First part – April 29th to May 2nd
As we split our Paris time into 2 parts of 3 days each, we decided to buy the 2 day Museum Pass. We managed to get them from the Tourist Information booth at CDG after arrival (see my report #1)
Now that we had our passes, we had to decide when to use them. Firstly, we arrived Paris on Wednesday April 29th. Then Friday May 1st was a holiday and everything was closed. So that cut into our plan and we decided not to use the pass at this point. We took the first day to relax and walk around our hotel Le Regent in the Saint Germain area, bought some drinks and fruit from the nearby market, had lunch at Le Pre Verre in the 5th and took an afternoon nap to cope with the jetlag. When we woke up, we took metro to Trocadero to admire the Eiffel Tower and had a leisure walk down to the river, past the tower into Champ De Mars park, back again to the quays alongside the Seine, then took RER back to Saint Michel.
The next day we woke up early and walked to Notre Dame, visit the inside of the church and the garden at the back. Then we walked to Ile St Louis and strolled around the little island. After that we walked across to Hotel De Ville and took the metro back to our hotel at noon. In the afternoon, we took metro to Montmatre to visit Sacre Coeur and Place du Tetre.
The day after was May Day. Almost all the shops were closed and the streets were a bit quiet. People were selling lilly-of-the-valley on the street as a tradition. Some mother-and-little-daughter teams handing out the little fragrant bouquets to passer bys, very cute. We walked to Luxembourg garden and spent the morning there. There were a lot of children playing boats, balls or riding the ponies. It was a nice day and everybody was happily going out in the sun. After Luxembourg garden we took metro to Opera to take some pictures, then walked thru Place Vendome to Rue Rivoli and to Louvre before heading back to our hotel.
In the afternoon we walked to Pont Neuf, bought our Vedette de Pont Neuf tickets for the evening cruise, then strolled around the area: the little park at the tip of Ile de la Cite, along Pont Neuf, along the quay to Pont des Arts, crossed the bridge and walked back on the other side. Later after dinner we changed into warm clothes to get on the 10.30pm cruise. It was nice but cold to sit outside and somehow the captain did not time our cruise well so that we could get to Tour Eiffel right at on top of the hour when it lit up. So we missed it but overall, it’s nice and conveniently located near our hotel. The ticket costs 12euros but every hotel (and online) has a coupon for a 2euro discount.
Second part – May 6th to 9th
After 3 nights in Amsterdam and 1 night in Bruges we arrived back in Paris in the evening of May 6th. The train arrived Gare du Nord at 9pm and we took a taxi to our hotel Relais Bosquet in 7th arrondissement. This is the time when we started using our 2 day Museum Pass. We planned to spend one day in Versaille and the other day around Paris.
The next morning we slept in and got up at 11am to take the RER C to Versaille. The journey was shorter than I expected. We got there in about 30 minutes and walked from the station to the chateau. We then took the tourist tram (6,5euros each) from the main chateau to Marie Antoinette Estate and spent nearly 3 hours there. After that we took the tram back to the chateau at 4.30pm to catch the last entry inside (they close at 6pm). We barely made a round of the State Apartment and were rushed out. We could have stayed and walked around the garden and canal until dark (close at 8.30pm) as planned but we were so tired.
The next day we started with museum L’Orangerie to look at Monet’s Nympheas. Then we took metro to Galleries LaFayette for the Friday 3pm free fashion show that we have reservation to. The show was just so so, nothing much and we kinda regretted spending time of a “museum pass day” at the store. After that we took metro to Hotel de Invalides and visited Napoleon’s tomb and the Army Museum. My boyfriend loved the Army Museum but we got there late and could only see one wing of the building before being again rushed out when they closed. He was deeply disappointed that I did not plan better so he could see them all and complained that I planned the trip around my own interests and not his! A warning for the ladies who take the planning part for the trip with your man.
After a little fuss, we took metro to Arc de Triumph but could not go up nor even get near because there was a Victory Day event at the arc. This added to the tension lol. But then after dinner we made up and took our picnic mat and our camera gear to Trocadero. It was a nice warm evening and we set up the tripod right on the steps and sat there over an hour taking photos and watching the tower twinkling.
So for the Museum Pass, we barely broke even. For 32euros, we gained back: 20euros for Versaille, 7,5euros for L’Orangerie and 8,5euros for Invalides. We could have done better if we got up early, like to climb up Notre Dame towers before going to Versailles and one other museum the second morning. As for skipping lines, we found no line at all at all the places we went. Either we were lucky or we went so late in the day that the crowd had left.
The last day, we toured the Rue Cler market in the morning, bought some wine, sausage, jambon and cheese for family back home. Then we took advantage of our free Louvre tickets (gift from the hotel) and visit the museum for about 3 hours, then came back to our hotel and wait for the shuttle to pick us up to CDG.