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Paris 8-day itinerary

Hi there! My family and I are traveling to Paris this March 2013. We will be there from March 16 (Sat) to 24th (Sun). I would like to ask for your help in determining which from the itinerary below should i remove (if its too ambitious for one day). Also suggestions on an 9-day itinirary will be so helpful. We also plan to get a 6-day museum pass Thank you very much!!! March 16 Sat (arival cdg) - explore the neighborhood (Ile de la cite) - point neuf - check in at apartment - notre dame - saint chapelle - conciergerie - archaeological crypt March 17 Sun (Marais) - bastille market - centre pompidou - place des vosages - jewish quarter - hotel de ville - carnavalet March 18 Mon -Louvre - tuilleries garden - les halles - palais royale - orsay March 19 tues Versailles March 20 wed - cluny - pantheon - jardin du luxemburg - les invalides - eiffel March 21 thurs - champs de mars - ecoile de militare - orangerie - rodin March 22 fri - montmarte sacre coeur - pigalle - place du terte March 23 sat - arc de triomphe - champs elysee - grand and petit palais
- place de la concorde March 24 departure.

Posted by
9113 posts

Your first day is very ambitious. Where are you arriving from? I have no idea where Binan is or how long it will take you to travel to Paris. Also, you have a lot of things planned for each day. One of the joys of Paris is to take some time to just soak up the atmosphere. Sit at a sidewalk cafe and watch the people go by. A good rule of thumb is to plan for a major site each morning and afternoon. You can't see it all in 8 days and if you try, you will just be exhausted running from one place to the next. On March 20th will you be reserving your Eiffel Tower tickets in advance?

Posted by
27 posts

Thank you so much for your reply. We will be arriving from the Philippines. Oh, is that so? Okay. Ill try to cut down on the number o museums that we will be visiting. Any suggestions on which to cut from the list? Again, appreciate your replies.

Posted by
15325 posts

It would be helpful to know who are in "your family." Are there young children? teens? Older parents? General comments: Look into getting navigo weekly pass for public transportation. The week begins on Monday, so you would have 6 full days. You will need to bring small photos, one for each of you (much smaller than regular passport photos). It's very convenient to have the pass, both for shorter lines into the metro during busy times and to hop on a bus for a couple of stops to save your feet now and then. There are things you can do in the evenings, that can save you time and/or be more enjoyable. 1. Take a river cruise just before sunset (or later) - not a dinner cruise, though. 2. Instead of waiting in the security line for a long time for Ste Chapelle, go to an evening concert. If you get there a bit early, you will have time to walk around and admire the stained glass windows (and take photos) before the music. The concerts are usually light classical and not very long. 3. Visit the Louvre on either Wednesday or Friday evening. There are generally few visitors then, so it is much easiser to see the highlights and generally to move about.
4. The Arc de Triomphe is also a good place to go either just before sunset or after dark.

Posted by
9110 posts

'Suggest moving ND and Sant Chapelle to Sunday if you want to attend service.' Notre Dame has four or five masses every day, a couple of which are at the high altar. There are no scheduled masses at Ste Chapelle, nor have there been for a gazillion years.

Posted by
8293 posts

Monday, March 18: The Musee d'Orsay is closed on Mondays, which is a good thing because visiting both the Louvre and the Orsay on the same day would not only be exhausting but counter-productive. Wednesday, March 20 and Thursday, March 21: Les Invalides and l'Ecole Militaire are very close to one another and should be visited on the same day to make the best use of your time.

Posted by
2007 posts

A very ambitious schedule. Good to have it, but realize you are not likely to do everything you want in one day. Particularly the days when you have 2 museums scheduled (like the Louvre and the D'Orsay, Pompidou and Carnavalet).
As for which ones to cut out, what kind of art do you like? If you don't care for modern art, eliminate the Pompidou, or save it for another trip. There are art exhibits in Grand and Petite Palais, but check what they are - may not be what you want to see. Though both of these building are lovely to look at from the outside, and you may see them as you stroll around. Yes the museums you have scheduled for one day may be pretty close to each other, but they are exhausting to visit. You have to consider the amount of walking & standing that will be involved when you are at these places, as well as the walking and travel time to get to them, stopping for meals, and to rest, etc. Personally, I would delete Ecole Militaire, Les Halles, Pigalle and the Bastille market from this list, and probably Jardin Luxembourg and the Pantheon.

