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Vacation on/off/on/off--now on again! Paris and London hotel help

Vacation on/off/on/off--now on again! Paris and London hotel help

Nov 24th, 2013, 01:28 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 233
Vacation on/off/on/off--now on again! Paris and London hotel help

So, our vacation is back on. Again. However, our exact dates are uncertain. We’re looking at April and/or May.

So now my DH is now thinking: ~9-10 days in London, leaving one day, getting there the next. It’s a looooong way from California. Train to Paris for 7-8 days. Stop for just a few days in NYC (because, as he put it, “it’s on the way back and we liked it there”) and back to Fresno.

I'm begging your indulgences and assistance, since I’ve posted here before about this trip. Because this was off the calendar, I’ve wiped much of what I’ve learned from my mind, aside from my OCD notes on sightseeing and such. That stuff I have and can find out okay from the forums here and elsewhere.

I need help on budget-level hotels in London and Paris, preferably less than $200 US/night.

In London, we’re looking at places like Ibis, Premier, and the Jesmond--so you understand our budget. We don’t plan on being in the room much but for sleeping and such. We wouldn’t mind an apartment, either, since we’re there for a while, but I’m not sure if it’s in our budget for a decent place IN London.

In Paris, I really have no idea at this price range. Again, were open to an apartment, especially since we’ll be there so relatively long.

In both cities, we’d like a short walk to transit, convenient for typical tourist activity, and a safe area. We understand cities can be noisy. When we were in NYC last year, neither the construction noise at 7am nor being by Penn Station was a problem--we just don’t want a nightclub-all-night type of thing.

I’m very nervous about finding places to stay, and we are willing to be flexible with dates to get good places. I need to nail some of this down so I can book hotels/apts and flights. Help?
propita is offline  
Nov 24th, 2013, 01:43 PM
Join Date: May 2005
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I'll let others comment on London and Paris, but I just want to point out that it may or may not make sense to stop in NYC on your way home. Compare flights carefully. Especially since you are on a budget, you may find it a better use of your time and money to fly directly home from Paris. Or, it may be cheaper to fly directly home from another European city, in which case you could consider allotting your NY days to that city instead, since you've already been to NYC.

Of course, if you do end up sticking with a stop in NYC, consider placing it at the start of your trip, rather than at the end. Seems like it might feel like an afterthought to your European adventure, but might be fun to do it as a "warm up" to Europe. Just something to think about. Have fun!
msteacher is offline  
Nov 24th, 2013, 01:51 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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So we don't entirely reinvent the wheel here . .

this is your original thread w/ a TON of advice


Read over it again and then come back w/ a bit more focus to your questions.
janisj is offline  
Nov 24th, 2013, 02:00 PM
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In Paris we rented apartment #176 from VacaitonInParis.com (Cozy Central Right Bank Studio). It is a 6th floor studio in an elevator building located in the 2nd Arr and just steps from a Metro station and bus stops. The studio is modest, but as described with ensuite bathroom and washer drier. There is a Monoprix next door which is convenient. Best of all is that Rue Montorguil is just a very short walk and it is one of the best market streets in Paris. I would begin early every morning with a visit to the Rue M to buy our breakfast and watch the street come to life. A true delight.

We very much enjoyed our stay there - the size was right, larger than the typical hotel room and the price is well within your budget. We would stay there again.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Nov 24th, 2013, 02:03 PM
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I also agree that you will have to do some work on airfares and that stopping in NYC may cost you more than you think. Airfares to Europe this year are the highest I have seen. There also appear to be less direct flights out of SFO to Europe than in the past. Will likely be cheaper to fly out of SFO than Fresno but you will have to check your dates as anything is possible when it comes to airfares.
I think you should be able to get hotels or apartments for your budget in London and Paris although they are both very expensive cities. I do not have any specific suggestions as our budget is not your budget but I am sure others will have good suggestions.
I do recommend that you consider apartments in your situation. While the costs may be similar, you will have more room and be able to save considerable money by preparing many of your meals instead of eating out. You might also have a washer/dryer which is nice to have on a long trip. Having a W/D is not a necessity but nicer than doing what I am doing tomorrow, which is to drop off our laundry near Piccadilly as we are in a hotel for a short stay in London before heading to Africa.
mjs is offline  
Nov 24th, 2013, 02:13 PM
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I'd also look at fares out of LAX and even Vegas. Think outside the box a bit. SFO would appear to be the most logical but try other airports you can reach from FAT.

My last trip (in October ) actually worked out cheaper SMF > DFW > LHR and LHR > LAX > SMF than SFO / LHR round trip. And was a heck of a lot easier than schlepping down to SFO.
janisj is offline  
Nov 24th, 2013, 02:18 PM
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New York may be too expensive for your hotel budget, regardless of the ability to include it in your airline plans. Consider instead a third European destination with a good flight connection home.
AJPeabody is online now  
Nov 24th, 2013, 02:45 PM
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Thanks for the link to my earlier thread! Whew! I will be re-reading that this week. You are wonderful!

Regarding adding NYC, a first-check of flights added about $100-150 per person to the total cost of the flights. That’s why we’re considering it. Yes, there will be hotel costs, but we will stretch for that to be able to have a few days in NYC, which we so loved last year. Our budget is tight more on the hotels rooms we won’t be in much all day.

As for leaving from Fresno (FAT), rather than SFO or LAX or another airport, we’ve looked into those options in the past. FAT has few direct flights to places we want to go, so a layover to/from home is inevitable. The extra money (which is usually around $100/person) is worth the hours of driving, the parking costs, fatigue from traffic, etc. I think the last thing we want to do after a vacation is face a long drive home, or get into a foul mood at the start or end due to traffic. FAT is a 10 minute drive from home, and we can be dropped off and picked up by family or friends.

