Tried and True: How the Paris Itinerary Worked Out

Hi, everybody! Today is Laundry Day, which for my blog has come to mean List Day. I had thought of listing “things I’ve learned about Paris” or something like that, but… well, I’m still playing catch-up around the house. Cuca, Cai, and Fergus are all happy to be back together again, and I’m sure Mum’s happy to be back home, but it was a three-day job to put all the humans and animals back in their usual places. E.g. and I left our apartment ship-shape before Paris — how lovely to come home to an orderly home — but with the unpacking of souvenirs, pamphlets, and dirty clothes, it’s back to (sigh) normal again. And I’m still catching up with the past two weeks of my blogfriends’ lives.

So-o, I thought I would take it easy on my composting — er, composing — brain cells today, and post the “extinerary” for our Paris trip, meaning what we actually did do. I wrote this up for Mum, by modifying the original itinerary, to help her narrate to her friends back home what-all we did. I think it might have some value in the blogosphere, though, as a witness to how much can be done in a day in Paris, and how much one can get around on foot.

Some demographics:

  • Our group was made up of three women between the ages of 45 and 55, one woman in her early 70s, and an 11-year-old boy.
  • We are all fairly healthy and mobile, although one of Mum’s toes, broken 35 years ago, ached on several of the days and slowed her down a bit.
  • Two of us are bilingual, one has high-beginner French, and the other two were comfortable trying “Un billet, s’il vous plâit” and “Bonjour, Madame” and such-like.
  • Our apartment was on rue Marie-Stuart in the 2nd Arrondissement. Not all maps show it; it’s between rue Montorgueil and Boulevard de Sébastopol, two blocks north of rue Etienne Marcel.

So here’s the extinerary, with links to my blog blibbities for each day.


Paris, 2008: How We Spent Our Time 

key:   A/B/C/D/E: the members of our group.

Wednesday, May 28: We took the RER from Charles de Gaulle airport, and walked from the Chatelet-les-Halles metro station. Hervé Remy, the landlord, was waiting for us on the café patio on the corner of rue Marie Stuart. He showed us around the apartment and did the paperwork. After he left, we bought a few groceries and had a stinky-cheese-and-baguette supper.


Thursday, May 29: We walked everywhere today.

  • Visited the Carnavalet Museum (historical artifacts of Paris)
  • Visited the Victor Hugo house and the park in the square of Place des Vosges
  • Visited the church St-Paul-St-Louis
  • Lunched at Le King Falafel Palace on rue des Rosiers
  • Walked by the Tower of Jean Sans Peur, but didn’t visit (closed today)
  • Visited the Musee des Arts et Metiers; A/B/E saw Foucault’s Pendulum; C&D left early to start supper
  • Home in time for supper
  • Went to a  Messiaen centennial organ concert, Le livre du Saint Sacrement, at Holy Trinity Church (where Olivier Messiaen played the organ for 60 years); passed the Grand Opera on the way


Ile Notre DameFriday, May 30: We walked south, across the Ile de la Cite, and into the Latin Quarter (aka the 5th Arrondissement).

  • Went past the City Hall, along the Seine, beside the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral, and over the Archevêché Bridge into the Latin Quarter
  • Bought picnic things at a little traiteur in Place Maubert
  • Picnicked in the medieval garden of the Museum of the Middle Ages; visited the museum, including a concert of medieval motets by the group Ultreia
  • Relaxed on some chairs in the Luxembourg Gardens
  • Visited the Bourdelle museum (B/C/D)
  • Visited the Post Office museum (A/E)
  • Took the metro home from Montparnasse station; home in time for supper


Louis XIV's backyardSaturday, May 31: Took the RER to Versailles; saw the main palace, including the Hall of Mirrors and a number of fountains; did part of the walkabout of the  Grandes Eaux Musicales; got home around 6 pm; had supper at a restaurant across the street.



Sunday, June 1: We split up into two groups for an unstructured day.

  • Visited the Louvre and saw the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo (A/D/E)
  • Visited the feet of the Eiffel Tower (A/D/E)
  • Took the Bateaux-Mouches tour (A/D/E)
  • Strolled the  Jardin des Halles, the courtyard of the Palais Royale, the Tuilleries gardens, and the Seine riverbanks (B/C)
  • Visited St-Germain-L’auxerrois and St-Eustache churches (B/C)
  • Home in time for supper (All)


the old town of ChartresMonday, June 2: Chartres. We took the SNCF train to Chartres. We visited the Cathedral, enjoying a tour by 50-year-veteran guide Malcolm Miller. Then we explored the town a bit on foot. We bought pastries in Chartres before catching the train. Everyone but overpastried C had a late supper on rue Montorgeuil.


