Any suggestions? In London I know I'd like to see Baker Street (I'm a Sherlock Holmes fan, DH is just barely familiar with him but I'll fix that!). I would love to see Buckingham Palace, but other than that, I don't have ideas. I looked at the map of London when I was trying to select a hotel but it meant nothing to me. So....any and all suggestions will be appreciated.
Same thing goes for Paris. Ideas please.
Any warnings would be good, too.
Thanks for your help!
Last year I went upscale to Kensington and found a very nice independent hotel in a similar building, but the interior had been completely gutted and redone, and the room was small but very clean and functional.
Faced onto a lovely pocket garden on the street (private garden for the residents of that neighbourhood) and woke up to birds singing and peace and quiet even though it was just a block away from a main road. It was also very secure on the second floor with no balcony, and since I travel alone that is super important to me.
It was very handy to Hyde Park two blocks away (I generally seek out green spaces wherever I am) and the Tube.
If you only have 72 hours, get an Oyster Card that is good on the Tube and busses. Get down to the Embankment and just walk along the Thames -- London to me IS the Thames.
It has all the major sights -- Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Westminster etc. plus great restaurants for refreshment. September would be beautiful for lots of walkies.
You could also book the topless bus tour and see everything in a day.
Even though it's pricey, I highly recommend Kensington as it has all those pocket garden neighbourhoods and lots of places to get food and drink.
One place I'm going next time is Selfridge's food court on Oxford Street (I'm not a shopper, but I've heard that place is amazing).
As for Paris, I know nothing, but someone will be along shortly I'm sure.
PS: If the hotel offers to call you a private car service to get to the train station on your way out to the airport, you will get charged a flat rate that is about double what a taxi would charge. The taxis are very territorial, and some won't pick you up if they are on their way back from a drop off outside their zone. Do some investigating online about taxi protocol. I was clueless and paid more than I should have.
PPS: Since you'll be on your honeymoon, there's a champagne bar right in St. Pancras station (where the train leaves for Paris). Just saying...
[This message edited by FaithFool at 12:13 AM, January 29th (Wednesday)]
"I could have missed the pain, but I would have had to miss the dance." Garth Brooks
If you had just a couple of days in each place, what would you want to do, see, eat?
Stop in at the Savoy and use the loo. They have cloth hand towels and I think there was an attendant, so maybe have a tip ready. Mind you, that's where the American Bar is, so you may want to have a cocktail there as well.
[This message edited by FaithFool at 12:12 AM, January 30th (Thursday)]
If you're going to Buckingham Palace, you might enjoy watching the Changing of the Guard. But make sure you check on times and days, as the ceremonial change isn't done every day. Expect crowds. (Obviously, there will be fewer people at other times.) You can read more about it here:
I hope you'll have a wonderful honeymoon!
In Paris we stayed at the Pullman Montparnasse, once again excellent location...directly across from the train station. My second choice would have been a hotel close to the Seine...Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame....Palace of Versaille was great, day trip to the beaches of Normandy, Giverny was lovely as well.
I'm not much use for hotels - usually stay with family or friends, but things to do:
If you're a sightseer then the biggies are probably:
- Buck Palace
- London Eye (this is good but need to book it)
- Tower of London
- Tower Bridge
- Hyde Park
- St Paul's Cathedral
- Houses of Parliament
The open top bus tours are great too if you want to see everything in a few hours - get one with a live guide rather than the taped guides that some have.
You are spoilt if you like art - Tate Modern is a favourite of mine - amazing building and great collection of modern art. Tate Britain if your tastes are less modern. There are also loads of amazing museums if that's your thing - British Museum in particular.
I am not into sightseeing so in London I like to wander around. Good places for a wander are:
- Islington (Upper Street - all antique shops, restaurants etc)
- Spitalfields to the east of the city area (financial district) - trendy bars
- Covent Garden - street entertainers, boutique shops and restuarants
- Brick Lane - excellent Indian food
- Soho - bars, buzzing London life day and night
I like to stay in either Pigalle/ Montmartre area or in St Germain de Pres. The Marais is also a nice part of town to stay and so is Montparnasse.
Go see the Eiffel Tower if you must, but I think its touristy and overrated. The Basilica de Sacre Coeur and the area around it is lovely and the view across Paris from the basilica is great and a very romantic spot. The Louvre is a great museum and art gallery but massive and it would take weeks to see it all. The Musee D'Orsay is a favourite for me - great collection of impressionist paintings and you can see Monet's waterlillies at the Orangerie. Notre Dame Cathedral is worth a look too.
Paris' greatest pleasure is watching the world go by from a cafes. Good parts of town for this include Montmartre, St Germain (great but very small Sunday morning market here), the Latin Quarter and the Marais.
Also - go for a walk along the Seine. Its truly beautiful in the evening walking along past Notre Dame and Hotel de Ville areas.
In both cities you have a massive choice of places to eat, and where to go depends on taste and budget. Places I have enjoyed include:
- Canteen in Spitalfields Market in London (functional place but excellent British food and pies)
- Arbutus in Soho (London)
Eat in one of the great Parisien brasseries - Bofinger (rue de la Bastille) is probably the best. I used to always go to a place called Brasserie Balzar on the Rue des Ecoles but some say its gone downhill - I don't know. Its been a few years. Perraudin is a great traditional French bistro.
