Paris in October

I have read the previous Paris threads but I cant help myself.
I am planning to go to Paris this October (if my passport arrives in time). The hard part is deciding what not to do. I may never get back there but I can’t do everything in the week that I will have.
Tentative schedule is to arrive in Paris Sunday morning, jump a train to go to Bayeux (must see) spend the night in Bayeux, take anther train to Pontorson and then spend the night on Mont St Michel, then back on the train to Paris… arriving Monday afternoon/evening.
I really want to see the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay, see the stained glass at Sainte Chapelle. Will probably take a bus tour at night to see Paris at night so that will involve the Eiffel tower, Arc de Triumph, Notre Dame.
And eat a lot. :slight_smile:
So much to see and so little time.

I don’t want to see the catacombs or the sewer system.

any suggestions or comments are welcome.

The Louvre is huge, as you probably know, it would take weeks to see all of it. If you want to go there, have your hotel help you get a pass so you can avoid the lines. Rick Steves tells all about it in his videos on Paris.

That area of Paris was, when we visited there a couple of years ago, riddled with flim-flam artists and pickpockets. Especially aggressive are the groups of teenage girls who will surround you asking you to sign some paper, and while they have your attention they will rob you blind. You can’t prevent them, all you can do is to keep your valuables secure either in your hotel or in some kind of money belt on your person. Another popular one is someone “discovering” a large “gold” ring on the sidewalk and trying to get you interested in it. We got this twice in one day. All of these things happened to us near the Louvre and the Tuileries. It shouldn’t discourage you from going, just be aware and careful.

For tours I recommend mini-van tours, which your hotel can arrange for you. Much more personal, smaller vehicle can go in more places, and the driver is happy to answer your questions.

Try to learn a little French. Even when it’s badly pronounced and ungrammatical, it iappreciated.

Remember that most restaurants add a ‘service charge’. You should only add a modest tip if the service has been above and beyond.

Going to the top of the Arc de Triomphe is more rewarding than going up the Tour de Eiffel

I have been working on learning French with Duo language for a couple of years now. I know enough to say Bonjour, parlez vous Anglais. Je suis desolee, mon Fraincais est pauvre. and then Merci, au revoir

and to recognize a few words although someone speaking normally will have me looking aghast.

I have read about the ring scam and the bracelet scam as well as the signing a petition with a donation expected and the hand a woman a baby then pick her pocket while her hands are full . I am practicing Non, non and Je suis desole as well as au secours.
I bought a cross body small bag that has a hard to cut strap. hard to cut fabric, scan resistant and just big enough to carry my passport, credit card and phone and a small amount of cash. It will fit under my jacket and is small and light enough to never have to take it off (no setting it next to my chair or hang off the back). It is small enough that if in a crowd I can tuck it inside my waistband easily. I can take a larger bag with my camera, lunch, water bottle and purchases.

I will look into the minivan tours. I have always taken the double decker bus tours in the US and love being up top even when it is cold. The Washington DC at night was amazing.

I am planning on getting a map to see where to find my biggest interests… medieval/ Renaissance art and impressionism. Just those will fill up a day I am sure. I am looking at a small group guided tour of the Louvre because it allows you to skip some of the lines or doing it on my own early in the morning to start. I have read that entering through the Carrousel du Louvre entrance usually has the shortest lines. right now, the Loure doesn’t have tickets available. Je suis triste.

It’s a beautiful city. I marvel at the brilliant architecture in every every street, the beautiful large doors, beauty everywhere you look. Mesmerising enough that the Rima gypsy children will rob you blind at every street corner given the chance. Stupidest scam is getting you to sign a form then they get angry after you have signed it. Remember most French working people eat in the millions of roadside cafes simply because they get a fiver in coupons everyday for lunch. From cleaner toCEO they all get a fiver to spend in the cafes. If you do any thing look at the beauty of some if the metro stations. Arts de meteirs is the best. And beer is very very very expensive.

The weather in October does not tend to be nice, but then there should be fewer crowds. I especially like the Cluny museum and the one, is the Jeu de Paume or the Orangerie with all the Monets. The Sainte Chappelle is really beautiful, but the last time I went there were lines around the block and an entrance fee. The first time (1964), it was free and also empty.

I’ve been to Paris twice now and have never encountered any of these scams, so hopefully you’ll be as lucky as I’ve been. I strongly recommend a trip up to Montmartre, just to wander around the back streets and take it in. There’s a decent small museum up there, too.

The Latin Quarter is great for wandering and shopping in little boutique shops. Look out for a street creperie for a cheap and tasty lunch, or grab a fresh traditional baguette from a bakery. The Marais is also great for wandering and shopping - get a falafel wrap from one of the many spots there.

I also recommend finding a patisserie that serves real hot chocolate. A decadent experience.

Hmmm, most of my advice centers on food… :stuck_out_tongue:

Paris is ?? perhaps ?? the number one tourist destination in the world. There is something for everyone. Personally, I’d rather go on a bike tour or a Segway tour than a bus tour. And accept that bus tours are organised on the idea that everyone does exactly the same thing for exactly the same time. If you get a tour of the Louvre, look carefully at the itinerary, and make sure it matches what you want to see.

For someone my age, with memories of what things used to cost, Paris is unbelievably expensive: I’d suggest just getting used to the idea, and not letting it bother you once you are there.

Personally, I liked the markets and the shops: I’d buy fruit and pastry and coffee more and go to restaurants less. I like walking, and had as much fun walking around looking at the parks and architecture and Roman ruins as I had inside at any place. If you’re near Sainte Chapelle at the right time/day, checkout the bird/flower market. If you visit Versailles, definitely try to fit in the market (every day but Monday). Speaking of which, stuff is often closed on Monday.

