London 2012 To Paris And Back In A Day: A Fun Jaunt!

London 2012 To Paris And Back In A Day:  A Fun Jaunt!
Excerpt from the guidebook Practical Paris (Everything You Need To Know About Paris But Didn’t Know To Ask), available on Many people coming to the London Olympics 2012 will want to include a quick Paris trip. My favourite way to get from London to Paris is via the Eurostar high speed train instead of flying. Why? Getting to and from these mega city airports can take a lot of time and expense and takes away from valuable sight-seeing and joie de vivre time!  Flights could be delayed or worse, cancelled. The most fun way to get between the two cities is on the EuroStar, the trip is just over two hours long and many departures are offered daily. Catch the Eurostar in Central London at the historically significant and restored St Pancras International station. Arrive from London at the EuroStar platform in Paris at Gare du Nord International. You will want to immediately take a taxi or the metro out of this area as this part of Paris is not a tourist destination by any means. Go online to RailEurope or Eurostar websites and check out deals and if possible, pre-book this jaunt as much in advance as possible. People vastly under-estimate the sheer numbers of travelers in Europe and you don’t want to be disappointed or end up having to pay a premium rate because you didn’t book far enough in advance. There is no need to pay for a first class ticket as the journey is so short and there is not much difference between first class and regular seating and services. Visit the bar car or bring your own snacks. Over the years, we have greeted many adventurers from the Gare du Nord who had arrived for a one day whirlwind Paris visit. Of course, it’s better if you can stay longer but one day in Paris is possible especially if you have a strategic plan. Remember, Central Paris is compact and is quite small area-wise compared to other cities. See our tried-and-true strategic plan below. To get the full, delicious flavour of the city, the itinerary for this tour is best done by metro and walking, but you could also take a taxi if you want to speed things up and don’t mind spending more money. Walking the crooked, cobblestoned streets of Paris is part of the charm of this beautiful city. Self-Guided Tour Highlights*Follow our annotated map. Cathedral Notre-Dame Shakespeare and Company bookstore Latin Quarter Saint-Germain-des-Prés The Seine River The Louvre Courtyards and Grounds Tuileries Gardens Place de la Concorde (from a distance) Arc de Triomphe Champs-Elysées + peak-a-boo Eiffel Tower (Marais or Montmartre if time allows) #1. Book your Eurostar ticket for as early in the morning as possible so that you land in Paris Gare du Nord before 11AM (preferably around 9 or 10 AM). Book your return for as late at night as possible, around 9 to 11 PM. Get yourself to the train station with ample time to get through customs and security and don’t forget your passport! #2. Hopefully you already have with you a complete map book (Paris Plan) that you can highlight with the route detailed below during your journey or save or print out our annotated map. Or, use the GPS on your phone. #3. Once you arrive at Gare du Nord, go directly to the metro ticket station and buy the one day Mobilis metro pass for each member of your party which allows you unlimited metro/bus/RER travel for the day. Also ask for metro maps. #4. You can either take the metro to our first itinerary stop, or take a taxi. Simply head out of the station to the taxi stands and ask to be taken to Cathedral Notre-Dame on the Île de la Cité. If you choose to take the metro, head to the Metro Line 4 (Porte d’Orleans direction) and depart at station Cité (8 stops). From here, we will take you through some key monument highlights and fun streets of the Right and Left Banks. Tip! The Line 4 metro is degrees hotter than other lines so it’s best to dress in layers. #5. Climb out of the Cité metro station and find the Rue de la Cité and walk until the cathedral Notre-Dame comes into view. Go straight into the cathedral if desired (usually there is a long line but it goes fast). After doing your power visit, come out of Notre-Dame, and note the famous “Bouquinistes” book sellers along the Quai, then turn left onto the Petit Pont (bridge). After crossing the busy Promenade, look to your left and for literary lovers you can duck into the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore (37 rue Bucherie). This is also the place to grab a copy of FUSAC Magazine, the “bible” for English-speaking expats and visitors. #6. Now continue into the Latin Quarter. Head back and cross Rue du Petit Pont onto the cobblestone pedestrian street Rue de la Huchette. This is a very touristy area but is fun to walk through as restaurant owners good-naturedly try to entice you to eat at their establishments. It’s also a good place to buy souvenirs. You will soon come to the Fontaine St-Michel and the square in front of it (a popular meeting place for Parisians). #7. At the fountain facing the splashing water, keep walking past the monument and around the metro station and find the cobblestone street named Rue Saint André des Arts. This charming, winding street will lead you to the 6th arrondissement in the district of St-Germain-des-Prés and to Rue de Buci. #8. Rue de Buci is a fantastic, lively street to take a lunch or coffee break and watch the parade of…

More in Paris, Paris tourist tips, Paris tours

Previous Article Photo of the Week – July 20, 2012
Next Article Pregnant in France, Lessons Learned