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Old 02-17-2013, 06:11 PM   #21
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I'm going to be there for a few days in May too. What is the Open Bus?

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Old 02-17-2013, 07:21 PM   #22
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If time it tight, get a pass on the Bateau Mouche. Hop on/off for a day on the boats going up and down the Seine. Worth it even for an hour or so.
Get to see a lot of stuff from the river.

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Old 02-17-2013, 07:50 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by laughingduck View Post
We went a couple years ago, stayed a week. We stayed on Grenelle, walking distance from the Eiffel, nice area. As others have noted, 3 days is gonna force you to concentrate on your interests. Take the metro everywhere and walk from the stops, we never got into a cab and went anywhere anytime probably quicker and cheaper on the metro. My interests would dictate (if I had only 3 days) the Louvre - that's a whole day! Oh, and it's not far from Notre Dame, so maybe dinner near Notre Dame and take the metro home. Versaille is up to you, that's almost a whole day if you do Marie Antoinett's estate. Arc de Triomphe was almost anti climactic, but quick. Latin Quarter good for shopping and relaxing, Sacre Couer def worth the trip, great pics and grand architecture. O, and of course, the Eiffel. O, and there's a really flavorful and HUGE Farmer's market on Grenelle to stroll through, but it's only on one day a week, I think Wed., but check around. Good way to see and sample local raw groceries, close to Eiffel. We got a wine, bread, and cheese there and ate brunch in Champs du Mars near the Eiffel while planning the day. Bon Chance.
+1 for the metro. We visited our daughter twice in Paris where she spent her Junior year of college. She got us metro passes and we were able to see the whole city from the 1st to the 18th arrondissement.

The Notre Dame, Luxembourg garden, Saint Germain de pres (Latin quarter) and Champs Elysee are all close and can be walked in a few hours. The Sacre Coeur cathedral is beautiful. Les Invalides is within a 15 minutes walk from the Eiffel tower. And if you decide to visit the Louvre museum make sure to check out the best croissant and cafe au lait at Angelina across the street.
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:52 PM   #24
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Loved Paris - everyone's so grouchy it's comical. I went with my child 10 years ago.

I second the Paris Metro for transportation. Getting a chicken sandwich on a baguette from a street vendor was my favorite. Real mayonaise!
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:53 PM   #25
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OK - I've read everyone's recommendations - I've been to Paris many times and the following are my favorites:

St Chapelle - behind Notre Dame, one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe - it's like a stained glass bird cage.

Underneath Notre Dame are the Roman ruins - really cool

Musee du Moyen Age (also the Musee du Cluny) - this was a cloister and before that a Roman bath - it has the Unicorn Tapestry room along with a lot of artifacts from medieval times up close and personal

Musee du Orsay - mentioned before - amazing collection of impressionistic paintings as well as other historical paintings

Louvre - uhhh, the most interesting part here for me was all of the mosaics that had been unearthed and brought to Paris; the French history wing which has paintings of French history - many from Napoleon's seven battles - notice in each painting he is a tall or taller than any other person in the painting even though that is no true in reality - the largest painting in the Louvre is in this wing and of Napoleon crowning Josephine...also cool to see the winged glory (sans arms, of course). I personally hate the Mona Lisa and tried very hard every time I was in the Louvre to avoid it - alas, no such luck. Leonardo had many other more interesting pieces of art, in my estimation.

If you are near the Eiffel Tower, you are near Les Invalides, which is the military museum and behind that is where Napoleon is buried - both times. The Focault pendulum is also in the same building and is still swinging. Les Invalides has one of the largest armories (armor from from medieval times) I've seen - they also had a museum on the third floor which was art from the soldiers in WWI and WWII - very sobering. On the top floor are scale models of every French fort.

Outside of the Louvre is a beautiful walking garden - when I was there in April, they had orange tulips with black flowers. Another nice garden is the one outside the museum of anthropology (in another part of town). I believe in the Tuileries gardens has working apiary as well. Another interesting place is Les Halles - lots of shopping and near a church is a large sculpture of a head laying on its side - cool place. The Georges Pompidou Center has some very modern colorful sculptures in a fountain outside one of the more ugly buildings in Paris. Also, notice a lot of Egyptian obelisks throughout a walk through Paris (saw more in Rome, but Paris had quite a few as well).

For shopping, do not miss Galeries Lafayette - amazing store just to walk around - the food area is usually on the ground floor or basement - you can get so many French specialties to go. Also, there is usually a floor or half a floor devoted to women's lingerie - there is a saying a French women spends more on her underwear than an American woman spends on her jewelry - the underwear is exquisite (with a price to match) - pieces of clothing art.

