The two-hour Eurostar train ride from London's St. Pancras Station couldn't be easier. If you book your ticket well in advance, you can get a round trip for £79 ($120). Another bonus to the Eurostar is that when you disembark from the train at Gare du Nord Station, you are already in Paris and can get started with your touring immediately. If you fly it can take well over an hour from Charles de Gaulle Airport to get into Paris via public transport. No one has time for that on a short visit.
The first of my trips to Paris was with my mom. She was planning to visit Paris with some of her friends, but unfortunately that trip fell through. So Matt knew that she'd appreciate a short side trip when she came for a visit in September. He booked us for one night at a hotel close by the Arc de Triomphe. The goals of our trip consisted seeing as many iconic structures as our feet could handle and eat along the way. We lucked out with gorgeous weather. With our limited time we only went into the Musée d'Orsay, and I am so glad we did. The museum is a beautiful old train station, and the art is gorgeous. We liked the place so much we decided to have lunch in the cafe, and it was delicious.
It may appear that a majority of our caloric intake was from sugar, but we did have four square meals while in Paris. Breakfast in the hotel was standard European pastries, muesli, coffee, and fruit. One lunch was at a terrible cafe a few blocks off the Champs Élysées, but dinner completely made up for it. We ate at a little place where we could see the chef cooking our meal and practically licked our plates.
I can't share mom's trip to Paris without showing you this scary van. Stay away children, stay away.
The second visit to Paris was with two mums (that's British for moms) from school. This trip was planned for the first weekend in December. It's not the most ideal time to go, but we were willing to take our chances with the weather.
The thing that was different about this trip........we went to Paris for the day.
We left on the 6:30AM train and returned on the 10:30PM. We did not tour any museums, but we sure saw a lot of beautiful spots. Even though it was the first Friday in December, not all of the trees had dropped their leaves.
Notre Dame is a stunning building. The bridges covered in locks are not as stunning. I think the concept is a smidge overdone, but that's my opinion.
One of the moms talked to the French man sitting with us on the train to tell us where we should eat. At first he thought she was joking, but when she wouldn't drop the subject he gave us a few places he liked. It did not cross our minds that the places he recommended would not open until 8PM so that did not work for us to make our return train. We stumbled across a restaurant that made us all happy, and our feet thanked us for the short respite.
Our ride back to London was significantly quieter than our ride into Paris, but we made the most out of our few hours.
Would I go back to Paris? Oui.
Would I do a day trip again? Oui.
As if you needed another reason to why Europe is great.