Plan your trip to Paris

Monday 4 September 2017
by  Carol LARREY
popularity : 34%

To get the most out of your trip, here are some tips to prepare your visit to Paris.

The first five excursions are easily done on foot. However, the whole point of excursion 6 is to experience how far the Protestants in the 16th century had to go to worship. So, that one is long. Sure, you can walk it. There are restaurants and hotels along the river. But, I would suggest an off-road bike. No, cars can’t take the towpaths…

Excursions 7 to 10 stay within the limits of Paris, but are tiresome on foot. For these visits, rental bikes are very practical. After the registration of a magnetic card, a bicycle is freed, and if you leave it off at another station within 30 minutes, there’s nothing to pay. Note: These are not off-road bikes. They are heavy. In fact, they have so much metal that they are detected by speed radars meant for cars! Not that you should slow down your pedaling, but look into other rentals for excursion 6. Bicycle rental pass: http://www.velib.paris.fr/
Metro maps, price of tickets, passes: http://www.ratp.fr/

Most of the sites are open and free of charge. The Médiathèque (excursion 7), the Carnavalet museum (excursion 8), and the Jardin de Luxembourg (excursion 9) are free, but have closing hours. Some places are locked with security codes outside of office hours (e.g., Calvin’s Tower in excursion 1, Hôtel Scipion in excursion 3). For your visit of the Bibliothèque Protestante in excursion 2, look on www.shpf.fr to see when they are closed. It would be a shame to find the door locked because of August vacation! In fact, if you are with a little group, call them in advance. They might even line up a guided tour for you to see more than what’s mentioned in this book.

For excursion 4, you’ll need a reservation for the guided visit of the Hôtel-de-Ville de Paris. www.paris.fr/ or telephone: 01.42.76.54.04. The visit is free of charge. You won’t even hear “N’oubliez pas le guide!” because the city employee isn’t allowed to accept a tip.

The Château de Vincennes charges admission, but it’s worth it. The guided tour is included in the ticket, but would be constraining since your interests are not the same as those of the guide. Personally, I like to take my time in the Sainte Chapelle, sit on the floor to steady my binoculars and read the texts on the stained glass windows. And it’s so much fun to be with a group to search out biblical inscriptions on the dungeon walls! Take both short and tall friends as they’ll notice writings you won’t see from your level.

In fact, friends are great allies for all these outings. For excursion 2, find musician friends who can sing old Protestant hymns in four-part harmony. And for excursion 6, find ones full of energy! Yes, that excursion could seem endless without a pack of friends, all eager to arrive with their picnics in Grigny!


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