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1st European trip planning: Paris-London Trip

Seattle, Washington
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1st European trip planning: Paris-London Trip

My husband and I are planning our first Euro trip in March 2014 on a budget. We're planning 3 days Paris and 3 days London. I researched that its cheaper to book with flight+hotel packages together. Is this true? Website suggestions were http://www.europeandestinations.com/ and http://www.go-today.com/ with best prices on deals. Any other suggestions?

I've read on forums here and learned that on the first trip, we shouldn't try to see everything and just enjoy and make the most of it. We're planning to see only the "MUST SEE" places that is achievable with the given time frame and will need suggestions on this both for London and Paris.

Here is my list of must see in PARIS: (Please feel free to comment and give advice and suggestions)

1. Eiffel Tower

2. Musee de Louvre

3. Arc de Triomphe

4. Jardin De Tuileries

5. Versailles

6. Sacre Coeur

7. Galleries Lafayette

8. River Siene (worth it to do the cruise?)

9. Moulin Rouge

Must see in London:

1. Big Ben

2. London Eye

3. Westminister Abbey

4. Covent Garden

5. Trafalgar Square

6. Buckingham Palace

7. Stonehenge (if possible)

8. Hyde Park

9. Westminister Abbey

I'm open to more suggestions and advice on this list. Please feel free to comment. Thank you

Paris, France
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1. Re: 1st European trip planning: Paris-London Trip

First of all, are you flying into Paris and out of London? That would be the only logical thing to do.

Yes, it is likely that you CAN do everything on your list but it is unlikely that you WILL do everything on your list. So many variables will come into play, including the possibility that you will find more interesting things to do along the way.

As for a cruise on the Seine, yes it is worth it.

Los Angeles
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2. Re: 1st European trip planning: Paris-London Trip

You will have three days in your itinerary that involve travel (arrival day, departure day and transfer between cities day). I hope you mean you have 8 days total to do all this - and even then, I think you're really pushing it and probably want to prioritize a little (you can always change your mind about some things).

Tickets to Tour Eiffel go on sale 3 months in advance (so may already be on sale for your dates if you're going in early March) and sell out almost immediately. There are a variety of ways to still get to the top but will involve more time - which you don't have.

If you are into art enough to want to see the Louvre, I strongly suggest allowing time for either the D'Orsay (unforgettable) or L'Orangerie.

The Moulin Rouge, if you intend to see a show, is a night time activity, so if you're the types who can walk around all day and still enjoy a late night adult revue, then I suppose it's worth it. I've seen the dancers from the Moulin Rouge here in L.A., a few minutes was enough for me (not our thing). Seeing the Moulin Rouge from the outside, however, is fun.

Seeing the Arc is fun too, especially at night, but I'm not sure one needs to go up it, if pressed for time. Sacre Coeur has beautiful views, but is really Montmartre that is lovely (the church is great from a distance, the interior is disappointing and quite modern compared to most of Paris's other churches). I see you do not have Notre Dame or Sainte-Chapelle on your list; I wouldn't miss *either* of those on a first trip to Paris.

WIth 3 days, I don't think you have time to do Versailles. Assuming you really have 3.5 days, then do the Seine Cruise and Tour Eiffel on arrival day.

Louvre, Tuileries, Place de la Concorde, Galleries Lafayette, Arc de Triomphe and Moulin Rouge the next day (I guess).

I'd do Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, a walk around the Latin Quarter (don't miss the Latin Quarter - you will not feel as if you've seen Paris if you don't at least see Place Saint-Michel and the outside of the Cluny or some other thing you discover on your own); and then I'd do another museum - but if you really are wanting to see Montmartre/Sacre Coeur, you could fit that in on this day.

The third day, you *could* go to Versailles, it pretty much takes up a whole day and perhaps this is a bucket list thing for you to do. If in fact you're leaving Paris late on the 3rd day, be sure and plan your train to London accordingly.

You won't have much time to have leisurely meals or shop or look at architecture, but if you fit in the D'Orsay, you'll have seen the highlights of Paris (I do not consider Versailles a highlight of Paris - it's a separate trip into its own world).

