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Paris Itinerary

My husband & I will be traveling to London & Paris in May 2014, spending 6 nights in London & 7 in Paris, to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. I've been to Paris before but he hasn't. This is what I've come up with so far, but it almost seems like too much to me. I want to relax a bit & really enjoy the city. We are renting an apartment near Luxembourg Gardens. I will be 62 and my husband almost 66 at the time of our trip and we are considering this likely the one & only time we will travel to both cities. So its a trip of a lifetime so to speak. Any ideas or suggestions will be much appreciated. Merci bien!

Day 1 – Monday - Arrive via Eurostar from London approx. 2pm (Gare du Nord), purchase Navigo Pass & Museum Pass, travel to apartment (RER then walk), unpack, get a few groceries then early evening River Seine boat cruise & La Tour Eiffel at night

Day 2 – Tuesday –La Tour Eiffel (daytime), Champs de Mars, Tracadero, Musee de Orsay, Rodin Museum, Invalides & Dome Church

Day 3 –Versailles, Place des Vosges, Musee Carnavalet, with the majority of the day spent at Versailles.

Day 4 – Morning - Ile de la Cite (Notre Dame Cathedral, La Saint Chappelle, Conciergerie, Square du Vert-Galant, Flower Market) Afternoon - Jardin des Tulleries, Place de la Concorde, Musee Orangerie, Louvre (should be open late that evening)

Day 5 – Morning - Pompidou Centre, Bastille, Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Afternoon - Arc de Triomphe, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Lauderee, Petite & Grand Palais, Champs Elysees(Must see – at night)

Day 6 – Morning - Sacre Cour Basilica & Montmartre, Moulin Rouge, Afternoon - Parfum Fragonard (Rue Scribe near Opera), Galleries Lafayette

Day 7 – Morning - St Surplice, Catacombs, Afternoon - Luxembourg Gardens, Pantheon, Latin Quarter, Evening - Tour Montparnasse

Last day – to the airport

Posted by
2081 posts

Diana,

from my time in Paris, you are doing alot more than i.

I scheduled 1~4 museums for my 6+ hours of fun. The rest i either spent extending someplace or just chilling.

If you 2 are into musueums, you can spend alot (over time) in them and watch time go by. Musee do Orsay (MO) i could have spent more time in. I spent about 4 hours in there easily. Same with the Louve. I allocated 1 day (4+ hours) in there and didnt see everything. One thing to note. i found it confuseing to go from one area to anohter. It almost seem like they didnt want any "easy/fast" exits and that travling from 1 wing to another wasnt direct. At least its how i expereinced it.

just so you know, that some of the attracions like the Arch has alot of spiral stairs. not fun and after a while..drags on you. i dont remember if they had an elevator.

you will spend alot of time walking to/from each place. I walked the Champs Elysees from the Louve to the Arch just to do it. I also went to the Skyscraper city too after that but the arched building was closed to the public.

Some comments. If youre going to the Catacomes, go their first. Lines are long. I got their 1 hour before opening and i was the 4 person in line. Same for the MO.

Montparnasse. If you are wanting to go up this tower out in the middle of nowhere, fine. But just so you know, the lines were long there since its an active office building and that the view is okay, but i enjoyed the view from the Eiffle Tower more.

another observation. Is that if you can and it may involve some backtracking, work the parks in last. They dont have a "opening/closing" time and you can to them anytime/anyday/any bat channel.

happy trails.

Posted by
8767 posts

First, congrats on your anniversary!

As for your itinerary - WOW!! It is very ambitious. I think you are trying to cram a much longer visit into one week. Running around trying to fit it all in means it will all be one big blur at the end of your time there. You haven't allowed yourselves any time to really enjoy Paris. A rule of thumb some people like to use when planning is to do one major thing in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Posted by
262 posts

Diana,
You plan is making my head spin! Every day is filled with twice as much as you can do and enjoy. Always assume that
you will return again. You have no real time to sit in a cafe, a park and just people watch.
You will get home and all the days will run together and you will not remember what you actually did.
I think that I have now done everything on your list and I think it's taken me 5 times visiting Paris!
Slow it down and savor your experiences for wonderful memories. Something you may want to consider is packing a picnic and taking it to the Luxembourg Gardens, my favorite park/garden. You are going at the perfect time of the year to enjoy a picnic!

Happy Travels!

Posted by
11286 posts

Following on Andrea's advice, I'd treat your plan as a "master list" rather than a "must do list." Pick two "must do" things for each day, and do one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Then, if you have time, energy, desire, etc., you can fill in other things from the master list. But don't force yourselves to do everything, or you'll not only be very tired, but will be so busy seeing the sights that you won't really see Paris.

Have a great time on your anniversary!

