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My 9 day 25 yr anniversary trip ended miserably

My 9 day 25 yr anniversary trip ended miserably

Oct 28th, 2006, 02:31 PM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 739
"Violence has become all too real in Paris lately. My friend was just assaulted recently in Paris."

I think you will find there is far less violent crime in Paris than in an American city of comparable size.
Toupary is offline  
Oct 28th, 2006, 03:56 PM
  #42  
 
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Joram -- I'm staying at the Jolly St Ermin's for 1 night in December, your comments about it feeling unsafe makes me feel a little worried.

How many minutes away was the tube station?

Also, do you recall how much your cab was to the Waterloo station? (I think that where you catch the Eurostar)
fishee is offline  
Oct 28th, 2006, 04:24 PM
  #43  
 
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yk -- just read your post. So most wouldn't consider this an unsafe area? Your profile sounds just like mine so it's reassuring you felt fine walking back at night. Does that mean you felt safe enough to take the tube and not cabs in the evenings?

Last time I stayed at the Riverbank Plaza (much nicer hotel than what the Jolly St Ermins appears to be...) which was also in the Westminster area. I walked back to the hotel every night.
fishee is offline  
Oct 28th, 2006, 05:20 PM
  #44  
yk
 
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fishee-

I find the area around Jolly completely safe. I have taken the tube and buses late at night (well, maybe 10:30 or 11p, after operas and musicals) back to the hotel. As I said, there's a 24 hour police presence across the street from the hotel at the Scotland Yard.

Having said that, I lived in London for a year about a decade ago during college, so I feel very safe in London as I know the city quite well.
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Oct 28th, 2006, 05:30 PM
  #45  
 
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Fishee,

My wife and I stayed at the Jolly St. Ermin's last March. As others have said, it is 100% safe and it is in a great area.

The tube is right next to the hotel.

Also, the hotel is extremely nice. The rooms are a little small (typically European) and the elevator is small (again, typical), but the hotel is very nice. Comparable to a 4* here in the US.

Kevin
alyssamma is offline  
Oct 28th, 2006, 06:08 PM
  #46  
 
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thanks yk and kevin,

when Priceline gave me that hotel, I began to panic a bit.
fishee is offline  
Oct 28th, 2006, 06:38 PM
  #47  
 
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fishee,

I've also stayed at the Jolly St Ermin's. Since it is exactly opposite Scotland Yard, it is safer than safe in a city that is already incredibly safe. As a location for touristing, it is excellent.

It is an Italian hotel (I found a complimentary bottle of olive oil in my room when I arrived!) Many of the staff are native Italians, but 99 percent speak English better than most American's do. Don't eat in the hotel restaurant. It's way overpriced and not very good Italian food.

There are not a lot of great restaurants in easy walking distance after a long day of sightseeing. However, one of London's loveliest, Inn the Park, is not very far away.

Time Out (both Cheap Eats and the regular guide) is a good resource for tracking down possibilities.
nessundorma is offline  
Oct 28th, 2006, 08:42 PM
  #48  
 
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sorry joram for going a bit off OT, the Jolly St Ermin's Hotel is next to the St. James Park tube station, right? Would I be correct in thinking that this would be easy tube ride from Heathrow with just a simple "cross the platform" transfer at Hammersmith or Baron's Court to the District Line?
fishee is offline  
Oct 28th, 2006, 09:06 PM
  #49  
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I thought I'd report tonight instead of tomorrow. First of all though, I'd like to clarify and answer some questions. We enjoyed our stay at Jolly St. Ermins, no doubt. The police station can be found to the left at the end of a very short block as one exits the hotel parking area. Once you turn towards it, there are 2 options (a fork in the road). (a) continue to the left toward Victoria station just a few hundred feet ahead or (b) a narrow street to the right. After dark, we only saw the police stationed directly in front of the station with weapons in hand. So, from Victoria station towards Westminster Abbey there is a stretch of about 2 blocks that is poorly lit and we may have encountered 2 people each time. This would have been an area roughly behind the police station on Victoria Street. The other direction, for us, provided a short cut to Victoria Street but required travel thru the park-like area between the buidings. It also was poorly lit after dark. This short walk after passing the police station is what worried my wife since the police were not observed anywhere except in front of their station entrance. It probably was a very safe area but we were new and the lighting was not good. During the day, this is a lively area. The taxi to Waterloo train station costs about 8 pounds. We never used the tube, preferring to walk unless we took a cab.

