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Paris for 36 hours - what do I absolutely need to do/see?

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Toronto, Canada
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Paris for 36 hours - what do I absolutely need to do/see?

I'm in Paris from Saturday morning until Sunday evening. I'm trying to plan out a schedule since I know that's very little time. A few questions for those who are on a tight schedule:

- I already booked a trip up the Eiffel Tower on Saturday night, but that's the only thing I have planned so far. I want to be able to see all the major attractions, so was debating between the Sandeman's New Paris walking tour (3.5 hours in the morning) or a self-guided walking tour where I wander around and see all the sights myself.. or one of those double-decker bus tours. What do you recommend? Is it best to go on a guided tour (and the walking tour in particular) as opposed to trying to do Rick Steves' self-guided one?

- What are a couple of food places (thinking cafes, things I can go to by myself) I absolutely shouldn't miss? I'm a big foodie, so any help in this area is appreciated.

- Is the Louvre worth doing for just 2 or 3 hours by myself, or should I focus my time on other things and wait until my next trip back? (This is my first time in Paris.)

Please help! Thank you!

New Hampshire
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1. Re: Paris for 36 hours - what do I absolutely need to do/see?

You're going to have to figure out which of all those activities is most appealing.

Yes, the Louvre is "worth doing" for 2-3 hours alone - if you're interested in what's there.

With such little time, you can cover a LOT more territory on one of the double decker tours than by walking. You might want to consider a two-day pass on l'Opentour, or the ride around with no stops on the Foxity Tour. Either way, views from seats on the open air upper deck are spectacular. L'Opentour is best when the weather is favorable, but Foxity buses are equipped for cover if it rains or heat if it's chilly.

Many highly recommend the Sandeman's tours. Just keep in mind that's a lot of walking/standing.

All in all, much depends on the weather during your visit and your interests.

Toronto, Canada
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67 posts
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2. Re: Paris for 36 hours - what do I absolutely need to do/see?

I did love the open air bus hop on/hop off tour in London when I went (was only there for one day and it was the best use of my time) so that's why I was wondering about the one in Paris. I don't mind walking, standing, etc., though, and actually prefer it to bus tours, so that's why I was wondering about the pros & cons of both. Helpful, thanks!

Orlando, Florida
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3. Re: Paris for 36 hours - what do I absolutely need to do/see?

I recommend the hop on hop off bus esp. on the weekend when hopefully it won't get stuck in as much traffic. It's a great way to go all around the city, and it covers all the great sights. And if you get off at one place and decide you want to wander and walk and the next stop is not convenient, you could just hop the metro to another pickup point. I did that quite a bit - using both. Esp as the evening comes and the bus stops running -- plan to be somewhere either near your hotel or where you might want to explore for dinner etc..

You will have a great time -- just remember the charm of Paris is not to be go, go going but to absorb the essence of the city.

Hayti, Missouri
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4. Re: Paris for 36 hours - what do I absolutely need to do/see?

I've done the Sandeman's tour and although there is a lot of walking, we sat down while the guide spoke when we could. It gives you a great overview of the city and I learned quite a lot about Paris' history in the process. I highly recommend it.

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Paris for 36 hours - what do I absolutely need to do/see?

Hop on the bus n grab a museum pass at first stop.....we saw so much more than we thought using the hop on hop off bus....research n see what is open of a nite u might get lucky with a gallery....oh go see invalides it's on the bus route n it was beautiful with nepolians tomb....but bus stops at all the impotent stops....we used the bright green bus mentioned in second post had 4 routes from memory well worth the money

Toronto, Canada
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67 posts
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6. Re: Paris for 36 hours - what do I absolutely need to do/see?

Some of the TripAdvisor reviews on the hop on/hop off bus tour are really bad (waiting for a bus for a long time, early stop times, not worth the money). Is there an alternative to l'Open Tour or are those reviewers just anomalies?

Victoria, Canada
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7. Re: Paris for 36 hours - what do I absolutely need to do/see?

First off.. lodding a museum pass is not needed or desirable when she basically wants to perhaps visit one museum,, one where the lines are EASILY avoidable at that.

Secondly,, the L"Open Top tours are fine,, yes, sometimes you may wait up to 25 minutes between buses,, but since I come from a city where waiting 30-40 minutes is not unheard of I didn't find it shocking,, and often you are only waiting 10-15 minutes. I guess if ones timing is so constrained that 15 minutes stresses a person out then one is having an unhappy trip anyways. The buses do not run in the evening, so that is a consideration though, but as I see it you only have one evening in Paris and you have already booked a time for the Tower?

I have another suggestion ,, and don't discount it cause you are over 40,or not in great shape,, I was both when I first tried it.. but you could also do a a Fat Tire Bike Tour,, you will cover more ground then a walking tour, its easy, fun, and it hits many central sites.. I think its about 25 euros, but you willl likely consider it a highlight, best of all, no pre booking or pre paying,, if weather is decent just show up at ET ,, they run tours morning , afternoon and evening.

Paris, France
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8. Re: Paris for 36 hours - what do I absolutely need to do/see?

Nothing is obligatory. You will return at some time in the future, so it does not matter what you miss this time.

Tampa, Florida
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36,271 posts
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9. Re: Paris for 36 hours - what do I absolutely need to do/see?

That's one of the wonderful things about visiting Paris on your own -- the only things that you absolutely have to do or see is the things that YOU decide you have to do or see.

And if you change your mind, you change your mind.

The HOHO buses are a good way to at least *see* all the sites...then if you're wavering, you can see it and decide right there on the spot if you want to explore it further.

have a great time.

Sydney, Australia
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for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Business Travel, New South Wales
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10. Re: Paris for 36 hours - what do I absolutely need to do/see?

Another vote for HOHO bus around Paris it's a fab way to see it if time is limited.

www.viator.com/paris-bus-tours