Paris is a big, sprawling city that can be daunting to some; but with a little planning it’s a perfect place for seniors to visit and enjoy art, architecture, and an ambiance that is welcoming.
Like most large cities there are a variety of bus tours that can take you to all the famous spots. Or, you can take a cruise up and down the Seine River with stops along the way so you can venture to most of the famous museums and sites. However, the ActiveGeezering way is to plan a trip that involves walking to the sites from a centrally located hotel. But here’s a problem: more conveniently located hotels are usually the ones that are the most expensive. This is where Priceline.com comes in. By bidding on-line through Priceline (www.priceline.com) you can get a four star hotel near all the major sites for about $150 a night in the off-season. That’s expensive in most places, but in Paris, it’s a bargain!
Although Paris is expensive that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune to enjoy the city. If you aren’t quite up for long walks then you can use the bus or subway system and avoid the high cost of a cab.
There are four sites that are a must see in Paris: the Louvre, the Orsay Museum, the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower (The Louvre and the Orsay are free on the first Sunday of the month, but expect long lines.). You should also visit Notre Dame Cathedral. Notre Dame is a bit further away from the other sites so give yourself plenty of time for the walk. Having a Rick Steves’ travel guide is a must in Paris (www.ricksteves.com).
Touring the Louvre will take most of the day. If you are trying to visit both the Louvre and Orsay in one day start as early as possible. The Louvre is huge and filled with classic paintings and artifacts whereas the Orsay is smaller (an old train station) and filled with more contemporary and impressionists paintings.
The Arc de Triomphe is impressive and from the top gives you a bird’s eye view of the swank boulevard, Champs-Elysees.
At the Eiffel Tower you will likely encounter lines. If you are fit, then climbing the stairs is a healthy and inexpensive alternative to get to the lower and middle level viewing decks. Both of these decks have astonishing views. Plus, you’ll avoid the lines. If you want to go to the top then you’ll have to use the elevator and probably endure lines. The elevator is also much more expensive than climbing the stairs.
Generally, the restaurants in Paris are quite good. Also, see if your hotel has a breakfast buffet. These buffets are much different than their North American counterparts and provide healthy eating choices, plus they have great cheeses, meats, and pastries.
Paris is a “bucket list” destination (one of those places you have to visit at least once in a lifetime). If your visit to the city is properly planned you will not be disappointed.
Check out Air France (www.airfrance.us) for good deals on flights to Paris. Plus, it’s an airline that pampers you with good food and wine and friendly service.
Concorde Opera Hotel (www.operaparis.concorde-hotels.com) is a centrally located and within walking distance to most recommended sites. The hotel has a beautiful lobby, adequate rooms, a good breakfast buffet, and fine nightly dining at affordable prices. Plus, the staff is helpful and courteous.