Short trip to London and Paris

Jun 16th, 2012, 01:05 PM
  #1  
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Short trip to London and Paris

My family, (husband, son, age 27, daughter, age 19) and I are taking a short trip to London and Paris at the end of June. We choose a group tour for selection of a hotel, transportation to Paris and yet freedom for most of the time in each city. Our interests are varied but we would like to see the highlights, go into some places and visit the countyside. We are tennis buffs and want to visti Wimbeldon... please feel free to give advice to this itinerary. Is it doable? Also, we are figuring about $15/lunch, $25/dinner per person. Is this realistic for a base? We have called credit card companies to notify them about being out of the country, printed the 2/1 vouchers and have photocopied all cards and passport numbers. What are we missing. Here is the plan:
Day 1 Fly to London, land about 6:40am,
Day 2 Drop bags at hotel, go to Westminster/Mayfair area; walking by Buckingham Palace, St. James Park and going into Westminster Abbey. Go back to hotel for a tour briefing.
Day 3 Tour group bus of highlights of London ending in Trafalger Square, then see walking Leicester, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford St. Perhaps get theatre tickets or do a river cruise.
Day 4 Tower of London, arriving early, then take a tour to Stratford/Oxford
Day 5 Wimbeldon (anything on the way out there?), St. Paul's, Canary Wharf, Covent Garden ending at the London Eye on our last night.
Day 6 Take the Eurostar to Paris arriving about 12:30, take the Tour bus of highlights of the city. On our own go to Notre Dame Cathedral.
Day 7 Go to Versaille/Louve perhaps Moulin Rouge at night. How hard is it to get tickets?
Day 8 Go to Giverny/Monet's Garden, and the d'orsay, end the day with a walk along the St. Germain/Latin Quarter ending at the Effil Tower eating crepes.
Day 9 Fly home, we have to arrange our own transport to the airport, any suggestions?
Any suggestions or advice? Thank you.
Nhgirl3G is offline  
Jun 16th, 2012, 01:14 PM
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"Day 5 Wimbeldon (anything on the way out there?), St. Paul's, Canary Wharf, Covent Garden ending at the London Eye on our last night."

I'm leaving just now so only time for a VERY brief comment. This day is utterly nuts. (meant in the nicest possible way )

Take a look at a map - you are literally crossing all of greater London three times. Plus you say the end of June . . . w/ the tournament starting on 25 June won't your dates conflict?? And Canary Wharf --is there some compelling reason?

Cannot even imagine a tour to Oxford and Stratford AFTER approx 1/2 a day at the Tower.

There are other 'issues' but I'm off to a wedding . . .
janisj is online now  
Jun 16th, 2012, 02:02 PM
  #3  
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Day 5 is not in order of attendance, only that we will end up at the London Eye last. Oh yes, I know the tournament is going to be in full session, but I believe one can watch from the screens outside the stadium. At least it looks that way when I watch on TV. As for Canary Wharf, I will strike that from the list. Thanks for the advice, I will look for more when you return from the wedding!
Nhgirl3G is offline  
Jun 16th, 2012, 03:40 PM
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but I believe one can watch from the screens outside the stadium. At least it looks that way when I watch on TV.

The screens are IN the "stadium" (ie the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club). If you want to watch them then you queue for a very long time without a guarantee of entry.

As for the general itinerary - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064471/
alanRow is offline  
Jun 16th, 2012, 03:44 PM
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any suggestions?

Forget about the coach tours and do your own thing - and Leicester is a town 100 miles from London. Unless you want to see a show or do some serious shopping then Leicester Square, Picadilly Circus and Oxford Street are a total waste of time. You are in London, do something that is distinctly London and couldn't be anywhere else in the world
alanRow is offline  
Jun 16th, 2012, 05:41 PM
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Hello alanRow, we do want to see a show and having a 19 year old daughter we will do some shopping. Do you know anything about the Wimbeldon Museum? Great point about not getting in to see the large screens.
3Gnhgirl is offline  
Jun 16th, 2012, 05:57 PM
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Very short trip. Are the sights you list a part of the tour or are you doing them on your own? What is the tour providing? Day 6 is a little busy. I would definitely skip Moulin Rouge.
mamcalice is offline  
Jun 16th, 2012, 06:17 PM
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Hello mamcalice, Thanks for the note, yes, it is a short trip, simply an introduction for our kids to Europe and all its spenders. The London tour includes only views of Kensington Palace, the Royal Albert Hall and Albert Memorial, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, Downing Street, Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and ends at Trafalgar Swuare.
The Paris tour includes: Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre, Garnier's Opera House, Place de la Concorde, Champs Elyses, Arc De Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.
The sights I listed are on our own....will keep in mind skipping Moulin to save energy for Monet's Garden which I am really looking forward to...
3Gnhgirl is offline  
Jun 16th, 2012, 06:45 PM
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First of all, prices in the UK - in fact in most of europe - are considerably higher than most places in the US. $15 for lunch and $25 for dinner will provide extremely modest meals - assuming sandwiches from supermarkets etc. For perspective a look online at chain places - for instance McDonals or Hard Rock Cafe - and see how much higher prices are there. (We assume 25 pounds - not dollars - for a modest lunch and 50 pounds per person and up for dinner - assuming a glass of wine each. For a special meal we assume at lest 200 pounds per couple.

