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Help me plan my birthday in Paris!

On a Sunday, June 8th, my husband and I will be in Paris for my 28th birthday. We will have spent the two previous days doing the major sites and museums, so on our final day in Paris, we want to do something a bit different to celebrate.

We have considered going to Versailles (I know it's busiest on Sunday, but alas, our schedule makes Sunday the most sensible day to go), but I have read reviews that have let me know that I might not necessarily love going to see another palace. So, what are you opinions on Versailles? Do you have other fun ideas for my birthday?

By this point on our trip, we'll have done 4 cities and be headed to rural Switzerland we're open to city activities or a day trip away. We have an extra day on our rail pass that is unspoken for at this point, so we can do anything that will bring us back to Paris in time to make our rail reservations Monday morning. I read the Paris book cover to cover and nothing made me super excited for my birthday, so I thought I'd pick your brains.

Posted by
10344 posts

Versailles would be a great choice. Rick has said that if you're only going to see one palace in Europe, it should be Versailles. But a Sunday in June will be crowded, especially inside the palace (as opposed to the grounds), and some people have found the Sunday crowds to be a downer. You don't say what you're going to see in the 2 previous days. If you decide not to do Versailles, here are some suggestions:Chartres Cathedral day tripGiverny day tripWhat within Paris would you consider, in your words, "a bit different" that you won't have done in the previous 2 days? What about a gourmet dinner in an exclusive restaurant, followed by a romantic walk along the river?

Posted by
135 posts

Nicole, you haven't really said what you like.
If you like gardens and the outdoors, Giverny is a good choice, it's really out in the country and the countryside around there is beautiful. Chartres would be good, too or even a day trip to the Loire.

Re Versailles, I'm glad I visited it but frankly,it was not a high point for me - and I saw it with very few people there, because we got there really early, before the tour buses, the day after a holiday.

I would pick a wonderful place for lunch or dinner, do a nighttime boat ride on the Seine and at some point, drink a bottle of Champagne. After two busy days you may want to kick back a little....

Have fun! Best wishes - Brianna

Posted by
37 posts

Thanks for the replies. Kent and Brianna, your ideas about Giverny might make for the best experience for me.

I like museums and sites, but my most memorable times in Europe have involved simply sitting and "being" a part of a new a different that sitting among the Germans in the English Garden, stopping for an impromptu swim at a roadside Greek beach, or catching an afternoon nap in on of Vienna's many parks. So, I"m an outdoor girl who I imagine will be tired of museums and attractions and crowds by the time we are wrapping up in Paris (one week into a nearly month long trip).

I like the unusual and offbeat. So for something different, I'm thinking no museums, no palaces, and something where I truly will feel like a total local. How would a Parisian spend a lazy Sunday in her city? Thanks for your ideas and keep 'em coming...

Posted by
445 posts

THe problem with Giverny is that it too gets very crowded esp. so on a SUnday. It really is quite small. The village itself is small but nice to walk around. I believe you can rent bicycles in Vernon
(the town with the nearest train stop) which could be lovely to wander around some of the country roads. It is quite rural around Giverny and it is located on the SEine.

Do you really want to know what the French do on SUnday.....they have lunch with grand mere!

Another thought, you could wander around the Bois de Boulogne and have a very expensive lunch there at the very famous restuarant whose name escapes me at the moment(??Pre Catelan) But you would have to dress nicely. I do believe there are less expensive places to eat.If it'a a nce day, I think that would be my choice. Happy Birthday!

Posted by
10344 posts

Maryann: Yes, the name of the restaurant in the Bois is Pre Catelan.Nicole: Perhaps Jona, who is a Parisienne, will see your last question?

Posted by
506 posts

A lazy here in Auteuil (16th) would include a relaxing morning - the truth being that a good husband will get up and go pick up fresh croissant or pan aux chocolat.

Followed by a lunch out. Typically, we go to a local restaurant within walking distance. This then is followed by a stroll in Bois de Boulogne. Sometimes this will include a late tea or coffee in one of the cafe's at La Muette with a stroll down the hill back home.

A movie can be in order should the weather be poor. There are a lot of small fun cinemas in Saint Germain that show old American black and white films - i.e. Casablanca etc.

Many places will close early on Sundays - thus dinner will be small and at home.

You could consider a picnic in one of our many grand parks. Some of the smaller epicerie shops are open on Sunday - but plan to get wine the night before.

Posted by
1 posts

Nicole - great place to celebrate your b-day. I did my 50th there last year. 20 of my friends and family joined my partner and I for a dinner cruise. The boat was small and wonderful and the food to die for. We took the later seating and ended up at the Eiffel tower at midnight. The boat is Capitaine Fracasse and well worth it! Whatever you decide to do will be magical!

Posted by
28 posts

Hi Nicole- if you consider Bois de Bologne, you might stop in at Musee Marmottan, small and not as well known as bigger museums (Mostly Monet; 2, rue Louis Boilly, metro:La Muette). Nearby is a lovely small park, where we have normally seen
French families, picnicking with their children, soccer, merry-go-rounds, definately not touristy, in a up-scale neighborhood.

Posted by
448 posts

I'm not a big fan of Versailles...too much gravel in the gardens... What i would suggest is Le Train des Impressionnistes to Auvers-sur-Oise. It leaves Gare due Nord at 9:56 and returns at 18:15...45 minutes...weekends only...There of course will be other tourists, but it's a lovely village where VanGogh did his final paintings and he and his brother Theo are in the cemetary up the hill.
The only website i can find is in French. In the past they've used a steam engine train...don't know what's for this year.

Posted by
448 posts

Just felt like mentioning that not all French people spend their sunday with grand-mére...that's as much a stereotype as the rude waiter...however, since this sunday is Mothers' Day in mother in law will be coming here for dinner..
and Re: your least for the finale, i'd suggest going to Trocadero to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle for you, and then go down for a few rides on the carousels at each end of the bridge...Regina