Last month I went to London with my best friend from college for a long overdue girls trip (more on that trip later). We decided that if we were leaving our 5 children behind and traveling halfway across the world then we might as well see as much as possible. She had never been to Paris and I hadn’t been in over 10 years so we booked the train for a quick day trip. Paris is the first place I ever traveled internationally and the only city abroad I have visited multiple times. From my first visit, I fell in love with the language, the architecture, the art, the fashion and especially the food. I could stay for a month wandering the streets, browsing the shops, trolling for antiques and stuffing my face full of Parisian cuisine. One day in Paris is never enough but if you’re wanting to squeeze it in during a European trip here is an overview of what we did, where we ate and what I would recommend!
Paris Trip Day 1:
Day Trip to Paris from London
We arrived at the Eurostar St Pancras in London for our train to Paris which left promptly at 8:19 am. After my experience with the Eurostar, I’ve decided I could (and would) train hop through Europe in a heartbeat! It was effortless and easy, and I was amazed by the efficiency of the whole process.
We checked in, cleared security, and within about 10 minutes were waiting on the platform for departure. Once our train pulled into the station, we found our way to our seats, and even though our cab was the lowest price point, I was very impressed with how nice it was! The seats were comfortable leather, with fold-down tables similar to an airplane (but much roomier). There are also concessions and bars between the cabs where you can purchase champagne, sodas, sandwiches, snacks, coffee, etc., or just stretch your legs. There is even wifi onboard, which allowed me to get some work done and send love to Zach and the kids before our busy day in Paris. It was admittedly hard to work, though, with the beautiful views out the window next to me. I sat watching the English countryside fade into France!
I will say, I was extremely nervous about the part of the ride where the train travels through a tunnel under the ocean, but it really wasn’t bad at all. You actually go into a tunnel while above ground that eventually continues underwater and back out again, so I barely even noticed being 75 meters below sea level (plus, it only lasted 20 minutes or so).
Grand Hotel du Palais Royal
We arrived in Paris around 11:45 am, hailed a cab, and headed to our hotel to check in. We were only in Paris for one night, but I so wish we had longer because I would have loved to spend more time at our hotel, the Grand Hotel du Palais Royal. The hotel overlooks the Palais Royal Garden, and is just steps from the Louvre Museum, the Comdie Francaise Theater, rue Saint-Honor, and the Tuileries Gardens. It’s in the most gorgeous neighborhood and boasts a modern, refined interior space. I’ve also heard the spa is awesome, but sadly we didn’t have the chance to try it. I guess we’ll just have to go back!!
Lunch in Paris
Next, we took a quick walk down the block to lunch at Cafe Blanc, where we indulged in the first of many Charcuterie boards and a glass of rose. We also shared a delicious Ceasar salad with fresh parmesan!
Sightseeing Spots to Hit on Your Day Trip
Our lunch spot was just a walk away from the Louvre, so we ventured there next. Then, we headed to Musee D’Orsay with a quick stop at Notre Dam. At Musee D’Orsay we saw the works of Van Gogh, Monet, & Rembrant (the impressionists’ exhibit is always my fav). I would recommend buying your tickets on your phone the day you want to explore the Paris museums, so you can skip the lines once you arrive. I also recommend looking up the exhibits ahead of time so you can head straight to what you want to see. I’m not the type that wants to stroll endlessly for hours in a museum, can you tell?! At Musee D’Orsay make sure you catch the view from the balcony right before the impressionist exhibit, it’s one you won’t want to miss!
After our museum viewing, we climbed the steps of the Arc de Triomphe, walked down the Champs-Elysees, window shopped at Cartier, and made a quick stop into the world’s largest Sephora to pick up some goodies.
After our brief shopping stint, we stopped at the Palais Royal for a quick (but necessary) photo opp before heading to our hotel to change for dinner. I’ve seen so many photos on these black and white pedestals, so I knew I had to have one of my own during my trip to Paris!
After freshening up, we enjoyed a lovely dinner outside at Monsieur Bleu near the Eiffel Tower. I felt like we got the full Parisian experience dining there – the environment was elegant, dreamy, and chic, and our food was delicious! We then ended the evening on the rooftop of the Peninsula watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle.
Day 2 of Our Paris Trip:
Breakfast and Exploring Paris
Onto our second, but short day in our 24-hour Paris trip! We started the day early by exploring Montemarte, which is the neighborhood in Paris that houses the Basilica Savre-Coeur and Gardens. We grabbed croissants and coffee at Artists Square, and used our morning to roam around, browse the artisan goods, and gawk over the cutest cafes and shops you’ve ever seen. I could’ve honestly spent the whole day (or several) wandering the streets of Montemarte, it’s exactly what you think of when you think Parisian neighborhood!
We got caught in a rainstorm after walking around for a while, so we had to shift our plans a bit. We had hoped to visit the Luxumborg Palace and Gardens and Tuileries, but in an effort to escape the rain, we killed some time shopping at Le BHV Marais. I discovered some awesome brands while I was there (always on the lookout) including Mage, Sandro and Ba&sh, as well as Petitie Bateau and Cadet Rouselle for little ones. I picked up the cutest tea sets and dolls to take home to the girls, which they loved! Le Marais is definitely best place for shopping in Paris, and I really wanted to get another Polene at their store but alas, they were closed on Monday. In fact, a lot of places in Paris were closed on Monday so if I ever planned another quick day trip I would make sure to plan around that!
After that, we enjoyed lunch at Cafe de Flore before catching the train back to London. Even though we missed a couple of to-do’s this day because of the rain, we still had a great time and made the most of our 24-hour trip to Paris. I am already planning my next trip back!
PARIS THINGS TO DO:
It only seems appropriate that I compile a complete list of all the Paris recommendations I’ve received, so you can plan your own trip! If you’ve traveled to Paris before and have suggestions that aren’t already on this list, do let me know in the comments.
Where to Stay:
Where to Eat:
Cafe De Flore (lunch or brunch)
Les Deux Magots
Drinks at the Peninsula
Cafe Le Bonaparte
Hotel Costes Terrace
Le Grand Colbert
Le Loir dans La Theiere
Cafe le Jardin Du Petit Palais
La Fontaine de Mars
Cafe des Musees
Chez Papa (for live jazz!)
What to Do:
Arc de Triomphe
Louvre (just go and see)
Le Palais Royal
Paris flower market
Le Jardin du Luxembourg
Le Jardin du Tuileries
Marche des Enfants Rouges
Shopping in Le Marais
Explore Saint Germain, Montmarte, Parc Monceau, or 1 Arr
Musee Gustave Moreau
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