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Trip Report August 2013 London/Paris/Dijon Trip Report

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Hi everyone! I've asked for advice several times over the last year, so I thought I would report back and let everyone know how the trip actually turned out. Despite a few minor setbacks, my husband and I had a wonderful time on our recent trip to London, Paris, and Dijon! I'll try to keep this relatively short, but below are the main highlights.

Days 1-3 (London) -- Unfortunately, we missed the first day in London because our flight into Chicago was inexplicably delayed. This was especially frustrating because we missed our flight by a matter of MINUTES! So instead of arriving in London at 11 am on a Saturday, we didn't arrive until 11 pm. We stayed at the Trafalgar in Trafalgar Square, which was fine considering it was our first trip and I didn't have a very good "feel" for the city. Next time, I would stay somewhere less touristy. My favorite part during our stay in London was the tour of the Buckingham Palace state rooms. There is a special exhibition going on since it is the 60th anniversary of the Queen's coronation, which was very interesting. Photos don't do the state rooms justice; you really have to see them in real life to appreciate their opulence. We also very much enjoyed the British Museum and a quick trip to the Tate Modern. Unfortunately, there was a downpour right as we arrived to the London Eye, so we missed that.

Day 4 (Paris) -- We were set to take the Eurostar from London to Paris at about 10:15 am, however, despite telling our cab driver multiple times that we were going to St. Pancras, he inexplicably took us to Paddington Station. We didn't realize until it was too late, so we had to find another taxi and ended up missing our train. Thankfully, there was still space on the next train. Once in Paris, we ate lunch in Monmatre, and visited Sacre Coeur. En route back to our hotel, we made a quick stop at the Arc de Triomphe so that my husband could see it. While I don't love shopping on the Champs-Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe never ceases to impress. That night, we ate at one of the cafes in a lively part of the Marais, near our hotel (Villa Mazarin).

Days 5-7 (Dijon) -- We took the train to Dijon intending only to stay for 2 nights in Coco's Apartment ("My Home In Dijon"). (For those not familiar, Coco is a member of the Fodor's forums). The train ride from Paris to Dijon is a quick hour and 20 minutes, the part of which travels through BEAUTIFUL scenery. Coco greeted us a the train station, drove us to the apartment, and gave us a short walking tour of the city center of Dijon. We spent the day exploring beautiful, near-deserted streets, which was a nice change of pace after fighting the crowds of tourists in London and Paris. We immediately loved Dijon so much that we decided to spend an extra night there. Coco told us when she picked us up that we would decide to stay three nights instead of two, and she was right!

As an aside, I really can't say enough good things about Coco's apartment. Not only is it extremely affordable compared to the hotels of London and Paris, it is located in the best possible area, right next to le Palais du Ducs. Coco had fresh fruit, bread, and other snacks waiting for us, and she had even baked us a chocolate cake! I would compare the service we received from Coco to that of a 5 star hotel, but saying that would be an insult to Coco :) It was honestly the best service we have ever received, and we could have happily stayed there for months.

The next day, we took an all-day wine tour with Wine and Voyages and ended up being the only ones on the tour. We did two wine tastings and visited the Clos de Vougeout castle and Hospice de Beaune. Our third day, we spent more time exploring Dijon and visiting the various museums. It was perfect.

Days 8-9 (Paris) -- The next morning, Coco picked us up and we took the train back to Paris. This time, we stayed at Le Senat in Saint Germain. The weather was warm and sunny, so we walked over to le Jardin due Luxembourg and had a leisurely picnic lunch. From there, we took the Metro to the 14th Arr. and visited the neighborhood I lived in when I studied in Paris. We took the metro back to St. Michel and visited Notre Dame so that my husband could see it up close (the line to actually go in was about 1000 people long; I'm only slightly exaggerating). That evening, we visited the Eiffel Tower and had a nice dinner at La Fontaine de Mars. After dinner, we walked out to see the Eiffel Tower sparkling (something I never get tired of). We then walked along the Seine all the way back to our hotel, enjoying the scenery along the way. The next morning, we had a nice and uneventful flight back to the US.

Our favorite part of the trip was, far and away, Dijon, followed by our brief time in Paris. We both really enjoyed London but found it to be very similar to New York City -- a fun and interesting place to visit, but a difficult place to relax in. Overall, I probably wouldn't have done anything differently.

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