Day trips to Paris
A day trip to Paris from London couldn’t be simpler. Just hop on one of our trains from London St. Pancras and journey to the centre of Paris in just over 2 hours. That means if you jump on the first Eurostar train in the morning you’ll be in your second capital city of the day just in time for your petit dejeuner. And you’ll have the entire day to really get the most out of your day trip to Paris.
Whatever you have packed into your Paris itinerary you can start your day in comfort and style on a Eurostar train from London to Paris. And if you leave your return journey from Paris to London as late as possible, you’ll even be able to sample the sights and sounds of Paris at night. Oui!
So, now you know it’s possible, how will you make the most of your trip to Paris? Whether you’re travelling with the kids, looking for a spontaneous romantic getaway, or just feel like taking in some culture, art and world famous sites, you’ll need to pack your itinerary to perfection.
Any day trip to Paris needs to involve the right blend of the top tourist attractions, with the best places to sample Parisian cuisine shoulder to shoulder with the locals, and the top neighbourhoods to really get that French flavour. Not only do we make Paris day trips possible on our speedy trains between the two cities, we’ve also got the inside track on the best things to do in Paris from our local team and the top tips for making Paris in a day something you’ll never forget.
Is it worth going to Paris from London for just a day? Mais oui
While a day in Paris from London might seem ambitious at first, it’s easy when the journey’s so quick and comfortable. If you take the first Eurostar and come back on the last, you’ll have more than eleven hours to enjoy in the City of Light. And since Paris is one hour ahead of London, you’ll be back earlier than you might expect. In short, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the capital.
Here are some top tips for your day trip to Paris:
- Time it right: get the most out of the day, take the 05:40 train out and come back on the 21:13 one.
- Travel in style: go Standard Premier for a more spacious seat and get breakfast served to you on board.
- Be prepared: buy your Paris metro tickets at our onboard bar buffet and avoid the queues in Paris.
Things to do in Paris
There’s never a shortage of things to do in Paris. Proud of its enduring revolutionary spirit, the city is dotted with reminders of its long and storied history: Roman ruins, royal palaces and imposing monuments to France’s illustrious writers and artists. Once you’ve ticked culture off your list of Paris activities, there’s still plenty left to do: hit the shops for vintage and designer goods, eat your way around upscale pâtisseries, or hop on a Vélib’ – the local shared bikes –for a cheap and cheerful tour of the city. Don’t forget the capital’s laid-back nightlife: an evening spent in a cosy wine bar or an underground cocktail den has to rate as one of the top things to do in Paris.
If you only have a short time in the city, it’s important to get the inside track on what to do in Paris in a day. There’s no time to waste reading guidebooks or searching on your phone for inspiration. Our expert team of local Parisian bloggers and influencers know just how to make the most of the city in a short space of time. And they’re on hand to guarantee you do just that.
Breakfast like a true Parisian
Hot foot it to the 6th arrondissement and grab a table on the terrace at Les Deux Magots Café. Steeped in history and oh-so-French, it’s perfect for a spot of people-watching. Breakfast like a true Parisian with a café crème and a fresh, flaky croissant or a tartine with lashings of Échiré butter. Or if you fancy something on the go, grab a croissant au beurre from the Pâtisserie Gérard Mulot and be on your merry way.
If you’ve the appétit
Head south to Pierre Hermé: home of delicate macarons, indulgent Ispahan croissants and desserts that wouldn’t look out of place in the Louvre. Poilâne, with its signature sourdough loaf, and master chocolatier Patrick Roger are also good spots to pick up a tasty souvenir or two. A little further west, you’ll find Jacques Génin and the most divine caramels you’ll ever taste.
If you’re not quite ready for breakfast, go north
On your way to the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés pop into Ladurée for a box of scrumptious macarons. Wander the petite narrow streets, make your way east towards the Saint-Michel fountain, cross the bridge to Île de la Cité – and gaze at the majesty of Notre Dame.
