London to Paris: worth a quick day trip?

Old Aug 12th, 1998, 11:15 AM
  #1  
Pam Shoup
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London to Paris: worth a quick day trip?


We will be spending nine days in England in November (London and countryside) with two teenage daughters. We've tossed around the idea of taking the bullet train (is that the Eurostar?) just to see Paris for a day - maybe spend the night - then head back to London. This is our first trip to Europe, and as much as there is to do in England, the family thinks it would be so great to just see what Paris looks like as long as we're that close. Are we crazy? I'd love to hear some opinions from you seasoned travelers. Also, do you know the train fare from London to Paris. I've heard its as much as $200 each, and I'd like to know if that's true. Thanks for any responses! I've learned so much from this site already!
 
Old Aug 12th, 1998, 11:55 AM
  #2  
Flora
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There are organized tours from the different London and Paris tour companies that host a one day trip from London to Paris or vice versa. They take you on a guided tour of Paris when you get there and then leave you somewhere for lunch and the afternoon and then pick you up and take you back to the train station. I believe it is around $200.00USD inclusive of everything. I'm not a fan of organized tours, but in this case, it might give you more time to enjoy Paris rather than spending alot of time figuring out the Metro system and the maps. Another thing to consider is that it is starting to get dark early by November and by the end of November, it is dark in Paris by 4:30 or so. You also lose an hour on the trip from London. Hope this helps with your decision.
 
Old Aug 12th, 1998, 12:06 PM
  #3  
Roger
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Hi Pam. Last year my wife and I did the day trip to Paris. We had our travel agent book the tour with Britain Shrinkers. It cost us $200.00 each for the day. We met the tour leader at Waterloo train station and exchanged our voucher for a ticket with our assigned seats. It was a fun trip to France. When we arrived we boarded a bus with a local tour employee and were given a one hour or so overview of the sights of Paris. We all departed the bus at the old opera house with instructions to be back at 6:00 PM for the bus ride back to the train station and the return to London. It was a great trip. Too short, but we only had the day to spare. We enjoyed a good lunch, walked the left bank, purchased some prints. Walked around all of the major sights and had a full day.
 
Old Aug 12th, 1998, 02:03 PM
  #4  
Julie
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Pam: We just returned from a trip with our two children (15 & "almost" 13) which included London and Paris. We only had about one full day to sight-see too. We took the Eurostar (Chunnel), but because we also had a Europass the Eurostar was a reduced rate for us and I don't recall exactly what it came to. A travel agent could help you and there is also a web site that can show you prices. The Eurostar was fast, clean & comfortable and we even had a meal and champagne served to us!
I was really impressed with the major sights of Paris, the kids weren't all that impressed, but did say they had a good time at the Eiffel Tower (took the lift up, walked back down) and even The Louvre, which has the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, among other great works of art. The Louvre, however, is huge and you won't have enough time to really see it properly. The Arc de Triomphe is fantastic and close to the Champs-Elysses which has lots of stores, great if you have girls who can't get enough of shopping.
I don't regret that we at least saw some of Paris and think it's worthwhile if your time allows it.
 
Old Aug 15th, 1998, 12:29 PM
  #5  
raeona
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If you do decide to do it, I'd suggest you go the "tour" route. The cab fare to Gare du Nord (where the Eurostar is, tho we didn't take it) from our hotel in the Latin Quarter was close to $40 and took forever. I'm pretty sure we were being ripped off (the only such incident), but who's to say? The cabdriver blamed it on traffic and strikes. An organized day tour will eliminate such worries for you and give you maximum time to SEE.
 
Old Aug 15th, 1998, 12:29 PM
  #6  
raeona
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If you do decide to do it, I'd suggest you go the "tour" route. The cab fare to Gare du Nord (where the Eurostar is, tho we didn't take it) from our hotel in the Latin Quarter was close to $40 and took forever. I'm pretty sure we were being ripped off (the only such incident), but who's to say? The cabdriver blamed it on traffic and strikes. An organized day tour will eliminate such worries for you and give you maximum time to SEE.
 
Old Aug 17th, 1998, 12:54 PM
  #7  
Kimberley
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Paris, like any great city (New York, Rome, London) is experienced, not caught on film on the fly.

Consider giving yourself 3 days, departing for home from Paris?

Those who "see" Paris come away with pretty pictures. Those who experience Paris, leave their soul.
 