Posted by
9113 posts

What time does your flight arrive on march 16th? Expect to be very tired from your journey. I like to keep moving on that first day, but being outdoors (weather permitting) will help keep you awake. I think it is physically impossible to do everything you have planned for Day 1 after just arriving. I think you need to look over your list and narrow it down to the things you REALLY want to do. Don't go to a museum because people say it is a "must see" if you don't enjoy what the museum offers. If you try to force yourself to see everything you will be so tired and overloaded that you will not really appreciate or remember all those things as clearly as if you pace yourself.

Posted by
3031 posts

While it makes sense to cluster your sightseeing to things that are close together, you are seeing a LOT of museums. I understand - I love museums too, and Paris is THE museum city, but the museums are also often huge and exhausting as others have said. To really give them what they deserve, I would not recommend visiting more than one per day, especially if both are really big ones, like the Lourve and Orsay. In fact, I'd cut out about a 1/3rd of your museums. Like others have said, are you really equally interested in ALL this stuff, or are you just going because it's there? Museum overload will ensure that it all starts to blend together after a while. Also you might be able to add something in the late afternoon/evening after Versailles, particularly if it's small and you get an early start that day. That would help your other days be a little less busy.

Posted by
3580 posts

I recommend leaving some time for just strolling or sitting at a sidewalk cafe. On your schedule you have organized well with sites in reasonable proximity to each other. The only exception I see is the visit to the Orangerie; it appears to be away from the other visits for that day. After seeing the impressionists at the other museums, you probably won't really need to visit the Orangerie. If you still want to go there, it is in the area of the Tuilleries and near the Place de la Concorde. I think it is more enjoyable than most art museums because it is relatively small and the pictures are well and attractively displayed. Of course, Monet's water-lillies are there. I wouldn't try to visit both the Louvre and Orsay on the same day. They are geographically fairly close, but both are large with lots of art. I would probably skip the Louvre and spend half a day at Orsay. From there you could catch a Batobus and relax for a ride on the river. In fact, you could use a daypass on Batobus at least one day to connect some of your sight-seeing.

Posted by
8647 posts

"I would delete Ecole Militaire, Les Halles, Pigalle and the Bastille market from this list, and probably Jardin Luxembourg" I hope you don't delete the Luxembourg Gardens... it's a must see in my book. Another great place to visit is the Musee Nissim de Camondo (next to Parc Monceau)... it was once the home of a wealthy family.

Posted by
15325 posts

March 16 is very ambitious, especially if you are jetlagged. I'd skip museums that day. Perhaps the river cruise and some general exploring. If you don't expect to be tired on your first day, maybe a bike tour with Fat Tire Bikes. They are quite good and will give you an overview of the city. March 17. If the weather is pleasant, the Place des Vosges is lovely. The Carnavalet is free so do pop in, especially if it's raining. This is one of my favorite museums in Paris. I think you have to arrange to join a tour at the Hotel de Ville well in advance of your visit. In general, it is closed to the public. If you can get a tour, it is well worth it. Sunday is a good day for churches. Notre Dame usually has a free organ recital at 4 or 5 p.m. A couple of the churches on the Left Bank have organ concerts in the morning or early afternoon too. March 20-21. Try to take the dome tour at the Pantheon. There are several each day and the views are well worth the climb. Is there something you specifically want to see at the Ecole Militaire? Les Invalides is more interesting and the Army museum is quite good. It is very close to the Rodin Museum, good to visit one after the other. The Orangerie is quite near the Orsay. March 22. I found the area around Montmartre quite unpleasant - too many hawkers and crowds. Do be very careful about pickpockets there. The view from the top is excellent and many people enjoy the museum. The Place du Tertre is very touristy, but if you walk a bit around the neighborhood, much of it is quite lovely. Pigalle - well, I wouldn't take kids there and I wouldn't go there after dark. It's pretty seamy in general. This is a "light" day, so you may want to move something else here.

