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Here's my agenda for London and Nice - suggestions please!

Here's my agenda for London and Nice - suggestions please!

Feb 8th, 2000, 06:40 PM
  #1  
Ellen
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Here's my agenda for London and Nice - suggestions please!

Day 1 Overnight flight to London.

Day 2 Arrive London early morning. Check into Swiss House Hotel. See London via Big Red Bus. Rest. Jack the Ripper evening walk with Original London Walks.

Day 3 Begin at Tower of London – see the crown jewels first, then take a guided Beefeater tour. Take a guided tour of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Have lunch. Take an afternoon guided tour of the British Museum. Walk through Piccadilly Circus.

Day 4 Visit the National Gallery. Walk through Leicester Square - check out Trafalgar Square. Take a guided tour of Westminster Abbey. See the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, St. James Palace (don’t plan to go in). Tour the Globe Theater. Tonight, we have tickets to the Ceremony of the Keys.

Day 5 Day trip to Bath.

Day 6 Morning visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum. Visit St. Martin’s and do brass rubbings. Afternoon tea at Brown’s.

Day 7 Free day to wander and visit what we didn’t do earlier!

Day 8 Early morning flight to Nice. Travel to Villefranche sur Mer - check into Hotel La Flore. Take the bus to Nice and visit the old town.

Day 9 Take bus to Monaco. Tour the Cousteau Museum. View the palace and museum. Visit the casino in Monte Carlo. Afternoon bus or train to St. Jean Cap Ferrat to visit the Rothschild Villa (we’ll take a guided tour of the villa).

Day 10 Take the train to Antibes. See the Picasso Museum, visit the old town, and walk on the beach. Afternoon in St. Paul and Vence (if time permits).


Day 11 Maybe a visit to Bordighera?

Day 12 Morning train from Nice to ?

Day 13, 14, 15??????????

Day 16 Flight home.

I'd appreciate any feedback you could give me on my itinerary so far. Am STILL undecided as to where to go from Nice - we're leaning towards Paris or Avignon. Can fly home out of Nice, Marseilles, Paris, Bordeaux, but need to let American know soon....We need to go somewhere that has good public transportation (don't want to drive)...any suggestions?? Have been to Paris several times and we do love it there, but are open to your recommendations. Thanks!

 
Feb 8th, 2000, 11:11 PM
  #2  
miriam
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Hi Ellen,
your agenda looks nice and I`m only referring to the France part of the tour. I would never leave the Provence without visiting Grasse and the Grand Canyon du Verdon. As you`ll see in other postings, Grasse is the perfume capital of France. You can take a tour through the manufactories where they collect all the flowers and blossoms to produce essences. And you can watch the person (I don`t know how to call it) who finally puts all the ingredients together (parfumeur?). At the end you can buy your favourite perfume oil and mix it at home with pure alcohol and you`ll have a beautiful souvenir. They offer the tour through the facilities in all languages and my guide was perfect in my mother language.
The town Grasse itself is worth a visit as well, it`s a charming little town, with nice cafes and good restaurants. From there you may take a guided bus tour to the Grand Canyon du Verdon. Ok, it`s not the US Grand Canyon, but it`s a very scenic route, which follows the mountains along the Verdon river finally leading to a big lake. I don`t know if you`re there when it`s warm, but anyway it`s a great experience after all that salty seawater to take a bath in the (very cold) water. I never leave that region without touring the Grand Canyon.
Hope this gives new ideas