One place you may go past while walking around is the Musée de l'Orangerie | (Monet plus whatever’s on at the time) It’s small enough, and focused enough, that you can get in, see something, and leave without feeling half-finished.

If you aren’t fit enough for a bike or Segway, your canes and wheelchair may help: I found that the guards were unexpectedly helpful when I had a sleeping child in arms.

Some of the dire warnings above are a little OTT. Paris is no better or worse than any other major tourist city in The West.

My advice would apply in Paris, London, New York or Barcelona.

  • Don’t take anything with you that you would be devastated to lose.
  • Try to look less like a tourist. Walking around in a Hawaiian shirt, with a huge camera bag, and a street map in your hand is a bit of a signal to the local scrotes that you are probably worth robbing.
  • Women in Paris carry handbags all the time, but they don’t have anything of great value in them.
  • Your phone is probably the thing you last want to lose, so take what precautions you can to make it secure, and never leave it unattended.
  • Have at least two different credit cards. If one gets lost or stolen, you can quickly stop it, but you will still need access to credit, so be sure that stopping one does not affect the spare.

Relax and enjoy the sights. If you spend your time with your valuables gripped firmly in one hand, while constantly on the watch for criminals, you will not have a great time. Be polite and smile a lot. Most of the people you meet will be happy to help.

Check the open/closed days of the Paris museums you want to visit - e.g. the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, and the Musee d’Orsay is closed on Mondays.

Take in the view of the city from the top of the steps at Sacre-Coeur - it’s magnificent! (and free!)

Paris is my favorite city in the world. Pre pandemic I visited two or three times a year. Can’t wait to go back.

Resign yourself, right now, to the reality that you will do no more than scratch the surface. Across all my visits, I’ve spent collectively at least a couple of months exploring, and there’s always something new to see or do.

Start with that, and we can talk.

Make sure you are double vaccinated and have proof which the French authorities will recognise - they’ve announced some stringent rules around access to restaurants, bars and sites which demand people to be fully vaccinated.

And expect to wear a mask, even in many outdoor areas. The attitude in France is quite different to the US.

Neither of the above should affect your enjoyment in any way.

Definitely want to see the Cluny then, as Hari mentioned.
Not strictly an Impressionist, but the Rodin museum is a must-see IMO. Also, Giverny is really just a short train+bus ride away from Paris.

Don’t forget, you open any conversation with “Bonjour”. It’s considered rudely abrupt not to.

A couple of suggestions: see the Eiffel Tower lit up and twinkling, on the hour for five minutes or so, every hour after dusk; and on a Friday night, see the rollerblade rally (starts 9pm behind the Gare Montparnasse, but takes a different route each week, so you might want to check to see if that week’s route goes anywhere near where you’d be anyway - Parcours de la semaine - Pari Roller )

I must say, in years of visiting Paris, I’ve very rarely been approached by a scammer and never come across a pickpocket, but maybe I just look too alert and organised or something, or too good at steering clear of likely suspects. Certainly, keep valuables out of sight and preferably in something zipped as well as concealed. I don’t know if this would be too riskily aggressive in some circumstances, but a simple French equivalent of any English two-word phrase where the second word is “off!” would be “Casse-toi!”.

Pickpockets are a problem in just about all big cities. Use a money belt, also to keep your air ticket and passport. Don’t take any ID (driving license, etc.) or bank cards that you won’t need on holiday. It is a royal pain replacing them if you lose them. If you are carrying a camera or a handbag, make sure it is securely strapped to you and cannot be pulled of your shoulder.

Walk away quickly if you see one or more persons trying to crowd you. Many scams involve people pressing up against you. If in doubt, just shout at them. They may not understand what you say, but they will recognize the tone of voice.

In my experience, people who try to accost you while you are walking along are nearly always beggars or scammers. Don’t stop to answer questionnaires or sign petitions.

I came across the gold ring scam outside of the Monet Waterlilies Museum and played along with the scammer. At the end I thanked her for her performance and gave her 4 Euro’s for the ring as a keepsake. :slight_smile:

Go to the Louvre early, just as they open and you will avoid the lines.

I stayed in an off the main track non-tourist hotel and loved it. Had to share a bathroom with other guest and there was no A/C but it was in early October so it wasn’t a big deal. You handed the key to the hotel manager on your way out and they remembered you when you came back, I was quite impressed.

I second the Rodin Museum, great place. I also recommend seeing the show at the Moulin Rouge, as good as any show in Vegas. I took a bus tour there and had a good time with people I met there.

Just walking up and down the Swine River is an experience. While there are many beggars (lots of Muslim woman) they are fairly easy to steer clear.

And eat, Paris is the greatest city in the world to enjoy food in.

Anecdotally, I’m glued to the Tour de France at the moment and I have yet to see a single mask among the throngs of fans lining the roads, in villages, towns and cities as the race comes through.

Presumably you look like a Londoner. IME anyone who lives in London, Paris or New York has a look of ‘don’t even think of looking at me’ about them.

Shall I list the other big cities where we walked around unmolested? Nothing against going to Paris, but we didn’t have any problems anywhere else in Europe.

None of this worked with the group of 4 or 5 young girls who surrounded us, all of them yammering at us while we said in loud firm voices “No! Go Away!” They could move much faster than we could (possibly why we were targeted) and they did not give up until they got something. Fortunately, we had target wallet that was fairly easy to get at and that had a few Euros and some paper to pad it out.

The scam artists were easy to ignore, but not this group of girls. I gather that they are a fairly serious problem, they come and then they scatter and disappear, only (I presume) to unload their haul and then meet up and do it again. It is organized crime, they know what they are doing and they are good at it.