Updated: May 14, 2020
In October of 2019 before I had even moved to Germany, my mom and her friend had the idea to plan a girls trip to Paris and London. Then I would take the train from Germany and meet them there!
I had to share our itinerary, we had the trip of a lifetime!
The most reasonably priced flight that we found was for my mom to fly from Charlotte to Paris. Then I would take a 4 1/2 hour train from Ulm, Germany to Paris.
Mom departed Charlotte on Sunday the 23rd and we were reunited in Paris Monday afternoon! My mom’s friend flew into Paris from a business trip and met us there. We also had an unexpected fun visitor due to the coronavirus. My life long friend is studying to get her master’s in Milan, Italy and because of the virus her school was canceled. So she hopped on a plane and met us in Paris Monday night!
We stayed in the cutest Airbnb located in the St. Germain district of Paris, France. Here is the link to the Airbnb.
Monday afternoon before everyone arrived, mom and I wandered the city and rode around
the Hop On Hop Off Bus to see the sites.
Tuesday morning we started out with breakfast at Marcel. It was the cutest local breakfast and brunch café. We had the best French toast and waffles!
After bunch, we did a little window shopping and started walking towards the main sites.
Our first stop was the Louvre. We all had previously been in the Louvre before so we didn’t take the time to go inside but we enjoyed taking photos from the outside. It was a beautiful day & one of the warmest of our entire trip.
After strolling through the Tuileries Garden, we came upon the Dior fashion show. It was such a cool experience and was timed perfectly even though we didn’t plan it. We walked up right as the models, celebrities and actresses were entering in. We got to see Karlie Kloss, Demi Moore, Sigourney Weaver and Cara Delevingne, just to name a few.
We walked up the entire Champs-Elysees through the beautiful parks to the main shopping street of Paris. We stopped for a mid day snack at Paul’s patisserie, in perfect time to escape the rain. After a fast rain shower, we wandered into a few stores then headed to take some photos around the Arch de Triomphe.
We then figured out how to navigate the subway system and rode to the viewing platform Trocadero to snap a few pictures.
That evening we got caught in a sleeting/rainstorm standing outside of the Yves Saint Laurent fashion show and then ate dinner at Le Bistro Parisien. The yummiest restaurant right under the Eiffel Tower. It’s actually a restaurant that is permanently on the water. Nothing beats eating dinner under the sparkling Eiffel Tower.
The next day we took the metro and headed up toward Sacré-Cœur.
After walking in and around Sacré-Cœur we strolled through the streets and went into cute little souvenir and painting shops. We then at lunch at Au Clairon des Chasserurs. After lunch we wanted to head back to the Airbnb to rest for a bit and get ready for our dinner cruise that evening. But we couldn’t leave the Montmarte district without taking a picture in front on Moulin Rouge.
Funny side story, when I was 15 I came to Paris with my close friend and her parents to celebrate her birthday. We went to a show at the Moulin Rouge and I was pulled on stage to be a part of a magic trick. Something I will never forget!
My mom had the idea for our last evening in Paris to go on a dinner cruise on the Seine River. I cannot suggest this enough! It was the most magical evening, we all so enjoyed it. We booked the “Early Evening Dinner Cruise on the Seine River” through “Get Your Guide.” I will have to say it was fast, the cruise was only an hour and a half long. You board the boat in the middle, they then cruised down to the Notre Dame, turned around and cruise passed the Eiffel Tower, under the bridge to see the “Île aux Cygnes” (the Paris Statue of Liberty), then turned around again, parked and the cruise was over. All in that time you are eating as well, the meal was excellent but the portions were very small. This is definitely all for the ambiance but I can’t suggest it more, a must do in Paris!
After spending three days in Paris we hoped on the EuroStar train line and headed for London, England! This was my first time ever to London! I have flown through Heathrow many times but never visited London.
Here are major tips to know when taking the EuroStar…I have taken the railways all throughout Europe traveling through Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Denmark and Sweden, but the EuroStar is different. Because we were going from Paris to London you go through Passport check in Paris for London. Then to return you go through passport check in London for Paris. I was not aware of this. Every other train I have gotten on in Europe you simply hop on the train and it departs three minutes after it arrives.
Think of EuroStar almost like a flight, there is Passport check and security. Check-in usually opens an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes before the train arrives. The doors close strictly 30 minutes before departure… We learned this the hard way. Thankfully, they put us on the next train two hours later to London. The frustrating part is that we sat in the train station for 2 hours before our train, but it was in a completely different section of the train station. Also, they charged us to change our tickets because we missed the train… Not a fun lesson but we now know for future reference.
A trip that is normally six hours by car only took us 2 hours and 15 minutes traveling but the high speed EuroStar. After arriving to the train station, we hopped in a black cab and headed for out hotel. Our cab driver was a Panther’s fan and had a trip planned to travel to the U.S. in the fall to run a marathon in Charleston and go to a Panther’s game. So cool, it was a little piece of home!
We stayed at the Cavendish hotel. Excellent location! Only a 6 minute walk to Piccadilly Circus and a 15 minute walk to Buckingham Palace.
The entire time we were in London the weather was very cold and rainy, but we made the best of it! The Hop On Hop Off Bus was the way to travel this trip!
Big Ben was under construction so the only two places we hopped off the bus to site see were the London Bridge and Buckingham Palace. Thankfully, the rain had stopped for a bit while we were outside.
Saturday morning we made our way to Notting Hill to walk through the famous Saturday antique market.
This is the only area in London that the buildings are beautiful pastel colors.
After exploring the antique market and grabbing a cupcake at Hummingbirds cupcakes, we took a cab to Harrods.
A must-do while in London is an afternoon tea! We chose Harrods Tea Room for our afternoon tea. We felt so fancy and had the best time eating the yummiest food and drinking tea.
Make sure you go to Harrod’s even if you don’t plan on having afternoon tea there. It is a seven floor very fancy department store and the food court is amazing!
We spent a good portion of our trip walking around Covent Garden and the Soho area. We stumbled upon the best shopping and the yummiest food. Since I had not been in the states for 5 months, my two requests for dinner were a Mexican restaurant and P.F. Changs. I was so happy, it felt like I was back home!
Here was our picture with the Lego “Big Ben” since the original one was covered under construction
After a fast and full amazing three night stay in London, we took the EuroStar back across the English Channel to Paris. My mom said, “this is the way to travel through Europe.” They served us lunch and our seats reclined, it was the most relaxing way to travel.
We had one more night in Paris to close out our trip. The next day my mom would head to the airport to fly back to the states and I would get on a train to go back to Germany. Our last adventure in Paris was to find the “pink umbrellas” at Le Village Royal.
We finished the evening strolling the Champs-Elysees to conclude our trip!
We made memories to last a life time & are so thankful we had the trip scheduled when we did. Our last day in Paris was the first day the Louvre shut down due to the coronavirus. If our trip had been planned any later we would have had to cancel.
I wrote an entire separate blog post with a travel guide for the places to stay, things to see and places to eat while in Paris and London. Check it out HERE.