As for your itinerary - there is now way you can do most of it. What you have as day trips outside of London and Paris are full day trips - you can't do other sightseeing those days - you need to start out and be on trains or buses by 8 am or so and will, if you are quick, return in time for a latish dinner. Day 4, Day 7 and Day 8 are simply not possible.

Also - you need to get a map and group sites together. Some days you are bouncing around London like a ping pong ball - and, being a large city - those trips can each take an hour - not 10 minutes or so.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 16th, 2012, 07:14 PM
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There is no way you can fully see the Tower of London and have a day trip to Oxford/Stratford on the same day. We spent 5 hours at the Tower of London alone and did not even see every nook and cranny.

Same goes for Versaille and the Louvre. Each deserves at least a half to one full day. You can spend an hour and a half just waiting on line to get into Versaille--(we did and we went early in the day). Choose either or but don't plan to do both on the same day.
europeannovice is offline  
Jun 16th, 2012, 07:44 PM
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Do you have atm cards with funds in a CHECKING account, not savings?

Do you have adaptors for any and all electrical devices you will use--so that your plugs will fit into the sockets (I'm not talking about current converters--won't need those as a rule). The plugs in the UK are different from those on the continent so you need two different adaptors--you will need them for camera battery chargers, phone chargers, ipod chargers, etc.

If you are planning on taking photos, do you have plenty of memory? battery power/recharge ability?

Do you have plan for how to meet back up if you get separated?

Is your tour providing transport from the airport? If not, then don't plan on a taxi in London. You need a car service (have to pre-book) or a plan to use the Tube.

As said above, the Tower is a half day.
Oxford is AT LEAST one whole day.
Stratford is AT LEAST one whole day.
No way you can combine those. Well, maybe if you just rode a bus from daylight til dark and waved at stuff as you drove by. Not even sure that's doable.

I'd re-think your plans; London could keep you busy for weeks and weeks without any day trips, and the sites/sights in it are spread far apart in a huge city (that has a great public transport system, but it takes TIME). Does the tour thing last all day? If I were you, I'd plan at most one day trip (and I think I'd have to count Wimbledon as that) and pick 2-3 things to see IN London each of your other days and group those by area on the time left. And of course if the tour is over by mid-day, then you can plan something major or even two afterwards.

Whatever you end up doing,I'm sure you guys will have a blast, but I don't think your plan right now is making the maximum use of your limited time in London (I don't know Paris so can't comment.)
texasbookworm is offline  
Jun 16th, 2012, 07:59 PM
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Your plan seems to be an over-reach. The transport systems in London and Paris are exceptional, but if this is you first visit, it will take extra time to get from one place to another.

One example of many I could give -- Day 8:

The train-bus combo to Giverny is great, but, as a newbie, you'll need extra time to get to Gare St. Lazare, and buy your ticket...you certainly will want to err on the side of extra time for these tasks. Making the 8:20 train that gets you to the bus that gets you to the gardens before 10:00 (opening time) may be difficult. The next train doesn't even reach Vernon (where you cathc the bus) till after 11:00.

The gardens open at 10:00. There is a return train that arrive in Paris at 1:40...but you probably won't want to leave the gardens in time to make that train. The next train arrives in Paris at 3:40.

By the time you eat lunch, and take transport, you won't reach the d'Orsay till nearly 5 pm.

There will likely be a long line there, and it closes at 6:00 (except Thursdays). If you are a lover of impressionsim, that is not enough time.

I know this sounds pessimistic. That day CAN be done, but it's a real long shot...and no fun. Paris is a beautiful city -- don't rush through it...ditto for London.


SS
ssander is offline  
Jun 16th, 2012, 08:29 PM
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...more thoughts...

