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Family European Vacation: Paris & London

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Oct 29th, 2015, 10:55 AM
  #1
erp
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Family European Vacation: Paris & London

I am in the very preliminary phase of planning a European Vacation this summer (late July/early August) with my husband, son (19 years old) & Daughter (15 years old). Trip length will be 10 days to 2 weeks and looking for a more "low key" vacation, meaning I don't want to run from city to city, but prefer to concentrate our time in 2-3 cities. I'm leaning towards starting our trip in Paris & then taking the train to London.

At this point, I'd like to get some recommendations on hotels. It seems that hotel rooms are smaller in Europe than US and I'd ideally like to have a larger hotel room or hotel that has a family suite. We are not interested in renting apartments. I'm not focused on a specific area of Paris or London yet, and willing to take a train to main area of city. I need to balance the cost of the room with the location. Budget would be approximately $200/room per night; would love to go lower, but not sure if that's feasible as i don't want a budget type of hotel.

I'm still planning itinerary, any suggestions are welcome. I'm considering adding South of France, day trip to Bath or Cotswold, etc. I'm open to all suggestions as i'm in initial planning stages.

Thank you!
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Oct 29th, 2015, 11:06 AM
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Just about your Eurostar train to London - booking really REALLY early can save you tons of money if you can get the limited in number deep discounted tickets - they are non-changeable non-refundable so be sure of your dates but you'll save tons over walk-up fares- sometimes first-class is discounted also so you can often buy a first class tickets at not much more - not usually but check both.

Trains in France and England are great - with two weeks I would base in both Paris and London and do day trips out of each - like to Chartres and its fabulous cathedral or Reims for Champagne tours and great cathedral and neat regional town or even to the Loire Valley for a day to see a couple of the great chateaus or even to Normandy to see the D-Day sites, etc. Versailles is practically in Paris - a short RER/metro ride from any place in Paris.

French trains are great and frequent and very comfy.

From London I would consider at top day trips to either Oxford or Cambridge and Salisbury and Stonehenge and yes Bath, to me the most gorgeous city in England.

Again trains are fast and frequent.

For lots of good info on trains in those areas check these IMO good sites: www.seat61.com - great info on discounted tickets for trains and Eurostar; www.budgeteuropetravel.com (check their free online European Planning & Rail Guide for lots of suggestions for day trips by rail; and www.ricksteves.com.
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Oct 29th, 2015, 11:13 AM
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Please state your hotel budget in euros or GBPs,, I don't know what kind of dollars you are talking about ( several countries use them ) and I don't want to do the conversion..you should think in the local currency anwyays.

Personally I am middle of planning our trip for next May.. will visit both London and Paris ( we have been to Paris many many times now.. and London 5 times) and I always find getting a decent hotel in London more challenging with our budget. I try to keep it to around 100 GBPs.. but so far always fail..this time we are staying at a place we stayed last time.. Celtic Hotel. Not fancy but we love it.. and it includes a great breakfast. Think we have a double room for 115 GBPS. ( which is like 230 bucks for us.. yikes)

London and Paris are an easy combo.. taking the Eurostar is fun and easy and can be cheap if you wisely book your ticket as soon as they release your dates.

You really should scrap the idea of getting a family suite for that budget.. it would be better to get two rooms.. two bathrooms.. and your kids are not really children.. the 19 yr old could be travelling solo at this point.. lol

If you only have 10-14 days I would stop thinking about all the places you could add.. unless you add some time. Arrive in London or Paris.. fly out the other. .and then the day you move from one to the other.. and maybe one easy daytrip from each ( Bath is easy from London ) ( Versailles from PAris) ( these are only examples, there are way more choices) and that leaves only 3 ot 4 full days in each city.. and both cities can eat that up easy.
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Oct 29th, 2015, 12:49 PM
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Your use of dollars is fine. The default is American and I assume that's what you're on about. Aussies, Kiwis, Canadians and Belizeans need to specify because they're outnumbered about 8-1 by Americans. Everyone assumes if you say "dollars" you mean US dollars because it is still the world trade currency. Justine is Canadian and the fact is that thinking in local currency is useless because you're setting your budget in your own currency.

As for this:

<>

Bad choice. I'd encourage you STRONGLY to rethink this. Your son is eligible to vote, join the armed forces, enter binding contracts, and assume all benefits and liabilities of adulthood. He's a grown man. He doesn't need to be in the same room as mommy, daddy and little sis. And sis is a pubescent girl, she doesn't want to have to deal with daddy and bubba in close quarters either.

There is nothing wrong with renting apartments and it will give both your grown son, nearly grown daughter, and you and hubs some bloody privacy. If you have a week in each city, an apartment will give you better value for the money. There are plenty of reputable rental properties in London. Paris is a different animal because it has strict laws that restrict supply of rental flats but options do exist.

