Is a Day Trip from London to Paris via the Eurostar worth it?

Is a Day Trip from London to Paris via the Eurostar worth it?

**** Check out our guide on Where to stay in London – Close to Famous attractions for First time visitors – start your holiday off right!***

Recently I went to England to visit some family an a sick little granny (don’t worry she is okay now), while there I decided to spend a few days sightseeing in London and that then expanded to a “quick” day trip to Paris from London via the Eurostar.

Bonus tip! I would highly recommend checking out Planning a Family trip to Paris for those with Kids!

When I told friends what I was doing, they asked me why would you travel to one country to day trip to another? Why did I think a day trip to Paris would be a good idea? I think because I didn’t know when I was going to be in Europe next, so i wanted to take advantage of being on that side of the work. I thought I’m so close I may as well take a quick day trip over and get a feel for Paris. So I decided to make another booking through Viator (who provided me with a small discount).

Is a Day Trip from London to Paris via the Eurostar worth it?

The Train from London to Paris

I arrived at St Pancras International station at the crack of dawn (5:30am) – Hot Tip, if you plan to catch the tube make sure your nearest station is operating or you are carrying cash as you may need to catch a taxi – I got in line and waited for our tour guide from Premium tours to “whisk me away to the train” however this didn’t happen. We each went through the line and were provided with an envelope that contained 2 train tickets (to Paris and back to London) and an itinerary for the day. We were provided with no direction as to where to go from there and ended up in the wrong line (it seemed that I wasn’t the only one with this issue). Finally with some direction from the train station staff I went through security and passport control (customs) and waited for my train.

Is a Day Trip from London to Paris via the Eurostar worth it?

I sat there fuming a little as I felt a little lost without a guide – not that I travel on guided tours often but being in a new country for the first time alone was a little scary….  and being a guided tour, I thought the guide was supposed to meet us and take us through for the day.

An announcement came on the loud speaker to say that the train was ready to board and I jumped up and headed to the train, when I got on there was someone sitting in my seat which I was a little confused about but moved along anyway, I started to unpack a few goodies to enjoy on the train and heard an announcement that this train was going to Brussels, I looked at the gentleman next me and confirmed this. I quickly got up grabbed my bag and jumped off the train – as it turned out, I got on the wrong train.. whoops! I made it onto the right train and off to Paris we went! While on the train, our guide Charlotte found us, apparently this was the way these tours were set up with the tour guide meeting us on the train. The guide explained that she would be with us for the whole day and let us know where to meet when we got off the train in Paris.

Approx 2 hours later we arrived in Paris and met the guide, we walked out of Gard du Nord station and headed for our bus, where we were introduced to our driver Jerome.

Is a Day Trip from London to Paris via the Eurostar worth it?

Jerome drove through the narrow street of Paris like a pro! I would have been terrified of taking out a building or two (driving a bus!). We drove past the The Place Vendôme Column which has a its veneer of 425 spiraling bas-relief bronze plates that was made out of cannons taken from the combined armies of Europe and many the monuments in Place de la Concorde  including the Luxor Obelisk and the two Fontaines de la Concorde.

We continued on our tour towards the Arc de Triomphe but unfortunately due to the heavy congestion of traffic we weren’t able to make it to the Arc de Triomphe otherwise we would have been late for lunch at the Eiffel Tower. I was really disappointed as this was one of the main highlights I really wanted to see it (oh well this will give me an excuse to come back to Paris!). On a side note, the traffic in Paris is manic! There is no order or structure, there were cars everywhere!!! Our tour bus sat in the intersection waiting to cross and had cars coming from every direction.

Is a Day Trip from London to Paris via the Eurostar worth it?

The Eiffel Tower

When we arrived at the Eiffel tower, the line was enormous (although I’m sure it gets larger!) however we were lucky to have express entry tickets as we were going up for lunch on the first floor. The line to gain express entry was still fairly long, I would suggest taking the stairs if you are fit enough and if it’s not too hot, there are only 328 steps to the first floor! We went through a security check point and took the elevator up to the first floor (the elevator was jam packed with people, holding 25 people, very “cosy”!). When we got to the top the tour guide showed us to the restaurant and told us where to meet after lunch.

Is a Day Trip from London to Paris via the Eurostar worth it?

Our tour group was seated together near one of the windows facing into the Eiffel Tower, which while the view wasn’t as good as the other side of the restaurant, it was still pretty cool. The waiters were very friendly (and pretty good looking too!), they brought around glasses of champagne for us.

It gave me a good chance to get to know some of the other people on our table, there were a total of 12 people per table and I was the only Australian on a table full of Americans! I quickly made friends with a lovely couple and a few other single travelers (like myself) and we agreed to stick together for the day as, if one of us gets lost it might be missed but if a whole group of us gets lost it will be noticed. It was also a great idea to stick together as we were able to take photos for each other.

