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London and Paris itinerary

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Jul 7th, 2011, 02:17 PM
  #1
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London and Paris itinerary

Hi-
Would love any suggestions for a London/Paris itinerary. Never been to Europe and will be going next June for about nine days. Want to see as many countries as I can, but don't want to be on the train more than sightseeing. Beaches are a must and want to see as much as I can. Hoping to squeeze in Monte Carlo too. Will be flying in and out of London. Any suggestions as to routes, highlights?
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Jul 7th, 2011, 03:24 PM
  #2
 
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Click on 'destinations' just below the Fodors orange banner for basic information.
No real beaches in London or Paris (Paris has a man made one in August though).

With 9 days you could see the highlights of London and Paris (4 nights in each city) or you can spend your time on trains...
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Jul 7th, 2011, 03:36 PM
  #3
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Oh no.

I am speaking in the kindest possible way when I say that I can see this is your first trip to Europe. A common mistake among newbie travelers is to make a goal to see as many countries as possible in a very short period of time. You need to focus on enjoying your time in Europe instead of blowing through as many places as you can cover just so you can say you've been there. This trip would be so terribly rushed you would barely get to a new city and get oriented when it's time to leave. You could claim you were physically in that country but it means nothing because you did not allow yourself time to enjoy the city you are in and to really experience it.

You only have 9 days in Europe and you want to see London, Paris and Monte Carlo. I'm sorry but this is nuts and this would be a huge waste of time and money. You could easily spend all 9 days in either London or Paris and do day trips from either city. But to divide 9 days into 3 different cities just isn't a good thing. You could divide it just by London and Paris but 4 days in each city isn't enough IMO. However it makes a lot more sense than trying to add a third city.

If beaches are a must, then why not choose either London or Paris, then add 2 or 3 days in Monte Carlo? Have you bought your ticket to London yet? If not you could fly into Paris, then take the train to Monte Carlo and save London for another trip. If you've already bought your ticket to London then maybe you could see London, then spend a couple of days at Brighton or somewhere on the south coast of the UK, then save Paris for another trip. But please, I am begging you, do not try to do all 3 of these places in the very short time you have. You will spend way too much time and money traveling from one place to another. No seasoned traveler would ever do this and we do our best to deter the newbies from making this huge mistake.

Once again, I speak with kindness and concern. Please take my advice into consideration.
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Jul 7th, 2011, 06:30 PM
  #4
 
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First do not fly in and out of London - that forces you to waste a day getting back there. Fly into your first city and home from your last - it won;t cost any extras.

Neither London nor Paris is near a beach. In fact, most beaches in europe ar not that gret if you are used to the US or the Carib.

Don;t waste a day you could be spending doing things only possible in europe on a mediocre beach somewhere.

Seeing the Riviera is a great idea - but Monte Carlo not so much so unless you want to imitate James Bond. It has a nice harbor full of lots of yachts of rich people, a huge number of expensive/designer shops with clothes for rich people, a castle lived in by VERY rich people, restaurants for rich people and a casino.

The casino is a hoot and we have been a couple of times. But this is NOT Las Vegas, It is expensive, there is a dress code, the focus is on table games, not slots - did I mention there is a serious dress code - and unless you have a lot to lose you will be in and out in about 20 minutes.

We got all gussied up (but no jewels) and played roulette (faites vos jeux) and vingt et un - taking turns to make out limit - $500 - last longer. We saw a lot of very rich and expensively (but often not very tastefully) dressed people from the gigantic yachts in the harbor as well as a couple of well-preserved local dowagers (think Ivana Trump) with their gigolos as well as some older, balding and paunchy men of wealth with their lovely young "nieces".
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Jul 7th, 2011, 06:34 PM
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Sorry - In 9 days you will barely scratch the surface of London and Paris. You can pick 2 other places - but in 9 days 2 is max - or you will have a tour of the train stations of europe.
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Jul 7th, 2011, 09:06 PM
  #6
 
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if you have nine days in total - then even London & Paris will be a stretch. 1 day is spent flying over night, 1 day is mostly spent recovering from jetlag, 1/2 a day is spent moving from London to Paris, and 1 day -- packing/flying home. So essentially leaving you w/ 6.5 days free. Not much for those two wonderful cities.

Even if you mean 9 days 'on the ground' (11 days total) it will be pretty rushed just squeezing in London Paris - no Monte Carlo and no other countries.

So - pick two places London and Paris, or London and another city, or Paris and someplace on the south coast, or wherever . . . And definitely book open jaw to eliminate a day wasted circling back to your departure city.
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Jul 8th, 2011, 07:44 AM
  #7
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Thanks so much for all of your input--and so quickly. Not offended in the least-I love when people can tell it like it is--saves me time in the end. Haven't purchased any tickets yet. Only flying into London because I am going with my brother and sister-in-law and that's what they are going to do. They went to London for their honeymoon and said it is cheaper to fly into England. The plan is to spend two days there, and the rest in France--Paris and hopefully make it to the French Riveria or Monte Carlo--looks so close on a map--hahah. So, this trip is basically Paris and touring France. I have looked a bit at the train system and that does seem to eat up a day here and there. Any must sees???
Thanks!
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Jul 8th, 2011, 07:56 AM
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Monte Carlo, IMO, is a total waste of time, money, and energy on a first trip to Europe.

