Travel: A day trip to Paris from London on a budget

Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget

PARIS, the capital of France is only a 2hr train ride via Eurostar from London St. Pancras or a short 45mins flight from London Stansted or Gatwick. However, train tickets and flights can cost you an arm and a leg if you don’t book far enough in advance. But fear ye not, because I’m going to tell you how you can visit Paris on a budget AND do it in a day (Well, sort of – I’ll explain later)… Happy days!

How to travel to Paris cheap

If you really want to travel to Paris the cheapest way possible, it would be by coach. But for that dirt cheap price comes the compromise – time. The journey is approximately 7-9hrs and depending on which coach company you go with, you can either arrive close to the centre of Paris, the airports or the suburbs of Paris.

This is why I previously wrote “sort of” for doing Paris in a day. If you want to be able to explore Paris in a day, you’ll need a night coach journey so you’ll arrive in Paris early in the morning allowing you to have all day to explore the city.

Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget

The main coach companies taking you to Paris from London are Eurolines, Flixbus and Ouibus. Coach tickets will set you back £11-15 one way and if you’re lucky, you might even find a next day return ticket for as little as £18! Now take that into consideration to a £49+ one way Eurostar ticket. However, saying this… IT IS POSSIBLE to travel to Paris from London cheaply on the Eurostar if you book during their promotion sale. These start from just £29pp one way which is amazingly cheap plus, it’s the quickest way to get to Paris.

When my sister and I went on our impromptu day trip to Paris from London, we took a night coach and arrived early morning. We spent all morning and afternoon exploring and sightseeing then caught an evening coach back home. We spent around £100 each for our day trip which included a few Uber rides in between. I bought a lot of dry food to bring back home with me so that added to our expenditure however it is possible to eat cheap, skip the hotel and save your money for the attractions and museums.

Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget

How to get around the city

The easiest and cheapest way to get around the city is by metro (underground). It’s fast, frequent and pretty reliable. Just like London travel, you’ll need a ticket to get around – a day pass is the cheapest at 12EUR but they also offer 3, 5 and 7 days pass. The main parts of Paris are within zones 1-3 but if you need to get to the airports (CDG and Orly) or Disneyland this will be outside of the zones and you’ll need a separate ticket for this. If I’m not wrong, you can buy an extension which can be added onto your current pass.

The Greenwich Mummy | A day trip to Paris from London on a budget
The Tariff map for zones 1-3 / Credit: Paris Visite RATP
What to see and do in Paris

Just like London, there are LOTS to do and see in Paris. However with only a day to spare and doing it on a budget won’t be easy so your planning skills need to be on point here. Research beforehand on Google maps all of the main attractions you’re interested in and see where they are located and how close they are to each other. Below are some great touristy places to see. I’ve included all of these locations in the Google Maps, just click on the markers to view them.

For a day trip, visiting 4-5 attractions should be enough to satisfy your wanderlust without burning you out and still leave you with time to relax and have something to eat and drink. Check admission prices online to make sure you stick to your budget. Alternatively, skip entry and make up for it with lots of photos instead.

Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget
Sacré Coeur
Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget
L’Arc de Triomphe
Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget
Louvre Museum
Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget
Eiffel Tower
Main attractions:
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Louvre museum
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Champs Élysée
  • Musée d’Orsay
  • Sacré Coeur
  • Montmartre
  • River Seine
  • Montparnasse
  • The Catacombs of Paris
  • Pompidou Centre
  • Grand Palais
  • Palace of Versailles*
  • Disneyland Paris*

*ONLY if you decide to make them your only attraction to visit in Paris.

Tickets to Paris museums are free if you are a child under 18 or a student under 25.
One weekend a month, the museums do offer free entry to everyone but this varies from museum to museum so check out their admissions/tickets page for more details.

Another fantastic way of seeing many attractions in one go is to go on a walking tour.

‘Free’ Paris walking tours

You basically pay as much or as little as you like. Some are completely free and you can just tip instead. My sister and I did a free Montmartre walking tour which was a great way to see the area and learn some cool facts along the way. Ours was a tip-only tour so we tipped our guy €5-10 for his time.


