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Help-looking for one of those London/Paris trips

Help-looking for one of those London/Paris trips

Old Jul 6th, 2005, 09:16 AM
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Help-looking for one of those London/Paris trips

Thinking about spring '06 and would like to hear recommendations for combined London/Paris trip for 8-ish days. We'd be leaving from Chicago/ORD. We're not experienced travelers so need some help to see all that we can see!!
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 09:27 AM
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try www.gotoday.com - you may find something there - good luck!
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 09:36 AM
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Just a few suggestions for starters. You want to decide on a time to travel and shop for open jaw air fares into London and returning from Paris. I think I would spend 4 days in each city. If you can possibly extend your trip a few days, 5 in each city would be even better.
Then you need to give us some idea of the things you like to see and do. For starters, get a good guidebook for Paris and London and a good map of each. We like the DK Eyewitness Guides and the Michelin Green Guides and the Streetwise maps.
You can check the Fodor's page for London and for Paris - they include a "Best in 5 Days" list of things to see and do.
There is a wealth of information on this forum. After you have done some research, come back and we will help with the details. Have fun planning!
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 09:40 AM
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Cool! Thanks, my sleeves are offically rolled up!!
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 09:41 AM
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Keep searching this site for specific information on hotels, transportation, sites to see. You will find a wealth of information. Then post your specific questions when you have your airfare purchased.

If you click on my name above, you will find my travel report for London-Paris-Amsterdam last month. It has specifics for hotels and restaurants, in particular.

Allow more than 8 days if you possibly can. I thought 4 nights wasn't enough in either city, especially Paris IMHO.

It's easy to travel to Paris from London on the EuroStar and other methods. And for us, fares seemed lower arriving and/or departing from London.

You will love your trip. And planning it is half the fun!

 
Old Jul 6th, 2005, 10:20 AM
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I second what Maureen just said:

You can probably do the whole trip cheaper by flying in and out of London, since the airfare plus train is cheaper than air to or from Paris. The cheapest Eurostar fare is a round-trip that's cheaper than a one-way, so the usual advice is to throw away the return. In your case, however, you would want to use it.

I would weight an 8-day trip more towards Paris - maybe 5 and 3. And I would plan on doing Paris first, putting you in London on the day you return home but with only one change of hotel.

So: land at Heathrow or Gatwick, make your way to Waterloo (maybe see a bit of London from an open-top bus on the way), and spend your first 4 nights in Paris.

At the end of the 5th day, take the last train in the evening to London (so you don't waste daylight traveling) and finish up there.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 10:40 AM
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You might try some of the airline sites. I know United, American, British Air offer vacation packages. I did one through United a couple of years ago...a bit longer time that you are doing...a week each place...well, 6 days if you count the travel time. The cost of the package depended a lot on the class of hotel we chose. We did like upper middle..NOT to the top. Worked out very well. They included some transfers, the Eurostar to Paris, some hop-on/hop-off bus coupons for both cities, and the hotels had breakfast included and both were good. Not all hotels offered included breakfast. We landed in London and flew home from Paris. The flight times were good and we were direct on both legs. From SFO to Heathrow and from Charles de Galle to SFO. I thought it was a pretty good deal. Good luck and both those cities are fabulous.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 10:52 AM
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Hi dream,

With only 8 days, I suggest Paris this trip and London another time.

If you want to do both, I think 5 in Paris and 3 in London.

Cheapest eurostat fare between the cities is the one-day RT.

I would also fly into one and out the other.

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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 10:53 AM
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Do you want to plan this yourself? Or are you looking for recommendations for a good tour company for a package deal?
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 10:55 AM
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With 8-ish days, I also would recommend going only to Paris with maybe a day trip or two. Saving London for another time. It would really streamline things, economize expenses, and make planning easier all around.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 10:59 AM
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I'm with Ira on this one, including the open-jaw plan. We're going again in September for 10 days, flying into London, flying home from Paris.

You can see a lot in London in 3 days, and Paris is so worth a 5 day stay. We were there in 2003, and spent 2 nights in London and 3 in Paris before heading on to Rome, Athens and beyond. We clearly felt we didn't get nearly enough time in those two cities. We definitely needed a solid week in Paris, and that's what we're doing this time, spending a couple extra days in London before meeting our parents in Paris for a week.

Also, you can buy a Eurostar ticket 6 months (180 days) in advance. If you buy way in advance, it's only $94 RT, and you throw away the return ticket.

I highly recommend Rick Steves London and Paris books for your trips. He has great insights, up-to-date/accurate information about hours/costs of the sights, and has good travel tips. You can also rent his Travel Skills video and specials on London and Paris (along with other travel videos) at your local public library or buy his Europe Through The Back Door book. All are great ways to get a handle on travel in Europe.

Happy Travels,

Jules
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 12:18 PM
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I've never seen an open-jaw that can even come close to competing with a r/t.

Question: how much money do you have to leave on the table to save that 2.5 hour train ride?
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 12:55 PM
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Robespierre -- we bought our open jaw tickets for September (in through London, home from Paris) for $830 each...at the time a RT to Paris from Denver was $815. There is the added expense of the train ticket, but time = money, so we figured it was worth that.



Jules
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 12:56 PM
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FYI: our round-trip fare for last month was going Denver- London then Amsterdam- Denver, and it was only $707 on United. If you shop around, play with different dates, airlines and cities, you can usually find such a good fare with patience and persistence!
 
Old Jul 6th, 2005, 01:17 PM
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Yeah, but the best deals are still r/t. I just bought two PHX-LHR on September 5-13 for $533+tax. I looked for o/j for the same trip and couldn't get within $200 of that number.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 01:27 PM
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Hey, jules - where are you flying from? I just looked on Travelocity, and the September fare PHX-PAR is $626 on Iceland or BA.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 01:28 PM
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Our open jaw tickets, arriving in Milan and departing from Florence, were $17 more than a round trip Washington/Milan and saved us the time and train fare back to Milan from Florence. We have repeatedly found that open jaw saves time and usually money.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 01:34 PM
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Well, you made $17 plus the train fare on that deal (provided that there wasn't a smokin' deal on a r/t that you didn't catch).

But dreamseeker doesn't have to pay for the return train fare, and if they travel during "down time" in the evening, it doesn't cost any useful time.
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