How to Visit London and Paris in a Long Weekend

Time- and budget-pressed travelers can check two key cities off of their bucket list.

Paris Train Station
Photo: Jane Kerrigan/Getty Images

How about a four-day trip to London and Paris, with two days in each city?

We agree that sounds way too short, since, together, the two European capitals contain 188 Michelin-starred restaurants, 374 museums and galleries, around 390 theaters, and thousands of bars and nightclubs.

Still — planning a long weekend in London and Paris is definitely possible. And, embarking on this journey offers time- and budget-pressed travelers a way to check two key cities off of their bucket list, while also giving seasoned explorers a reason to revisit a pair of classics.

Getting There and Back

To make this quick trip work, fly into one city, and then out of the other, and book a seat on the high-speed Eurostar train to travel between the two. Plenty of airlines fly regularly between the U.S. and both London and Paris, making it possible to find deals on a one-way or multi-city ticket. Consult with airline comparison apps, or a knowledgeable travel advisor, to get the best price.

"Savvy travelers know there are increased air passenger duty taxes charged on flights departing from London," says freelance travel journalist and travel expert Ramsey Qubein. "This means fares are often higher for making a roundtrip flight into and out of London, than flying into London and out of another airport."

British Airways currently offers direct flights to London each day from 26 U.S. cities, depending on the season, and has even added Pittsburgh and Portland, Oregon, to its lineup. This carrier allows passengers to use Avios points towards payment, too, cutting the cost of the overall fare.

Air France currently offers more than 200 flights a week to Paris from 14 U.S. cities. The French carrier regularly provides flash fares to Paris (and other destinations), about once a month. Sign up for its newsletter, or follow its Facebook and Twitter feed, to stay up on price slashes.

Eurostar trains make the trip between London's St. Pancras International Station and Gare du Nord in Paris in just over two hours, and for as little as $66 each way. Eurostar ticket pricing fluctuates, similar to airline pricing, with the lowest rates usually offered for midweek travel. You can purchase your tickets anytime — from 330 days in advance up to the day of your trip, right at the station — but Eurostar recommends booking at least 120 days out to get the best-priced tickets.

London Train Station
Joey Cheung/Getty Images

The time of year you book your ticket matters, too. "After Thanksgiving, and returning before Dec. 15; and then again from Jan. 4, or so, through the end of March, have traditionally been the best time for bargains on airfare," says George Hobica, travel columnist and founder of, adding that the same goes for booking hotels.

Where To Stay

In London, there are many hotels to choose from right near St. Pancras International railway station, just steps from the British Library and its free events and exhibitions. Nearby is the Wellcome Collection, a hip and free science- and health-themed museum and library that markets itself to the "incurably curious."

You can even stay inside St. Pancras at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, a splurge-worthy institution offering a hefty dose of history and most convenient location. Just across the street, you'll also find The Standard, a less-traditional alternative that oozes irreverent style.

On the Paris side, you might be inclined to sleep near the iconic museums, chic cafés, and famous attractions for which the city is famous. In that case, Hôtel Madame Rêve, opened in 2021, is so close to the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame you can see the landmarks from top-floor windows. A piece of history in itself, the hotel occupies the beloved 19th-century Louvre post office building. Otherwise, the renovated 97-room Renaissance Paris Vendome Hotel, located near the Tuileries Garden and the Louvre, is another good option.

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What To Do

Coal Drops Yard, built in 1850 to handle the 8 million tons of coal delivered to London each year, has been transformed into the city's newest trendy destination. Located in King's Cross, just a few minutes' walk from St. Pancras, this shopping and dining center boasts more than 50 stores, restaurants, and cafés. Check out Wolf & Badger's flagship store, with authentic offerings from independent brands, and Casa Pastor, serving Mexican-inspired tacos, craft mezcal, Mexican beer, and imaginative margaritas.

In Paris, save time and money by purchasing a Paris Museum Pass, which gives you one entry to more than 50 of the city's museums and monuments, and also allows you to skip the long lines at the ticket window. Chose from three pass options: a two-day pass, a four-day pass, or a six-day pass. And do your research, as most travelers find the cost of the pass is only worth it if they visit at least five museums in two days, or buy the more expensive four- or six-day pass.

Philippe LEJEANVRE/Getty Images

Use your time efficiently by combining a two-hour cruise on the Seine with a fine-dining experience aboard the Ducasse Sur Seine, chef Alain Ducasse's electric boat and locavore restaurant. Or climb aboard the Bustronome (in either London or Paris) and enjoy a prix-fixe menu inside a double-decker bus. This three-hour bus tour drives by many of the city's top sights, which you can view through the panes of a panoramic glass roof.

With all the museum-hopping and sightseeing, you'll no doubt work up an appetite while in Paris. Get your fill of croissants, baguettes, and macarons on a self-guided gourmet walking tour or take a French bread-making class like the one offered by Meeting the French. You'll leave with a full belly and an arsenal of tips and tricks from real, professional French bakers that you can try at home in your own kitchen.

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