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Paris In a Day – My Adventure on Eurorail

May 14th, 2011 · 2 Brilliant Opinions · International Travel

Paris is a great day trip from London.  We opted to make the 2.5 hour journey by Eurorail.  We were in for a treat.  Our high-speed luxury train left from St. Pancreas Station in London (Be sure to check your ticket as some trains depart from Victoria Station).  Just like on a plane trip, seats are assigned.  I sighed with relief at this. Anyone who has done the NYC to Washington, DC Amtrak trip knows what it is like to be hurling themselves through Penn Station like Flo Jo in the attempt to get a decent seat.  But I digress.

At the train station, we had our bags scanned.  I had  my camera bag and the kids had backpacks with snacks and their DS.  We were also “wanded” before boarding and had our passports checked.  We were greeted by Eurorail’s professional and kind staff. Our train left at 5:45 am so the kids were still quite groggy.  Our upholstered seats were roomy and plush.  We were immediately offered coffee or tea and the kids given hot chocolate.  There were magazines and newspapers available for us to read. (Most were in French – this is when I wished I had paid more attention in my high school French class.)  We were also given a continental style breakfast with real silverware.  We left on time and arrived on time at Paris’ Gare du Nord Station.

©waterwinetravel.com Heading to Paris on Eurorail

We decided to head for the Eiffel Tower using the metro.   Paris subways are old but safe. One word of advice, if you are using subway tickets, hold on them.  Years ago, I got a citation, even though I had paid the fare, for failing to produce my ticket for inspection.  We were stopped again by the subway “police” but this time I was ready for them.

Unfortunately, when we got to the Eiffel tower the crowd was HUGE.

©waterwinetravel.com Eiffel Tower

©waterwinetravel.com Massive crowd in line at the Eiffel Tower

I had visited Paris before in the fall and had leisurely walked up the structure.  We all decided the wait, likely hours, was not worth it.   We took lots of photos, had a picnic in the park next to the tower and decided to take a city bus tour. Another great idea for a day trip in Paris (suggested by my twitter buddy @toeuropewithkids) is a  Seine river cruise.  We ended our day with a late lunch and shopping along the famous Champs-Élysées.

©waterwinetravel.com Cruise the Seine

©waterwinetravel.com Paris City Bus Tour

©waterwinetravel.com Shopping along the Champs-Élysées

We had a great day in Paris. The weather was great, sunshine and temperatures in the ’80s.  On my last visit to Paris, some 20+ years ago, I found the French to be a rude and harsh bunch.  Everyone seemed to be in need of a bath and a smile.  In addition to getting that ticket in the subway, I was accused of being a hooker. Yep, I was medical student at the time, definitely not dressed inappropriately … but what else would a black girl being doing in Paris?  This time around I was impressed by how polite and friendly Parisians were. (Perhaps, this is the effect of international Obama-love?)  I did not pick up any “attitude” because I couldn’t speak french.  People seemed particularly kind to our kids.  My daughter forgot her purse at a restroom at the Eiffel Tower.  We came back an hour later and the attendant had it tucked safely  away for us – all contents intact.

We headed back to London on the 6:30 pm Eurorail train and had dinner on board complete with French bread and wine.  So if you are heading to Europe, take my advice and put Paris on your list. If you’ve been to the city of lights, let me know your favorite sites below in the comments section.


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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Monica

    Thanks for the advice. We are traveling soon and I wanted Pais on our list, but the train fare was a little steep. I just found decent fares on Eurorail.
    Sounds like you had a wonderful time.
    Any other suggestions on what to do or see in London or Paris?

  • Ann

    Monica – If you want to put a little soul in your vacay – check out Brixton in London – the center of Black/Caribbean/Multicultural Life in London. Also we loved Greenwich and my kids picked out their five favorite things to do in London in an earlier post.

    We were only in Paris for a day. You must go to The Eiffel Tower if you can bear the crowds. We hoped on one of those double decker tour buses in Paris. It gave a good tour of the City and we were able to do some shopping along the Champs de Elysee. There are tons of great museums in great food in Paris – stay a few days if you can.


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