Paris, “City of Light” and global center for art and culture… The city houses iconic museums–the Louvre, home to the Mona Lisa, and Musée d’Orsay, featuring an extensive collection of Impressionist masterpieces. One of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, the Eiffel Tower stands tall as an iconic symbol of Paris. Notre-Dame Cathedral, Sainte-Chapelle, Sacré-Cœur Basilica… The Champs-Élysées, grand avenue lined with shops and theaters, leading to the majestic Arc de Triomphe, symbol of French national pride.
Paris is a culinary paradise, renowned for its exquisite cuisine. From charming bistros to Michelin-starred restaurants, to lively historic markets, savor French delicacies, pastries, wines, and cheeses. Cruise along the Seine River for a unique perspective showcasing Parisian landmarks illuminated at night. Paris has been a haven for writers, artists, and intellectuals throughout history. Famous literary figures like Hemingway and Fitzgerald frequented the city’s cafes and bookshops, contributing to its rich intellectual legacy. Paris is a global fashion capital, synonymous with haute couture and chic style. Paris is Paris. And you are here to make it yours.
Stay at Citadines Saint-Germain-des-Prés, in a prime location on the left bank, only steps from the Seine. This will put you immediately across the river from the lovely St. Chapelle on the big island, Ile de la Cité. Notre Dame Cathedral will be a 10-minute walk. And you will be able to step out your door and hop on the Batobus that will take you where you need to go in the most efficient, enjoyable and picturesque way.
Book an air-conditioned studio or apartment, serviced by an elevator and including satellite TV and free Wi-Fi. You will have a kitchenette with microwave, refrigerator and toaster, so you will be free to make good use of wonderful finds at the markets and shops. Here you will also be surrounded by many great restaurants and cafés.
Most of your comings and goings in Paris will be by Batobus, traveling down the river towards the Eiffel Tower, then back up the river to your stop beside Notre Dame, hopping on and off along the way to visit museums, monuments, parks and neighborhoods.
By using the river as your main transportation route, instead of the underground Metro, the getting there will be as rich an experience as the arriving. Much of Paris is best viewed from the river. And by using the river for transportation, you will quickly develop a sense of which way to walk to get to the river, as well as which way, and which bank, you are headed to for each day’s venture—downstream or upstream, left bank or right?
Arrive early morning at CDG airport. Taxi to the Left Bank, your “home base.” Orient yourself to your “neighborhood.” Walk across the bridge and past Notre Dame for lunch at Brasserie Esmeralda on the larger island, Ile de La Cité (“Island of the City”), next to the buttresses of the Cathedral.
Walk a full circuit around the larger island. Stop at the Flower Market to pick up flowers for your flat. End your walk at the incomparable Sainte-Chapelle. You may be returning here for a concert this evening. Across the street from Sainte-Chapelle at Souvenirs and Services (5 Boulevard du Palais; open Saturday 10 am to 7 pm), redeem your voucher for your six-day Paris pass for skip-the-line access to museums. Activate your pass by visiting the stained-glass windows of Sainte-Chapelle with daylight shining through.
Dine outdoors at Le Flore en L’Ile on Ile Saint-Louis (the small island). This evening, take a night cruise along the Seine to the Tour Eiffel on Bateau Parisiens or Bateau Mouche, with all of Paris and its bridges aglow. Or attend a concert at Sainte-Chapelle, surrounded by the incredible colors of the stained glass. Do one of these this evening and the other tomorrow night.
Purchase a 6-Day Museum Pass (€92). You will activate this pass on Day #1 and use it whenever you wish to enter museum without waiting in line. Since most museums will be covered by this pass, feel free to stop into most any museum or site you wish, even if you have very limited time to visit. Having this museum pass will eliminate your struggle to decide whether or not the time you have for a visit will be worth the cost. You are free to enter now. So do so at will.
When you know your arrival time in Paris, make lunch reservation at l’Esmerelda (2 Rue de Cloitre Notre Dame) to ensure you will have a table. Open 8AM to 8PM, 7 days a week. +33-43-54-17-72. Book an outdoor table. This will be your arrival meal. Make it special.
