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Trip Report Mother and daughter trip (with a little bit of Dad) to Paris and London

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We got back Saturday from our trip to Paris and London. I decided I needed to write up what I did for my own memory and to perhaps provide some information for people planning trips themselves. I made use of many of the posts here as I planned. I apologize in advance for the lack of wit and humor.

Trip to Paris and London, April 18-27, 2013

Background: We travel frequently, often with our 6-year-old daughter. She was last in London when she was barely 4 (2010). We haven’t been to Paris since 2001, but I had spent a summer there in 1990. I speak a little French. Husband was elsewhere in Europe for work and met us in Paris for a few days before we all went to London, where he had another work obligation. Happily, for me this was all vacation. Often we are both trying to attend the same conference and end up juggling the kid.

Even though she has been to Europe many times, and I have traveled with her alone before, I had never done so across the Atlantic. Somehow, traveling to Paris and spending the first two days just the two of us, made me more anxious than I am normally. I was really concerned about pickpockets, since I had the sense I would need to focus more attention on my daughter, without the extra help of my husband. I even went so far as to buy a special purse/bag that was ultra-theft proof! In the end, the fear proved to be overblown – although the bag is nice. This also is why I did a much better job preparing for the Paris part of the trip than the London part. We also have many more options to visit London for work, so I wanted to make the most of our time in Paris.

Basics: In Paris we rented an apartment from Vacation in Paris. We got a one bedroom on 3 Rue de la Harpe (Apt ID: 227). Given I know my way around Paris and speak a bit of French I thought we would prefer the extra space to the services you get from a hotel. It was a little more expensive, but mainly because we were only staying 4 nights. This short stay also limited the number of rental agencies we could deal with. Vacation in Paris was fine. I was a bit put off by the literature they sent out before that was full of warnings of all the things that you might do that would result in losing your security deposit. But, the man who met us at the apartment on arrival was very gracious. Everything went smoothly. The apartment is one bedroom and a big living area, but the living area is a lot less big once you have the pullout couch pulled out! We only ate in for breakfast, but they kitchen was well stocked. There was a washing machine/dryer that allowed us to do one load of wash a day. This was nice, and meant we could pack lightly and carry on our bags. My husband said he felt like we were staying in someone’s attic, given the clutter. But, I would stay here again. The area is very touristy, but the location is great. The apartment is just a half block from the St. Michel metro stop, and Ile de la Cite.

In London, we stayed at The Academy Hotel, 21 Gower Street. This is in Bloomsbury, across the street from UCL where my husband was working. It is a few blocks from the British Museum. It is several blocks from 4 tube stops. The location was great. We had a family room, which was spacious. The only negative we had with the hotel was even though the walls were thick we got a lot of noise from the room next to us. It seemed like there were a dozen people in the room at times. Continental breakfast was included in our rate. It was good, but I was tiring of it by the fourth morning.

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