Hi, I'm looking for some advice on managing a day trip to Paris on Saturday 16th August. I'm part of a group of six - we decided to take advantage of the cheap Eurostar rates offered when you book early. We arrive in Paris just before 10am local time and have to leave at 19:13, although we have to be at the train at least 30mins before. As a group, we speak a limited amount of French!
Although I'd appreciate any advice you'd consider relevant, here are my main questions I'm looking for some guidance on,
- Getting around in Paris. I did a search on the forums, and it appears the two main choices are either the open top bus or metro - which would you recommend and why? Right now, I'm edging towards the bus, even though it seems a lot more expensive, since it offers more of a chance to see Paris. On the other hand, the metro seems a lot quicker so it may be better when getting back to the station in the evening?
- How much cash to take? This is a particular hangup of mine. Last year when I visited Venice, I agonized over how much to take, torn between the risks of a). running out of cash or b). getting pickpocketed! Would appreciate some experienced advice on how best to minimize this risk when in Paris e.g. whether to take a small rucksack.
- Attractions. Again, when I went to Venice last year, I very quickly got disoriented and ended up getting lost and wasting loads of time at the start of the day. So I'd like to know what I could do in approximately eight hours in Paris. Obviously, I'd like to do the Eiffel Tower but I presume the queues will be massive? In which case just seeing it will suffice :) Other things that are in my head right now - arc de triomphe, tuileries gardens (seem to have great reviews on this site), champs elysees, maybe a boat trip on the river? These are just initial thoughts, so I'd appreciate your ideas on what is best to do with my time to avoid repeating my disastrous start in Venice!
- Eating during the day. Since we're going to be starting (very!) early, I think the first thing we'll probably be needing when arriving in Paris is to grab something light to eat - can anyone recommend any particular areas that would be good for this? And how to structure the rest of the day, food-wise? Given it's a Saturday, I know it's going to be crazily busy, but is there any useful tips for finding good places to have a light bite to eat without queuing among massive crowds (and then getting ripped off!)?
- Finally, any recommendations for a good guide/phrasebook for our visit?
Sorry, that's quite a lot of questions! But I'd be very grateful for any advice you can offer.