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!

bram-naus-736745-unsplash

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.

isaiah-bekkers-494831-unsplash
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


 

Travel: 5 reasons why you should visit Ibiza this summer holiday

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Travel to Ibiza

Whenever I tell someone that I’ve been to Ibiza, I am always greeted with a surprised face and “Ibiza? I didn’t know you was a party girl”… The thing is they’re right, I’m not. However there’s more to Ibiza than just parties even though they are said to be amazing! Ibiza will always be a place for the party goers but the island does have more to offer.

It’s a beautiful and magical island that’s great for all kinds of travellers; from solo flyers (yes, I’ve been to Ibiza alone too!) to family funsters and soul searchers. My case of wanderlust always brings me back to this place and I’m thankful for On The Beach’s low deposit holidays option. It’s perfect for people like me who find it hard to save or book in full. You pay an initial booking deposit from around £30pp and then the remaining balance up to 2 weeks before departure. Paying off my holidays in small, manageable chunks helps me to budget better around my bills, rent and other expenses.

Here are my top 5 reasons why Ibiza should be on everyone’s bucket list. Pretty much self-explanatory and simple but that’s where the beauty lies. X

1. The weather

 

 

Ibiza’s climate is balmy and generallly warm all year long with moderate rainfall. When I first went to Ibiza back in August 2010 the temperature was around 26-30 degree celsius. I went back again in September 2017 and 2018 and the temperature varies from 24-28 degree celsius. In 2018 there was one day we got caught in torrential rain that lasted about 15-20 mins but as soon as it stopped, it was warm and humid again.

2. The scenery

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Travel to Ibiza
Overlooking one of the many bays in Ibiza
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Why Ibiza should be on everyone's bucket list
Ibiza’s old town, Evissa
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Why Ibiza should be on everyone's bucket list
Ibiza’s history at Dalt Vila

From the beautiful sea views around Antonio Bay to the historical old town of Dalt Vila, there’s a lot to see around the little island. On Sundays, you can head over to Benirras beach to experience one of the most beautiful sunsets accompanied by the sensational drumming. It happens every Sunday during the summer and is an event not to be missed.

I tried to go there by bus but got mixed-up with the bus times (or perhaps the bus just never came) so I missed it. My advice would be to catch a cab there early or travel to San Miguel a day before as the roads leading to Benirras beach gets very busy by Sunday afternoon. If you’re driving try to get there in the morning, chill out by the beach all day then get ready for the sunset in the evening. Bliss!

3. The sister islands (Formentera & Espalmador)

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Why Ibiza should be on everyone's bucket list

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Why Ibiza should be on everyone's bucket list
People and boat watching was simply blissful at Formentera

If the Ibiza mainland is boring you a little, take a trip out to its sister islands. Whether you head out to the pristine white sand beaches of Formentera or stop off at the secluded island of Espalmador (I’ve visited both!) it’s definitely a trip not to miss.

Formentera is a fantastic escape from the mainland. Within 40mins by boat (Aquabus) you’ll reach the pristine shores of Formentera. It looks like somewhere out of a postcard. Plenty of luxury yachts dock at its marina and its beach shores are filled with white sand and turquoise waters. You can easily find places to eat and drink, go surfing or cycling, and explore different parts of the island. It’s a great place to explore with the whole family. The cosy coves dotted along the coastline are calming and lovely enough to enjoy before the tide comes in.

There are frequent Aquabus services to Formentera from all over the Ibiza mainland for about €20 (day return). You can even stay on the island with many B&Bs, luxury apartments, charters and yachts available to rent.

There’s a tiny secluded island on the way to Formentera called Espalmador. It lies between Ibiza and Formentera and is basically a mass of land which has become a secluded getaway for Ibizan goers looking for peace and quiet.

 

There’s not much to do on the island apart from sunbathe – you can go nude, semi-nude, as free as you like! There is also a mud spring somewhere on the island which you can take a dip in. There’s hardly any coverage on the island so apply plenty of sunscreen, if you burn easily I’d say skip Espalmador and just visit Formentera as there’s plenty of secluded bays there plus rocky coves where you can salvage some shade.

If you’re keen on visiting Espalmador, bring a picnic, plenty of suncream as there’s not really shady areas and water bottle – there’s no food/drink places here and the Aquabus only passes here a couple trips per day. Also there’s no toilet so make sure you go before you arrive either on the boat or mainland.

4. The Hippy Market (well, the markets in general)

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Why Ibiza should be on everyone's bucket list
Ibiza’s largest Hippy Market in Es Cana

Even if you’ve never visited Ibiza you would’ve heard about their famous Hippy Market which is open every Wednesday throughout the summer. I remember my first time going to the Hippy Market; it was busy, chaotic but super fun! There’s something for everyone, there’s even a little play area for the kids. The last time I visited it was less chaotic but still just as busy.

There was so much to see and if you’re looking for special or unique gifts you will find something here. I picked up a gorgeous amethyst crystal necklace on a leather cord. I’d seen so many similar necklaces before but they were too expensive. I think mine cost me around €15-18 which wasn’t too bad as the quality was great and the amethyst stone looked genuine enough.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Why Ibiza should be on everyone's bucket list
who can resist a holiday selfie?!

Here’s a short list of the markets you can visit on the island:

  • Hippy Market – Wednesdays Punta in Es Cana
  • Las Dalias Market – Saturdays in San Carlos
  • Las Dalias Night Market – Monday and Tuesday nights in San Carlos
  • Cala Llonga Market – Thursday in Cala Llonga
  • San Rafael Artisan Market – Thursdays in San Rafael

Check out Ibiza Spotlight for the full list of Ibiza’s markets sorted by days.

5. The active lifestyle

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Why Ibiza should be on everyone's bucket list
The Surf Lounge at San Antonio Bay

The Ibizan atmosphere is super chilled. I always felt relaxed and the pace of life here seems very easy-going which is fantastic. But despite the relaxing lifestyle, there’s plenty of activities you can do around the island to keep you healthy, fit and active.

These include:

  • Surfing (there’s even indoor surfing!)
  • Stand-Up Paddling (SUP)
  • Yoga (even yoga SUP)
  • Pilates
  • Cycling
  • Watersports
  • Sailing

and so much more!

If you regularly work out, there’s plenty of gyms around the island for you to keep up your strength. Lots of the cafes offer delicious and nutritious healthy food so you don’t have to worry too much about eating junk. There’s a healthy cafe for #fitfams in San Antonio Bay called ‘The Skinny Kitchen’. They make a good salad/buddha bowl for a decent price,plus it was the only place I could find that offered matcha lattes. There are loads of nice healthy cafes around the island so don’t be afraid to explore.

For a more extensive list of things to do around the island, visit Ibiza Spotlight’s Things to Do page.

Where to stay in Ibiza

I’ve visited most parts of the island and it’s excellent wherever you go. You’re bound to find a beach near you no matter where you stay in Ibiza. Here are some of my recommendations:

  • San Antonio/San Antonio Bay is for you if you want to be where all the party and action is
  • Playa Den Bossa is for you if you want luxury hotels and party life
  • Santa Eulalia/Es Canar/San Miguel/Portinatx is great for those who want somewhere laid back and family-friendly
  • Eivissa Old Town is for you if you want to be near the marina and prefer old charms, boutique cafes and shops and want to be close to the airport

Top tips: If you want to avoid the major party season, visit the island in May/June or September/October instead. Also, the island is well connected by bus so take advantage of this if you have more time on your hands to explore the island. X

Happy Bank Holiday Weekend!

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