6 Days in Paris, October 2018. We’re sold out for this trip, but if you’d like to live vicariously… here’s what you’ll be missing! We’ve packed a LOT into our time.
Arrival Day: Sunday, 14 October.
I’m assuming your flight will arrive at CDG sometime between 6am and 10am. Again, be sure to email your flight itinerary when your reservations are confirmed! Until then, I’ll assume you’ll all be at the apartment in Paris by noon, at the latest.[one_half_first]
I’ll send an email later with options for transportation to Paris and tips to minimize jet lag. Even so, the first couple of days aren’t going to be pretty. But, being the strong, determined women we are we will power through. After you get to the apartment I imagine you’ll want to get settled into your room and then freshen up. [/one_half_last]
If possible, I suggest NOT napping, unless you set the alarm for a 30 min catnap. Let’s plan on being ready to head out of the apartment by 1:00 – 1:30 pm, if possible. We have somewhere we have to be by 4:30. Shhhhhh. It’s a surprise.
Here’s the plan:
A brief walk around our neighborhood for the week will be good to check out the local spots – grocery, cafès, Metro, ATMs, etc. After that, we’ll take the metro over to the 5th arrondisement and make our way to the Arènes de Lutèce. Here we’ll hang out for a few minutes and talk about the week ahead as well as a little Paris history. Taking off, we’ll head out on a “short” walk through the 5th and into the 6th, ending the afternoon on the Île de la Cité (Notre Dame).
From start to finish we’ll cover 3.5 miles total – about an hour and a half’s walking time. There are several places we’ll be stopping to look at / talk about so it will be a longer journey than an hour and a half. I also thought we’d stop at La Palette for a beverage / snack along the way.
If we’re still out at 6:30/7:00 (and still upright) we will can go to dinner – I thought Au Bougnat or La Robe et Le Palais would be 2 good contenders. There are so many restaurants in Paris it’s hard to go wrong! Our challenge that first night (as Americans used to eating earlier plus the addition of jet lag), most Paris restaurants don’t open for dinner until 7pm. Bistros and Cafés may be a better bet for Sunday, but we’ll play it by ear.
A few of the things we’ll see on our first walk in Paris:
- 74 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine (Hemingway’s first home in early 1920s),
- Remnants of the city wall built by Philippe (or Philip II) Augustus (oldest city wall whose plan is actually known – built in late 1100’s)
- The Panthéon
- The Sorbonne
- My favorite spots in the Luxembourg Gardens
- Église de Saint-Germain des Prés
- Les Deux Magots
- The location of Picasso’s Studio from 1936 to 1955, where he painted “Guernica“
- Place Saint-Michel
- Shakespeare and Company
- Notre-Dame de Paris
- Lovely Surprise for the light evening meal
Yes. It’s a lot, but it’s also just a stroll. Any of these things you want to delve into deeper, there will be plenty of time. This is to give your legs a good stretch, get you oriented to the 5th & 6th arrondisements, and to whet your appetite for the rest of the week.
A welcome packet will be waiting for you at the apartment and will include a little Paris “mapsco” of sorts, usually called Paris par Arrondissement – or something similar. I’m also creating PDFs of the walks for you. Using the booklet with the PDFs, I’m hoping it gets you oriented to the city quickly!
So, that’s it for now. Day 1 may be pushing it on the endurance for some of you – a piece of cake for others. You’ll be free to do as much or as little as you’d like. You’ll be among friends so it’s ALL good. 🙂
- Watch Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. We’ll be walking past a couple of the locations on Sunday.
- Read The Paris Wife by Paula McClain – In addition to being an easy read it’s a mini history lesson about Paris, Hemingway’s early life, and literary world in the early 1900’s.
- Make your flight reservations
Day 2: Monday, 15 October.
We’ll get started slowly on our first morning. We’ll make our way out of the apartment about 10:00 and catch the metro. The Tuileries Gardens separate the Louvre from the Place de la Concord so, we’ll plan on getting off the metro at the Louvre stop. Our walk will start at the Pyramid in front of the Louvre. (We’re not going in to the Louvre today, but will save that for Wednesday, late afternoon / evening.)
At the other end of the gardens we’ll visit the Musée de l’Orangerie. This will give us our first taste of classic French impressionist art, a series of large Water Lillies paintings given to the city of Paris by Monet himself in 1922.
From the Orangerie we’ll make a brief detour, (Place Vendôme), then make our way to the Place de la Concorde, and eventually on to the Champs-Élysées. We’ll be ready for un café (ou, du vin) by now, so we’ll find a café and stop for lunch.
Afternoon Views, The Arc & The Tower
After, we’ll continue our walk, ending up at the Arc de Triomphe. The plan is to go into the museum and up to the terrace. The view from the Arc’s terrace is equally as spectacular as any other in Paris. I promise.
