Please sign in to post.

2 week Paris itinerary issues/Solo trip planning question

Thanks to this board, I've 'perfected' the plan for the London portion of my upcoming trip; I'm working on the Barcelona portion and will of course post that for critique (I've gotten some fantastic advice here!) but I'm REALLY struggling with the Paris portion of the trip. I know all of the many things that I want to do and see (and have dog-eared and highlighted guide books piled about my house!) Obviously we want to do all of the typical touristy stuff--Notre Dame, the Lourve, Orsay, Sacre Coeur, a cruise on the Seine, the Eiffel Tower...etc. We'd like to spend some time in the varous parks like Jardin Luxembourg; I'm all about little neighborhood walks as well. We're definitely going to Versailles for a day, and I'd like to do at least one other trip out of the city, if not two. I'm looking at bike tours and cooking classes...but just can't seem to get it into a nice little order like I did with London. I'm thinking part of the problem is that we're going to be there for two weeks, but even with that much time I feel like we still need a 'plan'. I guess I just don't know how to plan a trip that does not involve being in a hurry! We are definitely in a hurry in London--we only have four non-travel days--and that planning was darn near scientific! How do you do that for a fourteen day trip? SHOULD you do that for a fourteen day trip? Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated.

Also, while I'm asking this question, I'll ask the related question I have about Barcelona--for those of you who have traveled both with others and solo, do you plan differently for a solo trip? The last leg of the trip I will be on my own, and my plans for that week are MUCH less detailed. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Thoughts?

Posted by
9207 posts

Hi Tracy, The way I would organize Paris is: Make a list of everything you want to do in order of importance.

Next, get a calendar of the days you'll be there (copy one you already have) and mark the days that something is not open (like the Orsay, or Louvre for instance), or mark down when something is open late.

Then, each day that you are in Paris you just start with #1 on your list and go down the list each day.
I've done it this way for many, many trips to Paris.

I allow lots of time in between each thing on my list to take it slow, ramble and explore, sit at cafes, have conversations with people we meet, etc. Those things are as important, if not more important to me, than any of the sights I have on my list.


Posted by
463 posts

hmm. that just might work! i already have a travel calendar for the entire trip, and that's what i was struggling with--what to put ON the calendar. so instead i could list things i CAN'T do on certain days--rather than things i'm planning on doing, as is the case with london and--and that will make for a much more laid back trip. and it would fix the other problem i'm having, which is how to organize entire days by geography--if i pick one 'must see' site per day, i can do everything around it as it occurs. like hey--that looks interesting--let's go there. wow--that really changed my thinking. thanks!!!!

Posted by
1806 posts

I'd also add to Susan's suggestions that it's better to try and plan your "outdoor" activities/stops earlier rather than later, just in case the weather does not cooperate. You don't want to plan for a visit to Versailles on your 2nd to last day in France and then you get 2 straight days of non-stop rain. Be a little flexible.

And Susan is so right about taking time to relax, wander, sit in cafes. I did a 2 week solo trip to Paris once and even though I did take time to do those things, I wonder if I should have cut back on some of the sightseeing and spent even more time just soaking in more atmosphere and wine. Don't kick yourself if you don't have every minute of every day planned out.

Yes, I plan very differently for a solo trip than a trip with my boyfriend or a friend. But only because I enjoy spending a long time at sights and museums and they don't. I'd never drag my boyfriend into a Paris boutique, but if I was alone I would spend an hour looking at shoes or clothing. If you are on your own the last leg of the trip, plan to do the stuff that you enjoy but your travel partner dislikes. Save yourself the aggravation...I see so many couples and families who argue publicly while traveling and I think most of it is because people don't usually like doing the same exact things or spending the same amount of time somewhere, so one person gets bored, antsy or resentful.

Posted by
71 posts

I planned our Paris trip by listing everything we wanted to do (the must-see as well as the maybes) and then broke it down by neighborhood. I ended up with about 7 or 8 different pages for different neighborhoods with a list of what there was to do in each. That way we could decide one day was Louvre day and when we were done we could look at the list and see what else was near by. I didn't want to have every minute planned but wanted to be able to be a little more impulsive. It worked great and we didn't end up criss-crossing the city needlessly.

This really helped me as a first time visitor who didn't not have a sense of where things were in the city. I think 2 weeks in Paris will enable you to do quite a bit without being in a hurry if you're a little organized.

Posted by
4535 posts

The responses are right on. There is little need to plan out everyday on such a long stay. Paris is meant to be savored - let it soak in. Plan a day or two in advance and be flexible to account for bad weather. There is very little you need to "schedule" ahead of time. Let Paris come to you...

Posted by
796 posts

Last year I visited Paris for 10 days. Before I left on the trip, I did make a daily list of things I MIGHT do, grouping them by areas of the city. I love to go to open markets, so I included which ones were open on certain days and their metro stop. I also listed when sights were closed on specific days. It helped me to see many of the things that I wanted to see, but I had lots of time to sit in cafes and people watch. I didn't always stick to my plans, but it helped to have choices of things to do. If I was exhausted from walking many miles during the day and didn't have energy to try and plan for the next day's activities, I didn't have to worry. Have a great Trip.

Posted by
2 posts

Doing the same in September, 2 weeks in Paris that is, and these are great ideas for itineraries. Thinking about getting the Navigo card and the museum pass. I love to plan ahead and have a generally good sense of what to do, then be flexible for weather and general wear and tear. Besides Versailles, I think Giverny day trip sounds excellent! Four months to polish my French!!

Posted by
47 posts

Hey Tracy-
I travelled solo 2 years ago to paris,vienna, and amsterdam. In september I am doing another solo trip!
It is a lot of fun to do and easier because you do not have to worry about another person's plans or what they want to see, or if you can get them out of bed....
On my first trip I picked out what I wanted to do as far as museums and sights and basically just wandered around the cities. In paris I used my moleskin paris journal as my map and hopped around and just ended up at different sights. The downside is that I didn't get to see everything. My plan is to have a loose plan. For my upcoming trip I am choosing what I want to do/see then biking around the city to what I want. I also got diverted by several french men wanting to take me to cafes etc. which is entertaining but kind of a waste of time....
So YES- having a loose plan for yourself is good, but allowing yourself to wander is great because you happen upon things you wouldn't expect...

Posted by
409 posts

Just a quick mention about a bike tour that was the absolute highlight of our trip to Paris last September. We used Bike About Tours - recommend you take this tour the first full day you have in Paris. It will allow you to get oriented and also introduce you to some off-the-beaten-path places you might miss on your own.