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So you're in Paris for 48 hours in the end of March . . .what do you do?

CMF

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This will be my first trip to Europe and I just learned about it this morning. It has to be short because it's just for mom and dad and the kids will stay at home.

We will do the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, walk the Champ Elysees (sp?). What else is a must do for a first time visitor?

Charles
 

michelle

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Does Paris have a hop-on-hop-off bus like other major cities? Whenever we are in a new place for a limited time, we find this the best way to see the sights and learn something about the place.

Other places you might want to visit:

Sacre Coeur (sp?) (nice view from there), along with walking through the artist stands next door (Mont Martre (sp?)?)
Notre Dame and the Seine

I loved Versailles (palace) but this could take an entire day by itself, so might not be ideal for this trip.
 

senorak

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Yes, there are "hop on/off buses" in Paris.....I would highly recommend them to get a nice overview of the monuments, churches, etc. You can always go back and explore further some of the more popular sites, or places you'd like to visit.
I do love the Montmartre area.....with the Sacre Coeur church and the artist area right there. Nice place to spend the afternoon---have lunch in a cafe and get your portrait done....or watch the artists at work.
I agree with the above poster that Versailles, while interesting, is a full day excursion in itself. I would rather spend the 2 days in Paris---so much to see & do.

DEB
 

CMF

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I'm very excited about this trip . . .

I think what I'll do is find a quickie tour early on the first day to ge the lay of the land as it where then spend my time in the places that catch my eye the most.

Are there any travel tips that I should consider with respects to airfare, hotel, lodging, restaurants? If I have a choice of airports to fly into, which should I choose? Is there web site that provides one stop shopping for all of this info?

Charles
 

bellesgirl

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I don't know when you are going to be there, but if it encompasses the first Sunday of the month, all the museums are free. That way you can got to the Louvre and the Musee de Orsee (sp?) for a short time each and not feel bad that you did not get your money's worth.
 

alfie

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Paris

I would definitely do the hop on hop off tour on your first day. You can pick it up near any of the major attractions. Last year it was 24 euros per person for the day. Their web site is www.paris-opentour.com It will still be chilly at the end of March and a bit dank but it really doesn't matter, your in Paris. The batobus, which is the Seine river shuttle service is also very interesting, especially at night, but, it may not be open that early in the season, check at your hotel. You will probably fly into Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) and you can take the shuttle bus into the city from there. Of course you must go shopping, Paris is the only place I love to shop with my wife. They served me Champagne while my wife tried on dresses.
 

Laurie

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My favorite things, in order:

1. Sainte-Chapelle - this was my very favorite place in Paris, I'd never heard of it before! This will be top on my list when I return, too. To me, this is THE must-do, but not often on must-do lists.

2. Notre Dame during a worship service with music - they have a website but I don't remember what it is and couldn't find with a very quick google search.

3. Sacre Coeur during a worship service with music

4. Cluny Museum - Lady & the Unicorn tapestries - no crowds, no lines

Also a museum pass, so you don't waste your precious time standing in lines at places like the Louvre and Sainte-Chapelle.

And I loved Versailles too but agree you don't have time during a probably 48 hour trip.

Walking the Champs Elysees - didn't do much for us, and was a much longer walk than we expected! But if you've always wanted to see it, maybe it will mean more to you.
 

dannhardt

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where do you stay?

We also will be in Paris for just a couple of days, where are some good places/locations to stay so we can tour fairly easily.
 

hibbeln

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Yes! Get the museum pass (passe de musee?).....available at the ticket counters in the major subway stations. This will bypass almost all lines and you won't be shelling out money over and over again. It made me feel better about doing a "quick run through" some museums....

Notre Dame......climb the bell tower. So cool!
"Behind" Notre Dame at the tip of the Ile de la Cite (that's the island Notre Dame is on) is a Holocaust Memorial. This is a quick walk-through area and won't take much of your time, and is worth seeing. Each light inside is a French (?) Jew that was killed in the Holocaust.
Near Notre Dame (still on the Ile de la Cite) is the Concergiere (the old prison) which again, if you take 30 minutes you can tour (using your museum pass). This is where Marie Antoinette was held. Check out the very big, very old clock on the outside of the building (riverside if I remember right). Right next to this is St. Chapelle, which as was stated before is EXTRAORDINARY!!!!!! There is a lower chapel where you will go "Hmmm, nice." and then the upper chapel....the stained glass windows will blow your mind. Seriously. It's the most beautiful church I've ever seen anywhere.

All the above are within a 4 minute walk of each other.

You'll spend a lot of time going up the Eiffel Tower. Even with moderate lines, plan on 2 hours minimum. But you kind of "have" to do it.

The Louvre, of course. Don't be overwhelmed. Check out the Mona LIsa and then just wander as long as you like. In the "basement" you can see the original castle walls of the palace of the Louvre, and a replica of how it was originally built (reminded me of Disney's Cinderella's castle).

The D'Orsay museum is much more manageable in size, and has much more recognizable art (VanGogh, Monet, Seurat...). You will recognize a lot there, and there is a lot of "pretty" paintings.

The Picasso Museum is short and sweet. You can traipse through it in 30-40 minutes and enjoy it immensely. The area around this museum is fun. Poke around.

