A Day Trip To Paris With TripAdvisor
Did you know you can book tickets to attractions, tours, and experiences with TripAdvisor?
So everyone knows you can read reviews from real people on TripAdvisor in relation to accommodation, it’s a great way of researching your next trip, but did you know that you can book tours, attractions and experiences through TripAdvisor and check out reviews on them as well?
So… ever get that feeling when you just want to do something unexpected, something totally different, random and spare of the moment but your struggling a little for inspiration? This was the situation we found ourselves in recently. Work had been grinding us down a little and my fiancee and I had a day off together for the first time in what seemed like forever and really wanted to make the most of it and do something special. The TripAdvisor App on my Iphone is always my first port of call in these situations. We were in London at the time and I knew we only really had the day so we weren’t going to be able to travel far, I went for the “Things To Do” section which lead me to day trips and excursions…awesome!
Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Bath, Oxford, Cotswolds, Leeds Castle, Downton Abbey, Canterbury…wow…this was the sort of inspiration I needed! I scrolled a little further…Paris rail day trip from London? Yes! This was literally perfect, the first place we ever travelled to together, one of our favourite places, on the Eurostar as well which neither of us had ever done before. I wanted to be sure that this was going to be as smooth as possible so checked out the reviews. This isn’t something you can always do when booking tours or tickets to attractions, a huge positive with TripAdvisor, reviews from real people, some people had given some tips about the trip in their reviews as well which we found really helpful and reassuring.
So we would meet our tour rep early in the morning at London St Pancras to collect our tickets ready to catch one of the first trains of the day to Paris, a journey which only takes around two and a half hours. Then we had the option of an independent tour or a guided tour. We opted to go independently where you could make use of the hop on hop off city bus tours and Metro tickets were included for convenience. We would then be getting the last Eurostar train back to London. What made things even easier was that I could book the trip directly through TripAdvisor. You can find the tour here.
I do always like to double check that I’m not having the wool pulled over my eyes when I book trips like this though, so I checked the Eurostar website to make sure that I couldn’t book the trip myself independently cheaper…it turned out that the return trip alone without any of the extras on their own website was more expensive than booking the whole trip through TripAdvisor, this confused me slightly but made the decision even easier! I went ahead and booked it and broke the news to my fiancee…we were so excited…”We’re going to Paris!”
Before leaving I wanted to make some plans for our day in Paris, again I turned to the things to do section of the TripAdvisor App, the first entry for the top things to do in Paris was the Musee d’Orsay somewhere we had never been to. I also wanted to go for a special meal experience some of the legendary French Cuisine. I found out about a restaurant called Les Ombres which has a terrace with what looked like an incredible view of the Eiffel Tower. The reviews sounded good and I could book a table through TripAdvisor too, when I booked a table I left a message asking for a table with a view of the Tower the day before our arrival I received a call from the restaurant confirming everything…I could not have asked for more!
Everything went as smoothly as possible, we met our rep exactly where they said they would be at St Pancras, we had seats together on the train, our metro tickets were in with the pack we were given. Perfect.
When we arrived in Paris we went to take in the view of the Eiffel Tower from The Trocadero, something we had been told about but had never experienced for ourselves, it is probably the best place to get a view of the tower from (see the first pic of the post!), despite the crowds it has quite a serene feeling there.
The Jaw Dropping Musee d’Orsay
The Musee d’Orsay blew my mind, it is my new favourite gallery. The architecture alone left me staring open mouthed! Located on the left bank of the Seine the Musee d’Orsay is housed in an old train station, the Gare d’Orsay built between 1898 and 1900, it is a really spectacular place to explore, the light is amazing and there are some really quirky things to discover. I particularly enjoyed looking out through the huge station clocks facing out towards Paris!
Inside the museum are some of the most fascinating impressionist masterpieces. Works of art by Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh and Degas amongst many many others. Legendary artists, legendary pieces, the Musee d’Orsay is a must visit.
There is something which brings a smile to your face when you see these famous works of art for real in front of you, I’m no art buff, but there is something really enjoyable about it for me and for some reason it brings a smile to my face. You an see pictures and prints of these pieces anywhere but to see them with your own eyes, it kind of makes you realise why they are so well known.
There is a lovely cafe/restaurant inside the museum which also has a terrace where you can go out and take in the view of the Louvre across the river, this was a museum which was really great fun and while we were there did not have the crowds which flock to the Louvre.
A Meal With A View at Les Ombres!
Les Ombres Restaurant is on the top floor of the Musee du Quai Branly, it is an experience I will ever forget.
Dining with this incredible view was amazing, I had to pinch myself! There was a time when I would have thought that this kind of thing was only possible for the rich and the famous!
The view alone makes it worth the trip but the food was absolutely delicious. We both had a starter and a main course from the lunch prix fixe menu, which I thought was really good value at 38 Euros each considering where we were and the quality of the food.
The service was first class, friendly staff who were more than willing to oblige helping out with photographs…they must be experts in photography by now!
To cap off our day in Paris we decided on another first for us and did a bit of browsing (and spending!) in Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann. I don’t think I have ever been to a shop where the building has such a wow factor! I spent as much time staring upwards at the incredible glass dome roof as I did looking at the (pretty pricey) stock!
We took in one last whimsical view of the Eiffel Tower across the roof tops of Paris from the stylish cocktail bar on the terrace on top of Galeries Lafayette then unfortunately it was time for us to make our way back to Gare du Nord in time to catch the last Eurostar train back to London.
Despite only being in Paris for one day, the timings of the trains and the fact we had metro tickets included in the tour meant we really were able to make the most of our time in what is one of our favourite places to visit in the world. We were able to take in some amazing new experiences and had loads of fun.
I remember going to Paris the first couple of times, there is so much to see and do, so many famous sights which you want to see with your own eyes it can almost make you feel under pressure to get everything done, almost a little daunting, the same can be said for many great cities around the world. The third, fourth, fifth and sixth times we have been back to Paris though, when we have just enjoyed the experience of being there, I think we have fallen in love with the city a little more each time.
TripAdvisor proved to be a brilliant way of booking our day trip to Paris. From the very beginning… getting inspiration for things to do for our day together, planning our trip, booking it, and then helping us enjoy our time whilst we were there. Next time I am planning on visiting an attraction, taking a tour, or looking for something to do in our spare time TripAdvisor, as always, will be my first port of call!
Low Price Guarantee
Something I didn’t know about booking things to do with TripAdvisor is that they offer a low price guarantee. If you find a lower price for the same tour or activity within 72 hours of booking, or if you arrive in your destination and find your activity offered at a lower price by their operator, let them know and they refund the price difference! Awesome!
My Travel Mission received support from TripAdvisor for this tour but as always all opinions are my own.