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Limited time

by MaryLLLL Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 5:31 PM

We will be in Paris for only 2 1/2 days....what is the best way to see a lot in such a short time? Tour suggestions? We are extreme amateurs! Thanks all!

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27 Answers
  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by GentleSpirit Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    It depends greatly on what YOU like/want to do. First day, get on the hop on/hop off bus which will take you around the highlights. Hop off it you want to see something that catches your interest. For me some personal must sees are: Notre Dame, St Chapelle (right near Notre Dame) if you have time see the underground catacombs, see the Eiffel Tower (best photo from Trocadero) the Arc de triomphe, Champs Elysses, Place Concorde. Going to Versailles will probably take too much time on your limited schedule. There's a start for you, good luck

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  • MaryLLLL's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by MaryLLLL Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Oh fooey.....Versailles was one of the main things we wanted to see! :(

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  • MaryLLLL's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by MaryLLLL Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    Thank you for the suggestions. Do you get a day pass or something for the hop on hop off? (Amateurs, remember !)

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  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by GentleSpirit Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Versailles is very large, you will spend at least half the day total unless you really want to run through it and not take the time to see the gardens.

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  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by GentleSpirit Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    MaryLLLL wrote:
    Thank you for the suggestions. Do you get a day pass or something for the hop on hop off? (Amateurs, remember !)

     The price you pay for the hop on hop off bus is good for one day, though you can get it for two days. In your situation its probably not worth buying for two days.

    should cost like 35 euro, around there.

    before i forget, i omitted a few things on previous post.  The Louvre (far too large with the limited time you have) but I suppose you could run in and see Mona Lisa and a few other things if you had to do that.  Orsay Museum is more impressionist painting, its smaller and easy to see with your time.  If you have time go up to Sacre Couer, the view is lovely from the Basilica.  If you have timet o get out to St Denis the architecture is some of the best you will see in france.

    bonne chance

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    If Versailles is something you really want to see, then you shouldn't knock it off just because you have 2 1/2 days. Just understand that a proper visit to see it takes a good portion of the day. On the other hand if you want to just visit the palace and not the gardens, you can see the palace in 2-3 hours

    You might want to get a short list of things that you want to see together, maybe seeing the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo is on the top of the list so you'd put the Louvre on your list or maybe you love impressionist art in which case the Musee d'Orsay might be up your alley. Going up the Eiffel Tower is never on my must see list, there are other places that are not as busy where you can get a nice view over Paris. I love going up to the top of Notre Dame, the view is splendid and I love the gargoyles (chimera). But that requires some time, if you go 1st thing in the morning and get in the queue you can beat the crowds.

    Depending on what you what to see, and in how much depth, you might look into the Paris Museum Pass which you can buy for 2 days. Versailles on its own is 18€, if you see a couple of places plus that you've saved money and saved time in the queues.

    http://en.parismuseumpass.com/

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by Beausoleil Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    You can see a lot in 2 or 3 days. Our first trip was 3 days and we had a great time and have gone back often. You don't have your travel interests on your VT Home Page so I can only use my favorite Paris sights. I wrote a tip that arranged my 10 favorite sights into 3 days so you could edit it with things you want to see. If you haven't discovered Google Maps, it is super for locating what you want to see so you can figure out nearby sights. Here's my tip. "Top Ten Paris sights in 3 days" - Paris Favorite Tip by Beausoleil

    Here's Google Maps. https://maps.google.com/

    Also, type Paris into the VT Search Window and check member Travel Pages on Paris. Lots of info already written here.

    Enjoy Paris.

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  • MaryLLLL's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by MaryLLLL Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    Thanks. Also we are staying in the Marais area any quaint eateries? Is definitely want to see the gargoyle view also. The catalyst for our trip is that we are meeting up with our daughter who has been studying abroad in England and will be finishing up her travels around Europe in Paris. She has been to Paris before on an exchange program and says she prefers the musee d'orsay to the louvre.

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by riorich55 Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    You will be able to see the Musee d' Orsay in about a 2 to 3 hour time frame. I would suggest first thing in the morning or the 2 to 3 hours before it closes. Versailles is indeed very interesting. We spent the entire day there back in 2008 and didn't see everything. To see the Gargoyles on the top of Notre Dame again you will want to get in line before it opens for the day. We still haven't been up to the top of Notre Dame. To quickly get around town you may want to think about getting a Metro Map, study it, and pick out spots you want to get to. You can get a carnet of tickets (10 tickets) for about 13 Euros and ride around the city that way. We haven't done the hop on/hop off, but that would be a good introduction to the major sites.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    The towers of Notre Dame open at 10, we got there around 9:30 and we weren't even the 1st in line. While I waited in line, my niece went in to see the interior of the cathedral. It's a climb but they break it into stages, I think it's 387 total steps to the top (the website says 387, the brochure says 400) but I think I read that the final flight up to the south tower was going to be closed for awhile.

