Cool Forum, Anybody have experience with the day trips from London to Paris, Are they worthwhile? Are they all the same?
I haven't personally done it, but I can't imagine that you'd only want to spend a few hours in Paris! Seems like you'd spend most of your day traveling and not get to experience nearly enough (plus isn't it insanely expensive--like $500 USD?).
Just returned from 1st visit to London. Wow! We did the one day escorted tour to Paris. We thoroughly enjoyed it! All the tour compaines actually book through Britain Shrinkers. It is expensive, but we thought it was really worth it. Don't know if we ever will get back again. We did a bus tour of the city - they slowed at all the sites so we could take pictures, went to the 2nd level of Eiffel tower (didn't have to wait in line w/tour)and had lunch on our own and then met at Louvre where we had a fantastic two-hour tour. They really covered all the best things. Yes, we would love to go back, but who knows when!
It can be done if you get one of the earliest trains and one of the later trains back but it will be a long day so be prepared.
In answer to your question - off course it can be done but will it satisfy your expectations. If your just want to wander the streets and go to the Eiffel Tower then yes - if you wanted something more indepth then it never will.
You off course realise that on Eurostar your travel time will be over 5 hours (total there and back) plus whatever time it takes to get to the terminus at both ends.
If a day trip is likely your only opportunity to see Paris then I guess its better than nothing. However, like London, Paris is place where you need a few days to really take it all in properly.
You absolutely can do Paris in a day! It's not ideal -- but you have the ability to make it as fun -- or miserable -- as you choose.
We did Paris in three days, but if we had only one day, we could have done it -- and successfully, too.
As previous posters have said, take the earliest Eurostar over and the latest back. Give yourself time to get through security both ways.
Don't bother with the Metro, busses or RER when you're in Paris. Time is your enemy, so take a cab everywhere. Not bad at all costwise if there are two or more of you.
Make sure you know where you want to go before you go. Eiffel, Notre Dame, Arche de Triomphe, Champs Elysses, Louvre, Rue Cler, Invalides, etc. But be realistic: you can't do it all. Be judicious and consider the trip a "tasting platter."
Maximize your time. If driving by the Eiffel...or viewing it from Trocadero is good enough for you, by all means, use the rest of your time for other things. (Personally, the Eiffel at night is breathtaking, especially for the 10 minutes at the top of every hour when the Tour de Eiffel "shimmers" with hundreds of flashing lights. Spectacular. We splurged and went to the first level on the Towwer. But wouldn't recommend it for a quickie trip as it took some time with lines and waiting for elevators.)
Also, be aware that some attractions will be closed on certain days. Check it out online. Do your homework, map out your travel and remember to block in some time to sit at an outdoor cafe or indoors at a bistro and enjoy some wonderful food and ambiance. Have some wine. Have some cheese. Pinch yourself -- you're in PARIS!!!
After all, it's not really the AMOUNT of time you spend in a place, it's the QUALITY of the time you spend there.
Enjoy your whirlwind, quality adventure!
Personally I don't think you can do Paris any kind of justice in one day (would you do London in a day?) however in answer to your question and in support of the posters above it absolutely can be done.
Your choices are to either go with an organised tour which, while expensive ensures you get to see the most famous sights and will arrange all your transport, entrance fees etc for you.
Otherwise as others have said catch the early Eurostar to Paris, (remembering that you loose an hour going over) so if you depart Waterloo at 6.30am you will arrive in Paris by 10.30am. You then have the rest of the day to visit the sights you choose returning on the last eurostar of the day at 8.45pm arriving at Waterloo just after 10.30 (this varies depending on which day of the week you choose). If you book in advance and go on a week day you may be able to get a return journey on the eurostar for as little as 59GBP.
So either way it is a very long day and you won't see everything you want to but if you absolutely cannot spend a night there then I guess it is better than nothing.
I am a bit biased as Paris is my absolute favourite city!
Do a search because this topic has been discussed before and you might come up with some valuable tips.
We took the Paris Splendour daytrip with Golden Tours last February. This particular trip to London was a last-minute trip (incredible airfare deal we couldn't pass up!) and we didn't have time to research doing a daytrip to Paris on our own. And quite frankly, we were a little afraid to go on our own the first time since creme brulee is about all the French language I can speak.
We knew it would be a whirlwind day, but we were glad we had done it. It gave us a brief overview of Paris and we won't be so intimidated to try it on our own next time.
We booked the tour online ahead of time and the day of the tour we met the Golden Tour rep at Waterloo Station at 5:30 AM. He gave us our tickets, itinerary, etc...
We boarded the first Eurostar train to Paris and arrived in Paris a few hours later. We met our French (English-speaking) guide at the train station. She loaded us onto a tour bus and we drove around Paris, past the main sights. We then boarded a boat for an hour-long cruise down the Seine. We then went up to the second platform of the Eiffel Tower.
After that, we took the bus back to the tour office (which was across the street from the Louvre.) The people who took the 1/2 day tour were then on their own for the afternoon to explore on their own.
Since we had the full day tour, we had about 45 minutes for lunch on our own, then boarded the bus for the trip out to Versailles. We didn't have much time at Versailles, but we were able to tour the state apartments (but not enough time to take the audio tour.) After taking the bus back into Paris, we had about an hour on our own before having to meet the bus to take us back to the train station (Because the traffic had been light, according to the guide - although it looked quite heavy to us.) We then had about another hour around the train station for grabbing a quick dinner before taking the train back to London.
Yes, it was a whirlwind day. No, it doesn't do Paris justice, but will give you a small taste of the beautiful city. I will definitely be going back to explore it on my own.
thanks Kay for your description. I signed up for that tour this December and your travellogue makes me look even more forward to it.
What tour companies did you go with and would you guys recommend going w/ a tour and branching out on your own?
Wow, you folks are great,
thanks for the neat feedback