Posted by
1176 posts

I agree too much to do per day! But have your plans and if you are having a good time, you skip what is on your list and remember, quality over quantity. I have been to Paris four times and twice on the RS week long tours. If you go to Versailles it will be a majority of the day and you will not have any time or little time to go to Musee Carnavalet. Again you will be spending the most of the day at the Louvre, and even if it is open late it is a huge museum so you want to see it and have time for one other activity. Also remember you will be standing long periods of time and need to rest and relax at a cafe. Also you will have already gone to London so it will have already done a lot in London and need to see Paris and walk and relax and do one museum a day. Small museums like the Rodin and Invalides & Dome Church can be done in one day and the Eiffel Town and Tracadero. But remember the lines are long at the Eiffel Tower so to go to the Orsay is too much. The Musee de Orsay should be done and given much time. The Musee Orangerie is wonderful, small and could be done in the morning and then go to Notre Dame and Lauderee. The Pere Lachaise Cemetery is far away and needs time to get there and back and is a lot of walking to see it so you don't to try to go to two museums and the cementary.
Have a list, look at a map to see what is near each other. Go to the places and if you get to the next place fine, if not then the next day or plan to go on another visit to Paris. Have a wonderful time. I understand this may be the only time you go, but go, see what you can and don't regret you did not see it all. No one sees it all. Just enjoy what you do get to see. I would skip the Catacombs, Moulin Rouge ( unless you see the show), Pompidou Centre ( unless you like modern art), Conciergerie.

Posted by
34 posts

I spent a week there last summer, did a small fraction of what you are planning, and still needed time to rest. I needed a day and a half at the Louvre, which I'd never have guessed, even knowing how big it is. I spent half the day at the de Orsay, and could have been there for longer.

And I get it - the city has SO much to see and experience. Don't be afraid to slow down and really get a lot out of where you choose to go. If you don't see it all, it's ok. The places you do see are going to be places you never forget.

Posted by
8397 posts

You have listed every institution in town but have forgotten something important, particularly for someone staying in an apartment: shopping for food in the wonderful shops, taking it home, and enjoying it. You'll be staying like a local, so I hope you leave yourself time to get to know your neighborhood butcher, baker, and wine shop owner. There are also the wonderful markets and the incredible food halls at the Galeries Lafayettes and the Bon Marche department stores.

Posted by
3681 posts

This is check-list travel. Been there, seen that through the subway window, bought a meaningless T-shirt. Day 2, for instance, will give you enough time to stand in the reception hall of great museums, look around, then race to the next site. Musee d'Orsay needs at least a half-day to get a sense of a unique building and its illustrious contents. Rodin Museum deserves at least two hours or you are just glancing at chunks of hewn marble.
To come back to earth, play around with routes on the municipal transit site, http://www.ratp.fr/en/ You will see that you can physically travel the routes you have set out, but mentally you will be exhausted. Paris is such a great place to experience, so please slow down and enjoy it.

Posted by
5697 posts

When the two of you go over the "to do/ to see" list, make sure you understand what each wants from each destination -- if the person putting the location on the list wants to snap a few pictures and move on it's very different from wanting to soak up atmosphere for an hour or see every exhibit in a museum. Either way can be good, but knowing expectations in advance is crucial for planning.

For example -- does seeing the Eiffel Tower twice mean going up the elevator twice ? Or just looking at it from the ground / admiring the lights from the tour boat ? Does Notre Dame include climbing to the top of the tower?

My 68-year-old body managed Paris fine last month as long as we found sufficient benches for sitting to admire sights ... and stayed on the ground.

Enjoy your trip !

Posted by
392 posts

Speaking as someone who treated Paris as a checklist since I'd been waiting all my life to go, I say the people above have the right idea. I implore you to pare this down a lot! I was a woman of 32 in reasonable shape and used to walking a lot at home in NYC, and I still exhausted myself. The cobblestones are killer if you are walking a lot, for one thing. Also, as others have pointed out, the best thing about Paris is to go slow and soak in the atmosphere. You have to leave time to picnic by the Seine or sit in a cafe watching the world go by.

And yes, Versailles will take most of your day, especially if you intend to see the gardens... which I imagine you should, since it will be May.

Posted by
697 posts

I'm going to rethink all of this. It is trying to do too much which I really don't want to do. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Posted by
10 posts

You forgot to add the most important activity: savor the city. savor each other in the city. Slow down sistah! You will go back I promise because you will fall in love with it. Find a little corner you can call your own. Go to the cheese shop and bakery down the street (anywhere.....). Order your items in French. Go to the department stores and note how beautifully the women dress. Be shocked by the pricetags- this is PARIS!
This is living......

Posted by
2081 posts

@ Diana,

I think if you had an estimate of how long something took to do/see, you would have a better idea on your planning. Not that my times would be the same as yours or otherr, but at least you can get some feeling for how much you can plan for in a day. I know that was my biggest bump, how long does it take to see something. For the Louve and MO, i chose to budget 4 hours, but it was not enough for me.

Some of the other attracations took less time, some more. Again, it depends on when you get there and how long it takes too.

happy trails.