    The Musee d'Orsay is my favorite museum in Paris, of course that's because I love impressionist art. It is open until 9:45pm on Thursday if that is one of your days.

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  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by Maryimelda Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Paris is an excellent city to walk around. There is something to see whichever way you turn, especially if you walk along the Seine crisscrossing on the many bridges over the river. The Hop On Hop Off bus is a good option, I intend to send my son and his wife and my two grandchildren off on that for two of the days that we will be in Paris this year. I'm told (and my research seems to confirm) that the L'Open Bus is the best one to choose and it is well to remember that the second day only costs you about three or four Euros more. You can buy your ticket from the bus driver when you board.

    Recently a similar question to yours was asked in the Paris Forum and VT member pfsmalo gave a brilliant reply laying out a walking trail that would enable you to see so much of the city in less than a day. I have emailed him and asked him to post his trail on this thread for your consideration. I think you will find it more than very helpful. Enjoy your trip.

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  • MaryLLLL's Profile Photo

    by MaryLLLL Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Thank you so much! This website has been so fun and informative!

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  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by travelgourmet Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    Very good answers for what to see. What to do for me is walk. Spend one half day walking the streets and getting a feel of Parisian life. The Rue des Martyrs is a very good street to explore as it takes you up to Montmarte via this street of food. Great window displays that will tempt your palate and the locals flood the area so you can really be a part of Paris. A visit to Montmarte and Sacre Cours is a must to sit on the steps with the view of Paris before you. Enjoy the walk as well as the artists in the square surrounded by restaurants in Montmarte. :-) See my VT Paris page: "Walk the foodie street of Paris; Rue des Martyrs" - Walking Tip by travelgourmet

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  • ATLC's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by ATLC Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    travelgourmet wrote:
    Very good answers for what to see. What to do for me is walk. Spend one half day walking the streets and getting a feel of Parisian life. The Rue des Martyrs is a very good street to explore as it takes you up to Montmarte via this street of food. Great window displays that will tempt your palate and the locals flood the area so you can really be a part of Paris. A visit to Montmarte and Sacre Cours is a must to sit on the steps with the view of Paris before you. Enjoy the walk as well as the artists in the square surrounded by restaurants in Montmarte. :-) See my VT Paris page: "Walk the foodie street of Paris; Rue des Martyrs" - Walking Tip by travelgourmet

     I agree with this. Be prepared to walk a lot (in the evening too). My rule of thumb is maximum 2 goals per day: a museum or an attraction. The rest is sniffing out town, exploring, wandering around, eating...

    I've never done a hop on hop off bus tour. Working out the metro is easy. Buy a carnet (10 tickets).

    You can't do or see everything in 2 1/2 days anyway, nor in a week or a month... :-)

    Enjoy!

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  • zuriga's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by zuriga Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    We're off to Paris tomorrow for a few nights (have been many times) and this visit we chose a different hotel than we usually stay in. We'll be in the Marais area, so I investigated restaurants for dinner via www.chowhound.com (France section). The help there is as good as here!

    We're eating at two new spots for us that came recommended... Métropolitain and Le 6 Paul Bert. I'm not sure what you mean by 'quaint' places to eat. If you want to eat in an old-fashioned brasserie (back to the Belle Epoque era in ambiance), there are many in Paris, and you could search for that.

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  • Flying.Scotsman's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by Flying.Scotsman Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 2:07 AM

    As usual Paris questioners get a lot of very good answers. If Versailles is a priority, plan to get there early and spend at least half a day there. We spent most of a day there and didn't even go into the palace! The gardens were the main attraction to us. Try to spend as much time as possible just wandering and discovering your own Paris. One thing that hasn't been mentioned are les passages, covered 19th century arcades of shops. See "Les Passages" - Galleries & Passages Tip by Flying.Scotsman . In past answers about Paris some members have advised against using the metro because you don't see anything. To me the metro is so much a part of Paris, especially the stations with the original artwork. And it is a great way to get from one area to another quickly and then walk your feet off. Have a look at members' Paris pages for ideas on what to see - especially the off the beaten track suggestions. Enjoy Paris; our favourite city. Bruce

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  • pfsmalo's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by pfsmalo Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 3:19 AM

