Paris in a week

Seven days in Paris ? Ready, set, go !

Seven days in Paris ? Ready, set, go !

 

Monday

 

Start your stay by exploring the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood around Hotel du Danube. Have a nice French breakfast at the Café de Flore, where artists are known to hang out in Paris, then visit the charming church and walk along the mythical Boulevard Saint-Germain (go left when coming from the hotel). Along the boulevard, you will find many shops, cafés, cinemas, etc, and you will be able to sense the atmosphere of the chic, yet cool part of Paris.

 

Then, take a left on the broad Boulevard Saint-Michel that will lead you to the river Seine and the Île de la Cité, in the core center of the capital. You will walk by the tremendous Court Hall, which is right next to the Sainte Chapelle. Although it is hardly visible from the street, it is open to visitors and is truely worth a bit of your time !

 

Go on with your day by taking the metro until Champs Élysées – Clémenceau station, where the Grand Palais is situated. Under the gorgeous dome of this building are some of the most popular Art exhibitions in Europe ! But beware if you want to go and see one, it is better to book your tickets in advance (online) to avoid long waiting lines. When you get out, you may like to finish the day by walking up the Champs Élysées until the famous Arc de Triomphe. It is a particularly pleasant walk when the sun has set and the avenue is fully illuminated.

 

Tuesday

 

In France, most of the national museums are closed on tuesdays, but not the Orsay Museum : a must when visiting Paris ! This beautiful industrial styled building that used to be a train station is situated meters away from the riverside, and hosts an impressive Art collection. Among the represented mouvements are impressionism, symbolism and realism, with artists such as Cézanne, Renoir, Van Gogh or Gauguin.

 

After having spent the morning at the museum, and had lunch on the top floor if you feel like it, continue walking along the riverside. It will take you about half an hour to get to the Eiffel Tower. Go up and admire the view of the city, then if the weather allows it, relax on the Champ de Mars for a bit.

 

By crossing the bridge in front of the iron giant, you will get to the tremendous Place du Trocadéro, which is certainly one of the best spots to take pictures, with the beautiful light, the wide spaces of the square, and the Eiffel Tower right there in the background. Then you can have dinner in one of the nice restaurants around (beware, though : the top notch situation means steap prices!), or walk for a few more minutes to go and enjoy the chic and trendy restaurant of the Palais de Tokyo and its nice terrace.

 

Wednesday

 

Looking for something unusual to do during your stay ? Why not visit the Catacombs of Paris ? On the Denfert – Rochereau square, enter the underpass and let yourself be guided in the maze of underground passages. The hundreds of skulls embedded in the walls will not fail to surprise you !

 

Then you can come back up to enjoy the daylight in the closeby Luxembourg gardens. From there, walk along rue Soufflot towards the Panthéon. On your way, do not forget to turn around and admire the view on Paris, with the Eiffel Tower in the background : a true postcard-like picture.

 

From the Panthéon, it is a nice walk through the Quartier Latin to the riverside. Some of these streets are among the oldest in the city. Cross a bridge to the Île de la Cité to reach the great Notre-Dame cathedral : a must in the parisian landscape. The cathedral is beautiful inside, but when you get out, try to linger for a bit on the esplanade to enjoy the sight of its amazing façade enlightened with the sunset.

 

Thursday

 

Many say that one day is not enough to visit the Louvre museum. If your wish is to see it all, then the saying it absolutely true ! However, if you are aware of the immensity of its collection and do not try to visit all the rooms in a race against time, you will spend a great day there. Piece of advice : when you go in (or even better : beforehand), look for a map of the museum, and pick one or two themes among the many that are covered. Then you will be able to concentrate on the parts that interest you the most and truly enjoy your visit. You can also follow one of the guided tours they offer. And if you are afraid to miss something important, know that the most popular pieces of the Louvre are indicated by arrows around the museum. Joconde, Milo's Venus, etc, you can go on a treasure hunt by following their trail !

 

To end your day, relax by enjoying a nice dinner cruise along the Seine on a flyboat. Admire Paris by night, its lights, and the tremendous monuments that line the river.

