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Day trip London to Paris

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Will be in London in August 2020 thinking about a guided one day tour to Paris from London. Anyone who has done this trip I am looking for pro's and con's. I see that this is a rather long day as to be expected. Wonder if they allow you to bring food or drink on the train. I see one tour that is called a deluxe tour where you get breakfast and lunch coming back, that price is more than we care to spend.

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We've gone to Paris for the day on the Eurostar, more for the train ride that my husband has always wanted to take then Paris for a day.  You absolutely don't need a tour for this--in my opinion that's a waste of money.

 

You can book the train on your own from St. Pancras--take the first train out and last back.  You'll need to be at St. Pancras about 45 minutes in advance to get through security which is like an airport, only you are allowed liquids and corkscrews and such. 

 

The first train gets you into Paris around 9:00 am.  The first 20 minutes or so is all underground, then you are up and along the British countryside for a bit, then underground again for the Chunnel, and then back above ground through France for about 75 minutes, then you're at Gare Du Nord.

 

Assuming it's an interest, you'll want to buy timed Eiffel Tower tickets long in advance and they sell out FAST unless you want to pay an inflated price for a tour.  They allow you to skip the very long lines and only wait in the semi long line.  You'll have to go through security here as well, pay close attention to the rules stated on their web site including the size of the bag allowed.  Pickpockets abound around the Tower so mind your possessions.  We used money belts under our clothes to store passports that day--normally we'd just leave them secured in our accommodation but you'll need them to enter Paris--they will be checked and stamped at St. Pancras before you board.

 

I'd plan on the Eiffel Tower at around 10:15, it should take about 75 minutes or so.  

 

From there you could visit the Louvre, again, buy timed tickets for maybe 1:00 pm--stop and have a quick lunch along the way.  Spend four hours in the Louvre (look at what is on display in advance and have a game plan for what most interests you as you could spend two days there and not see everything!) and then walk to Notre Dame to see the facade of the Grande Dame.

 

Double back to the Arc De Triomphe use the underground walkways (subways) to cross to it--do not try to dodge traffic!!  In the subways there is historical information about the monument as well.

 

Walk north on Avenue de Wagram about 10 minutes and there are numerous good and mostly moderately priced restaurants in that mostly residential neighborhood.  They typically have the menu with prices posted outside so you can choose based on your tastes and budget.  If you don't speak any French, my advice is to learn a few words including "I'm sorry I don't know more French, do you speak English?" and they will generally be helpful.

 

As the server where the nearest Metro stop is and make your way back to Gare Du Nord.  The final train is at around 9:00 pm--you'll need 45 minutes to an hour to clear immigration and security. We found it to be longer on the way back to England than on the way to Paris.  Settle into your seat and take a nap--or pick up a bottle of wine in Paris and share it on the way back. You'll need to supply your own cups and corkscrew...

 

You are more than welcome to bring your own food onto the train, but do you really want to be carrying it around all day?  Instead consider something for breakfast and have lunch at a small cafe in Paris.  Walking only a few blocks away from the hustle of the tourist areas will lead you to local cafes where the prices will be half.  We've always paid maybe the equivalent to $15 for two Croq Monsieur sandwiches, a pot of tea, and a bottle of water by walking a few blocks--which works out to be about $5 a block in savings. 🙂


There are a lot of pickpockets and touts trying to sell you any and everything in Paris.  Be mindful of your belongings--the less you carry the less of a target you are.  Most Americans can be picked out of a crowd by the way they dress and the amount of junk they haul around in daypacks.  

If there are other places in Paris you are interested in, let me know and I can try to help.  Going the DIY route will most likely save you a few hundred dollars minimum, and that way you can move at your pace and see the things that actually interest you.  

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Posted (edited)

OP: I will start by saying that I totally agree with ducklite that there is absolutely no reason to pay anyone for a "tour" for this.  You can easily get to Paris from London, and back, via the Eurostar on your own.   And you can get around Paris on your own by walking and taking the Metro, even if you speak no French.  (There are plenty of free resources on the internet for this, and folks on CC will be happy to answer questions.) Once in Paris, only you can decide what interests you the most to cram in to your one day there.  (For example, you might not want to spend four hours in the Louvre when you only have [part of] one day in Paris.)

