Related Posts with Thumbnails

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

17 Ideas for an Afternoon in Paris

Well, we're off tomorrow for the Lorraine and some much-needed French family TLC, and more importantly, some amazing home cooking.  It was really fantastic to receive so many suggestions for our 4-hour Paris stopover on our return trip. Many thanks to everyone who commented & it's going to be incredibly hard to decide what to do! Although most suggestions seem to revolve around food, so think we're all in fairly good company. Packing the stretchy-pants for sure.

Hope you'll enjoy reading all the fabulous tips for a quickie afternoon in glorious Paris and a special congrats to Corinne from Gourmantic who was chosen (thanks to, phew) for the choco-kit. Enjoy & merci bien everyone!

17 Fabulous Suggestions for 4-hours in Paris

1. Jen S. 
Hmmm I would probably just spend the time walking along the Seine, and visiting everything along the way- finishing with the Eiffel Tower- and I would try and time it right so I could enjoy a bottle of champagne (with company of course) in the Parc du Champs de Mars while watching the Eiffel Tower light show at 11pm! 
Jennifer Stafford Events (site)

2. Stephanie 
I would take the metro to Saint Paul and meander my way through the Marais collecting french cheeses, a baguette, and maybe even a bottle of wine along my way to Place des Vosges where I would enjoy a picnic. Then on my way back to the metro (in time so as not to miss my train ;) ) I would stop off at a chocolaterie and pick out a few treats to savor with my last moments in Paris.
La Belle in France (site

3. Sion 
Sounds like you did the right thing - I think strolling through the Marais and heading to the Seine is a great way to spend just a few hours.

If you want another body of water, though, you could head to the Canal St Martin, pick a cafe along the way, or have Pink Flamingo - gourmet pizza - delivered to you on the canal for your own picnic! Follow it up to Point Ephemere to see if there's anything going on, then cross over to Canal de L'Ourcq. You'll see people playing petanque and can get drinks to go from Bar Ourcq. From there you can hit the beautiful Buttes Chaumont Park or the Villette. 
Paris Imperfect (site)  

4. Lindsey 
I would say head to Odéon/Saint Germain and walk down rue de Seine for window shopping, fantastic take-away speciality shops, cafés. After about 10 minutes you'll hit the Seine where you should stroll to the right and head toward Hôtel de Ville where there is always something going on - a show, a market, a concert - and even better, in proximity to St. Paul and the Marais where you can head to Schwart's Jewish deli for a delicious bite. 
Lost in Cheeseland (site

5. Anonymous
After a picnic in the place de Vosges (yes, I know it's a cliche, but what the heck), I'd walk down to the Seine and along the eastern end of the Ile St. Louis (I once rented an apartment at 15, quai de Bourbon for a vacation, and I think the highlight was opening the shutters every morning and taking in the view of the Seine and the Pont Marie. My God, it's beautiful). Then I'd get a glass of a lovely wine at the overpriced-but-who-cares terrace at the western tip of the island, by the bridge that connects it to the Ile de la Cite, and drink in the wine and the view at the same time. 

6. Libby 
I, too, would head to the Village St. Paul! Then wander up the Rue Vieille du Temple to a restaurant where I had the very best crepe (pears, chocolate...) in Paris! Can't remember the name right now...but I would know it by sight. Oh, fabulous! 
An Eye for Detail (site

7. Corinne 
Here’s a link to what I'd do in Paris in 5 hours.
I'd skip the Berthillon part just to make it 4 hours! :)
Gourmantic (site)

8. Tanya 
November, at night, and it's cold. After a quick dinner at the George V cafe (I'd have duck I think) on the Champs Elysees I'd warm up with a walk down the Champs Elysees and enjoy the Christmas market. At the end, I'd do the touristy thing and pay the exorbitant fee to ride the huge ferris wheel.
Tanya in Transition (site 

9. Shannon 
In winter I'd go to Musé d'Orsay, then get a mulled wine in the Tuleries Park, then mosey over to the theatre :)
Je Ne Sais Quoi, Paris (site

10. Françoise 
I would say the place to be when you have only four hours in Paris is right in the centre. Head for rue de Buci, in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, to sit at a nice café (or to visit some of the many fabulous chocolate shops nearby!) and enjoy the buzz. From there you can stroll along rue de Seine, rue Mazarine and rue Dauphine. The area is filled with small art galleries and interesting shops and just a short stroll from the Seine. 

