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Cil
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Planning is fun.
Detailed plans are okay as long as you have the understanding and the flexibility to cope with everything changing in an instant. The more details you have, the more alternatives might present themselves.

Small example: last spring I had wanted to return to Pere La Chaise cemetery, but we were much closer to Montparnasse, which I had never seen, so that’s what we did.

Good advice to make a list and mix up the activities, that’s what I always do.

Usually there are a couple Must Sees for me, with the rest deemed Maybes.

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I agree about not going to many museums all in one day. Once you spend three hours straight in the Louvre, you pretty much wanna go crash out for a while afterward… trust me, that is personal experience talkling. I would say maybe do the Eiffel Tower (earlier in the morning to avoid a crowd) and Arc de triomphe (go to the top of the Eiffel sure, but don’t waste your time at the top of the arc, the views are less impressive and it’s all stair climbing!! plus the coolest part is the tomb of the unknown soldier which is at the bottom anyway), then walk up the Champs-Élysées past the Obelisk (big freaking Egyptian thing with gold on top, can’t miss it. it’s pretty cool, Napoleon stole it and it’s 3500 years old) to the Tuileries gardens and then check out the Louvre for a couple hours. Hit the big stuff first, Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, etc. and then any particular sections you are interested in— for me it was Persian, Greek, Etruscan and Egyptian artifacts more than artwork… to me, once you’ve seen one Dutch or Flemish painting from the 1600’s, you’ve seen em all (they all seem to have dead rabbits in them).

The next day, maybe Musée D’Orsay (although, again, I’m not much of an art person so this was Eh to me), Notre Dame (bell tower is pretty interesting because I mean Gargoyles!! and giant bells! but also, lots o’ stairs. the inside of the church is really freaking impressive on its own, and free), possibly somewhere else around the center of the city. You can nearly go straight from Notre Dame on line 4 to the catacombes, which is in the south near Montparnasse, although I’m really saddened to hear that they were vandalized! How awful, I really enjoyed them (but I want to be a physical anthropologist/archaeologist, so I just thought all those bones were really cool and I’d like to go through and study them). At some point, you have to get yourself up to Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur area too. It’s a really beautiful church, and the area around it is pretty darn cool as well (some parts, ie Pigalle, a bit shady though).

Many of my favorite things were smaller museums like the Rodin museum (you can go in the gardens where all the famous cool sculptures are, like The Thinker, for only 1 euro!!) and the Cluny medieval museum, where the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries are. I freaking love the Eiffel tower too, however over-priced and cheesy it may be.

I’m still not really sure how you will accomplish staying up all night in Paris, unless you are out clubbing, and even then, I think most of them will be winding down by about 3am. The metro shuts down around 1:30am, a little later on weekends, and doesn’t re-open til 5ish. There are night buses occasionally, but they’re hard to track down, so you would pretty much have to park yourself somewhere for 4 hours and nothing will be open that late. Alot of the parks aren’t safe to be in after dark, as there is sketchy stuff going on like drug deals and prostitution. If you want a sunrise by the eiffel tower, a better bet is to go to bed early and get up early. Also, most bakeries and things aren’t going to be open til about 7am at the earliest, waaaay after sunrise in the summertime (daylight hours are around 5am to 10pm in summer). Grocery stores don’t open til 9am, except Huit á Huit which, as the name suggests, is open 8 to 8.

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wow you all have given me so much to think about!!! i do agree about the museum day and stuff…i kinda wanna see the louve and some other small museums and thats its…the culture day/ museum day was seeing the louve then 2 smaller ones then walk around paris looking at some other stuff…or walk around paris and then look at the other museums, i am a big art person and all i really want to see in the louve is the mona lisa, the venis de milo, and the winged victory, and maybe some egyptian stuff, i dont really want to stay there forever you know.

my must sees are:
eiffel tower
louve
versaille
loire valley
notre dame
Arc de triomphe
moulin rouge (were not buying tickets we just want to see it)
paris opera house

everything else i can kinda re-work and stuff but those are the things i have to see or i will be extremely dissapointed! i dont think that is too ambitous for 5 days in paris. considering notre dame, eiffel tower, and the Arc de triomphe can be done in one day.
but i will do the map thing and work out routes and stuff.
thanks for all your help guys.

are there any other things you guys think we should check out??
also we want to go to the huge flea market…and the bastille…we are going to make sure we are there for that!

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My suggestion for Paris, being Parisian, is that when you should get a map when you arrive and just walk around the city for an entire day. You can see so much just by walking, and if you plan to go to the eiffel tower then the arc de triomph then this then that, you will not be paying attention to other sights that are also very impressive that may not be as publicized such as la madeleine which is very close to l’opéra, and the artist bridge which is right next to Le Louvre. If you walk around, you will absorb so much more of the city rather than just monument hopping on the metro. Granted some areas need to be reached by public transport such as La Bastille or Sacré Coeur unless you want to spend the whole day walking. Another suggestion, rent a bike! Vélibe (Paris’s attempt at public shared bikes) is very cheap and you can rent a bike from anywhere for the whole day and return it anywhere in the city as well. It is very easy and a great day to see all the sights and absorb the city in one day.

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Not sure you can do the Loire Valley in one day (factor in at least 4 hours on the train (there and back)) and still be Paris that same evening. I would give the Lore2 days at minimum using Bliois or maybe Tours as your Base

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”

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thank you very much for the advice tigrouflip we will definatley take that in mind! i didnt want to make the trip really touristy either, i wanted to emerce ourselves in the culture. what do you know of the flea markets and things like that over there…i want to spend the majority of my souvenior money on paris and italy and greece. do you think being leisure we can see all/most of the things on the list??

finnegan, you really think it should be done in 2 days? if we get up pretty early in the morning and take a two hour train…
rent our car.
get there look at some chateaus, like just look inside them and leave maybe 45mins just a look see
then go on to the next one…
maybe go on down to ambois..skip some chateaus and only see the ones we really want. then just drive up to our car rental place and take a train back to paris.
i really dont we need more than a day…we dont want to explore everything just get a taste.
we want to really spend days there when we have enough money for a tour and a fany hotel lol

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Cil
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We spent about two days in the Loire Valley, but that was our big splurge of the trip, and we had a car so could cover ground before, during and after the two days.
The chateaux can be exhausting.
What I really loved were the gardens.
For a taste, it might be easiest to take the train to Amboise and see that chateaux, plus Clos Luce. Clos Luce is touristy inside the mansion, but the Da Vinci exhibit and park is kinda cool.
The gardens of Villandry (we just saw the gardens, didn’t go inside the chateau) were incredible.

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ahh i like that idea cil, there is one chateau that i really want to see i think its the really big one i cant remember the name and i just have to see that one, and maybe the davinci one and im good. we would like to see a castle/chateau in every country we visit that would be awesome!

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If I had to pick one Chateau it would probably be Chambord…unlike a lot of chateaux which are empty, Chambord has many rooms which are furnished. Also, it belonged to the King of France so you know it’s gonna be opulent.

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yeah thats the one i really wanted to go to! also the davinci museum one, but if not then thats cool as long as i see one chateau lol

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