Similarly, your London trip is *packed*, especially if you go to Stonehenge. Do you mean to just stand in Trafalgar Square for awhile or actually go in the museums? It's hard to miss seeing Big Ben, of course, and in theory, I suppose it only takes 1 minute to "see" it - as you walk by. But London is a great walking city and I suspect you'll spend quite a bit of time wandering about. You've left out the Tower of London, which was, to us, the most amazing sight we saw in London (well, the National Gallery was pretty amazing too). We did not have time to go inside Westminster (we had 7 full days in London and 1 day for Oxford) but we saw museums and walked past the Old Globe etc.

Naturally, the London forum will help you in sorting that itinerary - but you might want to give them some idea of whether you intend merely to watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham or do something like a tour (if Queen is not in residence; if she is, you can still see her Gallery and the Mews).

The British Museum is definitely worth considering, btw.

Plymouth, England
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3. Re: 1st European trip planning: Paris-London Trip

Stonehenge is a long way from London and in my opinion, not really do-able as part of a 3 day London stay. There are so many great things to see in London that you will easily fill 3 days. Can I suggest a boat trip to Greenwich? You could visit the Royal Observatory and straddle the Greenwich meridian, see the Cutty Sark and enjoy a wander around the indoor market as well as enjoy the beautiful park.

San Diego...
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4. Re: 1st European trip planning: Paris-London Trip

For being in Paris for only 3 days I personally wouldn't take the time to travel to Versaille and back. I know others will disagree but there's too much to see and do in Paris itself and you have little time.

For London I feel the same way about Stonehenge. You have little time in London proper.

Calgary, Canada
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5. Re: 1st European trip planning: Paris-London Trip

Flight + hotel package doesn't always work. To cut the price hotels are often further out. If you are on budget - you decide which hotel is good enough, end you may be able to find something centrally located and within your budget.

A week for 2 huge cities is very short. Can you consider couple more days?

To avoid backtracking fly multi- city - to London first, then back home from Paris; + one-way Eurostar between. Train travel is cheaper if booked as soon as tickets are released ( 120 days (?) in advance).

Drop Moulin Rouge - if you were thinking show ( tacky and expensive) and Versailles ( worthy, but no time).

I agree with LeBiscuit about Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle and l'Orangerie.

For Eiffel Tower buy tickets online ( 3 mths).

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6. Re: 1st European trip planning: Paris-London Trip

If seeing Stonehenge/Versailles are "musts" for you, then go to them.

However, you have limited time, they will each take up large chunks of that time and both London and Paris have much to see and do.

No-one here can say what means most to you, what you have been dreaming of....

HOWever, they are trying to give you options to get the most "bang" for your buck and I am on their side....

Oaxaca, Mexico
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7. Re: 1st European trip planning: Paris-London Trip

On our first trip to Paris we toured on the boats on the Seine and saw many of the sights in a short time. The boats stop at places of interest along the river and you hop on, hop off. Tour buses, hop on, hop off, are also good for a quick overview.

As for Stonehenge, we did a half-day tour with Evan Evans Tours from London this September, boarding near Victoria Station.

I believe that Eurostar train is the most convenient way to travel between the cities as you terminate in the city centers, St Pancras International in London and Gare du Nord in Paris. Trip 2 hours 15 minutes, each way. Book well in advance, 2nd class to save, Note that prices vary greatly depending on time of day, day of week. We have train websites and stations listed at softseattravel Paris slow trains fast trains. Use the SNCF websites to get the best prices.

We visited Verailles this October and found it an all day trip. transportation, waiting in line and touring. Agreeing with Tesa227 on cutting back a few things and terminating at your exit airport. We found the Ibis hotels near the stations in Paris and London a good value while being centrally located.

Houston, Texas...
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8. Re: 1st European trip planning: Paris-London Trip

Hello! I am an American that lives in London and travels to Paris frequently...I hope I can help you out.

I hope you take the eurostar between London and Paris. It will save you time, as a train is much easier to take than a plane. Tickets cost at the very most 80 pounds pp.

For lodging...hotels can be very pricey. If y'all are adventurous, I would suggest renting a PRIVATE flat (not private room or shared room) through airbnb.com. This will save you loads of money and will give you a more authentic feel of the cities.

For Paris, I have not done everything on your list, but there is nothing I see that I would say to not do, other than Mulin Rouge. Also, I don't think it is necessary to go up the Eiffle tower. However, it is SO important that you save time to just walk around, wander in to wine shops, meander around the little stores, and leisurely enjoy an espresso at a bistro. As another poster said, the Latin Quarter cannot be missed and out of everywhere I have stayed in Paris, this is by far my favorite neighborhood. But between the Louvre, eiffle tower, Notre dame, catacombs....just walking around the city is my favorite activity in Paris.

