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3 days in Paris
Old 02-17-2013, 12:25 PM   #1
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3 days in Paris

Hi all

We are going to Paris for 3 days in May. (Taking train from London). I have never been there before. We have our hotel reservations we are staying near Eiffel Tower. Looking for feedback about sightseeing. The hop on hop off bus has been recommended particularly the L'Open bus any thoughts on that and also on the absolutely don't miss things to do would be much appreciated!
Thank you so much!
Nikki
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:36 PM   #2
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Check out Fat Tire bike tours, they meet at the Eiffel Tower and are fun.
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:56 PM   #3
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In order to make recommendations, it would help to know your interests.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:06 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:16 PM   #5
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Thank you.
We are more interested in general sightseeing. Seeing the buildings. I had the same thought about Versailles. Nice as it would be with our limited time it may not make sense. I also would rather see a little less and enjoy the atmosphere. The bike thing looks fun but my companion would not want to do it unfortunately
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:22 PM   #6
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My absolument favorite spot in Paris is the Musee d'Orsay. If you enjoy beautiful buildings (it was once the Gare d'Orsay, one of the city's main railway stations), if you enjoy Impressionist art and Art Nouveau, and if you enjoy Tiffany glass and beautiful furniture tableaux, this is for you. It's also a manageable size. Allow 2-3 hours and then wander along the Rive Gauche till you get near the Medical School, the head up to St Germain des Pres and enjoy peoplewatching with a cafe au lait at Cafe de Flore, haunt of Simone de Beauvoir.

You won't have time for this, but during my last visit to Paris I took time out to visit Monet's garden at Giverny. Beautiful!
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:36 PM   #7
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Here's my list of sites driven mainly by my photo interests:


watch sunset on eiffel tower from trocadero
notre dame + hanging out on the banks of the seine
catacombs
sunset on paris from montparnasse tower
people watching from cafes (all the seating is oriented so that customers can watch the street)
open air markets (depends on what days you are there)
jardin du luxembourg (basically a really nice park with lots of parisians)
bouquinistes and Shakespeare and company (wife's interest)
sunset on arc de triomphe
sainte chapelle (awesome stained glass)
pere lachaise cemetery (this is a little out of the way but you can see gravestones for oscar wilde, jim morrison, etc. I believe they've now erected some kind of barrier around oscar wilde's stone so it might not have as much of the lipstick kisses)
champ de mars (great place for picnic)
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:56 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:02 PM   #9
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You won't have time for this, but during my last visit to Paris I took time out to visit Monet's garden in Brittany. Beautiful!
Small correction, Giverny is in Normandy. It's downriver from Paris near the small city of Vernon. It is especially gorgeous in May and June when the extensive perennial flower beds are in bloom. It takes more than half a day for a visit, however. You take a train from the Gare St. Lazare to Vernon, then a bus or short taxi ride to Giverny. The train ride doesn't take that long but there aren't that many trains each day between Paris & Vernon.
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:02 PM   #10
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We spent only one day in Paris - taking the train over from London in the morning and the train back in the evening. So we had little time but we did do the hop on and hop off bus. As I recall there were 2 main companies that did this. One had just one route and the other had I think 3 routes. They had a little bit different schedules.

Anyway, the bus was great, just what we wanted. They give you headphones so you can hear the narration which was nice. We always sat on the top level since you have the best view there. We hopped off at several locations and then would catch another one when we were ready to go.
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:11 PM   #11
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I forgot to mention that Paris is geographically compact, especially compared to London. It is easy to get around on foot, metro, or bike. I have found the buses to be slow due to the heavy traffic.
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:29 PM   #12
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Small correction, Giverny is in Normandy. It's downriver from Paris near the small city of Vernon. It is especially gorgeous in May and June when the extensive perennial flower beds are in bloom. It takes more than half a day for a visit, however. You take a train from the Gare St. Lazare to Vernon, then a bus or short taxi ride to Giverny. The train ride doesn't take that long but there aren't that many trains each day between Paris & Vernon.
Thank you, I have corrected my original post.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:16 PM   #13
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I too would recommend the Rick Steves' Paris guide book.

Here is one nice day's ideas:
1) take the #69 bus which gives a pretty nice view of Paris, or the Metro to the area of the Tuilleries gardens
2) visit the Orangerie museum with fantastic Monet paintings and a great collection of Impressionist art
3) stroll through the gardens and maybe have lunch there at one of the open air cafe's
4) check out the obelisk monument
5) walk up the Champs Elysee and check out the fancy stores
6) visit the Arc de Triomphe and do the climb up to the top. Great views of all of Paris.

I think this sort of walk is detailed in the Rick Steves book. We used the book for 2 weeks in Paris last year.
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:32 PM   #14
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Get the museum pass. it comes in various lengths of time- it saves loads of time wasted waiting in lines to buy tickets AND allows you to skip most entry lines, too. I twill also give you a ready ,axe list of places to check out that are included in the pass.

Besides the obvious,
Take thigh light river cruise on the Seine.

Sainte Chapelle when the sun is shining is a must.
Musee d'Orsay is also great.
Check which days each place is closed, and also which ones are open LATE to maximize your limited time.
The old department stores are a sight to see as well.
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:32 PM   #15
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3 days is a short trip. Must see's are

1.Champs Elysee & Arch de Triomph (and of course the shopping/food there is great)
2. Moulin Rouge (see the show at the Red Mill)
3. Louvre Museum
4. Notre Dame cathedral
5. Sacre Coer
6. Last but not least the Eiffel Tower (go right to the top)
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:00 PM   #16
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I would say you should absolutely, positively, avoid the overpriced tourist-trap shows at the Moulin Rouge.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:05 PM   #17
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I would say you should absolutely, positively, avoid the overpriced tourist-trap shows at the Moulin Rouge.
You only live once. And if you can afford it, blow the money and enjoy the show
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:14 PM   #18
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3 days is a short trip. Must see's are

1.Champs Elysee & Arch de Triomph (and of course the shopping/food there is great)
2. Moulin Rouge (see the show at the Red Mill)
3. Louvre Museum
4. Notre Dame cathedral
5. Sacre Coer
6. Last but not least the Eiffel Tower (go right to the top)

+1 This is a great short list. They are all WONDERFUL.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:48 PM   #19
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I would say you should absolutely, positively, avoid the overpriced tourist-trap shows at the Moulin Rouge.
Overpriced, yes! But a unique experience. I'm glad I went, 21 years ago, but I have no desire to go again.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:57 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Nikki J View Post
Hi all

We are going to Paris for 3 days in May. (Taking train from London). I have never been there before. We have our hotel reservations we are staying near Eiffel Tower. Looking for feedback about sightseeing. The hop on hop off bus has been recommended particularly the L'Open bus any thoughts on that and also on the absolutely don't miss things to do would be much appreciated!
Thank you so much!
Nikki
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.
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