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4.5 day itinerary for Paris - too much? post 1 of 2

Hi All, Wanted your opinion on the following itinerary. My husband & I (late 30s/40s) are going to Paris in August... he's never been and I want to see as much as possible but it seems like I have missed on taking the "relax and enjoy" part out of it. I just don't know what else to give up or move. I like tours because they give those stories and knowledge that sometimes isn't enough from an audio app... but I'm willing to forego it for the sake of enjoying paris more than just attraction to attraction.
Thanks in advance... E.

Posted by
4 posts

Sun (day we arrive) Versailles all day (the fountains are running) Monday Leisurely Breakfast at Fauchon or Galeries Lafayette near hotel 11:00 3.5 hour Sandeman's "free" Paris tour (really wondering about taking this or doing a self tour) Lunch Musee d'Orsay (~2hr) Go back to hotel to change Opera House Montmarte self tour or guided tour if can make it on time Moulin Rouge Tuesday Quick – on the go breakfast Walk thru Les Halles 10:30 Marais tour by Paris Walks (again... wondering about taking this or doing a self tour) Lunch at Place de Vosges 3.5 hour Historic Walk (from the Rick Steve's guidebook which takes to Notre Dame, Saint Chappelle, and the other Island and Flower market) Pantheon Cluny Museum (if time) Dinner Jazz club – Chaveau de la Huchette Wednesday Rue de Cleur for breakfast on the go Rodin Museum Walk from Arc de Triomphe to Louvre with stops for Chocolate and lunch Louvre (it's their late night...if not, then will reverse the walk and do Louvre first) Change Dinner Walking along Seine to Eiffel tower Thursday Pere Laichesse Cemetary or go to what we missed from above
Lunch Things I didn't get to fit in... Holocaust Museum, Catacombs, Eiffel Tower ride up (1 lift is broken so not able to reserve ticket and don't want to stand in line)

Posted by
7716 posts

E. - I think you're being a bit optimistic as to what you can really fit in/endure in a day. Each of these days seems overly ambitious to me (or maybe I am just getting too lazy). Versailles on the day you arrive may be a little exhausting. I might save that for a day when you've recovered a bit from the trip over, jet lag, etc. I think Rick in his book recommends a nice along-the-Seine orientation walk. That way if you poop out, you're not miles and several transport options from your hotel. Also, take a moment to re-confirm opening hours, days, etc. the musee d'orsay isn't open on Mondays when you are planning to go, and it will just take a few seconds to check the Louvre site to see what their late days are. On a first trip to Paris, unless you or your husband are huge Jim Morrison or Oscar Wilde fans or something, I'd give Pere Lachaise a miss. It's an interesting enough place, but I would focus on other priorities (including, yes, plenty of cafe-time sitting and watching the Parisian world go by). One note: definitely DO fit in a Paris Walks or two. They are SUCH good value for the money. You will definitely see and learn things that you would never learnon your own. Can't recommend them highly enough.

Posted by
1981 posts

I agree with Kim about Versaille on arrival day, I think too much with jet lag. Anyway, whatever day you do go, be sure to get tickets before you go or will have 2-3 hour wait. Granddaughter went 3 weeks ago and as teenagers go, followed her own advice and never got in. I think you can also get advance tickets for Louvre and the tower. Someone posted here not too long ago to use the nate entrance to the Louvre for shorter lines. Just read about that in our Sunday paper, they had a picture of a long, long line of people waiting to get in and the paper advised to use I think it is called the carousel entrance. We never used it as we are always there off season so had no lines at all for any attractions but would assume August will be crowded. I think you should also try to get to see Sacre Couer for the view alone especially if clear day. Enjoy.

Posted by
11292 posts

Agree with the other replies. E, you know how people come to New York and say it's "so exhausting." Then, when you ask what they did, they explain that they went to the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and a Broadway show - in one day! Well, you've set yourself up for the same problem. Accept, right now, that you can't see everything. Now, accept that you can't even see a tiny fraction of the places you want to see. Now, cut down your list to the ABSOLUTE must-sees for you, and limit it to two per day. If you do this, you will have time to actually see Paris, instead of seeing the sights and missing the Paris. You will have to decide on what interests you, but I can say that of your list, the Opera House and the Moulin Rouge jump out as places I wouldn't make a detour for (fine if you're in the area). But I know they're iconic for many. And, whatever you decide to see, DON'T go to Versailles on day one. You will be jet-lagged and tired, and have just schlepped in from the airport; you don't want to then schlep out to Versailles, wait in lines, and walk a lot. As Kim pointed out, you want to be closer to your hotel on your first day, in case you poop out and need to return. I'd hate to pay the Versailles admission fees, only to be too tired to enjoy it. I think Rick's "Historic Walk" is a good thing to do on your first day; I would not plan to actually go into anything on that day, but return later to see the places that interest you. I've read enough bad things about the "free" tours to be leery of them; nothing in this world is "free." I'd go with Paris Walks, if their schedule works with yours, or else use Rick Steves (or other guidebooks) for walks. Or, just walk around on your own, and enjoy.

Posted by
9363 posts

Wherever I am traveling, I never schedule more than one "big" thing in each half of the day. Getting there, getting in, stopping for a drink, etc., can take more time than you think. If I do my big thing for the morning and can fit something else in, great! If not, I have at least done the thing that really mattered to me. Then I go on to the big afternoon thing. There will always be situations where you intend to get to something but they are closed, or you aren't enjoying it and leave (or it just doesn't take as long as you thought it would), and you can slot in some of your "second tier" things there.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks everyone for your thoughts... I will skip the free 3.5 hour tour... so the only reason I was doing Versailles was for the fountains... Any thoughts around that? We are pretty good with jet-lag but I hear the concerns... aren't the fountains amazing? Or just ...eh?