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-   -   Need some good ideas - London & Paris (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/need-some-good-ideas-london-and-paris-692838/)

LuvFlowers Mar 31st, 2007 06:07 PM

Need some good ideas - London & Paris
 
I just booked a trip to London & Paris this week and found the Fodor site while surfing. I read some pretty funny threads (like what to wear in Europe and Hagan's great travelogue) and had to join! Will be traveling with husband and 16 yr old daughter. Husband & I have been to London before daughter was born so we are going back with her. Add since were were already there, we're taking the chunnel over to Paris.

I would love to hear of the top 7 must do's for London & Paris.



janisj Mar 31st, 2007 08:37 PM

Everybody's "top seven" will be different - so tell us more: 1) when is the trip? 2) what sorts of things do you enjoy? 3) how long will you be in each city?

LuvFlowers Apr 1st, 2007 06:07 AM

We'll be in London Aug 9-14, taking the chunnel tp Paris on the 15, Paris 15-18. We all like to explore, enjoy "finding" great places for food, little shops, not the usual touristy things although we'll probably do the major ones
London: My daughter is into music so we are thinking of seeing a show in London, is Abbey Road a touristy thing? cool souvenirs; my husband wants to go back & sample British beers and I want to be there for them. I travel for my job so just being 'Mom' on this trip would be great!
Paris: Chocolate croisant, walking through Paris

We welcome any suggestions!

missmissy Apr 1st, 2007 09:12 AM

I'd check out some of the Original London Walking Tours...fabulous value, very informative and your hubby would enjoy sampling different beers on a night pub crawl. It's not just some drunken night as it might sound. haha It's a fun way to walk with a group and experience several different pubs, learn the history, architecture, etc. Our tour took us to some pubs that we NEVER would have found on our own. Very cool. While some may say it's cheesy, after SEVERAL trips to London we finally did Madame Tussauds and had a blast. So, my guess is that your 16 y/o would enjoy it (and you, too ). Tons of "music" opptys.....get tickets to something like "Mamma Mia." If you like off the beaten path things, then I can't stress enough how COOL the Original London Walk tours are. Look at all their tours online. They even have one if memory serves me well that includes Abbey Road, but MUCH MORE than you'd just see wandering around on your own. SO, for London I'd say check out Original London Walks and pick a few of their walks to mix in with seeing some of the other "biggies" like the London Tower; Westminster Abbey; etc. As for Paris, I've never used them but I think the same folks who run the Original London Walking tours have friends in Paris who do the same thing. So, that's one idea. Personally, I LOVE just wandering and "getting lost" in the small streets of Paris, hanging at cafe's, stumbling upon stores, walking along the Seine, along with doing some of the "biggies" like Notre Dame; Monmartre; Eiffel Tower; Louvre; and D'Orsay. etc etc. Have a fantastic trip! :) Melissa

LuvFlowers Apr 1st, 2007 09:31 AM

Thanks Melissa! Will look into the Walking Tours. I can always wander around but I am sure they have some goodies that only the tour co knows.

Have you heard about the great ice cream place on teh Isle St Louis in Paris?


Ralstonlan Apr 1st, 2007 09:36 AM

Do you mean Berthilion?
http://www.berthillon-glacier.fr/

janisj Apr 1st, 2007 09:37 AM

hasn't everyone? :)

Berthillon

janisj Apr 1st, 2007 09:38 AM

Oh - was posting the same time as Rasltonlan . . . . .

LuvFlowers Apr 1st, 2007 06:15 PM

I am a nubie Fodorite and this has been great! Love reading everything and getting info from all of you who know me from a hole in the wall! Thank you so much

Checked out Original Walking Tour website -- looks great - now the hard part is deciding which ones we all agree to go on. I am pushing on one of the Beatles Tours -- my brother is a big fan and would love to send him a picture of his little sister crossing Abbey Road!

I've never been to London in August -- any rain?

My daughter is a vegetarian -- how is the vegetarian food offerings in London? Or is she going to be eating chips the whole time?

Bethilion : I'm there! Ice cream in August in Paris -- can't get any better than that!

