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Questions on upcoming trip to Paris and Barcelona

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  • Avatar HikingDO 
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    Question for others in the group who are more worldly traveled than me (which is probably a large percentage of you!). My wife, 2 mid/late teenage children, and myself are taking a trip to Paris and Barcelona next week for 10 days. Any tips, other than the obvious (Eiffel tower, etc) that we should see or do while we are there? Restaurant suggestions are also appreciated. Thanks!

    #132027 Reply
    Avatar mapplebum 
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    Sounds like we’ll be in Paris at the same time. Fingers crossed the catacombs aren’t on strike!

    We’ll be in Paris for 4 nights total. I have 2 dinner reservations. First day we’ll explore by foot the neighborhood of our hotel, Montmartre. Lunch probably at Cave des Abesses and then dinner at Gare au Gorille. The next evening we might check out Le Perchoir which looks like a nice rooftop bar. Then the only other reservation I have is for our final night before flying home at L’Astrance.

    Our second day will be spent doing all the touristy things. I don’t intend to spend more than an hour at the Louvre. There’s two other museums that interest me more:Musee de l’Orangerie and La Manufacture 111

    The third day we’ll probably do some shopping (husband wants to go to Creed store). I might want to go see a couple graves maybe at Pere Lachaise and then there’s a neat train line that was reconstructed as a walking path what I imagine to be similar to the High Line in NYC. It’s called Promenade Plantee.

    Chowhound has a lot of great information on restaurants. Most of my research was done online but Lonely Planet “France” and Rich Steve’s “Paris” are good resources.

    Edit: I can PM you a link to the Google doc if you’d like to see everything listed.

     

    #132033 Reply
    Liked by HikingDO
    Molar Mechanic Molar Mechanic 
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    If you have a son, he’ll love the Barcelona beaches.

    #132034 Reply
    Liked by ENT Doc, HikingDO
    Avatar Anne 
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    It’s been a while since I’ve been to Paris, so my suggestions there would prob be outdated.

    Barcelona–love just meandering around the Gothic quarter.  All the Gaudi stuff is awesome–Park Guell is incredible, as is Sagrada Familia.  Hiking up Montjuic and taking the teleferico down to the beach was something we almost skipped due to time and I’m so glad we didn’t–a lot of walking, but I’m sure you don’t mind that!

    What do you like to eat?  We are mostly vegetarian (occasional fish) and there is a veg restaurant Teresa Carles that is so so good.  Also a bakery near Park Guell called L’Obrador had the best chocolate croissants I’ve ever had in my life!

    #132038 Reply
    Liked by HikingDO, Hank
    Avatar Anne 
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    Also, I’m guessing you are probably flying in between but if by chance you are driving or taking the train, Carcassonne is 3 hours north of Barcelona.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and well worth a visit!

    #132040 Reply
    Liked by HikingDO
    Vagabond MD Vagabond MD 
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    I have not been to Barcelona.

    A few years ago we traveled to Paris with the kids over winter break. They were then 11 and 14. Well in advance of the trip, we watched the movie, Midnight in Paris, together. It’s one of my favorites and is a virtual travelogue of the great city.

    I made a list of all of the places they visited in the movie and tried to go to as many as possible. Some were heavily traveled (Versailles), some famous but not super popular (Rodin Museum) and others downright obscure (Hemingway’s apartment). The kids loved it because there was a unifying theme, it became like a scavenger hunt for places that they only saw in the movies, and it kept the trip moving. Of course, we sprinkled in the standard Paris sites, too. It was my first trip to Paris, and I loved visiting all of the places I read about while studying French in high school and college.

    I recommend reading Rick Steves book on Paris and buying any advance museum tickets or VIP tours that you can. The lines can be brutally long. No sense traveling half way around the world and standing in lines for hours.

    Bon voyage!

    "Wealth is the slave of the wise man and the master of the fool.” -Seneca the Younger

    #132042 Reply
    Craigy Craigy 
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    Loved Paris, didn’t get enough time, can’t wait to go back.

    Versailles arguably a must.  Walk up and down champs elysess, eat macaroons from multiple places.

    I really liked the army museum.  Tons of antique arms and armor, Napoleon’s tomb and horse, if you like that sort of stuff.

    Most memorable meals were at Le Cinq and Epicure.  Absolutely incredible.  Not sure about bringing teenagers but they might like it.

    Other excellent food at:  le petit cler, sacre fleur, du pain des idess   However all the food we had in Paris was excellent, even the hotel breakfasts.

    LEVEL 1 WCI FORUM MEMBER.

    #132047 Reply
    Liked by HikingDO
    Avatar bean1970 
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    i was last in Paris in 2009 but the Catacombs are the bomb.

    http://www.catacombes.paris.fr/en/homepage-catacombs-official-website.  unbelievable all those bodies…..

    #132056 Reply
    Molar Mechanic Molar Mechanic 
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    The Fat Bike Tour in Paris was awesome.  Do that early in your trip adn you’ll  have a great understanding of the city to build on.  We did the one in Barcelona too, but the Paris one was better.

     

    We did the tapas walking tour in Barcelona.  That was awesome!

    #132059 Reply
    Liked by HikingDO
    Avatar mantis 
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    Go to Sacre Coeur in Paris for a great view of the city. Be on the look out for super aggressive panhandlers.

