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A Whirlwind 2 Days in Paris!

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Kuala Lumpur...
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A Whirlwind 2 Days in Paris!

Dear all,

6 people, myself included, are going to be in Paris this August. We've booked a 3 nights stay at the Hotel De Nell in the 9th arrondissement, but since we will be arriving late from the Champagne-Ardennes area the first night, we will have only 2 full days of sightseeing and shopping in Paris before heading back home.

I haven't been back to Paris since, oh, 14 years ago when I did a budget backpacking 1 night stay there. I'm pretty sure things have changed a lot since then. Another couple in my group have not been to Paris altogether.

I've managed to secure tickets to the summit of the Eiffel at 9am for our first day of sightseeing. Just wondering how best to proceed from there. I'm considering between getting on a HOHO bus/Batobus and getting to the sights ourselves vs. getting an organised walking tour (private/open). If a walking tour is really necessary, are there any specific good walking tours/guides you would recommend?

We're hoping to see the main sights, e.g. the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, Sacre Cour etc..... plus visit a neighbourhood or two (St. Germain, Montmartre) if possible.The Orsay opens till late on this day, whilst the Louvre opens till late the next - any time to fit both these museums in as well as a river cruise down the Seine?

Yes, I know it would be theoretically impossible to fit all of Paris into a short trip like that. I wish I had more days. But I would most welcome and appreciate your kindest feedback on how I should go about organising these 2 days of sightseeing for my group. How my heart is torn between sipping coffee in a quaint café and watching the world go by vs. trying to take of Paris in! Please don't be harsh on me for wanting to see all of Paris!

Thank you all very much in advance.

Kuala Lumpur...
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1. Re: A Whirlwind 2 Days in Paris!

Bump. Would really appreciate some help cause am feeling quite overwhelmed with the information out there on Paris. Just concerned about making a misstep(s) especially since I'm planning for the 6 of us. Thanks a lot.

Saratoga Springs, NY
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2. Re: A Whirlwind 2 Days in Paris!

I personally can't stand bus tours.

Walking tours, on the other hand, are great. I did a wonderful one with http://www.paris-walks.com/ (Monmartre - I really recommend it if you are interested in art - especially Renoir, Toulouse-Latrec and Picasso) and plan to do another one or two this August.

Boat rides don't need to be booked in advance. People seem to like http://www.vedettesdupontneuf.com/home/ which leaves from Ile de la Cite (near Notre Dame) or bateauxparisiens.com/cruise-tours-paris/sigh… that departs from the Eiffel Tower. I think they both have coupons you can print online for a discount. Take a boat cruise at night, at about sunset. That way you get to see the lights of Paris and the Eiffel Tower sparkle. If you take the 9:30 vedettes du pont neuf, you will see the tower sparkle at 10. Plus, it frees up the daytime for museums.

United Kingdom
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for Barnstaple, Robin Hood's Bay, Whitby
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3. Re: A Whirlwind 2 Days in Paris!

Well, personally I would say don't cram too much in. There is so much to do in Paris you can spend many days running from sight to sight and not really having time to take any of it in. The museums are whole days (at least) in themselves so I wouldn't rush to those, for example.

The Batobus is a really nice way to see the central city from the river, I have never bothered with a walking tour myself as it is a very safe, negotiable centre. As a rough suggestion you could:

Day 1: Eiffel Tower (you will probably want around 2 hours to get to the top and see the city and then see it again from the larger lower levels, there may be restricted views due to smog/clouds, even in summer, early on, too)

Batobus round to see the sights and then alight at Notre Dame to see the cathedral.

Wander around St-Germaine and walk back up the Seine (or Batobus) towards Champs Elysée and the Arc (you could include walking passed the Louvre to see the outside and the pyramid and then up through the Jardin des Tuileries).

Day 2: Go up the towers of Notre Dame first thing (9:30 or 10:00 I think they open)

Then get the Metro up to Montmartre and wander through the area up to Sacré-Cœur

Kuala Lumpur...
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4. Re: A Whirlwind 2 Days in Paris!

Thank you TracieKnits, Riotstar for your suggestions. Much appreciated.

Tickets for the L'Open Tour and Batobus can be bought as a combo and I'm considering it for both days so that it will help us get to wherever we feel like going without having to navigate the Metro. We've used HOHOs in London, Barcelona, Florence and a few other places and found them quite convenient. Although I think we might just have to get on the Metro for our first morning from the hotel to the Eiffel.

