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paris itinerary help

my husband and I are leaving april 1st for a 5 night stay in paris.

we are arriving Wednesday april 2nd at 7:30am and will be staying at the golden tulip opera noailles hotel

we have some tours planned but i'm trying to plan out what to do on our free time.

so far the day we arrive we were thinking of using the hop on hop off bus to get oriented to paris. I'm looking at using either L'opentour or the les cars rogues companies.

thurs april 3rd we have a louvre tour from 9:30am to 12:30pm and then the rest of the day is free.

fri april 4th we have a notre dame tour from 9:30am to 11:45am and then a tour of versailles starting at 1:15pm. any advice for where to get a quick lunch this day would be appreciated (we will leave from our hotel for the versailles tour)

saturday april 5th we have the day free until our eiffel tower and seine cruise which starts at 7:15pm.

sunday the entire day is free

monday we fly to italy

the items on our must do list which aren't already part of our itinerary already are:

  1. sainte chapelle
  2. arc de triomphe
  3. sacre coeur
  4. latin quarter
  5. montmartre
  6. champs elysees
  7. invalides
  8. montparanasse tower

any advice on how to group these items into our itinerary during our free time would be greatly appreciated.

thank you!

Posted by
2258 posts

Wow, I do believe Ed has redefined brevity here ;-). For Sunday I'd suggest heading for the Village of Montmartre walking tour with Paris Walks
Starts at 10:30, ends at the Sacre Coeur, it is a really great look at the neighborhood. No reservations needed, just show up at Metro Abbesses, 12 euro apiece. Takes about two hours, and there's tons of great lunch spots down in the village.

Posted by
2081 posts


I dont have all of those places in my head as others.

so i go old school and break out a paper map of paris and start circling/doting areas. then i try to group them to minimize my walking across paris.

that how i would do it.

happy trails.

Posted by
15365 posts

There are plenty of places to get something to eat after Notre Dame. I'd choose either "fast food" - sandwiches, crepes, etc. from any of the vendors you pass, or a cafe close to your hotel, so you know how much time you have to sit and eat. If you choose the latter, and you are short on time, ask for your check when your food comes. Typically, the check is not presented until after you ask for it, and it may be hard to get your waiter's attention once you've been served.

Instead of a daytime visit to the Sainte Chapelle, when the security lines can be really long, consider an evening concert. If you get there early, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy the stained glass windows - and take photos - before the concert starts. It's best if there is a concert that starts before sunset, which is around 8.30 p.m. while you're there. That's the best time to see the windows.

Posted by
1830 posts

For easy navigation and transport you can use metro line 1 for: 1, 2, 4, 6, 7 and the change to metro line 12 at station Concorde for 3, 5 and 8 (thanks to Ed for the brevity). Write the names of the metro stations on paper to use the map as less as possible. Quartier Latin and Invalides needs just a bit of walking.

Posted by
38 posts

It’s with the utmost respect for Ed’s brevity which I greatly admire but am apparently unable to emulate that I’ll share my thoughts . . . which is fairly presumptuous on my part given my vast travel experience in Paris (a mere 5 days, albeit quite recent). As to (4) (Latin Quarter) – just plan to walk that area any evening – everything (shops, restaurants) is open very late and the people-watching is great. On another evening, walk the Marais or another neighborhood. As to (1) Sainte Chapelle, I like the suggestion of an evening concert. Note that the windows are under restoration so the rose window and some others are not visible; I also see on their website that they’re closed 4/2 ‘til 2:15pm, so keep that in mind.
Wednesday, 4/2: After you arrive, get into the city and checked into your hotel, go ahead and do the Hop-On/Hop-Off – with my caveat that you DO hop OFF! Get out, walk around, get fresh air – and you’ll be able to cover at least two of your must-see items (2) and (6): L’Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysees. Note however that the L’Arc has quite a bit of scaffolding on it (at least it did 4 weeks ago). Make a note that you’ll want to spend time at the L’Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel – just west of the Louvre as you walk toward the Tuileries gardens. This is a smaller Arc, but it’s beautiful and merits your time and inspection.
Thursday, 4/3: After your morning Louvre tour, I suggest you spend the afternoon covering (3) and (5) Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. Get to the Metro 2 line and get off at Anvers, start walking up the hill, have lunch, enjoy the neighborhoods, and work your way up to Sacre Coeur. When you leave Sacre Coeur, don’t go back down the hill – go on “behind” and explore the neighborhood, enjoy the artists at Place du Tertre. You could have dinner up there before heading back to your hotel.

Friday, 4/4: You have a full day of tours – after you return from Versailles, perhaps walking the Latin Quarter or Marais, or see about a Sainte Chapelle evening concert.
Saturday, 4/5: Your (7) Invalides museum opens at 10am, get there early, spend a few hours, then you have the afternoon open for something else. Now, you could do your (8) Montparnasse Tower, but by this point you might change your mind. By my calculations it costs 2 adults $55 to go up and take in another high-vantage-point view of Paris. There’s a nice 8-minute youtube video where you can take a look at what you’ll be seeing and decide if it’s worth your time. You might have more fun going into the Galleries Lafayette Department Store, take the escalators up to their rooftop terrace and takie in the view from there—it’s very nice, and free! Have a little lunch, a little shopping, find a cafe to sit in an enjoy a glass of wine or coffee, soak up Paris, and relax so that you can enjoy your evening Eiffel Tower & Seine River cruise.
There, now I’ve been able to vicariously plan a trip (not mine) and feel jealous that you’re going to Paris and I’m not. (You'll find ramblings on my recent 5 days in Paris in Trip Reports.) Enjoy!

Posted by
8812 posts

All I have to add is to please add the Luxembourg Gardens to your list and spend a couple hours there. They are my favorite place in Paris. Not only are they beautiful for walking or sitting in comfy chairs, but you also are among Parisians who are enjoying their time there as well. Where else on your list will you have that experience? Great people watching. They also have two cafes, my favorite one is next to the palace and bandstand.

Posted by
22 posts

After the Louvre walk thru the gardens... Lots of cafè, so don't attempt eating inside... Keep going and check out L'Orangerie (Monet' s Water Lillies and lots more)! I agree w/Luxemburg gardens... and recommend also adding Sainte Sulpice church as well (short stroll from Luxemburg). Montparnasse tower is over rated. We caught the view from the roof of the Galleries Lafeyette as well.

Also, in case your Versailles tour doesn't include the gardens (you have to pay for entrance to the gardens, they're not included in the museum pass), you can rent a golf cart or bicycle to get around easier and more quickly than walking. Also, keep your ticket to the gardens handy, once you leave the gate you'll need it to get back in to return the cart/bike, etc...

Be sure to take a quick second after Notre Dame to go over to Berthion for the best ice cream ever on Ile St Louie (just over the bridge)!

Have fun! And plan to go back when you don't have so much to do... ;)

Posted by
71 posts

May I ask, who did you book your tours for the Louvre and Notre Dame through? We are going in September and I am researching. We are good about planning our day, but I'm afraid in a big place we might be running around in circles.