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1 day layover in France - any ideas?

Our flight to Italy has a layover in Paris. We arrive at 8:20am through Charles De Gaulle and depart from ORLY at 9:00pm (21:00). We've never been to Paris and would love to spend a few hours there. It will also be my husband's birthday, how exciting to spend a day in Paris?! We aren't checking in bags so should hopefully be out of the airport fairly "quickly". Any suggestions are welcomed.

Posted by
1986 posts

You have got to do the "classics" : Place de Concorde and dabble in the fountains, walk up Champs Elysee to the Arc; Notre Dame and the Islands (wonderful to wander through); Montmartre and view of Eiffel tower OR Trocadero to view Eiffel tower OR Eiffel Tower itself. Lunch on Left bank or at small cafe in shadow of Notre Dame (wonderful feeling) or Croque monseur from a street vendor. Be sure to eat something "typically French". If you have time, coffee at a sidewalk cafe. Walk along the Seine from Notre Dame back toward the Louvre. (I usually say St Chappelle, but I understand it is undergoing repoairs). That would be my "Paris in a nutshell tour" . Doable in a day

Posted by
10344 posts

Are you hauling your carry on luggage with you?

Posted by
893 posts

Also - what day of the week? Transportation and museum schedules can depend on the day of the week. Unless all you have a is a backpack, you're going to have to find some place to stash your carry-ons. My recommendation for a whirlwind several hours in Paris: 1) Start at Eiffel Tower - only go up to the 2nd floor, not the top. 2) Get down and take Les Car Rouges hop-on/hop-off bus tour 3) Get off the bus at Notre Dame. Take a look around, go to the Latin Quarter and get some lunch. 4) Back on the Bus and get off at the Champs Elysée for a look at the Arc de Triomphe and possibly a quick stroll 5) Finish the bus tour 6) Get a snack at a bakery or have a mini-picnic
7) Head to Orly and get some dinner on the way

Posted by
3258 posts

Wow! That's a nice challenge and a fun way to spend a birthday! First, I'd get very familiar with the metro map before you arrive, either look online for info and/or find a map in a guidebook. That way you won't waste any time once you get into the city. I'd also map out a loose plan. Here are my tops: 1. Metro to Pont Marie - stop for a stroll and crepes on Ile St. Louis. 2. Walk from there to Notre Dame.
3. If you like museums, you might spend an hour or so at one - I'd pick the Orsayif you go to the Orsay you can then walk through the Tulieries Gardens to the Concorde Metro stop. 4. Pick a spot on the Champs Elysees for a view of the Arc de Triomphe - maybe even climb to the top. 5. Make your way to the Eiffel Tower from there. 6. Find a fun restaurant for dinner before you head back to the airport.

Posted by
57 posts

Wow! Thanks for all the information!! A little more information: we arrive on a Thrusday. We will have our carry on bags with us, but we were hoping we could find storage in the metro stations (is that possible?) Also, since we've never been to Paris - we're unsure of travel times. What time would you leave the city to make it to ORLY for a 21:00 flight?

Posted by
8293 posts

Dee, if you take the RER B into Paris from CDG, you can get off at Gare du Nord and leave your carry-ons in a locker there. The Hop-on/hop-off bus stops right in front of the Gare du Nord so you could catch it there and do a 2 hour tour, or get on and off as you please. If you want to do a tour that is less expensive, buy some metro/bus tickets at the metro level of the station, and then go out the front of the station, turn left and then left again up a sort of lane-way at the side of the station so that you end up at the bus terminal at the rear of the station. Take the No. 42 bus and get off at Champs de Mars. As soon as you do you will see the Eiffel Tower and you can walk to it in 3 or 4 minutes. Then come back to Champs de Mars, cross over to the opposite side from where you got off the No. 42 and take it going in the opposite direction. Get off at Place de la Concorde. Here you can make a decision: If you want to go the Arc de Triomphe, take the No. 73 in the direction of La Defense. (It will say that on the front of the bus.) You can catch it in front of the Hotel Crillon. Going in the opposite direction you can get to the d'Orsay on the 73. For a 21:00 flight I think you should leave Paris by 17:00 hrs and you need to factor in the time to pick up your backpacks, if you have left them at Gare du Nord. Google Orly airport for ways to get there.

Posted by
10334 posts

For such a short time I think the hop on/hop off bus would be the quickest way to give you a good overview. You might not want to spend the time stopping to eat, but you can grab a crepe from a street stand. I have never flown from Orly, but for CDG the rule of thumb is to get there 3 hours before your flight. Have a fun day in my favorite city!!