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Have you spent a month living in Paris?

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Have you spent a month living in Paris?

If you have spent a month living in Paris, what all did you do during that month? Did you spend time traveling to neighboring areas/countries as well or stay in Paris the whole time? Did you go to all of the touristy sights and spend the rest of the time wandering around? I'm curious! I plan to do this next year and I know the month will go by so quickly. I just want to make sure I don't get home afterward and think "I wish I would have done _____ or gone to _____." Did any of you go alone? I will (most likely) be going alone and I want my days to be full, rather than sitting in an apartment eating baguettes! I'm on the fence about spending 4 weeks in Paris or spending 1 week in 4 different European towns. It seems like having a "home base" in Paris and making day trips would definitely save money as far as housing goes, but then I would be spending money on train tickets. So much to think about! Let me know if you have any advice on how you've done it.

Denver, Colorado
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1. Re: Have you spent a month living in Paris?

I think it depends on your personality, but spending 1 week in 4 different European towns would give you a much more exciting, memorable experience!

There is definitely enough in Paris to fill one month - including great day trips and overnight excursions, walks through the outer arrondissements, nightlife, special exhibits at the museums, shopping, etc.

But I would regret being so close to other amazing European cities and not seeing them...

What month are you thinking of going?

Victoria, Canada
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2. Re: Have you spent a month living in Paris?

I think a month in Paris is just getting a taster, and as you realize there are many interesting daytrips you can easily make, and even a few easy overnighters( so you may be paying double for one or two nights , in the scheme of things its not a deal breaker to me).. Amsterdam, London , Rouen, ( I did a daytrip there and wished I had been staying a night!) , Bayeaux, etc. not suggesting you do all of those, but the luxury with a month is you can pick 1 or 2 overnighters and 1 or 2 daytrips and still not be rushing about madly.

I also think with a month you can really get to know your neighborhood, or perhaps explore some of the outers arrondissemonts that many people simply do not have time for when they only have a week or so in Paris.

Lucky you , enjoy your visit.

( and yes, I have spent more then a month in Paris, but not as a exactly as a tourist but visiting family and they always have "plans" for me.. mostly seemed to consist of meeting people " oh you remember your 2nd cousin Bertrand, you met in 1978 in Ussel, you must remember, don't you?" etc etc , and eating long meals ( in homes as well as restaurants, and sorry my grandmother was one French woman who could not cook) and accompanying them on errands, banking shopping, the dentist, lol ,, this is one reason I now make a point of NOT wanting to "live like a local",, lol I totally prefer being a tourist !

My longest visits as a tourist , ( in a hotel on my own schedule etc) have been about 3-4 weeks and I find myself doing that sitting and munching on baguette thing you don't want to do, lol , I am rarely I a rush to see eeverything as I always count on coming back. I have broken that time up though, 2 weeks in Paris, a week somewhere else, then another week in Paris..

Puget Sound
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3. Re: Have you spent a month living in Paris?

I spent the month of September, 2010 in Paris, and then divided September, 2011 between Vienna, Budapest, Verona, and Venice. For me, settling into the single venue is the way to go. Reasons:

1) A sense of living there, rather than vacationing there.

2) Paris is Paris, and very special. After visiting 40+ countries, and more cities than I care to recall, I can attest to this.

3) The French rail system allows you to make interesting sidetrips with great ease.

4) Typically the rent for a month-long apartment stay is discounted 25-30% vs. the week-long rate, i.e., you get 7-10 days "free".

5) No packing, unpacking, etc. This could carve 3 days out of your month.

Los Angeles
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4. Re: Have you spent a month living in Paris?

Yes, we have and are about to do it again (28 days).

We like museums. On our first trip, we didn't get to even a fraction of them (11 days) and on our second trip, same thing (16 days) so, we stayed for a month. Yes, we did do out of town trips during the month (Chartres, San Germaine en Layes). We finally got to many of the museums we'd wanted to on the first trip, as well as the more charming and relaxing experiences of finding a favorite boulangerie, a fromagerie and a charcuterie and a wine shop, for those picnics by the Seine and in various Gardens. We visited way more gardens and so many smaller museums.

We went to some libraries, finally got on a batobus. I don't recall how many times we went to the Louvre that trip, but we finally got to the main exhibition of the Pompidou (before, we'd only managed the special exhibits). We learned to make and enjoy reservations at French restaurants where we could mull over our day at length. We got to Les Puces and really got to look around.

It still wasn't enough (hence this summer's trip, again). The list of museums as firsts is shorter, but is still there (Jacquemart-André is still there from the first trip; we still haven't seen Victor Hugo's house or the Chopin museum; Musée Montmartre - maybe). There are many places we always go back to (Louvre, D'Orsay, L'Orangerie). We have never made it to an exhibit at Palais Luxembourg or even walked to the front side of it! We will be in town for the Fête de la Musique (as we were on our first trip by accident and our other month-long trip by design). There are many musicians we admire who are in town around that time, most of them are on Facebook or use other social media, and are giving small concerts at various venues in the days right before, so we're looking forward to that.