The food wasn’t bad either, we were served a main meal Roast chicken with fondant potatoes with what looked like dish bubbles  and Chocolate cake and chocolate mousse. While everyone was enjoy their lunch, Charlotte (our guide) came around to ask if anyone wanted to join in on the private guided tour of the Louvre or if we would prefer to have free time at the Louvre to go on your own or to wonder around the area. The private tour was approx 30 pounds payable to Charlotte who later on purchased our tickets.

Is a Day Trip from London to Paris via the Eurostar worth it?

After lunch myself and my new group of friends wondered around the first floor of the  Eiffel Tower taking photos and chatting, as we had a little bit of free time left, we decided to take the stairs to the second level as the lift line was fairly long. There are 669 steps to the second floor and then if you want to go up to the top you have to take the elevator. We got what felt like half way to the second floor and decided we were going to run out of time and headed back down. By the time we got to the bottom we were all giggling because we had jelly legs, one of the couples in the group was surprised at what a good work out going down the Eiffel Tower stairs were because she worked out regularly. We stopped off and bought some souvenirs goodies from the little store at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower, although I suspect these prices are jacked up but tourists don’t care.

Seine River

After lunch, we made our way down to the piers for our 1 hour Seine cruise, we were able to take advantage of the extra time we had by taking a few silly photos with the Eiffel Tower behind us. We lined up for the cruise and hopped on, there were 2 sections, undercover and open, we opted for the open area thinking we would be able to see more. It was lovely to seeing the city from the river, however if you travel in summer make sure to take a hat and some sunscreen.

Is a Day Trip from London to Paris via the Eurostar worth it?

We glided past The Eiffel Tower, Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre and so much more. On the side of our seats were large metal listen devices, this looked a phone from the 80’s, on this you could listen to the recorded commentary about the attractions we glided past and fun facts about them. I would suggest standing on the side of the boat or at the back or the very front as your views can be obstructed by the poles and roofing of the boat. We made our way back to the Eiffel Tower and back to our bus where we proceeded to the Louvre.

The Louvre

We arrived via an underground car park so when we actually walked into the Louvre it was a little breathtaking! (Cliché I know!). Walking through a wide room showing ruins of an old palace that used to be where the Louvre is.  Charlotte left us at the Upside down Pyramid while she went to collect our tickets and then we all entered together. It was much easier having a guide showing us the main attractions than navigate this huge museum on our own, the line to get in would have taken longer than the time we had free at the Louvre.

Is a Day Trip from London to Paris via the Eurostar worth it?

To be honest the tour was all a blur of paintings, sculptures and bodies… Unfortunately I wasn’t really able to hear Charlotte speaking about certain pieces due to the enormous crowds around us (and the noise levels) so instead I wandered around the rooms we were in taking photos and looking around.

Is a Day Trip from London to Paris via the Eurostar worth it?

It was still worth going in as a private group as I was able to ask questions and Charlotte took us straight to all of the highlights. We saw the Mona Lisa which was beautiful but extremely crowded, I don’t see what the big fuss is around the Mona Lisa, there was so much in the museum that I found to be much more impressive such as enormous intricate paintings or sculptures.

Is a Day Trip from London to Paris via the Eurostar worth it?

One room really blew me away, the Galerie d’Apollon Gallery, everywhere you look is gold, gold, gold! Just before we left we stopped by at the Venus de Milo statue, I learnt that she was actually made in 2 pieces and put together!

Is a Day Trip from London to Paris via the Eurostar worth it?

We all headed back to the bus which took us back to Gard du Nord station where we filed out our departure forms, went through French customs and then English customs and headed back to London.

So after that LONG story, Is a 1 day trip to Paris worth it? TOTALLY!

You don’t get to see everything; I would have loved to see the Arc de Triomphe or Notre Dame Cathedral, up close however this was a good way to give you a quick taste of Paris.

Bonus Tip! If you have come extra time make sure to check out the Paris Catacombs.

Is a Day Trip from London to Paris via the Eurostar worth it?

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Samantha - Travelling King

Travelling King is a blog all about travel, food, luxury, and lifestyle.
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17 Comments

  1. 24 October, 2014 / 3:00 pm

    Hell yeah its worth it. Looked like a super amazing day. 🙂 I wonder what your day in Brussels would have looked like, nice save with that one. LOL! Dish bubbles … Did they just taste like air? Or you pushed them aside?

  2. 31 October, 2014 / 12:04 pm

    Totally agree! That’s one of the best things about Europe- you can be in 3 countries in one day 🙂

  3. 7 November, 2014 / 11:04 pm

    Hi Sam,
    Loved your article. The Galerie d’Apollon looks really impressive, and I am also not sure what people see in this Monalisa Portrait, over rated!
    The food looks nice but small portions and I am sure they must be really expensive too.
    Look forward to some more nice posts on your blog.
    Cheers,
    Zeb

  4. 21 January, 2015 / 2:37 am

    That really looks like an amazing experience! Really goes to show you what you *can* achieve with a little motivation! By the way I loved your photos of the Eiffel Tower from the inside!

