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Paris in 3.5 days.. Help with itinerary!

Hello! we are travelling through Paris in mid July. We arrive on monday around 2pm and leave on thursday around 4pm. We were thinking to do the Eiffel on the first night to skip lines and get that out of the way. We know there are many places closed monday/tuesday and therefore, Versailles tends to be a mess on tuesdays. So we were thinking to do Versaille for a half to 3/4 day on wednesday, and then head to the Louvre on wednesday night when they are open for late hours. That leaves us with Tuesday and Thursday to see the Orsay museum, Notre Dame, Arc de triumphe, gardens, river tours, etc. Does this sound like a doable plan???

Posted by
9110 posts

You can do it, but you're going to be kicking yourself in the tail this time next year because you never saw Paris -- you spent your time on trains and inside a bunch of buidlings.

The first thing I'd chunk on such a short vist would be Versailles. No matter what you think, it's going to kill the whole day because you're going to be pooped when you get back into the city. Personally, I'd put Versailles on the third or fourth tier of things to see. You haven't even really gotten started on the first tier.

Paris is the all-time outdoor city. You need to wander it, not scurry through it pell mell.

Posted by
39 posts

In my humble opinion, Versaille is not a top tier attraction that makes the list for a 3 day trip to Paris. It is beautiful and all, but it is a time sink with the trip out there and back. The rest you can do easily and still have plenty of time to sit and enjoy the scene. The Orsay, which is a MUST see if you like the Impressinists, can take 2 - 4 hours. Notre Dame can be thoroughly enjoyed in less than 2 hours, the river tour is only 1 hour or so and is best at night, Arc de Triumphe is a matter of getting out of a Metro stop, walk around it, take a few pics. Easy. You should consider watching the sunset from the steps in front of Sacre Couer, which leads you to the gem that is Mont Martre. Another consideration is sunset on champ de mars in front of the Eifel tower. Pick up picnic stuff on Rue du Cler

Posted by
25 posts

We were in Paris last week. I'm a world history teacher, so Versailles was a must for me, and I'm so glad I went. It was the best part of our trip, but with everything else you are doing I'd only do the palace, not the gardens so you won't kill a whole day. Not sure you'll feel like doing the Louvre the same day as Versailles - we were pooped that night. Maybe do Versailles (get there when it opens) then head back to Paris, lounge in a cafe and do your boat down the Seine that night?

Posted by
239 posts

I agree...skip Versailles on a short trip. Take time to wander the streets, sit in cafes and just enjoy Paris!! It is the most beautiful city to just walk around. Pick a few "musts" and then relax! Unless you preorder tickets, you won't skip any lines at night...lines are long!! And, if you preorder, you are taking a chance with weather...another option is going up in the Arc de Triomphe which has short lines (we waited 5 min mid-day) you see all the same things...enjoy!

Posted by
95 posts

Versailles is nice, but I think should only be done if you are going to be in Paris for a week. There is so much to see and do in Paris. Word of advice, don't try to do so much that you miss out on the every day life of being in Paris. There are endless museums, churches, etc. and after awhile they can start to blend together. The metro can get you around quickly across Paris, but I like walking the streets (if possible).

Posted by
689 posts

I agree with the "don't go to Versailles" crowd, not just because it's not personally on my list of top sites, but also because it's July. Crowds were bad enough when we went in March I can't even imagine July. Save it for another trip when you won't be there in the height of summer.

Don't forget to make time for just walking and for sitting in outdoor cafes. IMO that's the best thing to do in Paris.

Posted by
58 posts

While I haven't been to Paris yet, I have to say your plan sounds almost exactly like my 3 day Paris plan. Personally, I'm very excited about seeing Verseille and therefore wouldn't remove it from my itinerary. If you look at Rick's Paris in 3 days recommendations, he includes everything that you plan on seeing, so you must be on the right track. Since you (and I ) are only planning to spend 3 days in Paris, it should be assumed that you operate on a fast-paced schedule and don't mind cramming a lot into one day. For me, Paris will be the busy, urban part of my trip, followed by lots of relaxation and down time in other areas of the country. Please come back and let me know how your time in Paris went (I won't be going until Fall).

