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9 Days in Paris

Bonjour Fellow Travelers: We are two 55 + gal pals traveling and staying in Paris for 9 days we have rented an apartment in the Marais. Walking for hours is no problem, we have prepared ourselves for cold weather and plan to purchase a four day Paris Museum Pass. We have done our best to prepare an organized daily itinerary to make the most of our time in the City of Light, however, this is the first time we have planned on this level on our own and would be forever grateful for any comments or suggestions to assist in improving on our ideas. Comments are also welcome off line, thanks in advance. Day 1 - Depart for Paris - Happy Face Day 2 - December 26 - Arrive in Paris, check into the apartment, explore the neighborhood. Marais walk, Centre Georges Pompidou, Musee Carnavlet, Le Loirdans la Thiere, Place des Vosges, Rue de Bretagne, Victor Hugo Mansion Day 3 - Paris Greeters Tour of the Marais, on our own tour Champs Eylsees, Arc de Triomphe, Musee Jacquemart Day 4 - Orangerie Museum, Tuleries, Orsay Museum, Place de la Concorde, Grand and Petite Palais Day 5 - Day Trip Remes Day 6 - Museum d'Orsay, Boulevard St. Michel, Boulevard St. Germain, Jardin de Luxembourg, Panthenon. Evening Seine River Cruise Day 7 - December 31 - Sacre Coeur. Evening Eiffel Tower Day 8 - ????? Day 9 - Ile St. Louis, Church St. Chappelle, Point Neuf, Conciergerie, Church Notre Dame Day 10 - ???? Day 11 - Leave Paris - Sad Face Merci,
Debbie

Posted by
2349 posts

One problem I see is that you have a day trip planned in between museum days. The pass is for 4 consecutive days, not days that you pick. I think you have too much planned for your arrival day. Are you doing any walks with Paris Walks? You should. Enjoy!

Posted by
2184 posts

Agree that it is too much for arrival day. Did I miss something or are you not going to Louvre? You can also include day or half day trip by train to Versailles.

Posted by
9766 posts

I agree that you are being way too ambitious on your first day. Don't underestimate how tired you may be. Who are you doing your Paris Greeter tour with? Last year I did a tour of the Marais with Alain. He was great. Some days you have a lot of things planned, but on the 31st you only have Sacre Coeur and the Eiffel Tower. You might want to find a better balance. I was in Paris for 10 nights during the same time period 4 years ago. Your hours of daylight will be short (approx. 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) and it may (or may not) be very cold. The warmest it ever got for us was 33 degrees. An apartment is a great choice, especially with the length of time you will be there. Have a great time!

Posted by
15 posts

Debbie: One suggestion I would have is to buy a metro/bus pass good for one week. They are available in the major metro stations, starting just after midnight on Monday, and good for one week. this represents a major savings, if you plan to ride the bus and/or metro much at all. I highly recommend the bus, since you can see the sights as you get to your destination. You can get a list of bus routes on line, or you can purchase a little booklet with the bus routes at a major bookstore once you get to Paris. Did you think of taking a boat trip on the Seine? Both the day and night trips are fun. You do not have to spend much; the Bateaux Mouche is relatively cheap, and you can see the same sights. But it gets cold on the river, so dress warmly unless the weather is very warm. have you thought of visiting either of the major parks on the periphery of Paris? Bois de Vincennes is to the east. and Bois de Boulogne is to the west. Both are beautiful.
If you like to get a taste of what Paris used to look like in the old days, try the Musee Carnavalet in the Marais. It has a bunch of neat exhibits from yesteryear. And if you would like to see what a beautiful mansion from the 1800's looks like, with a good art collection, visit the Musee Jaquemart-Andre at 158 Blvd. Haussmann. It has a wonderful room there where you can have lunch, but get there early and make a reservation, as it fills up quickly. Peter

Posted by
32051 posts

debbie, I most definitely agree with the others that you have too much planned for your arrival day. What time does your flight arrive? Don't underestimate the effects of jet lag, as you likely won't be up to "touring speed" for a day or two! It appears that you have Musee D'Orsay planned for both Day 4 and Day 6. Is that correct? Are you not planning to visit the Louvre, at least to see the Mona Lisa (it's in the Denon Wing). Don't try to see all of the Louvre, as it's HUGE. The planning on some of your days is somewhat "ambitious". You might find that you have to use Days 8 & 10 to visit places that you didn't get to on the previous days. I didn't see Versailles or the Rodin Museum on the list? Bon Voyage!

