London-Paris summer 2016

Old Jul 30th, 2015, 07:03 AM
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London-Paris summer 2016

My boyfriend and I are currently planning a trip to London mid-July of next summer. We plan to attend the Star Wars Celebration for 3 days and are then giving ourselves another 9 days to travel and see other sites. We were thinking about doing 3 stops (London/Paris/Rome); however, after reading various posts on the forum, I'm tempted to suggest we focus on London and Paris (via Eurostar) and really try to see both cities and some surrounding areas.

Thoughts?

Also, plan for the Star Wars Celebration as the first part of our trip or the end? We will be travelling sans kids, flying out of the Midwest US, and this will be the first time for both of us in Europe.

Thanks in advance!
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Old Jul 30th, 2015, 07:19 AM
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Three cities in that limited time would be too much for me. But I think it depends on your personal travel style. I feel like I lose a vacation day when changing cities...with transport, hotel changes (although train travel itself is a fun part of a trip). We have done London/Paris via the Eurostar several times, spending a week in each. We always wish for more time!

Regarding the SW Celebration at the front end or back end of the trip, I would consider how you may react to jet lag (if at all) and whether potential ill-effects might affect your participation in or enjoyment of the celebration.

Have a wonderful trip! Hope to read more about your experiences.
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Old Jul 30th, 2015, 07:37 AM
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Definitely stick to 2 cities. If the Convention is in London it only makes sense to start there, stay as much time as you have and then train to Paris and return home from there. Otherwise you waste a day going back to London to fly home.

You want an open jaws - or multi-destination - ticket, which will cost 1/2 of the RT ticket to each city - so essentially little more than London RT - very probably no more than it would cost for the train to go from Paris back to London.
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Old Jul 30th, 2015, 07:42 AM
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The Celebration is at the ExCel centre near London City airport.

What I'd probably do is put London at the front end. Fly into London, tour London for a few days, then the SW Celebration, then train to Paris, a few days in Paris, fly home from there.

You can easily get to the ExCel from anywhere in London so I'd stay some where semi-central and convenient to both St Pancras (for the Eurostar) and the DLR (for ExCel) Maybe near the Tower since the circle line will get you to St Pancras and the DLR will get you to Excel.
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Old Jul 30th, 2015, 07:43 AM
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Personally, I would do it at the end, but it might depend on where it is in London. Do you have the address of the venue?

Will they have hotel rooms at a conference rate blocked for attendees? It is probably good to stay there if isn't too expensive, but you could stay elsewhere for the first part of the London stay. sometimes, people attending a conference can get the conference rate for the whole week.

Why does this matter? Well, public transportation is pretty cheap in Paris and seems pretty expensive in London. If you stay a long way from the event, going back and forth can eat up quite a sum.

In short: I would fly into Paris and out of London, taking Eurostar between the two. If you book Eurostar well in advance, it is not very expensive, and you leave from the middle of Paris and arrive in the middle of London.
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Old Jul 30th, 2015, 08:30 AM
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Thank you all for the replies. They are much appreciated.

I have a few more questions:

1. Janisj- (or anyone else)- do you have any specific hotel recommendations?

2. How far in advance can one book their flight and hotel stay?

I'm assuming I need to secure a hotel relatively soon being that the SW Celebration is going on and is fairly large in size.

3. Airport recommendations? Likes/dislikes of each?

4. Must see's? This can be touristy type of attractions OR great local attractions that are often glossed over.

Thanks in advance!
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Old Jul 30th, 2015, 09:18 AM
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>>Do you have the address of the venue? <<

>>Will they have hotel rooms at a conference rate blocked for attendees?<<

It is at ExCel -- and it isn't a 'conference' as such -- it is a big show like ComicCon. No need to stay near the venue.

>>1. Janisj- (or anyone else)- do you have any specific hotel recommendations? <<

Not without a budget??

>>I'm assuming I need to secure a hotel relatively soon being that the SW Celebration is going on and is fairly large in size. <<

Sorry -- but in the scheme of things the SW Celebration will hardly be a blip on the London Radar screens. London is the largest city (by far) in western Europe and there are hundreds of thousands of hotel rooms. As long as you aren't staying right around the ExCel you can book ahead as much as you would any vacation. January is plenty of time to start looking for next July. But you can book any time you see airfares you like.

>>3. Airport recommendations? Likes/dislikes of each?<<

That <u>entirely</u> depends on where you are flying from, which airlines serve your home airport and the schedules. If from teh States, most flights will land at Heathrow. Some will land at Gatwick. Makes no difference re convenience to London.

>>4. Must see's? This can be touristy type of attractions OR great local attractions that are often glossed over.<<

There are (literally) hundreds -- in your few days you will only be able to see a small %. Get a guidebook about London and read the "Destinations" link at the top of this page.
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Old Jul 30th, 2015, 09:23 AM
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Great. Thank you for the information!
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Old Jul 30th, 2015, 11:14 PM
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London is huge. Paris is not.

You have to use public transport to get to different neighborhoods in London, and everything is spread out. Fine, the Underground and Bus system work very well - but the Oyster Card is complicated and not cheap, and it always takes us too much time to get all the way across town from Point A to B, or one of us is too tired, so we change our plans...

On the other hand, you can walk everywhere in Paris, the attractions most people are interested in are much closer to each other (as opposed to London), and the Metro system is a piece of cake and inexpensive. For the length of time you'll be in town, you'll just need to buy a couple of "carnets" - a set of 10 loose tickets that anyone can use. No need for a special pass. The average trip takes 15 mins, and you can actually walk from one end of Paris to the other in about 2 hours, if you want to immerse yourself in the scenery.

If this is your first trip overseas, and if you do not speak French, I would strongly recommend flying into London first, then coming over on Eurostar. You'll avoid culture shock, which is always made worse by jet lag.

I would recommend you search for hotels in your budget on sites like booking.com or hotels.com - and concentrate your search in the Latin Quarter, which is the area most people have in mind when they think about Paris. It's also the most centrally-located place to stay.

If you purchase Eurostar tickets 3 months in advance, you can get great prices. Just go on their website and keep an eye on the dates/prices. Normal prices can be around 200 EU, but we usually pay 88 EU per round-trip, when bought in advance.

We use a very dog-eared copy of "London A-Z" - a great little map book that makes it impossible to get lost. In Paris, it's an ancient copy of "L'Indispensable", which does the same job.
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Old Jul 31st, 2015, 12:18 AM
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I don't agree that the Oyster card is complicated and expensive. In zone 1-2 you pay a maximum of 6.40 pounds for all tube and bus for a day; there's a daily price cap, so you will not spend more than that. Add a bit more if you go out of zone 1-2 (to get to the Excel for example).

I wouldn't stay near the Excel Center; not much fun, except for the event that you are attending.
Agree with Janisj that the SW event will not be a problem. Even during the Olympics there were hotel rooms and flats available in London.

If you do decide to stay near the Excel; City Airport is a stone's throw away, with frequent flights to Paris.
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