Purchase an Annual Bateaubus Pass (€73). You will activate this pass on Day 1 and use it whenever you wish to travel by river. Yes, you could be taking the Metro. But then you would be underground and missing the experience of seeing where you’re going. Also, consider the Bateaubus to be a convenient resting place when you need one. Now you will always have a place to sit down and drift along. So, again, do so at will.
Classical performances such as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Category 1 (Rows 3 to 10): €60. Category 2 (Rows 11 to 20): €50. Concerts at 6PM or 8:30PM. Arrive early to pass through security. https://www.classictic.com. OR book a Seine Cruise on Bateau Parisiens or Bateau Mouche to the Eiffel Tower and back, passing under the bridges of Paris brightly lit…
Book dinner at an outdoor table at 6PM at le Flore en L’Ile (42 Quai Orleans; (0)1-43-29-88) on the little island (8 AM to 2 AM), in view of the back of Notre Dame across on the big island. Make this your arrival dinner, toasting each other and the amazing sights and atmosphere that surround you.
Batobus downriver to the turn around at the Eiffel Tower, then back upriver to hop off at d’Orsay. Use your skip-the-line Paris Pass for immediate entry. Start with the Impressionists, then wander at will. Lunch in elegance at the restaurant of the 1900 Expo Grand Hotel that once stood beside d’Orsay train station.
Take the Batobus back to St. Germain for a walk through this fashionable neighborhood, with pauses to window shop. Walk towards Luxemburg Gardens. If you split up to shop, meet up at ab agreed time at an outdoor table at Au Petit Suisse for wine or a snack.
Then walk through the Gardens, passing the Palace and pond, then over to the eclectic Latin Quarter. Stop in at Shakespeare & Company and nearby Café Procope, hangout of Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin. Stroll through the Latin Quarter to dinner at Le Jardin du Roy. After dinner, stroll along the street listenning for music. If you pass by an inviting piano bar, stop in and enjoy.
Batobus downriver to spend an eye-popping morning at the Louvre. Walk the former palace in the footsteps of the kings as they viewed their priceless collections of paintings and sculpture. Winged Victory. The Mona Lisa. Venus du Milo. The Gallery of Apollo. Take a break at Café Mollien on the terrace overlooking the courtyard and Pyramid. Use the “12-Point Masterpiece Treasure Hunt” (link below) to view a good range of world-class work without becoming overwhelmed.
When you leave the Louvre via the Pyramid, walk over to Napoleon’s smaller arch, Arc du Carrousel, with the Venetian horse sculpture on top (The originals taken by Napoleon were later returned. These are copies.). Look through this smaller arch towards the much larger Arc to Triomphe at the far end of the Voie Triomphale (“Triumphal View”). You’ll be visiting the Arc to Triomphe later in your trip.
Walk through Tuileries Gardens, admiring the sculptures and pausing to sit in the sun beside the large octagonal basin. Make a brief stop at at L’Orangerie to the left of the pond to view Monet’s massive and remarkable water lily murals. You will see his inspiration tomorrow during your visit to his private gardens at Giverny.
Then out the gate of the gardens to hail a pedal cab for a ride to the Grand Palais (built for the 1900 Paris Expo) for lunch on the terrace. Catch the Batobus back to St. Germain to visit the Roman Baths & Unicorn Tapestries at the Cluny Museum. Find a Boat Bar for drinks and live music before dinner outdoors at Beaurepaire Café.
Located in the Grand Palais, magistically set on Avenue Winston Churchill, built to prepare for the Universal Exposition of 1900. For a summer meal or a cocktail, the pillared terrace overlooking Pont d’Alexandre III must be the most beautiful in Paris.(Make reservations!)
3 av. Winston Churchill (01–42–56–42–42)
Book an outside table at Beaurepaire Cafe in the Latin Quarter, your neighborhood. This is a small but charming haven on a quiet street, just a 12-minute walk along the Seine from your apartment, Browse the book seller kiosks along your way here. If you love it here, this may become your go-to restaurant.
Discover the village of Giverny on this outing from Paris. Explore Monet’s world with a ticket ticket to Monet’s House and dive into the artists life with audio guide app to download on your device.
Explore the scenic village of Giverny, the former home of Claude Monet
The departure will be at 8:15 AM from a centrally located meeting point. It will take about 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach the idyllic location, the lovely Norman village of Giverny.
