london to paris day trip - escorted

Old Oct 6th, 2010, 05:50 PM
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london to paris day trip - escorted

myself, hubby, and two teenagers will be vacationing in london this summer. i wish to take an escorted tour of paris. what is the best site to book from, i would like to book stateside before i leave. i ended up booking our hotel in greenwich after reading many reviews, though am aware that it is a bit outside the city center. my concern is how do i get from my hotel to st pancras for a 5:45am check in? will taxis at this time be a problem? how long will the commute take? any idea on cost of taxi (i have picked up that it is very expensive to take taxis in london)? thank you in advance for any help you can give me.
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Old Oct 6th, 2010, 06:01 PM
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Greenwich is lovely but quite a long way from central London. Transport includes a ferry down the Thames, Docklands Light Rail (DLR), train, bus, taxi etc. At that time of the morning booking a car service might be the best bet. If you are thinking of travelling into central London each day for sightseeing I would suggest perhaps changing your choice of hotel. The journey from Greenwich to Oxford Circus takes roughly 40 mins using DLR then tube.

Why do you have a 5.45am check in at St Pancras? Have you already booked the Eurostar to Paris? There are trains running all day, you don't need to go so early. In Paris you could do the Hop On Hop off bus trip or just pick an area to walk around - like the area near Notre Dame and the Louvre and add in a guided walk with http://www.paris-walks.com/

Kay
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Old Oct 6th, 2010, 06:27 PM
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Is there a reason you're doing an escorted tour? We did a daytrip from London as well and used Rick Steves website as a guide of what to see. It was during a huge snowstorm so we didn't see much but you could take the Metro from Gare de Nord to Notre Dame or Louvre area, walk the Champs towards the Arc and in the afternoon go to the Eiffel Tower.

As for Greenwich, I guess it depends where the hotel is in Greenwich. Personally, I love Greenwich and I don't think it would be that far a commute each day if you're by a Tube station.
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Old Oct 6th, 2010, 07:05 PM
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OK -- you booked a hotel in Greenwich knowing it is out of the center -- And even so booked a 05:45 train out of St Pancras.

This just doesn't compute . . . .

(Plus - did you know you need to check in 45 minutes before the Eurostar?)

Depending on exactly where you are in Greenwich -- it is about 8 miles to St Pancras and at that time in the morning will take perhaps 30 minutes by cab. So you are talking about jumping in the (pre-booked) cab at 04:30 . . . .

I'd 100% consider changing to a different (and central) hotel
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Old Oct 6th, 2010, 11:32 PM
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I've checked the TfL website and you simply can't do this by public transport - unless you are willing to take 3 separate buses and leave Greenwich at 1:20am.

Change hotels or change your your plans as the absolute earliest you could get to St Pancras is 6:30am - and you'd be leaving Greenwich at 5:40am.

Even if you are in central London it's going to take a bit of effort to get to St Pancras for 5:45am unless you stay somewhere where you can walk to St Pancras
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Old Oct 7th, 2010, 12:23 AM
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You need a taxi.

Taxis cost more in Londin than in most other cities. But, since you can't hire a New York taxi to get from Greenwich to St Pancras, that's a pretty pointless observation.

Generally speaking, hotels are almost the last people on earth to trust to get a cab for you. Go to http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/gettingaro...e/default.aspx, input your Greenwich details and you'll get a list of licensed minicab cos in the area. THey're cheaper than black cabs, buit allegedly reliable: book from one these.

For an 0545 checkin, allow an hour for the journey - even at 0445. You'll probably do it in 30 mins, but can't be certain.
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Old Oct 12th, 2010, 07:42 PM
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thanks for the input. i have booked the hotel already. i did buy insurance from expedia when i booked and have considered cancelling to get a more central hotel. i booked the novotel london greenwich because of the good reviews thru trip advisor and the fact the they have public transportation right near the hotel. i did not book the paris day trip yet, i am still trying to figure out if i should do it before leaving the us or once i get there. i was inetrested in an escorted tour as i am concerned about getting around in paris on my own (i did buy the rick stevens 2010 london book). just from gathering information is where it says the escorted tours meet at the station at 5:30, but i think the train doesn't actually leave until 8am.
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Old Oct 12th, 2010, 09:02 PM
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Just one thing you may not know about Eurostar tickets - the longer you wait to book, the more you will pay. The cheapest tickets are available when dates are first released, then they go up and up. Tickets are available 3 months prior to your travel date so if you make a note to check the Eurostar website on that day, you will get the best possible price.

Kay
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Old Oct 12th, 2010, 09:22 PM
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The escorted tours meet at the station at 5:30 but the train doesn't leave until 8:00? That doesn't make any sense at all. Rick Steves on London is not your best advisor. In fact he's absolutely lame on anything to do with Great Britian.With a little bit of pre-planning and research you can easily do Paris on your own.

I would also suggest that you seriously consider cancelling the Novotel in Greenwich and book something more central. There is a Novotel about a block from St. Pancras and next to the British Library, so perhaps you could simply shift your reservation.
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Old Oct 12th, 2010, 11:10 PM
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None of your times make sense. No reasonable tour would have you hanging around St Pancras for 2.5 hours. And it isn't a 0530 train to meet an 0800 tour in Paris. The 0525 train doesn't arrive in Paris until 0850.

