We're in our mid 60's but not adverse to some walking. Trying to decide - stay near Eiffel, the Pantheon, or in Maris? Also are there any good tours offered week days in March? Is the Hop on/off bus a good option or ????? We want to visit Versailles. Will it take more than half a day? Any and all suggestions welcome!
If you haven't already purchased Rick Steves' Paris guidebook I'd suggest that you do! It's really a great guide and will answer many of the question that you've posted with info about transportation to Versailles, city tour options, etc.
I think that staying in the Marais would be a good location for easily getting the Metro to visit major sites.
If you like museums, a Paris Museum Pass is a great deal and will help you organize your days according to the things that you most want to see.
You can do Versailles in a 'long half day'. Do it first thing in the morning to help avoid lines.
Either of these locations is good. My recommendation would be the Marias, but near the Eiffel Tower (which would be the rue Cler area) is Ok too, particularly if you are a first timer to Paris. The Pantheon is in the Latin Quarter area, which is fine also. Centrally located. You will do a lot of walking wherever you stay, so have excellent shoes and be prepared!
I've heard the hop on hop off bus in Paris is not that good. but I agree, get the Rick Steves' Paris guidebook, it will tell you everything you need to know.
Finally -- Go to Versailles on a nice day and plan to spend most of it there -- don't miss the Trianons, and Queen's Hamlet either.
Hope you have a great time.
I usually like hop on hop off bus tours because they give you a good orientation of the city. However, I kind of hated the one in Paris. The narration was awful and most of the time they played horrible music. I was sorry we did it.
As for where to stay, I stayed in the 6th arrondisement and loved it. I also think the 5th looked good or the Marais area. The Pantheon is a little further out than I'd want to be, but if it's near a metro it would probably be fine too.
Thanks for the helpful input. Anybody have suggestions for places to eat and stay in the Morais? I think we've narrowed our choice down to that area?
I usually hesitate to recommend restaurants because everyone has a different idea about what's good. One in the Marais that I would suggest that you try for lunch (if you like falafel)is L'As du Falafel.
I'd ask your hotel staff or someone local for recommendations.
Have a look at paris-walks.com which offers a variety of 2-hour themed guided walking tours in English. If you like chocolate, then definitely don't miss that one.
I was very happy in the Marais quarter. I know a lot of people here rave about the Rue Cler/Eiffel Tower area, but it is further away from the main sights, while the Marais is walking distance to Notre Dame and on the best metro line to see so many of the others.
Most museums have audio guides available. Check their websites, some also have guided tours in English.
Paris is all about walking - hours and hours of it. There just is no other way to appreciate its many treasures. It also makes those sidewalk cafes so much more enjoyable. There are segway tours too. I believe the name is Fat Tire.
We go to Paris often and always do the Hop-on Hop-off Bus, we really enjoy it. There are two. We prefer the red one, plus it's cheaper. We don't listen to the narration, we just enjoy riding around on the top, open level and seeing Paris when our feet need a rest.
"Have a look at paris-walks.com which offers a variety of 2-hour themed guided walking tours in English."
I second that. I've done many of these and they don't dissapoint -- especially if you like history. They will go into a much deeper dive than you can get on a bus.
It isn't a ton of walking since you are stopping frequently.
Versailles, even in a long half day, is really hard. Figure close to an hour from walking out of your hotel to getting off the RER at Versailles. Then it's a half mile walk to the gate and still another hike to the front door. That's maybe three hours of transit time for the round trip. Three hours there is usually enough. If you have a bite to eat somewhere along the way, you'll do well to get back into Paris by midafternoon. It pretty well clobbers the entire day.
Having been to Paris many, many times I've found no need to ride the hop on/off bus, but folks I've talked to say it doesn't hold a candle to the ones in, say, London. What I really like, however, is the hop on/off boat (BatoBus). While it has no commentary, with a map on your lap you can conduct your own tour of everything visible from the river. It has maybe eight stops on a continuous loop from the botanical gardens to the Eiffel Tower. The stops closest to the Marais are the ones on each bank of the river across from Notre Dame (left bank and right bank, not from the sides of the island).
Prices are on the steep side (10 - 15 euros ?) but it gives you a place to rest and it's not that expensive if you use it for transportation for an entire day. Additionally, nobody minds if you bring your own snacks and ride an entire loop while you relax.
I think they also have multi-day passes but wouldn't think they'd be that great of a deal since there's lots of suff you'll want to see that's a ways from the river's edge.
Another Bat-o-Bus fan at 13Euros for 1 day, 20 Euros for 5 days with other options between 1 and 5 days. A 7 stop, counter-clockwise loop from Eiffel at one end, around the islands, back to Eiffel.
My preference for hotel is 5th, 6th or 7th so if I'm near, say the Jardin des Plantes, and want to go to the Eiffel Tower, hop the BoB at the Jardin stop, and you're at the Tower in about 3/4 hour with no loss of shoeleather. Last trip over in September, did the entire loop without getting off; a pleasant way to end the day.
We, too, are 60+, and while we enjoy the walking, the BoB's a great way to rest the feet while getting to your Seine adjacent sites. Will often around lunchtime pick up a sandwich/crepe, a canned beer, and munch away while sitting on the steps near a BoB stop awaiting the boat's arrival; great for people/Seine watchihg.
Dear Linda, My husband and I are in our 60's. We were in Paris in May, 2009 and are going back this coming May. We stayed at the Le Littre Hotel, 9 rue Littre, 75006 Paris. We loved the hotel and its absolutely fabulous location. We could walk a lot of places and we were close to the subway. We also loved the Hop-On-Hop Off bus. We could catch it very close to the Le Littre. Paris is so awesome.