I have 3 days to spend in Paris. Would using the city Metro system or a hoho be a better way to get to the different sights. I definitely want to see and climb the Eiffel Tower, and tour Notre Dame and the Louvre. For the rest of the time I must chose from wonderful sounding places of interest. are any of the following a must see: Palace of Versailles, the Catacombs, Grand Palace, Orsay museum, Grevin Wax Museum and the gardens of Trocadero and Tuileries. Are there other must see recommendations?
If you do the Eiffel Tower climb at night, after the lights come on.....10pm a week ago and you can climb until about 11:30pm AND if you do the Louvre on one of the nights it stays open late you will have time to see lots of other things. Got to Louvre about 7pm and it was wonderfully free of crowds. Metro and RER trains work great.
We just got back from three days in Paris and we walked everywhere. If you are used to doing 1-2 mile walks, IMHO you will see a lot more that way and also get to do some people watching as you take bench breaks.
If this interests you, take your Paris map, highlight everything you want to see, and plan a walking route for each day. You can plot your route and check the distances on google maps which now has a walking option. (The only one of the main tourist attractions that is too far to walk to is Montmarte.)
Thanks for the comments. How safe is it to we walking at night in Paris?
Walk anywhere you want. It's completely safe.
The Metro is an awesome resource, together with the RER lines and you can find online interactive map at http://map.metro-passes.com/map_paris.htm click on the small british round flag to change the map into english. Be warned, RER line C is closed until August 21st (it says that in French) along with a few other minor closures.
Notre Dame won't take very long you could easily do it in the morning and grab a nice lunch in the courtyard. You can pre-buy your eiffel tower tickets, we booked ours so we can watch the sun set from the top and watch the city light up. (Thanks Rick and staff for that idea!) There's an awesome supermarket and coffee shop right by the Champs De Mars RER A line stop to grab a bite to eat.
Versailles is neat but will take an entire day. It tends to be crowded and frankly, while nice to see, I was less than impressed. We're going to see it a second time with my friend only because she is obssessed with Napoleon and although he didn't live there he tended to be obsessed with it. I suppose I would recommend going to Versailles only because everyone should see it once.
I've heard Chateau Fontainebleau is nicer and less crowded (we haven't been yet but we are going next month).
Instead of the metro, where you are primarily underground and can't see anything, you might consider the Batobus. It is a boat bus, with multiple stops on each side of the river. It will take you about anywhere you want to go in Paris, with the exception of Montmartre. A multi-day pass only costs a few euro more than a one day pass. You can take the train to Versailles.
I have been to Paris a number of times, and am currently spending half the summer there for work. On your list of possibles, definately do tuileries, as you will most likely walk through it at some point getting frmo one place to another. Also, I consider the Musee d'Orsay one of my top favorites. Waslking is great fun ... but do yourself a favor, use the metro. It is easy to navigate, and will save you alot of time. If you have an iPhone, there are a number of excellent Metro apps - that is what I use. Another piece of advice, one of my favorite "sights" in Paris is sitting at a cafe, having a drink, and watching the sights/people - Paris is a great city for enjoying the view, so slow down a bit and enjoy :-).
On one of our days we've decided upon the Catacombs. I'm trying to find other places of interest near it. So far I've only found the Montparnasse and the Jardin du Luxembourgh park. Are there any other sights in this area?
Just saw a web sight that stated that the Catacombs were closed indefinately do to vandelism. Does anyone know the whether they are open or not?
Thanks for all the tips. The trip is actually for next year. Still working on the date. Is the weather too bad in late May? We have 3 schedules to work around, mine and my two adult daughters... definately want to stay in safe areas.
I also recommend the Batobus - the boat is an excellent way to get from the Eiffel Tower to Notre-Dame (or vice-versa). IMO, this stretch of the Seine is the most scenic.
Double check the Catacombs being closed -- it might be old information. I think that happened back around Christmas. If they are, no big deal. It's a lot of walking just to look at piles and piles of bones.
Other underground stuff includes the Archaeological Crypt across the square from Notre Dame and the Sewer Museum close to the south end of the Pont de l'Alma bridge. In my mind, both beat the catacombs.
My favorite museum, The Cluny (medieval items and six gorgeous tapestries), is near the Luxembourg Gardens. I would also recommend the gardens of the Rodin Museum, not too far from the ET.
A nice place for lunch or dinner is Le Montebello which is on the left bank directly across from the side of Notre Dame. They have a 22 euro menu for dinner. ND is enjoyable in the evening, lots of people there, and the cathedral is illuminated around 10:00.
Le Printemps (department store) has a free 8th floor observation deck.
If you want to see over-the-top opulence without having to go to Versailles, tour the Opera Garnier.
Are you walking alone? While it may be "completely safe" to walk alone in the central tourist area of Paris, IMHO I think many women would not feel comfortable walking alone at night down at the river level of the Seine. Lots of drunks down there. The upper banks looked OK.
