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Christmas in Paris!!! (What to do?!)

Rocklin, California
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Christmas in Paris!!! (What to do?!)

This forum is fantastic! So much knowledge that y'all could easily put the tour guides out of business!!

We are headed off to Paris in a couple of weeks for 10 days, so we will be there over Christmas! (We are a tad excited about that!) The challenge is the dichotomy that is my family. Our oldest daughter (17) and I LOVE museums and history...my wife and youngest daughter (14) not so much...so we have a bit of a conflict and we don't want to split up. So we will have to spread the museum stuff around. :-)

We get there at 9am on a Sunday (yes...taking the red-eye from Dallas to CDG).

I have heard that it's best to go to the Louvre on Wednesday's around 5pm as it's open late and that's the time most tourists start heading home for dinner. Is that true?

Also, we want to go to Versailles (full day), Sacré-Coeur Basilica, Eiffel Tour...

What would you seasoned visitors recommend to a family who hasn't been to Europe, much less the City of Lights!! We are renting an apartment right off the Champs-Élysées.

Anything special on Christmas? (Raised Catholic, I am tempted to try to go to mass at Notre Dame, but I think my family would kill me...plus I am sure it would be packed.)

Oh...and my wife is convinced that it will be bitter cold and very wet while we are there...I say chilly and maybe a little damp (I know, it's all relative)...but what can we expect? (weather.com isn't always so accurate).

I won't even get into the fears she has that our daughters are going to get kidnapped off the streets!

Thanks in advance!

-Emmett

Boston...
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1. Re: Christmas in Paris!!! (What to do?!)

Well, the first thing it occurs to me to say to you is to stop (truly!) worrying that your daughters are going to be kidnapped on the street. That's just completely silly. Obviously you've all been watching too much cinema. So put that to bed. It just will not happen.

Second thing is, why don't you want to split up? That's the obvious solution to the problem of how to let everyone do what they like. It will make coming back together so much more interesting. If each party has the name and address of the hotel on a piece of paper, there's no reason they can't get back to the apartment easily.

Paris, France
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2. Re: Christmas in Paris!!! (What to do?!)

Yes, feel free to split up for at least part of certain days, even if only for a couple of hours.

Starting December 26th, I would say that an absolute Parisian Christmas must would be to visit the Musée des Arts Forains at Bercy Village. It was open to the general public earlier last year, but it is available for rent for private corporate functions, and it was such a smash success last year that no dates before Christmas were left open to the public. To the credit of this truly special private wonderland, on Christmas day itself, it was used for a special dinner for the homeless.

Here is a report that I made last year, when it had more dates available: anyportinastorm.proboards.com/index.cgi…

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Christmas in Paris!!! (What to do?!)

Is this a first trip to the EU? I ask because of the fear of kidnapping - which I've never heard of as a concern in Paris (or any other place in the EU). You really really don't need to worry about that.

Is that the reason you don't want to split up - because your wife would worry about this? I really hope you can put her mind at ease or your trip will really suffer from this kind of anxiety.

Rocklin, California
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4. Re: Christmas in Paris!!! (What to do?!)

Yes, it's our first trip to Europe and the fear come from a conversation my brother-in-law recently had with a businessman in Paris who said it was a real problem right now.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: Christmas in Paris!!! (What to do?!)

Honestly, I can't imagine the U.S. media wouldn't have had articles about this if people were being snatched off the streets of Paris, let alone American citizens.

If there is some evidence of this, I imagine it can be gotten by doing a google search.

Victoria, Canada
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6. Re: Christmas in Paris!!! (What to do?!)

for goodness sake what a load of hooey,, a third hand conversation with an idiot.. you need to tell you wife its that ,, a load of hooey.

