As a part of my analysis into AI (synthetic intelligence) journey instruments, I requested ChatGPT-4 to counsel a one-day itinerary for 2 folks visiting Paris for the primary time. I made it barely tougher by making the go to in winter, and asking for 3 sit-down meals. It took me about an hour of back-and-forth (largely consisting of my corrections) to get one thing nominally acceptable. Listed below are just a few screenshots to present you an concept of how (badly) it went.
Aaaaaaand….we’re off to a terrific begin! On the subject of journey writing, ChatGPT-4 is especially ineffective, its content material padded out with pseudo-recommendations like “be certain that to seize some photographs!” What’s lacking is any precise recommendation folks can use, like “Enable further time for the lengthy bottlenecks that usually type when switching elevators on the second flooring to go all the way in which to the highest (after which once more coming down), particularly in excessive season”.
The Poilâne Bakery is certainly well-known, however for his or her sourdough loaves, not their croissants. Excusable, besides that this itinerary implies you possibly can have breakfast on the bakery, which isn’t true. It’s only a place to make your buy, then go away.
Subsequent I requested for particular timings and recommendation on making advance reservations. For some motive it needs you to spend two hours on the most crowded place in Paris very first thing within the morning, earlier than your breakfast. I’d begin earlier, and swap the Eiffel Tower and breakfast on this schedule:
Discover it forgets you’ll have to account for the 20-25 minutes it can take to get from the Eiffel Tower to the bakery (an oversight in lots of itineraries). I haven’t damaged the unhealthy information about Poilâne but, however we get the “useful” recommendation that no reservations are wanted (they by no means are in bakeries with out seating).
Afterward within the day now we have one other odd selection of timing, with lunch at 3:30pm. Parisians do eat later than most Individuals, however most eating places and bistros cease serving lunch by 2:30pm.
On prime of that, they advocate reserving a desk at a highly regarded Parisian bistro, Le Comptoir du Relais*… which famously does NOT settle for reservations. Once you solely have at some point in Paris and a whole bunch of locations to select from, you must most likely go to 1 that ensures you’ll be seated instantly.
* Bizarrely, virtually each single AI journey app and AI device I used advisable Le Comptoir du Relais sooner or later. Odd.
Above, you’ll additionally discover ChatGPT-4’s first suggestion to go to Notre Dame Cathedral. This one warns that “elements could also be closed” for renovations. In later iterations of this identical itinerary in the identical session, it states that the “façade and towers stay open to the general public”. Nevertheless, it has been utterly, 100% closed to the general public since 2019, and nobody has ever predicted it will likely be re-opened earlier than the tip of 2024.
As for Sainte-Chapelle, even if in case you have a reservation you’ll nonetheless need to go by the safety verify with everybody else (there are two separate traces in the beginning, however they funnel into one lengthy line while you arrive on the metallic detector).
Right here’s what occurred once I began questioning its recommendations (largely I get apologies):
Who needs to face in keeping with different vacationers for breakfast, elevate your hand…
Okay…Le Peloton Café (I corrected the spelling) is a enjoyable place to cease for espresso and a selfmade slice of cake, and I extremely advocate the café homeowners’ Bike About Excursions of Paris, however I’d counsel one thing extra classically Parisian for a primary go to to the town. However I’m going to depart that be for now and get again to the problem of the 3pm lunch suggestion at Chez Denise.
“Café-cum-crêperie”? Fairly certain Breizh Café is only a crêpe restaurant, not a café, regardless of the identify. However that doesn’t matter, as a result of the one within the Marais doesn’t permit lunch reservations at 3pm.
Okay, Café de Flore serves meals all day. I’ll go away that one alone for now and tackle the sightseeing points…
I assume for those who’re fortunate to seek out an empty chair upstairs at Sainte Chapelle you possibly can “loosen up”, however…
As a substitute of adjusting the timing, ChatGPT-4 has changed a go to to Sainte Chapelle — one of many metropolis’s most illustrious flamboyant Gothic church buildings constructed within the thirteenth century by Louis IX (aka Saint Louis) to accommodate Catholic relics equivalent to Jesus’ Crown of Thorns — with a go to to an English bookshop opened in 1951 (named after Sylvia Seaside’s unique Shakespeare & Co bookshop on Rue de l’Odéon, closed throughout WWII). Except a customer particularly had that on their must-see checklist, it could be removed from my first selection in a one-day itinerary for a first-time go to to Paris. However I’ll go away it unchallenged as a result of there are different, extra urgent points:
Sacré-Coeur Basilica and Montmartre normally are value a go to, nonetheless allotting one hour appears impractical.
Oh no…I ought to NOT have requested ChatGPT-4 for instructions. That is the place issues get ugly:
You’ll be able to’t change to line 1 on the Saint-Michel – Notre-Dame station, in order that’s a fail.
RER C doesn’t go to Gare du Nord from Saint-Michel – Notre-Dame station. RER B does, however…so does line 4 metro! So why not simply take line 4 instantly from Saint-Michel – Notre-Dame to Château Rouge with out altering in one of many largest prepare stations in Europe? (I’m not even going to deal with the opposite problem of getting vacationers stroll from Château Rouge to Sacré-Coeur…it’s not precisely probably the most scenic route; they’d be higher off altering metros to get off at Abbesses station, and even Anvers).