    For Barcelona, would do a day trip to Monserrat for amazing views.

    #132064 Reply
    Liked by HikingDO
    Avatar HikingDO 
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    Joined: 03/09/2017

    Thank you everyone for your responses, it’s been really helpful! For better or worse, when we travel we tend to go with very little planned out ahead of time and try to pretty much wing it, but the problem with that is plan is that we sometimes miss things that we wish we would have stopped to see. It’s good to at least have a rough plan when we go this time.

    Sounds like we’ll be in Paris at the same time. Fingers crossed the catacombs aren’t on strike!

    We’ll be in Paris for 4 nights total. I have 2 dinner reservations. First day we’ll explore by foot the neighborhood of our hotel, Montmartre. Lunch probably at Cave des Abesses and then dinner at Gare au Gorille. The next evening we might check out Le Perchoir which looks like a nice rooftop bar. Then the only other reservation I have is for our final night before flying home at L’Astrance.

    Our second day will be spent doing all the touristy things. I don’t intend to spend more than an hour at the Louvre. There’s two other museums that interest me more:<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Musee de l’Orangerie and La Manufacture 111</span>

    The third day we’ll probably do some shopping (husband wants to go to Creed store). I might want to go see a couple graves maybe at Pere Lachaise and then there’s a neat train line that was reconstructed as a walking path what I imagine to be similar to the High Line in NYC. It’s called Promenade Plantee.

    Chowhound has a lot of great information on restaurants. Most of my research was done online but Lonely Planet “France” and Rich Steve’s “Paris” are good resources.

    Edit: I can PM you a link to the Google doc if you’d like to see everything listed.

     

    Click to expand…

    Yea, I was pretty bummed out about the catacombs, it looks like the strike will last until August, at least from what I’ve read. Oh well, next time I guess…

    It’s been a while since I’ve been to Paris, so my suggestions there would prob be outdated.

    Barcelona–love just meandering around the Gothic quarter.  All the Gaudi stuff is awesome–Park Guell is incredible, as is Sagrada Familia.  Hiking up Montjuic and taking the teleferico down to the beach was something we almost skipped due to time and I’m so glad we didn’t–a lot of walking, but I’m sure you don’t mind that!

    What do you like to eat?  We are mostly vegetarian (occasional fish) and there is a veg restaurant Teresa Carles that is so so good.  Also a bakery near Park Guell called L’Obrador had the best chocolate croissants I’ve ever had in my life!

    Click to expand…

    I definitely don’t mind the hike, and was looking forward to getting a few in when I go, but the kids sometimes limit the hikes on vacation, since it’s unfortunately not a typical fun teenage activity! We’re not vegetarians, but do tend to eat very little red meat, so we’ll probably gravitate more towards seafood. The chocolate croissant sounds amazing!!!

    #132068 Reply
    ENT Doc ENT Doc 
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    Sacre Coeur is nice. Check out the back streets behind it for painters. Neat scene. Notre Dame and walking along the Seine towards Arc de Triomphe is cool, as is Napoleon’s tomb. Louvre is good but you need an entire day. You could burn through a week just doing museums so be strategic about those. We stayed South of Sainte Chapelle on the other side of the Seine. Nice area to walk around and close pretty much everything.

    Well I never been to Spain
    But I kinda like the music
    Say the ladies are insane there
    And they sure know how to use it
    They don’t abuse it
    Never gonna lose it
    I can’t refuse it

    #132074 Reply
    Liked by Lordosis, HikingDO
    Avatar Kamban 
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    Joined: 08/01/2016

    Barcelona is a great city and a lot can be covered by walking or a bicycle tour. I love Gaudi and many of his buildings are within walking distance in the main city. Not far from the Gothic quarter. I loved Parc Guell. A bit on the outskirts but reachable by subway. Buy the tickets online to avoid standing in queue.

    We had a day to travel to the outskirts to the Montserrat mountains and monstery. Wonderful cable car ride and hike in the mountains.

    #132084 Reply
    Liked by HikingDO
    wonka31 wonka31 
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    Joined: 03/24/2018

    I’m not particularly religious, but Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur are unbelievable. I would also take some time to live like the locals-hang our outside at a cafe or bar, people watch, grab a crepe on the street, etc. it’s a great city, you’ll have a blast with whatever you decide to see.

    #132091 Reply
    Liked by HikingDO
    Avatar Dr P 
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    Status: Physician
    Posts: 33
    Joined: 08/06/2016

    I haven’t been to Spain, but my fiancé and I were in Paris last fall. It’s an incredible city and I can’t wait to go back.

    Agree with watching Midnight in Paris before you go. I’d also recommend Amelie. They are two of my favorites.

    Regarding museums, I do think the Louvre is a must see, but we actually preferred the Musee d’Orsay. If you have limited time, you may need to choose, because as others have mentioned, it’ll take a few hours to give them the time they deserve.

    In terms of food, I would strongly recommend hitting as many bolangeries as your stomachs can handle. Eric Kayser was very good.

    Finally, one of the highlights of our trip was hiring a private driver and his 1956 Citroen. It cost a few hundred euros, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.
    Hope this helps.

    #132097 Reply
    Liked by HikingDO

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