One Week in Europe – 7-Days Paris & London Itinerary
I totally get why Europe is so intriguing for many Americans, but also for people from all over the world and from Europe, too.
Europeans love to travel within Europe, and if you have never been to Europe before, you will quickly understand why it is so popular.
I mean, we all know about the world-famous destinations like Paris, London, and Barcelona; about the stunning islands like Santorini and Mallorca; and let’s not forget about the breathtaking scenery of Central Europe.
But it is also quite easy to travel within Europe – train and flight connections are generally good, sometimes even very good, and you can easily travel within countries.
Even now that the United Kingdom (and so England, as it is part of the United Kingdom) is most likely leaving the European Union in spring 2019, it will still be easy traveling from one country to the other.
So, if you plan to visit the two main cities in Europe, London and Paris, this one-week itinerary will help you figure out how to organize your trip. Whether you want to stay seven days or more, there are lots of things to do and see.
How to Plan your Trip
With this itinerary, I also share my travel tips – not only for the two cities but also how I book and travel around the world.
I check flight prices on Skyscanner.
Skyscanner is great because they find you the cheapest flights by comparing millions of options from airlines and travel agents.
For hotels, I mostly use booking.com because I am a very spontaneous person and want to be flexible. Most of the time, you can cancel accommodations without any cost up to 24 hours before your stay. The rates are also most often the best.
Sometimes I stay in Airbnbs. It really depends on the city and the prices for accommodations, so it is worth it to check out Airbnb (especially if you want to stay with locals, or if you like to book a whole apartment for yourself if you travel with several people).
When I book my tours, I mostly use GetYourGuide because of their generous cancellation policy – and in case something comes up, I know they have my back (like the day I was not picked up for a tour even though the tour operator confirmed the trip. I got my money back from GetYourGuide after the tour operator did not return my messages).
TRAVEL TIPS PARIS & LONDON
Airports in London and Paris
If you come from abroad, you will most likely fly into London or Paris. If you are from European countries like Germany, Belgium, or the Netherlands (or any other country close by), then getting to London or Paris by train would probably be a good choice. However, both cities are well connected to airports from all over the world.
Airports in London:
These airports include London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, and London Stansted. Some are quite far from the city center, but all airports are well-connected to the city center of London and have regular shuttle buses.
Airports in Paris:
There are three main airports in Paris for visitors: Charles de Gaulle Airport, Orly Airport, and Beauvais-Tillé Airport. The first two airports are well-served by public transport. The latter one is a lot farther from the city and getting to the city requires a longer and more expensive transfer.
Best Time to Visit London and Paris:
I have visited both cities many times, and while I almost always had great weather in Paris, the weather in London was… grayish.
Both cities are great to visit in December (for all the Christmas lights and shopping), but if you can freely book your trip, I suggest visiting in May, June, or September.
While I normally never recommend visiting a place during the high season, which for Europe is most often in July and August, I would probably visit London during those two months – just because the weather might be better.
Prices go up significantly at that time. Both cities also host many events, like the Tour de France and Fashion Weeks, which make prices for accommodations even more expensive. So, if you aren’t visiting for one of those events, try avoiding those times.
How to Get From London to Paris or From Paris to London
You can, of course, fly from one city to the other, but the easiest way to get from Paris to London is by train. It takes less than three hours and there are regular train connections.
Normally, the earlier you book, the cheaper it gets.
How to Spend 7 Days in London and Paris – An Itinerary
You can start your trip with London first and do it the other way around, it’s up to you.
Paris in 3,5 Days
Paris…there are not many cities in the world that are as popular, famous, and appealing than this quite small European city. Everyone knows Paris and almost everyone has added Paris on their bucket list – while I did not fall in love with Paris immediately, after about 8 trips or so, I can say that the city has grown on me.
You should know what to expect – while it is often called the most romantic city in the world, truth is that is can be a bit disappointing first. It is dirty, there is a lot of tourist scam but it is also extremely beautiful and special. While I am often in my hotel after sunset, I try to experience Paris at night. Because Paris is the City of Lights – and the illuminated Eiffel Tower is just one fantastic sight to see after sunset – and it wears its best dress at night.