Never been to Paris is August either - is it madness? Any tips ?

missmissy Apr 1st, 2007 07:46 PM

Happy to help! Yes, Berthillon is the fabulous ice cream place in Paris...YUMMY! We've done several of the Original London Walking tours and think they're great! The guides are fabulous and the price is right! We've never done the Beatles tour, but that's on my "To do" list. Besides the night pub tours, we also really enjoyed a tour ( the name is escaping me) that takes you to the Inns of Court, the Temple Church and all these little crooks and crannies you'd never just find on your own. We've been to London in August and didn't have any rain. Of course, anything's possible. But, we have never experienced the stereotypical rainy, foggy weather in London. Everytime we're been at various times of the year it's been BLUE SKIES. GO figure. We weren't complaining. haha :) Your daughter will have NO problem finding vegetarian food. Wagamama is VERY popular and an "in" place for lunch. I don't mean "in" as in dressy, it's young, fun, hip and casual. You can check them out online, too. Great noodles! Mmmmm Also, if you get sick of fish and chips and crave GREAT pizza, go to The Dickens Inn at St Catharine's Docks near the Tower of London. We LOVED this place! OH, I just thought of another plus ( in my opinion ) about being in London in August! It's the only month that Buckingham Palace is OPEN to tour!!! We LOVED this! I also highly recommend the Bag O' Nails pub near Buckingham Palace......good pub grub. We've been to Paris in August, too, and I don't think it's as crowded as July. You'll have a blast! :) Melissa

Tulips Apr 1st, 2007 10:46 PM

Not exactly top 7 must do's, but I have teenage girls, and know what they like to do in London!
Go to Portobello Road on Saturday morning; I'm sure your daughter will like that. There are also some very nice shops in Westbourne Grove, and restaurants; the restaurant in the Nicole Farhi shop is nice, and also Tom's in Westbourne Grove. Plenty of vegetarian options in Notting Hill.
And a 16-year old will probably like TopShop; Oxford Circus.

gard Apr 1st, 2007 10:53 PM

Hi

Feel free to check out my Paris trip report with pictures and links: http://gardkarlsen.com/Paris_France.htm . My wife and I went there in April last year and I have also made this interactive Google map http://gardkarlsen.com/paris_france_map.htm that shows you where some of the attractions are located. Click on the different markers to get more info :-)

Regards
Gard
http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures

LuvFlowers Apr 2nd, 2007 06:30 PM

Buckingham Palace, Portobello Road, Wagamama, The Dickens Inn, Abbey Road walking tour, Wesbourne Grove, Berthilion -- check! :)

Got in touch with a friend who lives in Oxford - so Oxford U is on the plan.

I am trying to find a good/inexpensive hotel in Paris with air conditioning -- any suggestions? Has anyone stayed at Hotel Des Trois Pouissins or Hotel Relais Medicis in Paris?

Drus Apr 7th, 2007 05:34 AM

Hi,
Just discovered this website yesterday, just after we got home from our two week trip to Europe. I can't get enough of all your postings and it's a way of keeping our trip alive. I am so sad that two weeks went so quickly. I have lots to report on and questions for all of you but at the moment, all I want to do is talk about ice cream in Paris. My husband and I went there last week with our two boys, ages 12 and 14, after a twenty year hiatus. All that I had read suggested that Berthillion was still the place to go for ice cream. So we dutifully made our trip there. I sprang for a 3 Euro two dip cone for each of them. It probably had less ice cream than a one scoop cone has in the US, for about $4! The boys said the ice cream was great, although it was gone in a flash. Later in the week, I was online and discovered that Amorini ice cream is posing a challenge to Berthillion in Paris. I got on some blogs that mentioned Amorini, which may be a company based in Italy (I say that only because the name sounds Italian to me) The most amazing thing was that Amorini had one of their shops half a block from where we were staying. We were on our last day of the trip and had cash to spend. So we went there and bought ice cream. We could be far more generous with the quantity because of wanting to spend down our Euros. I can't do an exact cost comparison, but I know that the blog said that Amorini was no cheaper than Berthillion. The boys liked their ice cream just as much. So, although I would not discourage you from going to Berthillion, there are other possibilities for ice cream in Paris! Keep in mind that in both cases we are talking about European or even Italian style gelato rather than American ice cream.