 

Friday

 

The Montmartre hill is a little world of itself. During a visit in Paris, you have no choice but to climb it ! If the rows of stairs scare you, do not hesitate to hop on the funicular that stops down the Sacré Coeur church. Then walk along the small paved streets, look around and at the view on the city, have lunch and enjoy the Old Paris atmosphere.

 

If you walk down the hill on the south side, you will end up in the Pigalle neighborhood, where bars, concert halls, sex shops and cabarets are everywhere. Walk down the avenue until you reach the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret, on Place Blanche. It is a very unique place to have an evening to remember, indeed. But if you choose to do so, do not forget to book your tickets in advance. You can choose to only see the show, or add dinner and champagne to enjoy the full Moulin Rouge experience.

 

Saturday

 

Fashionistas, save a day to swing by the biggest and most luxurious department stores in Paris : the Printemps and the Galeries Lafayette. From Haute Couture to more affordable choices, the great offer of clothing, accessories, beauty related articles, etc, will ravish everyone. On a side note, know that the buildings themselves are quite worth the detour. The tremendous decoration and the beautiful dome of the Galeries Lafayette in particular, attract millions of curious visitors every year.

 

For the others, do not worry : the neighborhood is not only dedicated to shoppers. Go have a look at the gorgeous Garnier opera house, or walk for a few minutes to the Place de la Madeleine. There, you will be able to visit the church and/or the Pinacothèque museum, which regularly hosts some of the hottest Art exhibitions in Paris.

 

Sunday

 

On Sundays, one parisian district stays particularly lively and lovely : the Marais. Start your journey on the Place de la Bastille, then dive into the little streets. Do not forget to stop by the charming Place des Vosges, then walk around and window shop as you like. In the Marais, you will find a lot of art galleries, and many trendy clothing and design shops that are very popular among hipsters. When crossing the jewish neighborhood, do not forget to grab one of the delicious falafels that have made the Rue des Rosiers famous !

 

On the East end of the Marais, you will get to the center of Paris, in the Beaubourg district where you will find the famous Pompidou Modern Art Museum. With its unusual colored and modern architecture, you cannot miss it ! On top of its very rich permanent collection and its popular temporary exhibitions, this museum also has the great advantage of offering a superb view of the center of Paris. So, do not hesitate to go up to the last floor, if only to take a last look at the city before you have to leave !

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The Marais, a unique area

In the heart of Paris (3rd and 4th arrondissements), the Marais is one of those neighborhoods that look like no other. Its name « marais » litterally means « swamp », which it used to be until the XIIIth century, when the Seine banks were reinforced to keep the water out of the area. As from then, it started to grow into one of the most interesting quarters of the capital. It first became the neighborhood of choice of the nobility (and the royalty!) to settle, and of the tradespeople to do business. In the seventies, during the big sexual revolution, the Marais started to be the favorite area of the gay community of Paris, which it still is to this day. But the Marais is also a unique cosmopolitan place, where hipsters walk along fashion designers, Orthodow Jews and artists. It is a lively, highly colorful neighborhood, filled with small paved streets, centuries-old mansions, religious buildings, museums and shops to discover. In short, an unavoidable step in your trip to get to know the Paris of today, of yesterday … and of tomorrow.

In the heart of Paris (3rd and 4th arrondissements), the Marais is one of those neighborhoods that look like no other. Its name « marais » litterally means « swamp », which it used to be until the XIIIth century, when the Seine banks were reinforced to keep the water out of the area. As from then, it started to grow into one of the most interesting quarters of the capital. It first became the neighborhood of choice of the nobility (and the royalty!) to settle, and of the tradespeople to do business. In the seventies, during the big sexual revolution, the Marais started to be the favorite area of the gay community of Paris, which it still is to this day. But the Marais is also a unique cosmopolitan place, where hipsters walk along fashion designers, Orthodow Jews and artists. It is a lively, highly colorful neighborhood, filled with small paved streets, centuries-old mansions, religious buildings, museums and shops to discover. In short, an unavoidable step in your trip to get to know the Paris of today, of yesterday … and of tomorrow.

