single day trip to Paris..guided?

Feb 13th, 2007, 08:12 PM
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single day trip to Paris..guided?

My teenage daughter and I are taking an 8 day trip to London in April. This is the 1st time overseas for both of us, and with several small children at home I probably won't go back to Europe for a very long time.
I've decided we will take a day trip to Paris on Eurostar, but was wondering if it is worth the money to take a guided tour, as we don't speak French and are new to travelling, i.e. a little travel anxiety. We are on a budget, so I'd like to spend less than $500 including Eurostar tickets.
If anyone has ideas, I'd appreciate it.
aprilinlondon1970 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 08:30 PM
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You are not going to get far for two people if you want to spend $500USD on a day trip, including Eurostar tickets, to Paris. You can't properly do Paris in less than 24 hours no more than you can do New York City in less than 24 hours. And since you will be in London - which is way more expensive than Paris - save your $$ and time and really enjoy London.
milaviola is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 09:24 PM
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I will probably NEVER see Paris (and I don't mean in-depth, of course, in a day) if we don't do the day trip, so I need to find out if there are reasonably priced guided tours or if we should try to do it on our own. Eurostar tickets can be had for only $250 or so, maybe less, for us if we don't do guided...since we aren't fluent in French I just thought guided might be nice.
aprilinlondon1970 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 09:37 PM
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You'll have to check the departure from London, and arrival times to Paris, and vice versa to find out how much time you actually have in Paris.

What exactly are you hoping to see in Paris in a day?

I have never been to Paris either...I am planning my first trip for the fall. I couldn't imagine trying to pull off a one day trip there though.

I understand that you might "never" get to Paris if you don't do a day trip...but it seems like a lot of travel and effort for very, very little return.

There are lots of recommendations for the tour guide Michael Osman, who is an American painter living in Paris. His e-mail address is [email protected]

Perhaps you can e-mail him? His rate is reasonable for an entire day tour..and he might give you some insight into whether your thoughts on a one day crash visit to Paris is practical, and more specifically, worthwhile.

I hope you have a wonderful vacation no matter what you decide to do!!!!
camelbak is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 10:02 PM
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My Brother and SIL and two teen-age kids went to Paris for a day when they were visiting London and had a ball! It was just enough to send them back for a couple of days the next year.

They took a very early morning Eurostar over and the last one back to London that night. They pre-purchased a bus tour, but wouldn't recommend it, as they wish they had just wondered at their own pace.

Pick up a copy of either Frommer or Fodor's slim paperback "Portable Paris" (they're about the same, information-wise) and it will help you navigate on your own.

Even if you don't do much more than go up the Eiffel Tower and take a boat ride on the Seine you'll have experienced another country and I say "go for it!"

MelJ is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 10:53 PM
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Loads of UK people whizz over for a day trip, it's not a bad idea at all. Some British people even live in France and use the Eurostar to commute to work in London.

Sure you won't see everything but you can certainly have fun and get a little flavour of France. IT's very doable.

You won't need a guide. You'll have a ball. Don't be put off by the people who think it's got the be the whole hog or nothing.

Make sure you buy your tickets early for the best prices. Catch an early train out, and a late train back, and you'll have all day out there.

Go to the Eurostar website and fiddle around with dates and times, you can still find £59 each way tickets. For example, on 17 April, you could leave London at 6.34am and arrive Paris 10.23am. Then you can leave Paris 8.43pm and get back to London at 10.28pm. Both journeys take 2 hours 45 minutes. This gives you over 10 hours in Paris.
nona1 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 02:41 AM
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How nice for you and your daughter. I would definitely recommend a day trip to Paris, for all of the reasons cited by nona1. I'm sure you won't regret it.

The Eurostar is very user-friendly, and they will FedEx your tickets to you.

As nona1 noted, you don't really NEED a guide, but if you are nervous about the language or being in a strange city, I know a woman in Paris who specializes in "made to measure" small group tours and is fluent in French and English.

If you would like more information, you can e-mail me at [email protected]. Make the subject line something that will tell me it's you, as I try to avoid opening anything that looks like spam.