However wait, it will get higher…
Didn’t we already take away Le Comptoir du Relais from the itinerary earlier within the session? (sure)
Ignoring that for the second, the closest metro to that restaurant is Odéon (2 minutes stroll), which you possibly can attain by switching from line 2 at Barbès-Rochechouart to line 4, as a substitute of taking line 12.
I resolve to cease losing time and make the suggestion to “begin the day at 8am from the Resort Aubusson in St-Germain-des-Prés”, considering ChapGPT-4 would use the additional time to start out with breakfast and schedule lunch at a extra standard time. Nevertheless, it determined to try to give Notre Dame (or no less than one in every of its towers) a comeback, suggesting I begin the day with a 90-minute go to to the Cathedral’s tower.
We’re again to timing points:
Eric Kayser is a good bakery, however I can’t consider any Parisian who would stroll all the way in which to Rue Monge from the Ile de la Cité for a easy breakfast that nearly any respectable café within the middle of Paris might deal with. We lastly get the Saint Régis, on the Ile St-Louis. Fantastic, it has a pleasant view (to distract you from the faux-old decor). However I might have merely advised they’ve breakfast at one of many well-known Parisian cafés in St-Germain-des-Prés, conveniently near their lodge.
Later within the itinerary, Sainte-Chapelle is again, advised after a go to to Luxembourg Gardens. I already knowledgeable ChatGPT-4 earlier that Sainte-Chapelle isn’t open that late in winter. However even in the summertime, the instructions to get there’ll waste guests each time and vitality:
Why ship us to Cluny-La Sorbonne station from Odéon on line 10 when you possibly can take line 4 from Odéon on to Cité station, simply two minutes on foot from Sainte-Chapelle?
We lastly get the morning sorted out — with a extra basic breakfast choice — after an faulty suggestion to go to the Musée d’Orsay at 8am:
However the night’s advised itinerary brings up a brand new problem, which is fairly apparent with out even wanting on the map. I’m a bit aggravated by then, so I flat-out counsel a logical repair as a substitute of seeing how ChatGPT-4 will alter it:
In case you’re not aware of Paris, the Place Vendôme (and the Ritz’s Hemingway Bar) are within the western fringe of the first arrondissement, and the Place des Vosges is on the japanese fringe of the 4th arrondissement (about 20 minutes by metro). The lodge is in between, on the Left Financial institution. It makes zero sense to return to Place Vendôme for drinks after dinner within the Marais (particularly a Michelin-starred meal at L’Ambroisie, the place you’ll probably be waddling again to your lodge to go out afterward).
Simply once I suppose I’ve the ultimate itinerary (after eradicating a go to to a 3rd museum within the afternoon, the Centre Pompidou), I understand it has been changed with a go to to the Palais Garnier after closing hours:
I don’t have any extra persistence to see what ChatGPT-4 comes up with, so I merely counsel a go to to the Palais Royal Gardens and retailers, ending with this itinerary:
Sooner or later, the go to to the Rue de la Paix retailers and Place Vendôme from 7:30-8:30pm disappeared, with nothing changing it. However these retailers will largely be closed anyway by then, and it’s a superb time to cease again on the lodge to vary earlier than dinner.
All that back-and-forth for an hour (I left so much out for brevity) to get this fundamental, one-day itinerary that’s not ultimate in my expertise, however no less than it’s doable:
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM: Breakfast at Café de Flore (172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris)
9:30 AM – 11:30 AM: Musée d’Orsay (1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris)
11:45 AM – 12:45 PM: Stroll alongside the Seine River
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM: Lunch at Le Procope (13 Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie, 75006 Paris)
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Go to the Louvre Museum (Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris)
5:15 PM – 6 PM: Discover the Palais Royal Gardens and retailers (8 Rue de Montpensier, 75001 Paris)
6:15 PM – 7:30 PM: Go to the Place Vendôme and drinks at Bar Hemingway, Ritz Paris (15 Place Vendôme, 75001 Paris)
(ChatGPT-4 left an hour empty right here, which I’d fill with a visit to the lodge to vary earlier than dinner)
8:30 PM – 10:30 PM: Dinner at L’Ambroisie (9 Place des Vosges, 75004 Paris)
11:00 PM – Midnight: Stroll across the illuminated Marais
Midnight – 12:30 AM: Return to Resort Aubusson (33 Rue Dauphine, 75006 Paris)
After this expertise, no manner will I try a 5-day itinerary utilizing ChatGPT-4. It’s sooner if I do it on my own with Google Maps and a telephone (to name for affirmation of opening hours/reservation potentialities, and many others).
Everybody assures me it can get higher as ChatGPT-4 “learns” from the suggestions it receives from customers like me. Nevertheless, as I’m paying €22/month for my OpenAI.com subscription to make use of this device, it looks like I’m the one who must be getting paid. 🙁
In the event you suppose I’m being harsh, even ChatGPT-4 makes it clear that creating journey itineraries isn’t one in every of its sturdy factors:
In conclusion, after seeing what it advised for Paris, I wouldn’t use ChatGPT-4 to assist me plan a trip in any vacation spot. I nonetheless use the app all the time, however solely as a device to assist me do my job higher, and solely in circumstances the place I don’t have to “belief” the accuracy of what it produces (for instance, it’s nice at suggesting article titles, however solely as a result of I do know which one to select to go together with my article).
Extra about AI Journey Planning
- Learn my full commentary about AI journey instruments and the broader drawback with journey writing and the tourism trade: Keep away from AI-Generated Paris Journey Itineraries