Europe’s train systems are amazing compared to those in the United States. High speed trains connect big cities making it possible to explore so much more. The chunnel (the tunnel that runs under the English Channel connecting the UK with continental Europe) connects London to Paris and it’s high speed trains can make the trip in 2 hours.
When we first planned out our Scotland and England trip, Paris was not on the radar but BC had never been to Paris and I hadn’t been there in over 10 years. Honestly, I didn’t love Paris when I was there the first time but every place deserves a second chance, right? Plus, I love food and Paris is a food city for sure.
The plan was to do Paris in a day. Our train left London’s St. Pancras Station at the ungodly hour of 6am and left Paris around 10pm for the ride back to London. All in all, it turned out to be a really fun day of adventures.
Street-side stand selling lobster, crab, oysters and more:
The plan was to get to Paris and hustle to the Louvre to catch a hop-on, hop-off bus to tour the city. The cab line was an hour wait so we ended up walking which was awesome. We saw French people get road rage, a tiny bus/motorcycle accident (everyone was okay but there was a lot of yelling), lots of delicious bakeries, and got a good feel for Paris.
At the Louvre we explored outside. BC does not like art museums particularly so we skipped seeing the Mona Lisa in a room surrounded by a couple hundred tourists (seriously, it is a zoo in there). The hop-on/hop-off bus took us around the city but we did hop off a few times- once to stroll down the Champs Elysees.
My nose took me to a crepe cart and ordered a cheese crepe. This was my favorite thing I ate the whole trip! And it costs about 2 Euro. Score!
Both BC and I made yummy noises all the way to the Arc de Triomphe.
The weather didn’t totally cooperate with our plans to explore Paris. It spat rain off and on most of the morning and early afternoon. I knew we were going into Notre Dame de Paris, so that was our next stop.
Notre Dame is free to get in but donations are welcome. There was a service going on as we wandered along the perimeter with the other tourists.
While inside Notre Dame the weather cleared so a sidewalk café glass of wine was necessary. When in Paris, do as the French do- except for the cigarette smoking part. yuck! We found a little spot sort of near the Eiffel Tower to chill for a bit and rest our feet.
My only goal for the day was to see Sacre Coeur, an amazing church overlooking Paris. I didn’t see it my last time in town so I was eager to see something new. Of course our hop-on/hop-off bus was supposed to take us there but due to traffic they just decided not to without letting anyone know. Some people are a fan of these buses but I am not one of them!
We then had to take a 20 Euro taxi to Sacre Coeur in order to get there and then to the French restaurant my friend who used to live in Paris recommended. The traffic was horrendous and we ended up having to cancel our dinner reservations because we would never make it in time. But Sacre Coeur was worth it! And the little neighborhood it is located in was adorable.
I snuck a picture on the inside.
Sit on the steps outside Sacre Coeur to rest and take in the view of Paris. Some business-minded people walk around selling Heineken by the bottle.
We purchased macroons, a Paris magnet for the fridge (the only souvenir I buy), and wandered the streets near Sacre Coeur searching for WIFI to research a good place for dinner. Starbucks WIFI never lets me down!
Yelp and Google led us to nearby Le Consulat for a real French dinner.
We feasted on a cheese plate, escargot, steak, and wine of course.
Andrea had a happy belly after this!
Alas, our time in Paris was coming to an end. We ended up walking back to the Paris du Nord train station, which was good after our delicious dinner! We hit 20,000 steps on our Paris explorations.
Our day in Paris was not without a few hiccups but it was fun to explore a great city and eat it’s great food.
Reader Question: Hop-on/hop-off buses- yay or nay?