Paris- which would you choose?

I know everyone has their own opinion, but I would just like to know what you would choose.

I have my outline for our days in Paris, and there just doesn't seem like there will be enough time!

If you had two museums, which would they be?

If you had two neighborhoods, which would you wander?

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
9110 posts
  1. Maritime Museum and Natural History Museum.

  2. Latin Quarter north of Estrapade and Montmartre north of Cortot.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
996 posts

Louvre and Louvre (you'll need twice as much time as any two others).

Marais, two islands, and Latin Quarter (you can cheat because they're so close together). And you will no doubt run into Susan on her way between ISL and Luxembourg Gardens! ;)

Posted by Jerry
Madison, WI, US
79 posts

Hi Susan and Monte - I've been to Paris only twice.....but here are my thoughts.

Two museums...why only 2. Favorite museum is Musee D'orsay. Much more compact than the Louvre.....great paintings.

The Louvre.....do you really want to go to Paris and skip perhaps the best museum in the world. That being said......only pick out a handful of must see items, see them and then leave....otherwise you'll spend the entire day there.
Depending on what time you go...get a museum pass. In doing that I was able to go in so many less known museums by just quickly walking through them (in and out in 30 minutes) when I walked by.

Neighborhoods.

St Germain. Great walking. Nice energy. Luxembourg garden is nearby.
Montmarte......the artistic neighborhood of Paris. .....only if you're in Paris for more than a few days. It's a little more difficult and time consuming to get to.

Jerry R

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
1561 posts

Love the Louvre but if I could only go to 2 museums it would be Musee d'Orsay and Marmottan - I just happen to be fond of the Impressionists.

Neighborhoods would be Marais and the 2 islands and if you consider this one neighborhood because of proximity I would add Montmartre.

Posted by Susan and Monte
Granite Bay, CA
816 posts

So, I guess I should say that we have been to the Louvre, but it was for only a couple of hours since we were on a tour and it was our time off. We basically just saw art on the way to the Mona Lisa and then out.

We will be in Paris for 4 days, one full day to Versailles, one day I want to spend at Notre Dame and Sainte ChapelleI-Island area. The other two days I thought we would see one museum each day and wander a neighborhood and go to Luxembourg Gardens. Of course we also will do the Eiffel Tower (at 5:00pm) and a river boat cruise one evening. There are so many different neighborhoods and museums that I just wondered which are the "favorites" ?

I really want to enjoy being in Paris and not plan too much, but also want to see the best of what there is. I know it is a personal thing,
just want a consensus.

Thanks for the feedback...

Posted by Laura B
San Francisco
610 posts

Museums -- Orangerie for the Monet room and Marmatton for more Monet. And the Cluny (if the Lady and the Unicorn tapestry is on view -- we missed it last fall)

Neighborhoods -- anyplace!

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2884 posts

Agree with Ed's no. 2 for the neighborhoods...
For museums would add the Rodin Gardens... one of my favorites.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8477 posts

Louvre.. been more then a dozen times now.. always go back.. it is huge.. and I don't pretend to anyone it can be covered in a day.. it would take years!
Orsay.. I actually do not like the Impressionists much at all.. ( hey.. squint your eyes and look at any painting.. viola .. its an impressionist.. lol ) but I do love the decoratif arts.. the furniture.. etc on the lower floors.. and some of the scupltures.. Rodins Ballerina in particular .

Marais.. love the little side streets.. and looking for memorial plaques on the building walls ( from WWII,, noting the residences of those who were killed by the nazis and or were in the French resistance.. ) Some cute little shops..

The area behind Sacre Coeur.

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3611 posts

"And you will no doubt run into Susan on her way between ISL and Luxembourg Gardens! ;)"

Dick, you made me smile... I wish I could be there! And I'd love to be in Paris with Susan and Monte, they're wonderful people...

Susan, my favorite neighborhood is Ile St. Louis, as you and Dick already know. I also love Ile de la Cite, the 5th, 6th, Marais and all along the Seine.

My two favorite museums are the Louvre and the Orsay. I think it's Chani who recommends starting on the top floor of the Orsay as soon as they open and work your way down... opposite of the crowd flow, which I think is a brilliant tip.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
996 posts

@ Susan from Sausalito, EVERYBODY knows your favorite neighborhoods! ;)

@ Susan and Monte, if the Louvre is out then I'd say the Orsay, unless you already squint a lot so everything looks Impressionist to you, per Pat. ;) But the Orsay is a great building, superb for displaying sculpture. I'd agree with Chani, start at the top, some of the best impressionist paintings are up there, then work down. Having said which, I have to rant a moment about the lack of ramps or easy-to-find elevators, which made our visit last fall a lot harder on my wife. After they spent millions and millions renovating! OK, end of rant.

Speaking of sculpture, I agree with TK about the Rodin Garden. only a euro to get in, needn't spend a lot of time, helps if the weather's nice. (And all on one level too.)

