London/Paris Itinerary (July 11-26)


May 19th, 2005, 05:36 AM
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London/Paris Itinerary (July 11-26)

Hello all:

Here's my tentative itinerary for a London/Paris trip I'll be taking with my Mom and my aunt this coming July. I'm trying to resist the urge to pack in every single sight (not sure if I'm succeeding though). Any comments/thoughts on the itinerary below are appreciated!

Day One- Transfer to hotel, nap, eat late lunch in Kensington Park, take Double Decker Bus Tour, London Eye (after dinner?)

Day Two-National Gallery, Lunch in Trafalgar Square, Cabinet War Rooms (optional), Westminster Abbey, Cruise down River Thames (could also do London Eye this evening)

Day Three-Tower of London, Globe Theatre (possibly attend performance?), pop in Tate Modern for quick look (Mom and Aunt not big on modern art), St. Paul's Cathedral

Day Four- British Museum, Afternoon Tea, Shopping, Show in West End

Day Five-British Library, depart for Bath in late morning- tour Roman Baths, take tour of Bath in evening (overnight in Bath)

Day Six- Mad Max Tour of Stonehenge, Avebury and Cotwolds (overnight in Bath)

Day Seven- Windsor Castle (overnight in Windsor?)

Day Eight- Take Eurostar in late morning to arrive in Paris for lunch time, transfer to hotel near St. Germain, walk around Left Bank area, Luxembourg Gardens, Bateaux Mouche Cruise in evening

Day Nine-Trip to Giverny in early morning, return mid-afternoon, take bus tour of Paris, late afternoon- Montmartre Walk

Day Ten-Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle, Latin Quarter, Pantheon

Day Eleven- Musee D'Orsay, Musee Rodin (lunch in gardens), Hotel des Invalides (optional), Rue Cler- meet up with my boyfriend whose conference in Paris ends today- visit Eiffel Tower in late afternoon, early evening

Day Twelve- Versailles (St. Chapelle concert?)

Day Thirteen- Marais Walk, Pompidou Centre (just to check out architecture and great view- we have a museum pass), Shopping

Day Fourteen- Louvre, Place de la Concorde, Champs Elysees (including a stop at Laduree!), Arc de Triomphe

Day Fifteen-Return Home (well...we might have one extra day in Paris)

Thanks for your replys in advance!
michca is offline  
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May 20th, 2005, 02:04 PM
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And I should mention that I meant to say Hyde Park, not Kensington Park in Day 1 (oops).
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May 20th, 2005, 03:53 PM
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Sounds like you have a great trip planned out. One thing I would recommend is to take the nap out of the first day. The best way to geet over jet lag is to tough out the first day even if you go to bed at what you consider to be a early hour. You will be ready to get out and enjoy London on day two.

On Day two you will probably want to wander from Trafalger square to Leichester Square (check out half price theater tickets at the TKTS booth in the middle of the square, Covent Garden and Picadilly Circus.

I may have missed it but I didn't see Harrods on your list. We have been to London several times and didn't go to Harrods until the last trip and it is really an experience. Plan to have lunch there, they have a food court like no other I have ever seen. Another thing we "discovered" on our latest trip was the bus system... London is pretty small and the busses are almost as fast as the Tube. They are a little cheaper (buy your pass from a machine at the bus stop) You can sightsee along the way, and you don't have to go down the escalators, hallways, steps, etc.
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May 20th, 2005, 07:59 PM
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Sounds like the kind of fast moving trips we take. I would like to make two suggestions about Paris. Invalides is a great museum filled with coats of armour. My 17 year old son insists that it is our first stop when we arrive in Paris. I would also like to suggest you visit the Cluny Museum to see the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. The first time I saw them I was in ahh. The same for the second time and I'm sure I will be in ahh when we go in July. It is not a large museum, you could probably see all of it in an hour or so.
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May 20th, 2005, 08:23 PM
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Your London bit is not too full but a couple of things to consider . . .

Both St Paul's and Westminster Abbey close to tourists in the late afternoon to prepare for evensong. So both should be planned for arrival before about 3:00 p.m. to give you time to tour them. You have them plugged in after full days of seeing other things. I'd move both to earlier in those days to be sure you have enough time, and move other sites to later in the day.

