If you're into weird/unusual stuff, the catacombs are pretty cool. They're underneath the Parisian streets. It was actually one of the first things I did, lol.
Of course, all the usual museums (Louvre, Pompidou, etc.), Versailles if you can make it, Ard de Triomphe, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, etc. But, really, just walking around exploring with my guidebook and finding things along the way was the most fun for me. Of course, I had a whole week; but make sure you're not so scheduled that you don't allow yourself some time to explore a little.
Go to Chantilly. It's not far from Paris and if you're a horse lover, which I assume you are, it's almost a religious experience. Huge museum devoted to horses and horse stuff, a gorgeous chateau, lovely grounds. It's been years since I was there, but it was fantastic. Google it. You'll see. The day I was there a three day event was going on there, and we were lucky enough to be there on cross country day. The parking lot attendants were mounted, in 18th century riding attire..gorgeous.
Not as famous as The Louvre but The Musee D'Orsay and Rodin's Museum well worth the time. Also when you go to the Eiffel Tower be sure go go to the big plaza across the street (sorry forget the name) - it's got lots of fountains, musicians playing, and when I was there, lots of guys doing some cool trick roller-skating. Also the Cathedral at Sacre C'ouer and the funicula (kind of a street car) that takes you up the big hill to the church. (I may be spelling some of these things wrong.)
I was in Paris by myself a couple of times on business and found the Parisians very nice and helpfus as long as you were nice to them!
It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.
I am going to echo the above posts about visiting the Cluny, (its up the road from Notre Dame so you can kill two birds with one stone)(I would walk up to the Cluny using back streets so you can see the Sorbonne as well, its just a bit further up the hill). The Catacombs are wonderful, take a boat ride along the Seine, Walk around the 4th arrondissement (its the old Paris before Haussmannization). Also walk up and down the streets that are in between the Seine and the Luxembourger Gardens. (great window shopping and pick up some macarons from Laduree.
There is so much to do, I actually have a list in my hard drive for people looking for great things to do.
The post above is talking about the Tulleries Gardens. While you are there visit the Orangery, they have Monet's Waterlilies. Both are with in walking distance of the Lourve. Oh, and D'orsay is filled with impressionists and post impressionists! Degas, Boner, Van Gogh, oh the wonderful painters!!
I would skip the Quai Branly, I was not impressed by the collection and I am a cultural anthropology student.
GotmyPony, that's the Trocadero.
Be prepared to walk a lot in Paris, from the Louvre, through the gardens of Les Tuileries to the Arc de Triomphe (from the Concorde to the Arc = 1 mile).
If you go to Versailles, check out http://en.chateauversailles.fr/news-...n-show-academy It is worth going to the training in the morning (Matinales). No pictures allowed. Then visit the castle and the gardens in the afternoon. It is easy to get there by train (Rive droite).
If it is your first time in Paris, I would suggest you get a pass on http://www.parislopentour.com/paris-accueil.php?lng=gb It takes you to all the different sites and you decide if you want to visit. You can change routes at some points. We did it with the kids the first time in Paris. It was great!
When are you going? I am landing on the 24th of April, but not staying...
I love Paris. I would echo the suggestions of everyone so far.
Don't miss the Louvre, Rodin museum, Notre Dame, maybe an icecream on the steps at Montmartre..
I went to a period instruments concert at La Chappelle - it was lovely.
It's been ages since I've been - I envy you - have fun!
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I spent a semester in Paris, and went to the Louvre once a week, and still didn't see everything. I adore it beyond words. Don't bother going in through the IM Pei pyramid--take the Metro stop for the Louvre and go in through the underground shopping arcade. There's almost never a wait that way.
The Musee du Moyen Age (which is at the Hotel de Cluny) is OK--the best part is the house itself, the ruins of the Roman baths, and the Unicorn Tapestries. I find the garden much prettier than the museum, and it's free to wander through.
The Musee Rodin is probably my favorite museum besides the Louvre. I could spend the whole day just sitting in the garden there. It's not a bad walk from there to either the Invalides (which has Napoleon's tomb, and a pretty good military history museum, if that's up your alley) or the Tour Eiffel. From the Tour Eiffel you can also walk past the Ecole Militaire to one of the PADD Tack stores, if you want to get some French horse stuff while you're there
Go up Notre Dame's bell towers. The entrance is on the side of the building, and there are a lot of stairs, but the view's worth it. I'm saying this as someone terrified of heights, too!
