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Vadim Jun 13th, 2002 12:59 PM

London and Paris for a long weekend
 
I decided to make my wife a present and take her on a trip for 4th of July weekend. The plan is: plane arrives to London at 10am on 7/4 (4/7 for europeans :-)), we spend a day in London, take 19:23 train to Paris, arrive to Paris around 23:30, spend 3 nights/2 days in Paris, leave for London on 7/7 in the morning, spend second day in London and leave for the airport around 16:00 for 18:30 plane back to NY.<BR><BR>I have a few questions:<BR>1. Where to stay in Paris? From Fodor recomendations I picked Louvre Forum ($90). Is it a good choice. Second choice so far is Best Western ($145). Can anyone comment on it? May be someone can recommend something better?<BR>I want to be in the middle of everything and to make my wife happy with hotel.<BR><BR>2.Should I anticipate any problems taking Metro from Gare du Nord to my hotel around 23:00? Any problems with buying metro tickets, getting euro?<BR><BR>3. Any suggestion on what is the best way to spend our days? We have been in both cities a few years ago so I don't think we will want to run from one museum to another but rather try to relax and absorb the atmosphere.<BR><BR>4. Is it really important to have an air conditioner in the room? So far it is not hot in Paris.<BR><BR><BR><BR>

cuckoo Jun 13th, 2002 01:29 PM

First of all, I think you're trying to do too much. London & Paris sounds nice, but not for a long weekend. Here's what you'd be doing:<BR>7/4: arrive at 10am. Deplane, clear customs & immigration by 11-11.30 am. Take train into city by ~12 pm. Find place to store luggage ~12.30 pm. Whirlwind tour / lunch from 12.30-19.00 (5 hours). Take train to Paris and arrive 23.30. Get to hotel ~24.00 +. That's later than midnight. You've spent ALL day on your feet pretty much and are not accounting at all for jet lag.<BR>7/5: See Paris<BR>7/6: See Paris<BR>7/7: Leave on AM train for London. Get to London ~10am. Store luggage somewhere. Do another whirlwind tour of something in London. 16.00 is right on the borderline, leaving you with 1/2 hour or so to get to Heathrow and 1.5-2 hours to check in.<BR>So... not leaving a whole lot of time to "relax and enjoy the atmosphere" in London or in Paris. Instead try to spend the whole time in one city or another and you may actually have a vacation.

Janice Jun 13th, 2002 01:34 PM

Dear Vadim,<BR>I hate to rain on your parade, but I agree that yours is a very ambitious agenda. Maybe just choose one of the two cities, so as to have more time wandering, hand-holding etc. and less time rushing from place to place? Please bear in mind that during the summer, it is possible to be delayed flying because of thunderstorms, (sometimes for 8-10 hours) and even a short delay would totally destroy your plans.<BR>You have a good heart, and a thoughtful idea, but scale it back a little bit...

Catherine Jun 13th, 2002 02:03 PM

Vadim I have to cast the third vote. Shoot for one city..by the sound of it it should be Paris....Have a nice weekend and hope it all goes very nicely for you.

Margie Jun 13th, 2002 02:26 PM

I hope you are young and strong and that you and your wife both can keep going non-stop with no sleep and that you never get jetlag. That said your plan is way too ambitious for a weekend. It's a long flight, even from NY. I'd simply stay put in London. If you are hell bent on Paris then go from NY-Paris directly and skip the short time you have in London. Plenty of airlines fly NY-Paris.<BR><BR>Arriving in London at 10 a.m. means getting out of the a/p after 11 a.m. Do you actually mean spending all day sightseeing and taking a train at 7:23 p.m. to Paris. You will be dead on your feet. Paris will be a blur (an expensive blur too). You will spend more time traveling then seeing anything. <BR><BR>As for hotels - I think you will be too tired to know where you are. I travel a lot and this schedule makes me ill just looking at it :-)<BR><BR>Please reconsider. If you can only spare a long weekend settle on just London or Paris, not both. Otherwise, take a nice long weekend near NY someplace and save London and Paris for when you have more time. I'm not being a killjoy here, I'm being practical. I really do not think you realize the amount of time you will spend traveling, lining up for things (taxi's), checking in/out of hotels, being back at the airport at least 2 hours ahead of flight time, etc. etc.