 

History in the walls

 

It is true that the capital is full of historical sites and monuments. Spread accross the city, many points of interest allow visitors to travel in time. But for those who feel passionate about History, the Marais is certainly the neighborhood that will bring you back to the Paris of old times.

 

Did you know that it is there that you will find the oldest houses in Paris ? Even though several buildings are fighting over the prestigeous title of « oldest house in Paris », know that while you take a walk in the Marais, you will be able to take a look at a few houses that are more than six centuries old ! Officially, the oldest one is thought to be situated at 51, rue Montmorency, but some prefer to see it at numbers 11 and 13 of the rue François Miron, in a charming medieval house with visible wood beams. But as architecture goes, it is the XVIIth century that has provided the Marais with its most beautiful constructions. For intance, the famous Place des Vosges, built by King Henri the Ivth, and on which many like to relax on a bench when the sun comes out. The Hôtel de Sully and its French gardens, as well as the many private mansions that were built around the square during this time to accomodate the aristocracy. Nowadays, these tremendous buildings are mixed to the more modern urban landcaspe and make a walk in the Marais into a perpetual journey between past and present time.

 

But first and foremost, the Marais is known to be the historical Jewish neighborhood of the capital. Its center is situated around the charming rue des Rosiers, where Orthodox Jews still meet in the many restaurants, bakeries and book stores of the area. This explains why the Marais was chosen to host two of the major sites for Jewish History in France : the Museum of Art and History of Judaism (71, rue du Temple), and the Shoah Memorial (17, rue Geoffroy l'Asnier).

 

Fashion and design : the cream of the crop

 

But the Marais is not only a place for History. Nowadays, his definitely modern neighborhood also draws in a whole population with a thirst for fashion and design. Carried by creators and their « hipster » clients, the Marais is the cream of the crop when it comes to trendiness. The north part in particular (also known as the « Haut Marais ») is litterally filled with small workshops and art galleries, as well as fashion shops and concept-stores. There, design and fashion are more than just consumption goods, they have been brought up to the true pillars of the Marais lifestyle. The success of concept-store « Merci » (Boulevard Beaumarchais) is a proof of that. This ever so popular place offers not only the trendiest creations in terms of clothing, accessories, decoration and furniture, it also has a coffee shop, a restaurant … and a library.

 

So, no matter if you are a shopping addict, or just want to look at beautiful things and get into the modern and arty atmosphere of the neighborhood, one can only advise that you go wander around the streets of the Marais, and discover its galleries and shops as you please.

 

A bit of culture

 

You know it by now : the Marais is the neighborhood in which to walk and look around. However, it also is one of the most culturally interesting areas of Paris. There, you will find many museums, galleries and other cultural places. Here is a brief overview of some of the most stop-worthy of them...

 

Picasso Museum

 

5, rue de Thorigny (Paris 3°)

Timetable : from tuesday to friday from 11.30 a.m to 6 p.m / saturdays and sundays from 9.30 a.m to 6 p.m / open until 9 p.m on the third friday of every month

Fee : 11€

 

Carnavalet Museum

 

23, rue de Sévigné (Paris 3°)

Timetable : from tuesday to sunday from 10 a.m to 6 p.m

Fees : free entrance / temporary exhibitions from 3,50 to 7 euros

 

Shoah Meorial

 

17, rue Geoffroy l'Asnier (Paris 4°)

Timetable : from monday to saturday from 10 a.m to 6 p.m / open until 10 p.m on thursdays

Free entrance

 

Museum of Art and History of Judaism

 

71, rue du Temple (Paris 3°)

Timetable : from monday to friday from 11 a.m to 6 p.m / from 10 a.m to 6 p.m on sundays

Fees : from 4,50 to 8 euros

 

Swedish Cultural Center

 

11, rue Payenne (Paris 3°)

Timetable : from tuesday to sunday from 12 p.m to 6 p.m

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Summer sales : ready, set, shop !

Like every year, the time has come for the summer sales : from June 24th to August 4th, the big and small shops of Paris will reduce their price... and make the shopping addicts among us very happy ! So during your stay in the French capital, why not look for the best way to enjoy them ? They are a great opportunity of finding good deals during a nice walk in Paris. Whatever your prefered style, your budget or your current desires, the city is full of all kinds of shops in which you are guaranteed to find what you are looking for.

