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I'm thinking about going on a day trip to Paris via Eurostar to Gare du Nord station one Saturday, for a bit of shopping, lunch, wandering around, etc., and to practice my French.

I'd like to save money by avoiding public transport and could probably walk the few miles to the Louvre (perhaps not as far as the Eiffel Tower though). My question is, what is the route like from the station? Are there coffee shops/other shops along the route (or rather, is there a route you think would be best)? Is it a reasonably nice route to walk or would I be better off taking a taxi closer to the center of Paris and starting there?

I've done a bit of Googling but I'm not sure where any shopping centers are that might be in the area. I thought it might be a nice place to do a little Christmas shopping for a change, although I'd prefer some smaller more independent shops/cafes to a shopping center.

I've never been to Paris as an adult.

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    Surely if you are spending the money on Eurostar, a few more euros for the Metro won't make too much difference. Certainly much cheaper than any taxi ride. Nov 9, 2015 at 18:32
  • Sure - is the Metro pretty easy to navigate? Where you recommend going to? The saving money on a taxi was part of it, I also wasn't sure if it was a nice walk with shops etc. but if it's worth skipping then no problem. Thanks :)
    – Lyall
    Nov 9, 2015 at 18:48
  • I've never been there - just saying on principle. Nov 9, 2015 at 18:59
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    It is easy to walk in Paris, the distances are not that far but you will find it easier if you have a good map with all you want to do. But as shopping is rather personal, you best make your own route. Going by Metro is not that expensive but unless you know where you want to be, not very useful.
    – Willeke
    Nov 9, 2015 at 19:18
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    Lots of cafes/restaurants/bars around Gare du Nord. You'll have to walk along some fairly busy roads whichever way you go towards the Louvre. You won't find too many interesting things until you get a bit closer to the river, but it's not a "bad" area
    – Gagravarr
    Nov 9, 2015 at 19:19

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Rather than giving you specific advice for Paris (which would make this more of an itinerary-constructing answer), I'll suggest some general techniques for unfamiliar city navigation.

For a large city like Paris, a good way to locate centres of activity would be metro stations. You can see these on Google Maps with the blue M in a circle. If you follow those, whether you follow the actual metro routes or hop from one to the next, you will almost certainly find interesting things.

If you zoom in far enough on Google Maps, you can see the names of individual businesses, often with additional information such as opening hours, photos, and even user reviews.

Another tool is Google Street View, where you can view street level detail from any vantage point. This is a very detailed tool that might not be suitable for route planning, but is useful for finding the exact location of a particular shop.

For Paris in particular, there is enough activity and variety of shops that if you simply want to wander around, you'll almost certainly find enough things to keep yourself busy.

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  • Good idea to generalise this answer a bit in order to make this more useful for the wider community going forward. Thanks also for the information about the metro stations/lines - it's a little daunting but should be fun! Thank you
    – Lyall
    Nov 9, 2015 at 19:48
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(google for precise direction)

My 2 centimes.

  1. Walk as much as possible, use the subway for your return trip at the end of the day (when you are most tired)

  2. Museum visiting can eat up a lot of time; IMO, skip, unless there is a "temporary" exhibit you want to see.

  3. Coffee, most café will have "regular" coffee (espresso, café au lait...), not drip coffee. (if wanting 3rd wave coffee in Paris, google for that); remember that if you order at the bar, you drink it at the bar, do not go sit at an empty table; if seating down at a table, then it will be a little more expensive (counter and table prices are displayed).

  4. Shopping: Prices are displayed the store front windows, so no need to enter; when entering a store, say "Bonjour" to the staff, and when leaving the store say "Merci, Au revoir"

  5. Eating: the better restaurants need reservations; are you looking for something specific ? (french food, wine...) too many options to help you with that, especially for a 1 day trip.

Walking down-hill-ish from La Gare du Nord to Le Louvre should take about 45 minutes (without stopping)

Two parallel routes: Via "Rue Vivienne" (and in the Passage Vivienne) and in the Palais Royal gardens.

or

Via "Rue du Faubourg Poissonière" is very nice and will pass by a lot of café and tons of stores/shops. (1)

You should be able to do it in about 1 hour (max) if stopping for coffee or lunch.

If really wanting to go to the Musée du Louvre, you should plan ahead for a specific section of the museum you want to see, because it is BIG and CROWDED. (pro tip: buy ticket in advance).

After the museum, you can walk in the Jardin des Tuileries towards Place de la Concorde, and the Grand and Petit Palais, and after looking arounf, walk up Rue Royale towards La Madeleine (church) and the Palais Garnier (old opera, now ballet house); then you can take Rue La Fayette back to the Gare du Nord.

(1) google map link: https://goo.gl/maps/dFATEtpKe3S2

Have fun,

Max.

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  • Thank you for this information, it's very helpful and I'll take it into account :)
    – Lyall
    Nov 10, 2015 at 23:27
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Paris is for those who love to walk! But, I got pretty tired navigating through Gare Du Nord itself, so it wouldn't hurt to use Metro.

  • A single metro ticket costs 1.80 Euro. It would be cheaper if you buy a 10 bundle (carnet, pronounced "car - ney").
  • You have 90 minutes to transfer.

As for a route, this is purely based on my experience and preference, so adjsut to your liking.

  • Take metro to to Anvers station, you will be in Sacré-Cœur.
  • Climb up, take a nice view, and exit from the other way. There are several nice restaurants and coffee shops.
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Walk your way towards South East, and you can actually walk to the Louvre.
  • It took me two whole days for Louvre, and I'm not even a museum guy. It's just a huge museum with something interesting for anyone. Expect to spend at least a couple hours there.
  • Pont Des Arts.
  • Notre-Dame de Paris
  • Walk along the river, looking at the beautiful Eiffel tower.
  • Eiffel Tower.
  • You can then walk to Arc De Triomph.
  • There are several brand shopping stores along the way to shop. Beware of pickpockets though. I lost mine.

You can also visit Montparnasse tower, Pont De Bercy nearby.

My advice is to not take it take hard. I spent most of my stay walking, and the route I took didn't really matter, even though I enjoyed the 8th, 9th, 15th, 18th and 19th arrondissement more

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