On our arrival in Paris, I grabbed our suitcases and walked with my wife toward the front. She must have been excited because she was yards in front of me as we arrived. I looked around for an ATM machine as we had discussed. At that moment she said that 'this man' had a taxi and would take us to the hotel. I thought this was strange and didn't care for it but was reluctant to say anything because I didn't know how. Anyway, he already had my wife's suitcase and in hand and was headed out. I followed with the other two rolling pieces of luggage. I stopped him and asked if he was a taxi driver. He said he was. I explained that I didn't have any money and needed to stop at an ATM. He took me directly to one and I carefully removed about 500 euros. I remember thinking this wasn't good since I had about 800 american dollars that I had intended to exchange. I stopped to buy something to nibble on (and get change). He led us to a taxi stand outside. Once there, he asked for money while the driver loaded our luggage into the car. I felt taken and, for a second, wondered if this was really a taxi. Nevertheless, I gave him 3 euros. Upon seeing that I still had change he asked for more. So, I gave him the 1 coin I still had. I felt better as the driver manuevered his way towards the Champs Elysee. I had memorized the various routes with the help of the internet. In planning our vacation, we had no idea where to stay. Ultimately, I had decided that my wife would appreciate the Warwick and pre-paid for our stay. We arrived and were greeted by the staff very warmly. They spoke very good english and tolerated our attempt at French. It was 1:30pm.
We were taken to our room. My wife decided to leave the unpacking for later. Downstairs the concierge was extremely helpful. We asked where we could get a quick bite to eat because my wife was eager to start on her list. He recommended the Laduree and said everything else was a tourist trap. It was across the Champs Elysee--almost within eyesight. We laughed to ourselves as we crossed the street and stood in line because we had already eaten at Laduree in London. My wife asked if I was going to eat a club sandwich again.
I'll continue the report tomorrow morning.
joram is offline  
Oct 28th, 2006, 09:08 PM
  #50  
 
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The Jolly St. Ermin's is indeed only a few short "blocks" from St James tube station. I took the Heathrow express to Paddington and cabbed it. The short trip was expensive. (I can't recall the exact amount, but $20 bucks might be right.)

Obviously I can't confirm you can take the tube from Heathrow to St James. But if you can, there are not a huge number of steps in the St James Tube station (it's not that deep underground). From the tube stop to the hotel is easy going, so if you've a manageable amount of luggage (or are rolling it), it won't be a pain.

For me, the question is always how crabby I will feel after an overnight flight. (I usually feel pretty crabby!) I'm not unwilling to drop extra bucks to avoid having a meltdown in my first few hours of vacation.
nessundorma is offline  
Oct 28th, 2006, 11:33 PM
  #51  
yk
 
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fishee-

Yes, the tube station is right around the corner from the hotel. There are multiple entrances (was a bit confusing when I first arrived), and only 1 entrance is open late at night. There's a small "shopping mall" attached to the tube station, where I got tea and toast every morning for breakfast.

My first time staying at Jolly, I took the tube mainly.

But during my 2nd time, I found out that it's just as convenient to take the bus instead. 2 lines stop just 1 block from the hotel, and they take me to SoHo, Leicester Sq, Trafalgar Sq etc quite quickly. I bought a 1-day bus pass, which was substantially cheaper than the 1-day travelcard for the tube.

I can't recall which station I did the transfer to Picadilly line to Heathrow, but it was just across the platform. If you go to the tube's website, it'll show you which station to change with the least amount of walking/stairs.
yk is offline  
Oct 28th, 2006, 11:38 PM
  #52  
 
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hey yk,

thanks for the info! i was just checking out bus lines 11 and 24 which stop on Victoria St -- both of which look like they'll take me where I need to go. I do enjoy the scenic aspect of riding on buses too.

Do you recall if there was an evening bus line on Victoria St -- I hope to go to a show one night so it'll be past 10 pm.
fishee is offline  
Oct 28th, 2006, 11:41 PM
  #53  
yk
 
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fishee-

I'm pretty sure both 11 & 24 still run at 10pm. Otherwise, there's 24N - which is just night version of 24. I took the bus from Covent Garden area back to the hotel after the opera.

You can check the tube website for actual timetables for the buses.

I enjoy riding the bus in London - but only if I'm not in a great hurry. But at least last time I took the buses, there wasn't any major traffic jam.
yk is offline  
Oct 29th, 2006, 06:44 AM
  #54  
 
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Being near a police station is no guarantee of safety. A friend's sister-in-law was murdered across the street from one.

