Paris day trips

Jan 14th, 2010, 02:18 AM
  #1  
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Paris day trips

While staying in Paris August 8-14th my sister and I would like to take 2 or 3 day trips to other cities such as London. I would like to know which cities in other countries are recommended that can be done in one day, for example, leaving at 6am returning late at night same day. We are not renting a car and the bus seems to take way too long so I am thinking the train is our best option. I am open to other suggestions though. Thank you!

Bobbie
lukesant is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 02:23 AM
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With that few days , I can't imagione doing any daytrip over an hour. It takes 2 hr to London and 2 hours back. Antwerp, Brussels or Amsterdam are a few hours in each direction. Unless you've been to Paris many times you'll have more than enough to do there.

We just booked our 25th trip to Paris for 3 weeks and my schedule is already filled.
avalon is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 02:34 AM
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Avalon wrote: [Unless you've been to Paris many times you'll have more than enough to do there.]

I concur. My wife and I have done the Chunnel day-trip to Paris (from London), but we had been to both cities several times before. Otherwise, it's too much time in transit.

The fact is (and it's a wonderful fact) you can't see Paris sufficiently in six days.

The public transit system in Paris is superb, but if this is your first visit, you won't be as efficient (time-wise) using it, so it will take a little longer than you expect to do many things.

If you want to get out of the city center, I recommend Versailles and perhaps Monet's Gardens at Giverny -- nice trips that can take less than a full day if you want them to. [Note: Monet's Gardens take a little longer and involve a regular train.]

SS
ssander is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 02:41 AM
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Avalon, We've been to Paris as many times as you and are scheduling 10 days this May. Each time I've gone with a list of additional places to see, but I have to admit that I'm running out of new places--not that returns to old standards is a bad thing, I just like to keep seeing more. With your full schedule, do you have anything "new" that you haven't seen before? Please share your list. I assume it will help the OP as well to get an idea of how much there is there to see. Thanks.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 02:43 AM
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And one more for "that is 'way too short a time in Paris to even go outside the city limits"!! I find it sort of interesting and basically puzzling that you seem to be treating Paris as a base to go to other places--and then say it seems "difficult" to do.
We can barely fit in a day trip on ANY of our trips to Paris, and especially once we are there, and all the wonderful reasons we return flood back to us!!
And with your days/schedule--at least as you list them--arrival and departure days are pretty short and "cut up", so you really have about 4 days to see a wonderful city.
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Jan 14th, 2010, 03:52 AM
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If you're interested in Normandy, my husband and I did a one day bus tour (small van with English speaking guide) and we really enjoyed it.
Bettina222 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 04:15 AM
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Perhaps doing a day trip out of paris but in france would interest you? It would make it easier logistically and time-wise. You could do Strasbourg, Reims, Dijon, Chartres, Versaille, Fountainbleu...
jamikins is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 04:25 AM
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Thank you for all of the great suggestions. I have found a few things within France that I am interested in that are away from Paris. But is there anyone that thinks I can do Paris to London in one day?. I don't have an issue with it being from sun up to sun down. I really would like to say I made it to at least 1 more country
lukesant is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 05:28 AM
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Lukesant -- You probably just opened the door to a world of hurt with people reacting to the comment: "I really would like to say I made it to at least 1 more country."

Alot of people on this Forum don't understand why people want to chalk up one more country rather than really getting a deeper taste/sense of the country and culture you can experience only by taking the time to do more than dash from one must-see sight to another. The pleasure of travel is in the memories of what you have experienced, with the hassles of transportation rarely being part of the real fun.

Rather than trying to make a checklist of getting to one more country, may I suggest making a checklist of experiences you and your sister can have in Paris? Examples:

1) Try a quintessential French food you would normally not touch at home.

2) Learn to tie/wear a scarf with the elan of a French woman.

3) Go to a type of cultural event that you have not had the pleasure of experiencing before.

4) Go to a museum that is beyond the "Top Three."

5) Find a neighborhood park or green space and just people-watch for half an hour.

I am sure you will find that there is too little time for Paris, let alone other countries!
SuzChicago is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 06:14 AM
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Sure, go to London. It will be a very full day of travel, but you can "check it off your list," if that's what appeals to you. You could also "do" Amsterdam or Brussels. You'll spend as much time getting there and back as you will "seeing" the place, but it's do-able if that's what you want confirmation of.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 08:49 AM
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I'd consider several nearby places in the Paris area as easier and also fab day trips easily done by train - like Chartres and its stunning Gothic Cathedral; Reims for its great cathedral and Champagne House and Cave tours; Auvers-sur-Oise where Van Gogh and various Impressionists put this picturesque village scenes on now famous canvasses - copies of these pictures are put up right where they painted them;or Monet's Garden in the cute small village of Giverny

- or to Bayeux in Normandy to hop the mini-buses to the most famous D-Day Invasion sites along the coast or to Provins, which i just did for the first time a few weeks ago.