Check out the sites below for free walking tours:

New Europe ToursFree Tour – Discover Walks – Free Tours By Foot

Top tip: make sure you wear comfortable trainers or walking shoes when embarking on a walking tour as they can range from 1-3 hours


Where to eat in Paris

Just like London, there’s all different cuisines for you to try from in Paris. The Independent online compiled this list of the best cheap eateries in Paris with main dishes coming in less than €10 it’s a win-win situation.

Top tip: AVOID the restaurants opposite the Eurostar Gare du Nord station because not only is it severely over-priced, the food is absolutely terrible! I made the mistake of eating there once and spent over 60EUR for our family of four and the food was terrible! We would’ve been better going to the McDonalds also on the same row of restaurants.

Not sure what to order?
Try some French classics; order an onion soup for your starter or a creme brulee for your dessert. If you’re feeling really brave, why not try their delicacy of snails… let me know how that one goes! Paris is well known for their pastries so head to a café and order something sweet, team it up with a hot drink like a latte = café au lait (“kaffay-aw-lay”), hot chocolate = chocolat chaud (“shoh-koh-lah-shaw”). If you fancy something stronger, ladies would usually order a red wine = vin rouge (“van-roozj”) or a white wine = vin blanc (“van-blohn”) and men typically a beer = bierre (“bee-air”).

If you have some cash to splash, buy a box of delicious Ladurée macarons. The macarons come in many flavours and colours and the box packaging is to die for!

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I was craving some home cooking and headed out to a local-looking Vietnamese cafe in Choissy and ordered traditional dishes. The starter was around €4-5 and main was between €9-13. I spoke to the staff in Vietnamese (which was nice) and funnily enough it felt really comfortable like being at home. I think most Vietnamese cafes in this district are family-owned which is nice because there are so many chains and franchises nowadays it’s nice to support small and local businesses.

Where to stay in Paris

If you want to stay in Paris on a budget, the best option (if you don’t mind sharing) is a hostel. Unless you have a lot of cash to splash, most hotels in Paris are budget hotels and 1-2 star. It’s usually not much different from a decent hostel in my opinion. Some hostels like the Generator Paris offers single rooms with private bath/shower rooms at a premium so at least you have the option to choose.

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A beautiful skyline view of Paris

There’s a super useful post by the Budget Traveller which has a list of the best budget stays in Paris so make sure to check those out as well as doing your own research on cheap stays: https://budgettraveller.org/6-of-the-best-budget-places-to-stay-in-paris/

The Generator Paris hostel is a popular choice – voted by The Independent Online and the Budget Traveller as one of the best places to stay in Paris. It offers free WIFI, sharing rooms (dorms) and private rooms, female only rooms, bar, lounge area and more.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog: How to do Paris in a day on a budget
Stylish and modern sharing dorm rooms at Generator Paris / Source: Generator Paris

I hope that this post has given you some inspiration or ideas on how to construct your day trip to Paris on a budget. There’s so much information online and Paris in a day is usually already on most travel blogger’s list so don’t be afraid to read their experiences and recommendations.

Bisou! X


P I N  T H I S  P O S T

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | A DAY TRIP TO PARIS FROM LONDON ON A BUDGET


 

Self Care: My Well-needed getaway to Newquay beach and The Scarlet Hotel Spa

Things were getting on top of me and I could feel all of the tension, stress and anxiety building up on my shoulders. I was constantly snapping at LO’s dad, and the little things LO would do that I would usually find cute i.e. messing up the house or trying to help out with the tidying was really grating on me resulting in me shouting my head off and upsetting him. Even work was becoming exhausting for me – I knew it was time for a break away from it all.

The girls at work and I have been talking about going away for a spa break for a while so we finally decided it was time for our spa break to The Scarlet in Cornwall. We all paid for a flight there as it worked out quicker and cheaper to fly than travel by train.

