One day in Paris
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Oct 16, 2012 7:20 AM Last Post By: MTL
Oct 6, 2012 4:11 PM
One day in ParisMy family and I (four adults) are traveling to France over Thanksgiving this year. We've got only one full day in Paris, so we're looking for the best way to spend that day. We'd prefer not to waste time trying to figure out public transportation. We're comfortable walking all or most of the day, and we aren't super interested in just seeing the famous landmarks--Eiffel Tower, Louvre, don't necessarily interest us. Ideally, we'd be able to walk from our hotel (the Aviatic http://www.aviatichotel.com, pretty centrally-located on the Left Bank) and see the best of non-touristy Paris, experience the culture, maybe even see some under-the-radar points of interest. Cafes, parks, architecture, interesting shops, scenery, etc. We don't necessarily need to have the typical Paris experience with photos of us in front of the Eiffel Tower.
One suggestion floating among us is a hop-on, hop-off tour, which would save our feet a little and allow us to explore at our leisure, but still have transportation to some of the major areas of the city. I'd personally like to be a bit more creative, so I'm open to suggestions.
Can anyone offer a list of highlights, walking tour idea, or point-by-point itinerary?
Oct 6, 2012 6:33 PM
Just take a walk along RUE DE VAUGIRARD where your hotel is and head towards the Seine and you will see Notre Dame, experience Paris life by stopping in at cafes etc and watch the people go by.
Oct 6, 2012 7:42 PM
2You don't say if you or any of your family have been to Paris before, if not, I would suggest you walk to the basic tourist things you say you don't want to see and while doing this you will absorb some of the culture. You only have one day and a great part of the city you say you don't have an interest in seeing is a great part of what makes the city of Paris the fantastic city it is.
I also agree with MTL, the Paris Metro is not that difficult to use, spend some time on this fourm and other places on the internet to prepare you to use it efficently.
Oct 6, 2012 8:49 PM
The link to your hotel includes the comma, so the website is not immediately available.
the correct link is http://www.aviatichotel.com/uk/index.php
When using a link, it's always good to hit 'enter' so it ends the link and keeps it from being corrupted.
The website itself provides information on what is immediately accessible on foot (with minutes from hotel to place) . It also provides info on time using the metro...which could give you insight into what you might consider.
Personally, I found taking the metro to be my best exposure to Paris. The central connection area at Les Halles was always entertaining with various singers/musicians playing (for donations) at places where various pathways intersect so you can be heading for one train and see/hear music being played on a lower pathway...the hard tile walls make for great acoustics and the sound travels, enhancing the experience, even if you don't stop to listen.
Buy a book of tickets and ride...and you'll be able to rest your feet and see parts of Paris you might not otherwise see.
Pick the best person in your part for orientation (perhaps someone who's done trekking, etc) and let them lead and explain what to do. Some of the stations themselves are worth riding through...
I'll post links later which may be of interest.
Oct 7, 2012 3:26 AM
4Well, with only one day, what can you do that everyone will agree on?
Wander and eat, wander some more and eat some more. Montmarte, the Marias, and along the river are all interesting areas to walk, I'm sure you could find self-guided walking tours online.
If it were me with only one day, I'd skip Paris entirely and jump on the first train to my next destination.
It's just not enough time to do anything worthwhile. Except wander and eat.
Unless an agreed-upon museum isn't out of the question. Or a visit to the Montparnasse Tower for a bird's-eye view of all the things you don't have time to see closer up.
Oct 7, 2012 6:39 AM
5For me, I would do a segway tour. It's a fantastic experience for the whole family and you get to see the entire of Paris from the street level. It's worth checking out.
Oct 7, 2012 11:38 AM
6Definitely avoid the BIG tourist monuments if you are not keen to go there. They are mostly a yawn for me as well unless you have a special interest.
