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I am leaving on friday for a city trip to Paris, arriving at noon. I am already leaving Paris again at monday evening at 5 o'clock.

I really want to see the Louvre, Versailles and the Eiffel Tower and I want to take a French breakfast at a local café, preferably not there where all the tourists are.

How much Paris can I cram into these 4 days? Where do I need to visit and, more importantly, in which order do I need to visit the local sights?

I am a student, and my budget is at around 200 euros.

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7 Answers 7

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Pay attention to the opening times. The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays and the castle of Versailles is closed on Mondays. As long as you take this into account, the order does not really matter. Note that the entrance to the Louvre is free on the first Sunday of each month and on July 14th, and that on Wednesdays and Fridays it is open until 9:45 pm. If you're under 26, it's also free on Friday after 6pm.

All the activities you mention can be done in these four days. You even have something left for other activities. How much, that depends on how intensely you want to visit the Louvre and Versailles. You can spend a whole day in each of them. The strict minimum to visit Versailles is half a day, taking into account the travel time (30 - 50 minutes from Paris intra muros) and a minimum time to visit. The whole complex is huge. Just taking a picture of the Eiffel tower is quickly done. However, if you want to climb up, you have to plan up to 2 or 3 hours, depending on the queues.

How to fill up the remaining time largely depends on your taste, but can also depend on the weather. But don't worry. There are more than enough things to do. Paris is inexhaustible.

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@Doc: Thanks for the edit. –  user766 Jun 14 '12 at 6:24
    
thank you very much. are there any other must-sees in paris? Where can i find information about time-dependent activities? I am planning to go this weekend. –  tarrasch Jun 14 '12 at 8:49
    
As already said, this very much depends on your affinities. Start with the wikitravel article. It is more or less 40 A4 pages long ... –  user766 Jun 14 '12 at 9:43
    
... and an extra page for each of the 20 districts. –  user766 Jun 14 '12 at 12:13
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"If you're under 26, it's also free on Friday after 6pm." <26 and european... –  greg121 Oct 26 '12 at 13:09

For an unconventional french breakfast without tourists, you may want to consider an early petit déjeûner at the huge Rungis Market.

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In addition to all of the above, I would add a riverboat ride. They usually leave across the river from the Louvre, and if you catch one right as the sun is setting, they are gorgeous. I think @lejohn did a good job covering the rest.

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I found the Metro to be indispensable when I was there. Spend a little time studying the map and it will make sense. It's a good value to get a multi-day pass. There is a stop within a few hundred meters of the Louvre and Eiffel.

There are cafes everywhere. Yes, there are tourists, but sometimes people-watching is fun. If you get off the main routes a block or two, you will find some quaint ones. I wrote some long passages in my personal blog (note to self: fix the image links).

There is so much to do in Paris that is fun. I'm immediately jealous. Some other activities that you may find interesting...

  • Visit the Musee d'Orsay for the impressionists and fewer fat babies and Madonnas.
  • Musee l'Orangerie (in the Tuileries) has Monet's Water Lilies. Worth an hour.
  • Go to one of the famous cemeteries (Montparnasse or Pere Lachaise). Find someone you've read about (or listened to)
  • Walk the length of the Champs Elysees.
  • Have a Picon bier (Beer with a syrup. Really, it's good.)

Enjoy!

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There is ofcourse the metro, but Paris also has a brilliant other way of transport , which is the Velib. This is city network of public bicycles. For 1 euro per day (and a credit card caution of 150) you can cycle through Paris for free if your trips remain shorter then 30 minutes. There is an increasing fee the longer you cycle after the 30 minutes. To continue cycling for free after 30 minutes you just need to change bicycles at the different distribution points which are throughout Paris.

EDIT

A remarkable site in Paris is the model of New York's statue of liberty (Google map). Here you can make one picture with both the eifel tower and the statue of liberty, without photoshop ;)

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Thanks! I had no idea that was so easy. On our next trip, I will definitely use Velib! –  David Navarre Jul 10 '12 at 21:33

I was in Paris last summer, and I used hop-on-hop-off busses Paris l'Open Tour and it was great.
And wherever you go, buy the tickets online to save time, if you can. Especially for the Eiffel Tower.
P.S. To enjoy Paris, you have to go with somebody you love :)

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The Moulin Rouge and Sacré Cœur are two attractions I would add to any Paris visit. Very easy to get to on the Metro, nice and central, and the views from Montmartre are lovely.

Watch out for lots of hawkers on the steps of the Sacré Cœur though, and head to the top. Round the corner there is a lovely square where you can drink a cold beer, people watch and relax.

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