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Search 69,459 Camino Questions

20 hours in Paris

JustJack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF: May/June 2023
VDLP: April/May 2024
I was just notified by Air France that they are changing my return flight, which means I have an approximately 20 hour layover in Paris now. I arrive there around lunchtime, and depart the next morning around 10am. This is on my return flight home, after walking the CF.

Not that familiar with Paris (well not familiar at all. I was there for a few days when I was a kid backpacking around Europe, but that's it), so wondering what to do with this time. Too long to spend in the airport of course, but do I book a hotel in the city, or stay somewhere near the airport?

I guess what I'm wondering is if I booked a hotel near the airport, is there anything to see/do around there? I'm disinterested in seeing the main tourist sites in Paris, but walking around the streets would be great. So if staying near the airport means I'm surrounded by highways and overpasses, and therefore pretty much stuck in my room, I'll head into the city centre. If, on the other hand, it turns out that the area near the airport happens to be quite nice, and there are nice streets or parks to walk around, then I won't bother going into the city centre.

Thoughts?
 
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Unfortunately Roissy CDG is not in a nice area.
If you have just some hours in Paris, my advice is to visit the Holy Chapel (Sainte Chapelle in Ile de la Cité).
It is a lovely church with beautiful stained glasses.
 
We usually stay overnight in Paris either to or from the Camino.
If I had 20 hours spare I would stay right in the centre! (Districts 1-6)
Walk around, go to the Louvre, stroll along the Seine, walk up to Montmartre and get up early to head to the airport. Sleep next week :)

But that's just me .......... :rolleyes:

I'm doing the same in Madrid next Camino, about the same layover duration.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Follow up question - for those familiar with Paris, any recommendations on a city centre hotel that's easy to get to from the airport (ie a direct train route, and near the train station)?
 
We usually stay overnight in Paris either to or from the Camino.
If I had 20 hours spare I would stay right in the centre! (Districts 1-6)
Walk around, go to the Louvre, stroll along the Seine, walk up to Montmartre and get up early to head to the airport. Sleep next week :)

But that's just me .......... :rolleyes:

I'm doing the same in Madrid next Camino, about the same layover duration.
I second that.
 
After taking the train from Moissac, France to return to Paris after walking the Via Podiensis we stayed at an airport hotel near CDG. This was due to one of the train strike days that had us scrambling to make our flight home the next morning. There is nothing to do near the airport imo, so as others have said, you would be better off heading into the city center if you feel you can relax and enjoy exploring a little. I had spent several days in Paris a few years earlier, so hadn't planned much extra time in the city thankfully, or I would have been disappointed to miss it.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Direct train route from CdG would be RER B - you can check its route on any Paris Metro Map.
Its first "hub-stop" (if you will) is at Gare du Nord from which various Metro lines emanate.... no issues getting anywhere in the city.
As to Hotels.... as always depends on your preference and budget. My nephew stayed in a St Christopher's Inn Paris Gare du Nord which is a hostel but he liked it a lot (and walking distance from Gare du Nord)

Last year before my Camino I stayed at Aloha Hostel which was "OK" - it served my needs for a 15-min walk next morning to Gare de Montparnasse. (I did explore The Cemetery - I like to visit the graves of famous people)

some years ago I stayed in Montmartre @TimHotel Montmartre - totally loved the whole vibe (easy access to and from Gare du Nord - just 30 mins walk or various combos with Metro lines 4,12 & 2. and steps away from Moulin Rouge, Sacre Coer and Rue Lepic with all the shops.

The Pinnacle was IHG Le Grand but... LOL... thats quite pricey (but location, location, location :))
BTW the bus to CdG (if so inclined) is literally in the back of the above straight up Rue Scribe to the Opera Square.

And of course as to activities - Whatever you do in Paris - you just simply cannot go wrong!

Bon Chance
 
An alternative view of Roissy -
We always stay in Roissy the night before IF we are taking an international flight out of Paris before lunchtime. For a 10am flight - I would definitely.