Kind regards

Miriam
 
Feb 9th, 2000, 04:44 AM
  #3  
elaine
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Dear Ellen
You've obviously done your homework on what you want to see in London, but I can't help but wonder if you're expecting too much of yourself. I am also a dedicated sightseer, but Day 4, as just one example, seems absolutely exhausting to me and may not actually be doable in one day unless you literally don't stop from morning to night.
On that first day you will arrive very tired, and unless you are very lucky you may not be able to get into your hotel room until mid-afternoon. Are you sure that you will want to do a walking tour on that first evening? Also, people more expert on London than I on this forum (Wes Fowler comes to mind)have suggested that using one of the London city buses for a first "tour" is just as useful, just as enjoyable, much less costly than the Big Red. As Wes pointed out, if you get sleepy on the bus you won't feel you've wasted much money. As has been recommended, stop at one of the tourist information offices in Victoria Station, at Heathrow, or on Lower Regent Street. You can pick up
a copy of the A-Z Visitors' London Atlas and Guide. It's small and has detailed maps of London with major sights and their hours of operation, tube stations, and bus routes identified. Pick up a copy of the Central London Bus Guide as well. The numbers 11, 15 and 38
buses follow the same routes as the major tour bus companies. Take a seat in the top front of a double decker city bus and you can get an orientation of the city at far less cost than in a tour bus. Passes for the underground
are usable on the buses as well.
For example I've read that if you board one of the "11
Liverpool Street Station" buses you'll go past Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, up
Whitehall, past 10 Downing Street, Horse Guards and the Banqueting Hall to Trafalgar Square and the National
Gallery, then onto the Strand past the Courtauld Institute, to Fleet Street and the Royal Courts of Justice, and on to St. Paul's Cathedral.
Have a wonderful trip whatever you do.
 
Feb 9th, 2000, 05:35 AM
  #4  
cheryl
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I agree with Elaine (as I so often do!), I'm not convinced that your London itinerary is actually doable. I have been known to overschedule and use every minute of a day for sightseeing, but your days seem unrealistic. When I stayed at the Swiss House Hotel, I wasn't able to actually check in until 2:00. They did let us leave our bags for a few hours, however. Day 3 especially seems crowded to me. We found the Tower of London fascinating, and spent about 4 hours there. I don't think we would have found it possible to see the Tower and St. Pauls before lunch. I would also try to group things that are close together, for example, the National Gallery and St. Martin's. I hope this helps a bit. Have a great trip!
 
Feb 9th, 2000, 05:37 AM
  #5  
ron
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Ellen, I agree with much of what Elaine says about overextending yourself in London, especially on the first day. To me your day 3 is the killer - the Tower, St. Paul's and the BM all in one day. I would suggest you move the British Museum to your free day. If it turns out you have time and energy after doing the first two items, visiting the Museum of London nearby or just wandering the streets of the City would be good alternatives. If you are looking for a lunch place that day, the Liberty Bounds pub near the Tower is a good choice.

Re day 4, unless there is something particular you want to see at the National Gallery, I suggest the National Portrait Gallery is more "Britishly" interesting.

Have a good holiday.

Ron
 
Feb 9th, 2000, 06:37 AM
  #6  
Lori
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Ellen,
To echo the others your London schedule is a killer. We've ben to Londonat least 10 times and you need to allow time to get from one place to another, etc. (The Underground is great, but there can be a lot of walking involved, etc.) Also, it is nearly impossible to check into any hotel in the early a.m. (unless you pay for the day before .. a thought you might you want to consider). After an overnight flight - no matter what part of the U.S. you originate from - starting out immediately touring without a shower, etc. would be not my idea of the way to start a great vacation (now I am not speaking for everyone, many people seem to think it is OK to get off the plane and start sightseeing, I just don't happen to).

You will feel exhausted for your entire trip and the other cities will not be much fun if you don't think about cutting down some of the London activities a bit. You have quite a bit ahead of you after London and you don't want it to be agony because you are simply pooped out. Days 3 and 4 are killers quite frankly. I'm not even sure if it is possible to do all this and actually see anything (there is doing and seeing). Sometimes it is better to skip something and really enjoy the rest you do. I'd not discount peoples views on how you will feel that first night when jet lag kicks in - a walk may not be a great idea at that point. Bed by 8 p.m. may be We've always gone to bed fairly early the first night (no nap in the afternoon) and have had virtually no jet lag the next day. With your schedule you don't need that! You are not allowing any time for the unexpected, a quick run into a shop, a few extra minutes for an ice cream cone or just to pause and look around you and maybe walk down a non-tourist street! Sometimes these are the kinds of things that make a trip memorable, not necessarily the biggies of tourist-dom. The Ceremony of the Keys is fun but you may not feel like getting up early for a day trip to Bath the next a.m. If you opt for less travel Windsor CAstle is close by, likewise Hampton Court (very easy to get to via Waterloo Station, about 1/2 hr. train ride). HC is a lovely place.

