Never been to Paris - suggestions please for an 8-day stay, including hotel, location, activities, side-trips, etc
Never been to Paris - suggestions please for an 8-day stay, including hotel, location, activities, side-trips, etc
I suggest you read a guidebook or five then come back with a plan and people here can help you further.
Belallion, you're apt to get about a gazillion responses exactly like the first one. If you really can't take the time to do some research of your own, and see what's in Paris that might interest you, then you should probably hire a travel agent and pay them to do it for you.
We could suggest things all the livelong day, but if they're of no interest to you, then we're wasting our time and energy.
So please focus your request and we'd be happy to help you tweak your plans for a lovely trip to Paris. But show us some initiative.
...Edited: 12 January 2014, 22:39
Hi! I am not an expert on Paris, but i have had the experience of deciding to visit Paris and going from knowing nothing about it to planning a trip.
Here are some suggestions, because I know it can be overwhelming to plan a trip to a new city:
First , choose a good guide book:
I like The DK series, but Rick Steves is OK, too. Peruse your chosen guide book and decide on a focus.
What do you like? Art, history, food, culture, shopping, people watching, churches...?
Pick a couple of categories from your like list and plan out your days based on that.
On our first trip, we visited the louvre, Cluny, Orangerie and D'Orsay museums, notre dame, st chapelle, Angelina's and did a walk with Paris Greeters. That doesn't sound like much, but we walked all over the place, got tired, sat in cafés, etc, and that used up our six days! This year we went back for three days and learned how to use the metro, ate foie gras, cheese and wine, wine to a concert at salle Pleyel, walked to the Eiffel Tower from rue Montorgueil, went to the grand epicerie and chapel of the miraculous medal. We still feel like we have only scratched the surface. But then that just gives us an excuse to go back!
There's too much to see and do in one week. Get comfortable with that fact and you will be ok.
Choose a guide book and start narrowing things down to sites and categories that interest you.
One more thing. Look at recommended Paris attractions here on Trip Advisor. Read trip reports here. This forum has a wealth of info. Hope this helps...
I agree with the above. But I also have easy access to a list I've prepared for friends, so I'll post it for you here. It will give you some ideas, until you get your guidebook and develop a clearer picture of what you want to see: (apologies to all the regulars who have seen this list for the umpteenth time!)
1. Eiffel Tower (go to the top! 14.50€ Buy your ticket online so you don’t have to wait in line) …toureiffel.fr/lift-entrance-ticket-sete-set… Arrive by metro at the Trocadero stop to ensure that you get that absolute "WOW" postcard view.
2. *Arc de Triomphe (cross thru the tunnel under the street and buy a ticket to the top—in my opinion, a better view than from the Eiffel) 9€ After visiting the Arc, take a stroll down the Champs Elysées and stop at Laudurée (75, avenue des Champs Elysées) and buy some macarons (my favorite flavors are pistachio and caramel au beurre salé)
3. Notre Dame—go inside and take a look around (free, enter on the right) If you’re there on Sunday, there’s a free organ concert at 5:30 pm, and the Gregorian Chant service at 10:00 am is interesting too. If you have time and the line isn’t too long, the climb to the top is said to be worthwhile but I’ve never been up (the line forms on the left corner as you’re looking at the front—they only let 20 up at a time. 8.50€). Also nearby is *Sainte-Chapelle (8€)—if it’s a sunny day, the stained glass in the upstairs chapel will be glorious! Afterward, cross the bridge behind Notre Dame, enjoy the street performers on the bridge, and take a walk down the main drag of the Ile St. Louis. Have an ice cream cone at Berthillion’s (31, Rue St Louis en l'ile; if the line is too long or they’re closed, many places on the island sell this brand exclusive to Paris, and very good!)
4. *Louvre—Closed Tuesday; 12€. If you mostly want to see “The Big 3” (Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo) you can follow this route to save time: www.louvre.fr/en/routes/masterpieces-0 If you won’t have time on this visit to see Versailles, then you’ll also want to visit Napoleon’s apartments in the Louvre to get a taste of what Versailles is like (skip it if you’re short on time). Take a walk in the Tuilleries when you’re done in the museum, and if you want a snack, head across the street to Angelina’s for a cup of their famous hot chocolate (226 Rue de Rivoli). If you’re not “museumed out” go to one of my favorite museums, the nearby *Orangerie (7.50€; Monet’s huge water lilies). See the Obelisk at Pl. du Concorde (on the sidewalk on the Champs Elysées side of the obelisk, you will see the bronze plaque indicating where Marie Antoinette was guillotined)
5. Jardin Luxembourg—(free) the gardens should be beautiful in April (they are also gorgeous in the fall)! If you’re there on a weekend or Wednesday afternoon, you can watch the children sail their boats on the big pond. Nearby is the *Pantheon (7.50€) which is quite interesting.
