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How much free time in Paris on the Paris & HOF

We will be on the Paris & HOF tour the first week in May. We arrive in Paris Saturday morning. Tour starts Tuesday at 5 pm.

We are debating about a trip to Versailles on Sunday or Monday before the tour starts but I’m not sure I want to give up museums/cafe/people watching/ shopping time in Paris for a day at Versailles.

Is there a lot of down time on the tour the days you are in Paris where I can get my museum and people watching in once the tour starts?

Posted by
2904 posts

Gretchen I know you will enjoy this tour!

The guided walks, visit to St Chapple happen in the mornings. One day you end up at the Louvre around lunch and the second day you end up at Notre Dame around lunch. The remainder of those two days are free time to choose the museums that interest you. You get a museum pass at your first meeting, so I waited to do major museums until then.

Assuming the tour is still staying at Hotel B Montmartre, it is very easy to take number 30 bus to Trocadero, Eiffel Tower. The Place de Clichy metro stop ( 1 block from hotel) is served by two different lines.

Posted by
4865 posts

If you're not sure its enough time, then just add another day.

Posted by
308 posts

If visiting Versailles is important to you, I recommend doing it before the tour starts. There is not enough time to visit Versailles once the tour starts. There is definitely free time for visiting museums and people watching, though!

Full disclosure: I have been to Paris several times, including on the RS Paris and HOF tour, and have never visited Versailles!

Posted by
3931 posts

Gretchen, Versailles is closed on Mondays.

Posted by
7606 posts

I'd agree to visit it before-hand as well if this is an important sight for you. The Palace is closed on Mondays altho the gardens are open. (editing to add - Jane beat me to the punch on this information!)

I'm not sure how your days fall but I'm suspecting your Sunday is the first Sunday of the month? During winter months the 1st Sunday is free entry but by May that does not apply. I thought that the fountains were turned on on the first Sunday of the month but I looked quickly thru the website and don't see that information.

I'd probably get a 2-day Museum Pass for Sunday and Monday and then you'll get another 2-day one on your tour. Are you staying at Hotel l'Empereur? If so, there are 2 easy places to get your pass. One is at the ticket office at Les Invalides right across the way from that hotel and the other is at a tabac (tobacco shop) right around the corner. I'd not bother to order one ahead of time. They are very easy to get in Paris as long as you don't try to pick it up at one of the very busy sights.

As to Versailles, I have been and it's good if it's what you want to see. The Palace is always jammed and there are pickpockets working the rooms. In fact, I went there on the Best of Paris tour, so we had a guide who was talking to us thru the whisper listening devices. At one point one of the guards in one of the rooms signaled her and she went over to talk to him, then told us the guard said there were pickpockets in the room. Anyway, I love the gardens, the Hameau and the Trianons. I wound up spending the whole day there. Literally - got there with the group just before opening and finally got on the train to come back to Paris at about 6P. I was not finished seeing things but I had run out of steam, lol!!

Posted by
763 posts

Gretchen- we are on the tour in mid May. I have been to Versailles but my husband hasn’t and he wants to go. We are going on Sunday because it is closed on Monday like others have said. We arrive via Euro star from London on the 18th around 4ish so Sunday is our only day.

Good luck on your logistics!

Posted by
2297 posts

I have been to Versailles and Chenenceaux, which is on your tour. In my opinion, Versailles is skippable. Too many people. We went to Chenenceaux in the late afternoon and it was beautiful, peaceful and relaxing. One of my favorite memories of France.

Posted by
187 posts

Thanks everyone!

Off to the “Test drive a Tour Guide” event in Edmonds.