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Need help with Paris itinerary

We will be in France for 13 days in July leaving after Bastille day. We are spending 3 nights in Amboise, one night in St. Michel, 2 nights in Bayeux. We will be in Paris for 7 days.

Is two nights enough for Bayeux?

What Paris itinerary would you recommend to encompass all the must-sees for sightseeing, and what casual-not overly-expensive-but-great-food restaurants would you recommend.

Will it be crowded in Paris on Bastille day, Tuesday, July 14? What itinerary would you recommend for that day?

Thank you

Posted by
10344 posts

Yes, 2 nights in Bayeux is the right amount of time, if what you want to do is spend a full day on one of the D-Day tours. IMO 7 days in Paris, especially for a first visit, is just right! How fortunate that you are giving yourselves the gift of having enough time to immerse yourselves in feeling the experience of just being there and to reflect on and understand what you're seeing! If you're first timers to Paris, I'd buy Rick's Paris 2009 book, it gives you everything you need to know to figure out what you want to do.He has restaurant picks but IMO you should broaden your restaurant selection by going to the website, click restaurants, and put a checkmark next to their Bib Gourmands category: good food on the plate at moderate prices. Few Americans seem to know that the Michelin Guide (they've been rating Paris restaurants for a hundred years) is now available online. Travelers to Paris who don't do a little research on picking restaurants often end up paying a lot for mediocre food. If you're going to pay Paris restaurant prices, you might as well get good food.And here's a current discussion re Bastille Day you want to explore the site more fully but have questions about how to navigate the site, send me a Private Message.

Posted by
15449 posts

Download the Paris Museum Pass brochure. You may well want to buy the pass. In the meantime, it has most (not all) of the best sights - not just museums, with hours, brief descriptions and links to each sight's website. Some of the most popular sights are open late one or two nights a week, most sights are closed one day a week.

On my must-see list: Orsay Museum, Rodin Museum, Sainte-Chappele, Notre Dame, Louvre Museum, boat ride on the Seine, Versailles. I have left out the Eiffel Tower - lines are very long and there are other very good views "above Paris." The best thing in Paris though is simply walking, especially around Blvd St Germain on the Left Bank and the Marais Quarter on the Right Bank.

If you avoid the "touristy" restaurants, chances are you will get a good to great meal just about anywhere. The "fast food" is also a treat (crepes made fresh on the street, pastries, sandwiches).

Posted by
3231 posts

Hi Jerry,
I recommend purchasing a Paris Museum Pass--use that to plan your days efficiently based on the museums/sites that you want to visit. Rick's Paris book describes the details of the pass and lists the sites that are included.

I agree--7 days in Paris is a perfect amount of time!

Posted by
421 posts

get a ticket for the day for the batuex bus....great way to jump on and off to see different sites and cruise on teh seine. Great value.

Posted by
9776 posts

I will second the suggestion for the Batobus (a boat/bus). But get the 5 day pass, which is barely more than a one day ticket. It will get you anywhere you want to go near the river. You would still have to take the metro to Monmartre.

Posted by
19 posts

Hi Jerry,
What interests you? What I mean is art (modern, ancient), history, politics, bohemia or just the 'top' sites? There is an endless amount of must-sees depending on what you love. I have tons of suggestions but would like to know your interests first.

Posted by
13 posts

Jerry, where will you be staying in Paris? My husband and I spent the entire last week of our honeymoon in the Marais last year and there was absolutely no shortage of things to do and see in that neighborhood, not to mention it was pretty central and walkable to most of what we wanted to see. We ended up renting an apartment, ate in one night but the rest of the time ate dinner at cozy, reasonable, wonderful restaurants in within a 3-4 block radius. If medieval art is your thing and you haven't been to the Cluny yet, I highly recommend it. There is a great bakery chain we found on the main street on the way to the Cluny called Paul that we had coffee and pastries at a few times. If you make it to Cluny, check to see whether they have a concert that evening. We ended up going on a whim, and saw a great troubadour ensemble playing that evening in the museum itself - for a fraction of what it would have cost had we seen a concert at St. Chappelle, and there were all of maybe 30 people there, so it was a wonderful experience on every level
Have fun!

Posted by
3231 posts

Hi Jerry,
Since you have plenty of time to see the highlights of Paris as mentioned above, I'd also recommend that you pick up picnic supplies and head for Parc Monceau. Here's a link to to a Wikipedia article describing the park:

Parc Monceau

Posted by
51 posts

Thank you to everyone for your suggestions!

