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help with 1st trip to Paris/London please

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May 5th, 2015, 09:38 AM
  #1
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help with 1st trip to Paris/London please

We are a family of 5 (kids ages 18,17,12) flying in and out of Paris and I am a little overwhelmed. We purchased discounted airline tickets through the Kayak website (Vayama) from JFK to CDG on XL Airways (has anyone heard of this airline?) and I have since read some very bad reviews about Vayama and mediocre reviews of XL Airways. Hopefully, the plane will get us there. Our trip is 13 nights total and we are planning to split the time between London and Paris. Is it reasonable to try to squeeze in a third destination, and if so, where? Our interests are food, history, hiking, good weather...and preferably something away from the mobs of tourists we will probably encounter in the cities. We plan to travel by train. Also, if we are coming from London on our last day, do we take the eurostar directly to CDG (our return flight is at night)? This is obviously our first trip. Thanks for any advice.
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May 5th, 2015, 09:43 AM
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I would stick with the two cities and if you really feel you need a break from them maybe pencil in a day trip or two.

Eurostar does not go to CDG - you will have to take a connecting train or bus service from Paris out to the airport. Are your plane tickets refundable? If they are you would do better to cancel them and fly open jaw i.e. into one city and out of the other to save you having to go back to France just to get the flight home. If not, don't worry too much, its not the end of the world.
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May 5th, 2015, 09:55 AM
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If you aren't able to do as RM67 suggests, fly home from your second city, which I agree would have been the most efficient plan, possibly save yourself a dash for CDG and divide your time in Paris. Spend a few days there, go to London, then return to Paris for 2 or 3 nights before leaving. The Eurostar puts you in the city centers both places so it wouldn't be difficult to do.
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May 5th, 2015, 10:10 AM
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You can walk a lot in London and Paris, both cities have rivers, parks and canals to get around and if that is you thing then you need to dig a bit deeper but you will find a whole different city hidding beneath the tourist glitter. Canals are such a great way to walk around town.

http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/canal-crawl
http://www.frommers.com/articles/6265.html

Food in both cities is fantastic, if a little expensive and in Paris a little (only a little) restricted about opening hours.

If you want to go somewhere to get away from the crowds it depends on when you are going, you don't say. I'd catch a train out for a day to maybe to Rouen or Epernay or Bescancon (basically dig around some guide books and have a day walking
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May 5th, 2015, 10:13 AM
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Just a thought, catch a train to Henley and walk u the Thames to Oxford. It's only about 24 miles, loads of pubs on the way and catch a train back. Nice day, should be interesting, though maybe Reading would be a better start.
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May 5th, 2015, 10:17 AM
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I have flown on XL on a short European holiday charter flight, and that was fine. They wouldn't be flying if they didn't meet basic standards.
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May 5th, 2015, 10:22 AM
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You will have a great trip with only the two destinations--do the experience and get the kids hooked on travel!!
As said, you'll have to come into Paris and then to CDG. What time does your plane leave (those don't sound like refundable tickets!).
In which case you might total up all your time, and see if you might want to go directly to London for the first part of your trip--just make that first day an absolute bear and go on to London.
Then come to Paris for the last part of your trip and you'll just have a taxi ride to the airport in the morning, and can have a great last night in Europe. This could really maximize your time, I think.
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May 5th, 2015, 11:10 AM
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<>

Considering its planes are probably newer than those flown by United, Delta and AA, this isn't something to worry about.

You need to worry about airlines if the reviews are universally bad with specific reasons, not that the flight was uncomfortable or the service poor - that's routine for airlines.

For London, you need to get acquainted with the www.daysoutguide.co.uk website, bring passport-size photos for everyone, get 7-day paper travelcards at St. Pancras when you arrive, and save a lot of money.

For both cities, you need to check into discounts for attractions.
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May 5th, 2015, 11:10 AM
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Splitting up Paris at the beginning and end is the best way to go.

On getting to and from the airport, with 5 people and 5 suitcases, you'd have to double up on taxis I'm afraid.

My suggestion is find a place to stay relatively close to "Les Cars" (Air France Shuttle Bus) stops in Paris. The shuttle bus can be used by anyone. In your case, with 5, you could get the group pass, so it would cost 14.50 euro per person instead of 17 euro for a one way ticket.
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May 5th, 2015, 11:41 AM
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Thank you! Wow, I was not expecting such quick advice. Unfortunately, our tickets are locked in (this trip is a learning experience). I think we will just do the two cities and split the time in each. Our flight home from Paris does not leave until 7:45 pm. I am wondering if its best to take a taxi or RER at rush hour. We travel pretty light although there are five of us.
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May 5th, 2015, 12:22 PM
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with 5 people and 5 suitcases, you'd have to double up on taxis I'm afraid

This is inaccurate. Go to the taxi line and the master will get you an appropriate size van/taxi. The cost will be about 50E or so into Paris, depending on your destination. No need to shuffle around with Air FRance especially.
Put your hotel name and address and maybe a little map to hand to the driver. Do NOT accept a taxi ride from anyone who approaches you--and use only those Taxi Parisienne on them. The others are gypsy cabs and will overcharge. Just go to the taxi queue as above.
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May 5th, 2015, 12:25 PM
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You will need to be at the airport by about 4-5 o'clock. The RER will be crowded also. I'd still take a cab. Your hotel can arrange one.
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May 5th, 2015, 04:33 PM
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I would not split Paris into two stays.

I'd leave from CDG right away and either fly directly on to London, OR - go into central Paris and take the Eurostar train to London.

Stay 6 or 7 nights in London. Then take the Eurostar back to Paris and stay the final 6 or 7 night there. This eliminates one extra packing/checking out/travel/checkin in/unpacking. The little extra hassle getting to London on your arrival day will greatly simplify the rest of your trip.

You have to be in Paris at the end so why not do London first????
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May 5th, 2015, 04:39 PM
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Sorry, but this isn't true. Especially from the airport. Just get in the "Official" taxi line after you get your luggage. Don't go with anyone that approaches you or your kids that ask if you need a taxi even if they look official. They will tell you that they are but they are lying. Just get in the line where there is a dispatcher at the head of it that puts you in a taxi. He might have your family step until he calls up one for all of you.

Being that you booked your trip round trip Paris, No, I would not add another city. Next time look into booking into one city and home from another. They are 'multi city' tickets. Just about every one of my trips I have flown into Paris and home from London. Or into Paris and home from Rome, etc.

And you will have plenty to do to keep you busy in both cities anyway.
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May 5th, 2015, 04:45 PM
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Also, when you get too the taxi have the name, address and phone # of your hotel on a piece of paper to hand to the driver.

I would also seriously consider going straight to London. I now it's a long day but once you do it and get it over with you can relax.

That way you don't have to worry about getting back to Paris for your flight home. It'll just be a taxi ride away.

Book your Eurostar tickets well in advance the prices only go up and up.
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May 5th, 2015, 06:40 PM
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It sounds like a great trip. I know you'll love it. I'd stick with those two cities at most. Paris for 13 days is not too many, for that matter, with a day trip here and there, including a brief plunge into London.

Taking RER from CDG to Gare du Nord, then Eurostar to St. Pancras, does sound like a workable idea. You could rest a little on the train, then come back to Paris for the last half.
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