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Seeking advice for 2.5 days in Paris

First time to Paris, my husband and I will be flying into CDG June 2. We would like to have a taste of Paris before we join the RS Best of Eastern France in Reims June 5. We have reservations at the Hotel Relais Bosquet, 19 rue du Champ de Mars, Paris, 75007. On this trip, we would like to focus on the area near the Rue Cler with hopes to see the Orsay, Sainte Chapelle, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, and enjoy meandering along to enjoy the neighborhoods. I am struggling with how to put these things together into a practical itinerary. Could you give me suggestions about what to do on the same day, and which day to do it since we will need to visit some sites on Saturday?
My first draft:
Thursday, 2 Jun: arrive Paris 11 a.m., train and walk to hotel. Walk Rue Cler.
Friday, 3 Jun: Orsay Museum, Notre Dame, Bus #69 tour or Hop on-Hop off bus for narration.
Saturday, 4 Jun: Sainte Chapelle, Eiffel Tower.
Sunday, 5 Jun: Train to Reims, 5 pm meeting with RS tour group.

Any advice on the walking route to take from the hotel to the sights, or cafe recommendations in the area would also be appreciated.
Thanks so much for your input.

Posted by
4372 posts

Notre Dame is near Sainte Chapelle, so you could walk by it after going into Sainte Chapelle on Saturday.

Be sure to obtain your reservations ahead of time for any timed entries - museums may still be doing those, and also the Eiffel Tower. We really enjoy going up the Eiffel Tower before dusk and staying up to see the city light up at night.

I also recommend an evening cruise up & down the Seine river on Friday night. Skip the ones with the meals - just the boat ride to sit outside and see the beautiful architecture lit at night.

On Saturday, be sure to stroll through at least one Parisian formal garden. Luxembourg Garden is my favorite! Tuileries is also nice and gives you a view of the Louvre at the end. Or save it for Sunday morning and stop for a croissant & coffee on the way.

Posted by
9579 posts

Here are my thoughts. I’ll add I stayed at Relais Bosquet in September and thought it very nice.

Thursday: Arriving from CDG, I’d just budget the Euro for a taxi from the taxi stand at the airport. Ecole Militaire is awkward to get to from the RER line from the airport. You’ll be tired and even with carry on, this is a chore. You can easily walk to Rue Cler for lunch. I’d also suggest you walk over to the Eiffel Tower area this afternoon. It’s a great way to keep moving. If your room is not ready the hotel will stash your luggage for you and you can get out and about.

Friday: I’d walk to the Orsay from the hotel. If you walk down Rue Cler to Rue du Grenelle then walk east to Rue de Bellechasse where you’ll take a left walk toward the Seine and you’ll get right to the Orsay. This walk takes me about half an hour. After you see the museum and have some lunch, I’d walk on to the Notre Dame area. You might schedule Sainte Chapelle this afternoon but tomorrow AM will work too. If you wanted to do ET this evening you could add that in.

Saturday: You could Sainte-Chapelle first thing this AM if you wanted. I’d suggest walking on the right bank of the Seine to the Louvre just to see the outside, then walk thru the Tuileries Gardens to Place de la Concorde. From here, walk across Pont Alexandre III to see the over the top gold decorations with the Eiffel Tower view in the background. If you haven’t worked in going up in the ET this afternoon will work for that. I don’t like heights but I love the visual of the ET from as many places as I can view it!

Sunday: I’d try to get to Reims before noon, drop your bags at the hotel and have a nice lunch!!

I’m more in to walking than taking a hoho bus tour. The 69 bus can be very crowded.

Have a wonderful time!

Posted by
55 posts

Rick Steves audio tours app has a great walk of Rue Clare area and historic Paris which includes Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle. We really enjoyed them.

Posted by
9579 posts

I thought of another thing that is near Relais Bosquet. Do you have any interest in Art Nouveau? There are some very cool building facades in the area by Jules Lavirotte which you can work in on your walk from your hotel to the Eiffel Tower and back.

From your hotel, take a left toward the ET. Cross Avenue Bosquet and continue on Rue du Champ de Mars. Before you get to the next intersection take a look at 33 Rue du CdM where Laviortte used lilies as a motif. Continue toward the ET by zig-zagging down Avenue de la Bourdonnaise and over to the ET area. Walk toward the tower, then when you are headed back home, walk back to Bourdonnaise and angle off on Avenue Rapp to see Lavirotte's most famous facades! Return to Rue Saint-Dominique and head back to the foot of Rue Cler, then make your way back up and around to your hotel. This is typically my walk on my arrival afternoon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jules_Lavirotte

https://www.parisperfect.com/blog/2011/03/art-nouveau-7th-arrondissement/

Posted by
7458 posts

I agree with Pam - for two of you and being a first time, and staying at rue Cler, I would take a taxi. Follow the signs to the official taxi queue, don’t get distracted by taxi touts who may stop you in the corridors and ask if you want a taxi.

Taxis from the airport are fixed-rate - to a Left Bank address like your hotel, the cost is 58 euros, including baggage.

I agree with others that since you can’t go into Notre Dame, you might as well add Sainte-Chappelle to the afternoon before.

Posted by
4940 posts

Pam, thanks for the Art Nouveau tip. We'll be in Paris this spring, and although I don't think we're staying in the Rue Cler area this time, we do plan to have at least one dinner there, so we can add this walk to our evening.

Vonnie, two things: Well, three. 1. Always listen to Pam and Kim. Always. 2. The Eastern France tour is wonderful. We did this one in 2019, and would seriously consider doing it again. You're in for a treat. Lots of treats. 3. If you're going to see Sainte Chapelle the same time as Notre Dame, and the Eiffel Tower on your arrival day walk, you'll have an extra day. May I suggest you head to Reims the day before the tour begins?

