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Spend the whole trip in Paris?

I am visiting Paris for the first time this year after yearning to go since I was 14. (I'm now 41.) We're planning 8 - 9 full days there, not including travel time there and home. Would you recommed spending the whole time in Paris; or should we venture to other areas? Thanks.

Posted by
5668 posts

You could probably spend the whole time there, but I would explore some other areas. You could think about the Loire river valley or Normandy. But maybe you should think about what it is about Paris that interests you and see if there are other areas that tie into that interest. Pam

Posted by
4125 posts

I certainly wouldn't recommend against it. I mean, you won't be bored. And the great trains let you take day trips that are pretty far afield. But you could fit in a few days in another part of France if the idea appeals to you. I probably would, depending on among other things the time of year and mutual expectations and aspirations for the trip. Really its up to you.

Posted by
8662 posts

How exciting for you!! In a 5 year period I went to Paris 3 times, for a total of 21 nights. It is my favorite city and I know I will return. Still, with 8-9 days you might consider spending a few days somewhere else. There are so many choices, whether you want to stay in France, or try another country. You could easily go to Bruges or Amsterdam, or take the Eurostar to London. It doesn't take long to get to the South of France, or you could stay closer to Paris and go to Normandy or the Loire Valley. Then there is always eastern France. The possibilities are endless. If you decide to add another destination, consider flying into one airport and home from another. Such as into Paris and out of London, or whatever is appropriate to where you are going. You just want to avoid backtracking. I would make a list of your priorities in Paris and estimate how much time it will take you to do those things. Don't forget to allow time to sit at cafes and people watch, and just wander the streets. If you do decide to spend your entire trip in Paris, you will find plenty to do. You didn't say when you are going, but there are day trips you can take, such as Giverny and Versailles. There is a program called Paris Greeters that is wonderful. I signed up for my trip last October. They match you up with a volunteer. A man who was born and raised in the Marais showed us around his neighborhood. It is free, though you can make a donation to the organization. It was a great experience. Bon Voyage!

Posted by
8192 posts

I love Paris and vote for staying in Paris and doing day trips. 8-9 days is not long. I've been there a lot, one trip for 6 wks and most recently for a month and never ran out of things to do. Just walking, sitting in cafes and parks is heaven, let alone all the other wonderful things to do. You need time in Paris to really experience it and enjoy it.

Posted by
11450 posts

My shortest visit to Paris was 9 days,, I said I'd never do that again,, not enough time, and I had been many many times before. First ,, rushing about is one reason so many people find things( museums etc) overwhelming,, they hate lines,, cause lines take precious time up,, and they want to see three other things that day to stay on their schedules! yuck. Slow down, spend time enjoyinng, not ticking sights off a must do list. Secondly, from Paris there are so many wonderful daytrips,, easy to do on your own,, Fontainbleau, Versailles, Rouen, Chartes, Giverny( Monets Gardens),, Reims, and St Denis( well thats not a full day but its worth the trip)... so you see, even with 9 days you could easily be out of the city for 4 or 5 of them!There are others too I haven't even mentioned,, Provins, Chantilly,, etc etc,, If I was going to split it though, with only 9 days, i would do 6 -7 in Paris and 2-3 in Loire Valley , or Normandy . Both easy to get to by train.

Posted by
1986 posts

After so many years you probably have a paris to do list that will probably take at least 9 days, however, if you have a hankering to see something else (say Loire chateux, Champagne, Mont St Michel) a break from paris could be worthwhile. Either would be worthwhile, what is in your heart?

Posted by
837 posts

Tiffany,
I would suggest two things. First, a day trip to Chartres. Beautiful little town, somewhat like a smaller Bruges with the fabulous cathedral. The second would be a couple of days to Provence. Take the TGV to Avignon and tour Avignon for the afternoon. Next morning rent a car and drive around Provence, choosing several of the nearby things like Pont du Gard, Nimes, Arles, Isle-sur-la-Sorge, St. Remy.

Posted by
46 posts

Like you Paris was always on my dream list and was well worth the wait. 9 days is not a lot of time to see and do everything that Paris has to offer. They have a great metro system that will take you everywhere, although it is a city for strolling. Do not try and fit in to much as you will end up missing the feel of Paris life. Certainly a day trip to Versailles (try and go on a day the fountains are running) is worth it as is Giverny, but further afield is taking valuable time from all the sites in the city. And I would only do one of these. Once there you will find leaving the city seems unimportant as it is so beautiful. You did not mention when you are going. Have a great time!

Posted by
6 posts

Tiffany, First of all I used to live in Arnold CA and my children attended Bret Harte High School, so it is fun seeing someone from Copperopolis on this site! I travelled to Paris last year by myself and spent my entire two weeks right in the city... and I still was unable to do everything on my list. Paris is so amazing, you will NEVER be bored. I loved siitting in outdoor cafes and just drinking wine and soaking in the magnificence of the City of Lights. I frequented several different cafes so that the servers/ owners got to know me. I wanted to experience what it was like to live as a local. There is so much to learn and absorb if you just slow down and soak it all in. Definitely, make your list but remain open to spontaneity. Go with the idea that this is your first trip of many to France. I can guarantee you will want to go back. I am ! Shelly

Posted by
2966 posts

I think you could easily spend 8-9 days in Paris and never once be bored. Honestly, if you try to plan too many trips away from Paris you'll be turning your Paris trip into 4-5 days which is...less than ideal. I would certainly say it's worth it to make a day trip or two to places that are maybe an hour away? With this itinerary visiting Versailles makes sense (as opposed to the 3 day trips in which people still insist on seeing it) But I don't think there's be a lot of point to trying to make rushed "short trips" to places like Provence or Normandy/Brittany that will just leave you wishing you had more time there but take you away from Paris.

