Short trip to London and Paris

Jun 17th, 2012, 04:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Personally - in Paris - I don't think Versailles is a "must." We didn't visit Versailles until our third trip to Paris, and frankly, I was underwhelmed. We did a daytrip to Giverny on our first trip to Paris (in 1995) and it was wonderful. However, it does take up nearly an entire day, and our stay was for a week. As a "consolation" you will want to visit L'Orangerie, so you can see Monet's fantastic gigantic waterlillies canvases. There is also a very nice collection of other artists, which I enjoyed very much. If your whole family isn't really in to spending a lot of "museum time" -- I would make it your first visit, because it is so manageable...and because, well, you really have expressed YOUR affection for Monet!

I also don't think you need to shop along the Champs Elysees (and you will see it on your tour), but with a 17yo daughter, you might very much enjoy checking out Le Printemps - one the the grand department stores of Paris. We had lunch in their brasserie, under the fabulous stained glass dome (although I just checked the menu and it has gotten fairly pricy) -- but you can also zip up to the roof where they serve snacks with a wonderful view 360degree view of the city.

As others have recommended, the Vedettes de Pont Neuf are absolutely a Don't Miss. You get to see Paris from the river, passing under all the bridges -- it is stunning at any time of day or night.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Jun 17th, 2012, 04:18 PM
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Thank you everyone for your thoughts, I have revised my schedule, so read and comment please. All comments have been very helpful and my husband is very grateful as I do try to do everything.
Day 1 fly to London
Day 2 drop luggage at Hotel, walk up Oxford St. eventually getting on the Tube to Temple, walk along the Thames, buy 2/1 train tickets at Charring Cross. Get on a bus to Trafalgar Square, return to Hotel. (get meals along the way from suggested restaurants in the forum).
Day 3 Half day bus sighteeing tour (already part of package) ending at Trafalgar Square, Tour Westminster Abbey and MAYBE War Rooms.
Day 4 Tower of London, St. Paul's
Day 5 One of the following: Oxford, Cambridge, Eton
Please give me your thoughts.
Nhgirl3G is offline  
Jun 17th, 2012, 04:19 PM
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oops - sorry about the daughter's age - 19! Obviously she no longer likes to shop.

One of our favorite museums in Paris is the Carnavalet. It provides a wonderful history of the city of Paris, and I like the feeling of "connection" it gives you -- some of those places you visit are very much the same as they were hundreds of years ago. It is located in the Marais, near the lovely park Place des Vosges. A super place for a picnic.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Jun 17th, 2012, 04:52 PM
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Hello uhoh, I do believe she was born to shop, she better study hard in school to support her love of shopping. Will keep the department store and museum in mind. Thank you for your help.
Working on the revision of Paris..
Nhgirl3G is offline  
Jun 17th, 2012, 06:06 PM
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Day 2 seems a little light, as you said you arrive at 6:40? So you'd be, even on a bad morning, ready to see something by 10 at the latest. And you must keep moving--no naps! I don't really know what you are trying to get done on this Day 2---I'm assuming this is day of arrival? Just getting your bearings? I think (I'm no on-site expert) you'd do better from Oxford Street on the Tube to Embankment unless there was some specific reason to change lines and go to Temple? You MIGHT, depending on weather, how you feel, where your hotel is, etc., be able to do something else like stroll a park or something. But a stroll along the Thames is just about my favorite first thing to do in London. Good to not OVERPLAN this first day, though.

Days 3 and 4 sound much better.

Oh Oxford for sure! I haven't been to the other two, so don't have comparison facts, but I LOVE Oxford and its beauty, history, architecture, and so so many literary/media connections. If you want to read Trip Reports and if you want to hear about the two different terrific days we had in Oxford as day trips (well, one was a true day trip via bus from London, the other included driving from LHR and a night's stay, but what we did could again have been as a day trip from London)--here are the links to my adventures.
texasbookworm is offline  
Jun 17th, 2012, 07:12 PM
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Thank you for adding the Carnavalet Museum. We've been to Paris four times in the last ten years and have always stopped in.

I have to admit, however, that I am a history buff and love to learn about the history of whatever city I am visiting (the Museum of London is similarly a must-see for me personally).

However, I'd only recommend those two sights to someone with similar interests given the short time allotted to their trip. If NHGirle3G fits the profile, then they should not be missed.

Both meseums are fantastic!!!...and both a free!

ssander is offline  
Jun 17th, 2012, 08:19 PM
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Definitely Oxford, there is so much more, and love the Bodleian Library, and also is not only University, which is of a bit different system from the university in other places. There are different colleges each with its own specialty and administration.
In Paris, yes Place des Vosges, For shopping Printemps and Les Galleries Lafayette a block apart, and why not Rue Mouffetard for their wonderful market. In the 2nd arrondisement, there is the famous Galerie Viviene and being Paris, you can walk in about 30 minutes to the Opera. And of course there are the little shops in the Left Bank, including the oldest Department Store in Paris Le Bon Marche and its fabulous food department.

