One Week in Paris
Planning the perfect week in Paris
There are so many different ways to plan a one week itinerary for visiting Paris. If you are anything like me you will spend ages trying to work out what you must see, what you can miss, how much is too much for one day...
There is so much to consider for your first visit to the city of light. So that is where this page comes in. This is what I did, some of it worked, some was misguided but I decided to post it here to help you work out what will be best for your trip.
Have you visited Paris?
Who are we?
We are a family of 3, two 40 something parents and our 12 year old daughter. It was our first visit to Paris and the 5th week of our 8 week holiday. We are fit and healthy and are not afraid of walking for 10 hours a day - which we did many times. Best of all we had a great time without spending buckets of money and we left a handful of things for another visit.
Pont Neuf and Notre Dame de Paris - The metro and the supermarche
It was so exciting to be in Paris that even heading out to stock our apartment with some groceries was a highlight. We walked down to the Seine and did some shopping, explored the supermarket and bought some metro tickets. I kept pinching myself cause it seemed so surreal to finally be here.
A great pre-trip read
Tour Eiffel, the Champs Elysees and the Jardin des Tuileries - Another 10km walk
Saturday - Caught the metro to Ãcole Militaire nice and early so we could make our first approach of the Tour Effiel from the Parc du Champs de Mars. It was a beautiful warm sunny day and the queues to go up the tower were very long so we decided to put this off and headed to TrocadÃ©ro and took in the view from this side before following our noses to the Arc Du Triump and our long awaited window shopping along the Champs Elysees,.
After exploring all the shops we made our way to the Jardin des Tuileries and to look around the outside of the Lourve. We decided to visit today would be just too much. We headed towards home with more window shopping along Rue de Rivoli, which was closer to our budget, and back to our apartment via the beautiful Place des Vosges, my favourite small park in Paris. Another 10km day and it was only 2pm... This time the feet really hurt!
We met friends for dinner at a bistro in Bastille and then early to bed.
A great book for longer stays in Paris - Eat your way around the city
Thank god for all the 10km walks we did this trip... It meant we could indulge a little every day and "not get fat"
A day trip to Versailles - I don't think you should miss it.
Sunday bought a day trip to Versailles. Going on the weekend meant we got to see the fountain show. I have heard it is less crowded during the week but we wanted to go with friends and this was the only day that worked for everyone. We did not buy tickets beforehand and this was a mistake, even at the beginning of Spring. We queued for almost 45 minutes and made it inside just as the fountain show began. This dictated our day and we spent the first 2 hours exploring the gardens before heading down to the Grand Trianon. We did not make it all the way to Marie Antoinette,'s Petite Trianon because we were worried about the afternoon disappearing and missing the Palace itself. In the end the timing was good, while everyone spilled from the palace for the second fountain show we strolled around the Palace with much smaller crowds than we expected.
When planning our week in Paris I had seriously considered leaving this out, I am so glad we went. It was a highlight of our week. A favourite of our 12 year old daughter and equally enjoyed by us.
A little history and a lot of intrigue
Montmarte Day - with a little time at Galleries Lafayette
Monday was Montmarte Day - We took the metro to Abbesses and headed for Rue Foyalier and the famous staircase to the Basilica before exploring the back streets of Montmartre for the rest of the morning. The atmosphere in the square behind the Basilica was lively and there were lots of cafes and shops to explore.
We then decided to walk to Galleries Lafayette and Palais Garnier (Paris National Opera) via Concorde and back to the Les Halles shopping street and then walked home. I am not sure what happens in Paris but it seemed we thought nothing of walking 10km each day and sore feet did not seem to kick in till we stopped. After a very interesting day covering so many areas we collapsed into bed just after dark.
You've read the blog now get the book - Fantastic for exploring the sweet side of Paris
Exploring the Marais with our Paris Greeter - and why we bought a 2 day museum pass
Tuesday - Our free Paris Greeter walk today - This was brilliant. They ask what you would like via email and we had suggested a tour of the Marais. Our guide was a retired gentleman with perfect English. He took us to private courtyards, the local market, and so many places we would never have found alone. We also did a walk through the Ile de la CitÃ© and a little of the Latin Quarter. Our 2 hour walk stretched to a little over 3 hours but it was fantastic.
After the tour we decided to buy a 2 day Museum Pass - even though we would effectively have only 1.5 days use there was time to see 3 museums today so it seemed good value. We purchased the pass at the Musee de l'Orangerie and then visited the MusÃ©e d'Orsay before making it to the Arch Dr Triumph for sunset. After spending almost 2 hours on top of the arc we wandered to the tour Eiffel because we had not seen it in the dark yet.
We fell into our seats at Cafe Le Dome, a very average cafe but it was almost 10pm and we were starving. Our 15 Euro steak, chips and wine meal was more than adequate but the service was terrible. It didn't matter; we could see the lights on the Eiffel so we were happy.
Walk in the footsteps of the Impressionists
Rodin, the Louvre and a lovely little bistro - We finally make it up the Eiffel Tower
Wednesday - Today we had to pack in all the things we had left out that we decided we simply could not miss. First stop the Tour Eiffel as we all decided we did want to go up. Of course the roads were all blocked and we ended up having to walk to the bridge past the tour and back along but that turned out to be lucky because it is where I got that great shot at the top of the page.
After our visit we headed to Rue Cler the famous street Rick Steves always goes on about. I was highly disappointed here and felt it a waste of time. We had seen much better markets around Bastille and the Marais. From here it was on to the Rodin museum. I loved the gardens here and highly recommend them.
We then had the biggie, the Lourve, to face and we were disappointed. Perhaps because we were tired or we had seen so many beautiful things already I am not sure. It was the only thing that underwhelmed us in our whole time in Paris.
We finished the day with a visit to Saint Chapelle and its beautiful stained glass windows. We were also lucky enough to find a charming and reasonable bistro for our last meal in Paris and it was by far our best meal of the trip.
Heading to London
and how we just missed the volcanic ash
We woke up nice and early for our last day to clean the apartment before our 11am train to London. We decided to save 80Euro and clean the apartment ourselves. I thought agreeing to do the cleaning and saving the money might be a mistake when I made the booking but it was really no trouble and took less than an hour.
We headed to the station quite early for the Eurostar and were surprised how busy it was. There was a huge queue for check-in but we had lots of time so sat down for a quick breakfast. Little did we know that a volcano in Iceland had erupted and cause chaos across the skies. We decide to join the queue after we heard lots of announcements saying all trains were sold out. We figured something was going on. After 2 hours in the line we only just boarded the train with seconds to spare, my husband was actually last on.
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