While the Roissy free shuttle bus takes you to the area of many large chain hotels - quite soul-less - what a lot of people don't realise is that a 5 minute walk from there through a charming park takes you to Roissy village where there are a number of places to eat - we usually go to Brasserie La Village. There are also a few chambre d'hotes in the village as an alternative to the chain hotels - see bookingdotcom for Roissy en France.

I don't like relying on Paris rail transport for a morning flight - and even a bus or taxi can get stuck. So, if you go into the city for the afternoon / early evening, you could make your way back to Roissy to sleep, and a stress free bus ride to CDG the next morning.

The next morning, whether you stay in one of the big hotels or in the village, you can take the free shuttle back to the airport - they run every 15-30 mins.

All the best.
 
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Best bet is to decide what you might want to do with your time. The Musee Rodin? The charms of the Rue St Denis? The tragedy of Notre Dame? Or pick one gustatory adventure from https://www.solosophie.com/foodie-guide-to-paris-where-to-eat-in-paris/

Once you’ve sorted that work out your hotel and your travel logistics. Pick one thing. 20 hours in Paris for me would be Rodin, un Ricard and a decent dinner. But that’s my inclinations.
 
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If art is your thing, you might enjoy Montmartre. The Dali museum was exquisite and true-to-time-period! Other museums in Paris have been renovated over the years (Picasso, for example) - which is great, but there's something special about the old, small, slightly crooked buildings which literally housed the old masters. It's great to see these places while we still can. This is also not far from Pere Lachaise cemetery, to round out a lovely long stroll.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
If you don’t want to venture into the centre of Paris (although I always want to), and if you like cathedrals and history, consider Saint-Denis, a town in the suburbs not too far from the airport. The Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis is where the Kings and Queens of France were interred and the treasury is full of, well, treasures.

The camino actually goes past this cathedral and you can follow the markers all the way to downtown Paris.
 
Hmmm... let's see.....20 hours in Paris.... and never spent time there....

Sainte Chapelle
Notre Dame (even in ruins)
Walk along the river
Watch people play boule
A fantastic dinner somewhere
Musee Rodin
Louvre

Where to stay... well. I like to stay near the 6th arrondissement, but that's because long long ago, I studied at the Institut Catholique on Rue d'Assas. I'm sure there are other places just as wonderful.

Something I have wanted to do is to stay the night for Perpetual Adoration at Sacre Coeur, Monmartre. They have a place for catholics on pilgrimage there, you get a bed and petit dejeuner, and participate in the perpetual adoration for an hour or more sometime during the night. (Dorm room bed is 10 euros, private room is 25, with breakfast at four euros.)
More information is here: https://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/english/night-adoration/article/one-night-adoration-at-the
 
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I stayed in Roissy to meet an early morning flight and quite enjoyed it. There was a beautiful botanical garden with a display about the importance of bees and I stumbled upon an organ recital at the church. I find big cities stressful so I was happy to explore Roissy. I was also able to top up on french cheese a the grocery before departure.
 
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An alternative view of Roissy -
We always stay in Roissy the night before IF we are taking an international flight out of Paris before lunchtime. For a 10am flight - I would definitely.

While the Roissy free shuttle bus takes you to the area of many large chain hotels - quite soul-less - what a lot of people don't realise is that a 5 minute walk from there through a charming park takes you to Roissy village where there are a number of places to eat - we usually go to Brasserie La Village. There are also a few chambre d'hotes in the village as an alternative to the chain hotels - see bookingdotcom for Roissy en France.

I don't like relying on Paris rail transport for a morning flight - and even a bus or taxi can get stuck. So, if you go into the city for the afternoon / early evening, you could make your way back to Roissy to sleep, and a stress free bus ride to CDG the next morning.

The next morning, whether you stay in one of the big hotels or in the village, you can take the free shuttle back to the airport - they run every 15-30 mins.

All the best.
Thanks for this tip, as this is what I was hoping to hear about. Somewhere near the airport that wouldn't be a horrible place to stay... A 10am flight means being at the airport around 7am-8am, which would mean waking up and leaving the city centre really early, and I do tend to stress a bit about potential transportation delays, so being close to the airport definitely has some appeal. If I had a slightly longer layover I would be more inclined to make my way to the centre, but I'll check our Roissy and see what I think. And as suggested, there's a good chance I would take a train into the centre, and then return that evening to sleep. Best of both worlds.