Posted by
5 posts

wow everyone, thanks for the opinions! Now I'm completely torn because I've had other people tell us that Versailles is an absolute MUST SEE when we're there. my husband and I aren't much the type to sit and lounge around when we're on trips like this, so we figured we'd be ok having two semi "free" days to just wander and have wednesday be busy.. hmmmmmmmmm

Posted by
72 posts

If it's your first trip I suggest seeing all the main sites. The Louvre, Orsay Museum, Eiffel Tower, Invalids, etc. These are all easy to see in three days. I'm going back to paris this year for my second trip and I plan on spending most of the time just enjoying the city, cafes, scenery and only go to a couple museums. Its hard to take in a place like Paris in just three days. you have to plan on the idea that you;ll go back someday.

Posted by
3551 posts

you will be running but it will be jam packed with great sights for you. Prioritize in case you tire out and just wan to cafe sit for a few hours.

Posted by
71 posts

If you're going to have to rush through Versailles and skip the gardens and Marie Antoinette's house, I'd say what's the point? Save it for a time when you can really enjoy it. I enjoyed Versailles but given that you only have 3.5 days in Paris, I don't think I'd use one of those days to leave Paris in order to rush through Versailles (especially since I don't think the Palace is the best part of Versailles). I think you'll find way more than enough to keep you occupied within the city limits for 3.5 days.

Posted by
1 posts

I agree with some of the others in here to skip Versailles this time around. It will take the better part of a day and even if you rush it, you will feel tired for the remainder of the day. Just plan on coming back. I've learned not to pack my itineraries too tight as it results in stress when if you start running behind. Enjoy Paris. All of the sights you've mentioned are incredible. Make sure not to skip the Seine river cruise at night. Incredibly atmospheric! One of our fondest memories of Paris.

Posted by
251 posts

Even with 6 days in Paris we opted to skip Versailles. Had a jam packed schedule. Thought sanity more important than seeing it all.

Posted by
70 posts

Check the Orsay website as much of the museum is currently under renovation. Much of their Impressionist art is not on display - you may want to skip for another time. We made the same decision about skipping Versailles as others are recommending and did not regret it - we filled 6 days in Paris and left a lot to see for our next visit. The Pompidou is worth a half day if you like modern art.

Posted by
42 posts

Although I'd hate to say it, skip Versailles. Also, think about whether you'll need time for jet lag adjustment. Wherever you go, allow yourself to relax with a bottle of wine, a hunk of reblochon cheese, and a fresh baguette!

Posted by
11450 posts

Hmm,, I won't sy it,, I love visiting Versailles and consider it higher on MY list then several other places that others list as their top attractions.

I do concur that skipping the gardens and the Hamlet would be a terrible injustice to the sight though,, so if you go,, go and enjoy it, but don't go if you plan to make it a 3-4 hr visit and miss half of the sights . Versailles is not just a palace,, and its not just nice gardens( hey they aren't even my personal taste) but its the HISTORY that attracts and continues to fascinate me. Just walking where kings and queens have tread ...ah,, I love it.

Everyones answers are correct in a way though,, its really all about what you think will matter to you personally.

Posted by
993 posts

I hate to say it also, but I'm with the don't go crowd. I was in Paris for 2.5 days and was dying to go to Versailles but when I thought about everything there is to see in Paris and then travelling all the way to Versailles for just a half a day, I decided to save Versailles for next time when I can do it justice by spending a whole day there. But it's up to you in the end what to decide.

Posted by
12882 posts

Hi,

I say if you had a full week, then go to Versailles but not with only 3 days. Use those days to soak up Paris, it's a walking city (as much as your feet and the weather allow) and see the marvelous sites. But with such limited time set your priority as to what you want to see first, depending on your interests.

Posted by
71 posts

Well everyone else already said that Versailles too much if you only have 2.5 days (which I completely agree with) so I'll say that if you do go, I can not imagine going to the Louvre after. That sounds like a crazy day. Perhaps you are young and highly energetic and never get tired of being on your feet? If so ignore me but Versailles is a lot of walking (from the train station, through the palace, through the gardens, through the Hamlet, back to the train station) and I can't imagine going through the monstrosity of the Louvre at the end of a long day.