Posted by
4684 posts

Too many art museums on the same days. Day two especially is too busy: the art museum at the Pompidou Centre is big enough to spend several hours in. Also I'd drop at least one of Orsay, the Petite Palais, and Orangerie on day 4. I would definitely suggest buying a Paris Museum Pass: the advantage of this as well as the money saving is that if you get overloaded while touring one of the very big museums you can leave and come back another day without paying again. Buy it at one of the smaller museums involved in the scheme and you won't have to queue. Also if you're interested enough in Impressionism to visit the Orangerie and the Orsay I would highly recommend making a trip to the Marmottan Museum at some point. It's a little out of the way but hugely worth it.

Posted by
2020 posts

It's snowing here now, so if it does not warm up significantly when you are here it will be freezing on the Seine River cruise particularly at night. You may want to re-think this. Same for checking out the parks they are wonderful, but may not be that hospitable depending on the weather. I agree day 1 has too many things. You cannot reasonably do the Pompidou and the Carnavalet in one day. Same with Orangerie and D'Orsay. yes, both museums are pretty close to one another but time and effort is involved in seeing them. Strolling down the Champs Elysee under all the Christmas lights is delightful, and at the end (near Place de Concorde) is a nice Xmas market. I recommend a day trip to Chartres or Versailles, over Remes(sp?) I recommend seeing New Year's eve fireworks at the Eiffel Tower if weather is good. Rest up before doing it. Doing Sacre Coeur though prior to this will probably be quite exhausting as visiting Montmartre usually is so I would do this on a separate day. (and go to the Montmartre Museum when there)
Just some suggestions.

Posted by
8293 posts

I will be in Paris for 8 days over much the same period as you and your itinerary has me worn out just reading it but I know that when you are there you will chuck a lot of it. Too busy, too intense, too museum oriented ... you will be crossing things off the list is my guess, and will enjoy yourselves all the more. For instance, on Day 4: Orangerie, d'Orsay, Grand Palais and Petit Palais !! Good Night Nurse! That's like a forced march, in my not-so-humble opinion. My advice is to treat the proposed itinerary as a "wish list" and then just have a really great and unforgettable time with your friend, with lots of stops at cafés for some wine where you can revise the itinerary and have a good laugh.

Posted by
211 posts

Since you'll be staying in an apartment, with (I presume) cooking facilities, I would suggest that you visit one of the street markets. There is a nice one on Rue Poncelet in the 17th. It's only a block or so from Place de Terne, where there is a Metro stop. Rue Poncelet is a "market street" that is open every day except Sunday, during daylight hours. There is also a marvelous street market (much bigger than Rue Poncelet) that is held each Friday on Avenue du President Wilson, just a few blocks east of the Trocadero. There are street markets in other parts of the city, but these two are the ones I am most familiar with.

Posted by
2349 posts

I suggest that you buy the 6 day museum pass. Then you won't feel so rushed to get to all the museums in 4 days.

Posted by
1438 posts

In addition to the comments above: You first day will be a bit of what I describe as a "brain-dead" day. You should spend it walking around, as zig-zaggy and aimless as you can make it - Le Marais is fabulous for that! I would definitely skip the museums that day. Pay attention to the shops and restaurants that appeal to you to go back. Pick up the food you will want in the apartment for the next couple of days. Find a bottle of wine or three... just indulge yourselves that first day. I'm thrilled for you that you decided to spend enough time to really enjoy Paris. Are you scheduling your walking exploration of Montmartre for the same day as Sacré Coeur? Since Day 8 falls on New Year's Day, I would move your day trip to Reims for this day, as many of the Paris museums & sights will be closed. However, the architecture of Reims can be enjoyed on that day, irregardless of closures, and the Cathedral is open everyday, from 7h30 to 19h30. The trains will be running, but I would buy the tickets as soon as you arrive in Paris. Add the Cluny medieval museum to your explorations of the Left Bank. This can beautifully fit onto the theme, timing & general area of your Day 9. Don't sweat out Day 10 - something will come up that you will want to do or go back to or that you have re-scheduled from earlier. It's perfectly fine (and wise) to keep that day open for now. For my last 3 trips to Paris, I have fit in one of Context Travel's excellent tours. Just plug in your date range and see which confirmed and tentative walks are scheduled while you're there. I would love to do this one on the 29th: http://www.contexttravel.com/city/paris/walking-tour-details/paris-holiday-walk-culinary-traditions?sched-walk=55295 . Tip: read the tour descriptions to get ideas for your own days' schedule, especially for lesser-known gems in the Marais... Have fun!

