Four Day Itinerary for Paris-help piecing it together

Bonjour! My husband and I are enjoying our American Thanksgiving in Paris this year, arriving at 9:30am on Thursday, departing at 12noon Monday. Essentially, we will have four days. We've been before, so there are a few things we won't repeat and others we just must. For example, our most magical first day has been to check in (Park Hyatt Vendome) and head straight to Ile St. Louis for lunch, strolling, shopping, visit Notre Dame, a brief stroll across the bridge, Batobus to Eiffel Tower for sunset and SOMETHING NEW dinner near the tower (advise for dinner much appreciated)--so far thinking Cafe Constant, Josephine Chez Dumont or Cafe du Marche. Other things we want to get in on this trip: Christmas markets at Champs Elysees and La Defense Visit to Louis Vuitton Champs Elysees (anniversary purchase at mothership) Rue Cler (should we?) never been but major foodie Rodin Museum (gardens won't be as nice, but still a small, doable museum) L'Orangerie (need to see those waterlilies!) Lots of strolling Latin Quarter and St. Germaine St. Sulpice Sunday mass (which seems to flow with above strolling) Luxembourg Garden (haven't been, but LOVE Tuileries and would camp there if we could-ha!) St. Ouen Flea Market (is it worthwhile? I'm a major antique/eclectic hound, but won't be making large purchases, but smalls would be fun finds)
Montmartre--visited Sacre Coeur briefly last time, but no real stroll through the area at all St. Chappelle Christmas Concert on Saturday night-haven't visited, and I know we won't have sunlight, but I hear the concert is very nice Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts based on your own experiences. Theresa

Posted by Becca
Provo, UT
163 posts

On the flea markets...I haven't been to one in Paris in 10 years, and I'm not into antiques. With that said...I do think they are really far away from all your other plans and would be tough to fit in. I have a Markets of Paris book that talks about antique shops in the city, and small areas where there are dozens of shops, so you can get that antiquing experience in the city. It describes several, but particularly the Swiss Village Antiques area, which is nearish the Eiffel Tower. It also describes the Saint-Germain antiques galleries, which looks to be closer to where you want to spend your time. It says there are about 100 galleries between the quai Malaquais-quai Conti-quai des Grands Augustins, boulevard Saint-Germain and rue des Saints-Peres. That may be a good area to focus your strolling. It's not going to be the same market haggling experience, but may fill your desire for shopping. With only a long weekend, I would hesitate to spend the time getting out to the market and back, let alone the time that you will spend shopping. BUT, if that's what really interests you, you should do it. It's all about priorities, really.

Posted by Theresa
Dallas, TX, USA
73 posts

Thanks, Becca! I appreciate the honest opinion. I think I will consider Vanves, the smaller market and ONLY IF we want to go on Saturday morning early. Otherwise, we won't be wasting precious city time. Again, thanks for the details! Theresa

Posted by Grier
Carmel, IN
1054 posts

If you put Vanves in the search box at the top of this page, you'll find several posts about it.

Posted by Grier
Carmel, IN
1054 posts

If you're a foodie, I would recommend Fauchon and Hediard rather than Rue Cler. Also Pierre Herme for pastries.

Posted by Becca
Provo, UT
163 posts

Theresa, I am underwhelmed by Rue Cler. Maybe I'm missing something...but it doesn't seem that special or that great to me. But, since you note you are a foodie, you need to check out David Lebovitz's blog (davidlebovitz.com). He is a pastry chef turned cookbook author who lives and blogs in Paris. He has great posts about what to eat when you're there and lots of great chocolate shops and pastry shops to visit. He also has an app that is quite helpful called Paris Pastry app, I believe. There's a link on his site. Some of my favorite Paris memories come from finds from his site. I've been to a concert at Saint Chappelle, and it is nice, but mostly because of the surroundings. If you're going to miss the sunlight, I'm not sure it's as worth it. Aside from the setting, it's just a fine concert. If they're playing your favorite piece, I might make an effort to go, but otherwise, would probably skip it. Have you looked into what's happening at the Opera Garnier? There's a beautiful setting that is not dependent on sunlight. Luxembourg Gardens are beautiful; one of my favorite places in all of Paris. Your other plans sound reasonable, though it is a lot to do in only 3 1/2 days. Maybe save Montmartre for another trip since it's quite a hike out to it and you're short on time?

Posted by Kira
Seattle, WA, USA
954 posts

I'm with Grier and Becca. Rue Cler is... well, IMHO, it's not all it is cracked up to be. I prefer the market in the Passy neighborhood, which hasn't yet been overrun by American tourists. And yes, Fauchon and Hediard DEFINITELY for foodies! Here's a list of all the markets in Paris, http://marches.equipements.paris.fr/ - listed by arrondissement, and if you click on a market and scroll down, it tells you the number of stalls by food type! Very useful. The St. Chappelle Christmas Concerts is utterly divine (hah! sorry - bad pun) even without sun. You feel as you've been transported back in time. But yes, on balance, St. Chappelle really IS about the windows with the sun streaming in. If you stroll Montmartre, be sure and check out the other mill - le Moulin de la Galette (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moulin_de_la_Galette) - on a pretty street in a residential bit of Montmartre. The Christmas markets are a BLAST. OMG, so fun so fun! And have you thought about ice skating - either at Trocadero or l'Hotel de Ville? Fun. Happy travels!!!!! :-)

Posted by Theresa
Dallas, TX, USA
73 posts

Thanks so much. You guys have made me feel better about my inability to really work Rue Cler into my plans. Staying on Rue de la Paix, we are definitely planning a stroll to Place Madeleine for food shopping, Pierre Hermes is in the area too, and I think Eric Kayser will be our morning stop for breakfast. Yah! Any feedback on the idea of trying to hit one of the flea markets? Seems like the one at Vanves may be more doable in terms of size and how much time it takes from a morning.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
3405 posts

Yes, to echo the others, skip rue Cler which is exceedingly boring. As foodies (such a strange word) you will be impressed with the street market at Place de la Bastille on Sunday or Place de la Nation on Saturday, both in the mornings.

Posted by Christina
New York, NY, 10025
365 posts

If you want a market street skip Rue Cler in favor Rue Mouffetard.