I read one article last year that said your chances of being assaulted in London was greater than NYC. A bad guy in london knows that his victim is not armed. Probably the same goes for Paris.
bigtyke is offline  
Oct 29th, 2006, 08:10 AM
  #55  
 
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Per Times Magazine, January 3rd, 2005, NYC has a murder rate of 6.9 per 100,000 people.

London is 2.4 per 100,000 people.

That being said, crime rates throughout Europe are rising, while crime rates throughout the US are falling.

Furthermore, statistics are meaningless. It really only matters if it happens to you (or someone you know).

The bottom line is that traveling through Europe is no more dangerous than traveling through the US.

As many have said in countless threads, use common sense and behave as you would at home.

Violent crime can happen anywhere to anyone in any community. That is just the reality of where we live. Don't let the thought of it ruin your vacation.

Kevin


alyssamma is offline  
Oct 29th, 2006, 09:17 AM
  #56  
 
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bigtyke,

Your friend's sister-in-law was murdered across the street from a London police station? How was she killed?

nessundorma is offline  
Oct 29th, 2006, 09:24 AM
  #57  
 
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Oct 29th, 2006, 10:03 AM
  #58  
 
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no, it wasn't in london. It was in Colorado. I was just saying that being near a pollice station doesn't guarantee safety.
bigtyke is offline  
Oct 29th, 2006, 10:05 AM
  #59  
 
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joram--I don't mean this to sound mean-spirited or anything (just helpful), but you're last post just screams of someone wanting to be victimized. You weren't sure it was a real taxi, but you went ahead and got in it? Didn't you know to only grab a taxi at a taxi stand? Hadn't you and your wife planned ahead for all this? And in the midst of your anxiety/confusion/money issues, you found time to get a nibble to eat?

Next time, joram, be prepared. And focussed. One's arrival in a foreign city isn't the time to be doing 20 things at once. That may be the first lesson here.
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Oct 29th, 2006, 10:28 AM
  #60  
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After we finished our meal at Laduree, we walked down the Champs Elysee toward the Louvre. We stopped numerous times to enjoy the sights, take pictures,etc. Stops included Place de la Concorde, Tulleries, and others that I can't remember along the boulevard. It was a long walk since our hotel was located on Rue de Berri about 1/3 block off of the Champs Elysee. Fortunately, the Louvre was open late. This was Wednesday afternoon. We stayed until closing time and walked back to the hotel. We stopped to ask the concierge to to help us book a tour to the Loire Valley Chateaus. He informed us that we could pay on Sunday morning when we were picked up by Cityrama. We returned to our room, unpacked and went to bed. We didn't think we needed a wake up call since we normally wake up around 5:30am. Well, we awoke the next morning and checked the time. It was 11:30am. We jumped out of bed and made the best of the day. Our first stop was the Musee Orsay. Then, we made our way to the Invalides, then we walked along the Rue Cler, ate at the Chez Francais, and walked along the area as we made our way to the hotel. On Friday, we went to Sainte Chappelle, to Notre Dame, and had ice cream at Bertillon. Then we walked to the Pantheon, St. Sulpice, Luxembourg gardens, the Saint Germaine de Prix church, and walked around the area as we made our way back to the hotel. On Saturday, we took a taxi to Sacre Coeur and spent most of the morning in the area. It was great. We decided to walk toward the Galleries Lafayette. Along the way we passed the Moulin Rouge. We didn't realize it was in what appeared to be the 'red light' area. Anyway, we shopped and took pictures at the Galleries Lafayette and ate at a sidewalk cafe across the street. We were tired. I placed my camera on the table and the young lady next to me politely motioned that I shouldn't do that. So, I hung it around my neck. After lunch, we went to the Opera and then to La Madeline. We decided to go back to the hotel and try to go to bed earlier due our 6:30am pickup time by Cityrama. At the hotel, we dropped off our camera and things we'd purchased. Then, we decided to eat at the Italian restaurant directly across the hotel on Rue de Berri. I left everything in the room except my wallet which I placed in my left hip pocket since we were only going about 25ft from the entrance. We had a nice dinner and started to cross the narrow street back to the hotel. At that point, my wife asked if we should buy something for breakfast and bottled water. There was a bakery right around the corner so I said ok. We turned the corner and there hundreds of people as usual on the Champs Elysee. This was Saturday night. The line at the bakery was about 15 deep. So, we walked a few steps ahead to the entrance of Galleries Elysee, I think. Anyway, our nightmare was about to begin. I'll post this tonight or tomorrow morning.
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