7 Tips for Planning a Short Trip to Paris

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7 Tips for Planning a Short Trip to Paris

Planning a short trip to one of the world's greatest cities seems like an overwhelming task. The first thing that must be done is to commit to another short trip soon. By Eurostar, Paris is so close to Great Britain that there is no need for this short break to be a 'once in a lifetime' outing. Instead, it is best considered the first in a series of explorations of the city's many neighbourhoods and attractions.

Paris, like any old city, has grown by neighbourhood, each with its own character. A traveller may choose to focus on one neighbourhood, on a particular interest, on several small but still important museums. These kinds of focus make it easier to feel as if a trip's goals of refreshment and enjoyment have been accomplished.

It can be especially helpful to plan a short trip in advance, so none of the time in Paris is wasted on queues. Advance purchases of tickets and accommodations may be arranged through eBay sellers, among other outlets.

Tip 1. Specialise in a Particular Interest

Those who have a special interest can plan a trip focused around that interest. Some possibilities include the following.

Plan a food trip and be sure to include that most traditional of restaurants, Au Rendez-vous des Chauffeurs, where the menu has barely changed in more than a century. Indeed, the only change regulars admit is that the pewter from the bar was requisitioned by the Nazis in 1940. Chartier's is another traditional haunt with reasonable prices.

Film fans are likely to have the European International Film Festival on their 'to do someday' list. Perhaps next March is the right time. As with other large events, get tickets before travelling if there are certain portions of the event that are 'must do' for the travellers.

Those who love contemporary art could make an entire weekend at the Pompidou Centre; fans of impressionist and post-impressionist art could do the same at the d'Orsay.

History buffs may want to spend time at Chapelle Expiatoire, the last resting place for the remains of 3,000 people who died during the French Revolution. The Musée Carnavalet offers something of a history of the city, starting in the Roman era. Among its more touching artefacts are the furniture used by the imprisoned Marie Antoinette.

Build a short break around gypsy jazz in Paris, with visits to clubs where jazz manouche is still played, a jazz school that teaches the technique developed by Django Reinhardt, and one club where Reinhardt's grandson still plays. June is when the festival is held.

Tip 2. Consider Smaller Museums

A small museum has wonderful works to view and can be enjoyed in its entirety during a short trip. A visit to the Louvre, by contrast, can leave the traveller feeling that there was too little time to see as much as was desired.

For those with specialist interests, possibilities might include the Rodin Museum, Edith Piaf Museum, the Asian collection at the Musée Cernuschi, or the outstanding collection of continental furniture at Musée Nissim de Camondo.

Tip 3. Focus on Just One Section of the City

In the same way a cruise operator might offer 'Wines and Cuisine of the South of France', so a traveller may plan a trip to Paris that focuses on one of the city's historic 'quartiers' and what may be enjoyed there. Paris is a city of small villages, each with its own identity. Instead of attempting to swallow the city whole during a short visit, enjoy just a taste of one of these neighbourhood cultures; then come back soon to enjoy another.

Section

Key Attractions

Left Bank / Latin Quarter

The earliest part of Paris: Notre Dame, Sorbonne, the Pantheon, Botanical Gardens, Natural History Museum

The Marais

Constantly turning over; Picasso Museum, vintage shops, bookshops, ethnic patisseries, and cafes trendy enough to have been written up in American papers

Montparnasse

The city's arts district for a century; musee d'Orsay; Luxembourg Garden; shops, cafes, and, for something completely different, catacombs

West Paris

Balzac Museum, Wine Museum, Bois de Boulogne, Art Deco architecture

Grands Boulevards

Theatre, luxury shopping, and Baron Haussman's grand architecture: l'Opera, La Madeleine, Place Vendome, Rue Royale, Palais Royale

Monument District

Eiffel Tower, Rodin Museum and park, Esplanade des invalides, Champ de Mars, Trocadero museums, Palais de Tokyo

Montmartre

Most diverse neighbourhood: Sacred Heart, Place des Abbesses, Pigalle sex shops, small museums, street bazaars

East of Paris

Bercy and Tolbiac are 21st century Paris; look for the new National Library of France; a Tibetan temple in Vincennes; the Bois de Vincennes; a railway viaduct transformed into a Viaduct des Arts

Paris is just a short Chunnel hop away. It's an easy trip any Bank Holiday, which means there is no reason not to plan more than one trip to Paris.