Should say if you're vegetarian then these will not be great recommendations - they are traditional and meaty/ fishy.
Then you could also go for the seafood platter in any one of Paris' main brasseries - they often have seafood on ice outside and getting a big platter between two is one of the city's great experiences too.
Hope there's something in there for you. Be warned - Pairs is very, very expensive now. It was never cheap but it has got a lot pricier in the last few years. London's not so bad but can still burn a hole in the wallet.
Have fun - they are two of the world's truly great cities.
Go see the Eiffel Tower if you must, but I think its touristy and overrated.
Nonetheless, it's THE symbol of Paris. So if I'd never been to Paris, I think I'd at least want to go to have a close-up look at it and walk beneath it. However, if you can't afford to go right up the Eiffel Tower, or don't have the time to stand in line for ages, you can also get quite good views across Paris from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
As you'll be on your your honeymoon, Okaynow, you'll probably want a hotel. But in case anyone else is information-gathering here..... a few years ago I stayed briefly in a Think London apartment and thought it was good value for money. It was self-contained, and had a fully-equipped kitchen. Eating out in London can be very expensive, so it might be a good solution for anyone who wanted to save money on food.
I think posting a link for something like this might not be allowed, but googling Think London apartments should bring one up for you.
[This message edited by Cally60 at 6:07 PM, January 30th (Thursday)]
Oh, and go to Portobello Road. It's still got a few shops reminiscent of the glory days.
[This message edited by FaithFool at 6:33 PM, January 30th (Thursday)]
Again - many thanks!
We were on a tour package (Trafalgar), and it was well worth it. Airport/hotel transfers/hotel accommodations/public transportation passes/first day general bus tour were included.
We loved Paris. Our room was small, but it was in a quaint hotel and around the corner from the Metro (subway) station in the Vaugirard district (south Paris). The subway system is absolutely amazing in Paris!! It takes you everywhere. You should buy the NaviGo pass. You will need a photocopy of your passport photo when you buy the pass. Although, if you are only going to be 3 days, then single tickets are not pricey. We loved Montmartre and went there three times. We walked and walked and walked! The Eiffel Tower was very touristy, granted, but it was worth it! Not expensive ~ about $18 US. We ate at small restaurants which were not expensive at all. The antique stores & art galleries were H's focus. Me, I practiced my French!
A day trip to Versailles was included in our tour but it was very, very crowded! We enjoyed our evening cruise along the Seine which was part of our package.
Don't forget to buy a small brass padlock You will want to go to the Love Bridge, although there's more than one now. You can buy a lock for about 4 Euros.
EXPECT A LOT OF PEOPLE IN SEPTEMBER!
A cautionary note:
Last Fall the street thieves were very obvious. Young transient Europeans throw a "gold" ring in front of you...run and pick it up and ask if it's yours. Meanwhile, the pickpocket member is right there. Also, the girls have a petition which they want you to sign, and then demand money. They were annoying and everywhere! My H gave them a good dressing down a few times, although one of the antique shop owners had her storefront vandalized with paint and scratches. As well, up in Montmartre, the shell game was everywhere! These guys were making tons of Euros from tourists. So beware!
London ~ We stayed in Kensington, and, again, the public transportation system is wonderful. It's very easy to use. We had an Oyster pass and used it constantly. We didn't go on the Eye ~ that costs $30 US. After our morning tour, we walked back to Westminster Abbey for the 12:30 Communion service. We spent a lot of time in museums which are FREE in London. Only special exhibits require an entrance fee.
We ate at various restaurants, not expensive, and found a delightful tea shop on Kensington Church Street. We also bought takeout food @ the nearby grocery store - Sainsbury's chain.
We bought a full day excursion package to Stonehenge, the Salisbury Cathedral and the Roman baths in Bath.
Note: Buckingham Palace tours close for the winter at the beginning of October.
We want to return to both cities; hopefully within the next two years.
Enjoy your trip!
Pics coming shortly!
[This message edited by looking forward at 2:06 PM, February 1st (Saturday)]
Also - London theater is amazing. Look into seeing a play or musical.
Paris: The thing I like best is walking in Paris - start at Notre Dame and wander along the Seine or do a walking tour (or self walking tour from a guidebook)
H in front of Princess Diana's Memorial Flame on the Pont de L'Alma
In front of the Eiffel Tower
Pont des Arts, Paris
Lovers bring a lock and put it on the bridge and throw away the key, symbolically locking up their love for each other.
In front of Buckingham Palace
In Sticky Fingers Restaurant
[This message edited by looking forward at 2:47 PM, February 1st (Saturday)]
These are historical fiction novels, following the lives of several families intertwining throughout the centuries
Paris actually focusses mostly on the construction of the Eiffel Tower.
It is Churchills underground bunker and was locked up and left At the end of the war. And only unlocked again about 20 years ago.
It is close to Downing Street, St James Park and the London Eye.
I would second Kensington and if you can stretch to it an evening at one of the West End musicals.
Covent Garden is a must see. Don't forget to put a couple of pounds in the street entertainers hat at the end.
We like Sophie's in Covent Garden. Fun busy restaurant.
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
I can't believe how much information you guys have given us. Thank you!!! Last night we booked our trip and now we're counting the days until September.
Thank you again for all the suggestions. We've taken them all to heart. I'm making a list of where to go, what to do, what do see, and your ideas are incredibly helpful. Thank you so very much!