Ninsun Jun 13th, 2002 02:50 PM

I agree with the other posters regarding your suggested schedule- both cities could easily provide an ample four day trip. However, I am writing in response to your question regarding air conditioning- while I was in Paris last week and the weather required a light jacket, I spent a week in Paris in August several years ago in a hotel that was not air conditioned. Temperatures were in the mid-90s and, as you can imagine, sleeping was difficult and exceedingly uncomfortable. While I believe that this weather was unusual (and August as opposed to July), I would not stay in Paris in the summer without air conditioning again! Enjoy your trip.

ggrant Jun 13th, 2002 03:11 PM

Re: A/C. A nice budget hotel with airconditioning in the 5th Arr. (Latin Quarter) is Hotel Residence Monge. It is on 55 rue Monge, Tel 01 43 26 8790.<BR>Look under www.parishotels.com for description and pictures. It comes highly recommended on this website.<BR>I too suggest Paris or London. Paris for more romance and it is less expensive. No way will you find a budget hotel in London with A/C. I must say I truly love London also so as not to give the wrong impression.

Sue Jun 13th, 2002 03:17 PM

Ditto the above; either/or, not both.

janis Jun 13th, 2002 06:26 PM

Vadim: PLEASE listen to the others. Your plan is waaaaaay too frenetic and you two will either have exhaustions breakdowns OR will end up divorcing as soon as your return flight lands back in the States. <BR><BR>Pick one city or the other. Both have PLENTY of romantic things to do and you will actually have the energy to do some of them!<BR><BR>getting into around London from the airport on a weekday (remember it is not a holiday there) will not leave you time to see much before having to catch the Eurostar and then you would arrive at your Paris hotel after midnight not having had a proper dinner - unless you eat on the train which is very "so so". Not a very romantic start to your weekend.

LivinginLondon Jun 14th, 2002 01:04 AM

We have stayed at Au Manoir St Germain des Pres - it is a Best Western Hotel right on Boulevard St Germain. It was a great location for seeing the Paris sights. The rooms are small, but nicely furnished with large bathrooms. They had a nice continental breakfast included in the rate.<BR><BR>In Paris, I would highly recommend Musee d'Orsay. It is more manageable that the Louvre (which sounds like you may need) and the exhibits are wonderful. There is an outstanding collection of Impressionist paintings.<BR><BR>Hope this helps!

Mel Jun 14th, 2002 04:45 AM

Vadim: Everyone is right about this. I took my husband and adult daughter to London for a long weekend once and, while it was wonderful, it was only that because I had been there many times and we were able to hit the ground running.<BR><BR>I'm assuming you've already made your plane reservations and they're for in and out of London. If that's the case, the recommendations to see Paris this trip are too late. If you really, really want to get to Paris, perhaps you could take the channel tunnel early Saturday morning and return to London on the last one that night. That would give you a day or so to see London and get over the jet lag before heading to Paris for a whirlwind day (which CAN be done). Plan nothing really structured for the one day in Paris--wander the streets, people watch at a sidewalk cafe, reserve a wonderful dinner, then catch the train back to London for the rest of your stay.<BR><BR>Have a great trip!

Vadim Jun 14th, 2002 07:23 AM

I am gratefull for your replies. My schedule is already set and all tickets bought. Tickets Lodon-Paris are only $79 when bought 14 business days in advance vs. $199 when bought later so I already bought them. I do not think it will be a problem. First, we both are accustomed to travel and often drive for 6-10 hours each way for a 3 days weekend. Second - light sleeping pill on the plane helps with jetlag tremendously (even Tylenol PM works). Third - really, the only difference between staying in London and going to Paris is 3 hours that we would likely spend at a dinner anyway, so we will just have dinner in the train. Fourth, we have been in both cities before.<BR>So, it is too late to change anything and we will risk it. I will write how it was after the trip.<BR><BR>I would appreciate answers to my other questions: hotel, currency, etc. Usual recommendations here is to stay around Latin Qt. Wouldn't 1st arr. , near Louvre be a more convenient location? Money-wise it is the same.<BR><BR>I am concerned about someone's "finding place to store luggage" phrase. I was planning to drop it off at Waterloo station. Don't they have baggage storage? I know many american stations and airports remove baggage storage areas for security but I thought Europeans are not that crazy.

elvira Jun 14th, 2002 07:58 AM

If your r/t London is set in stone, and you really want to do London and Paris in a weekend, I'd suggest:<BR>7/4 fly from London to Paris. You're already jet-lagged, so what's another hour or two? Spend 7/4 and 7/5 in Paris; take first Eurostar of the day to London on 7/6 for the last two days. And if your homeward bound flight leaves at 6:30pm, plan to be at the airport around 4pm so leave London no later that 3:30pm - and I'd leave at 3pm but then I'm paranoid.<BR><BR>If you stick with your original itinerary, take a cab from Gare du Nord to your hotel. It might be 35 euros, but at that hour of the night, unfamiliar territory, the metro will just be a horrific introduction to Paris - and I've done that run on the Eurostar and the train was delayed two hours so I didn't get to Paris until after 1am: plan on a taxi. There's a cabstand right outside the gare.<BR><BR>There are ATMs in Gare du Nord, or you can ask the cab driver to stop at an ATM on the way to the hotel. If you decide to take the metro, be sure you have small bills or coins; at 11:30pm more than likely there won't be a ticket seller and you'll have to use the machines. If you fly to Paris, there are ATMs in CDG plus several exchange bureaux. <BR><BR>In Paris, go for long walks: Bois de Vincennes - beautiful gardens, chateau to visit, miniature golf (I'm serious - the hazards and obstacles are the Paris monuments), little white train that tours the park; 11eme - multi-cultural neighborhood with lots of artists' studios and galleries; Bercy - the park is beautiful (incredible rose garden), then into the old wine depot area and on into the recreated Bercy Village with great shops and restaurants.<BR><BR>In London, spend part of a day in Hyde Park - go horseback riding and rent a paddleboat; take a tour of Kensington Palace and the park; take the train to Hampton Court, get lost in the maze, take the boat back to London. <BR>