Now for London...I'll try not to be too extensive.

1. Get of at Westminster on the Jubillee tube stop. There, you will see Big Ben, Parliment, and the abbey. Done. I do think it is worth it to tour the abbey

2. From there, you can walk to where the London eye is. Do not ride it, as it is very expensive and will take up valuable time.

3. Buckingham palace is a disappointment for every visitor I have taken there, but I still think it is worth it to see it. Pair that with Hyde Park, as they are right next to each other

4. SKIP Stonehenge. It is about 2 hours outside of London and not that great.

5. Trafalgar square and covent garden can be done together. Neither are my favorites.

6. I think it is worth it to see a play while in London. I find that it is less expensive than NYC and very memorable.

6. My favorite thing to do, and most of the visitors I have had agree, is to go to Borough Market in London Bridge. You will get a true feeling of London culture, and it will involve all of your senses. You can sample meats from Spain, ciders from London, and Turkish Delight from Turkey. Go there on a Thursday. Pair that with seeing the Tower bridge one day. I think this should NOT be missed.

7. If you want to see a palace, I really like Hampton Court, although that will take a half day out of your travels. If you don't go to Versaille, maybe check it out (as what is a trip to Europe without seeing a castle or two)! Another palace that you can tour is Kensington Palace in Hyde park. Not my favorite, but it is very easy to get to!

Feel free to check out my blog for lots on London and some on Paris http://bondfamilyhome.blogspot.co.uk/

Seattle, Washington
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9. Re: 1st European trip planning: Paris-London Trip

Thank you for all your suggestions. Now I am able to edit down my "must see places". Now I am also thinking of adding 1 more day to Paris and make it 2 days in London. Wise choice or not? I just feel like there are more sites to see in Paris than London.

Christina B., I checked out your blog. Really liked it. What area in London should we stay if we decide to get a private flat. I still need to talk to my husband about this but I think I'll have a hard time to convince him.

Houston, Texas...
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10. Re: 1st European trip planning: Paris-London Trip

I personally enjoy Paris more than London. However, most people I encounter, especially Americans, do not agree with me.

London will be all around much easier to get around. Everything is (obviously) in English, and it is easier to find help. Paris, to a lot of people who are exploring Europe for the very first time, can be a bit of a shock. They don't know what the food is on the menu, get lost and don't know where to look for directions, can't understand the public transit, can't understand the people's English. Probably a good transition would be to do London first, and then Paris (to ease you in). I would feel bad if I recommended for you to stay in Paris an extra day, and you didn't like it. Paris...well, I think (as you read in my blog) that it is the most gorgeous city in the world and for me, it lived up to every expectation the first time I went. However, you have to go with an adventurous spirit and just keep an open mind, because it ain't nothin' like the USA!

Unlike Paris (for me), London wasn't how I envisioned it to be. A lot of the city was destroyed in WWII, so it's not all old buildings, like Paris is. It is very multicultural- I am actually surprised when I encounter someone with a real English accent! It is a lot like NYC, in my opinion. Not a bad thing, but if you envision everyone being jolly and English in quaint little pubs, you will probably be disappointed.

With that being said, both cities are fantastic and you can't go wrong with spending more time in one city or the other! I am obsessed with Rick Steves...you might want to check out both his shows on London and Paris, and see which one you like more before deciding. Really, as I know other posters have recommended, if you CAN spend just one or two extra days here, you will not be disappointed.

I know I just gave you a lot of information, and I haven't even answered your question yet on where to stay :-)

I love Marylebone. It is just a really cool, quaint area, with winding cobbled roads and little shops. Here is a great listing of the 'hoods and a description of each: https:/…neighborhoods

Camden Town is very cool, but not central.

Kensington (NOT Kennington) will be by lots of museums and is very fancy

Islington has a very cool vibe, with lots of restaurants and a happening night life

Anything by Hyde Park will be lovely.

On the list, I would say NO to:




-Greenwich (it's just too far outside the city, although it is a neat area)



-Brick Lane

The thing about London is, it's HUGE and not as nice/ easy to walk through as Paris is. However, we have probably the best public transport system in the world. Do take the tube vs a cab to save lots of money!