Tuesday, June 3: We took the metro to Jasmin station, 16th Arrondissement.

  • Visited the Le Corbusier’s Maison La Roche (1923)
  • Bought lunch at a bakery/sandwich shop on rue George Sand
  • Lunched in Parc André-Citroen; saw the Eutelsat balloon but it was too windy for flights that day; enjoyed the sculptures
  • Took the metro to Invalides station; saw the dome over Napoleon’s tomb in the distance; walked by the Assemblee Nationale; visited the Orsay Museum; walked home in time for supper

Notre Dame de Paris CathedralWednesday, June 4: We walked to everything; A and B took the metro home from the 5th.

  • Visited the Conciergerie and the Sainte-Chapelle
  • Visited Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral
  • Picnicked in the ancient Roman arena
  • Walked by the Pantheon and St-Etienne-du-Mont church
  •  Had a lecture tour, given by a member of the Paris Historical Society, of an arch of Philippe-Auguste’s City Wall in the basement of a post office
  • Visited the Marie Curie museum
  • Walked up World-Heritage-Site-listed rue St-Jacques; poked into St-Severin church; walked by the Tour St-Jacques (C/D/E)
  • Home for supper
  • Watched Gershwin’s opera “Porgy and Bess” at the Opéra Comique


Consulting the mapThursday, June 5: The only must-sees today were the Arc de Triomphe and the Stamp Market. We formed several subgroups throughout the day, beginning with A and C walking to the Arc while the others took transit there.

  • Walked through the Tuileries and along the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe (A/C)
  • Lunched at the café (with all the chairs facing the street!) Georges V, on the Champs Elysées
  • Went window-shopping in a Champs-Elysées gallerie (B/D)
  • Picked up some treasures at the Stamp Market (A/C/E)
  • Went shopping, including a Monoprix and the Galleries Lafayette (A/D/E)
  • Home for supper (A/D/E)
  • Took the Bateaux-Mouches tour; had supper in a restaurant on rue Montmartre (B/C)


Friday, June 6: Today was spent on activities that one or another of us had really wanted to do, but that weren’t on the original itinerary. C and D walked to Vincennes Castle and took the metro home; A/B/E tubed it both ways. We also took transit to the evening concert and back – as did just about every other concert-goer, and every member of the orchestra.

  • Strolled through the 4th Arrondissement, past the Bastille Opera House, and along the Promenade Plantée; picnicked on the Promenade (C/D)
  • Visited the Château de Vincennes (C/D)
  • Strolled the Montmartre neighbourhood; lunched in a café (A/B/E)
  • Visited Sacré-Coeur church (A/B/E)
  • Home for supper
  •  Enjoyed Duruflé’s Requiem at the Basilica St-Denis 

E.g. shoots herself, and the rest of us, in Versailles' Hall of Mirrors

5 Responses to Tried and True: How the Paris Itinerary Worked Out

  1. goodbear says:

    but what were your favorite parts?

  2. lavenderbay says:

    Hmmm… I feel a blog coming on… But first, Wordless Wednesday tomorrow, showing the souvenir I bought for the catsitter.

  3. livingisdetail says:

    I have a lot to catch up on here. I’m looking down your posts wondering why I haven’t been to Paris. Is it really as gorgeous as you show and so well preserved and honoured. This is a bit of a bee in my bonnet at the moment as I have been reading books on the loss of some of Melbournes original streetscapes and treasures. I know they were not as old but still they were invaluable. It looks like the French have that side of things sorted out. Oh and it looks like you and your buddies had the best adventure over there. I am glad it was a great trip!

  4. Before you left, I thought your itinerary sounded very ambitious, so I’m amazed to read your retrospective now and to see how much you actually did in that short space of time. Good thing I wasn’t along. You’d have lost me by day 3 at the latest. (Puff, puff.)


  5. lavenderbay says:

    From what I’ve seen and read, Livingisdetail, I have the sense that Parisians take great pride in the beauty of their city. For example, there is now a by-law that each building must have its exterior sandblasted clean once a decade. And you can imagine the controversy generated over such odd newcomers as the colourful Pompidou Centre, the 56-storey Montparnasse office tower, or (120 yrs ago) the Eiffel Tower. Luckily, a lot of what was built a century or more ago was beautifully built and well built, and is thus protected, preserved, and beloved.

    It was tricky, The Right Blue, gauging how much could be accomplished in a city I’d never visited, and as the chief organizer, I felt awfully responsible for everyone’s happiness. The others weren’t nearly so anxious, and kept telling me that they’d prefer an overfull itinerary to thumb-twiddling or wasting time checking opening hours, et cetera. So I guess it worked out.

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