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3611 posts

Dick, I repeat myself for new readers, not you old timers... just skip my posts from now on... : )

Posted by Wil
IJzendijke, The Netherlands
409 posts

My experience with museums in Paris is too much limited, but still Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace of Le Bourget Airport with parts of the airshow and Basilique-cathédrale de Saint-Denis are coming to my mind as one of the most memorable.
*
Have not so directly a favorite place, but something strange happened during my visit last June. There is a large park along Boulevard Saint-Michel with a nice chateau and a pond with a lot of seats around it, very pleasant place, excellent. I thought this a good place to eat my sandwich, to relax, for a bit people-watching and wanted to sit down, till somebody said (in French) “Please, not allowed to sit there sir, haven’t you read it?” and pointet to the back of the chair, so I took a better look.....and yes there was something written on it and looked more closer.....”Reserved for Susan” and “There are more of them, sir” the man said and yes it was not the only seat there, that’s what I can remember. I thought, what is going on here, has somebody an explanation for this and who might be the person where all these chairs are reserved for? Still thinking who? :)

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
3545 posts

The two museums: the Louvre and Les Invalides

The two neighborhoods....Tuilleries Gardens and the Luxembourg Gardens along with the immediate areas surrounding them. . The places speak for themselves.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
4446 posts

If I could only go to two museums, they would be the Louvre and the Carnavalet. The Marmottan is wonderful for Monet (only) but it's a shlep to get there. If you are in Paris on Wednesday or Friday, go to the Louvre in the evening. It's usually empty. Also, you can go to a concert at Sainte Chapelle in the evening - best is if the concert starts after sunset. Get there early (they open well beforehand) and enjoy the stained glass windows - you can walk around looking at them all and take photos before the concert begins. The stained glass as the sun sets is special. During the day, there are long security lines.

My favorite neighborhoods are the Latin Quarter and the Marais. Paris Walks has a guided Chocolate Walk that is both interesting and yummy, but you have to book in advance.

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3611 posts

Love your humor Wil... : )

I'd live there if they'd let me! And I'd share my chairs with you anytime!

Posted by Jean
Mill Creek, WA, USA
432 posts

Hi Susan & Monte,

There's never enough time in Paris! Love this city. : )

Two museums - 1st - D'Orsay, top floor and highlights around the other floors. 2nd - Opera House. I know it's not a "museum", but it's absolutely beautiful (you may take photos) with a lot of history and a nice balcony out the front. Skip the queue lined up for tours in the circular room, and walk through it yourself.

Two neighborhoods. Since you've already mentioned the city center islands - 1st - St. Germain (eat at an outdoor table) and walk to the Luxembourg Garden. For contrast, 2nd - take the Metro to the Abbesses stop and wander around the top portion of Montmartre.

I'd definitely recommend a night Seine river cruise. Try to select a time when you'll be going by the Eiffel Tower on-the-hour to see the glittering lights.

Posted by Sarah
St. Louis, MO USA
1557 posts

I suspect I'll be in the minority here but I suggest the Cluny Museum. It's housed in a late-medieval building and yes, it's full of medieval art, but that doesn't mean it's boring. The Unicorn Tapestries are there, as well as other interesting items such as a narwhal horn which people 600 years ago believed was a unicorn horn.

Favorite neighborhoods: Montmartre and St.-Germain.

Posted by David
Sacramento, CA, USA
275 posts

Louvre as you haven't been there (in and out to see the Mona Lisa don't count) and the Cluny. Totally different settings and totally differnt amounts of time needed to be dedicted to each.

Posted by BG
Albany, CA, USA
1477 posts

If you will be in Paris during peak tourist season, I would not recommend the Louvre, unless you go on a Wednesday or Friday evening, (when it is open late) because it is just too much of a crazy place in the daytime -- and only go there to see the biggies - Mona Lisa, Winged Victory and Venus di Milo. There's no way you can see it all in one visit. I also recommend, D'Orsay, Orangerie, Carnavalet, Cluny or the Pompidou -- choose one or 2 of these, depending on your interests, you can't go wrong.

Neighborhoods: the Marais & the islands -- Ile de la Cite and St. Louis,

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
5542 posts

What, David is giving advice about Paris!!

Susan, you know I emailed my suggestions but I would like to revise my answer. You can explore the Latin Quarter while going to and from your apartment. I would say that in addition to the Marais, including the islands, I would say St. Germain including the Luxenbourg Gardens. Look for the chair that says Susan. I know you aren't the Susan it's intended for, but it's your name so go for it. I know she won't mind.

I know you've been to Montmartre and expressed you weren't interested in returning.

