Paris itinerary - please help?(15 Posts)
Hi. I am taking my eldest daughter to Paris for a few days in August. It's to mark a big occasion, and I want to make it really special for her. She's in her late teens, and it will be just the two of us going.
I haven't been to Paris in YEARS, and although I love it, I seem to have forgotten everything, although I do speak the language. It will be my daughter's first time there.
I reckon we'll see all the major landmarks, and maybe do a bus tour. Is it worth booking this in advance from home, and does anyone know which route is best?
It would also be nice to do a boat tour of the Seine. I assume evening would be best for this, so that the buildings are lit up (even though it'll still be light in August).
My daughter is really into fashion, and loves all the big names (not that I can afford it!) and it would be really great to incorporate her love of the big fashion houses into our trip. I contacted a walking tour group about this (they apparently do a fashion themed tour), but they didn't get back to me. Will we be likely met with a frosty reception at the haute couture shops, or are they reasonably benevolent?!
My budget is comfortable but certainly not huge. Any tips of where to eat - or indeed ANYTHING Paris related - would be very much appreciated. Our hotel (in Montmartre) includes breakfast, so at least we don't have that to worry about.
Lastly, getting around: do you buy individual metro tickets, or a book of them? We will be there for 3 days. I just want to feel prepared in advance, so that we don't waste time faffing or poring over guidebooks (showing my age now!).
I think that's it for now.
We did Paris a few years ago. Did all the usual stuff but the best day was when we sat in a cafe in a side street, had a long leisurely lunch and watched the world go by. Then we wandered around some side streets and along the river. Bliss.
Thanks. Sounds lovely, and we will have some relaxed time, but I need structure too!
We are staying in Paris at the moment. We are just about to do this:
We loved the 'High Line' in NYC. This is supposed to be similar.
Croissant making workshop (in English) with La Cuisine lacuisineparis.com/paris-baking-patisserie-classes/baking-classes/pastry
If that’s too long or expensive, there’s Sugar Dazecupcake boutique just south of Montmartre for a cupcake decorating workshop.
The 300 steps and €5 to climb the dome at The Sacre Coeur are worth it. The views are amazing. It opens at 8:30am and if you can get up early enough, I highly recommend going when it first opens. You'll beat the crowds but most importantly, it's really beautiful to watch the city waking up in the low morning sun. There are some lovely little cafes nearby which do a good breakfast/brunch afterwards.
All summer long, from the end of June to the end of August, a funfair is set up in the Tuileries Gardens. There are rides of all sorts and for all ages, including the famous big wheel, things to eat for the foodies, and even some concerts and other festivals organised during that time.
Crowds of people swarm The Louvre during the morning and then the lines trickle away as the day goes on so go in the afternoon, or if possible, on Wednesday or Friday when they are open late. If you go in the evening, have dinner first at Coffee Crepe which serves an excellent choice of Real French crepes just a block from the Louvre. When ever you go, I'd say prebook!
Paris Plages is a fake beach that is set up just for the summer, with sand, deckchairs, parasols, ice cream stands and other beach activities. Completely free.
The Pompidou is open until 10pm which makes it a good activity to do in one of your evenings after dinner. It's quite a fun museum - there's something for everyone.
Crepuscule is one of our favourite creperies and it's not too far from the Eiffel Tower.
We went in October, so not sure if this tip holds true for summer.
There were huge queues for Eiffel Tower by day. We did a late evening Seine tour and headed back to Eiffel Tower. Queues were so short at this time. And the view is gorgeous by night.
Also for the Louvre, I recommend booking a tour. Very informative and you skip the queues. I think we did an evening tour and crowds were not so bad.
The Marais is worth a visit. Lots of small streets with little boutiques and places to eat.
Two things that I would have like to have done is attend a show at Paris Opera, and the famous graveyard where Jim Morrison is buried. Lots of famous people buried there and from photos we saw it seems a beautiful place.
It’s a wonderful wonderful city! I must plan a return trip.
Don't forget gelato at Amorino - there are multiple locations.
L'as du falafelis great and reasonably priced - can eat in or take out.
We went for brunch at Angelina's - make a reservation as it's popular. There are several but I like the one on Rue de Rivoli near the Tuilleries.
There are grocery stores & boulangeries (bakeries) everywhere - Franprix, Carrefour, Monoprix and smaller ones. Fresh squeezed orange juice, cheese, baguette, wine/beer...yum. Grab a picnic and eat in one of the many parks, or down by the Seine. Carry a bottle opener, utensils, hand sanitizer. Keep in mind that while carrying a paring knife to cut the food on your picnics is a great idea, you have to check it before entering museums.
