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7 days, 2 kids, 1 husband, 1 apt., 2 day trips, 20 sites...

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Toronto
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7 days, 2 kids, 1 husband, 1 apt., 2 day trips, 20 sites...

Hello Experts,

The time has come for itinerary planning and booking in advance for our last week of July visit to Paris. We have from July 25 noonish to July 31 2:00 pm when we catch train from Austerlitz to the Dordgne region. I would like to fit everything in:

Louvre,

Musee d'Orsay,

Eiffel Tower,

Arc De Triomphe,

Champs Elysees,

Notre Dame,

Sainte Chapelle,

Ile St. Louis,

Sacre Coeur, Moulin Rouge- Montmartre,

Pantheon,

Luxembourg Gardens,

Galeries Lafayette,

St. Germain, Latin Quarter and Marais strolling,

Seine boat tour,

city bus tour,

Montparnasse Tower

AND Versailles and Monet's Garden half day trips.

I believe this can all be accomplished with careful planning and I am asking for your input as to how to group things together. We will not climb the E.T. Which places should I get advance tickets for?

We have booked a 3 bedroom apartment in the Odeon section of St. Germain through Airbnb, which I am very happy about (searched at least 1000 apts). The street is Rue Dupuytren and I think it is in a very good central location for walking and metro connection. Kids are teens who love museums, art, architecture, taking photos and strolling.

Thank you in advance for any help you can give me regarding how to plan our days to get the most out of our trip but also to not be rushing around with a schedule in hand.

Le Bugue, France
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1. Re: 7 days, 2 kids, 1 husband, 1 apt., 2 day trips, 20 sites...

Get a good map of Paris and locate those sites and start grouping them. Then consider transportation options: www.ratp.fr Then estimate how much time you think you'll spend at each place. Then factor in time for café sitting, browsing markets and shops, and suddenly seeing something you hadn't expected to come upon. Very generally speaking, I'd plan for about 4 destinations a day, but always be willing to change course on a whim. I'd consider dropping one of the day trips, though. Two in less than a week's time means you're going to shortchange Paris.

New Hampshire
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2. Re: 7 days, 2 kids, 1 husband, 1 apt., 2 day trips, 20 sites...

It's usually best to start with one major destination (Louvre, Orsay, Versailles, Giverny), then fill in the rest of the day. However, it's best to start the day with Sainte-Chapelle, Notre Dame (if you plan to climb the towers), to avoid lines that grow longer throughout the day. Then, you have to plan around days closed (Louvre on Tuesdays, Versailles and Orsay on Mondays).

Unless you rush, a day trip to Versailles or Giverny is more than 1/2 day (as you'd probably get back to Paris around 2:30-3PM) and it's not convenient to do both the same day, unless you book an escorted bus tour.

Save things like Seine boat tour, Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur, neighborhood strolling, for after other venues have closed.

You may have to adjust your plans for weather - a spell of very hot weather, rain...

That is a lot to accomplish without rushing. So, you may want to start by dividing your list into "must do", "hope to do", and "if there's time".

Toronto
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3. Re: 7 days, 2 kids, 1 husband, 1 apt., 2 day trips, 20 sites...

Thank you StCirq. Will start making a tentative itinerary and come back here. The thing is, in regard to the two day trips, my husband really wants to see Versailles and I really want to see Monet's Garden (I am an artist) and kids want to see both. I would love to fit both in but i understand i might have to cut out some sites. Do you have an opinion as to which Paris sites I can cut out? If I can work it with your 4 sites in a day rough plan, then all the sites could be seen in 5 days, leaving 2 (a bit less) for the day trips.

Toronto
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4. Re: 7 days, 2 kids, 1 husband, 1 apt., 2 day trips, 20 sites...

Thanks you DJKBooks, Yes, must consider when sites are closed. I thought I should book Louvre and Orsay in advance. Do you have to get tickets to go inside Notre Dam but not up? Versailles and Giverny will need advance tickets too I think? But first I will start arranging... this part is fun too, so much anticipation!!

Le Bugue, France
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5. Re: 7 days, 2 kids, 1 husband, 1 apt., 2 day trips, 20 sites...

I'd cut out the Champs Elysées first. And since you're hitting most of the major sites anyway, I'd skip the city bus tour, which can eat up loads of time when the city is crowded and there's traffic.

CT
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6. Re: 7 days, 2 kids, 1 husband, 1 apt., 2 day trips, 20 sites...

