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Starting to panic! Itinerary help from experts please?

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Starting to panic! Itinerary help from experts please?

OK. We are a 50+ couple coming for our first visit - a week starting June 15. Staying at hotel in the 6th. I thought trip might have to be cancelled until just a few days ago... now it's on again & I'm feeling a little daunted about what's ahead. I did a bit of research starting awhile back, but tailed off when I thought we might not be going. Looking for some itinerary guidance. Basically, we want to see the major sites, and also try to have some time just to soak up the 'feel' of the city & area we are in. We arrive early on a Sunday morning- after a l-o-n-g overnight flight & facing a 4 hour time zone change. I'd appreciate some advice on how to plan our days (& nights) .... what to do first, where to go or not go first.... how to pace ourselves during the week....when is best time to do this or that... etc. Any suggestions as to how best to approach things as newbies would be appreciated. Merci!

Lockhart, Texas
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11. Re: Starting to panic! Itinerary help from experts please?

Yes. First, relax and assume this is just your first trip to Paris, not your only. You cannot see even all the things you know you want to see. For getting in some "must-sees" AND soaking up some Paris feel, figure to spend 2-3 days in and around the Tuilerie Garden. The Louvre on one end. L'Orangerie in the middle, palaces on the other end. Musee d'Orsay, Invalides (Army Museum - stunning, Bonie's tomb),and the Rodin Museum across the river, with Notre Dame a reasonable walk east. You will not, of course, be able to see more than some parts of the Louvre and d'Orsay. You can't do all of them both in a week. But, after three days, you will probably have had your fill of art. So take all of those places lightly, getting a taste of each. And do spend some time just hanging out in the gardens. You can get a sandwich and drink from the Paul (sandwich/bakery chain) trailer near the Louvre end and eat under the trees.

Now, doing that will by no means make much of a dent in what's Paris has to offer, but you'll see some of the best and kind of get oriented without a lot of subway travel. It is just almost inevitable that you plan more than you can do and still enjoy it. And just take it easy one day. It won't be a "lost" day if you use it to just soak up the local scene. I personally like to take a day in which I go out to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. In the 19th century, Parisians started feeling that they were losing their rural heritage and commissioned a park to be created as a country space in the city, and they achieved a masterpiece, constructing from scratch the hills, valleys, rock formations, streams, waterfalls, and lush foliage and trails. On the Rue Mannin side, there are places you can buy portable foods for lunch in the park. It's the perfect antidote to a fine art overload and a site worth a visit for itself.

Like most advice here, this is also the "what I'd do" version, but the fundamentals are plan conservatively, change emphasis if you begin to feel overloaded, and make one day deliberately low pressure. Often, that's the most memorable day.

Pjk
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12. Re: Starting to panic! Itinerary help from experts please?

Given that you are on the rue de Seine a nice thing to do whenever you get to the hotel on the first day is to walk down to the river and along the quays, but you will also be just at the Ile de la Cite so you can walk across the Pont Neuf to see or walk down to the Square du Verte-Galante down to your left at the tip of the island, then through the Place Dauphine and to Notre Dame. Walk along the Left Bank side so that you can see the statue of Charlemagne and the flowers along the left hand side of the sidewalk. On the other side of the cathedral, to the left, cross the pedestrian bridge which should have some street performers, and take a look at the Brasserie d'ile St Louis. You might want to sit outside here and have your first drink in Paris. You might even try one of their onion tarts. http://www.labrasserie-isl.fr/ And consider it for a dinner.

Afterwards you could cross the river back onto the Left Bank and walk back to the rue de Seine looking at the various restaurants along the way and maybe stopping at Shakespeare & Company.

For dinner that night, there is the Bistrot Mazzerin on the rue Mazzerine, one block over from you. tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187147-d8… I don't think you will need reservations but you might walk by it on your way back and if it looks good, do so.

Pjk

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13. Re: Starting to panic! Itinerary help from experts please?

Nice replies folks- this is just the type info. I'm looking for. Please keep 'em coming ... I'm even starting to relax ... and look forward to it ... :)

Ottawa, Ontario
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14. Re: Starting to panic! Itinerary help from experts please?

You have a full week so you don't need to cram every day. I agree with the suggestion that you plan two stops per day, maybe three depending on what they are. Work with that. Leave a free day at the end of the week to go places that had to get knocked off your list during the week. What draws you to Paris? We visited for five nights last year and didn't get to see everything on our wish list but we had a wonderful trip. We're returning for four nights this summer so we've added many new things that we would like to see. We're mid 40s but we're travelling with three young kids so our plans wouldn't match what you'd like to do. Just a few ideas:

we booked a private tour for the Louvre. Its so big and we have no background in art history.. but we really like art. Our guide was wonderful. She did have an art background and was able to bring things down to our level. It was 3 hrs well spent.

We really enjoyed the hour we spent roaming the gardens of Rodin's museum. We didn't visit the inside but the sculptures outside are amazing.

We loved our trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower. If you're interested, its likely too late for you to get advanced tickets. You could walk up or stand in line. Or you could book a behind the scenes tour from the official website (or linked through it anyway)

We enjoyed visiting the Arc de Triomphe. It was our first stop on arrival day. We then took the metro to Trocodero to get the wonderful view of the ET. Then walked to the ET to just explore from below. We walked past les Invalides, across Pont Alexandre (don't miss it!), and to Place de la Concorde.

