The Ultimate Paris Itinerary

ALP-Paris-2015
My Paris itinerary from March 2015- Click on the image for a larger view.

 

Let’s go ahead and address the obvious- the itinerary above is borderline insanity. Guilty as charged. That spreadsheet took a year to research and organize. However, upon finishing, I realized that this meticulous plan would be a great starting point for anyone with any level of Paris experience. When Josh and I decided we would travel, we would have been approaching the city with two different levels of experience. I am a Paris professional. I lived there in college. For Josh, this would be his first time traveling to the city of light. I had needs. He had needs. We had to achieve a manageable balance of being tourists and being locals for the most enriching combined experience.

Josh had no qualms with pretending to be locals by dining at a bistro or exploring the Passage des Panoramas. However, he did want to go to the Eiffel Tower, see the Mona Lisa, and eat as many Nutella crepes as possible, and he deserved that. To plan our perfect trip, we had to both determine what we wanted to experience and how we would be able to seamlessly connect everything to keep travel stress at a minimum.

Paris is an incredible place to visit, but it can be overwhelming to those who are unfamiliar with its configuration. The city is organized into twenty arrondisements, or districts, and each district has a distinct personality. Boredom, shm’oredom- not in this place! Therefore to make the most of your time, it’s useful to group activities together by arrondisement. When planning your trip, I recommend brainstorming all the things you want to do. Just write a list. Nothing has to be in any sort of order at this point. Note addresses, which should include the arrondisement. Then group these places accordingly by district. This sounds tedious, but trust me, doing so will save you a lot of frustration while you’re there. Even though public transportation is efficient, a metro ride from the 18th to the 5th can sometimes take between 30-40 minutes. Taxi and bus rides could even take longer! Your guide does not need to be as elaborate as mine. However, if you plot your points of interest ahead of time and group them into one general area by day, you will save a considerable amount of time. I promise- you will enjoy the trip more. The metro is great, but you don’t want to spend your vacation in it!

Most importantly, Josh and I didn’t follow this itinerary precisely- this was simply our personalized guide. For instance, we spent more time in the Louvre than we planned and actually wanted to eat there, which I hadn’t considered in the itinerary; therefore, we skipped Ladurée Royale. No biggy! There lies my other suggestion: be flexible. Don’t strictly adhere to an itinerary. Simply use it as a reference. Your visit will still be wonderful, even if you have to miss something. This is your vacation in a city with a culture that prides itself on joie de vivre, or the joy of living- this is an experience that is meant to be savored.

Feel free to use my itinerary, or guide, for your own planning. Enjoy!