We are both musicians (DH more than me) and visited music stores (wonderful, got some amazing chart books that revolutionized our way of playing).

And, this year, we'll go out of town for an overnight to Bayeux/Caen (seeing the Bayeux tapestry is a huge priority for us this year) and we are going to Chantilly. If we're not too lazy, we have a whole long list of other day trips we might take (some of them rather grueling, but we like train trips, so who knows?)

We shopped quite a bit on our month long trip (and on our trips thereafter, because now we know where to go to get shirts for my husband, one of the most wonderful things he discovered as a love for well-tailored Parisians shirts).

We branched out from French food and began to explore Morrocan and Algerian food, then Indian-in-Paris and then made a point of finding regional restaurants (Provençal cooking turned out to be a favorite, but I discovered Auvergne too). This year, we'll do the fashion exhibit in Hotel de Ville, hit two art supply stores, and probably (at last) go to the photography museum and the contemporary art museum at Trocadero. There's an interesting exhibit at the Grand Palais this year which gives us an excuse to visit, and we'll revisit Petit Palais as the main collection was closed last time.

We are trying for tickets for Les Sylphides (current sold out), will do our usual round of jazz clubs (can't wait).

The best part of it all: NO CAR. We both drive inordinate numbers of miles here in L.A. (especially my husband) and what a difference it makes to step outside that car culture. To be able to walk and walk and enjoy so much is so deeply satisfying. There are a dozen walks we want to take in various neighborhoods we've either never been to or not adequately explored.

Next year, we'll combine a shorter trip to Paris with Rome and other parts of Italy. One year, we did 2 weeks Paris, 10 days Northern Italy and a week in the Loire (want to go back). We've learned to travel fairly cheaply (we average about 100E a night for accommodations; at home we spend $600-700 a month on gasoline and $100 on parking fees, so that helps; if we do a road trip here in the U.S., we'd plan the equivalent of 80E a night for a decent place - but there'd be about 60-70E a day for gas).

Making the transition between "tourist" and "traveler who stays awhile" has been good for our year round mental health. The trip where we did Italy, Loire and Paris was wonderful, but exhausting and we needed a vacation from our vacation. In fact, husband is leaning toward just Paris and Rome next year (but he didn't get that sense of "settling in" in Milan, a city he really loves, so we may go back).

Anyway, our list of things to do is as long as ever (how can that be?) and I know we still won't get to everything and the days and nights will slip by and we'll be planning our next trip.

Palo Alto...
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5. Re: Have you spent a month living in Paris?

On our first trip to Paris which was only for 5 days (6 really but I feel like we lost the whole first day to jet lag). Then we went and did the same thing in London and Rome so we were exhausted when we returned to the USA. That trip convinced us to return to Paris for a month and to generally try to schedule longer vacations when possible. For the month in Paris, we did a combination of single day trips out of town and trips for 2 to 3 days. The day trips were to Giverny, Reims and Chartres. The overnight trips were to Normandy, St Emillion and Sarlat. Frankly, we should have set more time for the trip to Sarlat, we were a bit rushed. The great thing about taking a month is that you can really fully explore the many sites and you can wake up one day and make a totally random decision like "I think today I will go the winner of the best baguette contest for last year and then just spend the day in Montmartre." We have a combination of planned days and days when we just did "nothing." By nothing, I mean go to a market or a market street, do some shopping, go back to the apartment, relax, go out for lunch, wander around a neighborhood. We went back and revisited all places, except Versailles, that we saw on our first trip, but on a more relaxed schedule. During the month, in addition to getting to several Parisian outdoor markets in the mornings, we went for morning walks/exercise along the banks of the Seine and visited a lot of places that we just did not have time for during a five day trip -- like, for example, Musee Marmottan, Luxembourg Gardens, The Madeleine, Sacre Couer, The Orangerie (which was closed on the prior trip), and just about a million churches. Here is the great part: at the end of the month, we realized that we had never gotten around to the Jardin des Plantes and at least three museums, but we could not think of anything that we had done that been a waste of time. So that made us have to go back again. And now we are going again this year, but this time only a couple of days in Paris and most of the time in eastern France.

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6. Re: Have you spent a month living in Paris?

we are on our umpteenth trip -- when we are here for a month or two we are here for 'being' not 'seeing'. The greatest pleasures of Paris are in the quotidian pastimes. We also vary it with occasional day trips and lots of long walks. Like today we toured art galleries Faubourg St. Honore and then strolled to the Tuilleries where we read for a couple of hours -- it really is one of the most beautiful spots on earth. And then we walked from there across the Seine and back to our apartment near Monparnasse. A lovely day -- for just soaking in the city.

Twice earlier in the week we have spent time in the Luxembourg Gardens.

Underhill, Vermont
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7. Re: Have you spent a month living in Paris?