6. *Musée d’Orsay—9€ This is Darryl’s favorite museum in Paris. Not as overwhelming as the Louvre. Closed on Monday. (You can buy a ticket for 16€ to see d’Orsay and the Orangerie on the same day)
7. Sacre Coeur—(free); After your visit here, head to the right before going down the stairs to the Pl. du Tertre, which is an area frequently shown on TV. Artists, very touristy, but still fun. If you're interested in fabric or like to sew, check out some of the fabric shops in the area below Sacre Coeur (Dreyfus is huge and the best one—6 floors of fabric! 2 Rue Charles Nodier) The street at the base of Sacre Coeur also has some of the least expensive Paris trinkets to bring home (rue de Steinkerque). Don't succumb to the scam artists doing the shell game!
8. *Musée Nissim de Camondo—7.50€; 63 rue de Monceau (closed Monday); another of my favorite museums—this was the actual home of the Camondo family, a Jewish banker and collector of fine art and furniture. He willed the home and it’s contents to France, and not long after he died his only surviving child, a daughter, and her family were transported to Auschwitz and were never seen again. His only son lost his life serving France in WWI as a fighter pilot. Tragic story, but it’s a gorgeous home that gives you a feel for how the wealthy lived at the turn of the century. One of the few places where you can see the kitchen. Take a walk thru the nearby Parc Monceau afterward and see the Roman colonnade around the pond on the northeast end.
9. *Musée Rodin & Gardens—9€ (1€ for gardens only) Closed Monday. This is where The Thinker, The Kiss, Gates of Hell, etc. are located. Love this museum! If you’re pressed for time, it’s worth just going into the garden—you can see a lot! Combo ticket for Musee Rodin and Musee d'Orsay is 15€.
10. River Cruise—We’ve done several and they’re all about the same. This one gives a discount if booked ahead online (8€ morning cruise, 9€ afternoon or evening, vs. 13€ regular price). You can understand the English commentary, and is easy to find docked on the left bank of the Seine at Pont Neuf www.vedettesdupontneuf.com/billet_en.php# They leave every 30 minutes, last cruise at 10:00 pm or 10:30 pm, depending on the time of year. I’d rather do a regular cruise and spend the money at a nice restaurant for a good meal instead of 100€ or more per person for the dinner cruise…but that’s just me! ;) (Edit: in July 2011 I "sailed" on Le Calife, a dinner cruise that was very nice, and the meal was better than the cruises that serve cafeteria food-- www.calife.com/english/index.html )
11. *Opera Garnier—(10€) Worth a visit to see the opulent interior! There are English tours on Wed., Sat. & Sun at 11:30 and 2:30 I believe, but we’ve never been able to catch one. It’s just fun to wander around inside on your own tho! While you’re in this area, walk behind the Opera and down Bl. Haussmann and see Galleries Lafayette and Printemps, two of the “grand magasins” (huge department stores). Go inside Galleries Lafayette if you have time to see the gorgeous stained glass dome above the cosmetics department. You can also go up onto the roof for a great view over Paris (free). If you have more time in this area and want to do something “girlie”, visit the Fragonard Perfume Museum (9 Rue Scribe, free).
12. Stroll along the Seine—cross the bridges, enjoy the quais. Pont des Arts is nice at sunset—you can see the Eiffel twinkle from here (5 minutes at the top of each hour after dark until 1 am). Stop in the middle of every bridge you cross, pinch yourself and repeat three times, "I am in Paris!"
13. Bakery Tour—I’ve been on several of these and they’re great! A good one to start with: Gérard Mulot patisserie tour on Thusdays (22€; you’re shown macaron making and chocolate making, and get lots of samples) en.meetingthefrench.com/search/?texte=gerard+mulot
14. *Les Invalides & Musée de l’Armée—Military museum and Napoleon’s Tomb (9.50€)
15. Explore a market street—Rue Montorgueil, Rue Mouffetard, Rue de Levis or Rue des Martyrs—don’t be afraid to go into a cheese shop, watch the butcher, etc. If you can take food back to your room (or rent an apartment), buy the iconic dinner of a rotisserie chicken and roasted potatoes cooked underneath in the drippings!
