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Paris, our second time around - itinerary

We are so excited to be returning to Paris this late September, early October. I think I've got a good return trip planned. We absolutely loved Paris and are very excited to return. Are we missing any great stops? Any recommendations? We plan to mix in some cafe stops and people watching along the way. Of course, I know we can't see it all in a lifetime of trips but we're trying to see some more highlights this time.

September 29 Day 1: Arrive Paris 7:30, drop luggage off and head to Foire de Chatou flea market. This was a trip highlight last time and I'm very excited to go back. If we have time/energy we will go back to the Louvre and explore for a few hours for the late opening hours. End the night with a Seine river boat ride. We like to make a full day on arrival day as it helps us avoid jet lag.

Days 2, 3, 4: Loire Valley

Day 5: TGV back to Paris, check back into same hotel, visit Rodin museum (one of my favorite places!). Walk Rue Cler for some picnic supplies and do some light snacking under the Eiffel Tower. We did not prepurchase ET tickets this trip so we may not go back up if the lines are long. We'd also like to walk over to Trocadero to see it at night.

Day 6: Musee d'Orsay, Opera Garnier, sunset views from Printemps Haussmann

Day 7: Paris Walks St Germain Tour in the morning, self-guided St Germain food tour and picnic in Jardin Luxembourg, Hidden Paris Cheers Tour in the evening. The main thing we want to do this day is the morning St Germain Tour. We could drop any of the other ideas if you think of something else?

Day 8: Conciergerie and Saint Chapelle in the morning, Passage du Grand Cerf, explore Canal St Martin

Day 9: Hidden Paris Montmartre Tour, climb Sacre Couer, Musee de Montmartre, Arc de Triomphe

Day 10: return home

Our first trip together, two years ago, we visited many great spots: Versailles, Notre Dame and going up tower, going up the Eiffel Tower, Musee Louvre, Musee Orangerie, Places des Voges, Jardin Tuilleries, Cluny Museum, Rodin Museum.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, thanks! :)

Posted by
2030 posts

All of this sounds good to me. I like strolling through the Palais Royale & the nearby Gallerie Vivienne- one of the more beautiful of the passages. The Place Dauphine near Pont Neuf is a charming square to sit in or enjoy one of the cafes. The Pompidou and the Picasso museums are good additions to consider.

Posted by
7998 posts

since you love Paris you will probably back again like I have 9 times so take your time over years

Posted by
6622 posts

Indeed St-Denis is a great easy day trip if you're interested in gothic architecture -- it's basically where gothic began. Not to mention the tombs of most of the French kings and queens. Metro line 13 toward St-Denis, get off at the "Basilica" stop, the next to last.

Since you've been up the ET, if you want another bird's-eye view consider the Tour Montparnasse -- easy to reach, easy to get to the top, a comparable view that includes the ET and excludes the unattractive Tour itself.

Looks like a great second visit -- a few of your favorites from last time, some new places, well organized, flexible. Have fun!

Posted by
4991 posts

Perhaps I missed it, but it appears you've not been to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. The view of the Champs Elysees and the other streets radiating out from there is just great. And it include a very good view of the Eiffel Tower. We've only been there during the daytime. If you go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe in the evening when the Eiffel Tower sparkles it must really be spectacular.

Posted by
934 posts

Sounds like you have it pretty sorted out, but I'd recommend Musée Jacquemart-André and the nearby Parc Monceau. It's a solid "deeper cut" of Paris sightseeing. The museum is quite stunning, but small and easy to enjoy. Parc Monceau feels very local and is a good place to picnic.

Posted by
13 posts

I agree that a trip to the top of the Arc de Triomphe is totally worth it.

Posted by
13 posts

I agree that a trip to the top of the Arc de Triomphe is totally worth it.

Posted by
1384 posts

I am planning to return to Paris for my third time Sep/Oct next year. Like you I have already hit the main sites, so my next trip I will focus on some of the smaller museums, parks & day trips outside of Paris. Its nice to return to a place, see some familiar sites & add new sites to the visit.
Enjoy your trip.

