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Paris: 7-Day Itinerary - Please critique!

I tried to arrange our itinerary so that we could see alot without it being too jam-packed. I would be extremely grateful for your thoughts, plus any suggestions of things I may have missed. Our party consists of 2 adults and 1 7yr.
Day 1 - Saturday
Arrive CDG Paris 8:15 a.m.
Check in Apartment- Rue Cler district
Stroll Rue Cler
Visit three major attractions of Paris to avoid Jetlag: The Arch of Triumph, The Eiffel Tower, and stroll the Champs Elysées. Purchase a Museum Pass and Navigo Découverte.
La Tour Eiffel (Metro stop--Trocacero or Bir Hakeim)
Arc de Triomphe (Metro Stop--Charles de Gaulle-Etoile)
Avenue des Champs Elysées (short walk from Arch)

Day 2 - Sunday
Cathédral de Notre-Dame (Metro Stop--Cite)

Sainte-Chapelle (short walk from Notre-Dame)
Musée de Cluny (short walk)
Opéra Garnier (Opera)
La Madeleine (Metro Stop--Madeleine)

Day 3 - Monday
Louvre Museum (Metro stop--Palais Royal Musée du Louvre)
Tuilleries Gardens (Walk from Louvre)
Place de La Concorde (Walk from garden)
Hotel des Invalides / Napoleons Tomb (Metro Stop--Invalides)
Gare Saint Lazare to buy ticket to Vernon / Rouen (Gare Saint Lazare)
Possible Evening activity: (OPEN)

Day 4 - Tueday
Musée d’Orsay (Metro Stop--Solferino)
Pompidou (Metro Stop--Rambuteau)
Musée Carnavalet (Metro Stop--St. Paul)
Place des Vosges (Metro Stop--St. Paul)
Possible Evening Activity: Illumination Cruise on the Seine (Metro Stop: Bir Hakeim)

Day 5 - Wednesday
Versailles and Chateau de Versailles
Musée Marmottan--Claude Monet (Metro Stop-- La Muette)
Musée Rodin
Musée Picasso (Metro Stop--St. Paul)

Day 6 - Disneyland

Day 7
Sainte-Sulpice (Metro Stop--St. Sulpice)
Palais du Luxembourg & Jardin du Luxembourg (Short walk from St. Sulpice)
Montmartre (Metro Stop--Abbesses of Anvers then ride funiculaire)
Basilique du Sacré-Coeur

Day 8
Leave Paris

Posted by
571 posts

One suggestion I would make is to determine which sites are "must sees" and which are expendable, and mix in at least one expendable place one each busy day. That way, if you are running behind, getting tired, or just decide that the chocolate crepes beside the Tuilleries are more important to you, you can cut something on the spot and not feel like you were cheated out of seeing something you were counting on visiting.

I find I am a much more relaxed tourist if I travel with an ambitious plan, and the understanding that I might not complete it all. Have fun!

Posted by
2349 posts

Going to Disney sounds like a good way to exhaust already tired people. But that's just me.

Make sure he has ID and hotel info on him, and have a plan for if you get separated. Those Metro doors will close and if you're on opposite sides...

Remember that guide books list the places you CAN see, not the ones you HAVE to see.

Most kids like to look at souvenirs, and the book stalls along the Seine are great for that. He can look at mini Eiffels, and you can look at the scenery.

Posted by
355 posts

Did you check the Musee d'Orsay's website? Depending in when you are going, I believe they are closing most of the floors for a major renovation. I know that the Orsay collection is going on tour and will be in San Francisco in May and June.

With a small child, I would leave the Roudin museum in your itinerary. The garden (with sculptures) is beautiful, relaxing and quite expansive and is a great place for a kid to run around. Last time I was there, there was group of school children climbing on the Thinker. I also agree that fountain at the Pompidou is a great place for a child.