I just did aday trip to Provins and it is now high on my list of possible day trips from Paris - i call it an Italian Hill Town in France -took the train - a regional train that has a flat fare so just buy a return ticket whenever you get there - no seat reservations required as on many French trains - nor even possible.

Very very modern new TER (Train Express Regional i think) that goes about hourly -the station is right near the modern lower town centre and then either a mini-bus or a steep uphill hike takes you up to the Cite Medievale (or whatever they call the really old town on top on a big hill)- fortifications at points make impressive ramparts.

I found the old town up top rather untouched in the sense of not being all gussied up as someof these type places are.

Big church up top and some remains of a tower but not a whole lot to occupy more than a few hours.
Palenque is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 08:56 AM
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The "ticking off another European country" is what I first thought when reading the post.
I have become pretty boring in our travel--we go to France, and really enjoy KNOWING what/where things are there--the differences in areas not only in architecture but food, etc., the beauty of the history.

Palenque--is Provins the town north of Paris? I know I can look it up but am lazy at the moment. That sounds really neat.
Gretchen is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 09:02 AM
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Tere's an excellent little book for researching day trips near Paris. One Hour From Paris by Annabell Simms
avalon is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 09:03 AM
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Several people have written trip reports here about daytrips from Paris to London or vice versa. I see nothing wrong with this. You go all the way to Europe, you're only two or three hours away from a city you've always wanted to see, why not?

Many people don't see this as a good use of their time but that doesn't mean that everybody will feel the same way.

I can see how it would be exhilirating to leave Paris early in the morning, arrive in a city with a completely different atmosphere, language, culture, and food, and return late at night to Paris. I wouldn't put this in a negative "ticking off the box" category; I would put this in an exciting "seeing something completely different" category.
Nikki is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 09:12 AM
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I agree with Nikki - but to do more than one such day trip would be first really expensive - even the Chunnel day return fare could be $100 or more - and any longish train ride about the same (unless you go the PREM route at www.voyages-sncf.com and peg yourself in)

So yeh one day to London then easier day trips in the Paris area - i actually cannot think of any great day trip from Paris other than London to cities in other countries that are possible except Brussels, and that city does not inspire many folks it seems - but London yes a great day trip and you even gain an hour on the clock going over to extend you visiting time there a tad
Palenque is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 09:51 AM
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If you are intent on this, do the Chunnel Trip. A full day would include:

-- British Library (next door to your arrival at St Pancras Station)
-- Northern Line tube (careful - two branches to choose) to Charing Cross station
-- Walk from Trafalgar Sq down Whitehall to Parliament - quick stop at Westminister Abbey. (a guidebook will make this enjoyable)
-- Take the cruise from Westminster pier to the Tower pier (if time is running short, take the Circle or Line to Tower Hill station)
-- Tower of London

This is a very full schedule - but I think it is doable if you don't dawdle.

I opted out of either the Nat. Gallery or the Br. Museum because, while first class museums, they are not quintessentially British experiences.

I welcome the opinions of others as to whether this can be done - a lot depends on opening and closing hours (which may vary from day to day). I'm also very familiar with the London tube system, so I might be underestimating the time it takes to get from place to place if you don't know your way around it very well.

SS

That's a really full day!!!
ssander is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 10:02 AM
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More...

If you have a late train back the British Museum is usually open (some rooms closed) till 8:30 pm Thursdays and Fridays, and the National Gallery is open till 9:00 pm Wednesdays.

[These are hours last time I checked - go to their websites to be sure.]

SS
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Jan 14th, 2010, 11:04 AM
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Another very doable day trip is to Brugge, which is a quaint little town with many waterways. You can take a train to Brugge on your own, or take a bus tour that will allow you to see the Frnch countryside. You can then take a walking tour and a little boat tour through the town, have a little Flemish lunch (a pot of mussels or stew!), then head back to Paris at the end of the day.

Strasbourg is still French, but will feel very German as it is in Alsace, on the French/German border. It is now an easy 2 1/2 hour train trip there for a taste (literally) of something a little different.

As others have said, eight days could easily be spent exploring Paris without making a dent in all there is to see. But "different strokes for different folks"...you'll certainly want to go back to Paris again. If you want to take a day trip out of the city or the country, you should do it.

Enjoy your trip!
Leburta is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 02:11 PM
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Thank you to those who have understood the true intention of my question. You have provided me with some wonderful ideas for day trips and I will have lots of fun researching the options. If my question or comments were misinterpreted by anyone to mean that my singular goal is to check or tick off as many countries as possible I apologize for the misunderstanding. This particular trip is the first of which I am certain will be many more to Europe and it's beautiful countries.I will have plenty of opportunities to linger over the intricate details and I will love every moment of it. Again thanks to all for the great suggestions
lukesant is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 02:55 PM
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Lukesant, If you want to see both London and Paris, is it possible for you to fly into one city and out of the other? That way you'll cut down on travel time a bit.
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