Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Three Hours In Paris

view from the Trocadero
My boss is travelling to Paris on Thursday.  She's grabbing the first flight there and taking the last flight back so she can get home to her kids (she's a single mom).  She has a meeting from 11am until 2:30pm.  Her flight gets her there around 9:30am and leaves around 8:30pm which means she's free to roam the streets of Paris from around 2:30pm until about 5:30pm.

She's only ever been to Paris once before, in October for the same meeting and the same three hours. She wandered to the Trocadero for the best view of the Eiffel Tower and bought macarons from Ladurée, both perfectly acceptable things to do during your first three hours in Paris. For her second three hours, she's asked me for some help.

Here's what I'm giving her (her meeting will be near the Jardin des Tuileries, which she visited during her last trip).
  • Walk through the Tuileries to Place de la Concorde for the Champs-Elysees Christmas Market and be sure to sample the vin chaud
  • Take the M1 (Metro) from either Champs-Elysees Clemenceau (mid-market) or Franklin D. Roosevelt (end of market) to Hotel de Ville where you can ice skate for free (small fee for skates rental) and experience a small Christmas Fair. 
From here you can do any of the following:
view from the Pompidou
  1. Head north to the Centre Georges Pompidou contemporary art museum (€12). Especially good if the weather is poor; you can store your bag in the cloakroom; wonderful view of Paris from the top floor. The building itself is worth a look, even if you don't go inside, and the neighbourhood (part of Le Marais) is cute, too. 
  2. Head south across the Pont d'Arcole towards Notre Dame Cathedral (free to enter, though the tower has an entrance fee). Continue south towards the Latin Quarter, the trendy/hip university neighbourhood near the Sorbonne. 
  3. Head east along Rue de Rivoli towards the Marais District, the historic Jewish quarter, which has eclectic shops and cafes. Visit the Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis Church just east of the Saint-Paul Metro station on the south side of the street (one of my favourites). Continue north-east towards the Place des Vosges and Victor Hugo's former residence (a free museum). 
Get to Chatelet Les Halles station for the RER B to Charles de Gaulle.

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