 

Paris is an hour ahead of London, so you will "lose" an hour going, and gain it coming back. The Eurostar tickets are cheaper the sooner you buy them once they are released.   I highly recommend this web site for getting all the info you need to know about booking and seat selection:

 

https://www.seat61.com/

 

(Oh, and I believe that Europeans prefer that folks no longer call the Channel Tunnel the Chunnel.  :classic_smile:)

 

All of that said, London and Paris are two of the world's greatest and most interesting cities.  A single day will not do either of them justice.  Have you been to London before?  If not, how long will you be there on this visit?   Any chance you might take a land trip to Paris, or a pre- or post-cruise visit of at least several days?  I think these are things you might want to consider [if you have not already done so] before deciding on whether to take a very long day out of your London visit in order to have (part of) one day in Paris.  

 

Happy to answer more questions if I can.

Edited by Turtles06

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I have a handful of friends in the London area who still call it the Chunnel--one is married to a woman whose passport cover is "Bordeaux Red."   It is possible he calls it that just to wind her up though...

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No, it’s not the Chunnel, it’s the Channel Tunnel. Yes, Bordeaux Red is a colour, it’s like ox blood. So your friend isn’t winding his wife up, although it’s an old fashioned name. I don’t think I’ve heard that in years.

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6 hours ago, ducklite said:

I have a handful of friends in the London area who still call it the Chunnel--one is married to a woman whose passport cover is "Bordeaux Red."   It is possible he calls it that just to wind her up though...

Don't think I've heard it called the Chunnel here - only by tourists who haven't visited for a while :classic_laugh:

 

Eurostar has a sale on this weekend with some tickets only £29 so well worth a look ASAP.

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2 hours ago, tartanexile81 said:

Eurostar has a sale on this weekend with some tickets only £29 so well worth a look ASAP.

 

The OP's trip is not until August 2020, too early for booking.  😉

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Posted (edited)

Just seen this regarding taking alcoholic drink on Eurostar - apparently a change of policy from last year, but only just being noticed (which brings into question if it is being strictly enforced). 

 

I’m astonished that one is no longer be able to bring back a couple of bottles of wine or some Armagnac from Paris, or a six pack of Belgian beer from Brussels. 

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-48742530 

Edited by Cotswold Eagle

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On 6/23/2019 at 5:50 AM, hunt182644 said:

Will be in London in August 2020 thinking about a guided one day tour to Paris from London. Anyone who has done this trip I am looking for pro's and con's. I see that this is a rather long day as to be expected. Wonder if they allow you to bring food or drink on the train. I see one tour that is called a deluxe tour where you get breakfast and lunch coming back, that price is more than we care to spend.

I agree with others that you do not need a tour, Paris is very easy to do on your own.  If you can swing at least two days, you should.  You will merely skim the surface in one day.  Trains are very easy in Paris.  We spent one whole day on the HoHo and loved it.  

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Well, we've all been having a very nice discussion here.  I wonder if the OP will be back... :classic_smile:

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I'm still here happily munching popcorn, although I had to go back and read my original post to see what my question was. Since first post I have found and answered some of my own questions, thanks to those who stuck with the topic. For those who wandered abit feel free to continue as I have a large bowl of popcorn.

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I've been following several threads re Paris & London. I have a question for those that have been there and done that.

 

What areas of Paris & London for hotels, would be central to major attractions?

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2 hours ago, crusingnut said:

I've been following several threads re Paris & London. I have a question for those that have been there and done that.

 

What areas of Paris & London for hotels, would be central to major attractions?

 

It's actually against the CC rules to take a thread off-topic like this.  You really should post separately about this (in this forum for London, and in the France forum for Paris).  I would also suggest some research on these two cities, including looking at maps showing you where the "major attractions" are located.  Lots of information available for free on the internet!

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On 6/23/2019 at 12:50 PM, hunt182644 said:

Anyone who has done this trip I am looking for pro's and con's.

 

I don't want unnecessarily to repeat what Turtles06 has said, so I will just add that it's my constant view that a day trip to Paris isn't a profitable use of your time or energy unless you have a particular reason to go to Paris that briefly.

 

On 6/23/2019 at 10:22 PM, tartanexile81 said:

Don't think I've heard it called the Chunnel here - only by tourists who haven't visited for a while

 

I think that the word was more commonly used here a while back - maybe about thirty years ago?

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2 minutes ago, Turtles06 said:
3 hours ago, crusingnut said:

I've been following several threads re Paris & London. I have a question for those that have been there and done that.

 

What areas of Paris & London for hotels, would be central to major attractions?

 

It's actually against the CC rules to take a thread off-topic like this.  You really should post separately about this (in this forum for London, and in the France forum for Paris).  I would also suggest some research on these two cities, including looking at maps showing you where the "major attractions" are located.  Lots of information available for free on the internet!

 

In addition to which, the question is unanswerable because the "major attractions" of both cities are spread out across the whole of them.