I totally get that Paris is an incredible city, but I also get that I will be headed home after 7 weeks walking in Spain, and as such I don't know how much I would feel like doing regular touristy things. Relaxing and slowly getting my head back into the real world is likely what I'll be doing.
 
Thanks for this tip, as this is what I was hoping to hear about. Somewhere near the airport that wouldn't be a horrible place to stay... A 10am flight means being at the airport around 7am-8am, which would mean waking up and leaving the city centre really early, and I do tend to stress a bit about potential transportation delays, so being close to the airport definitely has some appeal. If I had a slightly longer layover I would be more inclined to make my way to the centre, but I'll check our Roissy and see what I think. And as suggested, there's a good chance I would take a train into the centre, and then return that evening to sleep. Best of both worlds.

I totally get that Paris is an incredible city, but I also get that I will be headed home after 7 weeks walking in Spain, and as such I don't know how much I would feel like doing regular touristy things. Relaxing and slowly getting my head back into the real world is likely what I'll be doing.
After my second Camino we went home via Paris, and it was wonderful wandering around post Camino. The centre part of Paris with lots of attractions is very walkable.
We stayed on the Ile de la Cité, behind Notre Dame. Last time we stayed at the other end, close to the Eiffel tower and the Arc de Triomph. Maybe covered nearly as much as a Camino day.
 
Follow up question - for those familiar with Paris, any recommendations on a city centre hotel that's easy to get to from the airport (ie a direct train route, and near the train station)?
What kind of budget? We've used a couple near Gare Montparnasse.
An easy walk into the centre of Paris from there.
Lots in that area.

We've also stayed very close to the Louvre.

But like any major city, the closer you are to the centre, the rooms get very small and very expensive.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I was just notified by Air France that they are changing my return flight, which means I have an approximately 20 hour layover in Paris now. I arrive there around lunchtime, and depart the next morning around 10am. This is on my return flight home, after walking the CF.

Not that familiar with Paris (well not familiar at all. I was there for a few days when I was a kid backpacking around Europe, but that's it), so wondering what to do with this time. Too long to spend in the airport of course, but do I book a hotel in the city, or stay somewhere near the airport?

I guess what I'm wondering is if I booked a hotel near the airport, is there anything to see/do around there? I'm disinterested in seeing the main tourist sites in Paris, but walking around the streets would be great. So if staying near the airport means I'm surrounded by highways and overpasses, and therefore pretty much stuck in my room, I'll head into the city centre. If, on the other hand, it turns out that the area near the airport happens to be quite nice, and there are nice streets or parks to walk around, then I won't bother going into the city centre.

Thoughts?
Stay at this albergue run by a few priests.
https://adveniat-paris.org/fr/. I LOVED everything about this as I stay there 3 nights before I walked the Camino Frances in June of 2022. Best location and just two rides on the Metro to the airport. The River is just 100 meters from your front door. Walk it or walk to the main attractions that are very close. PM me for more info….🙏🥾Buen Camino!
 
Follow up question - for those familiar with Paris, any recommendations on a city centre hotel that's easy to get to from the airport (ie a direct train route, and near the train station)?
You are never more than 100m from a Metro station in central Paris.
 
I was just notified by Air France that they are changing my return flight, which means I have an approximately 20 hour layover in Paris now. I arrive there around lunchtime, and depart the next morning around 10am. This is on my return flight home, after walking the CF.

Not that familiar with Paris (well not familiar at all. I was there for a few days when I was a kid backpacking around Europe, but that's it), so wondering what to do with this time. Too long to spend in the airport of course, but do I book a hotel in the city, or stay somewhere near the airport?

I guess what I'm wondering is if I booked a hotel near the airport, is there anything to see/do around there? I'm disinterested in seeing the main tourist sites in Paris, but walking around the streets would be great. So if staying near the airport means I'm surrounded by highways and overpasses, and therefore pretty much stuck in my room, I'll head into the city centre. If, on the other hand, it turns out that the area near the airport happens to be quite nice, and there are nice streets or parks to walk around, then I won't bother going into the city centre.