An 0800 train doesn't compute either - the 08:02 train gets to Gare du nord at 11:17, which is too late to start a day's guided tour. (London and Paris are in different time zones)

You are simply staying in the wrong place for an early AM trip to Paris. And waiting til the last minutes will add hundreds of $$/££ to your train fare.

Not sure that 'cancel for any reason' trip insurance would pay in a situation where you just decided to move to a different hotel. Have you pre-paid the hotel??
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Old Oct 15th, 2010, 08:22 AM
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Fully Escorted Paris Day Trip from London Length: 17 hours

Check Availability
Time: 5:30 am Required Check-In
-Monday through Saturday - March thru October
-Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from November through February
See Special Schedule Notes below.

Approximate Travel Schedule

Depart London: 6:55 am (6:22 am Saturdays)
Arrive Paris: 10:17 am
Depart Paris: 8:13 pm
Arrive London: 9:40 pm

i rechecked the site...guess i was a little confused. it is londonenglandtours.net i was mixing holidays with non-holiday hours. i have been (after reading posts rcvd) debating going it on my own. i just have a fear of getting totally lost! the insurance is a little tricky, i have to cancel my airfare and hotel and repurchase all, and right now a trip for a family of four with equivalent hotel has already went up in price.
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Old Oct 15th, 2010, 08:46 AM
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We took an "escorted" tour from London to Paris the 1st time we went to London years ago. I think it was a waste of money. We were at the Eiffel Tower about 10 minutes to take a picture etc. We were able to go a couple of years later to Paris for a week to see all we missed and at a slower pace.
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Old Oct 15th, 2010, 08:53 AM
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I live in Greenwich, and I really think to best enjoy London you should consider cancelling and rebooking in a more central location. You will have to take transport into London every day and wont be able to walk anywhere other than Greenwich itself.

If you decide to stay, definitely do not take the DLR as it will take probably 30 - 40 mins to get to Bank. Take the overground train into London Bridge - its 1-2 stops depending on the train, with trains probably every 10 - 20 mins depending on the time of day. You can still use your oyster card the same as you would on the tube or DLR.
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Old Oct 15th, 2010, 09:06 AM
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This is all so wrong. You need a hotel in central London. You need to book your Eurostar tickets asap. You shouldn't rely on Rick Steves for London. And you absolutely don't need an escorted tour, or an O-dark-thirty departure from St. Pancras.

Back to the drawing board. Everything you want to do is easily accomplishable with a sensible plan.
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Old Oct 15th, 2010, 07:26 PM
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I agree with StCirq and janis (as usual ). You need to rethink this whole thing. Staying in Greenwich makes absolutely no sense. You do realize that TA hotel reviews have to be taken with a grain of salt, right? Obviously something's amiss there if the reviews don't mention how far the place is from any of the London sights. Methinks there may have been (as there often is) some "padding" of the good reviews by hotel staff.

You could very easily do an unescorted day trip to Paris. Do some reading and research and you'll be fine. You will need to pick a couple of things you want to do in the limited time, and will see only a small fraction of what Paris has to offer, but you can get a decent taste.

But more importantly, you need to get yourself a more central hotel in London. No question.
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Old Oct 15th, 2010, 07:51 PM
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unfortunately, i may have to stick with my hotel in greewich as rebooking is complicated and expensive. actually, on trip advisor the comment was made about location, though most said it was a 20 minute ride to central london. i have lived the past 15 years in major cities with commutes well over an hour each direction so 20 minutes didn't seem like a huge deal. the tradeoff was getting more for our money. hindsight, i would have got a more central hotel but we will make do. where is the best place to get info to build my own itinerary for a day trip to paris?

...and thanks again everyone, i appreciate any input!
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Old Oct 15th, 2010, 10:11 PM
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IMO -- I'd give up on a day trip to Paris. Not because it isn't doable-but because it is expensive and difficult logistically since you're staying in Greenwich. It will be a hugely long slog and at least some of the 4 of you will likely revolt/mutiny

If you catch the 0802 Eurostar you won't get to Paris Gare du Nord until 11:17 - and it will be nearly noon before you get to any major sites. You'd have to be at St Pancras by 07:15 meaning leaving Greenwich before 06:30 - basically you'll be in transit 4+ hours just getting TO Paris and the same getting back to Greenwich. (And if you catch an earlier train -- you'll have to leave Greenwich that much earlier.) You'll have 8+ hours travel time for about 8 hours in the city.

You'll be exhausted and that will have a domino effect the next day in London.

Save Paris for when you can actually spend time there.
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Old Oct 15th, 2010, 10:16 PM
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meant to add . . . taggie, St Cirq and I aren't piling on - honest. We are trying to help. If you are stuck w/ Greenwich (it is a lovely area but just not convenient for tourist commuting) then something has to give. IMO that something should be the day trip to Paris.

BTW - which hotel is it? Is it actually IN Greenwich? Some hotels do take a bit of license describing their location.
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Old Oct 15th, 2010, 11:40 PM
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janisj - I think he said it was the novatel which is right at the Greenwich station...
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Old Oct 15th, 2010, 11:52 PM
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Oh - thanks. Now I see that. Yep, the Novotel is as convenient as it gets as far as Greenwich is concerned (but still semi-inconvenient for sites in central London)
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