    Hi, here is a walking tour I suggested last week to maximise your time. You can of course split this up as needs be. >>>OK? One day in Paris. You OK with walking ? Otherwise the metro is easy to use. Get out early in the morning and that'll give you a decent day. Start at the cathedral of Notre Dame. Walk onto the left bank where there is a small garden that has Paris' oldest tree. Through the garden, out the other side and you have the second oldest church in Paris. Take the rue Galande to your right and go straight on through past the St Severin church down rue de la Huchette until blvd St Michel. On the left you have the St Michel fountain.Turn right and cross the bridge.On your left is 36 quai des Orfevres, home to best policemen in France. Turn right along the water and left on Blvd du Palais. Here there is the Ste. Chapelle (the queus might already have started by this time though) On the corner is a fabulous old clock on the tower, recently renovated. Left here and walk along the beautiful old building of the Conciergerie (where Marie-Antoinette was held before she got the big chop). Carry on until the Pont Neuf (Oldest bridge in Paris). Here is a statue of Henri IV. Just behind you is one of the loveliest squares in Paris, the place Dauphine. Go right and then left along the river after the bridge. Cross the road and enter the Carrée du Louvre (With the time you have you won't have time to visit). Walk right through the Tuilerie gardens to the end. Just before the exit walk up the slope on your right and you'll have a splendid view over the place de la Concorde and your first view of the Eiffel tower. Here you have three choices 1) Walk and see the tower close up 2) Take line no 1 of the metro up to the Arc de Triomphe for a view down the Champs Elysees,not forgetting you can take the metro from here to Montmartre or 3) Take the metro at Concorde directly for Montmartre. If it was me personally I would take option 2. From The Arc take metro line no 2 to station place Blanche. From place Blanche walk up rue Lepic (and the café in Amelie) and take the stairs and slopes up to the place du Tertre and Sacré Coeur. You'll probably want a breather around here and spend a couple of hours walking up. There are the last windmills on Montmartre, the Montmartre museum, La Lapin Agile etc etc. After Montmartre I would go down the opposite slope to metro Chateau Rouge and take line no 4 to Etienne Marcel. Up on the street there is the Tour St Jean. Walk down rue Pierre Lescot past Les Halles (big shopping mall) past the fountain of the Innocents and carry straight on to rue de Rivoli (plenty more shops here) Turn left and walk along past place du Chatelet to the Hotel de Ville(City Hall) turn right in front, cross Pont d'Arcole and you are back at Notre Dame!!!! Worn out certainly, but that is a decent way to maximise one day in Paris and I haven't even scratched the surface. If you need anything else don't hesitate.

    This is the rapid tour that Kate (Marymelda) mentioned above. For a quant restaurant not far from the Marais is at the end of the rue de Lappe, on the corner of rue de Charonne, called "Chez Paul". This is a place known as the "Bougnat" which as well as being a resto/café, also sold coal!!!! Last time I was there around a year ago, he still had sacks of coal on the street, but  as  the area is going a bit "yuppie", he may have stopped that now.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by goodfish Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 3:30 AM

    Hi - just a quick question here? It might be helpful to know what days of the week you'll be in Paris? Most of the big museums are closed at least one day a week, and there are other days where they're open into the evenings - which can greatly expand your sightseeing time!

    I'd agree with the others who recommended getting about on foot with just the occasional metro ride: Paris is a glorious city to walk! And I'll also agree with purchasing Paris Museum Passes if you plan to visit enough of the attractions they cover. This will greatly help with skipping ticket lines (but not security queues) at most places. Supplement these with a shared carnet of metro tickets.

    Some of my favorites for first-timers:

    A stroll through the Tuileries and Luxembourg Gardens 

    Louvre

    D'orsay

    Musée de Cluny /Musée National du Moyen Âge

    Towers at Notre Dame

    The Eiffel at night from the Trocadéro

    Sainte-Chapelle (pick a sunny day for best effect)

    A wander through one of the big cemeteries: Père Lachaise, Montmartre or Montparnasse.

    Arc de Triomphe (do this at night to save daylight sightseeing hours)

    Panthéon

    Hôtel des Invalides: Église du Dôme

    I wouldn't personally recommend giving up one of your two short days for Versailles: there's far too much to see in Paris! We were there for nearly a week and managed to run out of time to do that so my consolation prize was Opéra Garnier:

    "Phantom of a Gilded Age" - Opéra Garnier Tip by goodfish

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by gwened Online Now Mar 20, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    well you are short changing Paris, but you will be back once the Paris virus hit you. Can't tell your interests we have so many good tips here in VT, you might look into destinations and type in Paris, or hit the repliers name and go our pages. I will be there tomorrow again lol!