Also - Windsor is great and you will enjoy it - and there are direct trains from Windsor to Waterloo so it would be pretty convenient to stay there the night prior to going to Paris. But if it were me, I'd go into London in the evening after touring Windsor and stay at either the County Hall Marriott (posh) or the County Hall Travel Inn (budget). Both are walking distance from Waterloo International station.
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May 21st, 2005, 06:23 AM
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Unless you are a history buff, skip the Invalides.
Don't miss...concert at St. Chappelle, it is awesome.
Eat a falafel when in Marais, great shopping there!! I think your Paris itinerary looks great!

Have fun,
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May 21st, 2005, 08:27 AM
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Last September St. Paul's was being renovated and there wasn't much to see of the dome but scaffolding. You might want to check if it's still the same. Also, we attended the evensong and just looked around a bit as we entered and departed. I'd do Westminster Abbey over St. Paul's even if St. Paul's wasn't under construction.

I heartily agree not to miss falafels on the Rue du Rossiers. It's my favorite meal in Paris. lol!

You can quickly tour Les Invalides after or before the Rodin. You won't be able to hit the military museum, just the Napoleonic stuff in the main dome. If you are walking Paris late at night, Les Invalides on the Alexander bridge side is picturesque and the Eiffel Tower thrown in, memorable.
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May 21st, 2005, 08:38 AM
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Great plan. But in Paris you will not do all that. And in London you will end up tired and your schedule will crumble.

I get the impression that your plan calls for going about the day in lockstep. I doubt if that will work for long. People have different agendas.

Put the objectives in priority order. See the best ones first each day, and don't balk at trimming something off at the end of the day. You may not feel the fatigue, but how about your companions?

My advice to people in Paris is don't push it. Paris does two things to you.
One, it distracts you with unplanned events. Second, it is fatiguing. You need to give yourself some breathing room and recuperation time. After all, in Paris people watching and pastries with coffee are part of the trip. I had rather have a strawberry tart at la Brioche Doree than look at some old gun in the Museum of the Army. And they have hundreds of those things from centuries of warfare.

On point one, we were headed for the Musee d'Orsay early one Sunday so we could be there before the doors opened.
On the way, we found a major street market along Boulevard Raspail. Result: we spend over an hour at the street market. Once we got to the museum, we spent longer than planned because we had underestimated the amount of time we needed for the fabulous place. It was for us real paydirt that used up the day.

I don't remember what we had planned for the rest of the date, but we never got there. And, I did not care. I had gotten my satisfaction in large amounts already.

As for the Louvre, it is so huge that I always ask: Why are you going there? Do you know what you want to see?
Or, are you just checking off a list of well-known tourist objectives?

If you know what you are doing because of art history classes, you can spend the whole day there without any trouble at all. Actually 2 half days is better, because the saturation point for me is reached in about 3 hours. Then I need a break before all the paintings look alike.

In London, the National Gallery AND West Minster Abbey are really too much for one day, unless you are just passing through with a check list. You know, sort of a been there, done that approach.

I also think you may have factored in too little transportation time.
Having been to most of the places you name, I can tell you that constant museum going and standing is very tiring for most people.

Usually I freelance it all, except for an occasional day trip. Two years ago we deviated from our standard plan and decided to take a canned tour of Ireland. My chief recall: the bus and the driver. It was a go, go tour all the way. Get in the bus, go down the road, get out of the bus, get back on the bus, go to the next hotel. I don't now even recall some of the hotels where we stopped. I just recall that when we got to the Cliffs of Moher which i really wanted to see we had 45 minutes.
Holy Cow. We spent more time at commercial stops in shops than that.

You will see a lot, but you will remember it better if you don't make your companions miserable.