Ok... perhaps our itinerary may look as follows:

Day 1

First, the Eiffel Tower. I'm thinking if we get there early enough and go straight to the summit it may take us about 1.5-2 hours there? After that we hop on the Batobus to the Notre Dame and its surrounds. I hope to be able to book the Masterpieces Tour at the Louvre possibly at 2pm. If we still have any strength left, Montmartre and Sacre Cour.

Day 2

Musee Orsay in the morning. St. Germain and its surrounds. Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe. After dinner perhaps a cruise to see Paris illuminated and sparkly Eiffel Tower at 10pm.

Hopefully no backtracking there :-). Overly ambitious? Anything I should give a miss or is there anything I should go for instead? I'd like to get up the Notre Dame towers but I think with 2 days I'd go for attractions for which I can get skip-the-line pre-booked tickets.

Thanks again.

Paris, France
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5. Re: A Whirlwind 2 Days in Paris!

When you have limited time, the metro is the best way to get around the city fast. Opentour and Batobus are dreadfully slow and would eat up half of your time.

Kuala Lumpur...
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6. Re: A Whirlwind 2 Days in Paris!

Thank you kerouac2 for the feedback regarding L'Open Tour and Batobus. Will getting a Paris Pass perhaps give us more freedom in terms of transport choices - there's the Les Cars Rouge, the Travelcard covering the metro etc. as well as a Seine River cruise? Plus it allows fast track entry to the attractions I've listed in my itinerary (with the exception of the Eiffel, of course, but I've got that covered already).

Just curious, I've read a lot about Paris locals heading off for their holidays every August. I'm not quite sure if this is a ridiculous question but... will there be slightly less congestion on the roads in Paris as a result? I mean, over here in KL whenever there are school or major public holidays we breathe a sigh of relief because there just seems to be fewer cars in the city.

Le Bugue, France
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7. Re: A Whirlwind 2 Days in Paris!

No, there won't be much less congestion in Paris. Parisians may leave for holiday in August, but they are just as quickly replaced by hordes of tourists.

Don't buy the Paris Pass! It's a complete rip-off. Métro tickets are cheap, as are the Seine river cruises. And don't be tricked by the "fast entry" ploy. It's true that a Museum Pass (which is often worth the price) enables you to skip the ticket lines, but NO pass allows you to skip security lines, so "fast entry" just means a bit faster than those people who haven't got an entry ticket yet.

Linthicum, MD
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8. Re: A Whirlwind 2 Days in Paris!

At first glance, your itinerary looks way too ambitious on day one, and not ambitious enough on day two. Also, you are ignoring your own advice to take advantage of late opening hours at the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay. The Orsay is much less crowded in the evening. The Louvre is somewhat overwhelming whenever you go. I think I'd skip the Louvre on day one. I'd take the Bateaux Mouches ride from the Pont de l'Alma after the Eiffel Tower. You get to see many monuments from the river, incluing Notre Dame. It's fairly close and lets you catch your breath a little. I'd do the Louvre on the afternoon on Day 2, with the Orsay that evening. They're not too far apart. That leaves Sacre Coeur and the Arc. End day one with one and start day two with the other. Whatever you decide, your itinerary is busy, but completely possible.

Kuala Lumpur...
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9. Re: A Whirlwind 2 Days in Paris!

Thank you StCirq and Jonesie.

Ok, no Paris Pass. :-)

Jonesie, actually why I'm aiming for earlier visits of both the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay is because I hope to take advantage of the museums' scheduled Masterpieces tours that run daily for about 1.5 hours each time. Would you or anyone else know if it is easy to sign up with these tours, and if they fill up very quickly so much so one has to get to the museums early to 'pre-book' their places with these tours?

Linthicum, MD
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10. Re: A Whirlwind 2 Days in Paris!

I have never taken a tour at either place. It does sound like a good idea to take a tour of the Louvre. It is so enormous, taking a tour would save time and energy. I'm not sure it's necessary at the Orsay. To see the heart of the collection, just head straight back to the wall, go up to the top floor, and work your way from back to front. Once you've seen the impressionist paintings, you can see what else your time and energy permit.