Thoughts?
Book a hotel near the airport , one with a free shuttle, to facilitate getting to the airport in the morning. Arrive, drop your bag off, then go into town. Pick one or two favorites depending upon what you like. I would skip the Louve - wonderful museum but it would mean spending most of your time there to make it worthwhile. Fat Tire tours offers a night bike ride around Paris and includes a boat cruise on the Seine. Also includes stopping for ice cream (best ever) on Ile St. Louis and you will pass Notre Dame. We spent a few minutes cycling around the glass pyramids on the Louve and rode passed the Eifel Tower. My last layover I decided to try to eat my way through Le Marais. Next time I'm walking the streets of Montmarte and hanging out on the steps of Sacre Couer.
 
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Unfortunately Roissy CDG is not in a nice area.
If you have just some hours in Paris, my advice is to visit the Holy Chapel (Sainte Chapelle in Ile de la Cité).
It is a lovely church with beautiful stained glasses.
I absolutely agree with you !! I was thinking too about ‘ La Sainte Chapelle ‘ a gem
Of the middle age you will be amazed!.. also very soothing and calm .. in v be etween 2 flights !
 
Something I have wanted to do is to stay the night for Perpetual Adoration at Sacre Coeur, Monmartre. They have a place for catholics on pilgrimage there, you get a bed and petit dejeuner, and participate in the perpetual adoration for an hour or more sometime during the night. (Dorm room bed is 10 euros, private room is 25, with breakfast at four euros.)
More information is here: https://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/english/night-adoration/article/one-night-adoration-at-the

I had the opportunity to take part in the perpetual adoration years ago And found it to be a very memorable experience. Being in the basilica without tourists, and with the mosaics flickering by candle light was a far different experience than the usual visit. In the morning once they unlocked the doors I was able to jump on the metro and make it down to the station in Montparnasse to catch the morning train down to begin my Camino.
 
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When visiting any tourist areas on a tight schedule, you must purchase in advance a timed entrance ticket. Most museum and other tourist attractions have a website to purchase a ticket with bar or QR code. At the appointed time, walk past the long line, let them scan your ticket, and walk in!

For example, an advanced timed ticket allows immediate access to the Eiffel Tower elevator, otherwise, the queue for tickets stretches back to London!


-Paul
 
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You may want to reach out to AirFrance and see if they can come up with a better connecting flight. The computer making the flight change does what’s best for the airline, but you are not required to accept that flight change. I once went from a longer flight with a layover to a non-stop that got me home hours earlier than my original schedule. I hadn’t reserved the shorter flight due to price, but they made the accommodation due to their inability to provide the original flight I had booked.
 
If you are returning to Paris on a train, consider booking a hotel downtown, that has an airport shuttle service. Enjoy a day of sightseeing. Generally, the train form Bayonne or Irun arrives at Gare Montparnasse. The airport shuttle bus service runs to and from the airport from this station as well.

You will have time to hit the highlights. Consider a "hop on hop off bus" to cover a ot of ground and see a lot of sights. Admission to these tourist buses is generally for a 24-hour period. I do this in most any new city I visit so I can get the lay of the land, and identify places worthy of a return visit. Much of what Paris has to offer is outside anyway - and much of that, gardens and architecture is free.

Have a good night's sleep, then catch the hotel shuttle to the airport. That is the easiest way to do this. If you get a hotel in walking distance to Gare Montparnasse, you can hook up with the airport bus shuttle service. The trip takes about 45-minutes and is reasonably priced.

The less expensive way is to do the same, except to ride the METRO and RER from downtown to the airport. This will take significantly longer. Although, it will cost less.

Personally, I would do what was most convenient for me. If this is a once in a lifetime thing, budget for a taxi to take you from your hotel downtown to the airport.

Hope this helps,

Tom
 
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I'd make it a Camino-themed visit! The Tour St. Jacques, Notre Dame (even though it's scaffolded and surrounded by construction fence, you can still get close) and Salvador Dali's Camino-themed sundial on Rue St. Jacques in the 5th. There are probably (definitely) other spots, but those are the 3 I hit in January. As for where to stay, plusses and minuses on both counts, but I'd stay in the city and take an early Uber, just because I an never have too much Paris.
 
