I’m often asked for tourist tips for London visitors. And it recently dawned on me there is a ‘must do’ that escapes most lists: go to Paris for breakfast.
While we were living in England, to my husband I mentioned my craving for croissants from our favorite Parisian bakery. We looked at each other and giggled, ‘Why not?!’ So we spontaneously booked train tickets to depart early the next morning.
Once we arrived in Paris, we made a beeline to Maison Kayser to taste the perfect croissant aux amandes. Seriously worth crossing a channel and different time zone to experience one of these!
But being open-minded, I recently recruited my Parisian Instagram friend, Juliet, for local foodie advice (merci!). She insists without hesitation that Sebastien Gaudard on Rue des Martyrs sells the best croissants in Paris, and their shop is equally beautiful. Certainly a new addition to my bucket list.
So, Let Me Explain
To many Americans readers, this story may sound a bit too jet-setterish. But think of European countries like our smaller American states – then it doesn’t seem so ridiculous. Europeans travel to other countries on the continent frequently for work and vacation, much like we travel within our country.
So you can understand why the Euro currency is quite convenient when one can eat three meals in three different countries in a day when traveling by rail or car. The train travel time between London and Paris is similar to a drive from Philadelphia to New York.
So if you choose to go to Paris for the day, purchase roundtrip Eurostar train tickets online. Choose to depart from London’s St. Pancras International Station to Paris’s Gare du Nord Station. Much of the 2 hour 15 minute trip is above ground with some travel through a dark tunnel under the English Channel. I always find the trip to be quite exhilarating.
Security and boarding are pleasantly less fussy than air travel. Even passport control is taken care of on the British side, so once you arrive in Paris, you simply walk off the train and out of the station. Since you are there for just a day, there’s no pesky luggage to tow behind you. You may want to grab a taxi as the streets of Paris can be disorienting (which is part of their charm).
After breakfast, go explore. Stroll along the Seine River past Notre Dame Cathedral toward the Eiffel Tower and then to the Arc de Triomphe. Maybe wander through the Luxembourg Gardens (great for kids) or photograph the streets of Le Marais. Or sweep through the Musee du Louvre or Musee d’Orsay (buy tickets in advance to avoid long lines).
With the full day in your pocket, head back on the train to London – possibly remarking that was the most memorable breakfast ever. So if you have a weeklong visit to London, you may have time to sneak away to Paris for breakfast.
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