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Itinerary critique

Phoenix, Arizona
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Itinerary critique

First of all, many thanks to all the dedicated participants in this forum. You've helped me plan what I hope will be a romantic trip. My wife and I will be in Paris from Thu, 20 Feb to Wed, 26 Feb. I have our itinerary mostly planned, but have a few final questions and would appreciate any thoughts.

Regarding food, we aren't big foodies and will be happy with crepes for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch each day. We’d like to keep dinners under 30 Euros per person (no wine as we don’t drink alcohol).

Day 1 (Thursday)

Flight lands at CDG terminal 2A at 8:25. After customs and luggage, I’d like to pick up 4-day Museum Passes and Lebara SIMs before leaving the airport. We’ll take either the Roissybus or RER to Opera, near our hotel for the first 4 nights. I expect either transportation option won’t get us to the hotel before noon, which is fine as check-in time isn’t until 3:00. We’ll grab a bite for lunch from a local boulangerie – any recommendations in the Opera/Vendome area?

I don’t have any plans for the rest of the day, as we’ll probably sleep for a few hours before going out for the evening. We may want to do a dinner cruise – Le Calife gets good reviews. What are the chances of being able to buy tickets on the spot? Otherwise we’ll wonder along the Seine towards the Eiffel Tower.

Day 2 (Friday)

We have a photo class/tour with Better Paris Photos in the Montmartre area in the morning. I figure we’ll just grab crepes on our way to our destination – any recommendations for the Opera metro area?

Following the tour, we’ll grab lunch at a boulangerie in the Montmartre area, and then tour Sacre-Coeur, watch the artists (perhaps a portrait if we find an artist we like – any good ones been noted lately?), and wander around the neighborhood.

I’m leaving the late afternoon & evening open in case we need a nap, but I’d like to make our way down to the skating rink at Hotel de Ville and end with dinner down there.

Day 3 (Saturday)

We have a market cooking class with La Cuisine that ends at 1:30. I’d like to head to the Louvre – there’s an English tour that starts at 2:00. The walk from the class will be about 20 minutes, so we’ll have to hope for short security lines to make it in time. We’ll start our Museum Pass today, so that should help.

After the tour at the Louvre we’ll stroll through any exhibits we want more time at, but we’re not big into art, so I expect we’ll be out of there by 5:00. From there we’ll head whichever way we want, possibly seeing the Grand Palais, shopping along the Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Rodin Museum, or Napoleon’s Tomb. If we didn’t do a dinner cruise on the first night, perhaps tonight. Otherwise, we’ll search out a restaurant wherever we end up.

Day 4 (Sunday)

A day to sleep in a bit, then to Versailles by 11:00. Gardens and lunch, then Trianon & Marie Antoinette hamlet. We should get to the palace tour around 3:00, so hopefully it will be less crowded then. Return to Paris and find dinner around the hotel. We’ll pack this evening as we are changing hotels the next day.

Day 5 (Monday)

Up early to check out. I assume the hotel (Park Hyatt Vendome) will store our luggage for us until we return that evening. We have a bike trip outside of Paris with French Mystique tours that will return us to Paris around 7:00, when we’ll pick up our luggage and take the metro to our next hotel near the Arc de Triomphe. Dinner in the area.

Day 6 (Tuesday)

Last full day – the only thing we have pre-planned are Eiffel Tower tickets at 5:30. I’d like to tour the Latin Quarter area, start with the Catacombs, then Luxembourg Garden, lunch, Pantheon, Notre Dame and Ile Saint-Louis. We’ll get through as much as we can before we need to leave for the Tower. Dinner around the area, and then back to the hotel to pack for our departure the next morning.

I've searched the forums and restaurant section and there doesn't appear to be a restaurant with a view of the Eiffel Tower within our budget (30 Euros pp). Several have terraces with views, but the terraces aren't used during the winter. Please let me know if I've overlooked a suitable place.

Looking forward to any comments. Thanks.

Los Angeles
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1. Re: Itinerary critique

Terraces are used during the winter - they enclose them in plastic and often have heaters. You have such leisurely days until Day 6, when you've packed in a lot of time-consuming sight seeing. I've never noticed any quick crêpe stands near the Opera; I'm sure there are cafés serving at that hour, but whether they'll have crêpes, I don't know - someone will likely know a good place for them near the Opera, but don't plan on taking them with you and walking down the street eating them, if that's what "grab a crêpe" means.