16. Explore a street market—A few good ones are held at Bastille (Sun. & Thurs. 7:30 am – 2 pm); Ave. du Pres. Wilson (Wed. & Sat 7:30 -2:00); Grenelle (Wed. & Sun 7:30-2); Pick out a few things for a picnic! Cheese, baguette, olives, fruit, pastries, etc!
17. Must try: Crepes from a street stand (try Nutella with banana or Citron Sucre [lemon sugar]); almond croissants; macarons; raisin snails; croissants; pain au chocolat; Suisse (sometimes called Pepito), lemon tart; Berthillion ice cream; Amorino gelato; thick hot chocolate (Angelina’s, Les Deux Magots, Amorino); …hmm, can you tell I’m all about the sweets?!!
18. Grande Epicerie at Bon Marché—this is one of the world’s most amazing grocery stores! A great place to find unusual gifts to bring home. Fleur de sel and herbes de Provence are usually appreciated by the cooks in your life and are inexpensive and easy to pack.
19. *Versailles—Take RER C (should say VICK or VERO on it) toward Versailles and get off at Versailles Rive Gauche. After exploring the chateau, be sure to take time to see the charming Hamlet! See the Petit Trianon and/or the Trianon if time permits. There’s a little train you can board to ride to the outer regions of the grounds. Chateau and trianon closed Monday. To save time in line, purchase your tickets online here …chateauversailles.fr/online/index.aspx… To skip the line entirely, book one of the tours of the King's private apartments (16€) online at the Versailles website.
20. St. Denis—the French equivalent of Westminster Abbey. Nearly all the kings and queens of France are buried here. Take metro line 13 direction St-Denis/Unversité (be careful, as the line splits at La Fourche—make sure you’re not on a train to Asnieres-Gennevilliers). Get off 1 stop before the end at Basilique de St. Denis (exit the metro and head to the right, then another right at the city square). 5.50€ entrance and 4.50€ for an audioguide that is worth listening to.
21. Shoah Memorial Museum--17 rue Geoffroy l'Asnier (metro Pont Marie) Open 10-6, Closed Sat. Free. This Holocaust museum is incredibly well-done and every visit for us has been a very moving experience. If you’ve seen “Sarah’s Key”, you have seen bits of this museum.
*Museum Pass—if you plan to do a lot of museums, it’s worth blocking them all together over a few days and purchasing a museum pass. You save money and time waiting in line. All the museums with an * above are covered on the museum pass. www.parismuseumpass.com/en/home.php There are other visitor passes people will try to push on you, but I don’t think they’re cost effective.
Metro—The best (and cheapest) way around the metro is with a Navigo Découvert pass which is available for purchase Sunday-Wednesday, and is good for a week of travel on the metro, bus and RER within Paris (zones 1 & 2) from Monday – Sunday. Costs 18.85€ (19.15€ if paid by credit card), plus 5€ one-time fee for the card and plastic holder. Load with hebdomadaire ("hebdo"—a week). If you think you’ll be doing more walking than metroing, just buy yourself a carnet of tickets (pack of 10) for 13.30€ (but remember you need one ticket each time you enter the metro, so 2 for a round trip). Remember to save your ticket until you exit. Here’s a video that shows you how to navigate the metro: geobeats.com/videoclips/…how-to-ride-metro And a detailed article with step by step photos: parisbytrain.com/paris-metro/
RER from CDG--The cheapest way to and from the airport is to take the RER (regional train). Make your way to the station at the airport by following the "Gare" signs (and the picture of a train). If you don't have cash euros for the machines, go inside the ticket office (billet) to buy your ticket, which is 9.50€, and board the train. If your plane landed at Terminal 2, you're at the end of the line and you don't need to worry about which direction the train is going, as it can only go straight to Paris from there!
A word about Beggars/Scam artists--Ignore the "deaf and mute" kids wanting you to sign a petition—they are just creative beggars (and they speak and hear just fine). Ignore anyone who claims to have found a gold ring and asks if it’s yours. Ignore anyone loitering in the metro or around tourist attractions asking if you speak English. Ignore anyone wanting to tie a string bracelet on your arm! The best way to deal with these people (some can be a little aggressive) is to just ignore them and push on past. Say “non” in your best French accent and keep walking. Pickpockets can be a problem in crowded tourist areas and the metro—keep your purse in front with your hand on it; wallets in an upper jacket pocket or front pants pocket with your hand on it when you are in crowds; backpacks best left at home.
Most rates above were updated on 7/6/13Edited: 13 January 2014, 02:07
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