First time Europe travelers

Dec 22nd, 2013, 12:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2013
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First time Europe travelers

Trying to plan a 10 day vacation to London/Paris . We would like to stay 4 days in each city, really want it to be a rekindling of our relation ship so we want the romantic things to do in each city. Been looking at European Vacations as a possible package deal...would like to travel either March or October 2014.

Any suggestions.....
ksltpow is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 12:21 PM
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Absolutely no reason one needs a tour/package to do London Paris.

Totally easy on your own. Fly into London stay 4 nights, take the Eurostar train to Paris, stay 4 nights, fly home from Paris.
janisj is online now  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 01:16 PM
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I think you'll find better weather in October than March. If rekindling is your aim, I'm with Janis on this, a trip that includes spontaneity would be in order, more likely with independent arrangements rather than a package tour.

You might take a look at packages that contain only your flights & hotel (no group tours), although the hotels available tend to be bigger and likely the less romantic sort except maybe at the upper end. Romance is generally more romantic on an ample budget.
MmePerdu is online now  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 01:16 PM
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And October is a better time to go. You have to be lucky to have great weather in March; you have to be unlucky not to have it in October.
Ackislander is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 01:19 PM
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Walk along the Seine at night.

Decide before hand what you see so you do not argue.

Learn the etiquette of the French to avoid unnecessary situations.

Tour is the last thing you need for a special time. Being with 40 of your closest friends on a bus is not romantic, it is football practice.
IMDonehere is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 01:24 PM
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Look at guidebooks which may also guide your choices in each city.
Michael is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 02:38 PM
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There are a gazillion websites dealing with "romantic Paris." You can start investigating them now. And yes, October is the time to go.
StCirq is online now  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 02:49 PM
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IMDonehere, what do you mean by French etiquette?
ksltpow is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 03:30 PM
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I'm wondering what one would argue about in Paris. On the other hand, good manners are good manners everywhere, in my experience.
MmePerdu is online now  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 04:07 PM
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Etiquette ins Paris is far more prescribed than here in the States. If you don't (every single time you have an encounter with anyone - store owner, cashier, museum attendant, bus driver, anyone) say Bonjour Monsieur/Madame or don't say "Merci, Madame/Monsieur" for any kindness/service offered, and don't say "Au revoir, Monsieur/Madame" upon taking leave, you may very well be perceived as rude and ignorant or both.

You also don't go to an outdoor market and start pawing the goods. And if you want to stop at an outdoor café for just a drink, you don't sit at a table that is set with tableware and napkins - you sit at the ones that are bare. And you don't go to a patisserie and get pastries or croissants or whatever and then go park yourself at a nearby café and just order a coffee (you ask ahead of time if it's OK). Smiling all the time at complete strangers, as a lot of Americans do, is considered silly and immature by many French. The list goes on and on, but its not really something you need to get worked up about. If you're at all observant, you'll get it as you make your way around the city.

Most of these things seem entirely obvious to me, but its astonishing how many people have no clue and assume that all cultural customs will be the same as where they come from or just assume they can do what they want (which of course they can, if they're willing to suffer some reprimands, which Parisians are very good at).

If you are open and polite, you'll likely be fine. It's not as though you need to learn some whole new system of thinking, but there are certain fine points of interactions that sit well with Parisians (and French in general), and some that don't.
StCirq is online now  
Dec 22nd, 2013, 04:49 PM
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Parisians are very used to non-french visitors and, for 4 days, I'm guessing you can manage to behave yourselves sufficiently. Besides, on a romantic trip like this one you'll be so absorbed with each other you won't notice if some churlish waiter rolls his eyes.
MmePerdu is online now  
Dec 29th, 2013, 08:35 PM
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Yes, October is better, no doubt. Half of your time spent in each city is perfect, as they are balanced: London for museums, concerts and shows and Paris for sheer beauty of the city, plus the food. And the Louvre of course.

