London to Paris- mother daughter trip

Nov 19th, 2012, 12:40 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 9
London to Paris- mother daughter trip

I am planning a trip with my 16 year old daughter to London in early July 2013.
We will be in London for 10 days during which we plan to spend 2 days and 1 night in Paris.
We would like to go on the Eurostar roundtrip. We orginally thought we would book an escorted tour with either Golden/Grayline Tours or Premier Tours. Upon reading some unfavorable reviews I am wondering if we should plan it on our own?
Any advice on these tour companies or any others would be greatly appreciated!
Safety is my main concern and since we do not speak French how hard is it to get around?
Our plan is to spend the first day touring Paris and the second day at Paris Disney for my daughter's birthday. I am not sure where to book a hotel? The ones closer to Disney offer shuttle service to & from Disney. Also, when I looked at the Eurostar website there is a train stop in front of Disney but it looks like the time table is limited?
Being from Hawaii we are not familiar with the underground systems for transportation so we are looking forward to the adventure! Also, in London is it better to buy an oyster card as well as the paper rail ticket (with the 2 for 1 deals)? We look forward to any thoughts and advice!
Thank you!
nkchawaii is offline  
Nov 19th, 2012, 04:44 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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nkc welcome to fodors.

One good way of using this site is to surf the site at the top on the right. Look at London, Oyster card and Paris to get a good bunch of info. Ticket decision depends on what you are going to use it for.

Even though you don't speak any french you will find that many people in paris speak english so you should have no fear about planning your own visit. However, it is courteous to try and speak a little of your host's language so I would urge you to learn the top 50 phrases that make the world go around.
bilboburgler is offline  
Nov 19th, 2012, 04:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
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I have several suggestions which might not fit exactly with your plans.

First of all, I would spend more than one night and two days in Paris. By the time you get there from London you will have only a half day and the next day you will have to leave to return to London. Paris is a fabulous city and very easy to visit - you do not need to know the language to get around. I would also not waste a precious day in EuroDisney. Being from Hawaii, you can easily visit LA and Disneyland which is 100% better.

Have you made your plane reservations yet? If not, fly into London and out of Paris to save backtracking and maximize your time. (Use the multicity option on fare web pages) With 10 days spend 6 in London and 4 in Paris.

I suggest planning the trip yourself and not using tours since you have several months. Let your daughter do some of the research and come back here often with questions. We can be a lot of help once you have an idea of what you wnat to see and do.
mamcalice is offline  
Nov 19th, 2012, 05:13 AM
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I agree 100% with mamcalice. Paris deserves more of your time. Disney is so far down on the list of wonderful things to do and see in the area it should be discounted, particularly if not speaking French is a concern. An open-jaw ticket is the way to go. You have time to learn some basic French. Safety, apart from normal precautions, isn't an issue. You don't need a tour company.
StCirq is offline  
Nov 19th, 2012, 08:18 AM
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Having grown up in London, I find it hard to put myself in your situation, but I can't believe an organised tour will give you as much real experience of a place as doing it yourself. But you might like to look up London Walks on this site or on Google, for good value guided walks on particular topics, and no doubt there are similar arrangements in Paris.

London to Paris: train, all the time. Yes, give yourself more time out of your 10 days in Paris.

Working out public transportation:

PatrickLondon is offline  
Nov 19th, 2012, 08:40 AM
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Sounds like a wonderful trip to plan with your daughter. We were in Paris recently, and I remarked how much more English is spoken there than our first visit 7 years ago. It was no problem at all, getting around and communicating in Paris. The country towns could be different.

Eurostar is definitely the way to go. Once you decide on your dates, buy the ticket because prices will rise.

I definitely agree on splitting time more evenly between London and Paris. And skipping EuroDisney. And being your own tour guide. It is not at all difficult in those cities. They are both very tourist-friendly. Don't be intimidated by them.

Open-jaw tickets are not more expensive anymore, so do it that way. Into one city and home from the other. Both those cities can be expensive for airfare. Shop around and find the best prices, then get the tickets which will set your travel dates.

Then post specific questions here about hotels and day-trips. I have a file of Paris day-trips, for example, that I gleaned from this forum. I would be happy to share it when you are ready.

Have fun planning the trip with your daughter!
PeaceOut is offline  
Nov 19th, 2012, 08:46 AM
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While I am thinking of it, here is that list I mentioned. I wish I could remember from whom I originally copied it, in order to attribute it properly:

Paris day trips

Here is a brief list that summarizes many of the most popular day trips from Paris. There are certainly many others you could also do but this list covers most of the biggies:

Provins (an authentic walled medieval town):

Château of Chantilly (wonderful fairytale château, famous art collection):

Senlis (small medieval town can be combined with a visit to Chantilly)#160;

Reims (champagne tours, great historic cathedral, museums)#160;

Epernay (champagne tours, can be combined with Reims):

Fontainebleau (former royal town with famous château)#160;

Versailles (obvious):

Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte (the château after which Louis XIV based his garden renovations for Versailles and IMO one of the most elegant château in France)#160;

Rouen (small city, lots to do, wonderful cathedral, medieval old center):

Giverny (Monet's house and gardens)#160;

Chartres (the famous cathedral and wonderful old medieval town)#160;

Compiègne (château with museums, wonderful old town. Can be combined with a visit to the château of Pierrefonds):

Château of Pierrefonds (Magnificent fairytale looking château. Reconstructed in the 19th century but magnificent nonetheless. Can be combined with a visit to Compiègne):

Troyes (lovely small medieval city)#160;