Like every year, the time has come for the summer sales : from June 24th to August 4th, the big and small shops of Paris will reduce their price... and make the shopping addicts among us very happy ! So during your stay in the French capital, why not look for the best way to enjoy them ? They are a great opportunity of finding good deals during a nice walk in Paris. Whatever your prefered style, your budget or your current desires, the city is full of all kinds of shops in which you are guaranteed to find what you are looking for. Did you fancy a treat, for yourself or as a gift for your relatives and friends, but do you not know where to begin looking ? Here is an overview on a few Parisian shops and neighborhoods that could well be worth a little detour during these summer sales...


 

Luxury and great fashion houses on the Grands Boulevards


 

The Printemps (Boulevard Haussmann / metro line 9 Havre-Caumartin or RER A Auber)


 

The Printemps is particularly popular amongst tourists ; for fashion enthousiasts, it is an essential stopover. This temple of Parisian « chic » hosts the creations of great luxury houses and Haute-Couture, and is divided in three buildings dedicated to men fashion, women fashion, and all things beauty. It is the place to go if you are searching for luxury idoms : there, you will find all the famous names of fashion clothes and accessories, jewelry and Haute-Couture... But do not worry if you were hoping to find slightly more affordable idoms : the Printemps is also full of less expensive brands, though just as trendy, such as Sandro, Maje, Comptoir des Cotonniers, etc.


 

The Galeries Lafayette (Boulevard Haussmann / metro line 9 and 7 Chaussée d'Antin-Lafayette)


 

Located just a few steps away, the Printemps' little sisters Galeries Lafayette have no reason to be jealous of their elder brother. In a gorgeous building with a brilliantly designed rotunda that would justify the trip in itself, the Galeries Lafayette present a very comprehensive collection of clothes and accesories, from the more luxurious to those that would ravish slightly tighter budgets. A special mention goes to their tremendous shoes collection, that occupies the store's whole basement, and will without a doubt make the « addicts » very happy.


 

Wandering from shop to shop


 

In the Marais (metro line 1 Hôtel de Ville or Saint Paul)


 

If you like to walk around and follow your whims in the small streets of the old Paris, the Marais is definitely a neighborhood that you should not miss. The Marais is full of all kinds of small shops in which you will find clothes (new or second hand) as well as interior design, cosmetics, make up, jewelry, etc... The Rue des Francs-Bourgeois is a particularly good one to go to if you are a shopping enthousiast, whilst those who feel a little bit hungry during the walk will enjoy the famous falafels of Rue des Rosiers. Good news : in the Marais, most shops are open on Sundays !


 

In the neighbourhood of Hotel du Danube : Saint-Germain-des-Prés (metro line 4 Saint-Germain-des-Prés)


 

The Saint-Germain-des-Prés area, around Hôtel du Danube, is one that Parisian « chic » lovers will most certainly enjoy. There, you will find a lot of shops of the great names of French fashion, from Haute-Couture to everyday clothing. In this neighborhood, the best option is still to get lost in the small streets and walk around to your desires. And if you are an Art lover, you will also want to stop by a few of the numerous Art galleries that make the soul of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. If clothes, shoes and accessories are your targets of choice, make sure not to miss the many shops of the rue de Grenelle, de Rennes, Bonaparte and rue du Four, etc.


 

Nowhere else : the Champs-Elysées


 

Essential stopover of a stay in Paris, the Champs-Elysées are a world of their own. While walking up this gigantic avenue towards the stately Arc de Triomphe, you might want to take the opportunity to do some window shopping, and to fill your bags in the numerous stores that enliven the avenue.

On Champs-Elysées, there is something for every budget, the stores are huge and offer the most comprehensive collections in Paris, and most of them even stay open everyday until midnight, sometimes even later ! The most difficult part might well be to pick a side of the street...

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The Paris of the kids

While traveling as a family, it is not always easy to find activities that will please the little ones as well as the adults. It is true that Paris is packed with various museums, historical museums and possible walks that could well fill one's entire life (and a busy one, that is). But at the intensive pace of a week of tourism, you will often find that the little feet of children get tired along the many staircases of Montmartre, and that their attention starts to fail at some point in one of the Louvre rooms. Remember...