Explore charming streets
Then, once you’ve had your fill of whispering “the bells” under your breath, continue into Le Marais: to explore charming streets, stumble upon stunning buildings, discover hidden gardens and relax in colourful cafés.
If there’s one tip to follow in the hunt for your dream déjeuner, it’s to eat where the locals eat. Luckily, there’s no shortage of choice, whether you’re vegetarian, visiting with kids or a romantic lunch à deux.
The romantic lunch
The City of Love is packed with so many romantic things to do for couples. Whether planning a Valentine’s Day to remember, a spontaneous jaunt just for two, or you simply want to dine in one of Paris’ stunning restaurants for an anniversary to remember, a day in Paris is the ultimate in a quick couple’s retreat. If you’re hungry for amour, head over to Le 52, take a seat at one of their marble-topped tables and prepare to be wowed by the most sensational seasonal fish dishes you've ever tasted.
The classic French bistro
Just a ten-minute walk from the hustle and bustle of Gare du Nord, make yourself at home in La Maison Bleue. Their famous French bistro dishes look as fabulous as the mixture of modern and vintage French décor. Though if the sun has his chapeau on, it’s even lovelier to eat sur la terrasse.
Travelling with kids?
Paris really does do a fine sideline in catering for families. The boulevards are pram-friendly, the play-parks are inventive, and the museums offer state-of-the-art experiences. With so many fun things to do with the kids, Paris in a day with all the family really is a possibility. And for lunch? Chez Jeanette serves up simple, quintessentially French food as well as kid-friendly burgers and frites. Pizza-lovers should make a beeline for Lucky Luciano.
You’ve enjoyed the best that Paris has to offer in terms of food, now it’s time to explore –an essential part of all Paris day trips.
The islands of Paris
Two natural islands sit proudly in the midst of this stretch of the River Seine. Île de la Cité, the larger of the two, is home to the majestic Notre Dame Cathedral.
But never discount the allure of its sister Île, Saint-Louis. A short jaunt from Le Marais, one of Paris’s most fashionable neighbourhoods, the Pont Louis Philippe bridge welcomes you to intimate island life, with pretty cobbled streets and a refreshing laid-back charm. It really is amongst the city’s top sights to see.
Fancy a café or an ice cream?
Pick a café – Saint-Régis is always a favourite – and linger over lunch with a glass of rosé, while nearby street musicians fill the air with song. Then, time for a different kind of glass: Crème glacée from Paris’s original artisanal ice cream shop, Berthillon. Indulge in a scoop or two as the sun starts to dip over Notre Dame, or pack a Parisian picnic of crusty bread, gooey cheese and – bien sûr – a bottle of red, all best served with a sunset. Santé!
Think that just because you’re on a day trip to Paris from London means that you can’t enjoy the best of Paris at night? That’s where you’d be wrong. It’s time to make every moment count.
Before you hop on the train back to London, why not sample some Parisian nightlife? If you book ahead, you could even catch a concert at the legendary, and newly-renovated, Elysée-Montmartre music hall.
See some art in the evening
Culture vultures should check out Palais de Tokyo. Europe’s largest contemporary art space is open until midnight every day except Tuesday. And that’s without mentioning the not-so-small matter of the Louvre.
For the foodies
Serious epicureans are spoilt for choix. Some of our go-to Michelin-starred picks: Le Gabriel at La Réserve Paris, Epicure at Le Bristol and L’Abeille at the Shangri-La. Pressed for time? Try Champeaux and Restaurant AG – both in the newly-transformed Les Halles district.
Right now, though, Paris is all about craft beers. Try brews by Brasserie de la Goutte d'Or, Deck & Donohue and BapBap. On the Bassin de la Villette, in the 19th arrondissement, the Paname Brewing Company is a fun taproom which brews its own beer too.
Fancy some wine?
Raise a glass at an atmospheric bar like La Grande Crèmerie in St Germain. Across the Seine, Juveniles has fabulous food and, for one of the best cocktails in town, don’t miss Le Mary Celeste. If the weather’s nice, hit a rooftop bar like Le Perchoir and enjoy the view.