Discover the place of inspiration where Claude Monet, master of the Impressionist movement, created his most beautiful works. By visiting the artist’s house and gardens, still in its original look, let yourself be carried away by Monet’s imagination. Enjoy the vibrant colors as you listen to your audio guide on an app to download on your device and make your way through the two gardens which are an exceptional work of art in themselves.
When crossing the Japanese bridge inside the water garden, you won’t miss the famous water lilies and the majestic weeping willows decorating the charming pond. In the paths of the Clos Normand (the Norman enclosed plot), the flower beds will dazzle your eyes with their endlessly varied colors and will lead you to daydream and romanticize.
Stride along the streets of this charming little village, and stroll through the painters’ and sculptors’ galleries. Complete your day by visiting the Museum of Impressionism which has one of the most beautiful collections of Impressionist works.
Walk to the delightful open-air Maubert Market (open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). Or visit the wonderful permanent shops: Fromagerie (cheese), Charcuterie (cold cooked meats), Vin (wine), Patisserie (pastry), Boulangerie (bakery). Stop for breakfast at Metro Café across the street, and try a mushroom and cheese omelet. Carry your purchases home to lighten your load.
Then catch the Batobus to the Champs-Élysées stop at the Alexander III bridge (decorated in gold). On your walk over to the Champs-Élysées, you will pass the Petit Palais, another impressive 1900 Expo building, across from the Grand Palais. Pause for coffee in the lovely interior garden courtyard. Your Museum Pass will allow you free access.
Walk to the Champs-Élysées, then shop or window shop your way along this famous mecca of fashion. Meet up for lunch at Pizza Pino, overlooking the throngs. You will have made reservations for a table along the sidewalk, or upstairs, with a view out over the engaging parade of humanity on the Champs-Élysées.
Walk all the way to Place de l’Étoile (“star”)— the juncture formed by 12 radiating avenues. Do NOT attempt to cross at street level!! Instead, take the tunnel on the right side of Champs-Élysées to cross under the craziness of the traffic around the arch. Napoléon I commissioned this magnificent triumphal arch in 1806 to celebrate the victorious French Grande Armée for its success conquering most of Europe.
Then taxi or Uber to the Tour Eiffel in time for your scheduled visit. You may have added dinner at Madame Brasserie on the 1st floor of the tower to your visit. The Eiffel Tower was built as the entrance to the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris (11 years before the 1900 Paris Expo), to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the fall of the Bastille—the event that launched the French Revolution. Standing 984 feet tall, the Tower far surpassed the height of the world’s tallest structure at the time, the 555-foot tall Washington Monument. It remained the tallest man-made structure in the world for the next 41 years.
First, view it from in front… Walk up to the tower’s massive legs, oriented with the four points of the compass. Look up into the intricate geometry of the tower’s angles and braces, a total of 18,038 pieces, joined together by 2½ million rivets.
Next, view it from beneath… Walk under the tower and out the other side, as visitors did when they entered and left the spectacular fairgrounds of the 1889 Expo.
Now, view it from partway up… Your pre-booked tickets will give you priority access to the 1st and 2nd floors (or to the Summit, for an additional cost) at your appointed time ONLY. Once you are inside the tower, you will be free to stay for as long as you like.
You will have made your Eiffel Tower plans well in advance of your trip since access is limited and the tower is very popular. Making your arrangements online in advance will allow you to skip the 2–4 hour ticket lines.
The Bistro des Champs Elysées is the unmissable Parisian address. Located on the most beautiful avenue in the world, the current BISTRO 25 and its 2 terraces offer you an exclusive experience in a chic and cozy atmosphere, both modern and traditional, in a historic building dating from the 19th century. Book an outdoor table so you can watch people strolling by. https://bistro25.com/
Collect lift tickets at the welcome desk of Madame Brasserie. Take entrance 1 (South) to access the Eiffel Tower’s esplanade. You will pass through the first security check at this entrance. Skip the line of this security check; there is a sign with the Madame Brasserie logo where you have direct access to the restaurant. Elevator ticket to the first level of the Eiffel Tower is included in the price of your meal.
Enjoy a full-day trip from Paris to Versailles Palace. Follow your guide through the lavish State Apartments, the glittering Hall of Mirrors, and see gardens and Marie Antoinette’s private estate.