Posted by Tom
Milwaukee, WI, USA
87 posts

S and M,

My first neighborhood choice would be whatever neighborhood your hotel or wherever you are staying is located. Don't ignore what's right under your nose; there is a uniqueness about most Paris neighborhoods that you will discover. Second, Montmartre but I tell people to approach it from the "backside"; that is take the 12 line to Mo. Lamarck-Caulaincourt (or the 80 bus that runs from the 15th arr., through the 7th and the 1st arr. to the same stop). When you get off, check the local map to orientate and just start walking uphill. You will climb the steps, possibly go past the small vineyard and au Lapin Agile, to the Place du Tertre and Sacre Coeur. Most people will recommend Mo. Abbesses or Mo. Anvers and take the funiculaire up to Sacre Coeur but that misses, in my opinion, the classic beauty of Montmartre.

As for museums, you certainly already have plenty of choices, none of which I can disagree with. Bon voyage!

Posted by Wil
IJzendijke, The Netherlands
409 posts

Happy to make you laugh Susan. Next time there I will look if one of the chairs is occupied. :)

Posted by Nancy
Millstone Twp., New Jersey, USA
26 posts

Only been to Paris once, but the Orsay would definitely be one museum pick. It is a magnificent collection of 19th and early 20th century art. The architecture of this former rail station is beautiful and airy. The terrace, just off a wonderful cafe, has great views of the city, I was dumbstruck standing in front of Van Gogh's "Starry Night." If you like medieval art, the Cluny is also wonderful. I did not have enough time to wander the Louvre at leisure, but I found it packed in the summer and overwhelming. Would love to revisit off season.

Posted by Diane
Westford, MA
103 posts
  1. I'd visit a musuem and area I haven't experienced. For me the Cluny, then time in Luxembourg Gardens and the Latin Quarter. 2. With 4 days I'd return to the Musee d' Orsay and then spend time in the St-Germain-des Pres. I'll be in Paris this May for 2.5 days and will do my 1.

Perhaps you would consider a return to the Louvre. Take the map and outline your visit. You'll maximize your time and not get disoriented. Then decompress in the Tuilleries Garden.

Enjoy!

Posted by Cary
Hayden, Idaho, USA
120 posts
  1. D'Orsay and Cluny

  2. Latin Quarter and Marais; really any hotel or apartment in 4th/5th/6th arr because there's so much to see/do right there

Posted by June
Edmonton, Alberta
347 posts

Musee d'Orsay is my fave, the building is so fabulous. The large clocks leave me in awe. It is not a huge place.

My number 2 choice is a tie. The Rodin musee and gardens are lovely. I picnic-ed from my backpack ompne warm afternoon, overlooking a pond. And the Thinker is sommarvelous. The indoors museum is small but wonderful. The Cluny is another marvelous museum, which tells a story of history of Paris. The tapestries are awesome.

Enjoy.

Posted by debbiesue22006
43 posts

Susan and Monte,
I agree with the Musee d'Orsay lovers. Absolutely incredible building as well as all the paintings you have ever seen in the coffee table art books. Degas' little dancer with her tulle skirt. I also love the Louvre, although it is really crowded and very hot (in summer--not sure when you are going). I was with my small son, and he took his 7 year old self from one floor vent to the other--and THAT is what he remembers from the Louvre. The Musee de l'Armee Invalides is also cool, especially if you are tired of art (which does happen). Napoleon's tomb, and fascinating military museums dating to the 13th century.

Sainte-Chapelle and the iles are actually my favorites of all, both "museums" and neighborhoods, and the Marais is also great.

If you take one of the bateaux-mouches at twilight (rather than full-on night), your photos will be suffused with a beautiful rosy glow, and you'll swear you found la vie en rose for real. :) AND, if you afterward go across the Seine to the Trocadero/Palais de Chaillot, you will have the best view of the Eiffel Tower at night in all of Paris. Speaking of the Eiffel Tower, I assume you are speaking of a 5:00 reservation, which is by far the smartest move we made the last time we were in Paris. You can do it online.

Bon voyage!

Posted by Sharon
TX
514 posts

Orsay, Louvre, Rodin. To me, all of Paris is a priceless museum. And I've only just scratched the surface.

Posted by Susan
St Paul
40 posts

If you are interested in smaller museums that are similar to The Frick in NYC and the Wallace Collection in London, I would suggest the Musee Jacquemart-Andre and Nissim De Camondo. Lovely former private homes with amazing collections and beautiful furnishings.
We were in Paris 2 weeks ago and stayed 3 blocks from the Luxembourg Gardens. Was great to buy croissants in the AM and sit in the park for breakfast.

Posted by Doris
Shoreline, WA, USA
26 posts

I agree with Susan, love the Nissim de Camondo and Jacquemart-Andre, small intimate museums without tons of people. We also loved the city museum in the Marais. If you like Monet, the Orangerie is stunning.

Have a great time,

Doris

Shoreline, WA

Posted by Diana
Michigan, United States
252 posts

Two museums - Louvre and Carnavalet
Two neighborhoods - any of them but if I have to pick two it would be Marias & Il de la Cite.
Have fun!