Tip 4. Visit the Magic Kingdom

A couple of days in Euro Disney gives almost as many choices as a couple of days in Paris itself, considering that the Magic Kingdom now spreads over about a fifth as much land as Paris does. It is possible to select a package that includes rail tickets, hotel accommodations, and park tickets, which include 'hopper passes' allowing use of the tickets in both Disney parks.

Tip 5. Buy Tickets Online in Advance

It is a good idea to buy museum tickets in advance, theatre tickets in advance, as well as tickets to major attractions. This saves long waits in queues, which is important for those who plan to spend only a short time in Paris.

Tip 6. Be at Home in Paris

If the ordinary weekend routine involves tea at a neighbourhood cafe, a pickup football game in the park, some bicycling, and a casual dinner at the pub, Paris can provide similar enjoyment. The landscape, people, language, and food can provide the desired changes from routine, creating sufficient break from the ordinary. For those who prefer an unscheduled, laid-back holiday, Paris is a wonderful city for people-watching, enjoying public parks, and long coffee or tea breaks at pavement cafes. As in all cities, lunch prices are significantly lower than dinner prices, so if a splurge is not quite in the budget, consider doing it at midday when portions are smaller but meals are still excellent.

Tip 7. Search Out the Hidden Paris

A traveller can still locate treasures among the labyrinth of passages built in the late 18th century. The Passage du Grand Cerf, in the first arrondissement, is home to contemporary jewellery designers, florists, vintage eyewear, and beautiful home goods. Passage Brady offers a lively Indian atmosphere in the 10th arrondissement. Galerie Vivienne in the second arrondissement is a beautifully preserved architectural gem, with mosaics and statues in wonderful condition. The shops and restaurants are not for the faint of budget. Passage Moliere, in the third arrondissement, is home not only to the theatre previously named for the dramatist but also the Librairie Scaramouche, where travellers find Hugues Masson's collection of rare film posters. These are just a few of the hidden passages still intriguing the traveller with an eye for the obscure in Paris.

Use eBay to Plan a Short Trip to Paris

Those who are used to purchasing items on eBay may be surprised to realise that tickets and accommodation are also available from the online marketplace. To find accommodation in the City of Lights, enter "Paris" into the Search window on any page of eBay. Look for where to select a menu category for Holidays & Travel. More detailed search options allow the traveller to separate Short Breaks from Package Holidays from Train Tickets.

Some Pointers for eBay Ticket Purchases

When purchasing Package Holidays in Paris on eBay, as from any tour agent, be sure to confirm all of the package details. The agents are usually quite clear that the offer price is for the deposit only, since trip prices vary depending on the number of travellers and the date when the trip is taken. A Euro Disney vacation during summer school hols is more expensive than one in October, for example. When travellers are attentive to these details, it is easy to obtain the desired package or accommodation on eBay.

Conclusion

When planning a short trip to a big city like Paris, the most important thing is to limit the amount of time spent in lines, in transit, and otherwise 'in betwixt' the things that one wants to enjoy. To do so requires making some strategic decisions before arrival. A selective trip is far more pleasant than one that attempts to sprawl over too much territory: whether geographic or intellectual.

The most important tip for those planning a short trip to Paris is to be selective. Choose what is important for this trip. Choose where to visit on this trip. Choose what kinds of things to see on this trip. Always remember: The Eurostar makes frequent trips to Paris. So any traveller can choose to make a short trip whenever desired. The traveller who simply wants to relax in a different environment can hop across to Paris and play pickup soccer in a neighbourhood park if that is what is preferred. Paris is nearby and making the trip is easy. Sellers on eBay can help the vacationer find the perfect accommodation and tickets for a short trip to Paris.

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