I would not book a tour. Half the fun is researching and planning, and both cities are very user-friendly. You will have fun discovering things. And making some dumb mistakes, too! Taking a few risks and trying new things is much more romantic than being cloistered in some prepackaged tour.

A few random tips:
* In London, buy an Oystercard, good for buses and the Tube. The Tube is easy to figure out and works great, except when there are problems, and also you end up walking a LOT underground, esp. when transferring lines. Buses are lots more fun, esp the double-deckers. You can take one in general direction of your destination, and hop off if it takes an unwelcome turn... very easy with Oystercard.
* You can fill 4 days in London easily: British Museum, Nat'l Gallery, British Library, a few shows and concerts, plus walking around and there you are.
* In Paris, the real star is the city itself. One of the great walking cities, and so darned romantic... make sure you make reservations at some good bistrots/restaurants a few weeks out. Research is easy online, with Tripadvisor etc.
* Upon arrival in Paris, you buy a "carnet de dix" - ten tickets for the Metro and buses. Not as snazzy as the Oystercard but it works fine. Again, I suggest buses when possible, though the Paris bus system is trickier than London's.

HOTELS. Personally, I prefer to stay in apartments over hotels. They are cheaper and more civilized, plus you can control your food better. Plus it's fun to shop for cereal, fruit and whatever. Good apartments are hard to find, but I have a great one to recommend in London:

Under $200 a night, in excellent shape, has washer/dryer, in a very good area. This one is a real find.

In Paris I stayed at a pretty good one:
Very near the Bastille metro, in a hip and happening area, lots of shops and clubs etc. Yet quiet. Again, under $200/night and has washer/dryer.

However, if you prefer a hotel in Paris, I highly recommend Hotel Brittanique. Extremely central (by Chatelet) so you can walk to lots of desirable sights. A "3-star hotel" in Paris can mean many things, often unpleasant, but this one is a 3 star operating at a 4-star level. Cost is around $250-300/night, which is reasonable for central Paris. Staff is great and their English is very good. Get a room in the back, which is quieter though pricier.

That's all I know. Have a great trip!
danlev is offline  
Dec 30th, 2013, 03:13 AM
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For first time Europe travelers and for such short times, I think hotels are a much better choice. There is the desk for help making reservations or for information.
Not sure what would be unpleasant about a 3 star hotel.
Gretchen is online now  
Dec 30th, 2013, 03:35 AM
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imperative to book early for Eurostar trains London to Paris to get cheap tickets - just show up and you may pay $100 or more more than booking early - but those discounted tickets are non-changeable non-refundable but you can book thru Raileurope ( in the U.S. up to nine months early - I think 3 months on the official site.

Midweek days offer the most available discounted tickets - sold in limited numbers and often exhausted weeks or months before hand - you can always just pop in and buy tickets but full fare is so so more expensive than the discounted tickets.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 30th, 2013, 05:32 AM
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I can second the suggestion of the hotel Brittanique - we actually stayed in a room in the front and had a small balcony which we loved; i don't remember any noise particularly. if you book far enough in advance you may manage to get a special rate too. it's pretty luxurious for a 3 star, and in an excellent position.

I also agree about the time of your to do this trip; you might be lucky, but i have been as cold as i have ever been anywhere in Paris in March. and going in October will give you longer to plan.

if you want a special meal while you're in Paris, i can recommend the prix fixe lunch at Le Cinq [the 2 michelin star restaurant of the Georges V off the Champs Elysees]. When we went it was €85 each [it's probably gone up a bit since then] and the drinks, if you have them, will inflate the price somewhat but it was some of the best food, and definitely the best service, I have ever had.
annhig is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2014, 08:09 AM
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When booking Eurostar tickets - train to Paris - keep in mind that you have to enter thru the turnstile 30 minutes or more perhaps before the actual train time and also that it takes quite a while to reach St Pancras International Station by taxi or tube or bus from most places in London where tourists stay. Schedule your train accordingly.
PalenQ is offline  

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