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Staying and sightseeing for 4 full days in Paris

Hi,
My prayers and positive thoughts goes to the victims.
I am planning to travel to Paris from London via Eurostar for 5 days with my wife, from Dec 15th - 19th, I would like to know the best way to see the attractions in Paris - tour operators or guided tour or self-tour with apps like stay.com. This is my first trip to Paris & I don't speak French. Also, which is the convenient to attractions & importantly safe location to stay( little pricey is fine). Would appreciate any feedback.

I booked my hotel at Holiday Inn Paris- St.Garmain De Pres (6th Arrondissement) would like to see the following attractions ( in 4 full days arriving Paris on 15 evening by Euro at 7pm) ** are must see places. Would appreciate any feedback on how I can construct my 4 days trip. Would like to know the best options to buy - Big Bus or Navigo Decouverte transport pass or Paris City Pass
Sacre-Coeur
The Pantheon
Sainte-Chapelle
Seine River Cruise*
Notre Dame Cathedral*
Musee D’Orsay
Palace of Versailles*
Centre Pompidou
Arc de Triomphe*
Luxembourg Garden
Louvre Museum*
Eiffel Tower*
Saint Germain des Pres Quarte*
Palais Garnier – Opera House*
Les Invalides*
Montamartre

Thanks/Baskaran

Posted by
8235 posts

Paris is dead easy to tour independently -- Get a Navigo Decouverte transport pass which will take you anywhere you want to go including day trips outside Paris within the Ile de France should you wish to do that. With 4 days to tour though, you probably will want to stick to the city.

Get a good guidebook, decide what you want to do and organize it geographically and off you go.

Posted by
7175 posts

(EDITED)
Tue 15
Arrive from London on Eurostar

Wed 16
Saint Chapelle >> Conciergerie >> Hotel de Ville >> Pompidou >> Picasso Museum >> Le Marais >> Carnavalet Museum >> Place des Vosges >> Ile St Louis >> Pont Neuf >> Seine River Cruise http://vedettesdupontneuf.com/home/

Thu 17
Notre Dame >> Latin Quarter >> Musee Cluny >> Pantheon >> Jardin de Luxembourg >> St Sulpice >> St Germain de Pres >> Musee d'Orsay (closes 9.45pm Thu)

Fri 18
Invalides >> Pont Alexandre III >> Grand+Petit Palais >> Champs Elysees >> Place de la Concorde >> Madeleine >> Opera >> Place Vendome >> Tuileries Gardens >> Orangerie >> Louvre (closes 9.45pm Wed, Fri)

Sat 19
Eiffel Tower
Arc de Triomphe & Champs Elysees
Sacre Coeur & Montmartre

Sun 20
Depart for London on Eurostar

Posted by
15684 posts

The best places to stay for sightseeing are the 1st through 6th arrondissements. You will be able to walk to many sights and you'll have convenient metro and bus lines to the rest. Try using booking.com, hotels.com, maybe lastminute.com.

You can see all the sights on your own. I recommended taking 1 or 2 Paris Walks walking tours and/or a Fat Tires bike or Segway tour and/or a Paris Greeters walk. Rick has several audio walking tours that you can download. Be sure to print out the maps!

Get a Paris Museum Pass - either 2 days or 4 days, depending on how many sights you want to see. This will save you time waiting in line at some sights. Make a list of the sights you want to see and group them by area. You will find that nearly every evening there are several sights open.

After you have a hotel and a list of sights, come back and we'll help you organize.
-

Posted by
2487 posts

Tastes differ, but the Sacre Coeur and Montmartre wouldn't be very high on my list and certainly not for Day One.
For a good introduction to Paris, take a métro to Charles de Gaulle-Etoile and have a leisurely stroll from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Bastille. Along this route you'll have almost all the famous landmarks of Paris: Champs Elysées, Place de la Concorde, Louvre, Notre Dame, Place des Vosges.

Posted by
8239 posts

Last time we were there, we rode the Metro to the Trocodero stop. When we rode the escalator up to street level, it was just about sundown, and we were about 100 yards up the hill from the river--straight across from the Eiffel Tower.

The strobe lights were flashing on the Eiffel Tower and the colors on a beautiful afternoon. The sight was incredibly beautiful.

Posted by
14269 posts

Tastes Do differ, but I agree that Montmartre/Sacre Coeur would not be on my 1st day list.

What I do like to do on my first day is walk to the Eiffel Tower and walk from the Ecole Militare end down the park area in front of it called the Champ de Mars winding up at the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River. I do enjoy staying in the 7th district which many here don't enjoy. I also don't have as much experience in Paris and to me, traveling solo, this feels like a very comfortable area.

What museums you see also depends on your taste. I did go to the Picasso and Pompidou Center for Modern Art this past trip as I had a museum pass so they were free. Neither is typically my taste in art but I sort of made myself go as I was in the area. I, too, would not go to either on a first visit unless the art is appealing to you. For me, seeing more than 2 museums in a day can also turn my brain to mush! I would plan to see one in the morning and one in the afternoon with some walking and eating in between, lol!!

I do think it is helpful to have a guide book. I downloaded Rick's Paris guidebook on to my iPad and found it very helpful. I do not go by his maps and instead use the laminated Streetwise map. I know many use their smart phones for that but I want a bigger picture.

Do be careful when you get off the Eurostar at Gare du Nord. If you are taking a taxi to your hotel, do not follow one of the guys who will meet you at the door asking if you want a taxi and wanting to know your hotel address. These unofficial taxis will rip you off. Go to the official taxi stand (which I understand is under renovation). Stand in line with everyone else to get into an official taxi.

Have a wonderful time!