You also need to encourage the splitting up thing,, for goodness sake I let my 14 yr old son go down the street by himself to get snacks,, and one day had to let my 11 yr old daughter go out and get her own food as I was so ill and could not leave room,, Paris is so much safer then many cities,,

If you read these ( and other forums) you will also discover that Paris is a favorite of solo women travellers,, for many reasons of course, but also because its so safe .. I count myself as one, and I am from a small city on an island off the west coast of Canada,, hicksville really,,

What about this, you walk wife and daughter to the door of a great big department store( I bet then like shopping,, eww) and then you and oldest daughter go and have a good time at a museum,, then you come back 3 hours later and collect mom and other child,, who have shopped and maybe had a snack in the department store cafe,,,

As for museum crowds,, it won't be so bad,, there are always people around, but its not going to be like in July or August, which is when I often go, and still enjoy myself.

Do not listen to anyone who tells you anything about Paris THIRD hand,, or if they were in Paris for 2 days on a bus tour,, its usaully the least reliable information or opinions..

Bellflower...
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7. Re: Christmas in Paris!!! (What to do?!)

The least fear your family will have is being kidnapped. That's completely absurd. The things you really need to fear are pastry shops and restaurants within walking distance of your hotel, a transportation system that takes you almost anywhere that you want to go, and the fabulous architecture. We Parisophiles from the U.S. have a real withdrawal problem when we return home.

I, as well as many other women, have traveled solo in Europe. Invariably, during our travels, my husband and I have gone our separate ways for an afternoon or entire day.

I hope that you include La Sainte Chapelle in your plans. The stained-glass windows are stunning.

MrsJAS

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8. Re: Christmas in Paris!!! (What to do?!)

HI we just got back with our family a little younger (14 and 10) I don't think you have to worry about being your kids being kidnapped. At 17 many kids come to Paris alone but it honestly depends how your kids feel about being alone in a big city. Coming from Dallas they should be fine.

We split up a few times but it was always one kid with one parent. (again my kids are younger) We did leave our son in our apartment once and go down the street to get dinner with his sister when he wanted to stay there. We felt very safe doing so.

I would suggest getting the museum pass. You only need to get it for the two adults. You will see a lot more and go into museums that you just pass because you do not need to worry about paying for it. The lines won't be long but hey if you get to skip any it is a plus we found that out last week when we were going into the Rodin. They saw our pass and said come here and we passed everyone else. Go to the Louvre on their late night. We did and had whole rooms to ourself. My son and I stayed till it closed and the 10 year old and dad went home. I am in the mist of posting my trip report so you can see what all we did. We went to 14 things on the musuem pass not too shaby and did lots of other cool things including Disney Paris.

Enjoy your trip.

California
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9. Re: Christmas in Paris!!! (What to do?!)

Ditto about the kidnapping stuff...I suppose there's a one in a million shot, but it's not the problem your brother-in-laws friend made it out to be (has he been watching "Taken"? That's a fictional flic, not based on a true story, by the way). I was there with my 20 year old daughter earlier this year and never had anything to worry about.

As for the weather, yes, it's probably going to be more cold than chilly (sorry, I think the wife wins on that count). And probably wet off and on as well. Pack your warmest coats, scarves and gloves and if you don't need them, yippee (because I'll be there then too, and would love to catch some milder winter weather than I've experienced the past 2 years).

New Hampshire
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10. Re: Christmas in Paris!!! (What to do?!)

It will probably be about 10° chillier in Paris than at home.

Everyone will be much more comfortable while out and about if dressed appropriately for the weather. The ubiquitous layers are always best, with an outermost layer that is water/wind proof and a very warm layer under that. The ladies may appreciate silk long underwear or Cuddlduds (which double as pj's). Keep in mind that you'll likely need to dress more warmly than at home, where you go from home to car to wherever, as you'll likely be spending much more time outdoors. Don't forget warm footwear and socks.

The Eyewitness Top 10 Paris is an excellent resource for first time visitors.

Here's another huge recommendation for Musée des Arts Forains, one of our top experiences in all our trips to Paris.

You may also want to consider Musee Grevin.