We took a seine cruise at 21:30 (9:30pm). At 10pm the ET twinkled. It was beautiful. The tour we took was the one by Pont Neuf.

If you want to visit the towers of Notre Dame, be there by 9am. the lines only get longer as the day goes on. We really loved it but if you have any mobility issues, the stairs will be a real problem.

Find time to wander a neighbourhood. We wandered the Latin Quarter down to Lux Gardens last time and it was wonderful. We didn't have time for Montmartre or the Marais so both are on our must do lists for this trip.

We took one full day outside of Paris to visit Versailles. We loved it but not everyone would. Very crowded. We hired the same guide that we had for the Louvre for the day and we were able to skip the line with her. She met us at our hotel which was also nice. She guided us through the palace and then through the gardens to areas she knew we'd enjoy. The company we hired her from is based in Vancouver so its payable in Cdn dollars.

Don't miss Ile St Louis. Make a few stops and get things for a picnic. You could do this several times in different areas of the city.

PS: My husband and I are from NL originally. Our parents are still there. We're bringing his mom to Paris for her first trip this summer :-)

15. Re: Starting to panic! Itinerary help from experts please?

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16. Re: Starting to panic! Itinerary help from experts please?

Katya, You might want to make yourself familiar with the TA forum posting guidelines which prohibit self-promotion. People come here for advice from others - not to be sold to.

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17. Re: Starting to panic! Itinerary help from experts please?

casperjj - thanks . You mention NL, which is where I live .... but how did you know?

Vancouver, Canada
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18. Re: Starting to panic! Itinerary help from experts please?

Re Buttes Chaumont:

The Parisians had little say about the drastic transformation of Paris by Haussmann, following Napoleon III directives. The Empire wasn't a democracy...neither were the First Empire and the various French Kings, both before and after the 1789 Revolution.

At any rate the average citizens in European towns weren't as nature oriented as some people are nowadays.

The nephew of Napoleon I lived in England before he became President of France then Emperor, and retired there after the disastrous war with Prussia.

He liked English style gardens hence the look of all the 19th century parks in Paris.

"When established in 1867, the park was envisioned by Napoleon III as a garden showcase"

from …wikipedia.org/wiki/Parc_des_Buttes_Chaumont

"the park took its name from the bleak hill which occupied the site, which, because of the chemical composition of its soil, was almost bare of vegetation- it was called Chauve-mont, or bare hill. The area, just outside the limits of Paris until the mid-19th century, had a sinister reputation; it was close to the site of the Gibbet of Montfaucon, the notorious place where the bodies of hanged criminals were displayed after their executions from the 13th century until 1760.

After the 1789 Revolution, it became a refuse dump, and then a place for cutting up horse carcasses and a depository for sewage. The director of public works of Paris and builder of the Park, Jean-Charles Alphand, reported that "the site spread infectious emanations not only to the neighboring areas, but, following the direction of the wind, over the entire city."

Another part of the site was a former gypsum and limestone quarry mined for the construction of buildings in Paris and in the United States.

This not-very-promising site was chosen by Baron Haussmann, the Prefet of Paris, for the site of a new public park for the recreation and pleasure of the rapidly-growing population of the new 19th and 20th arrondissements of Paris, which had been annexed to the city in 1860"

There are a couple of engraving near the bottom of the page showing parts of the original site.

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19. Re: Starting to panic! Itinerary help from experts please?

You're getting a lot of great advice here! My first trip was last year, and I'm going back this year. :) I had grand plans and wound up striking about half of them because there was no way I was going to get them all in. The biggest decision I made (and the easiest) was as soon as I walked over there I decided to ditch the Louvre. I am most definitely an art lover, but the place is SO huge, and I was there in August, and I just knew I could never do it justice in the time I had and with the hordes of people swarming around, so I drew a line through it, and I never looked back, and it was a fantastic relief.

The Musee Jacquemart-Andre was another hugely pleasant surprise for me. It's the only museum open in the entire city on Monday, and the cafe there is really lovely. It's also close to the Arc du Triomphe (if that's on your list), and the Champs Elysees is right there for all your touristy needs on the same day, so make that your Monday. :)

Also, do yourself a favor and catch the organ recital in Notre Dame. I've never been to anything quite so lovely, and it's totally free and absolutely unforgettable. I did that instead of the tour. I can't tell you whether the tour is worth it, but I can tell you the organ recital most certainly is.

I took the Paris Charms and Secrets Tours. They use motorized bikes to take you to both banks and tell you various secrets about various sights. It was worth every euro and an absolute blast. I highly recommend them. I have MS and can't do a ton of crazy exercise, so if I can do that bike, anyone can. Seriously. This next time I'll be taking a tour by Context Tours. I'll keep you posted. :)

Make your rest count. Find a cafe or a beautiful garden and sit down for a while. Also, I walked or took the metro everywhere. The city is beautiful everywhere you go, and a fantastic walk. If it's too far to walk. the Metro will take you there. I never once needed a taxi and was flabbergasted to hear of people who thought they did.

I met up with gypsies near the Sacre Coeur and Abbesses. Don't sign any clipboard petitions, let anyone put anything on your fingers, or let anyone who makes the hair on the back your your neck stand up offer to carry your luggage and give you directions.

Eat as many crepes as you can.

Enjoy! :)

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20. Re: Starting to panic! Itinerary help from experts please?

all good info. .... (maybe a little TOO MUCH re Buttes Chaumont?)

:)

please keep comments coming?