Follow up question - for those familiar with Paris, any recommendations on a city centre hotel that's easy to get to from the airport (ie a direct train route, and near the train station)?
The RoissyBus goes from a number of points around CDG airport to a stop on Rue Scribe, a stone’s throw from Opera Garnier on the Right Bank. It cost me 12€ back in ‘21and takes between an hour, hour and a half. From there you have the Louvre, the Palais Royal, the Jardines des Tuileries all on the same side and any number of good restos. And the Left Bank is an easy walk from there also. There are also trains from CDG to the Gare Saint-Lazare train station which is just N of the Opera. Very central. Chk Booking.com for a hotel nearby. 🤙🏽
 
You may want to reach out to AirFrance and see if they can come up with a better connecting flight. The computer making the flight change does what’s best for the airline, but you are not required to accept that flight change. I once went from a longer flight with a layover to a non-stop that got me home hours earlier than my original schedule. I hadn’t reserved the shorter flight due to price, but they made the accommodation due to their inability to provide the original flight I had booked.
The changed flight means a 20 hour layover, however on the plus side the new flight is direct from Paris to Vancouver, so that's an improvement and saves me several hours on the airplane and saves me transferring in Toronto, so the changed flight is partly a good thing.
 
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With your limited time in Paris my suggestions are:
1) Go up top on the Arc de Triomphe; beautiful views with roads culminating into a "spoke wheel" pattern below which is very unique. The lines are much shorter than at the Eiffel Tower.
2) See the Muse'e d' Orsay, still huge with incredible art work and again, much shorter lines than The Louve.
3) Visit the Basilica on the hill, Sacr'e Couer, especially at sunset if that works out. People gather on the steps to watch the sun go down over Paris. Much more relaxing than standing in long lines to get into Notre Dame.
4) Another option is to visit Sainte Chapelle, with so much stained glass it dazzles and makes you wonder how its walls can stand up. Again, shorter lines than Notre Dame.
Many great choices from everyone participating on this thread; you can't go wrong with any of them!
 
I've stayed in Paris many times before and after. If I don't have a lot of time I like to stay at the IBIS Hotel at CDG. So easy to get to from the terminal. Then I catch the train into the center of Paris or directly to the Eiffel or the Louvre, where ever you want to start. Stay there as long as I want just wondering around and seeing the many beautiful and amazing things that Paris is made of. Then I head back to the Hotel. This makes for an easy morning. Ibis is a really nice hotel and they have a breakfast option that starts early enough before you head to the terminal. You can find them on Booking.com or here

 
3) Visit the Basilica on the hill, Sacr'e Couer, especially at sunset if that works out. People gather on the steps to watch the sun go down over Paris. Much more relaxing than standing in long lines to get into Notre Dame.
J'adore regarder le coucher de soleil depuis les marches du Sacré Coeur
 
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I would be demanding that the airline provide accommodation for you. Furthermore, under EU flight regulations you are entitled to compensation of 600 euros.
 
I had the opportunity to take part in the perpetual adoration years ago And found it to be a very memorable experience. Being in the basilica without tourists, and with the mosaics flickering by candle light was a far different experience than the usual visit. In the morning once they unlocked the doors I was able to jump on the metro and make it down to the station in Montparnasse to catch the morning train down to begin my Camino.
thanks so much for sharing that with me.
 
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Flight regulations are complex. There are "minor: changes and "significant" changes. If they were given at least 14 days notice of change they may not be entitled to compensation but they would have a very strong case for accommodation with a 20 hour lay-over. Fares are normally priced as being more expensive with shorter travel times. Cheaper fares are usually quoted for flights that have long lay-overs.
 
Very useful thread as I will be doing a stopover in Paris in a couple of weeks to get on an AirFrance flight.

May not be relevant to @JustJack but as there is a lot of industrial unrest in France because of the proposed changes in retirement age, is there a useful source of information on proposed strikes that will affect trains and the Metro?
 