Toupary is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 04:23 AM
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I was very glad to have a private guide on my first day in Paris on my last trip. We were able to fit waaaaay more in as the guide zipped us around town (in a good way)without having to consult maps. He got us from Point A to Point B in the Louvre in a snap and took us through bank and hotel lobbies to see interiors we would have missed on our own. There was a hum of excitement just outside the Ritz as we walked by and the guide pointed out a French rock star. Kind of fun to understand why everyone around was so excited.

Public transportation is easy in Paris but there might be a learning curve you can't afford with such a short trip. There were times during the rest of the week when I got off at the wrong metro stop or felt "turned around" when exiting the metro wasting precious time.

BTW, my guide was Michael Osman's friend Scott who fills in for Michael when he is not available. Michael's rates are very reasonable and well worth the time saved. I also paid for Scott's lunch and gave him a nice tip.
amwosu is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 05:01 AM
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I am not sure what prices are for April now, but if you book far enough ahead you can get round trip (UK calls it "return") tickets for $96 per person. For two people that is $200 -- you can certainly "see" some of Paris for $300 if you want to keep it under $500. We are going to Paris from London in April and we paid $96/each r/t but I did purchase the tickets quite some time ago. Order on-line with a credit card and pick up the tickets at Waterloo Sta. the a.m. of departure.

You can also book a tour through a company such as EvansEvans who do guided tours of Paris (one-dayers, leaving early/returning late).

Do not worry about speaking French, just about everyone in "tourist Paris" speaks English.

Not knowing your interests makes it hard to suggest what to see, but a guided bus tour of major sites may work for you if you do not take an organized tour from London.

Remember there is one hour time difference between London & Paris.
Lori is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 05:09 AM
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Hi April,

In one day, you are going to do only the most famous of the highlights.

You don't need a guide to point out the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Champs Elysee, Arc de Triomphe, etc.

Get a good guide book and pick what you want to see.

Also look up Paris under "Destinations".

A one-day Batobus ticket will allow you hop on/off from several stops along the Seine.

Have a nice day.

ira is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 05:11 AM
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Buy your Eurostar tickets in advance. You can get RT one-day fares of about $100 pp.
ira is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 05:25 AM
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Do you happen to have a contact for Scott, Michael Osman's friend? An email to Michael was kicked back to me, I'm guessing b/c he has a full mailbox, as I just cut and pasted the address from his website. Any help would be appreciated! Also, saw from another post that your family is near parents are from there. Small world. Thanks!
aprilinlondon1970 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 05:30 AM
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You don't need a tour guide.

There is only so much you can do in one day. Pick 2 or 3 things and then spend the rest of the time soaking up the atmosphere.

Pick somewhere for a nice lunch and somewhere for dinner.
Feb 14th, 2007, 05:36 AM
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You can use (a hop-on/hop-off bus)

or my DiY bus tour
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 05:46 AM
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Go and enjoy the time w/ your daughter. Imagine getting kudos for being the cool mom who took her daughter to Paris for a day! There will be many days comming when you're NOT cool!
Do the majors, do the Batobus, if you like something stop and do it. If you like a place to eat, write it down so you can find it again when you're ready. Allow others to take pics of you two so she can remember how great it was when it was just the two of you. There are plenty of online French language sites that will give you the basics you need (please, thank you, bathroom, etc)to navigate your day. Walk, talk, enjoy! Buy a fabulous scarf or hand drawing. Small and inexpensive but never found at home!
Enjoy the time with her - do what feels comfortable and enjoy being the cool mom!
CarJoe44 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 05:56 AM
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April, don't cut and paste Michael's address when you send an email to him. Others have had problems doing that as well. Send him another email but type his address in. I don't have Scott's address.

I agree with others that you don't NEED a guide but several of those who have responded that you don't need one have lived in Paris or travel there frequently. From the perspective of someone without as much experience with the city I still think a guide will make your day very enjoyable.
amwosu is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 05:59 AM
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You should hurry up and book the tickets asap. If you book now you can get a return fare each for about 60 pounds. If you wait you can easily double it.
Feb 14th, 2007, 07:15 AM
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Fodor's converts email addresses to MAILTO links that will automatically open your mail client and insert the To: address. Just click it.

[email protected]
Robespierre is offline  

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