Paris Itinerary for 5 days

Hello, My name is Bryn. I am 13 years old and I'm using my mom's account to post this question. We are going to Europe this May, and our first stop will be Paris. To help move the planning along, our family decided to assign each family member an area or city to research and then let them give a rough itinerary of that place. My assignment was Paris. I have made an itinerary for Paris for five days' worth of activities. It is definitely open to changes and revisions. Here it is: May 8 Morning: Still flying... Afternoon: Notre Dame + Sainte Chapelle, Rue Cler shopping, Luxembourg Gardens Evening: Berthillion, early bedtime May 9 Morning: D'Orsay... Afternoon: Louvre... Evening: Eiffel Tower May 10 Morning: RER @8a Versailles Afternoon: Chateau, smaller palaces, gardens and the Hamlet Evening: Trocadero May 11 Morning: Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Place de la Concorde Afternoon: Tuileries Garden, Sacre-Coeur Evening: St. Severin, Notre Dame May 12 Morning: St. Sulpice, Hotel des Invalides Afternoon: Pompidou, Stravinsky Fountains, Nicholas Flamel's house Evening: Cluny, free time, pack up May 13
Fly to Rome I hope this has landed on the side of "not too much, not too little, good balance." If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please tell me. I wanted to run this by the Graffiti Wall to see if it was a good Paris plan. This is our first trip to Europe as a family, and I really want the start of our vacation to be memorable--especially since Paris looks so fabulous. Thanks! Bryn

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
2253 posts

Bryn, you plan like a pro! Everybody will be very tired the first day after a long flight. Maybe just Notre Dame and St Chapelle the first afternoon if everyone feels up to it. Otherwise you can squeeze them in another day. If your family likes music, consider going to a concert in St Chapelle. Very good classical concerts most evenings.

Posted by Kira
Seattle, WA, USA
954 posts

Excellent job, Bryn! I couldn't plan my way ouot of a paper bag when I was your age. Overall, I think you have a good balance, and this seems realistic and fun! I do have one comment. I think seeing the Orsay and the Louvre in one day might be a bit much... the Louvre can be a bit daunting. Time-wise, you can do it, of course... but I might go to the Louvre first, so everyone has fresh feet. Have a blast!

Posted by Christina
New York, NY, 10025
365 posts

Nice job! I agree about the first day. I would under-plan that day, but leave an option or two available in case you all have a second wind. But your general plan seems to avoid lots of outside time, which is good. I also agree that the Louvre and the Orsay in one day is too much. And I say that as a die-hard museum lover. Being in museums can be exhausting. maybe switch the Orsda with the Tuileries so you can see that and the Louvre in the same day. I made the mistake of exhausting myself that first time in Paris. Leaving time for stuff like Berthillon is good. Have a great time!

Posted by Lexma
Denver
536 posts

I agree, it's a good plan overall. On your first day, I would also say you've got a lot on the plan for that day. Plan on two places for sure, and then see what you want to do after that. Also, the places you mention (except for Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle) aren't real close to each other. You will likely get "museumed out" if you plan on the Musee d'Orsay and the Louvre on the same day; try to visit them on separate days. Also, do you plan to go up the Eiffel Tower? Plan on long lines. When you visit the Arc de Triomphe, make sure you spend time watching cars, buses, vans, trucks, motorcycles and even bicycle whiz around the 12-entrance/exit roundabout. It's hilarious! The Cluny isn't open very late - you might want to visit it earlier in the day. You might plan on spending time walking through the Tuileries on the day you visit the Louvre. A great experience to fit in is a ride on a boat on the Seine. We (and our kids, who have visited Paris as young teens) prefer Les Vedettes du Pont Neuf, because the boats are smaller and the boarding location is more convenient - off the Pont Neuf. A twilight or evening ride is great, to see the night-time city lights. Paris is my daughter's (she's 14yo now) favorite city; I bet you love it, too.

