A Day in Paris
Ah, the romance capital; nothing says l’amour and style like that of belle Paris. However, not all of us have the time to spend a long, luxurious mini break away, so we decided to bring to you our top tips for Paris in a day- tried and tested by us, for you.
We would say for a day trip hop on the Eurostar. London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord in 2 hours 16 minutes! Amazing. Check the website for deals.
There is only one way you are going to ‘Vivre la Paris’ and that is to walk. Embrace the towering, gothic architecture; sniff the mouth-watering patisseries and wonder around the marvel that is Paris. But obviously to walk everywhere in a day is a mammoth task and Paris Tourism have a day travel card for just £9.40pp, for unlimited transport use in Paris (Zones 1-3).
With the Paris Visite Travel card you can travel freely on the Paris public transport system which includes the Metro (the Paris underground system), the RER (fast trains between major stations and the suburbs) and the Ile-de-France bus lines (RATP and Optile) and the Montmartre funicular. This is available at all tourism booths and stations.
We start at the Eiffel Tower but we suggest you get off at Metro station, Trocadero. From here you get the most breath taking view: at over 120 years old and 324m tall, the iconic image of France.
This is on Metro Line 6 & 9: from Gare du Nord take RER 4 towards Forte de Clignancourt and alight at Barbes Rochechouart. Here change to RER 2 towards Porte Dauphine and alight at Charles de Gaulle Etoile. Lastly, you hop on the Metro 6 towards Nation and alight at Trocadero.
From alighting at Trocadero you are positioned at Palais de Chaillot and a simple, short walk to the tower’s base and ticket offices.
To climb the stairs to the 2nd floor is 5 Euros and 3.50 Euros if you are lucky enough to be under 24. You can then buy a further ticket on the 2nd floor to get the elevator to the top. To get the elevator straight to the top is 14.50 Euros or 13 Euros for the under 24s. Please don’t buy ‘cheap’ Eiffel Tower tickets as they don’t exist. The only place to buy them is the ticket office or the official website.
To save wasting your time in the long queues we recommend you buy them in advance here.
Next we take you for a stroll along the Seine River. The riverside offers many a detour to Musee d’Orsay, Musee d’Art Moderne and, rated the 2nd most beautiful structure in Paris, the Hotel des Invalides. If you don’t want to walk jump on RER C at Champ de Mars Tour Eiffel and alight at St Michel Notre Dame. Crossing the small bridge, straight to the famous Notre Dame; currently celebrating their 850th Anniversary they have a new audience balcony in order to view the cathedral at her most glorious. It is free to enter but no flash photography.
From here, carry on across the bridge (check out the ‘love locks’ on the bridges – beautiful!) towards the brilliantly gothic Hotel de Ville. Head back to the riverside and follow directions to Musee du Louvre. As you ponder the pavements and enjoy the old book stalls alongside the river you will come to a right turn called Rue du Louvre.
Here you will be greeted by a huge building; taking a left into its gigantic structure this leads you through a huge courtyard and eventually to the spectacular Louvre.
Absorb its modern, glass, pyramid design against the rich surrounding history. See website for all details. It takes a very long time to visit the Louvre but the experience is remarkable.
Entering the Jardin des Tuileries, it is possible to enjoy this park in every season; in the summer with fetes and scattered deckchairs, in winter with twinkling lights and in the autumn the trees are a patchwork of oranges and reds.
You will eventually find yourself at Place de la Concorde, the largest square in the city, which then takes you onto the shopping spectacular Avenue des Champs Elysees. This will take you past the beautiful Grand Palais to your left but we suggest a bit of TLC in the cafes and bars, do some people watching whilst sipping on a large glass of rouge.
At the top of the Champs Elysee is the Arc de Triomphe. This huge arch honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces are the names of all French victories and generals. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.
To get to our next stop, the Sacre Coeur, meaning sacred heart, definitely requires public transport. Get on RER 2 at Charles de Gaulle Etoile towards Nation and alight at Anvers (Sacre Coeur). If you want to stop at the legendary Moulin Rouge jump off at Blanche en route.
The Sacre Coeur, in our opinion, is at its zenith at dusk. There is usually music and entertainers to make the stair climb that little bit more enjoyable! (watch out for all the street sellers- best to just say ‘No’ or ‘Non, Merci’ meaningfully and walk away!)
Walking round to the left of the Sacre Coeur takes you to the cute artisian market square. Stop for a drink and wonder around watching them all at their work. If you have more time to explore, head down, down, down all the stairs and wonder aimlessly around Montmarte.
And finally, Get back onto RER 2 towards Nation to La Chapelle and you will find Gare du Nord for your train home.
So there you have it, a whole day out in the exquisite French capital. With plenty of eateries and fancy bars along your way, serious culture and gothic architecture plus that Parisian va va voom; Paris can most definitely be your dream come true!
Let us know your top tips for visiting Paris @tweetjanes