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Very brief stay in Paris

I have very limited travel experience. This trip won't be until November. I am going to be arriving in Paris on 11/23 at 12:30pm, traveling from Morocco. I have a 21 hr 45 min layover stop at CDG airport. A friend suggested getting a day room and another suggested doing a hop on hop off bus ride. I need more suggestions, such as what are good accommodations and options for this very limited time. I want to do something but don't want to overdo and try to cram too much in, rush and get stressed out!! I would rather see less and have a positive experience. My flight leaves Paris at 10:10am. My itinerary does not show a date change. Does that mean the date will remain 11/23? Thanks!

Posted by
6921 posts

Umm, regarding the date change thing, if you arrive at 12:30 PM and leave at 10:10 AM on 11/23, something is wrong with your itinerary.

Posted by
4 posts

I see what you mean. I get back into Oakland on Sunday 11/24. Itinerary doesn't show when it changes to 11/24. I will call the customer support number to make sure. Thank for pointing this out to me!

Posted by
18164 posts

If the itinerary says a 21 hour lay over the 10:10am would have to be the next day. If you have the flight ticket, and if it is the same ticket as your arrival ticket it may say 10:10 +1 meaning the next day. If it isn't thr next day then you miss your flight

Posted by
6921 posts

Flights to the US arrive on the same day as they leave France, so it must leave Paris on 11/24.

I would opt for a hotel at CDG airport (there are plenty by the Roissypole/T3 CDGVAL shuttle stop, as well as a Sheraton right at T2).
Drop your luggage there when you arrive, head to Paris to explore, come back in the evening after dinner.

Posted by
1378 posts

Hop On Hop Off Buses get mixed reviews. If there is traffic, then it's more of a Stop & Go Stop & Go. If that does not bother you then go for it. However, make sure you are bundled up for sitting outside on top, inside would be a waste of time and view I would think.

Maybe head towards Galleries Lafayette, their windows should be decorated for Christmas. Enjoy strolling by them and then find a Cafe and sit outside or at a window, enjoy the food and people watching. The front of Hotel de Ville in Paris will be decorated and usually has displays out front as well, then you can stroll over to Notre Dame.

Enjoy your trip.

Posted by
6567 posts

Balso has the best plan, reserve at an airport hotel, drop your bags there when you arrive, then head into the city on the RER B train, or a taxi if you have the budget. I'd say the RER to the St-Michel station, up to the surface and you'll see the Seine and Notre Dame. From there you can walk in any direction to experience the city. Look at a guidebook and map, see what appeals to you, many sights are walkable from there. Take a one-hour cruise on the Vedettes du Pont Neuf. Find a cafe on a square or a street with wide sidewalks, enjoy some wine, cheese, and people watching. (Chances are there will be heaters so you can sit outside.) I wouldn't take time to visit a museum unless there's something specific you want very much to see. I wouldn't take the time to go up the Eiffel Tower (requires an advance ticket anyway), but you can see it from many locations. Have dinner somewhere convenient and return in the evening the way you came (or connect with the RER B at another station). Start a mental list of what you want to see and do on your next trip when you can give the city at least a week.

The HOHO bus isn't usually a good idea because traffic slows it down and getting off may require lots of time waiting for the next one. But it might make sense if you just want a ride through the city with someone (maybe recorded) telling you what you're seeing. Stay on for the whole loop and you'll see "everything" at least briefly. Start the mental list for the next trip.

And, from what your OP said, I think your US-bound flight is on the 24th. You'll have a nine-hour time change getting to Oakland, so it will be much earlier there than your body will feel.

Posted by
8102 posts

Do what Balso suggests. Drop bags and hop on the RER B into the city. We stay at the Novotel when we do this which is right on the CDGVAL to the terminals in the morning and also the RER into the city.

I would not do the HOHO bus -- huge waste of time. I would figure out what your dream of Paris is and do that. And plan to have dinner at a nice place in Paris. If you want a fancy multi course dinner I suggest L'Initial and reserve ahead. If you just want a more modest meal there are plenty of cafes and brasserie to choose from but eat in the city before returning to the airport.

One way to see a lot and in November it will be dark early so you see the city lit up is to take a Seine Cruise -- they tend to be timed to reach the Eiffel Tower when it sparkles and you get a lot of bang for your buck for a brief Paris stop. Beyond that I would probably do a self guided walking tour to see a little of the city. There is one that launches below Pont Neuf in the center of the city (and one upriver right bank from Pont d'Alma and another at the Eiffel Tower.

You can get a day pass for transport for about 20 Euro for 5 zones; you do need to be back before midnight when a day pass expires. The fines are high if you arrive at the airport later than that with the wrong ticket.

Posted by
4 posts

Just want to say THANKS to the responses! Yes, I checked the itinerary and realized that I will be leaving Paris on 11/24. Thought I had messed up on booking the flight and am greatly relieved. I love the tips on where to go, what to do and what may not be helpful. This is a big deal to a person like me who has had limited travel experience.

Posted by
418 posts

If you do go to Galleries Lafayette to see the windows, you might enjoy going to the rooftop terrace as well for a beautiful view of Paris. There is a cafe inside on the top floor to warm up, and there was a fun Paris Je T’Aime sign on the roof that was a surprise photo op for me, with the Eiffel Tower behind it (2022). I’ve been to Paris several times, but that was our first time on that rooftop, and we enjoyed the views.

Lots of great suggestions in this thread. I would also add to make time to sit and enjoy a beautiful pastry in a cafe… we took lots of photos of beautiful desserts, and I wish we’d sampled more! :-).

If you walk past a Monoprix or Carrefour store, those are great places to buy some delicious French chocolate to enjoy and share at home, for good prices.

Enjoy!

Posted by
4 posts

I was looking at a website that was suggested for help/service with travel during my layover. I tried to register but had some issues with logging on and also sensed there would be "hidden costs" so decided to stay with Rick Steves travel advice.

In an earlier query I made a day pass for transport for 5 zones in Paris was suggested. I understand it is only good until midnight. Is the day pass for trains only?

Thanks
Maureen

Posted by
54 posts

In the warmer months we loved the Fat Tire night bike tour. November I'm not sure if they run it at all. Possibly ok in the daytime. But it was a great way to see a bunch of sites quickly with some commentary.