Help with planning London/Paris trip

Nov 20th, 2007, 10:55 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 74
Help with planning London/Paris trip

I have been to both countries before but this will be a first trip for our daughter-her 16th birthdayand our 12yo son. They love museums and history and we are eat with the locals, up at dawn-sleep when we get home kind of people! Versailles is the only request I have had from my daughter so far.
We will arrive in London, Gatwick on the morning of March 3 and then must travel 37.4 MI / 60.19 KM NW to our hotel. We will stay in London until the 7th and then fly to Paris where we will stay until the 11th.
Any tips or suggestions to consider before I put my itinerary on paper? Kids are great travelers and we want to get in as much as we can while still enjoying the city.
magialmemories is offline  
Nov 20th, 2007, 12:17 PM
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We did a similar trip in March 2006 when our kids were 13 (DD) and 10(DS), however we were in each city for a week. Here is a list of their highlights from each city:

Both - finding their way through the tube stations, Mary Poppins, our Astral tour to Oxford/Stratford-Upon-Avon/Warwick Castle and eating at China Experience (a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown).
DD added the London Eye and DS added Imperial War Museum and climbing the dome in St. Paul's Cathedral.

Both - our daytrip to Normandy, our day with Michael Osman as our guide (did Louvre & Montmarte), evening Seine Cruise and Jardin de Luxembourg.
DD added seeing Didier Ludot(the vintage couture shop), the restaurant L'Epi Dupin. DS added climbing Sacre Coeur.

If you would like to read my entire trip report, here is the link:
jgg is offline  
Nov 20th, 2007, 01:04 PM
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"37.4 MI / 60.19 KM NW to our hotel."

What hotel? Sounds like it might be in central London but the "NW" does concern a bit since central London is basically due north of the airport.

I personally would NOT fly to Paris from London. I'd take the train. The Eurostar is faster, more convenient, and much more comfortable than schlepping out to one of the London airports, dealing w/ advance check in/security and then schlepping in to Paris from CDG.

The kids will probably really enjoy taking the train
janisj is online now  
Nov 20th, 2007, 01:17 PM
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Ditto on the Eurostar. Faster, cheaper, less time wasted getting to/from station versus airport.

What are you kids interest? In Paris, Segway tours, Fat Bike tours, Catacombs tour, Military museum if they like that stuff, Seine river cruise. A

re they into art/museums? In the time you have, perhaps some smaller musuems housed in interesting locales...Marmottan for Monet, Rodin museum, Picasso museum, Moyen Age (Cluny) is housed in old abbey built over roman ruins, Jaquemart Andre is collection housed in mansion. All of these would be conducive to a shorter visit, compared to Louvre and Orsay.

The Louvre from the outside and the surrounding area would be a nice book-end to Versailles...kings would summer at Versailles, winter at Louvre, last king and queen lost their heads (literally) at Place de la Concorde,etc..

I also like the idea of an organized tour, such as Paris Walks that are entertaining and cost effective. A nice break from you having to be the tour guide. There are also some good London Walks that would be worth looking into.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Nov 20th, 2007, 07:05 PM
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We took our then 10yo son to London, Paris and the Loire Valley 2 years ago. This year, we travelled to Spain and France, ending up for our last 1 1/2 days in Paris.

If they love museums and history, hand them guidebooks and let them start picking some out! Before we travel, we come up with a semi-short "must-see" list for our interests, and a "want-to-see" list. That way, we make sure to make it to the most important places for us, and add the other places if/when we have time.

Our son likes museums and history, too, though he was not quite as interested in them when he was 10. In London, however, we all liked (to my surprise) the War Museum and the Cabinet War Rooms. I made him go to the British Museum, for the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles, but he didn't want to see much else. The Tower of London, of course. He was very interested in spies, both the unreal James Bond variety, and the real Kim Philby. So we took a very good LondonWalks Spies tour, which focused more on the real spies than the movie ones.

One of our best experiences was going to a play at the National Theater (which is across the Thames); it was a comedy, and he liked it very much. On the way back to our hotel, late in the evening, we caught a double-decker bus for our ride across the Thames. The views were great, and definitely something we couldn't have planned ahead of time.

(We did a lot of other things, but those were probably the highlights.)

In preparation for Paris, he and I had read "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" together, so Notre Dame and its Towers was especially meaningful. It also told him a lot about history of several different time periods. We spent most of one day at the Louvre; we broke up the day by leaving the museum entirely for lunch. On our short return trip, our son chose to return to the Musee d'Orsay. He also chose to go to the Pompidou, which he LOVED and we put up with (there's a reason that DH and I had never visited that museum). We also went to the Marmatton, which I have been wanting to visit for a long time. He liked it fine, I loved it and the building it's in, and we all loved the neighborhood.

We did not do any guided tours in Paris. Going through the Louvre on our own, with 2 different comprehensive guidebooks, allowed us to visit the art that we liked.

In Paris, a boat trip down the Seine at night is a must. We did it our first day on our first trip, so that our son's first view of the Eiffel Tower was from the river, all lit up. It was magical!

My son and I are early risers, so each morning during our most recent trip (on the other trip, it was October, so the sun rose later) we took a long walk through the neighborhoods. I made sure I had cash, and when we could, we would stop at a patisserie for a small pastry to try (cannelle are a new favorite, added to macaroons).

Lexma90 is online now  
Nov 21st, 2007, 04:45 AM
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Hi M,

I also suggest looking at before buying airline tickets.

Prices can be as low as 29 GBP each way.

ira is offline  
Nov 21st, 2007, 06:24 AM
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My niece was 16 when we went, and she loved the Camden market (its fun to see something current) and the Tower of London (if our son is like other teenage boys I know, he will love the white tower - filled to the brim with swords, knives etc) navigating the tube, and The British Museum. We enjoyed the Eurostar very much too. It now leaves from the recently spiffed up St. Pancras station, its an awsome place so leave time to see it before your train's departure. Do go on the Harry Potter walking tour, I loved it.
Toby1 is offline  
Nov 21st, 2007, 01:41 PM
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Thanks to all who responded! This is so helpful! I could have spent the entire day pouring through books but nothing is better than hearing from "real" people. I feel ready to put a plan on paper...
magialmemories is offline  

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