It’ll be around 3:00 – 3:30 when we’re through and after, we’ll take the metro over to the Trocadéro Gardens. Here is where you’ll get THE most spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower. For those of you who want to go up on the tower, you’ll need a ticket. The tickets are timed and, even though October isn’t a high-tourist month, it’s best to purchase it in advance. However, the farthest in advance you can make these reservations is 1-2 months. And, unfortunately, the museum pass does not include the Eiffel Tower. Give it some thought and we’ll come back to this topic when we get closer to October. If you want to have dinner at the top of the Tower, you just need dinner reservations and not a separate ticket.
After the Eiffel Tower, you’re free to continue on, find a tree to sit under, or head back to the apartment. The rest of the evening is unplanned, but I’ll have suggestions if you need.
The walking distance for the day will be about 3.5 to 4.5 miles.
Day 3: Tuesday, 16 October.
OMG I am so excited for Day 3!! We’re going to be picked up at our apartment, likely around 8:30 or 9:00am, and driven to Giverny, where we’ll have a private, guided tour of Monet’s home and gardens. Having seen the beautiful Water Lillies paintings the day before, we’ll have exact perspective Monet had for so many of his masterpieces. How wonderful will that be!?
We’ll stop for lunch at a local café before we hit the road on to Versailles. Again, our guide will walk us through the centuries and history of the beautiful Gardens and Palace.
Did you know the gardener who designed the spectacular Versailles grounds for Louis XIV is the same architect behind the Tuileries Gardens we will have walked through the day before? André Le Nôtre. …And just wait until you see the Hall of Mirrors, also created by Louis XIV in 1678. Imagine; it’s still used today for state functions.
We’ll be chauffeured back to our apartment, arriving around 5:00-6:00 pm. Evening 3 is unscheduled, but again – I’ll have suggestions for those ready to continue on!
Now you have agendas for Days 1, 2 and 3. Days 4, 5 and 6 are almost firmed up, as well. Stay tuned.
To the left is a sneak peak for the afternoon of Day 4. Anyone know where this is?
Day 4 morning will be unscheduled and we’ll connect up for a late lunch before another afternoon of exploration. …but where might that be?? Tell me if you know.
- For a history lesson on the Arc De Triomphe (http://www.arcdetriompheparis.com/history)
- If you aren’t already familiar, here’s a short and sweet discussion of how the Impressionist movement came to be and the role Monet played. https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-monet-impressionists-paved-way-modern-art
- Check out these articles. This one relates to America’s connection to (or existence, thanks to) Versailles (http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/history/versailles-and-united-states-america-1778-1783) and this, the history of the palace itself (http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/history#the-reign-of-louis%C2%A0xv1715—1774). I especially find it poignant; how the fates of our both our countries resulted from, in large part, that relationship forged in 1783.
Day 4: Wednesday, 17 October.
We’ll have a late start on Wednesday. At the time I’m writing this, I’m still waiting for a confirmation for a dinner on Tuesday evening after we return from Versailles. If that dinner is scheduled, it will be a late night and will make for a FULL Day 3. Either way, you’ll have the morning free to lounge or explore on your own if you’d like.
Around 1:30 or so, we’ll head out for an afternoon of wandering the hills of Montmartre, first stop – The Moulin Rouge. Montmartre was the creative and artistic epicenter in 1900, home to Bohemian poets, writers and artists. Until the mid 1800’s Montmartre was actually its own, separate town and you can still see and feel the uniqueness today.
One of the unusual things we’ll see is the great statue/sculpture, Le Passe-Muraille (the Passer-Through-Walls). Le Passe-Muraille is the title of a 1940’s story by Marcel Aymé about a man named Dutilleul who discovers that he can (you guessed it) walk through walls. The statue is situated in a place named after Marcel Aymé.
Montmartre sites we’ll see include:
- Moulin de la Galette – famously painted by Picasso, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec , Pissarro, Van Gogh, and others.
- Montmartre Vineyards (yes, a vineyard – in Paris – that produces the worst expensive wine in the world.)
- Sacré-Cœur Basilica
- Bateau-Lavoir – Originally a piano factory; made up of cobbled together studios, it was home to many artists and the birth of Modern Art in the beginning of the 20th century.
- Lapin Agile – A favorite cabaret of struggling artists and writers, including Picasso, Modigliani, Apollinaire and Utrillo; in other words, the artists of Bateau-Lavoir.
- AND! Le Grenier à Pain- a two-time winner of “The Best Baguette in Paris” competition. OMG!
Around 4:00 we’ll head back to the 1st arrondissement for a visit to the Louvre. The crowds at the Louvre can be unimaginable during the days. Wednesdays and Fridays the museum is open until 9:45pm, versus the normal 6:00pm, so there will be no need to rush.
We have dinner plans at 7:00 near the Notre Dame.