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May 21st, 2005, 08:55 AM
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I agree with the other posters and don't try to pack too much in each day, especially in Paris. Versailles is not a full day especially in the summer with the long days. Bob's advice about Paris is correct, let it come to you. Always make time for a afternoon sit down at a cafe and do some people watching. You yend to walk alot in Paris and you will need a break. There is alot of different advice on jet-lag but I agree with A.S. and just stay up and go to bed after and early dinner but that is just what we do and it may not work for you. Do not be afraid to get "lost" in Paris. That is part of the great charm of the city.
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May 21st, 2005, 09:18 AM
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I think some of your days are pretty busy, especially Days 2 & 9. I too recommend that you decide which things on each day's itinerary are the most important and do them first so you don't mind too much if you don't get to everything. Also, it will be very hot in July and that will sap more energy, at least it does for me.

One other thing, unless it has changed, the London Eye closes at 8:00 p.m., so do it before dinner, unless you plan to have a very early dinner.
Have a great trip!
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May 21st, 2005, 01:58 PM
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SusanP's info is incorrect re the Eye. It closes at 8 p.m. only in the winter/early spring. In July it flies until 10 p.m. The Eye is a great thing to do after dinner in the summer since it is daylight so late . . . . .
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May 21st, 2005, 02:43 PM
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janis, that's good to know, I'm glad you pointed that out. However, I was there the third week in Sept, not what I would call winter, and it closed at 8:00 then. Just in case someone is going at that time.
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May 21st, 2005, 03:50 PM
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SusanP: To be totally correct, the Eye closes at 8 p.m. Oct thru Apr, at 9 p.m. in May/Jun and Sept, and at 10 p.m. in Jul/Aug.
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May 25th, 2005, 02:30 PM
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I just wanted to thank everyone for their input. I have changed the itinerary slightly (we now have one extra day in Paris added on which means we can slow things down a bit there).

Points noted re. jet lag issues with napping on first day, as well as early closing times for Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's. I had originally planned to do Day 2 in reverse order but thought that the National Gallery might be better when we are a bit "fresher". As the National Gallery is open late on Wednesdays we may very well reverse the itinerary for that day (and probably reduce it to just cruise down Thames, Westminster Abbey, and National Gallery).

I also realize the great distractions that Paris has to offer (I have been to France before, but my Mom and Aunt have not). Hopefully the extra day in Paris will provide us with more leisure/cafe/bookstore/people watching time!

"As for the Louvre, it is so huge that I always ask: Why are you going there? Do you know what you want to see?
Or, are you just checking off a list of well-known tourist objectives? If you know what you are doing because of art history classes, you can spend the whole day there without any trouble at all."

Actually, I have taken Art History classes, I do know what I want to see (having been there before) and no, I'm not approaching art museums as a sort of check-off list We may well indeed break up our time at the Louvre as we will have museum passes for Paris.

I realize this itinerary may seem a bit full, but having said that, it is flexible (it is not written it stone). If my Aunt or Mom (or I for that matter) are too tired to do certain things- then they simply won't happen on that day (or the trip for that matter).

As my Mom has never been to Europe before, and my Aunt has never been to France, this itinerary has only been created in order to give some sense of things we might do each day. Heaven forbid I would "make (my) companions miserable". After all, this trip is supposed to be enjoyable experience!
michca is offline  
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May 25th, 2005, 04:12 PM
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Day One: keep moving.

Check into the hotel. Don't "lie down for a few minutes" no matter how great the temptation. Freshen up, but don't take a hot shower.

Grab some carry-out food from a grocery, Marks & Spencer, Pret a Manger or the like and get on the bus tour. You probably won't feel like walking much, and that's okay. Stop now and again to change bus lines, but don't plan on seeing anything in depth. If you can wind up near the Eye late in the evening, so much the better.

The bus tour tickets are good for 24 hours, so don't start your river cruise until the last departure before your pass expires. is a one-way river trip gives a circle tour

Ditto AisleSeat's advice re: London Buses. Buy a bus pass at a Tube station and jump on and off any time. Here's a map of sights:
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May 26th, 2005, 08:48 AM
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Well, we went on the London Eye on Sept 23. We got there a couple of minutes before 8:00 pm and just barely made it onto the last car/bubble, whatever you want to call it.
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May 26th, 2005, 09:35 AM
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Posts: 19,000 says they run until 10PM in July.
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