Posted by
2876 posts

You're obviously a meticulous planner and I'd hate to say anything to discourage you, but I think you're cramming too much into your days, especially with a 7-year-old in tow. I think you're going to feel like you're racing all day long, which is not the way to see Paris. I think you're underestimating the amount of time you're going to spend walking. Don't forget that lunch each day is going to cost you an hour. You may not be aware that there can be a lot of walking inside the metro especially when you have to change from one metro line to another. Getting from place to place is liable to take much more time than you think. I hope that after you return you post & let us know how it all went.

Posted by
9110 posts

A couple of observations:

It sounds like you're in a museum frenzy, which is fine, but leave some time for walking around other than the "march routes" which you've outlined.

Ex: after the Cluny wander the Latin Quarter for a bit. Walk to the Pompidou from the Cite area and, once there, allow time to relax outside and watch the street entertainers. To do this better, shift the Cluny to Lux Gardens day the Pompidou to the Notre Dame day.

On day 7, allow several hours in Montmartre so you can see more than just the Sacre Coeur -- you'll have enough time.

The Versailles day is going to be a bear to fit in all the other stuff after you get back.

Save the Eiffel Tower until dark on your last night. The lines are shorter and the smog has burned off. Plus, it will be fun to spot all the places you've been and think back over them.

The Illumination cruise sounds expensive, but I have no idea exactly what it is. Consider the Batobus instead. It has no narration, but you can figure everything out from a map on your lap as you go along. It's a hop on/off boat. Really a good deal.

I know there's a short-legged kid along, but after you get your final plan worked out, rethink the distance on some of the metro rides since it might be more interesting to walk instead of spending so much time underground.

It doesn't look like you'll have much time to spare, but two things the kid might enjoy are the sewer museum (south end of Pt de Alma bridge near Eiffel Tower) and the archelogical crypt (opposite end of square from Notre Dame.

Have fun.

Posted by
1525 posts

You are a planner!!! Me too!

We did most of that with 13,10 and 6-year-olds last summer. Had a wonderful time.

I don't have any big objection to your plan, just a few observations;

-I hope your 7yo is used to museums. ours are very tolerant, but still, an hour is about their limit in any museum and going directly from one museum to another is asking a lot from a young child unless you plan for a quick run in a park or some ice cream in between.

-If you intend to see the Trianon(s) and the hamlet and the gardens at Versailles (and why wouldn't you, after all ?!?) it will be an exhausting visit, and last at least 4-5 hours + transport. True, you can recover a bit on the train ride back, but I would shy away from doing much else on that day that is critical to you. You may wind up just wanting to spend the evening sitting in a cafe watching Jr chase pigeons.

-It is good to plan activities for that first day, but I would save the Eiffel Tower for your last day (and preferably at dusk). You will see it from your Rue Cler neighborhood fequently, as well as from the Arch (if you go to the top), Notre Dame (if you climb the tower - DO), and from Montmartre. Let that whet the child's apetite for the 4-hour(!) visit to the tower, then let the last night in paris be the climax. FYI; S.Sulpice and Lux Gardens can be very short visits (you can be done by noon), grab a bite, then go do Montmartre and SC (you can be done there by 5:00 PM, grab a bite, then do the tower. A wonderful last day in Paris.

And good for you for getting an apartment!!!! I wish more people thought outside the hotel "box".

I'm jealous.

Posted by
125 posts

Since you will have a 7 year old, hit Disneyland earlier than day 6.

Posted by
8293 posts

I suggest that you get a bus map (large, easy-to-read versions can be had at Metro stations) and use buses instead of the Metro as often. You will see a lot more and it is so much more pleasant. For instance, after you leave the Tour Eiffel, go to Champs de Mars just a short walk away, and take Bus 42 (Direction Gare du Nord), get off at Pl. de la Concorde and transfer onto Bus 74 (Direction La Defence). This will give you a ride up the Champs Elysées and you can get of at the Arc de Triomphe.

I think your days are planned to be much too busy but you will learn that for yourselves by about Day 2.

Posted by
82 posts

Wow! Thanks for all the great advice. I do prefer gardens and markets and just walking over museums, are there any museums I could nix? We are doing DL on day 6 with the fear he would want to return. We have plenty of time to work on the itinerary, which is why I wanted to get your advice early. I welcome any critique.

