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SFO to Paris for a week - is it worth it?

We've never been to Paris before and just found a great airfare there for a week next April. My question is: is it worth going from San Francisco to Paris for 7 days? Subract 2 travel days and we only have 5 full days there. Sounds fun but it's a long journey so curious what you think.
Thanks.

Posted by
4011 posts

Only 5 full days? My husband and I travel to Amsterdam, London or Frankfurt for long weekends, 5 days sounds like a winner. We love to travel so we would run with it. Go for it!

Posted by
2712 posts

Yes, yes and yes, if that is all the time you have. Sure, longer would be better, but....

Posted by
408 posts

My first visit to Paris, many years ago, was on a business trip. I had to go to meetings in Lyon and Geneva but left the west coast of the U.S. a few days early and spent 2.5 days in Paris before heading down to Lyon on the TGV.

To this day, although I've been to Paris countless times for business and pleasure since then, my fondest memories of Paris -- I'm talking lifelong, carry to my grave memories here -- were from those first 2.5 days.

If I were you, I wouldn't hesitate.

Posted by
14175 posts

Oh yes, absolutely.

Your flight from SFO will likely be an overnight flight so you'll have days 1 and 2 as travel days, getting to Paris sometime in the AM on Day 2. You may be jet lagged that day but you'll be IN PARIS, lol!!

Just stay in Paris, with maybe one day trip. Don't try to cram in too much!

Posted by
490 posts

I absolutely agree. The airfare is something you can afford and it's hard to imagine that you'll regret seeing and being in Paris.
Go, enjoy yourself and whet your appetite for another trip some time in the future.
It will be fun!

Posted by
2 posts

Wow, seems EVERYONE loves Paris! Thanks for all the great replies! Just booked our tickets.

Gyani

Posted by
6788 posts

As a fellow west-coaster, I'll offer a slightly different perspective...

First of all, only you can answer any "is it worth it" question, because it depends to a large degree on your situation and your priorities.

Years ago, I set "personal minimums" for foreign trips, eg I was not going to fly all the way to Europe unless I had an absolute minimum or two full weeks, on the ground there, not counting arrival or departure days. My preference was for 3 full weeks on the ground there, but would do a trip if I could manage 14 days there. To Asia, my minimums were higher: preferably 4 weeks there, but I'd go if I could manage 3 weeks. These are still my preferred minimums, but I've soften them somewhat for a variety of reasons (one reason: after you've crossed those oceans a few times, the trip becomes less of a daunting epic, and more routine - trust me, after you've spent over 2 days flying to some remote spot in Indonesia, the short hop to London feels like going to the corner store).

Why set a minimum at all? Because of the various "costs" involved. Primarily (but not only) the financial cost of getting there and back. Flying to the other side of the world is not cheap (although admittedly it has become cheaper). If you want to go to London, say, for dinner (then you come right back), that's pretty hard for me to justify. For a weekend? Nope. I know some people do in fact to to Europe for a weekend (or even just for dinner). I do not have an unlimited capacity to pay for flights to Europe, so when I go, it's a special experience. I think, for me, the cost of just getting there and back is too high to justify unless I can be there for at least a little while.

There are other "costs" too. Vacation days (how many days you can afford to be away from your life, whether work or other things), and "number of vacations"...I'd rather take one long trip than multiple short trips. But how one values and weighs these factors is going to be different for everyone.

One thing to ponder: would taking a short trip now cause you to significantly delay a longer, more enriching (but more expensive) trip to Europe later? It could - if discretionary spending money or vacations are in short supply, then I'd defer the short trip and set my sights on planning a longer one. But if going for a brief trip would have no impact on your ability to make a longer trip happen at a later date...then sure.

Going to/from Europe will set you back some quantity of money. If you can easily and repeatedly get more money and pay for flights to Europe anytime you want, and you value a short trip to Europe highly, then maybe a weekend (or just a dinner) there is "worth it" to you.