Thanks for giving me stuff to think about.
propita is offline  
Nov 24th, 2013, 03:20 PM
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There probably won't be a 'layover' anywhere. Just a connecting flight. For instance you can fly FAT to LAX and change terminals (to Tom Bradley ) to catch your flight to Europe. Should be able to connect the same day w/o having to lay over.
janisj is offline  
Nov 24th, 2013, 03:26 PM
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In Paris I highly recommend the Hotel Relais Bosquet:

Check the Rick Steves Paris Guidebook to see if the free breakfast offer is still in there for 2013/2014. If so, it's a great deal!

I wrote this hotel a glowing report on TripAdvisor. Can't recommend them enough.
halfapair is offline  
Nov 24th, 2013, 03:27 PM
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For London you should check out Priceline. That's a good way to score a decent rate in that expensive city.
halfapair is offline  
Nov 24th, 2013, 03:30 PM
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I would do May rather than April - the days are longer, the weather is likely to be better, and gardens/countryside will be prettier.
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 24th, 2013, 03:42 PM
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just as soon as you pick May -- April will be glorious (and vice versa)

Don't pick based on weather - I've seen gales and nasty weather in May and beautiful weather in April (again - and vice versa)

The difference in daylight between mid April and mid May in London is semi-insignificant since the most of 'extra' time is very early AM when you will likely be in bed.

April 17 Sunrise 6:00 AM sunset 8:01 PM = 14hours 1 min

May 17 Sunrise 5:06 AM sunset 8:49 PM = 15hours 43min
janisj is offline  
Nov 25th, 2013, 11:37 AM
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I should have mentioned that the apartment that I noted above should be around $120/night - that would leave you money for other things. It was a clean and comfortable place.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Nov 25th, 2013, 03:15 PM
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We once stayed at the Park International Hotel on Cromwell Road which is within your budget, and breakfast is included in the room rate. It is just a block from the Gloucester Road tube stop, our favorite area to stay in.
carolyn is offline  
Nov 25th, 2013, 03:57 PM
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How about doing this entire trip, including a few days in New York on the way back, for an airfare of $1143.- each?

To see what flights might be available, use the site that offers the most flexibility - www.matrix.itasoftware.com. It doesn’t sell, and it will bring up tons and tons of flights if you follow the hints below, so be patient and have a notebook handy.

Do the following steps, EXACTLY:

Click on Multi-city.
Enter FAT for Flight 1 Departing from.
Click Nearby and enter 250 miles, click on FAT, SCK, SJC, OAK, SFO, SMF, LAX
Enter LON for Flight 1 Destination
Enter a likely date and select Plus/minus 2 days

Enter PAR for Flight 2 Departing from
Enter NYC for Flight 2 Destination.
Enter a likely date and Plus/minus 2 days.

Enter NYC for Flight 3 Departing from
Enter FAT, SJC, OAK, SFO, SMF, LAX for Flight 3 Destination
Enter a likely date and Plus/minus 2 days.

When results begin to come up, you can choose to see Individual flights (for the three trip legs) or Complete trips. Go for complete trips first to see what kinds of budget flight combinations there are.

I used the random dates of April 15, May 3, and May 7, and I see totals of $1143! That’s pretty unbeatable since it includes the few days in New York!

It is from LAX (comfortably at 5:55 PM so you can get there earlier the same day) and home into SFO.

It involves a change of planes in Düsseldorf outbound before ending in Heathrow, or - for $1146 - ending in London Stansted.

You’ll have a change of planes in Berlin on the way from Paris-Orly to New York.

Both changes of planes come with comfortable changeover times.

You’ll have to figure out the logistics of getting to L.A. for the departure and home from SFO, but, as they say, where there is a will, there is a relative...

And so it goes - make the most of that website and all sorts of options come up that other search sites don’t show you.
michelhuebeli is offline  
Nov 25th, 2013, 05:55 PM
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In London I also liked the Park International Hotel as Carolyn mentioned above.

For Paris check out VRBO for apartment rentals. I like staying in the 5th/Latin Quarter. I am looking myself right now for next April
hpeabody is offline  
Nov 26th, 2013, 08:14 AM
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Thanks everyone!

Yes, picking a specific Parisian arrondissement is puzzling to me, since I’m unfamiliar with the city. I have a feeling that, if I’m the general area and close to transportation, the exact arrondissement is not as important, right?
propita is offline  
Nov 26th, 2013, 08:29 AM
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>> the general area and close to transportation, the exact arrondissement is not as important, right?<<

In general - yes.

But most would recommend first time visitors stay in 1, 4, 5, 6, or 7 simply because those are where most major sites are and many are walking distance from each other.

I'd personally prefer 4/5/6 . . .
janisj is offline  
Nov 26th, 2013, 09:09 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
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I agree with Janis's preferences, although I recognize after several stays in Paris that it might be time to try a slightly less central location next time for the sake of variety. For first timers, though, it is nice to be close to most of the sites.

To date, I've stayed several times in the Odeon section of the 6th and once in the 5th, always in two-star budget accomodations. For my last visit in May of 2010, my husband and I stayed at the Hotel du College de France. I liked our stay there. It's not posh by any means, but for the money, it provided a clean, relatively quiet and very centrally located place to sleep. The front desk was helpful and by Parisian standards, I thought our twin room was adequately sized.
indyhiker is online now  

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