We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Am I being too ambitious with this itinerary?

Chicago, Illinois
12 posts
Save Topic
Am I being too ambitious with this itinerary?

I need a little help deciding if I’m being overly ambitious or if this is a doable itinerary for our trip to Paris (this is my third time to Paris and my husband’s first…we’re celebrating our 40th birthdays/first wedding anniversary). We’re from Chicago and are used to traveling via public transit and plan on using the metro/bus when needed but we also want to build in time to walk/wander around or hang out in a neighborhood. We are renting an apartment in the Marais at the end of May. We’ll arrive Friday 8:30 am (note:we’re both pretty good sleepers on airplanes and let’s hope I didn’t just jinx us). We plan on buying the Museum Pass at the airport TI.

Friday: after getting settled in apartment---walk over to the islands: Ile de la Cite and Notre Dame area for lunch/sightseeing; spend afternoon working way toward the Louvre.

Late afternoon/evening: see some of the highlights at the Louvre.

Early dinner reservation at Café Marly at Louvre.

Saturday: Spend morning at Orsay. Grab lunch somewhere between Orsay and Rodin. Head to gardens at Rodin. Walk to Rue Cler and grab picnic dinner to be enjoyed on the Champ de Mars and enjoy the view of the Eiffel Tower (if by miracle lines are not unbearable, we’ll go to top but we’re ok skipping this). Early evening: Take metro from Tower to Arc de Triomphe and enjoy view from top of Arc de Triomphe. Meander down Champs Elsyees and hop on metro back to Marais.

Sunday: Versailles in morning…probably just palace and gardens. Spend late afternoon and evening enjoying the Marais. (Versailles is one place I’m tempted to drop…but I think it’s at the top of my husband’s list).

Monday/Tuesday: going to play these days by ear but want to picnic on steps of Sacre Coeur; visit Opera Garnier ; visit the iconic Chanel store (my husband works in fashion); shop and wander around Canal St. Martin/Oberkampf/Bastille; Jazz club;

Do you have any market suggestions for these days?

Wednesday-Saturday: we go to Bordeaux to visit family for a few days but return to Paris midday Saturday (our cousin said there’s not much to do in Bordeaux besides drink wine and eat…sounds pretty good to me).

Saturday: Return to Paris via Gare Montparnasse. We have a hotel room right off Luxembourg gardens. Plan to enjoy Saint Germain/Latin Quarter and our last night in Paris before heading home Sunday afternoon.

Merci beaucoup!

Coquitlam, Canada
Level Contributor
186 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Am I being too ambitious with this itinerary?

It sounds perfect, Moretravel101. I am so glad that you have built in time to wander the various areas of Paris. I always enjoy visiting the sites, but absolutely love wandering and taking time to explore this wonderful city. Enjoy your trip! I will be there in a few months and will do some more wandering then. Please post your experience; we Paris fans love to travel vicariously through the trip reports of others when we can't be there ourselves. (The wine and food in Bordeaux also sound good - especially when shared with friends)

Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary!

Le Bugue, France
Level Contributor
14,097 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Am I being too ambitious with this itinerary?

Your cousin sounds a bit jaded about Bordeaux, as there's plenty to do and see in the city and surrounds, but other than that it sounds like a reasonable plan. Enjoy!

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
2,612 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Am I being too ambitious with this itinerary?

Sounds like a great plan! Try to go to Garnier for the tour in English. I think it's daily at 2:30 but check the web site to confirm. For market area, I recommend Rue Montorgueil. Lots of great lunch spots and people watching.

The wine & food is definitely great in Bordeaux but lots of other things to do as well.

New York, New York
Level Contributor
15 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Am I being too ambitious with this itinerary?

I'm assuming your cousin can't be one of the "family members" you are visiting in Bordeaux. There is plenty to see and do in Bordeaux. The entire city was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007. From architecture to history to the arts and of course, some of the most famous vineyards, Bordeaux has much to offer. It's not Paris but that's part of the charm . And no your itinerary is not too ambitious.

New York, New York
Level Contributor
15 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Am I being too ambitious with this itinerary?

I'm assuming your cousin can't be one of the "family members" you are visiting in Bordeaux. There is plenty to see and do in Bordeaux. The entire city was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007. From architecture to history to the arts and of course, some of the most famous vineyards, Bordeaux has much to offer. It's not Paris but that's part of the charm . And no your itinerary is not too ambitious.

New York
Level Contributor
17 posts
64 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Am I being too ambitious with this itinerary?

Certainly doable plan.

For lunch Saturday I would suggest the cafe in the Orsay itself.

Excellent menu, delightful venue, reasonable prices.

Le Bugue, France
Level Contributor
14,097 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Am I being too ambitious with this itinerary?

I think trying to have a picnic on the steps of Sacré Coeur may be a non-non too.. I don't think in Paris one generally sits on the steps of churches and cathédrales and has a picnic.

Chicago, Illinois
12 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Am I being too ambitious with this itinerary?

Thank you to everyone for your input! I think I almost killed my friend on my last trip to Paris running her about, so I'm trying to be a little bit more mindful.

I think our cousin's (who lives in Bordeaux) comment was probably meant to be more tongue in cheek. Rick Steves, however, once made the comment in an article that "Bordeaux should be named 'boredom' but I'm learning that is absolutely not correct. I'm really looking forward to that part of our trip even if it's only a couple days!

As far as our 'picnic' on the steps at Sacre Couer, it has been my tradition to pick up a sandwich in the area and take a little break on the steps to take in the view and give my feet/mind a break while enjoying a quick bite, (not exactly a 'traditional' spread-a-blanket type picnic).

Denver, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Paris, Denver
Level Contributor
6,003 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Am I being too ambitious with this itinerary?

Can you switch your Versailles visit to Tuesday, by any chance?

Sunday is a great market day - if you're exploring Bastille area, you could see both the Marche d'Aligre & Marche Bastille (more picturesque, in my opinion). Also, Canal St. Martin is pedestrian only on Sundays. And geographically, this would be very close to the Marais (which is also good on Sunday).

So then maybe Tuesday, it's Versailles - which is AMAZING (but get there early) - don't miss the Marie Antoinette's make belief village, and a short walk through town is also pleasant. Back in Paris, maybe an evening at Sacre Coeur?...

Le Bugue, France
Level Contributor
14,097 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Am I being too ambitious with this itinerary?

<< Rick Steves, however, once made the comment in an article that "Bordeaux should be named 'boredom' >>

IMO, Rick Steves should be named "boredom."