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London to Paris

Old Jun 26th, 2005, 12:48 PM
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London to Paris

Our family is getting ready for our London vacation next month, and we are considering the feasibility of taking a day and going over to Paris. It would be a surprise for our teenage son. We're curious about what to see in Paris if you have just a day, any tips for dealing with Eurostar, etc. Has anyone else out there been in a similar situation? Any advice, tips, words of praise, words of warning, etc. would be appreciated.
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Old Jun 26th, 2005, 12:50 PM
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Click this link to see my Paris Bus Tour. If you're there on a weekend, get the kid a Ticket Jeunes for 3.20€ instead of the Mobilis (now 5.40&euro.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34568214
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Old Jun 26th, 2005, 12:56 PM
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Many people do day trip to Paris (and theer are MANY threads on here about this).

But one thing to consider - last minute Eurostar tickets can be VERY expensive. It is just like flying - walk up fares cost much more than advance purchases.

I personally don't like doing Paris as a day trip because there is soooooo much to see. But many folks do it every day and live to tell the tale, and acctually seem to enjoy themselves.

In Paris there is a hop-on-hop-off sightseeing tour just like in London and for a family this might be a good intro. You can get off at the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Lovre or whereever you want to explore.

The trip takes less than 3 hours each way so you could have about 10 free hours to explore Paris.
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Old Jun 26th, 2005, 01:05 PM
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There are two ways to look at this:

1) One day is not enough time to see or enjoy Paris. So true. There is so much to do there. . .

2) One day in Paris is better than NO days in Paris. Also true.

Pick which response you like best and if you still want to go, there are several hundred detailed past posts here about the ways people have done it and the things they did. Enter "day trip to Paris" in the search function and enjoy yourself reading lots of information.

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Old Jun 26th, 2005, 01:16 PM
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While the trip does take about 3 hours (note that eurostar advertises a much shorter time between london and paris but most journeys are scheduled to take far longer). However, consider travel time to waterloo from where you are staying and also transport on the other end in Paris. I make the journey regularly for business and it is closer to 5.5 to 6 hours door to door.

Many people don't consider that just like flying, you don't arrive as the train is leaving. You generally arrive 45 min to 1 hr ahead of your scheduled departure. You can arrive with less time to spare but a wise traveller will allow some cushion with london traffic/transport delays. If you don't know your way around london or paris, you obviously need to build more time in for those little navigation mistakes.

So you are looking at over 10 hours of waiting/travelling time in a single day. I live in london and i would not consider doing the trip in one day for pleasure.

In the many debates about this in the past, many have quoted possible door to door travel times that are very hypothetical. The problem is that most people trying to "do" paris in a day from london are in london for such a short time that 10 hours is too valuable to waste stuck on a train. Janis is right though, many people do it and survive.
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Old Jun 26th, 2005, 01:17 PM
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No advice here, but just a few words of encouragement. No matter what others here write about needing to stay longer than a day in Paris, I admire the the thought of surprising your teenage son in Paris.

If this is your primary objective, then go for the day in Paris.
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Old Jun 26th, 2005, 01:24 PM
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>>>>No matter what others here write about needing to stay longer than a day in Paris, I admire the the thought of surprising your teenage son in Paris. >>>

"the road to hell is paved with good intentions."

just joking, but you should have all the facts before you decide. I agree that your objective is great. You just need to weigh the travel time, cost, and hassles against the obvious benefits and only you can do that.
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Old Jun 26th, 2005, 01:52 PM
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Well, actually you can get from just about anywhere in London to Waterloo in fifteen minutes or less - and your Paris tour can begin at Gare du Nord whether you take my tour (see above) or the commercial one. So once you get out of the station, your sightseeing begins.

If you ride first class, you can get to the gate about ten minutes before departure time, breeze through the formalities, and be on board with minutes to spare. Allow thirty if you're riding standard class.