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by gwened Online Now Mar 20, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    "we are staying in the Marais area"

    Well this is a so popular area with visitors there is even a site just for it in English
    http://www.parismarais.com/

    with VT destinations and the above you will have a good itinerary ,and then if you have specifics come back for update details
    hope it helps your planning

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  • MaryLLLL's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by MaryLLLL Online Now Mar 20, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    Thanks for the food advice! My husband and I are new travelers....never been out of the country, so I don't even know what questions to ask here! :). But it has been so much fun reading all the suggestions! I am very nervous.

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by Beausoleil Online Now Mar 20, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    I understand nervous. I was a wreck on our first trip. We spent three days in Paris and drove off toward Chartres. We stopped for lunch in Chateaudun and ate lunch from a French menu, got postage stamps from La Poste and got cash and small change from a bank (they used francs back then). As we drove out of town, I suddenly realized we could survive in a foreign country. You'll have a moment of recognition like that at some point in your stay. Where all are you going? I bet you'll become as addicted to Europe as we did. There are so many wonderful places to explore.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by goodfish Online Now Mar 21, 2013 at 2:32 AM

    I think most us have had the jitters over our first foray into the Great Unknown but Paris is very tourist friendly: it has to manage many thousands of them every month! And it's very lovely: once you've arrived, dumped the bags and hit the streets, you'll have so much to look at that you'll soon be over your nerves. :O)

    Aside from things to see, there are some little security tips we often provide novice adventurers abroad, and would do so for you if that would help ease some apprehension?

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by riorich55 Online Now Mar 21, 2013 at 4:58 AM

    MaryLLLL wrote:
    Thanks for the food advice! My husband and I are new travelers....never been out of the country, so I don't even know what questions to ask here! :). But it has been so much fun reading all the suggestions! I am very nervous.

    My wife and I took our first trip out of the country back in 2008 at ages 56 and 55 after we got those 4 kids of ours through college.  I planned that trip for almost a year.  Started out by watching Rick Steves shows on our local PBS channel in Chicago, went to a Rick Steves lecture when he was in Chicago and then about the same time discovered VirtualTourist.  Actually met several VT people in Chicago (one was a London expert from the Chicago area) for dinner and bombarded her with questions.  Our first trip was 12 days to London, Paris, and parts of Switzerland.  Lost my wife for 3 hours at Versailles which was kind of scary, but found her eventually in the gift shop (I kind of figured I would find her there).  We did all our local travel by train which was wonderful.  Did your 2nd trip to Europe last year and expanded the time to 18 days.  Paris again and then 8 days in Italy, 4 days in Barcelona and then back to London.  Trains and one of the Continental Europes airlines (EasyJet).   Just look at things day to day in the places you are going to visit and ask some other questions.  

    Picture is from our first morning in Europe back in 2008 in London with our "spot of morning tea"

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  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by travelgourmet Online Now Mar 21, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    Nervous Mary? Many english speaking travelers feel that way going to any country that speaks another language. My first trip to Paris and I was nervous, as well. I studied french in college and even studied for a month before going to France how to speak a few sentences in french. Ah, arrived at the airport, nervous and called a taxi in french. Wow! I could do it! Got in the taxi and asked in french to take me to the hotel I was going to be staying in and enjoying my first experience outside of the USA and Canada. It worked, I could ask to be taken to the hotel in french and we were off. Well, the driver began to throw out his french so fast that I could not understand, so I calmly said the key words; "Excusez-moi, Monsieur." (Ex-kewzay mwah, Muh-syeuh.) "Parlez-vous anglais?" (Pahr-lay voo ahn-glay?). In english, it would be; "Excuse me, sir. Do you speak english?"
    His reply in english, "Of course I do. First time in Paris?" With that the nervousness disappeared. I have kept a website for easy words to remember in french and I have returned several times to the "City of Lights" to enjoy the beauty and ambiance of Paris. I have been throughout France and as long as I remembered the key words and phrases I was one happy camper. Best wishes for a wonderful experience and having some of the best food dishes to please your palate. See the website for the french words and phrases to know. Maybe even record them for use while in Paris, so you get the french way to say them, then enjoy Paris! No more nervousness. See: goparis.about.com/od/plannin...

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  • MaryLLLL's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time. We are also going to Sweden and London.

    by MaryLLLL Online Now Mar 21, 2013 at 8:12 PM

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Re: Limited time

    by Beausoleil Online Now Mar 21, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    Sounds like wonderful trip. Enjoy.

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