The Greenwich Mummy | The Scarlet Spa Day One

It was early afternoon when we got into Newquay and decided to stop off at Watergate Bay as we couldn’t check into our apartment until after 4pm (it was 1pm when we arrived). We had a lovely beach stroll, a great catch-up chat about work and other gossip, and then decided to have a quick lunch at the stunning Living Space restaurant right on the beachfront at Watergate Bay.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog

The restaurant was aesthetically beautiful. The decor completely complimented the sea view and location. The food… the food was deliciously fresh, tasty and quite healthy.I shared with a friend the hot salmon bagel and chips whilst the other friend opted for a salmon salad. I shared as I wasn’t too hungry and just wanted something small to fill the void. The hot chocolate I ordered was frothy, milky and chocolatey… super yum! 🙂

On our way to the apartment we stopped at the shops to make our own dinner as we thought we’d be too lazy to go out to eat (and were on a budget). That night we two of us had breaded chicken and wedges, our vegetarian friend had spaghetti bolognese made with Quorn mince and we all settled down with a nice movie before going to bed.

The Greenwich Mummy | The Scarlet Spa

Day Two

Today was the day we went to visit The Scarlet Spa. Hidden away in Mawgan Porth, this eco-friendly spa is simply stunning and despite its modern look, in no way it sticks out like a sore thumb in its surroundings. The building itself is nestled away in a small road up one of the many cliff roads in Cornwall. Upon entering the spa, we were gobsmacked at how beautiful the place was. As we arrived slightly “late” as an itinerary was planned for us which we were unaware of however as it was a weekday visit, the spa were able to re-jiggle our spa day to make sure we could still experience everything our spa day package offered. The Scarlet spa is a part of the hotel so as we arrived early, we headed to the main restaurant for a drink whilst we waited for our spa host to collect us.

The Greenwich Mummy | The Scarlet Spa
From left to right; manuka honey tea, mocha, ginger biscuits, and cappuccino

When our spa host collected us and escorted us down to the spa restaurant as we arrived at the time we were supposed to have our spa lunch. We had to pre-order the food before coming; two of us ordered the salmon dish and the other friend ordered the chicken. It was a light lunch (and very healthy) but we loved it as we really wasn’t looking for a heavy meal whilst trying to “detox” at the spa.

The Greenwich Mummy | The Scarlet Spa The Greenwich Mummy | The Scarlet Spa

The hummous was so delicious! It tasted like it had paprika and harissa spice added to it which was divine with the homemade bread. The apple juice was freshly squeezed and tasted so fresh like it had just been juiced that very second. We were very satisfied with our meals. After we had finished, we all made our way down to the spa area were we enjoyed 2 blissful hours using the spa facilities and experiencing the rhassoul.

Time flew by so quickly at the spa and before I knew it, it was time to leave. I was fully relaxed and even fell asleep in the spa’s meditation room… once again, snoring away! 🙂 When we left the spa, we went back to the apartment for a little rest. We decided we were going to go out for a meal so headed back out to Watergate Bay and had something to eat at Zacry’s which was lovely. Two of us opted for lamb which was really tasty and our vegetarian friend opted for the cod. The total bill wasn’t too much at around £30 each including drink and dessert which is reasonable.

Day Three

This was the day I set off as I decided I was only going away for 2 nights. I thought I would miss LO too much so I cut my trip short. The flight wasn’t until the evening so the first part of the day we decided to go for a lovely beach walk which was calming and just what I needed to chill out before heading back to my busy lifestyle. It was so foggy that morning I got a great image of it on our walk.

The Greenwich Mummy | The Scarlet Spa

The fog was so thick, it felt like it engulfed the horizon. Looking out towards the sea, it was just all grey… you couldn’t see anything else. When you are walking up a hill/cliff, the last thing you want is limited visibility but luckily the road was still clear so it wasn’t too bad. When I arrived at the airport ready to fly home the flight was slightly delayed because of the fog but luckily we were still able to fly and despite the late departure we arrived back in London on time.

The short break was a well-needed getaway for me. After feeling so stress-out and exhausted it was the first time I was able to fully relax and unwind without having to worry about anything. Unfortunately the relaxed feeling didn’t last long – just two days to be exact. Then all the exhaustive demands came back. Now when I start to feel stressed, I think back to this wonderful trip.

Manny | The Greenwich Mummy Signature


Check out my #ThrowbackThursday post with more stunning photos of The Scarlet Spa