<>

Well, you need to determine to some degree what you want to see and your upper limit on the length of the ride on the "train" you're willing to take. There is no single "main area of city" for London or Paris. Each is large with high tourist-interest sites spread all over the place. The French did not design Paris with the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay, for example, all in a square block so the tourists could just go across the plaza to the other destination. Neither city is as compact as Boston nor does either have its main attractions set in one area like Athens.

<>

Ok, does $200/room mean you're willing to cough up for two rooms or is "/room" superfluous because you just want to shell out $200/night for lodging? If the latter, the apartment idea is better. Right now $200 means about 130 quid and 180E.

Day trips are one thing, additional destinations are another. Visiting the French Riviera is an additional destination, and that will jam up your trip. Day tripping to Bath or Versailles (ugh - have fun with the crowds) is far easier.

And make your spawn do some homework on this too - they're teens and should have lots of ideas of what they want to do and see, some of which may be good, different, and not what you and hubs thought of.
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Oct 29th, 2015, 12:59 PM
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Just a quick note right now - am in a cafe having lunch. Will post more when I get home. but in London and with your budget I would DEFINITLY recommend renting a flat. $200 won't go far sleeping 4 in a hotel, but you could easily find a wonderful apartment w/I your budget.

Paris will be a bit easier budget-wise in a hotel.
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Oct 29th, 2015, 01:14 PM
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Your use of dollars is fine. The default is American and I assume that's what you're on about. Aussies, Kiwis, Canadians and Belizeans need to specify because they're outnumbered about 8-1 by Americans



Shoot me.
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Oct 29th, 2015, 01:26 PM
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I think the OP referred to US hotel rooms, so seemed obvious they were American. It's nice to translate to euro or pounds because that's the way rates are quoted so what people can relate to, however, or easily know.

US$200 is now about 183 euro. I sure hope that is not for four people, but if so, that needs to be stated as it makes it a whole different set of possible hotels. IN fact, you can't get anything but a very budget hotel at that level for four people. But, at least late July/August is a good time for low hotel rates, I'll give you that, so maybe. You can get a hotel with two doubles for 90 euro each, sure, but it will be very budget.

I think the OP means one room for four people for that price, unfortunately. Not sure that's going to happen that easily.

I checked Adagio Aparthotels in Paris, for example, as you can get a suite and room for four adults with them, but even they want about US$250+ for such a room next July/AUg.
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Oct 29th, 2015, 01:29 PM
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BigRuss had some very good questions, as well as comments.

Since the kids are not really kids, and family rooms are generally not a great idea for 4 almost adult people (especially with the one bathroom, which, in Europe, is generally the size of a closet -- except in Spain!), it's nice to give everyone a little space.

And some cities or hotels only allow two to a room. I remember we had this issue in Copenhagen, and had to get 2 adjoining rooms because it was husband and wife and 10 year old son.

If you are wanting a family room for budget only, I get it. We did that once in Rome (3 adults, 1 child) and in Vienna (3 adults, 1 child). Frankly, it was uncomfortable and a fight for the bathroom.

Having said that, for the last 33 years, in Paris we've stayed at the Hotel Aiglon in the 14th, right across from the Raspail Metro, and a great walking area. We generally stay in one of the 2 room suites, which have 2 bathrooms. But for you and your 2 adult/semi adult children, the hotel does have an apartment (it used to be called Room A) on the same level as the breakfast room. That would probably work for you, and is close enough to that price range. It has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The beds can be separated for the kids.

While you get the best deals online, their online booking only goes out so far in time (meaning it will say "unavailable"). So the best thing is to email them and coordinate the online deal with them that way.

As far as London goes, while I can't really help with that since I stay with friends when I go there, janisj will be able to help you a LOT as soon as she finishes lunch!
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Oct 29th, 2015, 01:44 PM
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Travel Lodge hotels are all over London and you can easily get a room in central London for about 100 pounds - well under your $200 budget - they are equivalent I'd say to our Holiday Inns - so no slumming - I checked the one at Waterloo and it had rooms around 100 pounds - could be a bit more in summer I guess but check them out if you can't find something decent for about that price - IME they are modern clean hotels with lots of amenities.
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Oct 29th, 2015, 01:44 PM
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https://www.travelodge.co.uk/hotels/...Waterloo-hotel

Forget to give the official site.
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Oct 29th, 2015, 02:03 PM
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If this is your first trip to Europe - and especially if nobody in your family speaks any French - I suggest that you fly into London, where the culture shock will be easier to absorb. London's prices in general are much more expensive than those in Paris.

In Paris, you'd better book your hotel very soon. You will need either a quad room that sleeps 4, or two separate or adjoining twin rooms. Make sure to specify the kind of beds you want - double or twin (very rare to find Queen and King beds).

You can find lots of modest but clean hotels in Paris that will meet your budget. Though rooms are always small and they won't be anything fancy, you'll have what you need and a front desk to help you with directions, etc.