HeatherH Apr 7th, 2007 09:46 AM

I took quite a few of the Original London Walks tours - all the recommendations for them made me nostalgic....does anyone happen to know if Richard of the red hat is still a tour guide?

StCirq Apr 7th, 2007 10:22 AM

" I'm a nubie..."

OMG, the imagery! :)

MaureenB Apr 7th, 2007 10:42 AM

You can find great first-hand information on this forum. Search for specific information, and read others' trip reports and advice.

FYI, Here's my trip report from London and Paris:

"Trip Report—Two Weeks in Europe, May 28- June 11

First stop: London. Four nights’ stay, first visit for my husband and I, second visit for our two teens.

We liked the Hyde Park Radnor Hotel very much. Nice simple breakfast included eggs with ham plus cold cereals, juice, coffee, etc.. VERY small room and bath, though, for a quad family room. But a very clean and nicely kept place. Location very safe, and close to Paddington tube. Beautiful residential neighborhood to stroll around in.

We were getting a very late start on dinner one night, and knew the kitchens were closing at that late hour, so we opted to simply walk the pretty neighborhood by our hotel. We found the excellent Indian restaurant down the street from the Hyde Park Radnor, the “Noorjahan 2” at 26 Sussex Place. I had an amazing prawn dish with shrimp so big you'd think they were lobster tails, in this incredible sauce. (And this from someone who thought she didn’t like Indian food!)

Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower was interesting and memorable. (Tickets are limited, but free if you inquire by mail in advance.)

Thames River cruise at night with Circular Cruise was very pretty to see the city lit up.

Great lunch at a restaurant across the street from Parliament, St. Stephans Tavern If you stand at the main street facing the Parliament, it’s on the left, across the street, on the first corner down. Very nice, traditional English atmosphere-- wood and leaded glass . Good sandwiches. Minimum age is 18, but they let in our 17 year old son anyway.

Also a nice lunch near the Hyde Park Radnor Hotel, at Sawyers Arms, 8-9 London Street. Nothing really special, but good sandwiches, good value, cute atmosphere and good service.

Took the tube one evening to see “Abbey Road” and take our corny pictures crossing it. Then we took the tube to Hampstead for dinner. Found the La Gaffe Italian restaurant there, which was very good. Barely caught the last tube into Paddington at midnight and back to our hotel. Very fun evening.

Toured Kensington Palace, Westminster Abbey, Tower of London and the Tower Bridge. The Banqueting House was closed, so we unfortunately missed seeing the Rubens ceiling.

Saw the queen’s royal guards on horseback, parading from Hyde Park with canons in tow, to give the Salute to the Crown on June 2 (which we missed because we had a train to catch). Saw royal marching band practicing, too, on the parade grounds near Buckingham Palace the afternoon before.

Our daughter liked shopping on Oxford Street, at TopShop, Mango and Zara mostly. Our son discovered the Apple Store there, too. We adults thought Oxford Circus way too crowded for our tastes.

Used the tube and city buses extensively. Very easy to figure out and get around.

Second stop: Paris. Four nights’ stay, first visit for all of us.

Stayed at Hotel la Bourdonnais, in the 7th and liked it very much. Nice-sized quad room for our family, with A/C and a lift. GREAT view of the Eiffel Tower from our little balcony (room 503). Friendly front desk, too. Offered a simple breakfast buffet, but we chose to visit Rue Cler in the mornings, for coffee, croissants, crepes and fresh fruit. A nice market next door to the hotel was handy, too. Metro stop on the corner, Batobus stop close by, too, at the Eiffel Tower. Even an ATM machine at the corner bank. Loved the location and the upscale neighborhood. An easy walk through the Champs de Mars to the Eiffel Tower.

All told, we found Paris as welcoming and friendly as you'd expect any large city to be that hosts hordes of tourists-- like New York City-- who wouldn't get edgy now and then?

Bought the Batobus two-day pass and enjoyed hopping on and off the boat to get to the sights, plus seeing the beautiful city lit up, from the river at night.