I'm going to Paris for a week, Brussels for a week, and Amsterdam for a week in June. I actually wish I were going to Paris for the whole 21 days. Last year I spent 3 weeks in London and only began to soak up the city. I made 2 day trips, too, but I could have made another one or two. Fortunately I lucked into 2 very good special exhibitions. I want to go back and visit the different parts of the city, though. I feel 3 weeks only gave me a taste. Hard to tell, though. Paris has so much to offer, my 7 days there are already filled, but trying to keep in some cafe time. :)

Lords Valley...
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8. Re: Have you spent a month living in Paris?

We did trip number 13 in 2009 for the entire month of October in a beautiful apartment on the edge of the Marais. As part of the trip we did Giverny for the second time, two days in Bayeux for the second time and three days in Nice for the first time. IMO Paris is best after you've seen all the "must sees and done all the "must dos." Great to get up in the morning and say what shall we do today. Get on the Metro or a bus and just explore a neighborhood you really haven't seen before. It's most fun when people you come across are not carrying cameras or guidebooks. No itinerary, no fixed schedule, maybe throw in a new museum or two, how great is that?

Tucson, Arizona
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9. Re: Have you spent a month living in Paris?

I've done European trips both ways. If you want a "taste" rather than a "meal," stay in four European towns. But I can assure you that even after four weeks in Paris, you would have yet to complete your meal, let alone enjoy many desserts. There is so much to see and do that I cannot imagine you sitting in the apartment eating baguettes, not that there's anything wrong with that ... especially during breakfast!

I have gone to Paris at least once -- sometimes many times -- annually for the last 43 years. I've often stayed for a month, sometimes solo. I go to exhibitions, concerts, the opera, favorite museums, fun markets and films, and I also walk, walk, walk, always finding new places to explore. I've taken classes, eaten at some wonderful places, joined more formal strolls and much, much more, always enjoying the ability to do whatever I want whenever I want.

I've taken many fascinating, inexpensive day trips by rail or bus to places an hour or less from Paris, which makes the city a great base. Take a look at "An Hour from Paris" by Annabel Simms. She's got at least 25 suggestions, complete with transport information and maps.

Whatever choice you make -- four cities or a month in Paris -- I doubt that you'll have any regrets. Enjoy your trip.

Bolton, United...
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10. Re: Have you spent a month living in Paris?

I also have spent a month in Paris in 2010. I also visit Paris frequently around every six weeks for between 5 and 10 days. When we had our month I already knew Paris well. but there were still lots of things I had not seen. However, I found there were only so many shops, museums, churches, art gallery's, parks markets etc I could take before I got to saturation point.

We loved our month in Paris but, the biggest drawback was not being in Paris for a month but being "on holiday" for a month. We were exhausted after three weeks , because like you we did not want to sit in our apartment and eat baguettes. so there was a sense of not wasting the time, a sense of we have to DO something today.

. I think you have to have a different mindset for a month in Paris rather than a one or two week trip. You may be different but we found we could not rush around doing things at the pace we would do on a weeks trip. So if I did it again I would pace myself better and actually spent more time in my apartment.. So the apartment would be Very Very important.

You say "have you spent a month "living" in Paris? but visiting Paris for a month is not "living in Paris" because you are still a visitor.

At home we would not dream of going out EVERY day and EVERY evening. At home we have some chill out time and I am not the sort of person who wants to eat in restaurants all the time. I like eating out to be a treat, so we maybe ate out once or twice a week. So a kitchen would be important for me in Paris.

Yes we went on day and overnight trips, to Dijon, Deauville and other places I can't remember, nearer to Paris out of the book "an hour from Paris. These were nice intervals in our trip and I would certainly plan a weekly trip if I did it again. It was nice to have a base to come "home" to and I would rather do this than travel to different cities. But then I live in England so it is easy for me to visit European cities. Americans seem often have a sense of not wasting a trip to Europe by staying in one place, they want to see it all. But Paris is such a wonderful city she deserves your full attention not a fleeting glance.

If I did it again, first I would get an apartment with outside space, a balcony or terrace. At home we can just go into the garden and I missed that. it would have been much easier to relax if we had a place to sit and drink our coffee or read a book outside. Rather than have to get showered and dressed to go out just to the park. When you are there for a month your accommodation is much more than a place to sleep.

I would also get an apartment in the centre of Paris. We were in Montmatre, which I thought would be Ok, but I got fed up of travelling on buses and metro all the time. I would want somewhere i could walk to the river near to Metro line one or a big metro hub like Republic or Bastille.

Now I have friends I can met in Paris. Then I didn't. I would also make arrangements to meet people if I could ( obviously always in a public place) maybe from TA just for coffee and take it from there. Social contact is also important.

I like Janets idea of being in Paris for "being" nor "seeing".....that sums it up perfectly.

Denise

Love from England

Ps I also missed my family more than I expected.

Edited: 07 May 2013, 20:23