Hello all. I will be spending two days in Paris in mid-November. (I will be taking an early morning train in from London on a Wednesday, spending the night, and leaving late Thursday evening) I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to how to maximize our time and see as much as we can? The things I know we absolutely want to do to tour the Louvre, go up the Eiffel Tower, and tour Notre Dame. All suggestions are appreciated!
If you want the sunset off the Eiffel Tower, you're going to have to go up earlier than 6:30 in November. Sunset is before 6.
With limited time in Paris, I'd suggest either a Hop-on/Hop-off bus or boat (although it's cold to be on the Seine in November). You'll get to see a lot (in enclosed warmth) and can spend some time in the places that interest you.
For the Louvre, I highly recommend going to their website and seeing the different tours you can print out. (Go to the "Thematic Trails" Under the "Activities" menu on their website) It makes it much easier to go in with a plan if you want to get out in a limited amount of time. Personally, I like Napolean's apartments, the Medieval castle foundation underneath and ancient Egyptian stuff.
Yes you can do all this in two days. The Louvre you can spend a lifetime seeing it all. I would suggest you decide what interests you the most, the Dutch Masters, Egyptian artifacts, etc. Then just focus on that section of the museum. When we went several times, we split up as some wanted Dutch Masters, others Greek statues so we just did our own thing and met up at an agreed time. Two must see of course are Mona Lisa and the Winged Victory. I think the Tower is best at night but maybe you could see Notre Dam first, have late lunch and get to the Tower just before sunset and stay when the lights of the city go on and see Louvre the next day.
I've been to Paris probably 11 times...here is my advice: Go up the Eiffel Tower around 6:30ish, right before it starts to get dark. The lines usually are not as long and you'll get to see Paris at sunset, and by the time you get to the top, you'll be in the Eiffel Tower when it lights up. Get off at the Trocadero metro stop when you first go to the Eiffel Tower - you'll get a great view - much better than if you get off at the Bir-Hakeim stop. To be honest, I find the Louvre quite overwhelming. Since you have limited time, before you go to the Louvre, find a few rooms you want to see. Otherwise, you'll be walking around all day and get very tired. Notre Dame is obviously a must see - but be prepared for mobs of tourists.
A favorite dinner spot of mine is in the small Place de La Sorbonne - there are two cafe's that overlook the Sorbonne and there's a beautiful little square & fountain. It's not overrun by tourists, either. Another must see is the Luxembourg Gardens - take a picnic lunch and have a leisurely 2 hours or so strolling the most beautiful park in Paris. You should also take a few hours to just wander the Marais district and/or the streets of Saint Germain des Pres. Have fun!
Oops--just realized you'll be in Paris in November....probably won't want to have a picnic in the Luxembourg gardens!
Kris, as long as you're touring Notre Dame, you could also visit Sainte-Chapelle, just a couple of blocks away. It's famous for the fabulous stained glass windows. I agree, the Mona Lisa and Winged Victory are must sees at the Louvre. If you go there just at opening time or a little before, you'll avoid long lines (if there are still long lines in November.) There's a fenced garden behind Notre Dame with clean, attended restrooms, by the way. If you catch bus 69 where all the buses stop near the Eiffel Tower, you'll get a sightseeing tour, crossing the Seine to the right bank and getting off for Notre Dame just by the huge Hotel de Ville (City Hall). From there, you can walk across the bridge to the cathedral. If you do this in reverse, you can catch bus 69 on rue de Rivoli (on its way back from Pere Lachaise cemetery), a couple of blocks past City Hall (keep City Hall on your right)to go to the Eiffel Tower. It cuts through right at the Louvre to cross the Seine at that point.
I endorse seeing St Chappelle. The stained glass is truly spectacular. Also if you have the time see Place cponcorde and walk up Champs Elysee to the Arc. Also the two Islands to get a nice feel for the City
Thanks so much for the advice everyone! I'm adding Sainte-Chappele to the list of places to see, and I hope to go up the Eiffel at sunset.
Go to Saint Chapelle by all means; just be aware that it is undergoing renovation. It probably isn't as spectacular today as some of the previous posters remember it to be. We saw a concert there on Friday, and there was a poster of how it will look like soon.
If you want to see the outside of Paris (you can't leave the vehicle), book a Segway Tour: http://citysegwaytours.com/paris in 4 hours you see the Eiffel Tower, Napoleon's Tomb, Louvre Museum, Musee D'Orsay, Tuileries Gardens, Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe and more...
If you like Impressionist art, be sure to see the current major Monet exhibition at the Grand Palais. There are over 200 paintings on display from museums around the world. See here: http://tinyurl.com/289p4hg.
I understand advance tickets for the Monet exhibit are sold out through November. Tickets may be available if you stand in line the day you want to attend the exhibit.
FYI, Saint Chapelle is currently having I believe 5 stained glass windows restored until 2013. We were in Paris two weeks ago and went to St Chapelle. There's a big temporary wall near the alter. It wasn't a great visit and if we would of known we wouldn't of went. I wouldn't spend the extra euros to visit until the work is complete.
If online tickets for the Monet exhibition at the Grand Palais are sold out for the dates you'll be in Paris, you can still get tickets online through Paris tour companies who bought up blocks of tickets. It will cost you a bit more than the 13 euros being charged at the Grand Palais, but you won't have to stand in line.
I had no idea about the Monet exhibit... I would love to see it, I hope I can find a way to get tickets!
If you like Monet, go to the Orangerie. It's got an exhibit built exclusively for his water lilies paintings. 4 massive paintings, each one lining the wall of 2 oval shaped galleries and they represent the water lilies at his home in Giverny at different times of the day. It's a small museum and will take you about an hour to see everything.
i would recommend the Moulin Rouge show in Paris. http://www.isango.com/france-tours/paris-tours/moulin-rouge-show-and-dinner_2901
thats where i booked mine, was very fun! not too pricey either
Tip for navigating the Louvre - check out their website first! The site is amazing - you can actually preview most of the paintings, for instance, and see what you are most interested in seeing - then print out a floor plan and draw yourself a map/itinerary. I know this sounds GEEKY, but it can save you loads nd loads of time. I have been to the Louvre many times, and until I learned it, I ALWAYS got lost and got sucked into room after room of, for example, boring 18th century French public statuary... or something equally not up my alley. With the website, you can pinpoint what you want to see and go right there.