Trip to London and France--need help!

Old Feb 6th, 2001, 09:39 AM
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Trip to London and France--need help!

Hi All
I was looking through a lot of the posts here today and am really excited about my trip to Europe but am SO confused.
For our 1 year wedding anniversary, we were planning on going on the Trafalgar Free and Easy Tour to Paris and London for a total of 9 days in mid September... It is pretty independent from what it seems:

We were planning to stay at the Superior line of hotels which is:

London: Forum
Paris : Mercure Tour Eiffel Suffren

I really haven't seen any feed back on these hotels. I was wondering what you guys think. Also I was thinking a bit about not doing a tour but have never been outside the U.S. and my husband doesn't seem too keen on going the independent route. I know some french and can probably brush up a bit. I want to be walking distance to everything if possible and a double bed would be nice since it is going to be a romantic occasion.
It looks like the tour would be $1400 approx per person and was wondering if you guys think this tour is good or can suggest some good alternates. Also feed back on the hotels would be great!
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 10:51 AM
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Hi Heather, You seem to have done some good research so far and I think you are headed in the right direction. You seem to be asking the right questions, about location,ease of travel etc. Since your husband is reluctant to go the independent route the first time there, maybe for you, it is best to do a tour IMHO. The Forum in London gets good reviews and I am not sure about the Paris hotel however...maybe they have another to choose from? What ever you do, have a great anniversary! Judy ps. for Sept. that is not a bad price IMO
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 12:48 PM
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I don't know the "Mercure tour eiffel suffren", but it's obviously situated avenue de Suffren. As attractive as it may seem, the Eiffel tower area is not the most convenient (nor the most interesting), and you'll definitely not be within walking distance of everything (apart from the tower, that is).

You should try to find an hotel more centrally located (1, 4, 6, eastern part of the 7 arrondissements, for instance), IMO.
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 01:06 PM
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While most of us on this Forum, including myself, don't do tours as a rule, this type of tour sounds good for first time travelers like yourselves. You will probably get a little "hand holding", i.e. hotels pre-selected, transporation to and from airports and an overview bus tour of the cities. That's enough tho, you can do the rest on your own. Don't worry about the location of the Mercure Tour Eiffel Hotel - it's fairly close to the Eiffel Tower and the area is decent. Paris is VERY easy to navigate on your via the Metro and no matter where you stay you will not be close to "everything" anyway. I do not know anything about the Forum in London as we always stay in apartments but I believe it is a very large tourist type hotel. Be prepared for small rooms no matter what class hotel you stay in however! Most hotels have either one double bed (standard size, not a queen or king) or twins (sometimes shoved together!) - be very specific about what you ask for if you want a double. I am going to look at the Trafalgar web site when I get a minute and see what they say about your tour. Overall I'd say this semi-independent tour is not a bad idea for first timers even tho London and Paris are easy to do by yourself.
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 02:55 PM
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Heather, I have been checking airfare for flights to London/out of Paris and this seems like a good deal. Trafalgar tours has its own webb site, and they have a great bulletin board. Try that. I have noted that the Forum has a tube across the street as does the Mercure Tour Eiffel. I have stayed near the Eiffel tower and its had a bad area. The metro takes you anywhere you want to go, and a little stroll at night by the Eiffel Tower is very memorable. The trip sounds good, uncomplicated and gives you free days on your own. If I can't come up witha decent airfare, I may give it a look!! Have fun!!
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 03:25 PM
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I stayed at the Forum Hotel in London last September and was happy with it. It's a modern high-rise hotel in the South Kensington area. The room I had was large by London standards and comfortable. The Gloucester Road tube station is right next door. You are within easy walking distance of the Kensington High Street area, Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, Sloane Square, King's Road, and several museums. The area also has many small restaurants and cafes, which is good because the hotel food wasn't great.

I've never stayed at the Mercure Tour Eiffel Suffern, but have stayed in the same general area at the Hilton on Avenue de Suffern. As someone already mentioned, the Eiffel Tower area isn't really in easy walking distance of many of the popular tourist destinations in Paris, but its not that far removed either. So long as you're near a metro stop, you'll have no problem. The Eiffel Tower is very near the Bir Hakiem metro station and the Champ de Mars RER station, so you should have no problem.
Old Feb 6th, 2001, 03:34 PM
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We used Trafalgar for 'free/easy week in Paris' in 1997 and the hotel was a Frantour Suffren, on rue Jean Rey, next door to a Hilton, and a couple of blocks from the Eiffel. This is a perfectly fine area - there is an RER station and a couple of Metro stops nearby, there are bistros and cafes. It is a quieter area - the inner city area for most major 'sights' encompasses about 2 miles any direction, so if you like to walk, you can organize what you are seeing that way. As others mentioned, the Metro is so great you can be anywhere in short time. If the Frantour is now a Mercure (don't know if we're talking same establishment or not), it is a nice first class hotel, attractive lobby, bar, gift shop, dining rooms... the room you will get may be twin-bedded, I think you can push them together if desired. Our room was nothing large, but the bathroom was one of the bigger ones we've had so far. If your other hotel choices in this package are the Ibis (less$) it will be further away from the river, and if the Nikko or Hilton that is more $$ than necessary (Hilton is next door to Suffren; Nikko is further away from Eiffel).
Old Feb 7th, 2001, 06:13 AM
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Thank you all so much for your advice. I think we will go with the tour. I believe we stil have time to book everything. We spoke to a travel agent about it last week and were interested in trying to get another airline carrier there. We prefer British Airways since I have the credit card but I am not sure yet if it is extra. The hotels are just whatever Trafalgar offers. I saw the web site for Forum and it seemed nice.
I heard the metro is really nice there and is of course cleaner than in New York so aside from things being in another language we shouldn't have problems navigating the area.
Does anyone know how the ride is from London to Paris? It wouldn't be on the eurotrain it is through Trafalgar.
Thanks again!

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