There are a ton of restaurants around Place Saint Michel - little ones that will make up your choice of crepe while you wait, take out falafel, or sit down ones. I like Rue Saint-Andre des Arts & Rue Saint Severin.
Walk the 2 islands in the Seine - Ile de la cite (visit the tip at Square du vert- galante and the bird market) and ile saint-louis.
There's some designer stuff at the Bon Marche and there's a separate building just for food/home stuff - also great for picnic supplies.
If you want cheap lotions/toiletries, Pharmacie de la Cite is near the Bon Marche. That whole area around Saint Germaine is fun to wander in, and the Jardin Luxembourg is also close by.
There's also Jardin des plantes where there's a good zoo and some museums, and that's close to Rue Mouffetard, good for a wander and some fairly reasonably priced restaurants with set menus (3 items ~20-30E) and touristy items like fondue and tarteflette.
Re: metro tickets, you might as well buy a book of 10 as that's 5 trips for the two of you and they're much cheaper than singles. Remember to keep your ticket as the guards check fairly frequently, and on the RER lines you need them to get out of the turnstiles. Apparently the tickets are supposed to allow multiple rides within a time frame, but I find once I leave the station I can never re-enter on the same one. The little offices in the metros have mini metro maps for free.
I haven't done a bus or boat tour so can't help there.
Oh, and I forgot one of my favourites (near the Port Royal metro stop)
Academie de la Biere I love the Cherry chouffe, my daughter loves the mashed potatoes, and we all love the mussels (moules) et frites. They also have the cafe gourmand, which is little desserts and a coffee, if you have room left. Really reasonable, especially at happy hour. One order of muscles is ~10E and will feed at least 3.
If you are interested in tours I would 100% recommend Paris Walks www.paris-walks.com/summer-walks.html
No need to book, just show up at the meeting point and pay when you get there. We have done a few and it’s such a great way to learn about the city-the guides are all fantastic.
I would suggest visiting the original Chanel Shop. (Rue Cambon) Buy a lipstick. Hermes has the most amazing window displays and LV is wonderful but has queues. Go early or late. The first ever Louboutin shoe shop was in the Palais Royal area. Paris also has a few 19th century shopping arcades to visit and the ceiling in the Galleries Lafayette is worth the effort as is browsing in the shop.
The easiest fashion museum to access is the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in the Rue de Rivoli. Check what’s on there.
Other than that, do a river cruise, go to the Musee D’Orsay (book in advance) and enjoy areas like The Marais and contrast with the sublime Place Vendome. The Monmartre area isn’t central but buy a carnet of metro tickets and you’ll get around. Paris isn’t cheap though! Especially so in tourist areas!
Transport tickets: they still do the carnets of 10 tickets, can't remember the price, maybe 14.50 Euros. I think single price is 1.90. Valid on buses, metro and some RER services. You can buy them in metro stations. Ticket machines that accept cash are more common now - up to a few years ago I was surprised to find they were card only. And yes, make sure you keep your ticket for the whole journey because sometimes they do spot checks and fine people without a ticket. You don't need the ticket to exit, just push through the barrier, which is why some people are lax about retaining their ticket during the journey. Paris transport is run by RATP and their website has lots of info and a journey planner - some pages in English.
I thought the 'through ticket' option was just for buses (ie you can use the same ticket to change buses within a certain time period, as long as it's in the same direction). Are you staying up the hill at Montmarte? There is a small bus that goes up there from Pigalle.
Guidebook: I recommend Rick Steves, who is actually American but the books are available in the UK. His suggestions are very 'realistic' and based on his own travel experiences so they're like the things a well-travelled friend would recommend.
Fashion: I've never been brave enough to walk into the shops but browsing the window displays in the evening after they close is a safe alternative. The west end of rue Saint Honore has a lot.
Place marking some great ideas here. I love Paris.
If your daughter likes grandeur then consider a front-of-house visit to the Palais Garnier opera house. It's very beautiful and opulent inside.
It's very central, near Place Vendome and rue Saint Honore so you'll probably be in the area for the couture shops anyway.
Thought of something else -
If you want to do a museum, consider Musee d'Orsay or the Orangerie instead of the Louvre - smaller & easier to get around, lots of great art. That frees up more time for other things. There's also a museum at Jardin Luxembourg - haven't been to that one yet.
I can imagine it'll be difficult to pick what to do with only 3 days.
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