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5 day itinerary between London and Paris

I am travelling this June with my wife and 3 daughters from London to Paris.

We have 5 days and there are so many options that I can't quite figure out what to do. The girls range in age from 11 to 21, for what that's worth.

I have an offer to stay over in Devon and explore that region, or we could spend the entire time in France. I read about a ferry that travels between Plymouth and La Havre overnight as well, and wondered if that would be a good way to cross the Channel, but not sure about how to fill out the trip.

I would welcome any recommendations.

Posted by
347 posts

You could easily spend 5 days just seeing Paris. We spent 5 nights there in November with our boys (13 & 16) and we only went to one museum (the Louvre). I think if you were to split the time, then take an overnight ferry, you risk not sleeping well and cutting your time in Paris very short. I would take the train from a London and spend all of the time in Paris. Take a day trip to Versailles, and another to Rouen if you think you’ll be bored in Paris. But I doubt it!

Posted by
13962 posts

You could fly from London City airport to Amsterdam, then train to Paris. Classic first European trip: London, Amsterdam, Paris.

Posted by
1165 posts

Summer of 2017 we did 6 nights in Paris and 6 in London and did not see all that we wanted to. Our kids were 12 and 9 at the time. We took the train between the two and it was a great, easy and fast way to travel. With 5 days, I would be tempted to pick either Paris or London.

Posted by
6801 posts

So you are asking about stops between the two cities and the best way to cross. The best way to cross is the Eurostar train underground. That’s city to city. Or, if you take the Eurostar to Lille, you could rent a car and explore either northern France, or Belgium, or Normandy. There’s a lot to see in all these places that you can find info for online and in guidebooks at the library. If you took a ferry over, you could stop in Canterbury on the English side. Also, you could take a day-ferry.

Posted by
506 posts

Just to be clear - you are looking to spend five days after touring London and before touring Paris? Devon sounds cool to me!

Depending on the interests of your family you could manage four days in Bayeux, Normandy (it takes a day to get there on trains). That gives you two days of sightseeing the D-Day beaches, a day to see the tapestry and cathedral, and a day for something else (D-Day museum, or rent a car and go see Honfleur, or leave early and visit Giverny on the way to Paris).

I've heard the ferry can be cancelled if there's bad weather so choose that option if you have time and flexibility.

Another thought would be to base yourself in Windsor, UK for a week. We used it for day trips to Stonehenge and Avebury, the Poohsticks bridge, and of course to see the town and castle (and Legoland).

Posted by
2 posts

Hello, and thank you all very much for taking the time to respond to my questions.

To clarify, yes, we are spending 5 nights in London and 5 nights in Paris, it's the 5 nights in between that we are trying to decide on how to best spend our time.

I am intrigued by the idea of flying to Amsterdam and travelling south to Paris, that never crossed my mind. Thank you Chani! If you have suggestions for specific stops along the way, I'm all ears.

Bets and Marty, you are spot on with my initial thoughts, although if we take a night or two in the English country-side then I'd be hard pressed to not take up the offer from our friends to stay in Devon (for free!). It's a little further but i think we can still make stops in Windsor or Stonehenge or The Cotswold's along the way. That said, I wonder how often the weather effects crossing the Chanel in June??? Good point to consider there Marty. Thanks!

Marty, assuming you have spent time at the D-Day Museum and that vicinity, I'm curious, do you feel that it would hold the interests of two teenage girls?? I'm trying to keep their interests in mind, and don't know if this is geared more towards history buffs, or the general population. While I find the idea appealing, I am concerned my daughters will not. Have you traveled there with kids of any age?

Thanks again, I'm eager to dig in to the details on what to do in Bayeux, Honfleur and Giverny vs. the Amsterdam route.

Cheers!

Posted by
6 posts

This may just be me, but I find trips in large cities, particularly ones condensed into less than week, to be a bit exhausting. I like to break my trips up with some downtime in the country whenever possible (a week in London followed by a week in the alps, for instance).

I believe 5 days in the English countryside, as you said Devon, particularly if you could pass through the Cotswolds and/or Bath on your way, would be a nice change of pace between two large cities.

There are several France-bound ferries from Plymouth and Poole (both near Devon) though taking a Ryan air or easy jet flight out of London is likely the cheapest and fastest way to get to Paris, even if it does mean commuting back through London.

Posted by
13962 posts

Keep in mind that 5 nights is only 4 days of sightseeing. You'll use much of a day moving from place to place - packing, getting to station/airport with sufficient lead time, then getting to your new hotel to drop your luggage. Even on sightseeing days, 5 people don't move as efficiently as 2, especially if 3 people are on the same schedule and have to share one bathroom.

I was suggesting you spend 5N in Amsterdam. There's a lot to see and do and day trips are really easy by train.

Posted by
506 posts

You wrote:
"Marty, assuming you have spent time at the D-Day Museum and that vicinity, I'm curious, do you feel that it would hold the interests of two teenage girls?? I'm trying to keep their interests in mind, and don't know if this is geared more towards history buffs, or the general population. While I find the idea appealing, I am concerned my daughters will not. Have you traveled there with kids of any age?"

I have traveled with two boys when they were 8 and 11. At that age they were very interested in castles and playgrounds. In Amsterdam we went to the zoo and took a canal ride, for example. However, when we went to Normandy it was at their request and they were 25 and 28 and interested in military history and battlefields. We had Dale Booth take us on his two-day American Beaches tour. A good guide can describe the experience to a variety of interest levels (they had some basic knowledge of the invasion, I was pretty clueless).

If I were you I'd invite your children to participate in the planning process. They can use a guide book or Trip Adviser or a web search engine to see what is interesting to them in Devon and Normandy. You and they can better answer the question of what would appeal to them than I can. Cooking lessons? Cathedral tour? Trail ride on horseback? There will be rainy days so have an occasional backup idea that's indoors.

If you want a really good resource for planning a multi-age trip, we used Cynthia Harriman's "Days to Choose" method (see her book "Take your Kids to Europe" for details) but the general idea is everyone comes to a family meeting with ideas of maybe two or three things each person wants to see.  Everyone gets some input and agrees to participate in the choices of others. From these suggestions you build an itinerary (usually everyone gets at least one of their proposed ideas). We use a Captain for the Day approach where the captain plans meals (chooses restaurants) as well as activities.

If the philosophy appeals to you, the book is probably out of print but your library can get you a copy through interlibrary loan if they don't have one on hand. Skip the section on what to see because some of those museums etc. may be closed now.

Hope this helps,
Marty