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Paris:

If you have time, a trip out to Père Lachaise Cemetery is worthwhile - lots of famous dead writers and artists (Edith Piaf, Morrison, Proust, Oscar Wilde, Delacroix, Seurat, etc.) and amazing funerary architecture. The metro station is just around the corner and you can pick up a cemetery map at the florist opposite the main entrance.

 

Also: A tour of the Paris catacombs is appreciably creepy

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If like me, you like the dark and medieval, then a train 50 miles to Chartres is a great little adventure out into the provincial. Just a wondrous building - the mecca for stained glass lovers.

"one of the greatest achievements in the history of architecture"

 

http://www.sacred-destinations.com/france/chartres-cathedral

 

Similarly, if you are all pumped up on travel adrenelin, may not be back in that direction in a hurry, and can blitz Rome in a couple of days (entirely possible for a first visit), then consider a day trip by train to Florence. The station is bang in the centre of town. You can leave it until you are there. see how things go, and just get a ticket the night before or something. Italian trains have always been fine for me.

Not mentioned I don't think - the Pantheon - another magnificent building and highlight in architectural history. Piazza Navona to pick up a ice cream in teh evening before strolling over to the Trevi Fountain for some crowd-watching and snogging if you are with your other half. All within a few hundred yards walk of each other.

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Aside from maybe not wearing shorts or something ridiculous like sweat pants, I don't think this wardrobe advice holds. Jeans and t-shirts are just fine. I find I get more weird comments on my shoes (often sneakers because I like sneakers) than anything else. And aside from Portugal, I never encountered any one that gave a shit that I was an American. In almost all cases, people have taken it as either a good thing or a curiosity.

 

Agreed, this was my experience too. One caveat: you ought to wear a nicer pair of pants (chinos for instance) if you go to a religious site such as St. Peter's. Wearing jeans there will definitely get you some glares and you might even be refused entry. Shorts are even worse. You just want to be respectful. No idiotic booming shouts like the pair of young American numbnuts I saw at St. Peters who, upon entering, howled at each other, "DUDE!!! THEY GOT PHONES IN HERE!!!" (They did, in the very back, but it was hardly the most remarkable feature of the place.) Don't be them. :lol

 

The Sainte-Chapelle is very interesting. It was built during the Gothic period and it is located on the same island on the Seine River that Notre Dame is on. The line was a bit long but not bad and very worth our time.

 

Wiki Page

 

Google Map Page

 

I've wanted to see this, too. Damn this thread is making me want to travel. Have a fantastic time, Mr. Heartbreak, and please be sure to share some pictures once you're back home again.

 

(Fellow travelers - Doesn't the U.S. feel strange, after you've been in Europe? :monkey )

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Agreed, this was my experience too. One caveat: you ought to wear a nicer pair of pants (chinos for instance) if you go to a religious site such as St. Peter's. Wearing jeans there will definitely get you some glares and you might even be refused entry. Shorts are even worse. You just want to be respectful. No idiotic booming shouts like the pair of young American numbnuts I saw at St. Peters who, upon entering, howled at each other, "DUDE!!! THEY GOT PHONES IN HERE!!!" (They did, in the very back, but it was hardly the most remarkable feature of the place.) Don't be them. :lol

That was my point. Dress respectfully (doesn't have to be fancy - just not sloppy) and act respectfully and people will treat you in kind.

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this time of year, there will be very short lines for the Sistine Chapel and in my book is a must see. If you go to the Louve, skip the line to see the Mona Lisa, there is so much better art there more worthy of viewing. I am surprised no one has mentioned Centre de Pompidou: http://www.centrepompidou.fr/

 

it depends on what kind of art you are really into on which of the 3 museums I would recommend. The Louvre is like attending art history 101, musee d'orsay has a focus on the impressionists and fills in from where the Louvre leaves off and stops at contemporary in which Centre de Pompidou picks up.

 

the catacombs in Paris are chilling and worthy of the trek down the long flight of stairs. I would also recommend the catacombs in Rome, they are off the beaten path and along the Apian Way. and are very different from those in Paris.

 

I want to recommend restaurants because the eating is amazing, but can't for the life of me remember the names of places.

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re: Paris

 

+1 for orsay, even if it's partly on the road. it's fabulous, and I find the louvre a bit more than I can handle and less interesting in terms of time periods represented.

 

Jeans are fine, black jeans as well. If anything, khaki's (or anything light colored) will stick out like a sore thumb. 99% of the coats and jackets will be black.

 

Sacre-Coeur (cathedral of the sacred heart?) is pretty cool and has a great view up on a hill on the northeast side of the city. Funky artsy area, but a bit touristy.

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I have always had this dream of meeting a beautiful woman on the train in Europe. We decide to explore Vienna for one night. We hang out and discuss any ideas that pop into our heads. The problem is that I have a train ride heading back that I have to catch by 6a.m. She decides to leave our fate in the hands of destiny. Then she tells me to meet back here in 1 year. Sadly, I do not.

 

Although, I end up a mediocre writer that has a book signing in Paris where she decides to meet me 8 years later. We catch up and walk around beautiful Paris. I sense some hostility from her for not visiting her, as she had planned for us to meet. We have quite a few arguments that surprise me. Then we decide to take a boat ride where things begin to warm over for us. She invites me back up to her place, as I yet again have travel accommodations and may need to leave early. She begins to pour me wine, as I tell her how my flight cost me $15.