"Looks so close on a map?" maps have scales; that's how you determine distance. It's not close. It's also not worth the trip when you only have 9 days.

"They said it was cheaper to fly into England." Depending on where you're flying from and the time of year and the sales, that might or might not be true. For example, Air France is having a sale now for $299 each way to Paris from lots of cities. Hard to beat that. Anyway, your relatives' advice is potentially wrong and you should do your own research.

If your two days in London includes the day or arrival, then it's essentially one day in London, which is pathetic and hardly worth crossing the ocean for.

Divide the time between London and Paris. If you're willing to do a very long daytrip, you could get to the Normandy beaches with a tour. But apart from that, you just don't have time for the Riviera or any other beaches unless you add more days to your trip or give up London entirely.
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Jul 8th, 2011, 09:45 AM
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If you don't want to spend time in London -- then flying there (even if it was cheaper which may not be the case) makes next to no sense.

If you fly into London, then spend at least a few days there. If not, fly into Paris. If you are stuck flying into London and don't really care about touring the city, then book a flight directly from LHR into CDG on your arrival day -- don't even go into central London.

Monte Carlo is not really a good choice IMO - but there are other parts of France you might want to see.

But if it was me-- I'd split the time 50/50 London/Paris, fly into London and home from Paris. This is likely cheaper than R-T in/out of London since UK departure fees/taxes are higher than out of France. If this open jaw is more expensive -that doesn't tell the whole story since you have to factor in traveling back to London to fly home.
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Jul 8th, 2011, 10:15 AM
  #10
 
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The notion that flying into England is less expensive than going directly to France is daft. The landing slots for airlines at LHR and LGW are among the most coveted in the world. High departure fees usually make transiting through LHR or LGW more expensive as connections than direct flights.

Can you use Orbitz or Travelocity or Kayak? If so, do so and stop relying on information from your siblings (in fact and in law).

It doesn't sound like you really want to go to London, so fly into Paris, go to Nice for __ days, return to Paris for __ days and then go home from the sludge heap that is CDG.
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Jul 8th, 2011, 10:36 AM
  #11
 
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I agree with all of the above. monte carlo is not worth that distance; maybe if it was an hour outside paris and that's it.

I just did a 9 day London/Paris trip. What I learned, at least based on this experience: if all else such as cost were the same I would avoid flying INTO heathrow.... the line to clear customs was hideous, about 1000 people in line ahead of me. It took forever to clear customs. I would fly out of London but next time will avoid flying IN there, unless it was cheaper enough to make it worth that time for me.

I could easily have spent the entire trip in London. It worked out fine but 9 days was a bare minimum for London AND Paris. I would do open jaw if it was within 200$ fare difference.
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Jul 8th, 2011, 11:41 AM
  #12
 
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"the line to clear customs was hideous, about 1000 people in line ahead of me. It took forever to clear customs"

Just one teensy whinge -- I'm pretty sure it didn't take any time at all for you to clear Customs. That would have been Immigration (Passport Control) - Customs is a different thing altogether.
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Jul 8th, 2011, 11:43 AM
  #13
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If the trip is really about seeing France then fly into France. Flights to Paris cost about the same as flights to London. Even if you do find a cheaper flight to London it's not worth the savings. Two days in London is not worth your time and trouble, just go straight to Paris and plan your trip from there.
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Jul 8th, 2011, 01:02 PM
  #14
 
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People often make the mistake taking the cheapest flight ("I'm flying into London because the fares are the cheapest but I really want to go to _____"). They fail to take into account the time and money it will require to get them to their desired destination. If this is a France trip, fly into Paris, train to the Riviera, fly home from Nice. You won't have long to see anything but you will return - it may be your first trip to Europe but it is not likely to be your last.
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Jul 8th, 2011, 03:18 PM
  #15
 
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Just got back from a 10-day London-Paris trip...but it was my fourth time in Paris and 6th in London, so I was (a) able to just see mostly new things and didn't need to hit all the main attractions; and (b) knew our way around well enough that no time was wasted as a newbie might.

I join those who feel that 9 days for both cities will probably not be as much fun as staying in either with several day trips. There are so many day-trip you could take...reasonably 5/6 days in the city and 3/4 day trips would be a GREAT vacation.

However, since it is your first trip, I understand fully why you'd want to see more than one country, so here goes:

If you take the Eurostar, you can do both cities and fly in/out from the cheapest place, if necessary. You'll lose about 6-7 hours of tourist time round trip.

Do your research and make a list of what to do each day. Study the transport systems well -- that's the biggest time-waster for newbies. You can get LOTS of help on that at this website.

Learn some French. A little bit goes a l-o-o-n-g way in Paris, where the people are ultra-polite and expect you to be that way as well.

Having said all that...my advice is choose Paris.

I love both cities and have visited both a number of times, but for a first trip abroad Paris is a much more interesting city. MHO.

SS
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Jul 9th, 2011, 12:47 AM
  #16
 
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Just a thought.

Do you want to visit a beach because you like beaches a lot and want to compare European beaches to American ones?

Or have you never seen the sea?
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