I still try to stick to my 2-weeks-there minimum for Europe (and 3 weeks for Asia) but I've found ways to make slightly shorter trips worthwhile enough to justify. IME flying business class effectively "buys" me an extra couple days, since flying coach was leaving me miserable and physically sick for 2-3 days after scraping myself off the plane. And I might surprise my wife with a long weekend in Paris for our next big wedding anniversary. But in general, I think it makes sense for most of us to try hard to set up trips that are between 2 and 4 weeks, which I think an ideal length for a visit to Europe.

But only you can decide what's "worth it" to you.

Posted by
4063 posts

It's only worth it if you do the on-line research to see the possibilities. Which are endless. But don't expect strangers here to fill out your itinerary. I go to France every year, usually combined with somewhere else. That's for more than 20 years and there still are many things I have not seen in the ever-changing capital. But you have to find the dining possibilities and museum shows and concerts or plays on your own to answer your question. Me, I will be there next week with resto reservations at several faves and new places while checking out the special exhibits and shows at the galleries and museums. Maybe a little jazz, too, in a city that still loves it. Most of all, I will BE there.

Posted by
408 posts

Wow. Thank you, David, for you dissertation on your personal choices about travel.

Posted by
2343 posts

hi gyanir
go for it! you'll have a great time. stay in paris, lots to do and see. start looking for a hotel/apt/, b&b now to get a better rate. i've used booking.com, put in your filters and what area you want to stay. pay attention to cancellation fee, what floor if lift/elevator, rooms are usually smaller in europe, look at pictures carefully. you can look at alcoves&agapes.com, cross-pollinate.com. get a guide book and mark things and places you want to see. when you find a place come back and ask questions, these posters will give you great advise, (good - bad - ugly).
aloha

Posted by
9787 posts

The OP asked what people think about this question, so it's rather logical that responders (including David) would respond with their personal thoughts. As a West Coaster, he has an experience perspective that may apply directly to concerns of the OP about the length of the trip. I don't know why anyone should be mocked for contributing their personal thought to respond to a question that sought travelers' personal thoughts.

Posted by
14580 posts

Hi,

Bravo, it's great, if you got a great fare (in Economy ?) for these 7 days in April, I suggest go, most definitely. No problems with that at all.

Flying from SFO you'll most likely land ca 11 am or a bit earlier. I count arrival day as day #1. When I fly to Paris, it's always from SFO, minus once when it was LAX.

Is it a long journey? Yes and no, all depends on how you look at it. It's ca an eleven hour flight, non-stop, isn't it? Once on the plane, I keep my watch still set on west coast time, that way every time I glance at it, when not sleeping, i know how much time is left before landing. The first time I landed in Paris was ca 9 am, which is the best, since by noon or so, you've already checked in, had a nice hot lunch, and have the rest of the day for a set activity, which for me was to go the history museum.

You have a week's time...plenty to do and see by just staying in Paris itself, exploring, etc and maybe a day trip to Versailles or Fontainebleau, or even elsewhere within a 1-2 hour radius by train....numerous places, west, east towards Metz, south, and north.

Posted by
14580 posts

"...EVERYONE loves Paris." Keep in mind the song's lyric as you're going over in April..."I love Paris in the spring time...."

Posted by
2136 posts

Gyani,
I'm glad you booked! You are going to love it!

I'd like to offer a little advice. You are already feeling a time crunch. This can lead to feeling the need to "do it all" in this trip, cramming every moment with doing the typical tourist things - Eiffel Tower, Louvre, day trip to Versailles, etc. I urge you to set aside half the time you have as unstructured, unscheduled time. To me, Paris is more about ambience than landmarks. With so little time, I also suggest you don't waste time with a day trip.

Posted by
10339 posts

It's a long trip from the west coast, so I try to maximize my time in Europe. I've gone for anywhere from 2 - 6+ weeks. But sometimes you have to go with the time you have. I've done a one week trip to Ireland and a one week trip to Paris. Both trips were worth it. Paris is a fantastic place and I don't think you'll regret going.