Whirlwind tour of London and Paris

Jul 5th, 2014, 08:35 AM
  #21  
 
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Loving this trip report! Glad you enjoyed London!!!
jamikins is offline  
Jul 5th, 2014, 10:01 AM
  #22  
 
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"On the Chunnel". You might find it a bit damp. I hope that you will e travelling "on" a Eurostar train "through" the Channel Tunnel. ;-)
MissPrism is offline  
Jul 5th, 2014, 01:33 PM
  #23  
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missPrism-----OK, you got me, LOL!
TPAYT is offline  
Jul 5th, 2014, 06:23 PM
  #24  
 
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Hi TPAYT,

"538 steps up to the dome! [of St. Paul's] Of course, she's 13 so it was an easy climb for her. Not so much for me. I was very slow on those spiral steps."

Weren't you a good sport? Wow, and I thought that the 400 steps at Mont St. Michel was challenging! That jaunt is something that your granddaughter will never forget. And the dinner and show sound great, along with getting home after dark. Great memories.

Denisa,

"Really is a great city-really need to get back there. but, you know I am waiting for my Paris fix, TPAYT!"

Having read your TRs on Paris, I am sure that you and Chaz would love London. Not sure if it is best to see at Christmas time though because most things shut down for three days I believe. I prefer London in late spring or early summer.
latedaytraveler is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 01:57 AM
  #25  
 
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"On the Chunnel". You might find it a bit damp. I hope that you will e travelling "on" a Eurostar train "through" the Channel Tunnel.>>

i never understand why people get so exercised by the use of the term "Chunnel". We used to use it [and the Chunnel itself] all the time when we lived in Kent. We all know what it means, after all.
annhig is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 02:56 AM
  #26  
 
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TPAYT, waiting to hear about Paris...
latedaytraveler is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 03:08 AM
  #27  
 
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London is fantastic at Xmas. The only day things close is Xmas day - in fact there is NO public transit on Xmas day. But it is a great time to walk through central London and London Walks does a special Xmas walk that day every year. Best to book your dinner as many restaurants will be closed this day.

Xmas Eve things start to get quiet early evening but pubs and restaurants will mostly be open. During the day everything is mostly open and transit isn't a problem

Boxing Day has the expected sales so a lot of stores are open. Public transit runs on a Sunday schedule.

Sites may have variable hours so you should check those.

If travelling within the UK you do need to watch for closures on the train lines as this is a popular time to shut lines down for maintenance.
jamikins is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 03:19 AM
  #28  
 
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Enjoying your TR very much. We have a new, 7-month-old grandson...someday, maybe we'll take him to London & Paris.

SS
ssander is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 07:40 AM
  #29  
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Another bright, sunny day and another excellent breakfast.
The bus picked us up and off to the train station.

The kids were happy to see Harry Potter's Platform 9-3/4 and have their photo taken.

We have ridden the TGV in France many times and this was no different. Fast & smooth we were in Paris in no time. The scenery in northern France looked very similar to Wisconsin, where we live.

Now things got a bit ugly. We proceeded to the Globus bus. New and quite nice, we thought that it might be a good experience. There we sat----for 1-1/2 hrs. First they had lost someone's bag so were searching frantically. When it was no where to be found and we were set to go, the bus was blocked in by 2 other buses and couldn't move until they did.

The area around Gare du Nord is kind of shabby and there was so much traffic that it was very slow going. We were headed to The Eiffel Tower in a jerky, stop & go fashion. It was not a pleasant ride. Also the tension on the bus was tense with the lost bag.

We could not believe the crowds. As we usually go to Paris in Sept. we had never seen the June crowds----YIKES!

A beautiful, warm, sunny Saturday in June, the lines at the Eiffel were massive. Thankfully, we had the skip the lines perk again. We talked to people who waited 3 hrs. to go up.

The top platform was packed. Please tell me why they allow baby strollers at the top of the Eiffel Tower! C'mon, it's a narrow walkway around the top and they certainly were in the way.

The views were fantastic and "selfies" were being snapped furiously. I got a bit nervous when our GD held her arm thru the wire cage to take photos. Not that she would drop it, but it was so crowded that I thought someone might bump into her from behind causing her to drop it into oblivion. Not so, and she loved the experience.

We took the elevator down and when we got to the 2nd platform to change elevators the line was gigantic so she talked us into walking down the rest of the way. My poor knee!

We met up with the group, back on the bus for another jerky ride through heavy traffic to our hotel in The Marais. It was now already 6pm because of our delay at the train station. We were hungry, tired, and had an 8pm dinner reservation.

