Paris Ideas & day trip to Giverny

I am looking for two ideas. One would be what do you recommend on how to get to Giverny from Paris. I have visited Giverny before but had a car. This time I will not have a car. I know there are day tours and train plus buses. There will be four adults in our party. I have visited Paris several times and I always want to find new hidden gems. So my second question would be, does anyone have any ideas of hidden gems for an experienced Paris traveler. Thanks for your ideas,
Todd

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1963 posts

There's a book called Secret Paris that's filled with what you are looking for.

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3193 posts

Have you been to the Musee Nissim de Camondo? It's a beautiful old mansion once owned and lived in by a wealthy family. Next to Parc Monceau. We really enjoyed it. The French version of Upstairs Downstairs.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7815 posts

Have you visited: The Shoah Museum( this is a favorite) The Carnevalet Museum The Cluny The museum in the Petit Palace Parc Buttes Chaumont What about a daytrip to Chantilly? You catch the train from Gare St Lazarre for Vernon, then you can either take the bus, or walk , or rent a bike to get to gardens.
No need to prepurchase tickets for train.

Posted by Cathy
Apache, OK
103 posts

We enjoyed the Legion of Honor museum that is next to the Orsay. Auvers-Sur-Oise is a wonderful day trip.

Posted by Ed
Berwick, Louisiana
3 posts

Take the train to Vernon then there are buses there waiting (for a fee of course)to take you to Giverny. We took the early train (about 1 to 1 1/2 hour train ride if I remember correctly) that arrived in Vernon before the buses began running so we bided our time in a little cafe drinking cafe au lait and eating croissants. The bus ride from Vernon to Giverny was about 15 minutes with the bus making scheduled runs to/from shuttling tourists.

Posted by Todd
New Brighton, MN
8 posts

Thanks for all the great ideas. As always I am looking forward to my trip back to Paris. It is always fun to find something new mixed with some of the favorites.

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1139 posts

The chateaux of Vaux le Vicomte is remarkable and a nice day trip. Its architect, landscape architect, and painter/decorator were later taken to remake Versailles for Louis XIV. It has the grandeur of Versailles (on a smaller scale) without the crowds, noise, and chaos. You can actually hear the background music that plays during your visit. Also, it's still furnished, so you get a much better feel for the lifestyle, compared with Versailles. During the summer they have candle light evening visits, which is a beautiful way to see the chateaux. Also, the fountains are active on certain days of the week. And while it's not really hidden, if you've not visited the Musee Andre-Jacquemart, you might want to add that to your list. It's a beautiful home museum built to house the collection still displayed there.

Posted by Donna
Cleveland, OH
275 posts

Todd, to add to the list of museums, the Marmottan Museum in the 16th arrondisement is sort of a "hidden gem". It holds a private collection of Monet paintings housed in a beautiful mansion. It's easy to get to via the metro or bus (see directions in the RS Paris book). The setting is very nice and it's not crowded. Hope you have a great time in Paris!

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3487 posts

Many years ago, I took a tour of the Goblin tapestry facility (in English) which included seeing the weavers at work. I looked for it 3-4 years ago and it didn't seem like they were still offering tours, at least not in english. On my last trip, I went to the Musee de la Poupee, tucked in a little corner near the Pompidou Centre. It's next to the fairly new Anne Frank Gardens. If you are "into" porcelain, you can schlep out to the Sevres factory - they have a very good collection, including ancient Chinese and Islamic pieces. I really enjoyed a day at Mini France. It's about 20 kms. outside of Paris, an easy bus ride. Every famous sight in the country is reproduced in miniature. The landscaping alone was worth the trip. One of my faves is the Paris Walks chocolate tour. Interesting and soooo yummy.

Posted by Todd
New Brighton, MN
8 posts

The Mini France sounds pretty cool. Where about is this located? Also anymore information the Paris Walk Chocolate Tour? That also sounds interesting. The Marmottan Museum is very nice. Great ideas again. What is the Anne Frank Gardens like? Where is the Chateaux of Vaux le Vicomte? That sounds interesting also. Thanks again for the ideas.
Todd

Posted by Kim
Paris
537 posts

Todd, for Paris Walks, just google them and you'll find them. I believe you do need to reserve in advance for their chocolate tour. Most of the other ones, you just show up at the appointed place/time,pay your 12€, and off you go. The chocolate one also costs more, but I'm sure it's as well done as their other walks and would be well worth the money.

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3193 posts

I agree with Sherry, the chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte is a great day trip out of Paris. The details on how to get there are in RS Paris guide. You have to take a train, then a bus or taxi, but it's one of our favorite places to visit. I thought you were just asking about places in Paris and Giverny specifically, but another great day trip is the chateau at Fontainebleau. It was Napoleon's main residence. You can combine Vaux-le-Vicomte and Fontainebleau in one long day.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3487 posts

One reason the chocolate tour costs more is that you get 4 tastings - the real deal too. I think you can book the tour from any of the guides on any of the walks once you are there - but it does fill up. The Anne Frank garden isn't that much of a big thing. They have an organic part with veggies too. The doll museum was interesting - not just for little girls.

Posted by Bev
Decorah, Iowa, USA
250 posts

I've been scrolling through the different pages looking for hints for the trip I will be taking in April and May. This is a great page. Unfortunately, I can only print one page. In using my print preview, the first page is blank, the second page has part of the postings and the third page is also blank. Does anyone have any additional ideas about things to do? Thanks!

Posted by Kim
Paris
537 posts

Fat Tire Bike Company also does a tour to Giverny. I feel like I've read someone's comment mentioning it here before. . .

Posted by Jean
New Orleans
104 posts

The Fat Bike tour was fun and well organized. Beware, though, if you haven't done much bike riding lately. In Vernon, at the start and end of the bike ride you will be in traffic and have to cross a very busy, and not flat, bridge and go through a round-about. Once on the bike path, the grade is not level at all places and in some places you ride through pea gravel. If you can handle that,, it's a winner. If you find my husband's silver crucifix and chain where the bikes are parked at the picnic spot, please let me know. Jean

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7815 posts

I took the FT bike ride to Giverny too, unlike Jean I thought it was fun and easy , our group consisted of a multi generational family with an 8 yr old to the grandmother, we all seemed to have a lot of fun. I guess we didn't consider the traffic an issue as its just a small town really.. and as for bike path along river being not flat, is basically is flat as the path is a decommissioned rail line.. and it was not cog railway, lol. There is however a hill you ride up just near Monets Gardens, but I managed ok and I am was in mid forties at the time and not a bike rider ( haven't owned one in 30 yrs or so) and not a fitness buff( do not jog or take jump around and sweat classes, lol ). To add to your list Todd , another fun daytrip is to Provins, a world heritage site, and old medival village with the ramparts still entact.. I really enjoyed my day there .

Posted by Sandra
Atkinson, NH, USA
18 posts

Please do not miss Giverny, It was the highlight of my trip being a huge Monet fan, it is an absolute must. We also enjoyed a wonderful day in Montmartre, also not to be missed Musee d'orsay was wonderful too
We did not get to Normany although my husband really wanted to and I understand its amazing, but sadly I broke my arm that day in Paris so we did not go