The left bank has some interesting restaurants....creperie's are usually quite good and fairly inexpensive.

Enjoy your trip - PM me if you want some more info.
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:07 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by photoguy View Post
Paris is a great city to visit. When we went we took the metro and walked everywhere. There are so many sights and I think it really is a city where you have to walk it to experience it.

For bikes, there is velib bike rental (How it works / Paris - Vélib' - vélos en libre-service à Paris - Site Officiel). They have stations everywhere and its very inexpensive. However, we never felt the need for a bike.

For guidebooks, I recommend looking at rick steves guides.

For a three day trip, I'd skip versailles unless it's of particular interest to you. I think it depends on what's important to you. If you are interested in art, you could spend a week or more in all of the museums like the louvre.
Us old warriors who find it difficult walking can bike anywhere.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:35 PM   #27
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My fave small museum:
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:03 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by anethum View Post
I think the prettiest neighborhood in the city is the "Marais", which is mostly in the 4th arrondissement near the St. Paul metro station. Don't miss the gorgeous Place des Vosges in the eastern end of the area. Rue des Rosiers, rue des Francs Bourgeois, and rue St. Paul are all nice streets for strolling, but so are the little side streets. Ile St. Louis (also in the 4th arrond.), the smaller of the 2 islands in the Seine, is also very pretty and a nice place to wander through.

There are dozens of excellent museums. Personally, I find the Louvre daunting. It is massive and much of its holdings don't interest me. Most visitors love the Mus
ée d'Orsay, known for its extensive collection of impressionist paintings. Less well-known is its fine collection of gorgeous Art Nouveau furniture. There are very nice views from the top floors. The Centre Pompidou is worth seeing at least from the outside for its unusual architecture. If you go inside, you get great views from the semi-outdoor escalators as you go up.

On Sunday, some roads along the Seine are closed to motor vehicle traffic and are delightful for walking, biking, & rollerblading. The elevated Promenade Plant
ée is a pretty park built along disused train tracks. I suspect it was the inspiration for the High Line in Manhattan. It starts in the 12th arrond. just east of the Bastille Opera House, and goes eastward. There are lots of stairways to get up to it or to exit from it.
+1 anethum! Glad to see someone recommend the places I love. Definitely not as touristy as the usual places.
I worked in Paris on the east side and spent all my time in the Marais and the places you mention. Barely saw the Eiffel Tower and wasn't crazy about Montmartre. Promenade Plantee is great!!
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:26 AM   #29
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Just a note on the Louvre if you go on a day with lines at the main entrance in the pyramid. There is an underground entrance from the basement of a shopping center a couple of blocks back on the right bank that never has lines. We used it to bypass the lines at the Pyramid on a drizzly day. Worked great. You can probably find it with a Google query.
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:46 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by WestLake View Post
My fave small museum: Home | Rodin Museum
This was one of our favorite spots too. Great story about the place, interesting combination of gardens, sculpture, architecture and art. Add to that you can see the whole place in 1-2 hours.

Our other highlights include a bike tour, climbing to the top of Notre Dame, the roof of the Arc De Triomphe at dusk and Ste Chappelle.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:58 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by WestLake View Post
My fave small museum: Home | Rodin Museum
+1. I love the Rodin Museum. My wife doesn't quite get my obsession with sculpture, but I really love it, and Rodin, well he was pretty good at it.

Last time I was there, before I took off on my hellish bicycle ride, I did a night river boat tour for the first time. I think it is worthwhile to do that (I'd skip dinner on the boat).

Catacombs were really cool. My wife loved it more, so much so that my father turned to me and said, "You got yourself one sick puppy there."

St Chappelle is way cool. I'd skip Notre Dame for it if you have to choose.

The Jewish quarter is a cool place to hang out and get some falafel. L'Al's is very good (and one of the few didn't act dumb when I asked for tap water). Saturday is not an interesting day to roll into the Jewish quarter in case you were wondering.

And I really like strolling around montmarte and seeing the dali thing.

of course the louvre. You could spend weeks there.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:25 PM   #32
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Thank you all for the great information will take some time to absorb and plan but it has given me some terrific ideas
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:35 PM   #33
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The things I enjoyed the most in no particular order:

- Notre Dame. I took the tour that takes you up to the bell tower - it was cool because you could see the gargoyles up close.
- Louvre - the Medici gallery is awesome!!!! Rather than fighting the crowd at the Mona Lisa - head to this gallery.
- Musee D'Orsay, as Meadh said - great architecture and fabulous art.
- Sacre Cour. Not only is a beautiful, impressive church with fabulous views - you can climb the come to the topmost cupola. AMAZING views from up there. (Better views than from the top of the Eiffel, IMO.)
- Eiffel Tower.