While traveling as a family, it is not always easy to find activities that will please the little ones as well as the adults. It is true that Paris is packed with various museums, historical museums and possible walks that could well fill one's entire life (and a busy one, that is). But at the intensive pace of a week of tourism, you will often find that the little feet of children get tired along the many staircases of Montmartre, and that their attention starts to fail at some point in one of the Louvre rooms. Remember... So, in order to enjoy your family trip to the French capital, here are a few ideas for fun yet instructive activities among which you will certainly find something your kids (and perhaps even you) will enjoy !

 

Museums that speak to kids

 

  • The Natural History Museum

 

Located in the charming Jardin des Plantes, the Natural History Museum of Paris is spread over several buildings. It will allow you to get a wide view on hundreds on animals, minerals, dinosaurs, not to forget mankind ! Between the great gallery of evolution, the mineralogy gallery and the children gallery, you will not have time to get bored. The Museum is currently hosting an exhibition on big apes, that will teach your kids plenty about their ancestors and cousins. And to complete your visit, do not forget to go take a look at the impressive vivarium next to the main museum (noly if you are not afraid of reptiles!), as well as the zoo of the Jardin des Plantes.

 

Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, Jardin des Plantes

Access : Gare d'Austerlitz metro station (lines 5 et 10)

Timetable : open everyday except Tuesday from 10 a.m to 6 p.m

 

  • The Grevin Museum

 

How would you like to have your picture taken next to Michael Jackson, Madonna or Barack Obama … or perhaps only to see them up close ? If the answer is « yes, very much », then it is time for you to book your ticket to Musée Grévin. The famous museum and its wax mannequins continue to please thousands of visitors, big and small, year after year. So much so that it has even developped visits and animations especially for children ! After having been thrilled to encounter famous characters from all around the world, they could for instance learn more about the very interesting process of making these famous (and so convincing!) life sized dolls.

 

Musée Grévin, 10 bd Montmartre (Paris 9°)

Access : Grands Boulevards metro station (line 9)

Timetable varies according to seasons, check their website : http://www.grevin-paris.com/fr/paris/horaires

 

A trip to the aquarium ?

 

Out of ideas to please the kids on a rainy afternoon ? How about a nice walk in a beautiful aquarium to discover the most colorful and strangest creatures of the sea ? The city of Paris has two different aquariums that will ravish the little ones !

 

The first and most famous is the one in the Trocadéro gardens : the « Cineaqua ». It is open everyday from 10 a.m to 7 p.m and offers – on top of the regular visits – a good amount of shows, workshops and fun activities for children. You can check their programme on their website : www.cineaqua.com

 

Prices

 

Adult : 20€

Child between 13 and 17 : 16€

Child between 3 and 12 : 13€

Child below 3 : Free

 

Access

 

Metro : Trocadéro station (lines 6 and 9)

RER : Champ de Mars station (line C)

 

The second is the Tropical Aquarium of Porte Dorée. Cheaper and less crowded, this one promises a quieter visit. Located in the Palais de la Porte Dorée that also hosts the Immigration History Museum, it offers paired tickets at very agreeable prices. The Palais is open from tuesday to friday from 10 a.m to 5.30 p.m and on saturdays and sundays from 10 a.m to 7 p.m.

 

Prices

 

Individuals

 

Adult (26 and over) : 5,00 €
Child below 4 : Free
Youngsters between 4 and 25 ans : 3,50 €

 

Families

1 adult + 1 child (-18) : 7,00 €
2 adults + 2 children (-18) : 11,00 €

 

Aquarium + Museum

 

Adult

With no temporary exhibition : 8,00 €
With one temporary exhibition : 9,00 €
With two temporary exhibitions : 10,00 €

Family (2+2)

With no temporary exhibition : 17,00 €
With one temporary exhibition : 20,00 €
With two temporary exhibitions : 22,00 €

 

Access

 

Metro : Porte Dorée station (line 8)

Tramway : Porte Dorée station (line T3A)

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