Posted by SUSAN
DALTON, MA, USA
63 posts

Bryn,
Great job in planning. As someone suggested above, a bike tour of Paris is a blast. We did that with my son in October, and we all loved it. We did it with Fat Tire bike tours at night, and it included a one hour boat ride on the Seine, so we got to see all the twinkling lights. It was so much fun. Don't know how old the other family members are, but there was a boy, about age 10, on our tour, and he kept up really nicely. They make a stop at Berthillon's for ice cream, so that would cross off two things on your list (although we definitely went back for more ice cream on another day, as we all thought it was the best ice cream we had ever tasted - get the pear !!). Congrats to you for getting so involved in the trip and helping your parents put it together. Sue

Posted by Deanna
Canton, GA, usa
234 posts

Bryn,
I agree with everyone about day one...you will be exhausted :-)). My daughter is a year younger than you and has been to Paris twice, so I thought I'd share some of her favorites! Picnic at the Eiffel Tower (collect goodies on Rue Cler and walk over to watch sunset), catacombs (creepy, but educational and fascinating!, climbing to top of Arc de Triomphe and looking out at Paris, bike tour (Bike About Paris is the one we used...see a lot of Parisian neighborhoods and cover a lot of ground...we all loved it!). As for the museums, we spent about an hour in each...hope this helps and feel free to send me a private message if you have questions!

Posted by Deanna
Canton, GA, usa
234 posts

Oops, forgot one other favorite...night time boat cruise!

Posted by Bev
Decorah, Iowa, USA
250 posts

Bryn and Becky, I agree with the other posters about your first afternoon in Paris. You will be tired unless you can get lots of sleep on the plane. Usually, that is difficult! Since I don't know in what state Woodinville is located, I don't know from which city you will be flying and the length of your flight. Usually my husband and I pick up a car at CDG and then drive for an hour or two before checking into the hotel. We differ from most people who will tell you not to take a nap but we do take a short one, shower and then go out to sightsee. If you don't want to take a nap, etc., I would suggest doing something outside so you can get light, air and some exercise. Even though you have a limited time in Paris, give your family some time to just sit and enjoy the surroundings. I had a much longer response but apparently it went into cyberspace. I will write more another time.

Posted by Anita
Long Beach, California, USA
548 posts

Nice itinerary Bryn! One thing I would highly recommend at the palace of Versailles since you are planning to see everything. The grounds there are HUGE! Even walking out the the Petite Hameau and the Petite Trianon is exhausting...takes 20 - 30 minutes just to get there. I suggest that you rent bikes to get around! We spent 5 weeks staying nearby the chateau and regularly would go rent bikes to cruise the grounds. If you go to the back of the chateau, down the stairs past the fountains, and to the right of the Grand Canal as you are facing the canal from the chateau, there is a bike rental stand. You can easily see all of the landmarks in the chateau grounds, and then take the wide paths that wind back through the wheat fields and woods that make up the rest of the estate. It is lovely, the rest of the tourists don't go there, and you can get a sense of what the place was really like back in the day. The only people you'll see are the locals who use the estate as their personal park for jogging and biking! Pack a picnic in a backpack if you can and have lunch next to a wheat field or in the beautiful trees or at the far end of the Grand Canal looking back at the chateau. You'll be much less tired by the end of the day when you want to go to the Trocadero to watch the Eiffel Tower twinkling! Have a great time in Paris! It's my favorite place in the world... :)
Anita

