Paris, the City of Love, home of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, is one of the most visited cities on the planet. The capital of France, Paris is a beautiful city with a lot to see and do, from its major monuments and museums to its quaint little cafés and charming bookshops and boutiques. It’s a wonderful, magical place that can appeal to visitors of all ages, well-suited for romantic getaways, family vacations, and simple exploration.
When planning any kind of trip to Paris, most people plan out at least a few nights in the city, but doing a day trip to Paris is perfectly possible and highly enjoyable, as long as you plan it our and make the proper preparation beforehand. Day trips from London to Paris can be a lot of fun, but it’s vital to do your research and draw up a travel plan before setting off. Here’s all you need to know about doing a day trip to Paris from London.
Getting To Paris From London
There are several different ways to get to Paris from London, including ferry, plane, train, and more. For the purposes of a day trip, the best way to get to Paris from London is by the Eurostar train.
Getting To Paris From London By Eurostar
The Eurostar train from London's St Pancras station to Paris' Gare du Nord is easily the best and fastest way to get between these two major European cities. The journey takes around two hours and 20 minutes in total, and the best part of all is that it leaves right from the center of London and takes you straight to the center of Paris, so you don't have to worry about adding extra travel time onto your journey at either end.
You only need to arrive half an hour before the train leaves from St. Pancras, and there are many trains leaving throughout each day. The earliest trains usually leave at around 6am, but you need to remember that Paris is one hour ahead of London, so even if you do leave at 6am, it'll be after 9am in Paris by the time you arrive, even though the journey only takes a little over two hours.
Getting To Paris From London By Plane
If you do wish to fly, you can do so from several London airports, with the fastest option typically being from London City Airport or from Heathrow. The plane is the fastest way to get anywhere and the whole journey takes around half of the time of the Eurostar, but you also have to factor in the time to get to and from the airports, plus all the security lines and possible delays. All-in-all, the Eurostar is easily the better option of the two.
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Getting Around in Paris
Paris has an excellent public transportation system, made up of buses, trams, and the metro. The city is divided into zones, just like London, and most visitors will be spending the vast majority, if not all of their time in Zones 1-3, so the best option is usually to buy a Paris Pass travel card, which works on all the different metros and buses around Zones 1-3 and lets you speed around the city with ease. If you prefer to walk around the city and won't be relying on the trams and metro too much, you can also simply buy individual tickets as needed.
Important Information And Things To Do In Paris
- Best Time To Visit - There really isn’t a bad time to visit Paris. It’s a beautiful city that can be equally enjoyable in the frosts of winter as in the sunshine and warmth of summer. It’s a highly touristic city, so you can expect to see huge crowds gathered around the major monuments, especially if you travel in the summer months. For those who want to see a lot, get around quickly, and ideally not have to wait in too many lines, visiting outside of the peak tourist season is a good idea.
- The Big Landmarks - Paris is home to a long list of amazing and awe-inspiring landmarks, and many visitors to the city will want to see these famous locations during their day trip. The Eiffel Tower is, of course, the most famous Parisian landmark of all and is certainly worth a visit, but if you want to save time, simply admiring the tower from the city streets is a lot faster than waiting in line to actually climb it. Other popular landmarks include the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, and the Avenue des Champs Élysées.
- Shopping and Dining - Paris is a major city for fashion and cuisine, and many people who visit the French capital for just one day like to fit in some shopping and dining. Despite its reputation and association with high-end, luxury brands, the Champs Élysées is a good place to find plenty of affordable shops too, and it can be a lot of fun to explore the little alleys and side-streets of Paris in search of charming bookshops and antique stores. As for dining, the city is simply filled with every kind of culinary experience you could hope to find, from Michelin-starred restaurants to casual family fare.
- Off The Beaten Path - If you've been to Paris before and already seen the big monuments and landmarks, maybe you're looking for something new and different. There's a lot more to Paris than the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, so you can try visiting some of the more overlooked areas and streets in search of new experiences. Some of the city's 'hidden gems' include the beautiful neighborhood of Montmartre, home to a lot of artists and some gorgeous streets, perfect for photoshoots. Pigalle is also a great area for those interested in clubs, bars, and lounges, while St Germain des Pres is a popular boho spot filled with boutiques and awe-inspiring old buildings.
- Museums and Culture - Paris is also famous for its many museums and galleries, with the Louvre being a perfect example. Home to the Mona Lisa and many other iconic works of art, the Louvre is often regarded as a must-do part of any trip to Paris, but it can be quite a time-consuming endeavor. Other museums and galleries to check out include Le Centre Pompidou, the Musée Rodin, and the Musée de l'Orangerie.
- Plan It Out - Remember that you’re only going to be in Paris for a day and you need to be back at the Gare du Nord in time for your train home, so it’s vital to plan things out and be reasonable. Paris is a huge and beautiful city that would take an entire lifetime to fully explore and appreciate, so you can’t expect to see it all in one day. Pick and choose the sights and experiences you want to enjoy the most and draw up an itinerary that works for you.