When planning our trip to Amsterdam we knew we wanted do some day trips from Amsterdam. Since traveling Europe by train is so easy we looked at places within a 3 hour train ride. We chose London and Paris. But is a day in Paris really enough time? Judge for yourself, here’s how we spent one day in Paris.
How to Get From to Paris from Amsterdam
The distance between Amsterdam and Paris is 3 hours on the train. The best part is you arrive sin the city center, making it very easy to start exploring. We booked our train tickets to Paris in advanced through NS International. The further out you book, the cheaper the tickets. We paid 35 Euros each adult ticket as kids under 4 ride free. Kids 12 and up pay the same price as adults but kids 4-11, are as low as 15 Euros. If you want to visit Paris from London you will take the Eurostar.
Where to Stay in Paris
Since we only had one day in Paris we decided to stay near Gare Du Nord, the train station our train arrived. We booked the Holiday Inn Paris-Gare De Lest because it is walking distance to Gare Du Nord. If walking isn’t your thing it is a short bus ride from the station. We booked our room via Priceline the same day and just booked a standard room for 72 Euros. Admittedly I didn’t read the details and learned the room capacity was for two people. I’ve never entered the amount of guests for a hotel room and have never had a problem with all 4 of us staying in a room together. Apparently in Europe, standard rooms are only for 2 people and they mean it. I explained we had our own baby crib and my 3 year old would sleep in the bed with us but the check-in agent said it didn’t matter. We would need a family room but they were sold so we would need 2 rooms. This is not what I wanted to hear and I’m sure my face said it. He was so kind and realizing we were only staying for one night he upgraded us to a suite free of charge so we could sleep together. We could have easily not have been so lucky so don’t be like me and read!
The Best Way to Get Around Paris in A Day
We are usually all about public transportation when visiting countries that have great systems. However, given our short time we didn’t want to run the risk of getting lost. A hop-on, hop-off bus tour was the perfect solution for this!
We chose L’Open Tours, which in the summer operates from 9:30AM with the last departure from the first stop at each route leaving at 7PM. They have 4 different routes that take you to everything you’d want to see in Paris and we took the Green Line. It drops you right in front of the Lourve, Notre Dame, Champs –Elyseee, Arc de Triomphe, Trocadero, and the Eiffel Tower. We never waited more than 10mins for a bus and typically we waited less than 5.
Pros of L’Open Tours Hop On Hop Off Bus
- If you purchase a one day pass and don’t start using it until 4PM you also get to use it for the entire following day.
- You can buy the pass directly on the bus at any stop.
- Kids under 4 are free and kids 4-15 are 50% off.
- Each guest received headphones and there is complimentary commentary throughout the route giving you the history of what you’re passing.
Cons of L’Open Tours Hop On Hop Off Bus
- The advertised free wifi did not work on all the buses we got on.
- There is really no space to store a stroller, we didn’t bring ours but saw plenty of parents blocking the walking path or struggling to hold it on their laps.
How to Spend One Day in Paris
The Best Way to Visit the Lourve
Our first stop was to the infamous Lourve. When we got there they had everything blocked off due to a security issue so we were unable to go inside. We weren’t sure how long it was going to last, but after we finished our photo session outside things still showed no signs of opening so we left. I have been inside the Lourve before but my husband and the kids haven’t. It was a bummer but next time.
The Lourve is not open on Tuesdays so if you are only spending one day in Paris and going inside is a must for you be sure to come on any other day. To avoid the long lines purchase your ticket in advance online but be advised you’ll have a 30 minute window to arrive as you will have to select a time slot. Admission is free for those under 18.
Visit the Notre Dame
Our next stop was to visit one of the most famous Cathedrals in the world. Construction started in 1163 but it wasn’t complete until 1345. The Cathedral is open every day from 7:45AM to 6:45PM. Admission is free but lines are extremely long so try getting there as early as possible. If you want to avoid the long lines you can also book a guided tour like this one from Viator. Bags are not allowed inside the cathedral so be prepared to check them.
See the Arch De Triomphe
At the end of the Champs Elysse is the Arch de Triomphe. Admission is free for anyone under 18 years but those over 18 must pay. You can buy tickets online here. The top is open 10:00AM-10:30PM and until 11:00PM during the summer.
The Best Place to Take Pictures of the Eiffel Tower is at the Trocadero
After the Arch De Triomphe we headed to the Trocadero which has the best views of the Eiffel Tower. It’s an open public space and there is no admission. You can even walk straight to the Eiffel Tower from here, it’s about a 5-10 minute walk. If you are traveling with kids their are two carousels on the way which might interest you. They are both cash only so be sure to have some Euros on hand if you plan to do this.
The Eiffel Tower, Need We Say More
Is it possible to visit Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower? The bus dropped us off in front of the green space that precedes the Eiffel Tower. This is where you see pictures and videos of people having picnics with the tower in the back. Unfortunately it was closed for renovations, but either way when we arrived it started to rain again so sitting down to enjoy some ice cream or other treats wouldn’t have been possible.Even in the rain the line to purchase tickets was crazy. If you have limited time I highly recommend buying your tickets in advance online. The only downfall is you have to select a time slot and if you are more than 30 minutes past your time you could be denied entrance. You can buy a ticket all the way to the top or to the 2nd floor and the prices varies based on your selection. Children under 4 are free and kids 4-11 are 50% off. The tower is open from 9:30AM-12AM but allows its last visitors in at 11PM.
Paris by Water, Sienne River Cruise
We took the 9PM Sienne River Cruise from Beautex Parisians. It is a 1 hour cruise with indoor seats downstairs and outdoor seats upstairs. Downstairs was all glass so if you want to sit indoors like we did due to weather you will still be able to see.If you do the the 9PM Cruise like we did you will arrive back to the pier as the first Eiffel Tower Light Show starts at 10PM. It takes a while to dock and the show is only 5 minutes so be sure to be on the top deck outside to get the perfect view of the show.While the river cruise was nice and relaxing it just passed by things we mostly already saw on the hop-on hop-off bus tour so to me it wasn’t worth it and if I could redo the day I would have skipped it and used the time to visit Sacre D Ocre’ instead. They do however offer a dinner cruise which would have been time better spent in my opinion.
Unfortunately there were thunderstorms the first 4 hours during our day so we got a much later start than expected. Had we not had this time delay we would have went to Jardin de Luxemburg and Sacre D Ocre’.
Money in Paris
While US Credit Cards are widely accepted I’d recommend having a few Euros, especially coins. You will use this to pay for public restrooms as well as if you want to go on the carousel in front of the Eiffel Tower as it’s cash only.
Paris with Kids: What Kid Gear to Bring
We didn’t get into a car while on our trip; we took the metro, public bus and hop-on hop-off bus during our stay so there was no need for a car seat.Since we used the hop-on hop-off bus we didn’t use the stroller, however if we were staying for a longer time I would have definitely brought it. Paris is very walkable and if you plan on walking through a lot of museums or walking through the Luxemburg Gardens a stroller could be very necessary.I’m a huge fan of carriers and I never leave home without mine. The carrier was great for Kennedy and allowed us to easily navigate through the crowds.
We had a great time spending one day in Paris. Next we were off to spend some time in Brussels!
Thank you to L’Open Tours for sponsoring our bus tour and to Bateaux Parisiens for sponsoring our Sienne River Cruise.Some links in this post are affiliate links. If you click through one of these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. We are committed to only ever recommending products and services that we personally use and like.