Posted by
1162 posts

Your plans sound great, and I'll be in Paris a couple of weeks before you. My only suggestion is to question the Canal Saint Martin part. It was hyped a couple of years ago so I went there as did others, but I was really disappointed (as have been others). Not really much to see other than a bunch of people littering along a canal, and I didn't even find any good cafes or restaurants until I was far from there back towards Blvd. Haussmann. This, plus the fact that it is so far away from any other good sights, and that there is so much more worth seeing in Paris would make me take a pass. Of course, if I hadn't gone myself, I'm sure I'd imagine that it was something special that I missed...

Posted by
676 posts

Thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions. I need to research them all and see what interests us!

We have not made it up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe yet - we did see it last time but did not have time to go up to the top. We are planning to do that this trip and sounds like it will be great! :) I think the Montparnasse Tower would also be great for seeing the city. Is this better by daylight or night?

PharmerPhil, really interesting point on the Canal Saint Martin. Perhaps we will give it a pass this time and save it for another trip?

What is everyone's thoughts on the Marais neighborhood? We haven't really explored it yet. Should we look into a tour to get acquainted with it? Thinking we could possibly do that instead of Canal Saint Martin...

Posted by
703 posts

Go to Montparnasse Tower in early evening. We timed our visit to see the city & La Tour Eiffel light up. It was spectacular. We also went up the Arc de Triomphe in the early evening, just in time for the beautiful lights. Pere LaChase Cemetery is a good place to visit also as well as the Catacombs. I've been 3 times and can't wait to return to see and enjoy more of Paris. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
1384 posts

My plan for Marais next fall is to do the Paris Walks Marais from 10:30 - 12:30, have a picnic lunch in Place des Vosges, weather permitting, then visit Musee Carnavalet. Make a day out of the area since I have not visited it.

Posted by
1162 posts

Unfortunately, Musée Carnavalet is closed until 2019 for renovations. Julie, I think the Marais is much preferable to Canal Saint Martin. Lots of funky areas to explore, shopping, food, and Place de Vosges. Plus, it's relatively close to many other nice areas of Paris. Enjoy!

Posted by
5697 posts

And if you're fond of Monet -- Musee Marmottan ( not covered by Museum Pass)

Posted by
676 posts

All these great ideas and not enough time...I've started a list of places that we won't get to on this trip so they can be on the shortlist for our next trip!

I've done some rearranging of our itinerary, dropped the Opera Garnier and Canal Saint Martin. Saved for the future trip list. Days 1-5 and 7 and 9 are the same.

Day 6: Localer's Marais Tour (10:00-1:00), Musee d'Orsay, sunset views from Gare Montparnasse.

Day 7: Same plan, but thinking of riding the Velib bicycles along the Seine possibly.

Day 8: Conciergerie and Saint Chapelle in the morning; in the afternoon we will walk and hopefully have time to explore Passage Grand du Cerf, Rue Montorgueil, Galerie Vivienne, Le Palais Royal. Sunset views from Printemps Haussmann.

Only thing I'm kind of regretting not getting in here is a cheese tour offered by Paroles de Fromages. Looks wonderful. But, for the price I'm thinking we could buy a LOT of cheese from shops to try! I'm ok with spending money on things like this if they're really good but it seems hard to justify. How easy is it to buy cheese from shops? Is it intimidating or easy?

We'll be doing a lot of walking tours this trip but I'm hoping it will help us get acquainted with the neighborhoods. What's everyone's personal preference on these? Good or bad?

Posted by
2030 posts

I have taken 2 walks with the "Paris Greeters", and had wonderful experiences each time. A private citizen will take you (and your party) only, to an area of the city she/he is familiar with. A very personal tour. Even though I read many guidebooks, I saw many things with my "greeter" that I would not have discovered on my own. Check their website for more info.

I've also done Paris Walks, which are good, though more tourist oriented, and you are part of a larger group.

Posted by
6622 posts

Paris Walks does an excellent job and you don't have to make a reservation so you can bag it if the weather's bad. (Go inside and drink wine instead.) If you haven't visited the Marais you definitely should, especially the Place des Vosges, one of Paris' most beautiful parks. There's an intact piece of the medieval city wall near St-Paul. Take the guided walk but also try to wander around the back streets on your own.

On day 6, I hope you meant sunset from the Tour Montparnasse instead of the Gare. From the Gare (station) the sunset will be mostly obscured by neon. ;-)