Posted by Bev
Decorah, Iowa, USA
250 posts

I will continue with what I think I had tried to post before my editing went into cyberspace. I would suggest you buy the DK Eyewitness Travel Top 10 Paris. It has a nice little fold-out map with it and lists of things to do. For example, top 10 things to see at the Louvre, top 10 markets, top 10 parks and gardens and top 10 moments in history...a variety of lists. I believe someone mentioned the book and/or movie Sarah's Key. There is a street memorial pictured at the end of the book that remembers those Jews being deported. There is also the Shoah musuem and a small memorial located at the tip of the Ile de la Cite. You go down a set of steps and then walk through a long dark hallway to the memorial that is lit with lots of little lights. All three sites were very moving. We have liked going to the Zoo and les Jardin des Plantes. We like the Luxembourg Gardens and Parc des Buttes Chaumont. I thought I was going to die coming up the 160 steps from the metro but the park was really neat. There is an old Roman arena at Arenes de Lutece in the 5th district. It doesn't take long to visit. Try to go to one of the street markets to see all the things that are being sold. There are two things I would change on your list. I would skip Versailles and add the Bateaux Mouches on the Seine at night. Always believe that you and your family will return to Paris. Find some FUN things to do. Maybe museums and similar attractions are fun but try to do some outside things so you can see real people. Talk to other kids your age if you can. Don't be afraid to try different foods. However, McDonald's will have some things that they don't have in the States. If you have any questions, you can send me a private message (with your mother's permission). Have a really good time on your entire trip.

Posted by Becky
Woodinville, WA
75 posts

Hello again, Thank you all for your help and advice! It's been really interesting to know more about Paris and your tips have really helped. We have decided to do the Night Fat Tire Bike Tour and rent bikes in Versailles. I made sure our first day was more relaxed and low-key, because I didn't realize we'd be that tired! And we made more space between museums, alternating relaxing in gardens with exploring the sights. I will definitely get Sarah's Key and see what that has to offer. I have the DK reader Top Ten Paris and Rick Steves' Pocket Paris guidebook, and they have proved very helpful. Again, thank you all very much for the information, and I feel like I've got a better handle on Paris now. Merci! ~Bryn

Posted by Jim
Dallas, Texas, USA
495 posts

Byrn, you may want to consider Luxembourg gardens on day you visit St. Sulpice, they are near each other. Have you read "Da'Vinci Code", fictional book that includes St. sulpice, also Rick Steves background is music, he states that the organ is one of the best.

Posted by Anita
Long Beach, California, USA
548 posts

Hi again! I replied to the other thread but it told me that my message was too long so I put it here instead... I think that your new 1st day plan is much better! Jet lag can be overwhelming when it hits so just strolling around the gardens and walking to Ile St Luis for ice cream is perfect. If you start at Luxembourg Gardens it's a lovely walk through the Latin Quarter and then past Notre Dame cathedral to Bertillion. A great introduction to the city! Just a few doors down from the ice cream place on the same side of the street is a small shop that sells meteorites, fossils, and other such things - I took my son there when he was about your brother's age and could hardly get him out! Might be something fun for your brother! We haven't been there for a few years so I hope it's still there. If the rest of your time is similar to your Rue Cler, Louvre, Eiffel Tower day then I think you have a good plan. Something to know about the Louvre is that they are open in the evening on Wednesday and Friday nights; I think until almost 10PM - if you are going to be in Paris on a Friday this is a great time to go. There are far fewer people and crowds...you can actually get close to the Mona Lisa! Since you had St Chapelle on your list for your first day, I hope that you were able to put it somewhere else in your trip. You must see it! There is no room like it anywhere else in the world. If you can go late in the day when the sun is slanting through the glass then that is the time to go. It's always stunning but late afternoon sun is the best. I didn't know Nicolas Flamel's house is in Paris?? That's so cool! I'd be happy to look at your new itinerary if you want!
Anita

Posted by donna
roswell, ga, usa
996 posts

Bryn! I'm so excited for you and you have a great plan (except maybe a little too much the first day). It's so good I'm printing it out because I want to take my Grand daughter to Paris -- so I'm using your plan. She will be 12 when we take this trip. Your parents are to be congratulated for giving you this big responsibility! You've undoubtably learned a lot in this planning phase, and did an
awesome job! Thanks RS posters -- I'm printing the whole thing out for MY trip planning purpose!