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks a million for all the invaluable responses, I am not seeing a way to respond individually hence combined all together.

@Janettravels - Thanks for your input and suggesting Navigo Decouverte transport pass , I am not planning to travel outside Paris(I don't know if there is something significant outside Paris either).
@djp_syd - David thanks for putting together the Itinerary, awesome. I am googling right now each of the places you suggested. I am reaching paris on the 15th evening from London.
@Chani- Thanks for sharing the place to stay 1st through 6th arrondissements( I looked online some of the hotels are in 7th arrondissements , not sure they are safe or far) I will reserve the hotel and come back with my places to get your input again
@ tonfromleiden - Thanks for suggesting to take a métro ( you meant Metro train, correct?) to Charles de Gaulle-Etoile and have a leisurely stroll from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Bastille
@David - Thanks for suggesting better way to enjoy Eiffel Tower( I hope they open the Eiffel Tower by Dec 15th and 19th) 20th morning I am returning to London to return back to L.A.
@Pam - Thanks a bunch for suggesting the first day walk to the Eiffel Tower and walk from the Ecole Militare end down the park area in front of it called the Champ de Mars winding up at the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River, I like this idea I may do this. You mentioned you stayed in 7th district ( is district different from the arrondissements?) I will take the taxi from the taxi booth ( thanks for the tips)
Again, appreciate all of your inputs, this is really helpful. Thank you Rick for facilitating this forum!

Thanks/Baskaran

Posted by
14269 posts

Sorry my post was confusing! Yes I mean Arrondissements for Districts, so I stay in the 7th Arrondissement near the Rue Cler area. I have stayed twice at the Hotel Beaugency (once on a Rick Steves tour and once on my own) and once at the Hotel de l'Empereur (also on a Rick Steves tour). To me this is a very safe area. Many here on the forum feel it is not central enough for them, but it works for me. During my stay in October I walked from the Notre Dame area back to the Rue Cler area 2 afternoons (beautiful walk along the Seine!) and it took me about an hour. I was poking along, looking at the sights and not in any hurry.

Posted by
7175 posts

FYI - A leisurely stroll from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Bastille, whilst a wonderful walk, is a not so leisurely 4 miles.

Now knowing your arrival time on the 15th, I have reorganised this day as shown above.
The uncertainty was the exact reason I placed Sacre Coeur here, so it could potentially drop off.

Hopefully you have a late departure on the 19th, allowing time for a morning ascent of the Eiffel Tower.

Posted by
14 posts

David - thanks again. I am leaving on the first train on the 20th from Paris to London.

Posted by
14580 posts

Hi,

First day in Paris, ie, arrival day my two choices are get out to Les Invalides, have lunch, see all of that and Napoleon's Tomb. Then go to the Eiffel Tower.

Posted by
15684 posts

The 7th is more residential (quieter, less "vibe") and somewhat farther from the main sights than I like to be. 5th-6th are the Left Bank, Latin Quarter with a younger (student) crowd and a lot of "ethnic" cafes (food from all over) and street entertainment. The 3rd-4th are Right Bank, the Marais Quarter, a bit more residential than the Latin Quarter, with trendy boutiques.

Posted by
96 posts

Paris Museum Pass may be a good deal for you as so many of your destinations are included in it. Make sure you know the open and close times for all your attractions so you can plan your days in the right order, some places (like Notre Dame) are open earlier in the morning, while the Arc de Triomphe is open later in the evening. Most museum aren't open late every night, but some stay open later one night a week which gives you more time there. And double check the days of the week some of these attractions are closed because some of those you've listed are closed on Monday or Tuesday. It would be a shame to show up at Versailles on a Monday morning and find out the palace was closed! After reading so many people on so many different reviews and forums complain that they missed something because they didn't know the hours and days of operation, I would hate for that to happen on your trip. Have a great time!

Posted by
11493 posts

Set your expectations that you cannot "do" everything and you will enjoy what you do see more.

David in Brisbane has recommended a day that is a bit intense

Wed 16
Saint Chapelle >> Conciergerie >> Hotel de Ville >> Pompidou >> Picasso Museum >> Le Marais >> Carnavalet Museum >> Place des Vosges >> Ile St Louis >> Pont Neuf >> Seine River Cruise

Personally, more than one museum in a day is too much. The Picasso and Carnavalet are not even on your already robust list. I would resist the urge to add more. :-) If you "only" do St.Chapelle, Notre Dame and the Pompidou, plus walk through Place de Vosges, the Ile St.Louis while at N.D., and across the Pont Neuf, you will have had a rich full day.

BTW, organize geographically in the city, as mentioned above. See Notre Dame the same day as St.Chapelle. Rick Steves has a fabulous "Historic Paris" walk you can follow for that area.

Posted by
7175 posts

I should include a disclaimer with my suggestions as being;
"possibilities to consider along a suggested route that flows".

Leisurely walking the following continuous route would only take about 2 hours, maybe 3 if you linger.
Saint Chapelle >> Conciergerie >> Hotel de Ville >> Pompidou >> Picasso Museum >> Carnavalet Museum >> Place des Vosges >> Ile St Louis >> Pont Neuf

Add in your visiting times ...
1 hour for Saint Chapelle, 1 hour for the Conciergerie, 2 hours for Pompidou, 2 hours for Picasso or Carnavalet.

It does make for a busy day, but you see what is possible. I guess these days extra time would no doubt need to be allowed for security checks/queues.

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks a ton for sharing invaluable information, I feel more informed than I started few weeks ago. On my way to LAX. Thanks again!
Baskaran

Posted by
8293 posts

I always advise first time visitors to Paris to check out:

tomsguidetoparis.com
parisbytrain.com