My 10 “musts” at the Louvre:
- Mona Lisa – da Vinci
- Winged Victory – 190 BC, Ancient Greece
- Dying Slave – Michelangelo
- Venus de Milo – 100 BC, Cyclades, Greece
- Liberty Leading the People – Delacroix
- Venus with Three Graces – Botticelli
- Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss – my favorite, ever. Antonio Canova (picture at right)
- Raft of Medusa – Theodore Gericault, defined French Romanticism (“romanticism” is a misnomer, here.)
- Coronation of Napoleon – David
- Grande Odalisque – Ingres
If you’re a fan of early civilization art and artifacts, please let me know. At the Louvre you can see works and objects dated from as far back as 7000 BC (Statue of Aïn Ghaza). Waaaay too much to cover in one trip, but if there’s something you’d like to see other than the types of works noted above, I want to make sure you get that opportunity.
It’ll be close to 9:00 when we finish our dinner party. Some of us will want to grab a bite or a nightcap before heading home – others will want to head directly back – and still others may want to dance and party. It is Paris, after all!
The walking distance for the afternoon will be a short 2.5 – 3 miles (not counting walking around the Louvre). (Get ready for Thursday)
Day 5: Thursday, 18 October.
Thursday morning is another open morning. There are so m any7 options! Perhaps sleeping in and watching the world go by from a local café. Or, how about:
- A shopping tour of les depôt-vents? (I’ll have a map).
- A visit to the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery? (Among the many, MANY famous people buried here are Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Proust, Gertrude Stein and Jim Morrison. It is really a beautiful “community”. see right)
- The Pantheon? (Built in the 1700’s originally as a church, now a mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens, including Voltaire, Émile Zola, Marie Curie, Louis Braille, Victor Hugo).
Whatever you’re up for more, go for it.
We’ll be heading out again about 1:00, this time back to the Rive Gauche. A LOT of walking today, starting in the 5th and ending the day in the 7th. Be sure to bring some good walking shoes. (and blister care)
Some of the things we’ll see along the way:
- My favorite hair salon (I know this isn’t terribly exciting – But, really it is. Christophe-Nicolas Biot. I hope to have an appointment before seeing you all and — look oh, so Parisian!)
- Saint-Germain Chapel (rue de Seine, rue de Bucci, rue, rue, rue – shop and cafe after shop and cafe. Love it!)
- Les Deux Magots, Café de Flore, Brasserie Lipp (All 3 were popular with artists, writers of the late 1800s / early 1900s – fabulous décor, big-time tourist joints today. Still, lovely to see the history)
- Saint-Sulpice Chapel – (referenced in The Da Vinci Code)
- Luxembourg Gardens (Fontaine Médicis – one of my favorite spots in all of Paris – see right)
- Rodin Museum – Small, but a hidden gem.
- Alexandre III Bridge – THE most beautiful bridge ever.
- Musee d’Orsay – Another evening of art
It will be another 9:45pm night when we finish dinner. Another opportunity to continue the fun or call it a day.
The walking distance for the afternoon will be 6 to 6.5 miles.
Day 6: Friday, 19 October.
Friday is our last full day in Paris.
Sad. But, last does NOT mean least – or boring – or easy. We’re making the most of it – starting out with an optional treat – A Classic French Baguette & Croissant Baking Class. Won’t your friends be jealous??! We’ll need to be at the Boulangerie Le Petit Mitron, in the 14th, by 10:30am.
After, we’ll head back to the Right Bank starting with a light lunch (if we’re hungry) at Le Train Bleu. If we’re not hungry we’ll go in for a cafè and be transported back to 1900 for a few minutes. Created for the 1900’s World Fair (as was la Tour Eiffel) it is simply fabulous, and you must see it.
Re-entering 2018, we’ll head over to the Marais district by way of l’Îsl St. Louis.
Along the way, we’ll see:
- Promenade Plantée – The inspiration for NYC’s Highline that opened in 2014.
- Berthillon – World-famous ice cream. Yes, we’ll stop here, so save room.
- Place de Vosges
- Brasserie Bofinger – Bofinger’s opened in 1864 and it is BEAUTIFUL. Another step-back-in-time to the Belle Époque. We’ll definitely want o stop here for a look. (et peut-être, du vin ou café.)
- Marché d’Aligre, or next door Marché Beauvau, will be our last stop. Here we can pick up something for our evening meal – sadly packing and getting ready for Saturday’s journey onward. For those of you needing less time (and sleep) are free to continue the party as long as you’re able.
The walking distance for the day will be about 4.75 – 5 miles.
Day 7: Saturday, 20 October.
That’s it. Most of you will have a flight back Saturday morning. <sniff, sniff> I’ll have the café going and the croissants et beurre ready early. We’ll have talked through the timing and modes of transportation so all that you’ll have to do is pack up all the memories and keep them close once you return home.
And start planning for new memories. Provence in 2019, anyone?? Our home base will be in the Vendôme area, where I’ll (hopefully!) be able to host you as a (part-time) local! Stay tuned…