Wow! What a let down. Hotel Les Jardins du Marais was not what we had in mind at all. We knew beforehand which hotel the tour was using and had looked it up online and thought it would be just OK. On the northeast side of The Marais, the area was junky to say the least. What a let down after the wonderful hotel in London.

We have never been big fans of The Marais. In our 9 previous trips to Paris we had walked through it quite often. Other than Place des Vosges, The Carnavalet, and the Pompidou, we thought it less than charming with huge streets like Rue de Rivoli and small, tired looking streets with a lot of falafel restaurants.

The lobby of the hotel was fresh & modern and the courtyard in the middle was kind of nice but that's where it ended. There were several buildings around the courtyard containing old rooms. Ours was large enough with an alcove bed for our GD. The bathroom was extremely small and very old. There was a microwave and a dishwasher!!! A dishwasher? What was that about? There were 3 wine glasses. Maybe if you brought your own dishes and silverware along you might want to wash them.

Our bags were not coming up so MDH went to find them. We had an 8pm reservation at Le Train Bleu that we were looking forward to. We have been there before and wanted our GD to see that magnificent room.

The restaurant is really beautiful but we had been there in Sept. not June. OMG! It was so hot in there. It is an old building after all but it was beyond uncomfortable. All the men had their jackets off.

It is now closed until Sept. 15th for renovations. It did look a bit tired and in need of it. I don't know what they can do about the heat.

Oh well, we persevered but skipped starters. We had:
Sea bass, our GD loved the cooked spinach with it
Beef filet
Liver
2 desserts, wine & coffee
187 Euro
Expensive but worth it for the experience of the room.

Tired, we cabbed back to our hotel. We certainly wouldn't walk in that hotel area at night.

Oh well," tomorrow is another day", as Scarlet would say.
TPAYT is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 07:48 AM
  #31  
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http://www.le-train-bleu.com/uk/index.php

You can also see this restaurant in several movies.
Because it is in a train station you will see all types of dress, fancy but also casual wear. Families celebrating, tourists, and well dressed train people make up the mix.
TPAYT is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 11:59 AM
  #32  
 
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Gosh-hate to hear the hotel was less than expected. I am easily bothered but old, shabby, loud or less than clean! I hope the rest of Paris was better....drag waiting on a stupid bus for that long! Bummer to say the least.
denisea is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 01:15 PM
  #33  
 
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I gave your TA review a thumbs up for you after their reply said
"we have all dishes available on request. We sincerely hope that you will give us another chance for a future stay in Paris"
So you just had to call the front desk and they would have sent you up some plates and cups, silverware and hopefully some dishwasher soap!

I think the play sounded wonderful. Great memories for your GD.
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Jul 6th, 2014, 01:23 PM
  #34  
 
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TPAYT, your granddaughter must have taken some great shots of the TRAIN BLEU. What a gorgeous place! Was she impressed?
latedaytraveler is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 02:16 PM
  #35  
 
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Great report, TPAYT! Has your GD seen Mr. Bean's Holiday? The scene in Le Train Bleu is very, very funny. Perhaps one must be a Mr. Bean fan...I have recommended this film to traveling friends, and they saw no humor in it! But my DH, who dragged himself (kicking and screaming) to the sofa to watch the movie, also thought it was a delight!

I am looking forward to the rest of your report.
kansas is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 03:07 PM
  #36  
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kansas--I hadn't heard of that movie but I watched the trailer and laughed out loud. I'll put it on my list.

latedaytraveler--yes she was impressed and as I said she loved the fish & cooked spinach. Until then she had only eaten spinach raw with peanutbutter on it.

flpab--thanks for the support.

denisea--tomorrow gets better in lovely Paris, doing it our way.
TPAYT is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 03:11 PM
  #37  
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ssander---7 mo old? Our GD was born in Jn. 2001. Sept. 2001 was our 1st trip to Paris so she was 8 mo old. As we walked the streets we commented how lovely it would be to bring her to Paris in later years.
We have come to Paris almost every year since and each time talked about the future trip.
So-----START PLANNING!
TPAYT is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 05:20 PM
  #38  
 
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I'm glad to hear that your second day in Paris was better. Looking forward to reading more!
lovs2travel is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 07:54 AM
  #39  
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Day 6
Breakfast was also included at this Paris hotel. There were a lot of choices but everything was just OK---no comparison to the buffet at the London hotel---just food.

We were so thankful for the outstanding weather. We all agreed to skip the bus tour of Paris today. After all we were in our element, lovely Paris, and wanted to walk not ride on a bus.