Oh, I want to be there like right now!!!!
kbiscuitt is offline  
Jun 17th, 2012, 08:37 PM
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" . . . you arrive at 6:40? So you'd be, even on a bad morning, ready to see something by 10 at the latest."

Maybe so, but probably not. MANY transatlantic flights arrive in the early morning hours and just immigration can easily take an hour or more. That is plus the looooooong walk at arrivals and luggage retrieval. Then an hour average to central London. I'd plan on arriving at the hotel by 9:30 or 10:00 at the earliest. If everything works like clockwork, it might take less time,but I wouldn't count on it.

So after checking in (assuming your room is ready) count on being out and about by around 11AM. If your room isn't ready, you can drop the luggag end head out

Not quite sure what you mean by 2/1 train tickets. Are you talking about the Days Out 2for1 discounts? If so, the train tix aren't 2for1, it is the admission charges for the sites that are reduced.

Eton is nice- but It would really be an add on to a day trip to Windsor. Eton is a nice walk across the river from the center of Windsor/the Castle.

Oxford Street is just a street of very crowded department stores and shops - it is very congested and not very attractive. OK for shopping but IMO sort of a waste on such a short time in London.

Instead of Temple -- you can take the Jubilee line from Bond Street tube station (if you stick to your Oxford St plan) to Westminster, walk across the bridge and along the south bank. (Big Ben, Parliament, the Eye, terrific views, Tate Modern, the Globe) and if the time works out -walk across the millennium bridge to St Pauls.
janisj is online now  
Jun 18th, 2012, 04:03 AM
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janisj is, as ever, correct--I mis-typed in my post and meant "ready to see something by 11 at the latest" not 10. The point is that it's wise to not plan to be someplace crucial at a certain time after arrival at LHR as it takes awhile to get to rooms in London. (My 4 arrivals have been fairly painless, being out of LHR in under an hour each time and 3 times in rooms in London about 2 hours after arrival, BUT this is not necessarily the norm. Better to be on the safe side and assume it could take closer to 4.)
texasbookworm is offline  
Jun 18th, 2012, 06:16 AM
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The British Library, for me at least, is a must-see. In my four visits to London, I've never missed it. It definitely qualifies as a place to see things you just cannot see anywhere else without a lot of travelling. Once again, that speaks to my interest in history.

We like it better than the British Museum...but that may be because we live on the east coast of the US and can see many similar things within a few hours' drive.

ssander is offline  
Jun 18th, 2012, 06:46 AM
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Eton's a waste of time for most people as a specific trip: it takes up an hour or two as part of a trip to Windsor.

Lots of people prefer Cambridge to Oxford for sheer aesthetics. But Oxford's near-stranglehold over power in England for the past half-millennium and its bizarre explosion in populist culture in the past 150 years (from Alice, through CS Lewis, Brideshead and Tolkien to Morse, his prequels and sequels) mean there are about a million times more things to see. The Oxphiliacs on this forum have also been a lot more forthcoming about what they enjoyed in their trips, so searching here will give you about three years' worth of stuff to see.

The Champs Elysees are pretty crap for shops. For actually buying things, the Grands Boulevards round Printemps. For window shopping, though, the Rue du Faubourg St Honore (esp, I'd say, the kilometre east of Rue La Boetie) isn't just prettier, but the prices are so stratospheric you're unlikely to be tempted to fork out any dosh.

Wherever you got the absurd idea of wasting time walking round Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus from - don't trust the source again (if it was from your grandad, it's understandable, if more revealing of what he got up to in the war than he'd like your grandma to know about. But times change, the girls are long retired and they're now devoid of any interest).
flanneruk is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 05:58 PM
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Hello Everyone, I really appreciate all your comments and have been getting very manic about reading,printing maps, and tours. With only 10 days to go before we leave I'm getting very excited for sure!!
I have decided to go to Oxford and will look at the forum for ideas as there seems so much to thinking of a bike tour for this excursion.
@texasbookwork, loved reading about your last trip to London, and have headed many of your suggestions; we are also staying near the Marble Arch so the Picadilly Line from Heathrow was a great suggestion. Also, the comments about Oxford bus from London will be followed.
@janisj, your suggestions will also be followed for our first day, thanks.
Will post Paris plans tomorrow.
Nhgirl3G is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 06:01 PM
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@ssander; will follow your tips for Paris
@:texasbookwork; looking to buy adapters tomorrow
To everyone: do we need to bring a computer? Or i-pad?
Nhgirl3G is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2012, 09:40 AM
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I would bring I-Pad, and maybe one can use the adapter from the digital camera and download to memory stick directly through the computer in the hotel. I have done it and had no hacking or anything, because I am storing in the computer'e memory
kbiscuitt is offline  
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