The first Eurostar gets to Paris at 9:23 and the last one departs at 21:13, so you'll have over 11 hours to explore and still have plenty of time to get back to the station.
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Old Jun 26th, 2005, 05:15 PM
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Thanks, everyone. This was my first time on this forum, so I wasn't paying attention to the search option. I'll check it out. I shouldn't lose sight of the fact that London is and always has been our no. 1 choice for this year's vacation. We were considering day trips out of the city, and it was only while confirming on Expedia that I stumbled across the idea of Paris. My wife and I like the idea because our son just started taking French last year, and given several daytrip options, we know he'd jump at Paris over some place like Edinburgh or Bath.

Even if we only see one or two things, it'll be a memory that we'll always have. I think it's worth what we'd be giving up for a day in London. We will be there 8 nights, after all -- leaving Baltimore, USA 7/20 and returning 7/29.

I welcome any other comments. Thanks again. This forum is great!!
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Old Jun 26th, 2005, 05:20 PM
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Even if you only get to see a couple of landmarks, I think that seeing your son's face when he discovers that he is going to France , worths the whole trip !
Have a nice time !
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Old Jun 26th, 2005, 05:27 PM
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Hi W,

If you can possibly arrange it, an overnight in Paris is much, much better than a daytrip.

Look up Paris under "destinations" for suggested sights to see.

Also check www.batobus.com

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Old Jun 26th, 2005, 06:51 PM
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I think you could blow your teen's mind if you got up early one morning to go to Waterloo station for "the train to Bath" and wound up at the Eurostar terminal instead.

He'd be in Paris before he knew what hit him.
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Old Jun 27th, 2005, 08:09 AM
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Robespierre's comment about check-in times is not really correct. You can check in 10 minutes in advance *only* if you are traveling on a FULL FARE business first class or premium ticket. And you don't "breeze" through. We have Carte Blanche status with Eurostar, allowing us to check in 15 minutes before departure, regardless of the type of tickets, but we still have the palaver with security etc. We try to check in earlier than that so we don't have the stress of rushing to the train.
If you are traveling with any of the discounted first class tickets (leisure fares, for example), you must check in at least 30 minutes in advance, not 10. FYI, you can't use the first class lounge with a discounted first class ticket either. You have to be traveling on the higher priced business first class tickets or be a Carte Blanche member.
I've done several day trips to Paris from London. It's fun, but it's a long day and prepare to be a little tired in the late afternoon...set aside time around 4 or 5 pm for a pick me up pot of tea or coffee at a cafe with comfortable chairs. Unless you're really energetic or ambitious, don't try to see or do everything. You'll enjoy it more if you accept that you can't really "do" Paris in just a day. See the highlights, enjoy a stroll in one of the parks, and just soak up the atmosphere.
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Old Jun 27th, 2005, 08:27 AM
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Beware of anecdotal evidence, but...

Every time we've taken the Eurostar, it was the first train in the morning and there was no one waiting at the first class check-in.

YMMV
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Old Jun 28th, 2005, 11:25 AM
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When we were in Paris in March, we took the Eurostar for a daytrip to London to visit a friend who was just in an accident. It was a long day, but it is one that our friend and we will never forget. We have previously flown between London and Paris, and have taken the ferry between Dover and Calais. For us, the Eurostar was the most convenient method of travel between the two cities since it takes you from one centrally located train station to another (Gare du Nord and Waterloo).

As I recall, the fare for an early morning train with a same day return is very reasonable, particularly if you book in advance.

I can offer a few tips. Be sure to bring your passports, since you will be crossing borders. You will go through metal detectors, so donít bring any sharp or prohibited items. If you have some currency for your destination, bring it (we had English pounds at home and brought it), otherwise just use an ATM when you arrive. Pack some bottled water and snacks in your daybag. If your son has a CD player, MP3 player or iPod, make sure he brings it and it is fully charged.

Have a great daytrip. We certainly did.

Woody
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