Old Aug 19th, 1998, 09:30 AM
  #8  
Vincent
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Rule of thumb : even though it is always better to see a sight in several days than in one, never miss the opportunity of a day-trip. I am so glad I didn't listen to those voices when, in Pnom Penh, I only had one day to visit Angkor, a day that is still vivid in my memory.

Paris is easy to visit from London with the Eurostar train. They have zillions of special tariffs. I know for instance that from Paris a return ticket for the same day costs you approx. $ 100. But, curiously enough, it is more expensive to purchase a ticket on the English side (thanks to the privatization of British Rail). Anyway, it is still worth it. I would also recommend to avoid the tours : take a one-day metro pass ($6) the one Parisians use, not the "Paris visite" for tourists, which is a rip-off ; you'll be free, you'll avoid the traffic jams. Remember there is a one-hour time difference between the two cities : 8 AM in London is 9 am in Paris. So take the early Eurostar (first one : 5h30), and enjoy your stay !
 
Old Aug 19th, 1998, 01:56 PM
  #9  
ellen
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DO IT! You do not need 9 days in England. The weather is not the best for countryside sightseeing in November, and you can do london in 5 or 6 days. Spend as much time in Paris as you can. The food is divine! London, so-so. But do try to catch theater in London. Paris--we took the Chunnel from Waterloo to Gard de Nord. Got to Paris noon their time. Took the tube straight to the Louvre. Easy, just hold on to your pass, you will need it to exit the tube. You can do 1 wing there and be out in 2 hours. French crown jewels, venus de milo, mona lisa, winged victory--all in the same wing. You will need some time to admire the architecture though. Stop for a cafe lunch. Then, out the back of the louvre, by the Siene, pick up the red double decker bus. Hop on and off, but don't let the bus leave without you or you won't make it to all the sites. Spend time off the bus at Arch de Triomphe. Exit the bus for good at the grand palace. Walk the short but beautiful distance to the Eiffel Tower. The ride up is great (allow 45 min. total up & down & 15min for the view.) Should be getting dark--great view at night. Cab back to Gard de Nord for the last Chunnel at about 8:00 pm, gets you back to london at 10 pm. Cost is less if you book at least 2 wks in advance.
 
Old Aug 19th, 1998, 05:22 PM
  #10  
Howard
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I wouldn't, but it depends on what your interests are. You spend a lot of time traveling, and to see Paris for a couple of hours and have to leave is too painful to consider. Save Paris until you can give it the time it deserves. London is exhausting, as any big city is (imagine being in NY for a week). Pace yourselves, and give yourselves day trips out of the city. The weather in November can be dicey, but you're not going for the beach. Enjoy!
 
Old Aug 19th, 1998, 05:56 PM
  #11  
Donna
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If you don't mind spending the money and feel like doing it - DO IT! As someone once said (sorry, can't remember who), it's not the things you've done you ever regret, it's the things you didn't! And, Paris is absolutely spectacular.
 
Old Aug 20th, 1998, 04:56 AM
  #12  
Kimberley
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While I own that one does not want to regret that which they have not done, I can tell you that my parents made the quick day trip and regretted not having giving themselves at least two full days.

I took 40 students (15-19) to Paris and we had a day and a morning. THey were troopers and gamefully ran from one "must see" to another. (They other teacher with me is a friend and like me, she was in Paris for the third time. We had the advantage of familiarity.)

I am serious when I say we ran. We took an all night bus from Nice to Versailles and the kids spent four hours here before we even got to the hotel to freshen up. After that it was 20 minutes for lunch and then a whirlwind glance at all we could squeeze in: Orangerie (10 minutes), Louvre (1 hour), Rodin Museum (10 minutes), napoleons Tomb (15 minutes), Notre Dame (20 minutes), St. Chappelle (20 minutes)...you get the idea. Other famous landmarks we could only point to...Concorde, Opera, D'Orsay, Sacre Coeur, Conceirge, Palais du Jusitice, Tuilliers Garden, Petit Palais...

The only complaint: "Kim, Miss. Mary, why did we only have a day?"

If you want to see Paris like this, then do so as it is possible, just plan well and map out a route prior to leaving.

That said, as a Paris purist, I beg you not to. For as much as the day will be exciting, it will not be nearly as fulfilling.

Regardless, what you choose, enjoy your family holiday.
 