Pick up a book at Shakespeare and Company on the Left Bank, not far from Notre Dame. Just wander through the city on foot, especially the old parts of the city, take a book, sit on a bench in a random park and enjoy the atmosphere for a bit. I like the Jardin du Luxembourg for that, as well as sitting on the Pont Neuf. There's a lovely little square on the Ile de la Cite just behind where the Pont Neuf crosses.
There is a multi-day museum pass, that's also good for some of the government run monuments (Arc de Triomphe, etc) that's well worth purchasing if you're planning on trying to see a good bit.
Last edited by JenEM; Mar. 30, 2013 at 11:53 PM.
Reason: Museum pass link
I spent 6 months in Paris last year and still didn't do some of the things on this list, so don't try to do it all in 3 days! Prioritize!
The Louvre is incredibly overwhelming. I highly recommend downloading Rick Steve's audio tour which takes you to the major paintings and describes them. The descriptions in the museum are not translated. You can access the shopping arcade mentioned above from the Rue de Rivoli, then take the escalator down. Its a really cool view of the Pyramide Inversee too. I love going there later at night when it is practically empty. I actually love walking the streets of Paris in the early evenings during the week. There is something really magical about Paris in the twilight which helped me cool off after a frustrating day.
I actually much prefer the Musee D'Orsay which is across the river from the Louvre to the Louvre itself. There's just something about the building, which used to be a train station, and getting lost amongst the paintings.
I never went to Chantilly, which I regret, but I really wouldn't spend time in a tack store if I only had 3 days. You can go to just as nice tack stores in America, though it is worth stopping in Hermes just for the experience. On shopping, don't miss the Galleries Lafayette, especially the food courts! I had so much fun buying spices there. Make sure you go out to the bridge on the 2nd or 3rd floor because the view to the Opera is amazing!
I probably wouldn't do Versailles if I only had 3 days unless you are willing to devote an entire day to it. I'd been to Paris twice before finally going to Versailles.
Definitely spend time getting lost in the medieval section of Paris. I love love love St Germain Des Pres for getting lost, off the beaten track restaurants, and beautiful churches.
Get some baguette and cheese and hit the Jardin Des Tullieres for lunch. I spent one of my most relaxing afternoons of my six months wandering around and watching kids play with boats in the Jardin. They also have ponies!
I second the Musee Rodin - it was probably my favourite of all the museums I saw!
The Sacre Couer is truly incredible, and the view from the steps is breathtaking. I'd probably devote an afternoon or evening to Montmartre.
Paris is a walking city! I only bothered with the metro (which smells, but you'll get over that!) when I was in a hurry or going more than like 5-6 stops.
Obviously you must see the Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle - expect to spend some time waiting in lines for these, but its not too terrible.
"Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
"With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Le Louvre and many museums are the closed on Tuesdays, and admission is free the first Sunday of the month!
Come on, the metro does not smell (that) bad and it is Paris!!! Do not ever change trains at The Chatelet station. You will walk for miles...
Have the hot chocolate at Angelina's. Right down the street from the Louvre. I've only been to Paris once and went there on a friends recommendation. It's one of those little things that you'll remember fondly.
Thanks! I leave tomorrow! I am so excited. I have a friend flying in for the long weekend after I'm done with my meetings. We have two friends running the marathon next Sunday- so part of that day will be spent cheering- but the route goes right by so many great attractions! I am taking down notes! We're staying right by Longchamps and it looks like Sunday is opening day- so I might try to see what racing is like in France. The outfits ladies are wearing on the web page look so elegant. (I live in CO so don't get to see racing much.)
And walk, walk, walk. Eat. Walk and eat. I love eclairs so I made a point of having many, sometimes three a day, always from different bakeries, my personal taste test. My companions loved crepes so they would do the same thing, but with crepes.
Oh, and have the hot chocolate in the morning and quiche for lunch. Best quiche ever. Our favorite cafe made theirs with a puff pastry crust. Yum!
Last edited by PeteyPie; Mar. 31, 2013 at 03:44 AM.
I emphatically second hot chocolate at Angelina's! It's been 15 years since I've been to Paris and its still one of the things I remember fondly. It is unlike anything you have probably experienced. Think high tea, with pots of melted chocolate.
Outside of the museums, Notre Dame (you have to climb the towers if you are physically able), Eiffel Tower...make sure you EAT! And don't eat at any place that caters to tourists. Pop down some side streets and eat in a little place that writes the menu of the day on a chalk board. My mouth is watering just thinking about it after all these years.
Then...walk the heck off those calories! You will be walking, walking, walking. Comfy shoes are a must.