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Place de la Concorde, Paris (c) 2021 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

It wasn't the primary purpose of our meeting. I was in my banker's office taking care of business with our checking account. As soon as our business was concluded, my banker wanted to talk about travel. He spoke of the Viking river cruises he had enjoyed with his wife and how much he loved traveling to Europe. He shared his plans to travel with his parents this summer to London. His parents being first-time visitors to Europe, he feels they will feel more comfortable visiting where English is spoken.

But it would be a shame, he thought, to go all the way to London without setting foot in Paris. He talked about his plans for their final day, a day trip to Paris. They'd take the Eurostar to Paris in the morning, spend several hours seeing some of the major sights in the City of Light, then take the train back to London in the evening.

My mind immediately saw the problem with this scheme. It's doable to take the Eurostar round-trip in single day, but it's not ideal. You'll be spending four-and-one-half total hours on trains. It will take added time to get transfers to train stations ... and even more time to get processed through French passport control going ... and UK passport control on the return. This day trip will require probably 7 total hours of traveling time. It will turn out to be quite an exhausting day.

So I shared Plan B. Don't buy round-trip flights to London. Book an open-jaw itinerary (fly outbound to London, return from Paris). The cost is virtually the same. Spend your entire last day in Paris.

Begin the day taking an early morning train to Paris. Arriving at perhaps 10 a.m., you have time to spend an entire day in Paris. Invest in a great local guide who can work with you in advance to plan an itinerary that will let you experience Paris the way you want. Then celebrate your trip with a final dinner, perhaps in a typical French bistro such as Chez Janou. Spend the evening in a cute Left Bank hotel such as Relais Christine, then leave for the Paris airport the next morning.

I wasn't trying to sell travel services to my banker, but with my mention of open-jaw tickets, he saw possibilities he hadn't considered. We live in a plan-it-yourself, google-can-be-my-travel-agent world, but think about the value of working with an experienced travel advisor, someone who will sweat the logistics, create an itinerary you can sit back and enjoy, and help you make the most of your precious time, money, and energy.

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copyright (c) 2021 by Ourisman Travel LLC.  All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member.

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