With only 2-and-a-half days in Paris, I would limit myself to one "day-trip." I suggest Versailles, and leave Giverny for your next trip. These, IMHO, are the essentials for a first-timer:

-- Notre Dame
-- Louvre and/or Orsay (depending on your art taste)
-- River Cruise (1 hr "Vedettes de Pont Neuf")
-- Eiffel Tower - if pressed for time, no need to go all the way up.
-- Take at least 1 morning or afternoon to take a self-guided walking tour of the historic core.

You can increase your options by checking on which days the attraction are open late.

(I probably forgot something...)

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ssander is offline  
Jun 17th, 2012, 02:08 AM
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THe Wimbledon Tennis Museum is NOT open to the general public during the Wimbledon Tournement. Only ticket holders for the tennis can access the museum during this time. To be honest, unless you have a burning desire to see some tennis - and have an entire day free to queue for ground passes - do not even think about going out there during the tournament.
Gordon_R is offline  
Jun 17th, 2012, 04:53 AM
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Here are the Wimbledon closing and limited admission dates from

http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/museu...561036163.html

•18 June - 23 June: Museum open, no Centre Court viewing. No Tours.

•25 June - 8 July: Museum open to Championships ticket-holders only from 9.30am to 8pm.

•9 July - 27 July: Museum and Tours closed.

•28 July - 6 August: Museum open to Olympics ticket-holders only.

•7-14 August: Museum and Tours closed.


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ssander is offline  
Jun 17th, 2012, 03:51 PM
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NHgirl,
“will keep in mind skipping Moulin to save energy for Monet's Garden which I am really looking forward to...”

Excellent idea. The Moulin Rouge with dinner is now about 174 euros each – so you would be paying at least $870 not counting what fee would be added by using a credit card.

As others have said above, your plans are extremely ambitious so slow down little and enjoy. I have been to London three times (loved it) but have avoided the Tower because it is so time consuming although I have seen the outside from bus excursions and from the river.

Sorry I missed the Crown Jewels, but someone told me recently that when they went, the crowds were such that they could hardly see the jewels. They had to walk around the display cases quickly in single file.

Also, if you do a museum in Paris, my choice would be the Musee D’Orsay (impressionists) over the Louvre. Was at the Louvre a few days ago – I had forgotten what a zoo the place is. The new Carousel entrance is basically a gigantic shopping center.

In any case, enjoy London and Paris – it will be an adventure…
latedaytraveler is offline  
Jun 17th, 2012, 04:15 PM
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...do NOT enter the Louvre through the front entrance. Enter from the Metro #1 line station...much, much shorter lines.

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ssander is offline  
Jun 17th, 2012, 04:30 PM
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Even if you can hop into and out of all those places as with magic want, you would be spending most of time getting from to the places. As you mentioned is a short trip, concentrate your objectives in what you and others want see and experience the most. Check in the forum, maybe you can post it and see which attractions the others would pick, and then maybe you can visit again and go to the other ones. Between the Tower and Oxfor, I would choose Oxford, but then it is a full day trip. And yes I agree with latedaytraveler, I am with the Musee D'Orsay. Versailles is a must. As for the airport transportation, it is so easy. RER in Paris and cannot remember but there is direct tube to London from Heathrow. Also depends in which are the hotels you are staying in. About the tours, if this si the first time, a bus tour might help you to locate the attractions and at least you can see the exteriors. In London I just love so much the museums, if you are in Covent Garden, the National Gallery is a must, and Soho. I lived in London and Paris back in the 80's and 90's and will be back January 2013, so cannot comment on the London Eye. It is definitely in my list.
kbiscuitt is offline  
Jun 17th, 2012, 04:37 PM
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latedaytraveler: "Sorry I missed the Crown Jewels, but someone told me recently that when they went, the crowds were such that they could hardly see the jewels. They had to walk around the display cases quickly in single file."

Unfortunately your friend gave you a bum steer.

1) if one arrives early, there is literally no one else in the Crown Jewels vault. That is why we advise arriving at opening time, heading straight to the Jewel House, and only afterwards returning to the entrance to hook up w/ a Yeoman Warder tour

2) One does not 'quickly walk' - it is moving sidewalk so one travels up one side of the display cases and back down the other.

3) While it is true one must travel at a set speed around the cases, after that you can merely go up a couple of steps to a raised walkway and can spend as long as you'd like (w/i reason) looking at each individual crown/orb/scepter . . .

So - next time do set aside time for the Tower.
janisj is online now  
Jun 17th, 2012, 04:58 PM
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Janisj, thank you for the information. Not sure when "next time" will be though....
latedaytraveler is offline  

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