Updated On: January 03, 2024 by Eman Sameh
Ever dreamt of Parisian croissants for breakfast and Eiffel Tower selfies by sunset? Believe it or not, that dream can be your reality in just one day. Thanks to the high-speed Eurostar train, a day trip to Paris from London has become a surprisingly feasible adventure.
This whistle-stop guide will equip you with everything you need to conquer Paris in a single day, from must-see sights to efficient travel tips. So, pack your comfortable shoes and a healthy dose of wanderlust, and prepare to be awestruck by the magic of the City of Lights – all within 24 hours.
How to Plan a London Day Trip to Paris From
Escape London for a whirlwind Parisian day trip! The Eurostar zips you to the City of Lights in just 2 hours. Conquer must-sees like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph, and charming Montmartre. Cruise the Seine, snap an Arc de Triomphe pic, and savour an evening of Parisian sparkle before your London return.
Taking the Eurostar train
Hop on the Eurostar train for your London day trip to Paris. The ride starts at St Pancras International Station in London and ends at Gare du Nord in Paris after a quick 2 hours and 15-minute journey. We highly recommend making your trip before 6 am so you will have all day to enjoy.
Booking Your Tickets
Start your Parisian adventure on the Eurostar website, where you can browse timetables and fares and choose your preferred travel date and class (Standard, Standard Premier, or Business Premier). Book your tickets earlier, especially during peak travel times, for the best deals and guaranteed seats.
Prices vary depending on travel dates, class, and how far in advance you book. Generally, for adult tickets, expect to pay between £52 (2nd class) and £168 (1st class) for a one-way trip; for children, tickets under 12 are between £33 (2nd class) and £140 (1st class).
London St Pancras International Station
Your Eurostar journey begins at London St Pancras International Station, a stunning Victorian masterpiece easily accessible by tube (King’s Cross St. Pancras station) or bus. Aim to arrive at least 45 minutes before departure for check-in and security.
Check-in and Security
Follow the signs for Eurostar check-in and present your travel documents (passport, visa if needed), travel insurance, and Eurostar booking confirmation. You’ll pass through security similar to an airport, so be prepared to remove liquids and electronics from your bags.
Boarding the Train
Find your platform and carriage number on your boarding pass and wait for your designated boarding time. Settle into your comfortable seat, enjoy the spacious legroom, and take advantage of onboard amenities like Wi-Fi and a café carriage.
Arriving in Paris
Your Eurostar journey will end at Gare du Nord in Paris, a bustling hub with excellent connections to the city’s metro and taxi services. Purchase a Paris Visite travel pass at the station for unlimited travel on public transport within Paris. Take a taxi outside the station, or you can opt for ride-sharing apps like Uber.
Gare du Nord, conveniently located in the heart of Paris, puts the City of Lights within your reach even for a quick day trip. However, it is wise to be realistic about what you can see and do within this limited time. Here’s a suggested itinerary to maximize your Parisian adventure:
Start your day with a classic Parisian breakfast at a charming cafe near Gare du Nord, like Cafe Terminus Nord or Maison Kayser. Savour flaky croissants, strong coffee, and the bustling atmosphere. For more budget-friendly options, you can try Paul’s fresh pastries and sandwiches.
Arc de Triumph
About 5 km from the Gare du Nord, Arc de Triumph stands guard at Champs-Élysées Street, one of the most famous in the world. About 50 metres long, the Arc de Triumph is considered the largest triumphal arch title in the world. Its intricate carvings depict major French battles, from the Napoleonic Wars to the First World War, while the names of 558 generals line the inner and outer surfaces, 42 adorned with stars for those who died in combat.
At the Arc’s summit, visitors can soak in 360-degree views of the City of Lights, witnessing the Eiffel Tower piercing the Parisian skyline and the Seine River snaking through the cityscape. With its imposing presence and rich history, the Arc de Triomphe remains a must-see landmark, a testament to France’s military legacy and a symbol of national pride.
La Place de la Concorde
Stroll along the Champs-Élysées until you arrive at The Place de la Concorde, which is about 2 km from Arc de Triumph. Originally conceived as a tribute to King Louis XV, it emerged in 1772 under the name Place Louis XV, a symbol of regal splendour. During the French Revolution, it was renamed the Place de la Révolution, and under the shadow of the guillotine, King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette succumbed. On Bastille Day, tanks rumble across the cobblestones, a reminder of the military triumphs the plaza once proudly celebrated.