Another idea is to pick one thing you've always wanted to see and just do that. For example, the Musée Jacquemart-André, on bd. Haussmann, may be a little out of the way, but four hours is certainly enough time and it is a gorgeous way to spend an afternoon.
Choco Paris (site

11. Sara Louise 
If it's nice and sunny out, I'd head to the Jardin de Tuileries, grab a cafe from the Paul kiosk and stroll around admiring the Louvre palace and then window shop all along the Place de la Concord before having a little lunch somewhere.
If it's raining, definitely Galleries Lafayette and maybe visit Degas Ballerina at Musee de Orsay. Nothing too exciting but if I only had four hours, I'd want to do my favorites :-)
Sara in Le Petit Village (site)

14. The Armchair Parisian 
A walk by Notre Dame on my way to St. Germain would be a must. Some window shopping, then a drink and a nice leisurely meal in a cafe followed by some serious people watching. (site)

13. Krista 
Oh, I know EXACTLY what I'd do, Tuula! :-) I'd take a taxi directly to Aux Crus de Bourgogne ( for dinner and have their most fabulous Boeuf Bourguignon and delicious red wine, then pop into a patisserie, fill a bag with an assortment of macarons and take the nighttime riverboat cruise because I never tire of it. :-)
Rambling Tart (site)

14. Brenna 
I would definitely rent a Velib, and take a leisurely strole through the Marais, pick up a falafel at L'As du Falafel, and eat it in Place Vosges. Then I'd ride through the Louvre/Tuileries and Jardin du Luxembourg, because it never gets old. Finally, I'd drive to Rue Cler to pick up some essentials for the trip home (as well as maybe to stock up!). Paris, je t'aime :)
Fabuleux Destin de Breanna (site  

15. Jerilyn
Since it's possible you'll get rain (I know, bad karma), but since it's possible--think about lunch in the gorgeous restaurant at the Musee Jacquemart-Andre (can't beat lunch under a Tiepolo ceiling--and the collection ain't bad! A wonderful way to pass a few hours. And if you have time left, you can walk down the boulevard Haussmann to the pl. de la Madeleine and have tea at the original Laduree. Just watch your knees--not much space.

16. Melissa
Ok, grab line 14 from Gare de Lyon, zoom to the Grand Magasins to see the Noël windows which are always fun! Then, if it's lunch time head around the Opera house over to L'Entreacte for a bite (it has a lovely view on the theater), or a café at the Café de la Paix on their grand terrace. Grab the bus or metro a few stops and go stroll in the Jardins du Palais Royal behind the Palais Royale and the Comédie française. Then you are right on line 1 that you can grab back to the Gare de Lyon, et voilà!
Prete Moi Paris (site
17. Kathy 
Ok, this is a food, and even more so a pastry, lovers guide to 4 hours in Paris: I would walk up rue Mouffetard, stopping at the various food & wine shops to buy a picnic lunch with a stop at Carl Maletti for a few pastries, then walk over to the Jardin du Luxembourg to eat a romantic picnic lunch with the boyfriend. (If the weather didn't cooperate, I would go to Ze Kitchen Gallerie in the 6th.) From there, a walk to rue Bonaparte to pick up desserts for the train ride home with stops at Pierre Herme and La Duree. Take Line 10 from Mabillon or St. Germain to Severes Babylone and pick up a few more pastries at Hugo and Victor. From there a walk to and along the Seine, finding a seat along the banks to snack on a few of the pastries. Last stops would be at G. Detou for baking supplies (pistachio paste, baking size bars of Valrhona chocolate-especially gianduja and cocoa powder) and a stop at Librairie Gourmand to pick up the lastest pastry cookbooks (I've heard LaDuree now has a savory cookbook to accompany their sweet one). And finally, a mad dash to Gare Lyon. Have a wonderful time in Lorraine and with your four hours in Paris.
Food Lover's Odyssey (site