 

Then next thing I know I'm on my flight. And I'm wondering when the next time I'll be able to see her again. How much will flights cost in 8 years? Most importantly, who put me in my seat?

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She invites me back up to her place, as I yet again have travel accommodations and may need to leave early. She begins to pour me wine, as I tell her how my flight cost me $15.

 

Then next thing I know I'm on my flight. And I'm wondering when the next time I'll be able to see her again. How much will flights cost in 8 years? Most importantly, who put me in my seat?

 

You know what? I liked the Before Sunset ending just a tad better!

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i spent three days blitzing paris a year ago, and here is what i hit:

 

the seine/notre dame boat ride at dusk, coming back to see la tour eiffel bejeweled in front of the night sky is a must.

 

the louvre is very cool...but very overwhelming. i would need like three months (or more) to satisfy my curiosity in that place.

 

montmartre was a definite highlight for me. i went before the sunset and after an early dinner and spent most of the dusk and night up there just hanging out, watching the artists, drinking in bars, and seeing the paris skyline at night. i did not go inside sacre couer...but right outside the doors of it is the million-dollar view of paris!

 

versailles was a bust, i think. technically not in paris, but many consider a must-do sidetrip. very touristy, very kitchsy. very skippable.

 

la tour eiffel. you have to see this and go up in it. it is paris, in my opinion, although while i was there, i found out that the locals don't care much for it.

 

notre dame. i didn't really enjoy this that much, but many do. its a cathedral. seen one, seen em all...unless somehow one is more special to you.

 

i didn't find the french overly open or friendly, but they reside in a beautiful country, so go visit.

 

gosh, enjoy your trip.

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Hopefully your trip wasn't centered around this.

Pop star Lady Gaga postponed two Paris shows this weekend because of "the logistical difficulties due to the strikes," her website said. "Unfortunately, as there is no certainty that the trucks can make it to the Bercy for this weekend's shows, the Lady Gaga performances are now postponed," the statement said.

 

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If you have to choose between the Louvre & the Musee d'Orsay my vote would be to opt for the Musee d'Orsay. It's a manageable "see" if you have a couple of hours, and almost all of their core collection is currently on display. The paintings that are part of various current traveling exhibs are not the really, really, really great stuff (altho they'd be the envy of any museum) - the truly monumental works rarely (if ever) leave the building. Plus it contains three of my favorite works of art: Manet's Olympia, and Courbet's The Artist's Studio and Burial at Ornans. I'd also cast a vote for the Musee Picasso and the Musee Gustave Moreau if you had more time and weren't museumed-out.

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-Tour Eiffel (better in the night)

-Musèe D Orsay

-Père Lachaise cemetery,one of the most beautiful,romantic and suggestive places in the whole world (IMO).Be sure to have a couple of hours to enjoy it,and fingers crossed:do you know what´s the best secret of french people?... It´s ALWAYS raining in Paris :hmm

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Thanks, everybody, for all your suggestions. We just got back tonight.

In Rome, we did a four-hour guided walking tour in order to knock out the Trevi Fountain, Forum, Colosseum, and quite a few other sites in one shot. It was well worth it, and we got great photos. For any art lovers out there who love the Renaissance, I must recommend the Sistine Chapel. We cruised through it in about two hours and thoroughly enjoyed it. Seeing Michelangelo's work there is an amazing experience. We also opted to get the museum pass in Paris and hit the Louvre for about four hours and the Musee d'Orsay for about two. Definitely worth it. Again, I know not everyone loves the pre-1850s period, but for me, it was of major importance. The Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, plus works by quite a few other masters. Finally, we spent three days in Provence, and they were the best of the trip. The food was amazing, and the people in France were generally very friendly.

Anyway, thanks again for the suggestions!

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Thanks, everybody, for all your suggestions. We just got back tonight.

In Rome, we did a four-hour guided walking tour in order to knock out the Trevi Fountain, Forum, Colosseum, and quite a few other sites in one shot. It was well worth it, and we got great photos. For any art lovers out there who love the Renaissance, I must recommend the Sistine Chapel. We cruised through it in about two hours and thoroughly enjoyed it. Seeing Michaelangelo's work there is an amazing experience. We also opted to get the museum pass in Paris and hit the Louvre for about four hours and the Musee d'Orsay for about two. Definitely worth it. Again, I know not everyone loves the pre-1850s period, but for me, it was of major importance. The Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, plus works by quite a few other masters. Finally, we spent three days in Provence, and they were the best of the trip. The food was amazing, and the people in France were generally very friendly.

Anyway, thanks again for the suggestions!

 

You packed a LOT into a short time! Your heads must be swirling with the memories. Can't wait to see some of your photos! :)

 

I saw the Sistine Chapel years and years ago, and was pretty awe-struck. It's nothing like seeing photos of it in a book...one needs to see the full sweep of it to fully appreciate it, I think. Did you love the Forum?

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You packed a LOT into a short time! Your heads must be swirling with the memories. Can't wait to see some of your photos! :)

 

I saw the Sistine Chapel years and years ago, and was pretty awe-struck. It's nothing like seeing photos of it in a book...one needs to see the full sweep of it to fully appreciate it, I think. Did you love the Forum?

 

The Forum is cool, but the highlight of the Rome leg of the vacation was actually not even on the walking tour. It was discovering a church called San Andrea della Valle (St. Andrew's of the Valley) which has some amazing statuary and paintings within. Sometimes accidents can be fun!

We haven't even uploaded pics yet, but I'll be sure to post some after we do.

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