So the question is, what is a little off the beaten path and yet worth the trip? The answer will be very personal:
My favorite day in Paris would be to visit the Musee Carnavalet (history of Paris), and on the same street go to the Eclaireur shop, which features haute couture. It s a wild-looking place on the inside and can get you into the kind of experience which does not exist outside of Paris. I would then go to the Marche des Enfants Rouge, which is an open-air market that has a few restaurants tucked within the stalls. After that, I would go to Jacques Genin's tea salon for the most exquisite pastries ever made. This is a tranquil spot you can eat inside. I would then go to the biggest and most prestigious flea market in Paris, Les Pouces de St. Ouen (weekends only). It's a conglomeration of about a dozen markets. The oldest and most beautiful is the Marche Vernaison, a warren of tight alleyways leading to an eye-popping array of idiosyncratic displays. After that, go to one of the most solidly touristed places in Paris, Montmartre, Few, though, climb the stairs to go to the rooftop of the Basilique de Sacre Couer, where you get the best views of Paris and a close-up view of the fascinating architecture. Beware of eating in one of the cafes in Montmartre, as they are the very model of tourist traps. The nearby Dali Museum is a special place.
Of course, following any Paris walking tour (like in the Michelin Green Guide) Right or Left Bank, will take you through the streets of Paris and point out the highlights along the way.
Edited by: shelemm
Oct 8, 2012 9:35 AM
7Two of us have been, thus more motivation to skip the usual spots.
Good to know that the public transportation is a breeze. As far as the HOHO tours, I share your criticism. It was just an idea of a way to get a summary of the major points of interest, see the highlights, and then pick an area to explore more closely without worrying about what time the next train comes. It's not my idea, and I'd rather bring something less touristy to the table, which is why I'm here.
I appreciate the help.
Oct 8, 2012 10:31 AM
Oct 8, 2012 11:41 AM
9Everyone who I've spoken to said the best way to enjoy Paris, without an itinerary or scheduling to see sites is to just walk. So just do that. Step out of your hotel and head in some direction. I guarantee that where ever you go, it will be the real Paris and not the Las Vegas immitation.
Oct 8, 2012 12:17 PM
Oct 8, 2012 3:47 PM
Oct 8, 2012 7:06 PM
Like Louis, i prefer buses too (outside rush hour) but they do take slightly more work to figure out (not much though). But in general, if you are lost and want to go back to your hotel (or anywhere else) find the nearest metro station and you;re done.
Oct 10, 2012 1:12 PM
13Catch the 38 bus (st michel to porte d'Orleans) or metro down to Denfert Rochereau. go down to the catacombs if that interests you, then walk along the rue Daguerre, the best food street in Paris (mostly closed on Monday). Walk along to the end and eat at the bistrot des Pingouins ( closed Sat lunch). Walk across the Montparnasse cemetery, saying hi for me to Samuel Beckett, Serge Gainsbourg, Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. When you get to the Montparnasse tower, you can go up to the top floor (58th) I think, and go out on the roof and look down on the Tour Eiffel without any queues. Catch metro 6 which is elevated, to ride over Paris.
On a Sunday morning, go to the Porte de Vanves fleamarket, then come back to St Placide and go for brunch at the Nemrod Corner of rue de Cherche-Midi), or to see the organic food market.
Another beautiful area is the place de Vosges. It's in the Marais. Touristy but stunning.
If it is sunny, the one tourist trip not to miss is to go into the Sainte Chapelle, where the stained glass is awesome in the sunlight. Bon voyage!
Oct 16, 2012 5:01 AM
14I guess this isn't supposed to be an idiotic question (though it sounds like one) so I'll try to give it a serious answer:
1) You want to skip touristic places => change your hotel and get to one of the small ones on the periphery of Paris
2) Culture: stay a week and will talk about it, or do one of those day tours where tourists travel in packs and have a guide quote anecdotes to them.
3) Scenery: it's a city, I suppose you've seen some before... But you can head to the top of the Belleville park and get a great view of the city.
4) Parks: not the best time in the year, but I'd suggest the "Buttes Chaumont". Few tourists go there and it's a very nice place for a stroll. Depending on the time, you may see people walking their dog, jogging, or school kids on a day trip.
5) Food: depends on what you want to try. The "boulangerie" can be found everywhere in the city and are rather "French". Local "Brasserie" serve French food but they are not exactly restaurants with a renown chief.
6) Architecture: try central Paris around "Les Halles", lots of narrow streets, nice buildings...
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