  1. I LOVE this collection of great ideas, Tuula! :-) It's so fun to read through them and see each person's personality come through in what they'd choose to do. :-)

  2. Is the photo of Le Petit Cler .. the restaurant in Rue Cler .. looks like it to me.. :-)

  3. Super post! Can't wait to hear what you end up doing! Bon voyage.

  4. Thanks for contributing Krista & Melissa - both such great ideas (would love to have a good meal out AND hit the Christmas windows at Galleries Lafayette...).

    Anne, the photo is of Le Petit Cler - how I love that area. I had a really nice (almost empty) morning stroll there this past August, and it was also my first trip to Le Mere de Famille down the street (the other photo). So great. Thank you for the comment!

  5. So many fantastic ideas from which to choose, and the photos are beautiful. These are great tips for any trip to Paris, whether it be four hours or four days. I think Krista/Rambling Tart nailed it when she said how each person's personalty comes out in their suggestions.

  6. I stayed near Rue Cler for just over two weeks a year ago in August, then I went back in May this year .. :-) Love this street.. I have also been on a sunday .. it was buzzing!

  7. This is fantastic, thank you! I am planning a France trip this December and was looking for relaxing, soak-up-the-atmosphere type things to do =)

  8. What fun ~ I have saved the suggestions to refer to before my next trip... And merci for including my link :-)

  9. This is the best one yet! I wanna go to Paris! I wanna go to Paris! I wanna go to Paris!!! And the PHOTOS...ohhhh the photos...makes my classroom look like a jail cell!

  10. Fantastic ideas from everyone! I'm writing some of these down for my next trip up there.

  11. Thanks for all of the great comments! This post was really so fun to put together & I agree with everyone - there's so much good information here for future trips to Paris!

    Anne, I'm such a fan of the Rue Cler too. It was one of the first places I went to during my first trip in 2004 - like a small French village in the middle of the big city!

    Natalie, enjoy your trip too - hope we'll get to hear some updates :)

    Thanks again for participating "Armchair" :) & I enjoy the tips on your site as well, nice!

    Maria, we'll have to get you out of your classroom & on a plane soon - that's what those long teacher summers are for :)

    Thanks for the comment Jennifer, hope your trip to CA was nice!

  12. Thanks for including my thoughts in your list!!

  13. Have fun with your very own French Mommy! Can't wait to here all about it xo

  14. After reading this wonderful round up, I want to do all!

    Thank you for the choco-kit. Checking my mail box with anticipation :)

    Most importantly, have a wonderful time in Lorraine and bon appetit!

  15. Great suggestions! I would definitely include a stop for macarons at Laduree or Pierre Herme and a walk on Ile Saint-Louis if weather permits. Paris is all about walking and enjoying the ambiance, weather permitting. Otherwise, watching the city from beneath a terraced cafe with a chocolat chaud and escaping into a museum for an art fix...

  16. Oh, all the suggestions are very, very good. Have you decided what to do? Clearly, 4 hours will not be enough! LOL!!

  17. Thanks for the great comments! It's a chilly but beautiful morning in the Lorraine today (Friday) & can't wait to try a few of these suggestions on Sunday!

    Kasia, would love to make a stop at Laduree (yum) & thanks for the extra tips :)

    Jen, we for sure need more time - great excuse to plan another trip :)

  18. You know what I've never done, but a lot of people say they do it and it would be really fun: get off at a random metro station you've never been to before and just look around to see what's there. I'm definitely going to do that, with my camera, soon!