Posted by
1804 posts

I had the same experience as Shelly. My first ever trip to Paris was 2 weeks in the city (with 1 day spent in Versailles). Still did not get to do everything I wanted to do on that visit. There are so many things to do in Paris. But I guess it really depends on what you want to do while you are there. I'd suggest making a rough list of what you hope to see and do to help figure out how many days you really have to play with in terms of taking a day trip somewhere else. Realistically, plan for 1 major sight per day where you will spend the bulk of the morning & early afternoon, then time for a leisurely lunch so you can enjoy the cafes or have a picnic in a Paris park, and a smaller sight for late afternoon. Like Pat mentioned, a lot of people try to cram way too many things into a single day in Paris and condense a whole city into 4 or 5 days so they can take more day trips that are 3-5 hours away by train. You've waited a long time to go. Why not just enjoy Paris this time without worrying you are missing out on other parts of France or Europe, and if you really love it, then the next trip can be a quick revisit to Paris and then spend the bulk of your time in other parts of France.

Posted by
2000 posts

I agree with Ceidleh's post above. Stay in Paris for the full time, have a relaxed pace and see all the sights there that interest you (there will be many). It takes time to see them all. You will probably want to hang out in cafes and do some shopping as well. I suggest going to Versailles for sure -- which takes up pretty much a whole day. If you have time you may be able to work in day trips to Chartres or Giverney, but I would not go further out than a day trip. The time will go by fast, but you will have a wonderful time. Paris was my dream for many years as well, I have been there 8 times, going back again in a week! You will not be disappointed.

Posted by
114 posts

If you decide to spend the whole time there, you might want to consider renting an apartment vs. staying in a hotel. You should be able to get a nice apartment for the same price as a hotel. But you will have so much more space. And even if you don't plan to cook any meals, you will have a kitchen for coffee and easy breakfasts in the morning before heading out.

Posted by
1734 posts

I can't find it now (of course), but I remember reading a post on this site by someone who said, "I've been to France ten times and have never made it out of Paris." This stuck with me. My husband and I are going to Paris for the first time this year (I'm 67!), and we'll spend our two weeks IN Paris, with perhaps a day trip or two (Giverny, maybe Versailles and/or Chartres). I'm still having trouble narrowing down all the things I want to do.

Posted by
809 posts

Everyone is different. I couldn't spend 9 days in one place. We spent a few days in Paris and then drove to Normany, spent a few days the are then back to Paris for a few. Next time I would take the train out and rent a car there (not drive in/out of Paris!). We didn't have as much time (6 days) but I'm glad we saw out side Paris (lunch in Honfleur) and two nights Bayeaux.

Posted by
1 posts

I highly recomend Musee Carnavlet. I went twice during my 10 day stay in Paris. Make sure to find the "hidden" door to go to the garden. It was an oasis in the middle of the bustling Marais. Thanks
behindCity

Posted by
14773 posts

Vineet, great suggestion. The Carnevalet is free! And a lovely neighborhood to wander around in afterward. Lots of trendy cafes and boutiques, Place des Vosges, etc. One of the oldest areas in Paris. A couple of other things I enjoyed very much on my last couple of visits were the Paris Walks chocolate tour (yummy and interesting) and the Fat Tire segway tour - they also have bike tours that are cheaper. I think you will be very happy staying in Paris the whole time. If you tire of the city or if you just want a change, there are many day trips that you can decide upon on the spur of the moment. Having that much time in Paris also gives you more versatility if you get inclement weather. You may also save on transportation costs. The Navigo pass for the metro and buses in Paris has a weekly rate. The week begins on Monday and ends on Sunday. I have found that I break even if I have 5 days use of it. Also, it's nice to just hop on a bus for one or two stops without thinking about the cost, and your aching feet a short respite.

Posted by
565 posts

I think you've answered your own question. You've been yearning to go to Paris since you were 14? Then by all means, spend all 8-9 days there. Trust me, you will ALWAYS find something to keep you entertained.

Posted by
21 posts

I allowed 7 days in Paris and it wasn't enough. I would spend the entire time there with day trips mentioned in other posts. I dream of spending a month in Paris, with a fantasy of living there for a season or a year.

Posted by
2215 posts

There is no bad answer here. I love the idea of spending 8-9 days in Paris, and more importantly, I think you will really enjoy it. Keep a couple of day trips in mind. You can take them or not, depending on how you feel when you get there.

Posted by
123 posts

Tiffany - enjoy the experience of Paris. The city has so much to offer and explore you cannot go wrong. Have a wonderful experience and make lots of memories.

Posted by
228 posts

DO NOT HESITATE TO SPEND THE ENTIRE TIME IN PARIS! How direct of an answer is that? Stay as close to the Notre Dame cathedral as possible (central location) and rent an apartment where you have a full kitchen, as you will be bringing back home food every day to your place and wish you had a fridge/microwave/hotplate/wineglasses/ etc. Visit everything you want, but do TONS of walking because I promise you your favorite memories of Paris will be travelling on foot between the sites. Have a fantastic time and feel free to mail me for tips.

Posted by
123 posts

8 days will fly by in Paris. You'll spend a full day at Versailles, Giverney. You could get up early and go to Brussels for the day by train. Enjoy and experience the many arondisements. Stop and smell the pain au chocolate!