You don't say when you are going...I assume soon? With the nicer weather I would definitely add some outdoor items to your itinerary - Tuilleries, garden at the Rodin museum, Luxemberg Gardens, the park at the end of Notre Dame (with the embarkation rememberance.) Just walk - and enjoy! I have been there five times in the past ten years and never been inside the Louvre - it's just soo cool to walk around Paris and I haven't missed it. I have been inside the D'Orsay. Last year with our kids we did a lot of just walking and enjoyed all the green and flowering spots Paris has. Have a great time.
Deborah - If you are only going to be in Paris for 3 days I'd skip Palace of Versailles.
Hi Deborah. I suggest using the bus too, same tickets as the Metro, that way you can see things above ground. Also saves from walking up and down to the trains if your feet are tired, which happens to me all the time in Paris. I second another posters idea about seeing the Rodin Museum Gardens, I had a picnic lunch there overlooking the pond with sculptures. I believe the outdoors portion is cheaper than going inside; I'm not sure about the entry fee for only the gardens. I do love the Orsay but there is construction there, best check their website. On my last trip, I didn't go into the Louvre, but walked around the area, there is one windowed area to look into the museum and see some sculptures, I then walked through the gardens in front of the Louvre and headed toward the Arc du Triomphe along the Champs Elysses, that is a great walk too.
I agree with another poster to skip Versailles if you only have 3 days. It is beautiful, but takes about half a day.
Another suggestion might be some of the smaller Churches which are also gorgeous. St. Chappelle is one of them, I just can't recall the other names right now. If you don't have the RS Paris book, I recommend it highly. I always walk along the Seine to adore the many gorgeous bridges; I think I have a hundred or more pictures of just the bridges.
Enjoy Paris, it is one of my favorite places in the world. Make sure to take some time for cafes, a big part of Paris life; great places for people watching, resting your feet, sipping Pastis, enjoying decently priced meals.
Have a great trip. I am waiting to win Friday's lotto so that I can live there for a time.
It I do the Eiffel Tower and the parks on either side of it and then do the Tuileries to Arc De Triamphe path (Champs Elysees), is it better to take a bus from one to the other or is there an enjoyable path to take.
If there's any way you can add a couple more days to the Paris portion of your trip, do it. You won't regret it.
Lots of walking in Paris, so be prepared for that.
The Metro was very easy to use. Stations are frequent. But we didn't try the hoho, or any buses, so we can't compare them.
I agree with the poster who talked about just sitting at a cafe and relaxing. YES!
It's worth the extra cost to sit at a sidewalk table.
More about Paris ...
Versailles = at least 1/2 day, if you're quick. More like most of a day. It's in a separate town (Versailles) and you have to take the RER to it.
I'd skip the Catacombs, but I don't really have a thing for cemetaries.
Musee d'Orsay for sure. Better than the Louvre, but if you want to see the Mona Lisa up close, you have to go to the Louvre. We wasted a couple hours being lost in the Louvre. Bad map, no & poor posted directions, no English-speaking staff that we could find.
If you're going to do lots of museums & churchs, you can buy a Museums & Monument pass that lets you into a whole batch of both for a certain # of days. But it you're only going ot one or two, skip it & pay separate admissions.
DO NOT go to the Louvre to buy this. You can get it at St Chappelle (yes!) or Musee d'Orsay. (It lets you take the basic tour of Versailles also, but not the other tours.)
EVERYONE goes to the Louvre & the only place that sells the M&M pass also sells all the other passes & it's slow, slow, slow...
Don't eat at the Louvre either. Ex-pen-sive and bad.
I agree with Cynthia about the Cluny Museum (aka Musee du Moyen Age... Museum of the Middle Ages). It's wonderful and is one of my favorites. The tapestries are amazing. It's about halfway between the Luxembourg Gardens and the Notre Dame.
We took the Open Tour ho-ho bus tour a week ago today, and were not impressed. Spent far too much time sitting and waiting and waiting at the various stops along the way. I can appreciate that they have a schedule that they have to stick to but the waiting was just far too much -- they should probably re-do the schedule. I really can't recommend that one.
We found the subway extremely easy and efficient. Trains seemed to come every four minutes or so.
We also did a lot of walking -- it got us outside seeing the sights.
One place I stumbled onto that I loved was Eglise Sulpice. It's on the left bank, near the Sorbonne and Luxumbourg garden. It's what I would call very untouristy -- I think there were only three other tourists there when I was there and there were maybe 6 parishoners. Very quiet, and very gorgeous. And no admission fee, although they did ask for donations.
If you like gardens (I got that impression), definitely the Luxembourg Gardens. Stay somewhere nearby (in the 6th) & enjoy sitting there in the morning watching joggers, strollers, an occasional ceremony of some sort. I've been there in early May & mid-August & it was beautiful both times. The Botanical Gardens (Jardins Botanique) aren't far from there either, & the roses were spectacular in May, along with a beautiful iris garden. Definitely check out St-Sulpice...you might hear a free organ concert (practice session). (Ignore the DaVinci Code associations...it's a beautiful & peaceful place).
You can't count on stable weather in Paris in May. It can be forty or fifty one week and eighty-five the next. It happened just this June. You need to layer.