I’ve had the pleasure of visiting London and Paris not once but twice. So it was only right that I share the perfect London and Paris weekend itinerary. In this post I’m sharing the best ways to maximize your weekend trip to London and Paris.
Both times I’ve traveled to Europe I’ve taken an evening flight leaving JFK with Delta Airlines. Unfortunately, the aircraft isn’t huge but for me it does the job. I highly suggest taking an overnight flight dropping your baggage at your hotel and starting your day early to maximize the day.
I suggest flying to Heathrow Airport which is located west of Central London.You can also fly into the Gatwick airport but it will take you longer to get into Central London.
You can travel between Heathrow Airport and Central London by train, Tube, taxi, coach or the local bus. I usually check city mapper to find the cheapest and quickest route.
The quickest way via public transportation is the Heathrow Express to London Paddington which will take 15 – 20 minutes. But it can cost $30.00 each way. The cheapest way is taking the Piccadilly line to Paddington Station and transferring to another train. If you have lots of luggage I suggest taking the Heathrow Express to Paddington station and catching a taxi to your destination.
I find the London Underground System very reliable and there is usually an agent at every station to assist you. The tube (train) fare depends on how far you travel, the time of day, and whether you use a single fare, paper ticket, or payment card.
The cheapest way to pay for your tube journey is with an Oyster card or contactless payments. Yes, you heard me right contactless payments. This is my preferred method since I don’t have to reach for my wallet when I’m entering or exiting the station. I highly suggest downloading tube map which works online and offline to help you navigate your journey.
Where to stay:
On my first stay in London which I booked through trip masters, I stayed at a boutique hotel in the Westminster section of Central London, The Belgrave Hotel. This hotel was close to the Pimlico Underground Station and offered free breakfast.
On my second visit, I stayed at the Canopy by Hilton London City which just recently opened a few months ago. As an American Express Platinum card member, I wanted to ensure I maximized my benefits by booking through American Express Travel. I get 5 times points and get upgraded to Hilton Honors gold status in addition to receiving a $100.00 credit, daily breakfast, and an upgraded room upon arrival. But there is a minimum two-night stay. The service, location, food and aesthetic of the hotel was everything to me. I highly suggest staying here.
The hotel is located in London’s home to the financial district East End. Across from Aldgate tube station, 1 stop to Liverpool Street Station and Tower Hill. The location was perfect for me since it was close to the tube and there were a few shops nearby. The room included was very spacious and included a walk-in shower, mini-fridge, and free WiFi. There’s also a Nespresso machine and electric tea kettle.
Where to Eat:
London reminds me so much of New York with the eateries. Here’s a few locations I suggest worth checking out.
- Surf and Turf Bottomless Brunch at the Exhibit
- Lunch or dinner at the rooftop ristorante Alto by San Carlo atop of the world’s prestigious department store Selfridges.
- Have a Caribbean Cusine meal in Notting Hill at Cottons Restaurant or Check out The Rum Kitchen in Brixton.
Things to Do:
- I suggest checking out Travel Zoo for deals before booking on any site.
- Book a photoshoot through an Airbnb experience.
- Visit the Tower Bridge exhibition
- Have High tea at the Tower Hotel
- Visit the Tate Modern Museum or The National Gallery
- Take a ride on the Emirates Cable Car where you can view enjoy beautiful views of the Thames, London’s skyline, the Greenwich Peninsula, the Royal Docks and The O2.
- Book an igloo at the Tower Bridge Coppa Club and have a drink or bite
Traveling from the United Kingdom to France
The easiest way to travel from London to Paris is train but it’s not the cheapest. It takes approximately 2 hours to get from London to Paris via train. The Eurostar leaves from London St Pancras into the heart of Paris at Gare du Nord station. All the passport checks are done before you leave London. The Métro and RER trains make it convenient to get to Paris and check out top museums and galleries where your Eurostar ticket gives you 2 for 1 entry. I prefer taking the train instead of catching a flight since the security at the airport can be very time consuming. Please be sure to book your ticket months in advance to get the best deal.