Laon (medieval hilltop town with a spectacular cathedral):

Crécy-la-Chapelle (small charming renowned artists village)#160;,203.html

Moret-sur-Loing (charming walled medieval village/artists village)#160;

Auvers-sur-Oise (Van Gogh and other impressionist art history)#160;

Malmaison (château of the Empress Josephine and a nice old downtown. On the RER A line and could be combined with a visit to Saint-Germain-en-Laye)#160;

Saint-Germain-en-Laye (former royal town with a wonderful château now home to the national museum of archaeology. On the RER A line and could be combined with a visit to Malmaison):

Barbizon (famous artists village, can be combined with Fontainebleau):

These are the most popular day trips and all are worthwhile but there are many other less popular and equally worthy day trips. I could easily list a couple dozen more but only if what's on this list doesn't interest you. A good guide book for the Île-de-France region should give you more ideas. 

You'll need to take a train from Paris to do these day trips. For info on trains in Paris and the nearby suburbs (métro and RER trains) use the website Parts of this website are in French so you can use an English language companion site For trains that go a bit further out in the Île-de-France region use the website For trains that go further beyond the Île-de-France use the website (in French only) or A great website to learn about trains in France (and Europe) is if you have any train questions/problems. 
PeaceOut is offline  
Nov 19th, 2012, 10:00 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 9
Thank you so much for all your great advice!
I will take the time to look up the sites suggested.
I did book our flight to/from London and got a great
deal on the ticket so won't be able to change it.
At first my daughter really wanted to to Paris Disney being a big Disney fan, but upon hearing your advice we are rethinking this. Also, since we have been to Disney in Orlando & L.A. I guess there's not much difference in Paris?
I have my hotels booked in London, but should be able to rearrange some dates. We plan to stay at the St.Pancras Renaissance Hotel the night before catching the Eurostar & when we return. We planned to leave early morning (6:30am)and return late (9-10pm)so it seemed easier to stay there- (plus we got a discount). We can stay 3 full days & 2 nights in Paris. We didn't want to cut our time too short in London since there is alot we want to do there. We thought we might do the hop-on bus tours in London & Paris- we enjoyed it in San Francisco. Any ideas on this? We are looking forward to the London walking tours as well as seeing all the famous landmarks, museums, Madame Toussauds, Warner Brothers Studio, etc.. We look forward to any comments
nkchawaii is offline  
Nov 20th, 2012, 04:20 AM
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I love both cities. I beg of you...don't bother with Disney! Paris is amazing and there is too much to see to lose time to Disney. A few words of French are helpful but you don't need to speak French.

You have lots f recs for Paris, so I won't bother listing my favs. But, for something a little different to do with your daughter is afternoon tea at Un Dimanche a Paris. My favorite macarons and a beautiful shop and restaurant.
denisea is online now  
Nov 20th, 2012, 06:10 AM
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You might like to do the Seway tour of Paris run by Fat tires (a US managed half day tour) it gets you out and about and way more fun than visiting Disnay
bilboburgler is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 04:42 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 260
Ditto for more time in Paris! I also second the rec for a Fat Tire tour - although we took the bicycle tour which was great fun and a wonderful intro to the Paris sights and a bit of history (made fun by entertaining guides). They have bicycles for children (I don't know how old your daughter is - I think our daughter was about 8 when we took her).
lynnalan is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 05:34 PM
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Have your 16 yr old watch Marie Antionette the one with Kirsten Dunst in it ( she'll know)n then take her to Versailles for the day instead of Disney!

Fat Tire bike tours are fun and easy ( trust me, they ARE easy, I am old and unfit and had no issues).

I like London very much, but agree, at least 2 nights in Paris.. and never mind the language thing, most tourists don't speak french and get along just fine,,don't be a fraidy cat, the french do not bite, no matter what you've heard, lol
justineparis is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 08:20 PM
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Posts: 5,525
Definitely skip Euro Disney as there are too many great places to see and do in Paris.

Try and schedule a trip to Printemps department store(which is one of the major department stores in Paris) and go up on the rooftop to see one of the most amazing views of all Paris-everywhere from the Eiffel Tower to Sacre Coeur. It is free and you can purchase reasonable wine splits(about 5 euros),beer,regular drinks and snacks while sitting up there under an umbrella over your table.It is usually open till 730pm daily except Thursday nights when it is open later till around 9pm.

There is also a "lock bridge" on the Seine river(Pont des Arts?) behind the Louvre museum that would make a great memory for both you and your daughter-I just did this with my daughter this summer. You either bring a lock or purchase one from one of the newstands by the Seine (around 3-5 euros).Write your names,date or special occasion on it and lock it on the bridge giving each of you a key-something always to remember especially if you ever go back?
dutyfree is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 10:49 PM
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er dutyfree thats not something I would recommend. First its meant as "lovers locks" and secondly the locals hate it and consider it vandalism. Every couple of years the city has to pay to have them all cut off , they eventually weight the bridge down rub and wear on the thinner wire sections of the fencing.
I admit I looked at some of them and was really interested though as some of the locks are very ornate and some are very old fashioned looking.
justineparis is offline  
Nov 28th, 2012, 09:07 AM
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Those dumb lovers locks things are just silly and serve no purpose, and they create tremendous pollution, also, because a lot of them end up in the river. I don't know what moron started that idea.
Christina is offline  
Nov 28th, 2012, 10:00 AM
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The locals aren't the only ones who thinks those locks deface the bridges!
Cathinjoetown is offline  

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