To Amy: What are my interests? Good question. In the short time I am in Paris, I suppose I want to see the "important" sites. I was hoping Rick Steves (thru his travel books) and everyone on this site could help me determine what "important" is. In addition to "important" sites, I was hoping everyone would share what they think are their favorite or must-eat-at restaurants. Also what to order there.

To Sarah: I am staying on the Rue Cler. I hope someone can tell me about eating places on the Rue Cler.

I really appreciate everyone's opinion.

Thank you!

Posted by
320 posts


For dining recommendations in Paris nothing beats David Lebowitz. Just google his name and you will find his blog. Look carefully at the tabs and you will find all kinds of great stuff about life in Paris including a bevy of restaurant reviews. Have fun.

Posted by
336 posts

I know that you posted your question earlier in the month but I just got back from a week in Paris and thought I would mention something that I didn't see anyone else mention. There are 2 major bus tour companies in Paris. One is red and is sponsored by a private company. The other is part of the greater Paris metro system. The bright green "L'Open Air" Tour buses are double decker buses which have guided tours to all different parts of the city. You get on the bus, pay at that point for the day (credit cards accepted on the bus!), you are given your earphones and then as the bus drives around the city, you can hear info as well as see them. You can either be on the top in the open air, which has the best view, or inside on the first floor of the bus. It has a get on/get off option, so you can take the bus, and if you see something you like you can get off the bus and sight see. Then, when you are done, get back on the next bus, which come about every 20 minutes. The green line is the one that hits most of the major sights. I know it sounds dumb to take a bus tour, but we found it was a great way to see what was out there and then to decide where we wanted to return. We actually bought a 2 day pass, and the first day we enjoyed it just to see the city, then the 2nd day we used it as a taxi service :), getting on & off. The metro is quick and easy to understand, but it IS underground, so you really don't see anything. Here is some info about the bus, and the link is in here too:

I hope you have a wonderful time!

PS If you can possibly see the Paris Opera House, you will never forget it.

San Diego

Posted by
63 posts

I recommed buying "The Marling Menu-Master for France". It is the best dictionary for the many prepartions of french food. It is out of print, I bought mine on e-bay-cheap. As for where to eat, check out where the locals are eating that is usually the best food and price. Bastille day is very quiet in the early part of the day (except the parade route) then it picks up through-out the afternoon and evening. The French military are spread out over the city visiting with the people-lots of fun.

Posted by
113 posts

I would say that 2 nights is just right for Bayeux; fun little town, and you can see it in a day. As for Bastille Day - I sure wouldn't be driving in the vicinity of Paris the afternoon/evening before!

Posted by
273 posts

I too recommend LaOpen Tour buses. It gives you an overview of the city & you can hop on hop off and figure out places you want to go back to. We got a 2 day pass & then were comfortable using the metro. Loved the marais,

Posted by
108 posts

We stayed about 2 blocks from Rue Cler, and one of our favorite restaurants, just a few block walk away was Le P’Tit Troquet 28, rue de L'Exposition, 75007 01 47 06 80 39 or Another favorite was Bellota-Bellota 18, rue Jean-Nicot. Again, just about 2 blocks from Rue Cler. Great Spanish tapas-style bar, with fabulous hams from wild acorn-fed pigs. Tel 01 53 59 96 96. Neither is overly expensive.

2 Nights in Bayeau was plenty for us, with one day spent touring the D-Day beaches.

Posted by
1 posts

We are planning a Paris visit next April and want to stay near rue Cler.
Can the previous posters, or any one else, give me the name of the hotels you stayed in and the price?
Thank you in advance. Can you send me a private message?

Posted by
2788 posts

I got back yesterday (5/30) from a RS tour of Paris and France. I spent a week in Paris before the tour. I used RS Paris Guide Book 2009 for everything from hotels to food to sightseeing with no complaints. Stayed in the Rue Cler neighborhood in nice place for 95E.

Posted by
842 posts

We just got back two days ago. We spent 5 nites in Paris. Rick's guidebook was fantastic! It was right -on-the-money about everything.

I am going to second Perry's comment about "Tom's guide". Whatever you do, read his restaurant pics...he has found some super places that are quite reasonable.

You might want to look into renting an apt in Paris. We did that for our 5 nites and were very happy. We have rented from and in Italy, France, Portugal, etc. and have had wonderful results.

Whatever you do, make sure that your rental has AC!