Ibis and Accor are two inexpensive hotel chains that have family rooms. For independent hotels, look in the 5th, 6th (Latin Quarter) or 11th, 12th (Bastille) and 14th (Montparnasse) for better prices in good, safe locations that are just a tick away from the absolute center of the city, where prices are much higher. Public transportation in Paris is easy, inexpensive and fast.

Breakfast is not usually included in Paris, and hotel prices are much more expensive than you would pay for breakfast in a nearby cafe. Many hotel rooms are equipped with a minibar, and you can ask to have the contents removed during your stay, if you want to use it. Coffee/tea setups are sometimes available, but you might have to ask.

If you need or want a kitchen, you should look for Citadines or Adagio, which are legal apart'hotel chains. Sometimes discount prices are available on their websites, if booked in advance.
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Oct 29th, 2015, 02:04 PM
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PS - make sure you check for air-conditioning. Most hotels in Paris are air-conditioned, but some aren't. You will definitely need it in the Summer.
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Oct 29th, 2015, 02:52 PM
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>>Travel Lodge hotels are all over London and you can easily get a room in central London for about 100 pounds - well under your $200 budget - they are equivalent I'd say to our Holiday Inns - so no slumming - I checked the one at Waterloo and it had rooms around 100 pounds <<

Sorry, but Travelodge (and Premier Inn) won't work w/o booking two rooms. They both offer family rooms sleeping 4 . . . but that is only 2 adults and two children under 16 . . . and yes they do ask for the ages of the children at time of booking. So you could sleep the 2 adults and 15 yo in one room but would need a separate room for your son.
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Oct 29th, 2015, 04:47 PM
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Your budget is a little light for both London and Paris if you want to stay somewhere decent. Paris Made Perfect may have a two bedroom apartment that would fit you budget, but it would have to be booked well in advance. The price will depend on your dates.
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Oct 29th, 2015, 05:09 PM
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For London you can try these next to the Tower of London, on a yacht marina.

http://www.hamletuk.com

A one bedroom can be set up w/ twins in the bedroom plus the sofa sleeper - but it would be pretty crowded for 4 (though still a LOT more space than a quad room or two budget hotel rooms)

The two bedrooms would be terrific for your family -- you could have it set up as a double, twin and sofa sleeper or double/two twins.

The 2 bdrm flats run £929/$1425 per week so just a teensy bit over your budget. That is about as low as you'll find for a decent 2 bdrm.

(The 1 bdrms are £740/$1135 / week -- not worth the small savings IMO for essentially 4 adults)
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Oct 29th, 2015, 05:22 PM
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US $200 per night for a double double room (still small but with 2 double beds) is in the budget category. You do not want to stay away from the center (esp in London which is a huge city - and could take you an hour - plus transit cost - to get to and fro).

For first timers I usually reco a hotel so you have someone to answer questions. But you might want to consider a flat in London - although this can be a legal issue in Paris.

The other option is to consider the budget apart hotels (some info above) of which there are a couple of chains. In Paris do NOT take any place without AC (many budget places don;t have it) since you can easily get temps well up in the 90s. This is even more of an issue in London since MANY lower priced hotels don't have AC.

If I were you I would definitely reserve someplace cancelable as soon as you have final dates and then you can look around to see if you can find any better deals. Do be prepared that in hotels with that price range many hotel rooms are very small, hotels are also often in older buildings and often have older budget furnishings.
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Oct 29th, 2015, 05:41 PM
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>>The other option is to consider the budget apart hotels << -- Citadines etc won't fit in their budget in London. Plus at least in London they consider a 13yo an adult (12 is the limit for 'child' w/ Citadines). The cheapest Citadine in London will run them £194/$300 a night and some go up to over £300 a night.

That is why I linked the St Katharine's Marina site - they are a HUGE bargain.
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Oct 29th, 2015, 05:57 PM
  #18
mjs
 
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I understand the preference for hotels for your first trip to Europe but there are significant benefits for an apartment for you. An apartment usually gives you a lot more room. There is a kitchen so you can eat many meals which can save a lot of money. You really do not have to do a lot of cooking as you can buy many"prepared foods" that are easy to put together. Lastly, you probably can get a washer and dryer that is really great for a family.
One other alternative for housing might be the University of London housing or the University of Paris housing which might be quite reasonable for the summer. There is a variety of different rooms and even apartments available in both Universities.
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Oct 29th, 2015, 07:05 PM
  #19
erp
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So many great responses! Thank you. To clarify: budget was in US$; in regards to room, yes definitely need 2 rooms and my budget was about $200/room. Apologies for that. I'll read through the responses more thoroughly and let you know any questions. Again much appreciate your thoughtful responses.
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Oct 29th, 2015, 08:11 PM
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200 per room makes a HUGE difference.. many decent central
options.

Look at the Deluxe rooms ( the standards are really too small) at the Hotel Le Regent, on rue Dauphine.. great area.. ac and mini fridge. nice staff.
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