The other option is by plane. On my my most recent trip I took this option, I flew with Air France and managed to get a round trip last minute for $150.00. Although the flight was only 1 hour and 15 minutes on my way back from Paris at the CDG airport the line for security was very long and upon my arrival the line to purchase a ticket for the Metro was also quite long and the train got very packed to head Paris.The RER B line is a direct rail link between Paris (Denfert-Rochereau, Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame, Châtelet-Les-Halles, Gare du Nord) and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. The fare is approximately $11.00 dollars. If your traveling light you should be fine but if you have a lot of luggage I don’t recommend the metro you should probably take the Roissy Bus. The RoissyBus shuttle provides a direct link between Paris (Paris-Opéra in 60 minutes) and Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport.
I find the public transportation system in Paris much more difficult and crowded than in London. I highly suggest checking out this transport guide to help you navigate through Paris.
Although the he Métro is the cheapest, easiest and fastest way to get around Paris there are 16 metro lines and some 300 metro stations; the entrance is indicated by a large yellow letter ‘M’. To find your metro or RER platform, follow signs displaying its colour code and number (metro) or letter (RER) as well as its direction of travel. Once you are on the platform, displays will show the wait time for the next trains, as well as a reminder of the direction in which the train is going. The Metro tickets cost € 1.90 each. There is no card just tickets to get on the Metro.
The RER train network consists of 5 lines that serve Paris and the Paris region (Ile-de-France). Within Paris, the RER operates in more or less the same way as the metro, except that you need to put your ticket through the automatic barriers a second time on the way out. If your RER station has a connection with the metro, you can use the same ticket for the whole journey. You must insert your ticket to enter and exit the station. If you lose your ticket you can’t get out. I experienced this and I had to wait for an agent to let me out. I highly suggest booking your tickets in advance the tickets can be delivered to your home or hotel. The line to purchase tickets is always very long and the stations are very congested.
Uber is another option but it’s costly and there is tons of traffic in Paris so I do not suggest.
Where to stay:
You most definitely want to stay near the Eiffel Tower. Although, I didn’t stay overnight on this trip on my previous trip stayed at Val Girard Hotel. This hotel is located in the heart of the Vaugirard area, between the exhibition centre at the Porte de Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, and Montparnasse. It is near the Vaugirard’ metro station. The rooms are not very spacious and the elevator was tiny but it worked for me. Some rooms have a private balcony, with a view of the Eiffel Tower. They offer a full buffet breakfast is served daily and from what I recall there are a few shops nearby and Starbucks.
On my next visit I’m hoping to stay at the Canopy By Hilton Paris Trocadero. The Eiffel Tower is a kilometer away and less than 10 minutes from the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysees, and Bois de Boulogne. You can enjoy all-day dining at their restaurant, free WiFi and the star of the show is the rooftop terrace and bar that overlooks the Eiffel Tower.
Things to do:
- Visit the Louvre Museum
- Check out the Eiffel Tower. I highly suggest getting tickets to visit the top of the tower and try to go in the evening to check out the light show, the Eiffel Tower is adorned with its golden covering and sparkles for 5 minutes every hour on the hour. If you choose not to go up to the tower you can have a picnic at Champs de Mars and grab a few things from local shops.
- Take a bauteux Parisian Sight Seeing Cruise
- Take a walk down Champs-Élysées and check out the shops and to the top of Arc de Triomphe
- Check out the newly renovated iconic Dior Flagship store on Avenue Montaigne.
- Go shopping on Rue Saint-Honoré. There are tons of luxury shops here and it’s less crowded than Champs-Élysées
Where to eat:
- Grab a bite at Girafe restaurant which offers gourmet seafood dishes in an upscale restaurant with a terrace & Eiffel Tower views. Be sure to make reservations weeks in advance since the spot is very popular.
- You can also grab a coffee or salad at Cafe Mollien . This cafe has an outdoor terrace with pyramid views of the Louvre. Some people say it’s a bit pricey but for the view I think it’s worth it.
- Have lunch at the legendary Cafe de Flore or Pink Mama