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3 hours ago, Globaliser said:

 

I don't want unnecessarily to repeat what Turtles06 has said, so I will just add that it's my constant view that a day trip to Paris isn't a profitable use of your time or energy unless you have a particular reason to go to Paris that briefly.

 

 

I think that the word was more commonly used here a while back - maybe about thirty years ago?

 

I agree that, to us, Paris seems like an awful lot of effort for little return but I suppose it you live thousands of miles away and you're as close as London is to Paris, it doesn't seem too far away at all so it would seem a pity not to at least see Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre which are iconic sites the world over. You can have 11 hours in Paris and if you think abut it, that's longer than we have in most cruise ports.

 

You're right about chunnel Globaliser. I think it was called  that when it was getting built / in the early days and it opened in 1994

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25 minutes ago, tartanexile81 said:

it doesn't seem too far away at all so it would seem a pity not to at least see Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre which are iconic sites the world over. You can have 11 hours in Paris and if you think abut it, that's longer than we have in most cruise ports.

 

And on that basis, probably better and less stressful than a cruise excursion from Le Havre. I’m pretty neutral - I have done it in a day several times, both for meetings (and once just a lunch), but also as a day out - it was quicker and cheaper than York 😀

 

So I think pointing out the pros and cons as the OP asked is the right thing to do, but I don’t actively discourage someone who has set their heart on it. And anyway, it’s a train UNDER THE SEA with lunch in Paris thrown in. How cool is that 😎

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On 6/24/2019 at 9:30 PM, Cotswold Eagle said:

Just seen this regarding taking alcoholic drink on Eurostar - apparently a change of policy from last year, but only just being noticed (which brings into question if it is being strictly enforced). 

 

I’m astonished that one is no longer be able to bring back a couple of bottles of wine or some Armagnac from Paris, or a six pack of Belgian beer from Brussels. 

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-48742530 

As far as wine goes, it's my experience that a decent bottle of French wine costs much the same in both capitals.

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I will try to clear this up for some, we are doing a cruise out of Southhampton. We will have two days in London before the cruise thus leaving us one extra day. On our cruise we will dock in Le Harve planning on doing the Normandy D Day excursion. Our extra day in London we are planning on the one day trip to Paris. Looking forward to the train ride seeing the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and probably a boat ride on the Seine. Figure this is a once in a lifetime as even tho we have done considerable cruising we will not be going to Europe again. There was a time we would have tackled this trip ourselves, but at this stage of our lives we have decided, to so to speak set back and leave the driving to someone else so a guided tour. Thanks to all who have replied even those who wandered somewhat, my popcorn is gone so I bid you goodbye.

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12 hours ago, hunt182644 said:

I will try to clear this up for some, we are doing a cruise out of Southhampton. We will have two days in London before the cruise thus leaving us one extra day. On our cruise we will dock in Le Harve planning on doing the Normandy D Day excursion. Our extra day in London we are planning on the one day trip to Paris. Looking forward to the train ride seeing the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and probably a boat ride on the Seine. Figure this is a once in a lifetime as even tho we have done considerable cruising we will not be going to Europe again. There was a time we would have tackled this trip ourselves, but at this stage of our lives we have decided, to so to speak set back and leave the driving to someone else so a guided tour. Thanks to all who have replied even those who wandered somewhat, my popcorn is gone so I bid you goodbye.

You will love it, even if you just have one day.  Being that close, I'd train over too.  Have a great time!

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On 6/25/2019 at 5:46 PM, hunt182644 said:

I will try to clear this up for some, we are doing a cruise out of Southhampton. We will have two days in London before the cruise thus leaving us one extra day. On our cruise we will dock in Le Harve planning on doing the Normandy D Day excursion. Our extra day in London we are planning on the one day trip to Paris. Looking forward to the train ride seeing the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and probably a boat ride on the Seine. Figure this is a once in a lifetime as even tho we have done considerable cruising we will not be going to Europe again. There was a time we would have tackled this trip ourselves, but at this stage of our lives we have decided, to so to speak set back and leave the driving to someone else so a guided tour. Thanks to all who have replied even those who wandered somewhat, my popcorn is gone so I bid you goodbye.

 

Will you happen to be taking a Princess cruise?  We may be taking the same cruise but departing Southampton on 9/1/2020 🙂

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8 hours ago, eurodl said:

 

Will you happen to be taking a Princess cruise?  We may be taking the same cruise but departing Southampton on 9/1/2020 🙂

Yes Princess cruise ours leaves Southampton 8/8/20.

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Nice!  Our itinerary changed a little.  No Liverpool, we now have an overnight in Cork (Cobh).

 

Enjoy your cruise and stay in London.  We are looking into doing a tour of Ireland before the cruise.

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