Yelp shows a crêperie not too far from you: Crêpes CIty (not to be confused with City Crêpes in Saint Germain) on Rue Joubert. Crêperie Traditionelle is also not too far and gets better reviews - but be aware that it doesn't open until 11:30 a.m. (many crêperies do not open at what North Americans consider to be breakfast time). And neither of these is a take-out place.

You'll find more street food in Montmartre. No, haven't seen any really great portrait artists there of late, but one man specialized in making all women look younger and more beautiful than perhaps they actually were - and my sister was delighted with the results. :)

You are going to have to hope for some of the shortest security lines in Louvre history in order to make that 2 pm tour. The Museum Pass does nothing to help you with security lines. It has been said recently that you can use the pass at the Richelieu Entrance, but when we were there 5 weeks ago, that line was enormously long too (at around 1 pm on a Monday). Weekend days are not exactly the least crowded at the Louvre, btw, so I think you either need to leave the class early or just not be too set on the tour. Tours are good, though, on the first trip, especially if neither of you has the inclination to do all the work needed to be your own tour guide (it really is a confusing place to visit the first few times). Since you're not big into art, perhaps it won't matter if you miss the tour - and the way to Mona Lisa is well marked.

San Diego...
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2. Re: Itinerary critique

There are definitely crepe stands around the city where you can get a crepe to go and eat it while walking. I don't know what time they open or if there is one near your hotel or near where you are going. You will definitely be able to get a croissant or something like that to eat on the go.

I wouldn't plan anything like a dinner cruise on your day of arrival. You don't know how you'll be after a long flight and don't know when jet lag will hit you.

Los Angeles
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3. Re: Itinerary critique

For sure there will be crêpe stands *somewhere* (and in particular, in Montmartre, though I've never paid much attention to how early they open...) My point is that this itinerary is pretty tight and Bugmonster is probably on the right track by trying to find a specific place to head to, rather than wander around each morning.

Your hotel can point you to the nearest boulangerie. Some boulangeries also sell coffee (most do not). All cafés sell coffee and I've yet to see one that wouldn't also have a croissant in the morning - bringing in outside food to a café is something you need to negotiate with that café. Most are okay with it, although those that are open early really do want you to buy your breakfast food from them.

What I"d do is just go to Google maps, put in the address of the hotel and then search boulangerie near...that address. There are tons of options (but if you're trying to find one on your way to a particular métro station, you'd pick the one closest to that station - Opera to Vendome is a large enough area, with enough boulangeries, that it would be hard to know which one was most convenient for you without knowing which metro stops you were using).

Your hotel will definitely help you figure this out. Pierre Hermès, which shows up on my search for boulangeries, is really a patisserie and not all of his shops have pastries beyond macarons, as we found out on our last trip.

Calgary, Canada
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4. Re: Itinerary critique

I think probably sandwich for breakfast might be easier to find around Opera, as bakeries open earlier. Except for mentioned rue Joubert I never noticed any creperie stand ( and this one is sit down) in this area. Maybe closer to Gare St. Lazare.

For Calife dinner cruise you probably need to book in advance.

Skating rink by Hotel de Ville may not be any longer, as weather this winter is mild.

After cooking class take metro to Louvre as you are cutting it very close to guided tour.

Hotel that you're moving into might be more inclined to store your luggage.

Le Bugue, France
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5. Re: Itinerary critique

I'm not a big fan of crèpes, so maybe I've just never noticed, but I can't ever remember seeing anyone eat a crèpe for breakfast or any café offering one at that time of day. Maybe the stands do open early, but I don't know.

There seems to be a lot of napping and sleeping in going on. I have always found that the best thing to do on arrival day is keep moving, slowly is fine, and stay outdoors as much as possible to replenish your vitamin D, then hit the hay around 9-10 pm and you should be fine the next day. I wouldn't take a cruise on the first night; boats sway and hum and can lull you right to sleep. You can always spot the people on Seine cruises who just arrived that morning.

Day 3 seems a bit odd for folks who aren't foodies and aren't really into art. It's not likely you'll make that Louvre tour. Why not scrap the market cooking tour (you can just go to a market by yourselves, a perfectly enjoyqble experience, and have a picnic. Then forget the 3-hour tour of the Louvre - get an audiotape and take in as much of it as feels adequate to your tastes.

I can't think of a place with a view of the Eiffel Tower that would meet your budget, but yes, terraces are often enclosed and heated.

Good luck with your trip!

6. Re: Itinerary critique

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