As for your other cities I can't answer much, but if you do decide to do Paris I've been there dozens of times and know a fair amount about the city, as do many on this Forum. Again, I'd say don't try and overdo it there, it's smaller than London but there is a great deal to see and do, but not all in one day!!
 
Feb 9th, 2000, 07:08 AM
  #7  
elvira
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Ellen: You have a killer itinerary; don't change anything....just be prepared to NOT get to everything (I, too, plan killer itineraries, realizing that some of it will be skipped because of timing errors, too tired, bored or I found something better to do along the way). Don't feel guilty or upset when you skip stuff - London has been there for a good long time and will be there for a good long time after we're all gone so you can always go back.

There are overnight trains that go from Nice to Paris, so it's certainly doable. The City of Lights has incredible public transportation, even to the outlying cities of Versailles, Chartres, etc. You can fill 3 days without a problem.

Bordeaux is a very pretty city, about a day or so should hit the high points. The tourist office offers a multitude of bus tours to vineyards and villages so you can see some of the region.

I always recommend Paris, but Bordeaux and the vineyard tours might be a nice wind-down for the last couple days of your trip. Paris is a big city, hits you right between the eyes, no mercy and you better not flinch. If you want the adrenaline rush, then do Paris.
 
Feb 9th, 2000, 07:59 AM
  #8  
Ross
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Hi Ellen.

I would suggest staying in Nice for 2-3 days, sseing the sights and taking the TRAIN to Monaco <<very easily done>>, and then take the train to Marseille. The train ride to Marseille from Nice is along the coast. Great scenery! Marseille is a big port city. The atmosphere is like what Miami used to be like before South Beach with North African influences. You can take a wonderful boat ride from Marseille to Cassis to see les Calanques. 1/2 day trip. Great scenery! You can also take a day drip to Aix-en-Provence, a lovely small city about 45 minutes by train from Marseille. I would suggest flying out of Marseille. Nice is quite touristy. Marseille is not. Feel free t
 
Feb 9th, 2000, 10:32 AM
  #9  
wes fowler
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Ellen,
Think of your London itinerary as a "wish list" rather than a "to do" list. It's overly ambitious to say the least. I'm almost tempted to suggest that you spend days 13, 14 and 15 to catch up on that which you don't see initially. Late hotel check in (a harsh reality) and jet lag will have you on a truly Original London Stagger rather than Walk on your first evening. Advice you've received in previous posts is practical and right on. Days three and four are sure to wipe you out; an inauspicious beginning to your trip. Speaking of wipe out, are you prepared to devote the two to three hours necessary to complete a brass rubbing at St. Martin's? With an itinerary as jampacked as yours you might put that time to better use.

Don't change your itinerary, ambitious though it is. Simply resign yourself to the fact that some things are going to fall by the wayside. Start planning to see those things you miss or don't fully experience while on your plane trip home.
 
Feb 9th, 2000, 11:07 AM
  #10  
Ellen
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Thanks for the feedback - exactly what I was looking for!

Without too many changes, thanks, Elivra , what do you think of this..any more realistic? I do realize that we won't do it all and we'll hopefully get the chance to go back...a couple of points - talked to the hotel, we will be able to leave our bags early and hopefully get our room by lunch. Just thought we'd hop on the Bus and see a little while we waited. Also, we're flying from London to Nice...

Day 3 Tower of London when it opens...St. Paul's after lunch.

Day 4 Day trip to Bath. Back in time for the ceremony of the keys, I hope.

Day 5 Guided tour of Westminster Abbey first thing in the morning. After lunch, the National Galary.

Day 6 Morning in British Museum. Afternoon in V&A Museum. Afternoon tea at Brown's.

Day 7 Catch up....

Day 8 Fly to Nice....

How's that? More doable????

Thanks again,
Ellen

 
Feb 9th, 2000, 12:33 PM
  #11  
Kavey
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Hi

Wont comment much on London as agree with other posters...

