A day in Paris or a week in Paris. I love it all. Rain or shine. Anytime of year. Every season has certain perks. For us we visited for the day in the winter. I’ve been to Paris a few times so when I found out we were vacationing in London to be with family for Christmas naturally I wanted to take my girls to Paris for the day. I’ve never been on the Eurostar before so I was excited about that.
At 8 a.m. in London we arrived at the St. Pancras train station where we would take the Eurostar to Paris. Security was a breeze but also very tight. I had a tiny sample of perfume in my pocket with just a few drops left that I had forgot about and security found it. I’m always accidentally getting in trouble at security. We sat together in a group of four seats with a table between us and had a large picture window. A light complimentary breakfast was served to us. A croissant with butter and jam, with yogurt, tea, and coffee.
I love to look at the French countryside and daydream. The people. The villages and houses. I imagine what life is like for them. I think my daughter Ashley was doing this as well.
A little over 2 hours later we arrived at Gare du Nord, the train station in Paris. Then immediately grabbed a taxi and said “Bonjour, La Tour Eiffel S’il vous plait!”
You will never forget the first time you see the Eiffel Tower. To me it was the equivalent of seeing a major movie star. Every time it takes my breath away. “Wow, it’s a lot bigger than I thought it would be” Ashley said.
My opinion on the Eiffel Tower is this: if your short on time, skip going up. The lines are long, it’s extremely windy up there, and unless your in the middle of the summer it’s usually pretty cold up there. Plus, I like to see the Eiffel Tower and once your on it you can’t see it anymore.
A better option if your short on time or on a tight budget is just to walk around the beautiful grounds, take lots of photos. The Eiffel Tower is stunning day or night and from every angle! You can take in the full experience from the ground.
After about a billion photos we crossed the Seine River and walked up to the Place du Trocadéro. Again you will find stunning views of the Eiffel Tower and it’s the perfect spot to take a photo from afar.
We continued on and stopped for a quick bite of French onion soup where my daughter, Haley, tested out her French speaking skills and passed. When you’re in a heavy tourist area it’s common to be greeted in French then the servers begin speaking English to you. Like, “Bonjour, would you like a table for four”? I’ve noticed this on several trips. Not always, but often. This can be a relief to some or a downer if your wanting to practice your French. Our waiter knew we were American and was very kind & patient with Haley as she ordered our lunch for us. He even complimented her French skills.
If you love French onion soup in America, have it in Paris on a cold wintery day and it will be 10,000 times better.
￼After our quick lunch we carelessly wandered the beautiful streets in awe. Taking in the architecture before finding our next activity. We walked by a park, watching and listening to tiny little french kids run and play. “I only want kids if they speak French and sound like that.” Haley said.
We decided to skip taking the metro around town, every moment needed to be visual, even transportation. Paris has many open top tour busses but on my first visit our hotel concierge told us L’Open Tour was the best, so I’ve stuck with it. You receive a map of their stops and earbuds to plug in where you can learn a bit about what your seeing.
Even though it was cold we bundled up and headed to the top. L’Open Tour has several routes to fit your sight seeing needs. With lots of stops you can hop on or off when ever you feel the urge.
￼After a while we decided to walk along the Champs-Élysées. Here you will find a long stretch of shopping and restaurants. We stopped at the flagship store of Louis Vuitton. Every time in Paris I must go up and down all the levels of Louis Vuitton. I like to point out everything I want for my birthday and my husband, Brian, pretends he can’t hear me.
Getting a bit hungry, we headed to Ladurée. Anyone who knows me well knows I have a serious addiction to macarons. Ladurée is truly one of best.
We went upstairs in a gorgeous dining room where we had tea and macarons. They have a great selection of teas here. We choose the Marie Antionette tea of course. With a blend of black tea, honey, jasmine, rose and hints of citrus, it’s one of the best teas I’ve ever tried. I feel like a queen as I sip it.
After our tea and macarons we continued walking along the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe.
The monument was built for those who fought and died in the French Revolution. Its large powerful size surprises me every time I see it. You can go to the top, but again being short on time we skipped this. You can walk underneath and around it for free. If I had to choose I think I prefer going to the top of the Arc de Triomphe over the Eiffel Tower. It’s just my preference. We walked around taking in all the views and hopped back on our green tour bus for more sight seeing.
￼After a little more time on our open top bus the weather seemed to be getting colder. With our faces completely numb and frozen we decided to pop into a cafe and warm up. I don’t always drink beer but when I’m in France you can bet your hiney I’m having a 1664.
It’s a light refreshing beer and it tastes like butter and croissants to me. A total win. Even though a cold beer isn’t exactly warming us up Brian totally approves ￼of our decision to stop.
By evening we had just enough time to walk around Notre Dame. On our way we stopped at the very stunning St. Michel fountain.
The skies were dark and Notre Dame Cathedral was beautifully lit up by its bright lights. It was starting to mist which was bad for my hair but perfect for the ambiance. With the sound of the church bells playing it was a magical moment. We just stared in silence, taking in the stunning architecture and all of Gods glory. Ashley was even moved to tears.
Nearly out of time we spent our last few moments walking along the Seine River before we said good bye. We then hopped into a taxi and were back to Gare du Nord where we waited for our train.
At the train station there are a few lovely shops to purchase any last minute Parisian items. My girls and I had to purchase even more macaroons. We weren’t sugar sick enough and who knows when we would visit Paris again. When in Paris stuff your face with macarons, then you pray your pants fit the rest of the trip.
The green macarons are always my favorite!
Mid journey we decided to explore the train and found ourselves drawn to the beverage car. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I guess I thought it would have velvet curtains, rich mahogany wood, and a piano player. Nope, just a tiny cafeteria counter with wine, beer and snacks. It was better then sitting bored at my seat though.
Once our train arrived back in London we were starving and desperate for food. Just a few steps from the St. Pancras train station we found a fabulous restaurant called The German Gymnasium. I highly recommend it.
If you’re planning a day trip to Paris from London, or just a trip to Paris in general I hope you found this article of some use! Maybe your not planning a trip but you’re like me and just love reading and hearing about Paris. Thanks for reading! Au revoir!