My hotel was on the river, just across from the Louvre - and the people on the dinner barges looked (and sounded) like they were having a fabulous time. I didn't partake -but might next time I'm there.

I took the metro everywhere, and walked. Wear practical shoes.

I did not get to see Versailles because of a museum worker strike.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:23 PM   #34
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So nice to read so many nice posts about a city I lived in for a while. Never been to the Moulin Rouge though.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:00 PM   #35
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Musée de l’Orangerie, boat tour on the Seine.

We knew we didn't have time for the Louvre in our short trip, so we skipped it.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:02 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by rodi View Post
I did not get to see Versailles because of a museum worker strike.
WHAT? .... a strike in Paris

Every single one we ran across, my son said "Oh, what's that? Let's go look".

He also called the Beauvais airport, the Beevis and Butthead airport because everyone lines up to get a bus ticket after exiting the plane then gets on the same bus to go to Paris and gets dropped off in front of a bar.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:18 PM   #37
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It was nearly 20 years ago that we stayed for a week at a nice little auberge on the Île Saint-Louis in April, but I remember it as if it were yesterday. We would spend a few hours in the morning looking at some interesting site, then spend even longer at lunch. In the afternoon, we went somewhere else for a few hours and then back to the hotel to rest up for a late dinner.

You know all the famous places. Here are some of the less well-known places that we really enjoyed

Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt - you may find just the treasure you've always wanted at this gigantic flea market. It is also a great place to watch people in all their variety.

The Catacombs - enter from the Place Denfer Rocherault (Place d'Enfer). The various carved memento mori, and the mortal remains of six million souls now known only to God certainly give one a new perspective on life. The catacombs were also used by the Resistance during WWII.

Musée de Cluny -- site of an ancient monastery built on the site of a Roman bath. It has antonishing 15th century tapestries on display, along with many other medieval artifacts.

Place des Vosges -- this beautiful square in the Marais is surrounded by an arcaded walk with little shops. Nothing could be better on a sunny day.

The Île Saint-Louis itself - The Rue Saint-Louis is lined with nice little restaurants, and one can walk the perimeter of the island and watch the Seine after dinner.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:09 PM   #38
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Some day I would like to make it back to Paris. Was there in the 90's on business, stayed out in La Defense. Long work days and tight time made sightseeing tough. Days were cold, gray, rainy and short in December, not a good time to visit. I kick myself for not paying the couple Francs to climb the 200 stairs in Notre Dame for a self-guided tour of the Gargoyles.

Many things I would like to see. Would like to spend a couple mornings wandering through the industrial science museum, can't remember the name of it. I like museums, but I can't do it for more than 4 hours or so a day without starting to glaze over and stumble.

I would also like to make it out to Versailles. I wonder if they still let you use the stairways...
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:25 AM   #39
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Paris is a total cliche, but still one of my very favorite places after literally dozens of trips, and May is a fabulous time to go. As others have said, 3 days is FAR too little, so I would just do what you feel like doing and not try to do too much.

To me, that would imply a mixture of the classic tourist and the off-beat. I love Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur, for example, but one of my favorites for both is the climb to the Bell Tower and steeple (which few people do!). I also love the Bateaux Mouche, but just the hour sightseeing after dark, not the dinner cruise. And for the more off-beat, the day-time cruise on the Canal St. Martin (in the 10th, I think) is wonderful. And something like an evening chamber concert at Le Madeleine or last minute nose-bleeder tickets at the OLD opera (the Palais Garnier) can be fantastic... There are also often great art shows at the Petit or the Grande Palaces.

I do love the Musee D'Orsay and the Louvre, but they can really be zoos... I'd opt for some of the smaller Museums (like the Marmatton, a Monet museum in the 16th, or the Rodin Museum or the Orangerie or the Musee Jacquemart-Andre on Blvd. Hausmann.

But Paris is also for wandering.....and some of the out of the way neighborhoods are wonderful.....Contrascarpe, the 10th (near the cemetery), the area off the Canal St. Martin, the shops and cafes UNDER the Promenade Plantee, the Rue de Passey in the 16th, etc., etc. Also, get a list of the "baby bistro's" (smaller bistro's started by famous chef's), many of which have one or even two stars and are great places for lunch!

Take your time, feel the ambience, make your own discoveries, have fun; and be ready to return!

Good luck!!!

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