Posted by
1357 posts

That is a lot with a 7 year old. I'd keep your itinerary to 2, possibly 3 sights per day (except for Versailles and Disney, those are all day things). Find parks and open air markets. Have ice cream every afternoon (around 4 everyone seems to run down a bit and need a break). Go to Bois de Bologne and rent bikes for a bit.

We took our 7 year old (and his little sister) to Ireland last year, and only did 2 sights per day, even in Dublin, and made sure to find playgrounds in between.

I haven't taken a kid to Paris, but I'm sure there's people on here who have.

Posted by
207 posts

We plan our trips out also. I always start with a list like this then narrow it down. We are going to Paris in April, just the two of us and we still only plan 2 sites a day. I would pick your must sees and leave them and keep a list of alternatives in case you have more time. And as Rick says just assume you will return one day. Have fun.

Posted by
9110 posts

Since you asked ... and I wasn't going there first: dump all but the d'Orsay and the Louvre. Maybe scurry through the Pompidou and save time for outside -- the kid will enjoy the fountain area with the squirting whatevers.

Posted by
82 posts

I love ED! ;) I think I will do most of what you have suggested. I want to enjoy Paris not run a marathon. I tried to take what RS suggested and work with that, but I just do not know how!

Posted by
1525 posts

No, you are doing fine. I like the fact that you planned for things that were close together & I don't see you spending too much time in Metro stations. The child will likely enjoy them, anyway.

Be sure to climb the tower in Notre Dame. Seeing the gargoyles up close is pretty neat. Watch Disney's "The Huchback of Notre Dame" at home first.

I do think it is a good idea to prioritize, leaving the last few hours of the day open to doing that one extra activity if you have the time and energy, or not doing it and feeling ok with that, if you don't.

You know your child better than we do. S/he will likely do fine if you expect them to. Spend a lot of time at home talking up the trip and hinting at how fortunate they are to go somewhere so far away and famous.

Our children have done very well each time we went on a big trip & too many people simply assume taking a child to anywhere in Europe is simply a chore.

By the way, we didn't even tell our children there was a Disney near Paris. But we did take them to Tivoli in Copenhagen on another trip.

Posted by
82 posts

OK, to be honest, it is my husband that HAS to go to Disney. My son does not know there is a Disney. My husband loves books, museums and wants to go to Disney. I love art you can purchase and bring home, memories that can last forever and parks that can inspire me to replant after this horrible winter. Our son is a perfect mix of us both.

Posted by
1525 posts

Is he aware of how expensive it is to go to Euro Disney - especially if you consider the fact that this trip may well cost you close to $1000/day in total?

Seriously, you would be better off flying to Orlando another time - it's a much better Disney experience, too.

Posted by
28 posts

As Linda just said, Musee d'Orsay's Impressionist exhibit will probably be closed for renovation with the works on tour in the USA. A question for you: Have you ever been to a museum with a 7 year old? I've found that the pace of a child is so much faster than what I want to spend at the different exhibits. I no longer even try to enjoy a museum unless I am by myself or with someone with whom I can split up and rejoin some hours later.

You might want think about a time for you in a museum by yourself and another time for your husband by himself. At least that way you'll have some quality time viewing without having to worry about entertaining the your 7 year old.

Have fun and relax. Your schedule is very ambitious.

Posted by
2283 posts

I'd skip the Pompidou. I hated it, and I really like modern art. The area around it is kind of fun though -- nice out door scuptures in a big pool.

I think the suggestion to plan the must sees for early in the day is a good one. That way if you get tired, you can skip the stuff at the end of the day.

Posted by
5 posts

Stacy -- a fun place and experience for your 7 year old could be going to the Luxembourg Garden and renting a toy sail boat...went there on a Sunday to picnic at the large pond and ended up spend an hour just watching the children run around trying to relauch the sail boats that floated to the edge -- their laughter was contagious...could give your child a chance to contact local children and your feet a rest...also, Fat Tire has bike rides at night that include boating down the Seine & has bikes for two...your trip sounds fun...I love Paris and wish you a wonderful time...Tom