Rising from the centre of the square is the towering Luxor Obelisk, a gift from Egypt. Today, La Place de la Concorde thrives as a vibrant artery of the city. The Champs-Élysées, a regal path lined with elegant boutiques, flows from its eastern rim. Tourists mingle with locals, snapping photos amidst the grandeur.
Seine River Cruise
Forget the crowded streets and hop aboard a Seine River cruise for a unique perspective on Paris. No need for guidebooks here. As you glide down the river, iconic landmarks unfold like chapters in a Parisian history book. Notre Dame’s majestic spires rise amidst the skyline, whispering tales of resilience. The grand Louvre Museum unveils its treasures, each window a glimpse into artistic mastery. Sip on some orange juice as you savour a creamy quiche or steak frites for a quick lunch and save extra time for visiting other landmarks.
Standing proud atop Montmartre’s highest point, the Sacré-Coeur is more than just a church; it’s a Parisian landmark and a beacon of faith. Pearly-white facades gleam under the Parisian sun, intricate mosaics depicting stories of saints and martyrs, and towering domes 83 metres high.
Climb the narrow spiral staircase within the dome and emerge onto the observation platform. Paris unveils itself in all its glory – the Eiffel Tower a graceful needle in the distance, the Seine River snaking through the cityscape, and rooftops stretching out like a sea of terracotta.
Just 2 km away from Sacré-Coeur lies the Montmartre district. Dive into the web of cobbled streets, each twist revealing a hidden gem. Place du Tertre, the historic heart of Montmartre’s art scene, bustles with street artists showcasing their talents for a few euros. Stroll through Place Dalida, where colourful murals tell the stories of this iconic singer and the neighbourhood’s musical heritage.
Venture beyond the main tourist tracks and uncover Montmartre’s secret corners. Discover The Bateau-Lavoir, once home to Picasso and other artistic revolutionaries, and The Musée de Montmartre, delving into the rich history of this bohemian haven.
In the heart of Paris, specifically on the Île de la Cité, just 3 km from Gare du Nord, Notre Dame Cathedral stands tall. Built over 170 years, starting in 1163, Notre Dame embodies the pinnacle of French Gothic architecture. Its towering twin spires, intricate flying buttresses, and colossal stained-glass windows whisper tales of medieval craftsmanship and religious devotion.
Kings and queens were crowned beneath its vaulted ceilings, its bells pealing for royal celebrations and national tragedies alike. Explore the nearby Crypte Archéologique, showcasing remains of Roman ruins under the cathedral, or visit the Musée Notre-Dame, offering insight into the cathedral’s treasures and restoration efforts.
The Eiffel Tower
Built for the 1889 World’s Fair, the Eiffel Tower was considered a revolutionary feat of engineering. Designed by Gustave Eiffel, it revolutionized wrought iron, creating a strong yet lightweight structure that defied contemporary expectations. Its daring latticework design, initially met with criticism, has become its most recognisable feature, a striking silhouette visible from miles around.
The first level offers a vibrant space with restaurants, exhibitions, and a glass floor that sends shivers down the spine. The second level, nestled amongst the intricate framework, boasts stunning city views, revealing the Seine River and iconic landmarks like the Louvre and Arc de Triomphe. For the truly adventurous, the top level offers breathtaking 360-degree panoramas stretching as far as the eye can see.
Arriving back at Gare du Nord
When returning from your London day trip to Paris, arriving back at Gare du Nord 75 minutes before your train departure time is important. This will ensure you have enough time to go through security and board the Eurostar train comfortably. Remember to check the platform number for your train and allow some extra time in case of any unexpected delays. By arriving early, you can avoid rushing and enjoy a stress-free journey back to London.
Planning a day trip from London to Paris can be an exciting and memorable experience. By taking the Eurostar train, being realistic about what you can see in one day, and including downtime in your itinerary, you can make the most of your time in the French capital.
What is the ticket price of the Eiffel Tower?
The Eiffel Tower ticket price depends on the type of ticket you choose and the level of access you desire. 2nd level ticket is €11.30 and top level with elevator: €28.30.
Can I take the Seine River Cruise for free?
Yes, you can if you have a Paris City Pass. You can purchase it online before arriving in Paris.
How much is the Paris City Pass?
The Paris Visite Pass cost ranges from £51 to £79 depending on the number of attractions you wish to visit.
Is the Eiffel Tower included in the Paris City Pass?
Yes, it is included in the Paris Explorer pass, which saves you around 50% of the Eiffel ticket price.