But I wouldnt put anything down on the day you are doing Bath. Bath is such a lovely city and it is a fair journey away. Are you really going to want to tear yourself away after a couple of hours there to get back to London?

I wanted to comment on Nice portion.

Again lots of squeezing in.

I would recommend St Paul (the walled village) and miss Vence. Vence is nice but you can always go back. St Paul is the prettier and you can easily lose hours there. Also isnt it more pleasant to be able to lose half an hour chatting to a friendly French shop owner or admiring a view than to rush onwards to the next stop?

Have a lovely lovely trip

Kavey
 
Feb 9th, 2000, 12:39 PM
  #12  
annie
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I didn't think your original itenerary was that over ambitious, but then again it depends on your age. I was in London for 3 days last spring and did the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's, Victoria & Albert Museum, Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, plus plenty of walking around. Windsor Castle and the town of Windsor were amazing. The Tower of London was my favorite. But I agree about mapping it all out before you go so you can see as much in one particular area as you can. It's amazing what you can see when the adrenaline is pumping. Have fun!
 
Feb 9th, 2000, 12:52 PM
  #13  
cheryl
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I would like to comment on Annie's statement that it depends on your age. I would say that it depends more on how in-depth you like to be when you see things. Certainly, if one doesn't mind a hectic day (I don't mind them), one can SEE all of the things on the original itinerary, but to do more than just see them, the original itinerary was probably too much. It didn't take me 5 hours at the Tower because I couldn't walk fast enough, it took me 5 hours because we wanted to read everything and try to understand the historical context. I suppose it's possible to walk through the War Rooms in about 20 minutes, but we were fascinated and spent almost 2 hours there.
 
Feb 9th, 2000, 01:03 PM
  #14  
Lori
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Ellen,
You're making progress!! Seriously, you may still find you don't have enough time for all you intend to do. What month are you doing this all in .. if it is soon it gets dark fairly early which cuts down on some forms of sightseeing. If it is later in the spring/summer you are OK that way. Personally I'd probably be too tired to do the Ceremony of the Keys after a day in Bath, but then again we poke around alot and do things at a slower pace than most tourists & have been to London/UK many times (no we are not ancient -- just like to enjoy the moment). The "Keys" is about 9:30 p.m. altho it doesn't last more than 20-30 minutes (worth it if you are still up and running!). Don't discount jet lag tho, even if you are flying from the east coast it will still kick in - for those of us in the west it's a real problem - we get the thrill of a 10/11 hr. flight.

Planning is good, but don't overplan, allow for the unexpected - it's more fun. If you miss something it will be there next time you visit. We've changed plans/directions/everything in mid-stream on some trips and had fantastic times that we would not have had if we stuck with the original plan.

Go and enjoy but don't get upset if you don't see everything - it is better to experience a few things and remember them than to "see" many and not really see anything.
 
Feb 10th, 2000, 04:17 AM
  #15  
elaine
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Dear Ellen
Aren't you glad you asked?!
One more comment, based on personal experience. You must have one or two sights to see that are the most important to you, without which you will feel that your trip was disappointing.
Do them at the beginning of your stay, don't save them until the end. People get sick, or tired, places close unexpectedly for renovations or due to a strike, or, as in my case, Westminster Abbey closed early for a wedding and I didn't get to see the Poet's Corner until my next trip to London.
 
Feb 11th, 2000, 05:40 AM
  #16  
Carl
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Hi Ellen--
Suggestion for Day 5. Do it in reverse order. This is what we did last May and had a wonderful time.
AM--National Gallery
Lunch--St Martin's Crypt(across from Gallery) Stayed for 1pm Lunchtime Recital(30 minutes long)
Afternoon-Walked down Whitehall, leisurely(see Trafalgar, Horse Guards and Downing Street), to Westminister Abbey. Took last Verger tour around 3pm. Stayed for the Evensong at 5pm (wonderful).
Around 6pm attended a session of Parliament, both houses briefly for 1 hour(no lines) Took tube to Covent Garden for dinner(Belgo Centraal).
 

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