and then adjust as needed. Other than things with timed entries, everything is flexible. Many of the things listed are just walk by and view from outside. We are not planning to spend a lot of time in any churches or cathedrals. We drive around Spain for 3 weeks and we are cathedral’d out!

The pick pockets are a problem. We had our passports and backpack stolen in Spain during a scam where they punctured our tire at the car rental and then followed us until the tire blew. Then someone stopped to “help” us and while we were distracted grabbed my backpack from the car! I will be very aware now!

Posted by
1520 posts

Lisa- Okay that makes more sense sounds like you will have plenty of time in Versailles as long as you don't have that hard stop for hotel check in at 6PM. It's your trip and I think you should do what you want, live and learn, that is all part of the personal growth that happens when you travel. You know yourself best, with an overnight flight I can sleep and be ready to hit the ground my travel motto is "I can sleep at home".

OMG your Spain story is awful! Thanks for sharing.

Posted by
20 posts

Letzia, Yes that is our motto too. Sleep at home! We are not looking for a “relaxing” trip. This kind of sightseeing is hard work! We will relax later in the trip on the French Riviera.... well maybe! I usually find that after an overnight flight, we are filled with adrenaline and excitement at being at our destination and can charge through the jet lag.

Posted by
32 posts

I understand wanting to see it all, report back on how it actually turns out! Haha

We will be in Paris for the 3rd time this June, and there are 3 things I haven’t gotten to previously- exploring the Marais (and all the sights there) Palais Garnier, and the new Dior exhibit. We only have 2 nights and days before we fly home.(12 days in France) Those are the only things on my checklist….along with eating a ton of pastries….so this will be a much more leisurely trip.
If we have time, we will check out the musee carnavalet.

Assume you will be back is good advice for the major cities!

Versailles was my favorite day on the last trip, and I do think it deserves a full day with an early start. The hamlet is magical.

For restaurants in the Marais…keeping in mind I haven’t been to them yet…..everyone talks about the falafels at l’as du fallafel, so that is on the list.
And the bistrot de l’oulette was highly recommended to me.

Posted by
112 posts

Lisa - I applaud you and your group! You obviously know your strengths and how you like to travel. And as you said, you do adjust when you need to. Your research is terrific and comments have been helpful to all of us.
Well done you and enjoy! We will be in Paris the month of May - but NOT going to Versailles! I think, however, your plan will work that first day as you know what to expect! We never spend much time in gardens either! Best to you!

Posted by
285 posts

All I can say is do NOT do Versailles on your arrival day. You will regret it. We went to Versailles a few days after arriving and it was exhausting. (we enjoyed it. But exhausting. The walking is unending) I cannot imagine trying to do that on the day I arrived from an international flight.

Posted by
1 posts

We will be on the Rick Steves Paris and the Heart of France tour in June. In preparation for our free time in Paris we've been watching the YouTube videos from "Les Frenchies" This delightful couple have many videos (and a guide) for places to eat in Paris. We can't wait to try some of them out! Have fun!

I love to plan our trips and yours looks like one I would have planned on my first trip to Paris! have planned far too much for each day if you really want to breathe and enjoy Paris as it should be enjoyed. I have found it is far better to experience several days - in depth - than to run, run, run from one place to another. Plan another trip for later if you want to see all that you have listed. You'll end up frustrated and anxious. You are traveling on one of the most crowded weeks of the year in Paris. And HOT! We were in Paris on Bastille Day on one of our several trips and swore that we'd never again book during this time. As others have said it is incredibly crowded, hot, and some places are not accessible. You WILL stand in line a LOT! I admire your tenacity! However, you absolutely positively need to change your visit to Versailles on the first day. Try to rearrange your schedule so you can spend an entire day there. If you can book tickets for the nighttime fireworks show - that is worth taking something else off you schedule and see it "next time"! Versailles fits your description of what you say you like to do. Get there early. Visit the gardens. Grab a picnic, a bottle of wine, and go to the park at Versailles to have lunch. Go to the chateau in the late afternoon after the crowds have subsided a bit. I would book a hotel in Versailles for one night.
The best thing to do after you land in Paris CDG is get a cab to your hotel. Walk around and acclimate yourself to the time, walk, relax, and rest. That might be a good day to hop on a river cruise. Savor the sights, sounds, and smells. Have a glass of wine. Eat a crepe! Grab a macaron! Get to your hotel and get checked in and go have dinner. Go to bed super early. Start the next day early and you'll be refreshed and ready. You'll be glad you didn't try to jump and run on your first day. It is never ever pretty and like so many here have said, you'll regret it. If there is one thing I've learned in my old age it is to listen to those who have "been there, done that"! Good luck!


There is so much to see at Versailles. The gardens themselves take hours. It's HUGE! The Hamlet, the Trianon, the Petite Trianon and Chateau add many more hours. To try to do this on the first day is not the best plan. As another traveler suggested, cancel the Normandy trip and go to Versailles. You'll be on the road most of the day to and from Normandy and a few hours there is not enough if you love history! Plan a separate trip to Normandy and stay there for several days.

We have been to Versailles many times and have enjoyed it immensely. We are taking my daughter and two grandchildren on a trip to London, Paris, and Normandy in June. I have spent a year planning and booking activities. Like others have said, plan your A and B activities and leave a free day for those things you REALLY want to see that you were unable to fit into your schedule.

Posted by
14 posts

Just got back from a week in Paris. Just be aware that even with TIMED TICKETED reservations we had to do a lot waiting in lines for security, e usually up to 1 hour! At the airport we waited 2 hrs just to get into the country!

Even if you have the physical energy for all of this (y’all must be iron man champions!) I don’t think you can possibly do it.