Toured Notre Dame, Sainte Chappelle, walked to the second level of the Eiffel Tower, visited the Louvre and the d’Orsay. Walked the Champs Elysee and window-shopped the designer houses. Our daughter did some shopping at Zara there, and our son got some French perfume for his girlfriend on the Champs Elysee, too.

We walked everywhere, but didn’t have time to get to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur, or to the Sorbonne and Latin Quarter. Too much to see in Paris for only three days there.

Had our favorite meal on Ille St. Louis, at Le Caveau de l’Isle, at 36 rue Saint-Louis en l’Isle. Great menu, with a three-course fixed prix around 30 EU. Excellent and friendly service. Small and atmospheric place.

First dinner at Le Champ de Mars on Avenue de la Bourdonnais simply because it was close and we were starving. Good enough food poor service as only two waiters were serving the entire place. Nothing memorable, except the price of an iced tea or cola there is outrageous! The kids ordered one apiece at this first meal, and they were 6 EU for the small size and 8 EU for a medium!! Tried not to make that mistake again. Wine at the same place was only 4 EU a glass.

Not so good dining experience, also on Ille St. Louis (that’s what we get for returning a second night!). A place called Sergeant at Arms or something like that. "

Enjoy your trip planning and your visit.
:)>-

noe847 Apr 7th, 2007 11:31 AM

I've been to London three times with one or the other of my two daughters (who are now 19 and 21) but actually not with both together (weird schedule things.)

Going to the theatre is so much fun. We've seen dramas, comedies, and musicals, and enjoyed all. My teenaged daughters loved seeing Les Mis in London. We also saw Spamalot, which is same/similar story to Monty Python and the Holy Grail (enough differences to keep you on your toes), and thoroughly enjoyed it. The theatres sell ice cream at the interval. It's very good, but quite expensive.

London's markets are fun. If you do Portobello on a Saturday am, go very early as it gets quite crowded. We actually went on a Friday afternoon, as Saturday wasn't going to work for us. Also Camden market on a Sunday - it's the punk/goth crowd. My 18 year old daughter found the atmosphere there a bit forced, but she did find a few things to buy, especially from the vendors in the Electric Ballroom. My girls also loved the Borough Market, which is a artisan food market on the South Bank (Friday afternoons and Saturdays). I'd avoid Saturday afternoons there, as it is quite crowded.

Oxford Road is the main shopping drag, but it is very crowded. Top Shop, H&M, and Zara are big draws for my girls. Old and New Bond Streets have the more high end/designer stores, so fun for window shopping.

We enjoyed shopping on the Kings Road, going west from Sloane Square (which I'd heard of ever since the Princess Di days). There's a vintage clothing store down about a mile called Steinberg & Tolkein which has some very high end Victorian and designer clothes, but also some fun accessories.

The Covent Garden/Leicester Square area is a lot of fun to wander around. My older daughter is captivated by the store Magma, 8 Earlham Street
Covent Garden, which has tons of design/art/fashion books and lots of little tchotskis.

As for attractions, both my girls liked the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and the Cabinet War Rooms. If your family likes art/museums, you will be spoiled for choice.

There are lots of trip reports on here for London. I know there is a very current one from a spring break trip with teenaged girls: http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...p;tid=34975300
I'm sure you'll find the same for Paris.


rosebud Apr 7th, 2007 03:37 PM

Since you said your daughter is into music, you might really enjoy a meal at the Hard Rock Cafe in London. They have a "vault" down under the store where you can actually hold Jimi Hendrix's guitar, Miles Davis' trumpet, etc. My kids LOVED that. Also, in Paris, you might consider doing one of the Fat Bike tours. We didn't have time to do it but it really looked like a unique way to see the city.

gohedwig Apr 7th, 2007 03:55 PM

Just returned from London with my 4 sons: 1 late teen and 3 young adult - Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, Portobello Road and Camden Lock Market, and Tate Modern got their attention. Wagamama for dinner; and ICCo pizza (GBP 3.5) anytime at Goodge Street tube were hits with them
Gohedwig


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