Need help with itinerary for day trip to Paris

I will be doing a day trip to Paris from London in early May and I need help with planning the day. I will be arriving at 10am and departing at 8:00pm. Here are the sites/things I would like to do in order of preference. 1.Eiffel Tower –I have booked a tour for 2:00pm because it appears that they have suspended advance ticket purchase for now and I want to skip the ticket lines. 2.Notre Dame 3.Arc de Triomphe/Shop a VERY little on the Champs Elysees
4.Seine River Boat Cruise What would be the most efficient route to the above sites and is all the above doable in one day? I do plan on using taxis because it will be my first trip to Paris and I do not feel confident in using the Metro. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!!

Posted by Linda
Boulder, CO, USA
48 posts

Expect long lines at Notre Dame, so get there as soon as possible. The Arc de Triomphe is easy to see. We liked going up to the top, and didn't have much in the way of lines. It's fun to walk along the Champs Elysees, I didn't care much for shopping though. More fun shopping on the little streets of Il de Cite, or the Marais. Don't expect any bargains. Regarding the Seine River Cruise, see if you can book a time in advance. If the weather's not good, I would pass. It looks more fun than it actually is, but it's fun to do it once, if you have time. Personally, I wouldn't miss the d'Orsay Museum (Monet masterpieces, etc) or the Louvre, if you haven't already been there. Depending on the day of the week that you're there, you could go visit them late. Check each museum for their late schedule, and closures. Hope this helps.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
664 posts

Assuming that you're taking the Eurostar to Gare du Nord, I'd start with Notre Dame, on the Ile de la Cite. You prefer a taxi, which lets you see a lot on the way there, but the RER "B" line from Gare du Nord to St-Michel would be faster and much cheaper, letting you out on the left (south) bank . There may be a line to get into the cathedral but it moves fast. You won't have time to stand in another line and climb the 200+ medieval steps to the towers. Take the time to walk around the south side of the cathedral to look at the buttresses from the beautiful park. Unless traffic is very bad, I'd guess it will take about an hour from getting into the taxi to finishing your visit to Notre Dame. Now walk west to the end of the Ile de la Cite, to the west side of the Pont Neuf, where you'll find the Vedettes de Pont Neuf, one of the narrated boat tours, see http://www.vedettesdupontneuf.com/index.htm. Boats leave at 11:15 and noon, taking about an hour to go downriver to the Eiffel Tower and back up past Notre Dame and return to the dock. There's a snack bar if you want to have lunch during the ride. (to be continued)

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
664 posts

(continued)
Now you've seen the major sights from the river and you may have eaten, and it's either 12:15 or 1:00 depending on which boat you took. Return to the Pont Neuf and walk south to the left bank, where you should be able to get a taxi to the Eiffel Tower in plenty of time for your 2:00 tour. Later in the afternoon you should have time for another taxi (or walk if you have the energy) to the Arc de Triomphe and a stroll down the Champs Elysees as far as your feet and shopping desires take you. Plenty of opportunities for a snack, early dinner, and people-watching. If you have time and energy, keep going to the Place de la Concorde, Tuileries garden, and Louvre courtyard (save the great museum for another trip when you have more time). Whenever you're ready, get a taxi back to Gare du Nord. Remember that you must be checked in for the Eurostar at least 30 minutes before departure, leave plenty of time to be sure you don't miss it. All this will make more sense if you look at a map of Paris. If you run short of time and miss the tour boat, you can take another boat, the Batobus, http://www.batobus.com/english/index.htm. This is a hop-on-hop-off boat that stops on the left bank just across from Notre Dame and at the Eiffel Tower as part of a continuous loop. There's no narration but it will get you from the cathedral to the tower quickly and cheaper than the tour. Have a good time and for heaven's sake return to Paris when you can stay longer! I could easily fill two weeks there even after several past visits.

Posted by Debbie
Gilbert, AZ, USA
13 posts

We went last May and did the stairs for the Eiffel Tower..no wait and it was cheaper. It was fun to be able to stop and take pictures as we went. We also bought the pass for Paris and were able to go right in for Notre Dame. Then we decided we wanted to go to the top to see the gargoyles and bell. I don't regret it since it was great but there was no getting out of waiting in line and that took over an hour since they let in school groups as they arrived. We also used the pass to get to the top of the Arc De Triomphe. This was very quick since it took as long as you needed. We used the subway to get around everywhere.