The Pompidou Center is the modern art museum. There are incredible masterpieces and lots of CRAZY stuff....I mean laugh-out-loud crazy. Panty-hose filled with sand hanging from the ceiling. Alligator heads lit up with christmas lights. You name it and someone called it art. We enjoyed it immensely, even though we know nothing about modern art. The area around here is lively (younger crowd) in the evenings. We spent an evening here, which was great fun, poking around and trying hard not to split our sides laughing. Guess we're just country folk! :rolleyes:

If your weather is good, the many gardens will be magical. Just check closing times as some are gated and close around 6 (?) in the "winter".

Take a boat ride. Maybe in the evening to see the lights?! It's hokey, but fun. Try to find a warm, dry night so you can sit outside. If it's raining, you can sit inside but then you can't see so well. Many take off at the waterfront near the Eiffel Tower.

When near the Eiffel Tower, wander over to the Rue Cler market area, best in the mornings for a very French scene of fruit and fish markets in the streets, bakeries and cheese and chocolate shops. Just a quick walk will make you feel like you're in Paris!
 

taffy19

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Some more replies here!

CMF said:
This will be my first trip to Europe and I just learned about it this morning. It has to be short because it's just for mom and dad and the kids will stay at home.

We will do the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, walk the Champ Elysees (sp?). What else is a must do for a first time visitor?

Charles
CMF, some of us replies to you here. Have you abandoned us? I am glad to read that you are still planning to go. :D

Be prepared that it can be quite cold. It certainly was last year March as there was snow and ice in Paris but it was wonderful anyway. Have a look at some of the photo images that I posted too. They are a panoramic view all around!
 

CMF

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Fantastic! [with a French accent of course]

I've been reading and not posting because I've been spending my time on travel sites and booking the hotel. I gave careful consideration to the hotel even though I plan to spend little time there because I did not want to blemish the trip with a bad hotel experience. It was a hard choice since I wanted to find a budget hotel most of them had a least a couple of horrible reviews on Tripadvisor.com. I finally settled on Hotel Minerve. It's on the left bank on rue de escole. It is rated as best of the best in Paris for Dummies and most of the reviews are positive - except for the couple of reviews that spoke about bed bugs - yuck.

Here are a few tentative decisions:

Skip going to the top of the big pointy tower.
River cruise at night yes- but no dinner on river..
The Louvre but only for a couple of hours. There is a brochure for visitors that have little time.
Musee de Orsy.
Picasso Musee.
Saint Chappelle.
Notre Dame.
Bawdy cabarett show. Which one? I dunno. Dinner at show no.
Main meal - lunch.
Champ Elyssee.
Shopping no.
Mussee pass.
Bus tour.

Thanks all for your suggestions - believe be I'm reading every one.

Charles
 

taffy19

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Last March I went to Paris too because my friend had rented an apartment there for nine months but it was too small to have guests. There were three hotels in her street and I stayed at the one two doors down from her. It is the Hotel Plessis. It is a budget hotel too but I found it good enough and will go back there again next time as it wasn't expensive. I bought their breakfast too which was good and nutritious (no bacon and eggs). There was an excellent bakery on the corner.

It was very close to Rue de la Republique where I have another friend who started a restaurant (Gusto) there which was excellent. The hotel was comfortable, very clean (no bedbugs) and staff spoke good English and were very helpful and friendly. They have an elevator too because my room was on the sixth floor. I had to walk the six flights of stairs every day to visit my friend. They had a computer downstairs and it was free to use but they may have changed that now.

http://www.cybevasion.com/hotels/france/paris/hotel_index_plessis_768.html

Have a look at the photos of this hotel as well as some reviews too, I believe. I would also look if you see something on the Trip Advisor about this hotel too. I didn't look there. They are steps away from two Metro stations but we even walked to the center one time but that was a good walk. The open bus tour stop was practically on the corner. The hotel has no parking but I didn't have a car. Anyway, it is just a suggestion if you are worried about bedbugs. :(

I would add a tour of the Opera building too when you stop there with the bus. It is not expensive and well worth seeing. Don't go to the Louvre on the day it is free because you will stand in line for ever. We decided to pay.
 

taffy19

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I could not resist from looking at a Trip Advisor rating and found two. :)

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g187147-d529918-r3744094-Hotel_Plessis-Paris_Ile_de_France.html

There were no Americans there at that time but from several countries in Europe and mostly French people who seem to come here often. I spoke my two words French with them which they liked while having breakfast there. It was very relaxing but for the rest, I did not spend time in the room and came back late at night. They do have CNN TV in English and it was nice and warm in the room because it was bitter cold outside.
 

Hoc

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I would definitely recommend the Musee D'Orsay. It has mostly impressionist art, but compared to the Louvre, it's like quality over quantity. A very pleasant experience, and you can do the museum in about a half day (or less if you rush through it).

Also, I was actually surprised that I enjoyed the Moulin Rouge. I thought it would be cheesy and touristy, but it was actually quite entertaining. In the infamous Red Light district though, so depending on your temprament, you might want to arrange a way back to the hotel afterward, rather than walking around while waiting for a taxi. If you don't mind raunchy, however, a stroll for a couple of blocks through the Red Light district can be. . . eye opening.
 

mjs

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Just of word of note, the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.
Mark
 

Carol C

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iconnections said:
CMF, some of us replies to you here.

Interesting. Did TUG do away with it's law against double-posting?
 

Hoc

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Carol C said:
Interesting. Did TUG do away with it's law against double-posting?

No. That other site is Timeshareforums.com, not TUG.
 
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