Posted by
9766 posts

If you are going to the Eiffel Tower on NYE to see fireworks, be prepared to be disappointed. When we were there 4 years ago we were told there would be fireworks. Not wanting to deal with the crowds at the ET we positioned ourselves on the Pont Neuf with a good view of the tower. So did many other people. At midnight the only fireworks were those that individuals on the bridge set off. It was fun, but not what we were expecting.

Posted by
126 posts

Hello, Thank you for the wonderful comments and insight. I am reworking the itinerary and will repost very soon.
Best, Debbie

Posted by
3696 posts

I just got home last night from a week in Paris... and your itinerary is definitely ambitious... but I prefer a lot of time for sitting in cafes and wandering (I am a photographer) but I am sure you will readjust your 'wish list'. One of the people from our group went to Rodin Gardens (I have been in the summer and loved it) and I think it was only 1 Euro for the gardens and it was his favorite museum. I also had never gone to Versailles (and I am sure its pretty in the summer) but I went and do not ever need to return. I have spent a few days in Reims, and it was fun, but if you really want a day trip that would give you a different feeling than Paris look into Strousburg. I took the train from there into Paris once just for the day, so I don't think the train ride was too long. I would dress in layers and for sure an umbrella. Got caught in the snow someone else mentioned and that caused a 7 hour delay in might flight:( I did the metro a bit this trip but usually do the bus and although I know it can be slower (traffic, etc.) I do prefer it to the bus as I am able to orient myself a little better and see the sights as I go. If I were you I would cut my list to about half...spend more time shopping at the markets for food and figuring out how to do some great french cooking. Have fun!

Posted by
121 posts

As some who was just in Paris I found Versailles to be the highlight of the trip. We only had rain, cold weather but here in Cologe we had a nice snowstorm. Our first day we dont remember much due to jet lag. After that day we were fine. Of course we had yet to arrive at our hotel on foot and encountered the ring rip off. We just ignored the lady and walked onward. Watch out for the girls askingif you speak english around eiffel tower. They want donations. I think the same is true for the guys giving roses out. We did the Arc walk to the top. A few people had to stop at times to catch their breath. The views from the top were excellent and I am not that good with heights.

Posted by
1994 posts

One thing about recommendation to visit Reims/its cathedral on Jan 1: that's a holy day in the liturgical calendar, so the cathedral (plus St Remi, which I liked much more than the cathdedral) may have quite limited tourism hours (ie, think Sunday schedule or shorter, since it's both a holy day and a secular holiday). Also, although guidebook suggested it was an easy walk from train station to cathedral and other sites, it seemed like a very long walk on a very cold/wet fall day, and I'd guess it would feel longer in January. Also, lots of road construction and incorrect/obsolete direction/bus/taxi signs near the train station ~1 year ago; I don't know if that work is completed or signage has improved; I wished I had brought a map (eg, at least something from Mappy.com). I couldn't even figure out where the buses stopped; all the signs were wrong and I decided to walk, rather than doubling all the way back to the station to try to find someone to ask.

Posted by
2023 posts

I think you are trying to see/do too much. On a trip to Paris a few years ago we got the four day museum pass and it was overwhelming-way too much time in museums and it was museum overdose. For your visit to the Orsay and Louvre you really need to do some research and plan your must sees. The Pompidou is all modern art which did not appeal to me at all-interesting building though.