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Some Paris questions - how would you spend your first day

We will be in Paris for 5 full days ( actually 7 counting our early evening arrival ( and then departure day )

Day 1 we are taking a private tour to Giverny - being picked up at the hotel at 1:00. We are staying very close to the Tuilleries Gardens. Would you:

Take a nice stroll around the Tuilleries , soak in the atmosphere and have a picnic lunch

Go to Le Orangiere and see the Water Lilies before our tour ?

Any other suggestions ?

On our arrival day in Paris - We will be arriving at our hotel around 7:00 pm / 8:00. We are working through a travel agent so it is prepaid, the hotel is manned 24/7. Do we need to notify the hotel for a late arrival.

We may not be looking for dinner until 9:00 or so - am I correct in assuming we should be able to find some grub at that time ?

I really appreciate your answers - thanks

Posted by
5687 posts

I would go to Le Orangiere before going to Giverny, yes.

8PM isn't a late arrival to me. If your flight is delayed or something and you will arrive really late, definitely contact them to let them know.

9PM is not early for dinner in most of Europe. In some cities, people don't eat much before that.

Posted by
47 posts

Oh good, I was thinking that I would love to see the paintings before the gardens, but I tend to be an over planner.

We are dropping our rental at Orly and then taking a cab into Paris, so our timing is very flexible. I'm such an early bird - I typically go to bed at 9:30 and get up at 4:30. I will need to change that around a bit !

I do love to be out in a city as dawn breaks ….. so planning early morning walks while hubby sleeps a bit later.

Posted by
5687 posts

The Eiffel Tower is beautiful at daybreak Not lit up like at night, but no tourist mobs, either. I've enjoyed morning walks along the Seine as well.

Posted by
14163 posts

Actually, if I am going to be later than 8PM to a hotel I just drop them a courtesy email. The place where I usually stay changes shifts at the Reception at 7PM so I just like to let the night person know.

Probably the Orangerie would be the easiest since you’ll need lunch and to be back to the hotel by 1. If you can work it in later in your visit, I’d try to get to the Musee Marmottan as well. I’m sure you’ve taken the Tuesday closure day in to account for The Orangerie visit.

Posted by
6625 posts

I'd also say the Orangerie, by all means. See how he painted the lilies, then go see the actual lilies (well, their descendants). Walking there can be your nice stroll through the Tuileries, and you can probably find some food in the gardens too.

No problem finding dinner after 9:00. We typically eat around 6:30 and find ourselves sharing restaurants with Americans and French children. I'd love to eat with French adults if I could just stay awake long enough! ;-)

Posted by
18 posts

I would say if it's sunny, enjoy the Sainte Chapelle. The surrounding walls of stained glass and reflections are so stunning in the sunlight. Going back there later for an evening concert is also terrific but can't supplant the amazing tinted sunbeams!

Laurel

Maryland

Posted by
4062 posts

Plenty of other sources for Impressionist paintings. This site contains suggestions: https://www.tripsavvy.com/best-impressionist-museums-in-paris-1618670

For Monet, the Orangerie does indeed have large water lilies, but in a relatively small hall. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mus%C3%A9e_de_l%27Orangerie

There are more at the Marmottan, on the list above. And for all of that gang, d'Orsay is the core collection. https://www.tripsavvy.com/musee-d-orsay-in-paris-1618873

Posted by
3240 posts

Take a nice stroll around the Tuilleries , soak in the atmosphere and have a picnic lunch

This would be my choice. For me a tremendous part of Paris is just being, observing and enjoying the atmosphere.

Posted by
10 posts

Stroll the Tuileries and hit up the Orangerie. If your next few days include visits to other museums or Versailles, Orangerie is the easiest place to pick up a Paris Museum Pass. You can certainly find dinner late, although depending on your flight, you might not feel up to it.

Posted by
47 posts

Ha ha ha .... not funny ! I live in New England - we saw snow from October to April this year ......

Posted by
19 posts

You can get a combo ticket for the Orsay and Orangerie if you don’t get a museum pass. I thought those two museums complimented each other well and are within walking distance of each other. We spent about 3 hours at the Orsay and an hour at the Orangerie.

Posted by
10 posts

I agree! Planning in advance is ONLY necessary if you MUST see a certain museum or you're using a museum pass! If at all possible, don't plan!

Posted by
47 posts

I tend to be a planner ! but I am dialing it back.

I am identifying neighborhoods with things I'd like to see ( and looking at closing dates ). I plan to be able to choose from a few options. Whatever I don't see will be there next time.

Posted by
12172 posts

Generally my first day is a day to walk, stay outside and try to stay awake until a decent bed time. My plans usually include parks and not much more. If you're up and ready before your tour, a walk to a park or is a great idea. You could also go out for a pastry and coffee.

I think hotels are used to having guests arrive at all hours. I don't think it's necessary to tell them you will be there around 7 or 8 unless it's a very small place (the kind travel agents don't normally book).

As for dinner, the French don't start eating until at least 7:30. Most restaurants open about 7. I personally shy away from any restaurant that serves throughout the day, same as those with menus in English. 9 is on the late side but not so late that you shouldn't be able to find multiple open restaurants to choose from.