Excuse me, but how old are your children? What are their wishes? What has been their input into the itinerary. If they are too young to have input, then this itinerary is impossible. If they are older, have them look at a guide book. Bikeabout tours has a great bike trip to Versailles.

Mill Valley...
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7. Re: 7 days, 2 kids, 1 husband, 1 apt., 2 day trips, 20 sites...

I agree with StCirq and would eliminate the Champs and the bus tour. I would also suggest dropping the Tour Montparnasse and Galeries Lafayette. I honestly don't understand the attraction to GL -- it's just a huge department store. I never go there unless I'm looking to buy something specific. If you want to see an elevated view of Paris, you can do that at the Arc de Triomphe.

Ottawa, Ontario
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8. Re: 7 days, 2 kids, 1 husband, 1 apt., 2 day trips, 20 sites...

I know this isn't going to help you fit things in but if you really like Monet, you won't want to miss the Musee de l'Orangerie. Its a small museum so it won't take long but its definitely worth stopping to visit.

We visited for the same amount of time as you last summer. Most of your wish list was on mine as well (all except Giverny, Tour Montparnasse and the city bus tour) We missed a lot of it. We never made it to the Orsay, Marais, Montmartre, or Galleries Lafayette ( and remember the things we didn't include that you have). Now, we did go up the ET (we had prebooked tickets) and we visited Rodin's gardens. But we dropped things as we found other wonderful things to see and visit. Four stops per day is great, in theory, but if one of them is the Louvre, there's a half day gone there. It's nice to just wander without 'having' to be somewhere else. I agree with others that if you plan one or two MUST sees each day, then have the rest of your day filled with 'LIKE to see, you have something to drop.

Toronto
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9. Re: 7 days, 2 kids, 1 husband, 1 apt., 2 day trips, 20 sites...

Dont' worry, vintagebabe, this list has included the kid's desires as well. They are 17, girl and 14, boy. They actually love museum and galleries. They also like books and by coincidence there is an apparently famous bookstore on our street - Shakespeare's Bookstore. But your name has also reminded me that my daughter would also love to find some vintage fashion stores. I was assuming we'd find some of those in the Latin Quarter and the Marias. Do you know any that you can recommend? Ones that are not too expensive. Thank you for the suggestion about the bike rentals at Versailles. I love that idea. I had read about a similar thing at Monet's Garden, which we were planning to do, but at Versailles also seems like a great idea (hoping to bring picnics to both if allowed).

I have decided to drop Lafayette, Champs and Montparnasse as per your recommendations, Nutsabouttravel, but the bus tour is a bit of a tradition with us. We visit one country/city per summer and always take a bus tour on the first or second day ( we like to do it at night). I think we'll try to fit in the Musee De L'Orangerie. Do you think the river tour is a must do? I think we could do without it and maybe tentatively schedule 3 sites per day with lots of flexibility for wandering off.

Thank you again for the wonderful suggestions and recommendations.

New Hampshire
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10. Re: 7 days, 2 kids, 1 husband, 1 apt., 2 day trips, 20 sites...

I would urge you to decide for yourselves what to drop...and don't drop but lower on the list.

Especially with kids, I highly recommend l'Opentour, if the weather is favorable, as the panoramic views from seats on the open top upper deck are magnificent and the routes cover a LOT of scenery, which may reduce your need/urge to take the time to "stroll" various neighborhoods. Or, you could consider the Foxity tour that also covers a lot of scenery (and both include a ride along the Champs Elysees) - the one with a few hop on/hop off stops or the one with no stops.

And, I'm sure everyone would enjoy the views from the top of Tour Montparnasse, especially since you're not planning to ascend the Eiffel Tower.

Keep in mind that you won't get much done day or arrival or day of departure. Since you arrive on a Friday, and are staying in an apartment, first order of business should be stocking the apartment with beverages, breakfast/snack items, etc., as Saturday is a very, very, busy day for shopping and the crowds and lines can be frustrating. Before going to the supermarket, check supplies, paper products, laundry detergent, etc. and make a list. Saturday is also not a good day for Galleries Lafayette (mobbed). But, that's open later Thursday evenings and is well worth a look inside for the spectacular interior and also the views from the rooftop terrace.

Once you're there and out and about, much will depend on everyone's stamina and attention span. Some could spend hours and hours in the Louvre, for others a couple of hours is plenty. Some visit only the Impressionists on the top floor of Musee d'Orsay, others cover every room on every floor.

Some days you'll get around to much more than you would presume, other days less.

Just be sure to note the hours open for each destination. Knowing sunset time is useful as well.