Posted by
15325 posts

March 23. Take the metro to the Arc de Triomphe (whenever you decide to go). There is not much to see on the Champs Elysees. Certainly do NOT stop for a coffee there, service is generally bad and the prices are ridiculously high. And there's no one to watch except other tourists. You will see the Place de la Concorde when you visit the Orangerie and/or when you visit the Tuileries Gardens. Plan to be very flexible. If you have a lovely sunny day, you could do more outdoor sites (or Versailles), saving the museums for a rainy day, or the opposite, if you hit bad weather at the start. Rick Steves has several audio guides that you can download for free (be sure to print out the accompanying maps!). They are fun and informative and not very long.

Posted by
27 posts

Thank you so much for all your helpful replies! Ill try to cut down on my museum trips and probable put d'orsay or louvre on a separate day. Oh and our family will have no problems with walking. We have 2 fifty-something adults, and twenty-something children.

Posted by
3789 posts

You mention les Halles. Take a look here. http://www.parisleshalles.fr/00371 The old abbatoirs and markets were relocated decades ago and the area was turned into a not-very-effective shopping mall. Now it is being completed rebuilt again. As an alternative, the Centre Pompidou a few blocks east is always worth a stroll, just to see its completely out-of-synch architecture even if you don't visit its "contemporary" art displays. The adjoining plaza is invariably thronged with colourful buskers and bums and art students and tourist-trap shops.

Posted by
40 posts

Maam: The Metro is okay, and if you're a gazillionnaire, a taxi to here and to there is fast and safe. But, if you want to see the many neighborhoods, architecture, people and store windows the buses are wonderful. Why hide under the city when you can see the wonderful places between the sights from your bus windows. Buy about 30 tickets (3 carnets) for each member of the family, get a city bus map at a metro station, and a street map at your hotel. Get off when you see something you can't resist. Another bus will come along in 15 minutes or so. Or, the same bus number will often appear headed the opposite direction if you decide to backtrack. Take a miniature (cheap) compass to Paris; not for precise navigation, but rather as a way to find approximate headings through a maze of streets. Example:
Imagine you're along the river near Notre Dame and decide to stroll several blocks to Rue Rivoli for a half mile walk along the tasteful clothing shops and eateries, east to Place Bastille. Just look at your map, north is "up" and points the way to the street. Bastille appears to the right end of Rivoli, so head basically to the east. Just the basics of knowing north is "up" on the map, east is right, south is down, and west is left. You can quickly get out of any maze of streets you find yourself in. The angle of declination in Paris makes true north (your map) virtually the same as magnetic north (your cheap, kid's compass.) There are times when you want speed--that would be metro. Your advance preparation means you will have a rewarding and organized trip!

Posted by
1994 posts

Given the number of museums (my favorite thing in Paris, so I understand the appeal) and the short time, you might consider booking a few-hour walking tour through the Louvre or Orsay. It will give you highlights of a portion of the collection, which might be a better experience than a few-hour rush attempting to see the whole collection. And FYI, the Rodin museum is lovely; one of my favorites. However, please be aware they are doing remodeling, so not everything is open. You might want to check their website to decide if you want to take time for it. It is also somewhere remote from some of the other sites (although quite doable by subway)

Posted by
46 posts

You might like to take a Paris Walks tour. We took one through the Marais that we found interesting. Whereas the Ile de la Cite we didn't enjoy quite as much (but it was still good). For me, I liked to start with a slightly more full itinerary and then cut things out on the fly while we were there. Just keep notes about when which places are closed. We made a few mistakes when we were running behind 'schedule'. And build in extra travel time for getting lost--which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's helpful to know ahead of time if it's easy to travel between two places by metro. Some places might not be that near each other but if it's on the same metro line, it's an easy connection.

Posted by
815 posts

I'll 2nd the recommendation for Paris Walks. I recently got back from Paris and did 3 walks with them; each was interesting and informative. Also I'd suggest thinking about some flexibility since some days may be rainy, and on others you may just be tired.