  5. 4 March, 2015 / 8:27 am

    That is an ambitious day trip, but it sounds like you had a great time and got a lot out of it!

  6. 6 March, 2015 / 6:23 am

    That looks like a hell of a journey and honestly, those pictures are so crystal clear and vibrant, it’s really like being there. The Eiffel Tower is amazing.

  7. Rita
    5 April, 2015 / 12:01 am

    Sam,

    Thank you so much for your very detailed account and wonderful pictures about your 1 day trip to Paris. I had seen this trip option and wondered if it was worth the expense and because of your post my husband and I decided to do the same Paris tour this summer.

    I did confirm with Premier tour company that they meet us at the group desk ticket booth rather than on the train like Viator. They are also wearing a uniform for easier identification, Thankfully you had enough time to catch the correct train but there must have been moments of panic.

    Just wanted you to know, your post was excellent! Thank you.

    • Inga Zakharov
      20 March, 2016 / 2:28 pm

      Hi, Rita! How did it go? We are thinking about using Premier and I cannot find any recent reviews. Thank you.

      • Rita Lee
        21 March, 2016 / 2:42 am

        If you only have a day to spare, then it’s worth the cost and time. With hubby sick, I was by myself although I did befriend an aunt & adult niece.

        I believe they tell you to meet near the one gate but they were at a table in front of one of the cafes and I think it was there we received our assigned seat train tickets. Everyone looked like deer in headlights and there were several other tour companies all meeting in the general vicinity. Everyone chatted and ‘helped’ each other on what to do.

        When train time got closer, we queued up to go thru the turnstile with tons of other people and waited for the train. The trip was uneventful and were able to see sights along the way with a narrative from our guide who spoke English well with a slight French accent.

        Our day was overcast and at times light sprinkle.

        Eating in the Eiffel Tower was amazing and the food was decent. Loved my dessert. We had about 15 minutes to roam below in the few shops.

        We sat on top to have the best views during our boat ride and then to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa. If you are into high end shopping, you are in luck since the shops are located right there.

        It’s a long day but worth it. Read Sam’s email for the details.

  8. Angie Davis
    3 March, 2016 / 3:23 am

    Premium Tours – Worst Tour Company ever
    We went on the so called “Luxury Escorted Paris Day Trip in December
    We were told to meet outside a teashop in St. Pancras. No one was there to meet us, people were walking up and down, not knowing who to ask or what to do. When someone finally showed up, he handed out envelopes with our tickets, and rushed us to get on the Eurostar.
    We were provided with no direction as to where to go from there, lines of people everywhere, finally with some direction from the people at the train station, we found our way to security and the right line to go through, very stressful. Just wish I had read reviews before booking with this crappy Tour Company, as other reviewers said the same thing.
    Once arriving in Paris, the tour guide rushed us through everything. We felt like we were cattle being herded through everything. We did a lot of standing around waiting on the guide to get our admission tickets, then kept telling us to hurry up, move along and hurried us through everything, it was terrible.
    Will never use Premium Tours, nasty customer service as well. Thoroughly disgusted with what should have been a wonderful trip.
    DO NOT use Premium Tours – once they have your money, they could not care less

    • 7 March, 2016 / 9:24 am

      Oh wow Angie, so sorry to hear you had such a bad expereince with them…
      i did find the start of the “tour” to be a little poop in that you didnt really know where to go and you are told to go through the train customs alone – which was a littl confusing if you hadn’t done it before. My guide met us on the train and then disappeared.
      I agree with you in the feeling a little rushed although i went on this tour expecting to be rushed as they are need to follow a strict time frame – you can only see so much in such a short period of time and i guess they try to pack in as much as possible.
      However dont get me wrong im in no way defending them i guess it depends on what your expectations are going in. I really think they need to fix up their initial process to give a better expereince.

  9. Brenda Collins
    1 March, 2017 / 2:06 pm

    Oh, wow! Love this article. It was so informative. I am planning a trip there in a feewweeks. Thank you so much.

  10. Gisele Barcelos
    14 April, 2017 / 4:33 am

    Hey, Samantha! I loved the article and I’m planning to do a one day trip to Paris in November. Could you tell where you booked and which tour? There are several options and I’m afraid to get the wrong one. I want to visit Eiffel Tower and the guided visit to Louvre.

    Give me a I little help, please! =D

  11. James Davis
    14 May, 2017 / 2:43 pm

    Thanks for the article. Extremely helpful. Trying to find a good tour company for a day trip to Paris, and this was good information.