Discover the secrets of Versailles Palace on this day trip from Paris. Travel by train and enjoy pre-booked entrance tickets that guarantee you direct access. Take a guided tour to uncover all that this stately palace has to offer.
Meet your guide in downtown Paris and relax on the ride to Versailles aboard a local train. Once you reach the Chateau, begin your trip through time as you gain a vivid understanding of the royal personalities who inhabited the site. Find out how Versailles was the most splendid capital in the world during the 17th century reign of Louis XIV. Hear about how the royal family was continuously on display, how they subjugated the proud nobles, and recaptured preeminence in fashion and art. Listen to astonishing anecdotes about the lavish lifestyle of Marie Antoinette and understand how uncomfortable she was at this public palace, preferring her private domains.
Upon completing your tour of the royal apartments go to the luxurious gardens. Admire this lush area that was the setting for promenades, performances, and pyrotechnics. On days when the fountains are active, appreciate the elegant and omnipresent bubbling jets of water. Work up an appetite and take a break for lunch. There will be a break in the gardens for lunch after the morning tour. There is a choice of restaurants and sandwich bars. Or choose to add on a gourmet 3 course lunch with wine in the restaurant in the Palace run by Chef Ducasse.
Meeting point: Café Regalia, 1 rue de la Convention, 75015 Paris Directions: Meet your guide outside the Café Regalia. It is right next to the metro entrance/exit for Javel André Citroen (line 10). Your guide will be waiting for you by the café on the corner. If you come by taxi ask the driver to drop you at the Café Regalia. If you arrive by RER train please note you will need to cross the main road on the left as you exit and go to the café on the corner of the rue de la Convention. Your guide will be wearing an orange cap and an orange badge. Please arrive at the meeting point 15 minutes before your tour departure time. We have to take a train to Versailles and we cannot wait for any late arrivals.
Today, before you head up to Montmartre, you will have a chance to stop by the Post Office (16 Rue Étienne Marcel) to mail home a box and lighten your load, the better to make room in your luggage for one final day of shopping. Then set off to experience two additional neighborhoods of Paris.
First, the arty and village-like Montmartre, known as a creative breeding ground, as well as for its bohemian lifestyle… Montmartre has been home to many famous artists, including Monet, Van Gogh, Dali, Modigliani, Picasso and Pissarro. Second, back to river level for a stroll through the Marais, with its eclectic vintage and fashion clothing shops.
In Montmartre, have your driver drop you off at the “Low Station” (Gare Basse) of the Funiculaire for the ascent up the steep hill to Sacre-Coeur Basilica. Or, if you would prefer, climb the 220!! steps to the top. Visit the working artists in Place du Tertre, watching artists at work and perhaps sitting for a portrait or caricature of youself. Then walk back over to the basilica steps to sit awhile and admire the view out over Paris. Step inside for a look at the gilded interior.
Lunch at the nearby l’Eté en Pente Douce, under the brightly colored umbrellas, away from the bustle around the basilica.
Taxi or Uber back down from Montmartre to the level of the river to Bis Boutique Solidaire ( 7 Boulevard du Temple) in the Marais neighborhood to begin your Marais shopping. Wander the twisting streets of the Marais, pausing at vintage and fashion clothing shops. Your quest will be to uncover mementos of Parisian style. When you wear your finds back at home, you will be transported back to this, your final day in Paris.
Set a meet up spot and time at Le Relais de l’Hôtel de Ville (50 rue de Rivoli) to pause for drinks and to share your stories and finds.
Exiting the Marais, walk to rue du Renard and turn right, heading away from the river. You will not be able to miss spotting the avant-garde Pompidou Center up ahead on your left. The internal skeleton of the building is exposed on the outside, brightly color-coded—green for plumbing, blue for climate control, yellow for electrical, and red for circulation and safety systems.
Continue over to the quirky Stravinsky Fountain beside the quirky Pompidiou Center. Find a spot to watch the antics of the street performers. Circle the fountains to marvel at the garish, but engaging, sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle and pick your favorite.
Dinner will be at Bistro Beaubourg, a local favorite in this neighborhood. And tonight, head back up to Montmartre for a 9 PM performance at the Moulin Rouge.
Then back to the river for a final pause to soak in the views from the bridge across from your apartment as you bid “au revoir” to Paris—“until I see you again.”
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