Over to Place des Vosges, one of the most beautiful squares in Paris. Our GD enjoyed hearing stories about Victor Hugo and also the silk merchants who lived here at one time---MDH, the tour guide. Out came her phone and many photos later we moved on.

Ile St. Louis, our usual place to have an apt. was next. The candy store was a big hit. Diwali, where she chose a scarf for her mom. There are several locations, a scarf is easy to pack, they have all prices from 15 Euro up into the hundreds, and everyone loves to get a scarf from Paris. She chose a pretty scarf for about 40 Euros. And we bought a few for gifts.

I wanted her to go in and try on something nice several times on this trip but she wasn't interested. She liked the "junk" shops, as I call them. So starting on ISL and all through the day we chose magnets, earrings, key chains, tee shirts, etc. etc. I think she may have bought a little something for everyone she knew EVER! Oh well, it was fun for her.

My "junk" purchase was several small (about 2" high) wine bottle refrigerator magnets. Corny, I know, but my friends love getting a bottle or red wine with a French label on it. It's always good for a laugh when I say that I brought them a bottle of wine.

Also she checked out the iPhone covers. After many shops she chose one with the Eiffel, of course. Also a little Eiffel Tower that plugged into the top of her phone---oh so cute.

We sat outside at Le Flore en Ile at the bridge and had coffee plus a coke light and a plate of several flavors of macarons for the GD. She found it so different to always get the coca cola light(not diet coke) in glass bottles---a real oddity in the US. Her favorite macaron was pistachio--mine also.

OK, I know there are many of you that will scold me for going there, but she really loved the "Locks of Love" bridge behind Notre Dame. She spent a long time checking out the different locks and taking photos of the unique choices people make.
No, WE DID NOT ADD A LOCK OF OUR OWN.

We did that years ago when it first started and now know better. We didn't throw the key in The Seine, but it hangs with a very small Eiffel Tower from my rearview mirror in my car.

We only waited maybe 10 minutes in line at Notre Dame. We did notice that the line to go to the top was gigantic. When we entered, there was a service going on so some lovely music and incense filled the church.

The mass was in French but it took me back to my childhood when the mass was in Latin. Same thing, I couldn't understand either. She wanted to light a candle and took her time with her prayer. The cap of the large candle, with ND on it was a nice memento.

Walking along to the left bank we stopped at the St. Michael fountain and then into the pedestrian streets around The Buci and St. Severin.

Many, many shops later we stopped for lunch at Le Sainsev.
Outside café, great people watching, good food & service---nice!

Later I read the reviews on TA and they were very mixed. We actually had a tasty lunch:
Frogs legs for the GD
Shrimp, avocado salad
Salad Nicoise
3 cola lights
50 Euros

Funny---our GD will eat frogs legs, calamari, oysters, any fish, edamame---but never had and won't try a hot dog or hamburger. The rest of her family do eat burgers & dogs.

Next stop, Lux. Gardens. One of our favorite places. The Medici Fountain intrigued her, mostly because of the big fish in the pond----this girl loves fishing and she would have loved it if she could have been able to catch one.

All in all, a very successful day. Dinner at Marco Polo tonight----MDH's favorite. On the way back to the hotel we stopped and made sure our reservation was listed as this is a very popular restaurant.

Marco Polo
8 Rue de Conde

When we arrived, Albano greeted us warmly like he remembered us from year to year. A nice touch, though not likely with the thousands of people who dine here.
This is Italian food but mostly French speaking people at the tables. Many famous people dine here but they are French celebrities so we don't know who they are. One time a TV personality sat next to us. Many people stopped at his table for photos and a handshake---still don't know who he was.
Anyway, it's a must on every trip.

Prosciutto & melon and Italian salad starters
Veal Milanese and 2 spaghetti pomodoro
2 desserts
Wine & soda & cappuccino
146 Euro

MDH was recently diagnosed with diabetes. With diet & exercise he has brought it totally under control. This was his big splurge on the trip---no testing tonight!

A slow, fun after dinner walk thru The Buci.
We stopped to listen to some music. A young lady singing with 3 guys playing the old Frank Sinatra song, "Sway."
Our GD new all the words and was dancing & singing along.
What's with that? Where did she learn it, not on MTV for sure?
She said they sang it on the TV show "Glee."

Cab back to the hotel, we went to bed happy with our experiences.
TPAYT is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 07:57 AM
  #40  
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BTW, I forgot to add that Albano at Marco Polo said to us----"Oh, you're denisea's friends, aren't you?"
Hahaha!
TPAYT is offline  

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