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Two days in Paris - Ideas?


My husband and I are traveling to France next week. The first three days will be in Chalons-en-Champagne, where we will meet a very interesting person, who is the granddaughter of my husband's grandfather's French WWII girlfriend. She's an artist and she's created an art installation on the topic of their WWII romance! So that's awesome! We'll arrive in Paris Wednesday
at 8:35 AM, and plan to take a high speed train and arrive in Chalons by 2:15. I know we will be tired, but its a direct flight, so there's that, so it shouldn't be too bad. We will see her art exhibit and probably have dinner. Thursday she has some surprises for us and will show us around! Friday, we plan to travel to Paris to have a little romantic getaway, and leave for home on Sunday afternoon.

So, my husband only knows WWII history about France and has little interest in art and is so damn picky, eating should be, so "fun". We've already decided where ever we eat, they must serve Steak & Frittes. He's excited to go and fairly flexible on things to do. This will be our first trip without children in eleven years. So far, I've come up with a light and relaxing itinerary. Since this is my third trip to Paris, but first with him, I want it to be easy and laid back. He isn't overly invested in anything really, except seeing the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.

Friday afternoon:

Arrive in Paris, check into Hotel de Passy. Walk to the Eiffel Tower. Walk around, have dinner.


Hop on and off Seine boat ride
Musee d'Orsay
Look at the Louvre, but not go in.
If possible, see the outside of the Notre Dame.
Dinner cruise on the Seine

Any suggestions? We just want to have a laid back and romantic two day getaway in Paris, so any suggestions are welcome. Thanks!

Posted by
14153 posts

If you have time on Friday you might consider the Army Museum which is sort of near the Eiffel Tower. I’d just do the WWI and WWII galleries which might be of interest.

I’d skip the HOHO boat as it’s slow and you don’t have a lot of time. From d’Orsay walk across the river to the Tuileries, take a right when you get to the central path and walk to the Louvre. After you see the pyramid go out the side gates toward the Seine and cross back over. Take a left and walk along the river on that side from which you can see Notre Dame.

I’m not big on boats but I think most advise against the dinner cruise. Better food can be had elsewhere. Just do a regular boat ride.

Posted by
27336 posts

Weather's unpredictable at this time of year, so I'd be sure to have some indoor options and some outdoor options. If the meteorological gods come through, I'd spend a lot of time walking around outdoors.

I know the nearly-constant advice on this forum is to avoid dinner cruises. The food tends to be mediocre and it's better to be able to focus on the view, not your plate, while you're on the Seine. A nighttime cruise does sound romantic. You only have time for a few meals in Paris (and I can only manage one real restaurant meal a day); I'd want to make them count.

Posted by
11507 posts

Actually the advise about dinner cruises on this forum seems to focus only on the big ships that don’t even cook the food inboard but have it shipped on and kept warm - BUT for not a lot more money there is a smaller dinner cruise boat that gets good reviews for it’s cooked on-board food -

La Calife boats ! Just google as I am on phone and can’t do links . I think it would be a lovely evening out and you’d enjoy the bridges and monuments all lit up in evening !

Ps skip hoho boat - I did it once - not fun / and dinner cruise will cover seeing the sights from river

I second suggestion of considering the Invalids Army museum - arranged chronologically from medieval to WW1 and WW2 - it’s well done and never crowded like other museums - I’ve taken my kids , hubby , and friends there ( I’ve been there 4 times now lol )

I think your basis outline looks good otherwise

Posted by
3 posts

This is all great advice! Thank you all so much! I'm stoked for my short walk on Friday and a romantic weekend. Thank you!!!

Posted by
8159 posts

A guy who eats like the OP's husband will probably be fine with a dinner cruise.

Skip the HOHO boat especially if you are doing a cruise or dinner cruise -- it is unpleasant and crowded in nice weather -- a waste of time with so little time.

Be sure you have d'Orsay ticket ahead so you can use Door C and not wait in a long line for entry. The Louvre is nearby so you can walk over the bridge and through the Tuilleries to the courtyard of the Louvre to view the Pyramid and the palace around it.

Posted by
613 posts

French beef is very different from America beef-- different breed of cows, different feed. It has a very different taste and is very tough (or chewy, depending on your point of view). If he must have beef, stick to stews. Otherwise, chicken, vela, and pork far outshine the America versions. Point out that veal is young beef, and there are veal steaks (chops).

Introduce him to a great French Dessert-- Coupe Denmark (chocolate sundae).

I really can't stress this too much-- if he loves USA steaks, never, never, order steak in France (or anywhere in Europe). When all else fails, go for an omelette or a Coquet Monsieur. And lots of frittes.

Also note: if you order a salad, it will be served after the main course. Don't overlook having a beer with dinner rather than wine.

There are two type of French cuisine, Haute Cuisine-- the $300 a plate meals in highly rated Michelin restaurants and the food real Frenchmen eat, which is basic meat and veggies. Basic French food is very good because they insist on everything being fresh and properly cooked. To find a restaurant, use the book, "100 Best Paris Bistros." On the other hand, you can't go wrong eating anywhere in Paris as long as its not KFC, Pizza, Burger King, McDonald's, sushi, etc.

Posted by
12 posts

Here are my suggestions for 2 days in Paris...
I see you want to look at the Louvre but not go in. Maybe because it's crowded? You might want to get a ticket for Napoleon's apartments, which is really cool and it's above the Louvre, so less crowded.
If you want a dinner experience that is fun, then try Bel Canto. The waiters and waitresses sing Opera. We had a great time with my wife. It's funny as well as entertaining. And the food is good.
You mentioned a "romantic getaway". How about trying to learn a few romantic phrases in French? Would your husband go for that? Here are a few to get started.
Mon cœur bat la chamade. > My heart is pounding wildly.
Je veux te serrer contre toi. > I want to hold you close to me.
A bunch more at French Love Words.
Last tip is to take in a show "spectacle", many of them are funny and you can probably understand most of them with limited knowledge of the language.

Posted by
9765 posts

You mention your arrival as next Wednesday — is that Wednesday January 8?

Please be aware that the rail strike is likely to still be continuing then (there is another protest day scheduled for the 9th), which may result in a cancellation to your scheduled TGV.

Things are definitely improving — this evening was the first time that I have seen the SNCF use “orange” (like a yellow light) as opposed to “red” (like a .. . red light) for their projected TGV service when they release tomorrow’s projections, so that is a good sign.

Take a look at some of the strike threads here on the France forum to get an idea. Hopefully you will be okay but you may be delayed, and should do your best to stay informed.

Posted by
9765 posts

Oh and I agree — no need to do the HOHO boat AND the boat cruise - just an evening cruise is nice, to see Paris lit up (and it gets dark early now). Definitely a boat where you are inside with a glass cover overhead for viewing !