Paris in a day

courtesy of the Brunssum American Spouses Travel Information Guide

Paris overnight trip on your own. We (5 adults and 5 kids ages 4-11) traveled to Paris for an overnight this summer.

We left about 5am and arrived in Paris about 9:30. We did hit rush hour traffic and good directions are a must if you go. I used Map-quest to get our directions and they were accurate. All in all it was not so bad driving into Paris.

We checked into the hotel (see bottom of page for options) and began our day.

L’Open Bus Tour: This is an open top bus that you can get on/off at various stops throughout the city. A great way to see all the sights and then decide from there what you want to do. It has 4 routes, 2 that take you outside the main part of Paris. Cost €28 for 2 days pass, kids were €12. I recommend this especially if you have kids as it is fun for them and the walking is kept to a minimum. You can find stops near most major sights and you pay when you get on the bus for the first time. Keep you receipt as that is your ticket for the 2 days. (http://paris-opentour.com/)

Day 1: Our first stop was the Louvre. We opted to get a museum pass as we thought it would save time and money. There are over 70 museums and monuments included on the pass however, unless you plan to go to 3 or more in the day it does not save you money. Kids are free to most monuments/museums so you need to only pay for adults. As a note if you plan to see Notre Dame Towers, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Museum d’Orsay and Pantheon in one day then the pass offers a great deal. If you plan to stay longer they do offer a 3-day pass, which would definitely be of benefit as you have more time to see the sights included in the pass. One-day pass is €18 and 3-day pass is €36. You can get them at the Louvre, Paris tourists’ offices or if you start your trip by the USO you can get them there. Also, note that on Thursdays museums and sights are open later so if your kids are not young you can take advantage of a long day by going on a Thursday.

The Louvre is amazing but depending on kid’s interest may be better suited for when alone. We went in saw Mona Lisa and came back out. I would suggest going when your kids are not tired or after you have seen some of the more exciting sights they like first. (http://www.louvre.fr)

After the Louvre we hopped on the bus and went to the Arc de Triomphe, walked up to the top and had magnificent views. From there, off to the Eiffel Tower which again the kids really liked. (When you use the Open Bus tour make sure you know what time the last bus runs- part of our group got stuck and had to walk back to the hotel which was a long walk). (http://arc-de-triomphe.monuments-nationaux.fr/)

Day 2: We started at Notre Dame, we did not go up in the tower but walked through and around the Cathedral, and we walked over to the Sainte-Chapelle to see it from the outside. We then hopped the bus and just let it take us around a different route by the Bastille and other sights. We went back to the Eiffel Tower where we picked up a boat and cruised up the Seine to Notre Dame (cost for the boat trip back was €9 adults/€4 for kids). By then it was time to head back to the car. We were parked and stayed near the Pantheon. We were on the road by 5:30 and home by about 10:00 that night. Getting out was a bit more daunting in traffic then coming in but we managed just fine.

Food: We brought snacks and ate lunches at the bistros that offered pizza/sandwiches, which were about €3-5 each. We also brought drinks with us to keep from that expense. The hotel we were in had a kitchen so we were able to cook in the room for supper and have breakfast there the next day. Again on Friday for lunch we had some lunch meat and bread we had brought along and then picked up some snacks ice cream, fries and at one bakery they had cheese breads, pizza etc…that was inexpensive.

Hotel Info:

This is a list of French Military Hotels that are open to American Military, you need to call ahead and check. *The one we stayed in was near the Pantheon and quite close to Notre Dame. We had suites with kitchens. They allow up to 3 guests per room so if you have a large family you will need two rooms. They do have one family of 5 suite but it is booked often. Also, it was for officers only and they did check our ID’s. The other hotels I am not sure but was told that there is one for all ranks. The staff is great so just call and tell them what you need. Prices average €70-90 and you can’t beat that in Paris.

1) Cercle des Armees – St Augustin Address: 8 place Saint-Augustin 75008 Paris Phone 00.33.1.44.90.27.00 They have 3 suites for €136 (2/4 pers), 1 appt for €168 (4 pers), double room €88.5 +3,05 tax per person – http://www.cnaparis.com/

*2) Cercle des Armees – Sainte Genevieve Address – 17, re Descartes 75005 Paris Phone 00.33.1.44.32.10.10 Double room €71, single room €61, +3,05 tax per person

3) Residence Voltaire Address: 6 re Voltaire 94270 Kremlin Bicetre Phone 00.33.1.49.60.23.23 Double room €45, single €37.5

4) Residence Pascal (WEEKENDS ONLY) Address: 71 rue Pascal, 75013 Paris Phone 00.33.1.55.43.56.00 Double €35 (avec kitchenette) Single €26 (avec kitchenette) Parking €4.5

5) Cercle de l’Union des Aveugles de Guerre Address 49 re Blanche 75009 Paris Phone 00.33.1.48.74.57.57 Double €60, single €50, Triple €70

I was told that military ID would be enough, but to just confirm that when you make reservations. Websites and Travel Books: Top 10 Paris a DK And www.usoparis.com (has extensive list of things and tickets you can get there, you can download all the information to your own files)

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