Old Aug 20th, 1998, 10:59 AM
  #13  
Marcia
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I vote with the "just do it" group. Can't recommend tours -but it really might be the best way to go, esp. considering the cost of the Eurostar. Through the courtesy of a friend, our Eurostar tickets were bought via a British travel agent. It worked out to $200, one way. I am certain that the one way was punitive just like it is on all airlines - you always do better with the round trip. they have 3 classes - the total premium class with all food service. The semi-premium class with some lesser food service - and the standard class with a soda and cookies. We did the latter and took a picnic - and it was fine. The intersting point is that in a chat with some British weekend travelers on the terrace of the Picasso Museum, we discovered that they had bought casual last minute tickets for 90 UK pounds each, round trip - about $150 US each. So clearly, the price varies alot - which along with the connections and the sorting out, argues for a package tour if you are just doing the day trip.
 
Old Aug 21st, 1998, 10:57 AM
  #14  
Cathy
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I agree with Ellen, cut your London trip short and spend some time in Paris. Fabulous city! We just returned from a week in London/Paris. Flew in London, out Paris. Took the Eurostar, booked at the last minute. Was advised it was cheaper to buy the ROUNDTRIP excursion for 99 pounds. Two college students with me got the youth fare for 85 pounds, roundtrip.
London was fun, but Paris was fantastic!
 
Old Aug 21st, 1998, 03:56 PM
  #15  
Donna
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Am I understanding this correctly? A round trip ticket costs less than one way? If so, bless you for sharing this!
 
Old Aug 23rd, 1998, 02:46 AM
  #16  
kimerley
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Access the eurostar web site, they have fares and times for each month.
These fares are available only in the UK. A weekend fare is 79 pounds return ($220 AUS). I asked my travel agent if he could do better, but his best price was $330 AUS.
We plan to travel on a Saturday, leave at 0515 and reurn to London at approx 2315.
Have a good trip.
 
Old Aug 24th, 1998, 10:46 AM
  #17  
Cathy
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RE: Eurostar Roundtrip vs. one way fares. Yes, we were advised that, in our case, the round trip fare was less expensive than one way. I believe the one way was 135 pounds vs. the roundtrip excursion fare of 99 pounds. The eurostar people would not tell us this, of course, since you are leaving them with an empty seat on the return. The train was far from full so I didn't feel too guilty. I'm sure there are a lot of different fares available, much like the airlines, so it pays to check it out.
 
Old Aug 24th, 1998, 09:41 PM
  #18  
Deanna
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Does anyone know of any specialty places to buy discounted eurostar tickets in Paris, for a round trip to London for a day trip? I'll already be in Paris for a length of time and would like to make London a day trip from there. Thanks.!
 
Old Aug 26th, 1998, 11:01 AM
  #19  
Ann
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We just spent a week in London and took the Eurostar on a spur of the moment trip to Paris. Best day of our trip! We got a one day cheap return fare at Waterloo Station the day before our trip for about 87 pounds (or 82...can't remember) but it was cheaper than a youth ticket which we might have bought for our daughter. The only catch was you could only return on the last or next to last train of the day (as if we'd want anything earlier!). Having been to Paris before we simply rode the metro to Cite, then walked from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower (rode the metro for one section, then back to the station at the end of the day). Didn't even attempt museums. My husband wanted to sit at a sidewalk cafe (did that at Troccadero in view of the Eiffel Tower) and eat crepes which we also did. I think if I hadn't spent ten days in Paris a few years ago this would not have pleased me, but under the circumstances it made us all happy. It's a great thing to do. As the ticket seller at my London tube station said "I've always wanted to go to Paris for lunch!".
 
Old Aug 29th, 1998, 06:47 AM
  #20  
Vicki Buckrop
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My husband and I took the Britshrinkers tour from London to Paris in January, a one day excursion, and had a great time. This included a short bus tour of Paris and we were told we saw a few sights that weren't normally included because traffic was light that day. After the bus tour, we had the option of taking a tour of the Louvre or spending the afternoon wandering around Paris on our own. We opted for the tour of the Louvre, but since we had a couple of hours for lunch, we walked from the Louvre to see Notre Dame up close, and still had time for lunch before the tour. It was our first time in Paris, and we're glad we did it. Not speaking French, it was nice to have someone babysitting us while we got our bearings. Next time, we'll spend more than a day, but it was definitely worth it to us.
 

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