However, there is also a lot to do and see during the day
Paris is not only a great destination for love birds -it is a heaven for shopping addicts, for architect lovers, for people who enjoy nice strolls, for history nerds….to make it short: Paris is great!
Before jumping to your days in Paris, here are a few more travel tips. Depending on the time of your arrival, I suggest planning in about 3-5 days for Paris. While the city is small, there is a lot to do.
PARIS TRAVEL TIPS
Paris is best explored on foot.
The city is geographically small, and many tourist attractions are quite close to one another. The public transportation is also pretty great. So, hop on the metro or bus to get around, if needed. It is easy, fast, and affordable.
There is no Oyster Card in Paris, unlike in London, so you could either buy single tickets or plan in advance and buy multi-tickets to save a bit of money.
Hop-on and hop-off buses are also a great option, and you get a discount on several popular tourist attractions in Paris.
I hate to say it, but Parisians are not the nicest people – and they do not even bother to speak English. So, you really should pick up some French words and not take it personally. However, I also realized that the people were becoming nicer day by day, but still… Download a translation app, if needed.
You can find all kinds of accommodations in Paris – from luxury hotel chains and beautiful boutique hotels, to mid-range and budget hotels.
While the standard of accommodation is not very high (a 3-star hotel can be quite shabby), you aren’t in Paris for its hotels.
THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO VISIT IN PARIS IN 3,5 DAYS
- Visit the Eiffel Tower
- Stroll the Seine
- Admire the Bridges
- Picnic by the Seine
- See Notre Dame
- Explore the Louvre
- Rest at Jardin des Tuileries
- Explore Montmartre and Sacré-Cœur
- Rest at Jardin du Luxembourg
- Visit Versailles
Then, it is time to head to England´s capital, lovely and moody London.
London in 3,5 Days
London is another fun capital in Europe – London is a bit hipper and personally, I think younger people (especially if you travel with teenagers) will enjoy London more. However, this does not mean I suggest skipping Paris. Like Paris, I have visited London numerous times, and I always find new cute places and great spots.
London is as rainy as rumors say and so, don’t forget your umbrella – with this in the back of your head, be ready to explore one of the most exciting and diverse cities in Europe. There is so much history – so many historic and important buildings, so many new and modern buildings, so many great Instagrammable spots, so many artists…Do not forget all the pubs and friendly people…
Before discussing the main things to do in London, here is some information for your days in London.
LONDON TRAVEL TIPS
Though many sights are within walking distance, you might need to take the bus or underground once in a while. It is bigger than other European cities, like Paris, and I always use public transportation in addition to the many miles I walk.
The underground in London works fine (I still prefer taking buses though). It gets extremely busy, especially at rush hour. So, I really recommend not taking the underground or bus at those times.
It works fine and is quite cheap and fast.
Oyster Card: Buying an Oyster Card makes sense if you use public transportation often. You can load it up with credit and just swipe it in/out at every bus and underground station. In the end, it finds the best rates and calculates the cheapest tickets (handy, right?). You can now also use your credit card and pay contactless.
Some of the red double-decker buses are actually regular buses and not sightseeing buses, which is pretty cool and I recommend using them at least once. Hop-on and hop-off buses are also popular and great for seeing London from a different perspective.
You can rent bikes for free at many bike stations – the first 30 minutes are free, then you would have to pay. I normally just ride around for 30 minutes and then bring it back to a rental station – there are quite a few in the city center.
While the black cabs are very popular and iconic, I have never used them and don’t think you really need a cap if you book your hotel in a central location.
THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO VISIT IN LONDON
- Hyde Park and Speaker´s Corner
- Buckingham Palace
- London Eye
- St. James´ Park
- Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower)
- Tower of London
- St. Paul‘s Cathedral
- Oxford Street or Regent´s Street
These are just a few tips – For more tips and more detailed info on all of the places to see, head to my detailed London 4-day itinerary.
If you are on a budget, then take out my London budget guide.
If you only have one week in Europe and want to experience the main hot spots of the continent, then you will find them in Paris and London.