In 2019, we piggybacked the Eastern France tour onto the Heart of France tour, and had just a couple of days between the two. We opted to spend them in Reims, and loved it. We had a wonderful time. The WWII Surrender Museum, the Cathedral, the Cathedral Museum (I think it's called the Tau Museum, if I remember correctly), and the evening Sound and Light Show at the Cathedral are all first rate.

Have a wonderful trip.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you so much for your suggestions! We will take your advice. Pam, your walking itinerary for us is so helpful. I really appreciate the time you took to answer me.

Posted by
9579 posts

Oh Jane, you are so kind! These buildings just make me smile. SO many details to notice! And PS, I've got that surrender museum on my To-Do list, lol.

Vonnie, you can see I really enjoy this neighborhood!

Posted by
90 posts

Hi Vonnie -

The only thing I’ll add is re: the Eiffel Tower. I absolutely understand wanting to go up, but if you find your time is short, another supremely enjoyable thing to do is to have a picnic on the Champ de Mars at the base of the tower. We did this last summer with my in-laws (who had never been), and it was truly a highlight of our Paris experience. I brought two foldable picnic blankets (really small when folded - each fold into a pocket the size of a deck of cards) especially for this experience (although they were handy at other times as well). We picked up some bread, cheese, sausage, veggies, patisseries, and of course, a bottle of wine, on our way (easy to do). We camped out on our blankets, enjoyed the atmosphere, and stayed until Madame Eiffel put her lights on. It is a very sweet, entirely Parisien, experience. It’s one of those travel memories that will stick. Whatever you do, have a wonderful time!

Posted by
8 posts

Heather, thanks for the tip about doing a picnic. That sounds perfect! I looked for one like you described on Amazon. Not as small as yours. We are packing light. Do you remember where you got yours? Any suggestions for cafes in that area would also be appreciated. Thanks!

Posted by
3597 posts

Friday or Saturday night (probably too jet lagged Thurs. night) consider taking a night cruise on the Seine. But not a dinner cruise. Those seem to be overpriced (in our opinion) and it's hard to enjoy the sights while trying to eat. We taken several Vendette Pont Neuf night cruises and have always been very pleased. Don't think you can go wrong using them. A night cruise gives new meaning to the phrase "City of Lights".

Posted by
90 posts

Vonnie - Here's the blanket we brought. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C7N95VQ/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?_encoding=UTF8&aaxitk=4193e601ba7ff569498f120e281cdac6&hsa_cr_id=1876648970401&pd_rd_plhdr=t&pd_rd_r=ec7d6116-c12c-4121-9d0e-732df85cbca0&pd_rd_w=xTY84&pd_rd_wg=VsrMF&ref_=sbx_be_s_sparkle_lsi4d_asin_1_title&th=1

I took the mini stakes out and left them at home. The blanket was handy and worked well for impromptu picnics. My daughter has since claimed one for her backpack at home. :)

Also, an unsolicited recommendation: https://www.retro-tour.com/en/. We did a tour with them this past summer. We, like you, only had a few days. My in-laws were with us, and they had never been. I really wanted a fun way for them to "see all the sights" - even though we didn't have time to get to them all. This absolutely fit the bill. It was pure joy and hilarity. The guys that drive the motorcycles are fun, yet very professional. The side car is comfy and an excellent place to take pictures from. The seat behind the driver has its own seat and handle. We were a larger party of 6 (me and my husband, our two teenagers, and my in-laws who are in their 70s). The motorcycle tour was universally loved by each member of the group. We still talk about it. If you're looking for such an adventure, I highly recommend it!

You'll have a great time, no matter what you decide to do. Paris has something for everyone!

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you, Heather, for the information about the blanket, and also for your other idea. We may pass on that idea for this trip, since I think we have enough activities now. I'd like to have time to enjoy sitting at small cafes with tables outside, and sampling the baked goods at the various boulangeries:)

Posted by
756 posts

We are very excited for you! I love the Rue Cler area, and particularly the Relais Bosquet. It is a lovely hotel, and a block off Rue Cler. I love going out for coffee and dessert late in the evenings along Rue Cler. There is also a small grocery a few doors down to grab snacks, etc. for the room. Kim and Pam, et al, have given you great advice as to what to see and do. Definitely take the cab to the hotel. We did the RER once, and never again with luggage, etc. Live will be so much easier for you. Since you will be tired upon arrival, check out the Eiffel Tower which is a 5 min. walk from the hotel. Love it a night. Grab a spot on the lawn with all the others and watch her twinkle away at night. Definitely take the riverboat ride. You can catch the boats along the Seine across from the Eiffel Tower. Agree, don't do the dinner cruise. Just enjoy the ride. Save your money on the Hop on Hop Off as well. They are incredibly crowded. You will learn a lot on the River Cruise. You could do this on Saturday to get a feel for Paris. It is narrated and shows you the sights as seen from the rivers view. We love to walk around the 8th which is across the river from Rue Cler. You will find the fashion houses and high-end shopping here, which is fun to window shop and the George V hotel. Stop in for a cold one and marvel the beautiful lobby. If you need laundry facilities for any reason, they are a block from the hotel. It really is a great location. Have fun!

Posted by
8 posts

JR, thank you so much for your lovely reply. Your tips for the stay in the area of the Bosquet will certainly come in handy, as well as your other suggestions. I appreciate the time you put into writing the post.

Posted by
2438 posts

Bus 69 is a useful way to see the sights but it mainly serves to take you to Pere Lachaise. I did that last month, and then took the Metro back. So it would be a long roundtrip if that is how you are thinking.