Corned Beef,
As a beginning for English info re SNCF France Train Strike Dates February 2023 and March 2023 try this

For info re Grèves SNCF : Prévisions Trains, Échange & Remboursement Billets | Trainline see this

Good luck and Carpe diem!
 
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I would:
- go to the sacre couer there is a fantastic view over Paris from there
- Look up Paris Walks. You can do themed walking tours (in English). I've done the artists and writers ones. Love it.
- I would also get a map and rather than using the metro, get buses. You will be able to see loads of great sights just from riding public buses
- visit Shakespeare and Company on the Left Bank.
- if you end up with extra time to kill or the weather is poor, find and participate in a cookery class
- Bastille is the area for cool bars with happy hours on wine and cocktails


If its one night just stay in a hostel in the centre so you get more time there


(I should probably caveat this info with: this is writers' and artists' Paris on a budget. May not be what you're after)
 
My go to stay for CDG is: https://www.ihg.com/holidayinnexpress/hotels/us/en/roissy-en-france/pardg/hoteldetail
You can walk to the airport shuttle train after a leisurely breakfast. Take the train into Central Paris and have a look around and a nice dinner then return to your airport hotel.
On the other hand if you want to continue your Camino experience you can spend the night at Sacre Coeur in spartan accommodations if you are willing to enter the cathedral for an hour during the night to pray, helping to carry on an ongoing tradition.
 
....
On the other hand if you want to continue your Camino experience you can spend the night at Sacre Coeur in spartan accommodations if you are willing to enter the cathedral for an hour during the night to pray, helping to carry on an ongoing tradition.
John Hawke,
Here is a bit more info re the Benedictine Sisters of the Sacred Heart , at the basilica of Sacre Coeur.
 
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Book a hotel near the airport , one with a free shuttle, to facilitate getting to the airport in the morning. Arrive, drop your bag off, then go into town. Pick one or two favorites depending upon what you like. I would skip the Louve - wonderful museum but it would mean spending most of your time there to make it worthwhile. Fat Tire tours offers a night bike ride around Paris and includes a boat cruise on the Seine. Also includes stopping for ice cream (best ever) on Ile St. Louis and you will pass Notre Dame. We spent a few minutes cycling around the glass pyramids on the Louve and rode passed the Eifel Tower. My last layover I decided to try to eat my way through Le Marais. Next time I'm walking the streets of Montmarte and hanging out on the steps of Sacre Couer.
This is good advice for a short stay!
 
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from last year, my wife says get to CDG plenty early. For a 10AM flight I would stay near CDG.

From a noon arrival at CDG, drop bags at hotel nearby. Take RER train into city.

Musée d'Orsay
Musée l'Orangerie
walk along the seine
wander around Montparnasse or Montmartre
Père Lachaise Cemetery, lots of famous people there, picturesque
others have good suggestions here also
 
Obviously, the answer is to add an additional night night in Paris so that you a take it all in. 😉

In planning my travels prior to the Camino, I was persuaded to spend a night in Paris instead of simply making a connection their on my way from the UK to SJPdP. In fact, I spent two nights in what was once the Les Halles market (super cheap, close to Le Tour du St.-Jacques and Notre Dame) and I regret that decision not at all.

I whole heartedly agree with all of the recommendations given. I’ll add that the Sacré-Cœur Basilica is amazing, but be aware that it is a bit out of the way of the major sights (a consideration if you have just one day or less; don’t be afraid to splurge on a cab ride or, maybe more convenient, an Uber).

I ate the most delectable crepes a short walk from the Sacré-Cœur. However, the view from the Eiffel Tower is (IMHO) more impressive, although the line to go up can be long. One last bit of advice: the Paris museums are incredible, but if you’ve not been to Paris before, walk if the weather is agreeable and hit as many of the major sights as you can. And be bold: Order the escargot.
 
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The changed flight means a 20 hour layover, however on the plus side the new flight is direct from Paris to Vancouver, so that's an improvement and saves me several hours on the airplane and saves me transferring in Toronto, so the changed flight is partly a good thing.
Bypassing Toronto airport is worth a 20-hour layover in Paris.
 

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