Judy Jun 14th, 2002 08:40 AM

Vadim:<BR>If the success of your plan to see London the first day and then take the Eurostar to Paris depends on your storing bags at Waterloo, I suggest you verify that "left luggage" is indeed open. (BTW there are two Waterloo stations next to each other and Eurostar leaves from Waterloo International Station.) I was in the UK Feb/Mar this year and tried to leave luggage in both Glasgow Queen's Station and London Kings Cross and both were firmly closed due to anti-terrorism measures. I'd suggest that you search the net for a tel number for Waterloo station and call them about this- storage may be open and then it may not... and it will save you running around looking for storage if it is closed when you do arrive. <BR> <BR><BR>Judy in Germany

janis Jun 14th, 2002 09:37 AM

Vadim - your plans are NOT actually already in stone. Sure you have already purchased your Eurostar tix - but it is a false economy to stick to your first plan if you decide it is unworkable. In this case I would eat the Eurostar tickets. <BR><BR>There is a HUGE difference between driving 6 hours on a Friday evening and 6 hours on a Sunday evening at home, and flying overnight, sightseeing all day, catching a 3.5 hour train, losing another timezone, and getting to an unknwn hotel long after midnight.<BR><BR>Just think of the $160 you spent on the Eurostar tickets as a lesson well learned. Stay in London (since you already are flying there). I would say stay in Paris if your flight went there.

Lori Jun 14th, 2002 10:00 AM

Vadim,<BR>Janis is 100% right. I think your heart is in the right place but if I were your wife I'd kill you for these plans :-)<BR><BR>Seriously, forgo your Eurostar tickets and enjoy a couple of days in London. I've been following this thread with great interest because personally I can never figure out how people can function with no sleep, no shower (ugh .. after a long plane flight, day of sightseeing, 3 hr train ride ... )time differences, etc. Even if you say you can sleep on a plane it's not a restful sleep by any means unless the plane is empty and you get a entire row (don't count on it) .. or perhaps you are flying first class and get a "bed" as some airlines now have installed. <BR><BR>All I can say is that you mean well, but the plan is not really a good one. As long as the tickets are to London stay there and have some fun, a $160 loss is not horrible (sure it's no fun to lose money, but walking around in an unconscious state is even less fun).<BR>

Nancy Jun 14th, 2002 10:39 AM

I am also puzzled about your plans. At this rate, you'll be spending a lot of time just travelling from one place to another. You mention in your post that you want to relax and that will be impossible because you'll be rushing from one place to anothere. Why not get an open-jaw ticket and fly home from Paris?

Vadim Jun 14th, 2002 12:24 PM

Well, some people prefer comfort and some have less regard for it. I honestly do not see 3 hours train ride as something overwhelming. Usually when we arrive in Europe we drop our bags at hotel and immediately leave for sightseeing. We almost never return to the hotel until after dinner. I could never understand people who are willing to lose time sleeping for half a day after arriving and then trying to put themseves to sleep at night.<BR>Train tickes cost $79pp each way so I already paid $320.<BR><BR>How often Paris Metro trains go at night? Is it once an hour like in NY or every 5-10 min as in Moscow?<BR>I still have trouble deciding on a hotel. Have anyone stayed in Louvre Forum?<BR>Where can I get small Euro coins or bills for the Metro? Should I get them in London?

elvira Jun 14th, 2002 12:40 PM

Vadim, I would get the smaller denomination bills in London from a exchange bureau (ASK for smaller denominations, they'll try to give you larger bills if you don't) so you have them on arrival in Paris. The trains run about every 10 minutes, maybe more often as it is the weekend. They STOP running about 1am, so if the train is an hour or more late, you'll end up stranded (especially if you have to change lines) so have enough euros for a taxi.<BR><BR>Sorry, I don't know the Louvre Forum.

Traveler Jun 14th, 2002 12:56 PM

You can change Pounds into Euros at the Eurostar train station (but, fyi, you can't change US dollars into Euros there).


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