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NJHalo

London/Paris

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Looking for advice from anyone who has ever been there. Both cities seem very spread out, so I don't know which section to start looking in for hotels/Air BnB.

Which of the touristy things are worth it? I hate lines. 

We are going to spend 4 days in each place.

Flying to London, train to Paris, Fly home from Paris.

Going with wife and 2 daughters. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, ten ocho recon scout said:

Love both. What exactly are you looking for?

London is cleaner, far more expensive. The people are cool. The food... decent.

Paris is more affordable (to a point), more "europe" than "UK" feel for obvious reasons. Great architecture. 

 

Need to see the obvious sites, but would like to enjoy a few "off the radar" places that aren't overrun by tourists.

I want to be able to book a place in a safe area of the cities that I can walk to most places, and have easy access to the tubes. 

Edited by NJHalo

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25 minutes ago, NJHalo said:

Need to see the obvious sites, but would like to enjoy a few "off the radar" places that aren't overrun by tourists.

I want to be able to book a place in a safe area of the cities that I can walk to most places, and have easy access to the tubes. 

I dont think Ive ever BnBd in either city...ill take a look and get back to you on that.

Both cities are super safe though. More dangerous in the US for sure.

In the Citt center of both, youre going to be swarmed by other tourists. And gypsies in Paris...

Normandy is only about an hour away from Paris by train.. aside from the war history, Normandy itself is Nirvana. Its gorgeous... people are super friendly and laid back. Beautiful, quaint, throwback lifestyle.

Depending on how long you have, Id recommend spending some time outside of both cities if you dont want crowds

As far as tourist sites in London, we all have our own tastes. But off the top of my head, westminster abbey is amazing. The tombs are mindblowing (compared to the simple tombstones we have), and some of the people buried there will make you smile.

 

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1 hour ago, ten ocho recon scout said:

Dont use the private cabs at the Paris airport...

... i just fell for that again at a other airport 2 hours ago...

Have you ever done the Chunnel train? 

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Haven't been to Paris but love London. Like NY it is a great city to just walk around - that is the main entertainment. Depending upon how old your kids are, Trafalgar square is fun with the birds. The British Museum is one of the best in the world. If you like used bookshops you have to go to Cecil Court. In fact, the whole area around Covent Garden is a good area to walk around and shop. Oxford Street is also great, but super busy.

You really need at least a week to do a city a like London justice, but you can have fun in four days. I think you just need to prioritize what you want to experience. Maybe a day of shopping, a day or two of sight-seeing, a day of cultural events, or just mix and match. But you might find it more relaxing to not try to "see it all" but rather pick a few areas and explore them.

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Th eglobe theatre in London is where Shakespeare had many of his plays performed. Still an active theatre today, if you and your family like such things.

i think Stonehenge is relatively close by as well. Better check on that one since I haven’t been there.

definitely hit up the British museum.

and in Paris, I think it’s a law that you have to have at least one meal at an outdoor cafe. At least it seems that way in the movies (and they would never lie to us on film).

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Re: London, the Brits are famous for having terrible food and I couldn't agree more but there is a street called Brick Lane which has 100000 Indian/Bangladesh restaurants and a lot of them are pretty good.  

After that you'll keep walking into an area called Shoreditch which has cool bars, some of them open past normal closing times.  Beware, many bars close at 11, yes that's normal time, and than you'll have to go to a club with lasers, dark lights etc.  

If the 2 daughters are kids than I guess this is a useless post, but it's still a cool non-touristy area in the day.  

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NJ when are you thinking about going?

My advice for any part of Europe is go when it’s not summer.  Europe in summer is so overrun with tourists, unless you’re heading to really non-touristy areas, it can be quite annoying.  

If you want to visit places like London and Paris, do yourself a favor and go in the fall-spring (even though Christmastime can be busier, but honestly pretty cool. And if you were thinking late November-Christmas than you have to go to Germany.)

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My son and his girlfriend are headed to Scotland, Sunday, to go to a comedy festival. He's never been overseas, she went to school in the UK and made all of the reservations since she knows the area and still has some contacts there.

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8 hours ago, calscuf said:

NJ when are you thinking about going?

My advice for any part of Europe is go when it’s not summer.  Europe in summer is so overrun with tourists, unless you’re heading to really non-touristy areas, it can be quite annoying.  

If you want to visit places like London and Paris, do yourself a favor and go in the fall-spring (even though Christmastime can be busier, but honestly pretty cool. And if you were thinking late November-Christmas than you have to go to Germany.)

I would love to go in a quieter time, but the kids school schedule dictates when we can go.. 

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As others said it depends on what you like and how old your kids are.  My wife and I got around on foot for the most part on our London trips but that's obviously not something that goes over well with kids up to a certain age.  Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms, St. James Park, St. Paul's Cathedral and Shakespeare's Globe are all within walking distance of one another.  Walking along or near the water between those will take you across a lot of different restaurants and pubs you can pop into.  I'd second Covent Gardens as it's good for families and if you're there on a weekend when we were last there they had free live entertainment (opera singer, classical music) and kind of a farmers/craft market to go along with all of the shops.  My wife did a Stonehenge and Bath tour while I was at work and she enjoyed it but it's an all day thing as you take a bus out of London in the morning and get back at night.  

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On 8/7/2019 at 12:54 PM, ten ocho recon scout said:

I dont think Ive ever BnBd in either city...ill take a look and get back to you on that.

I have B&Bd in London, near Paddington. It is a terminal for three Underground lines, and it's easy to get around the city with a Tube pass. The Circle Line will take you to most of the major sports in the city. I stayed at the Olympic House and another hotel that I unfortunately don't recall the name of. The Olympic House doesn't have lifts (elevators), the other place does. Bear in mind that the way that the English designate floors, your room is a floor higher than you would think. The first floor is the first floor above the entry level - which I discovered when lugging our bags to the third floor after an 11.5 hour flight from Los Angeles.

If you're into books, hit the bookstores at Charing Cross (London).

Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night. You won't regret it. Ditto boat tours on the Champs Elysees and the Thames.

The Tower of London is worth the visit. If you go on one of the tour buses (like the Big Red Bus that allows you to get on and off all day long), you can buy your ticket before you get there and save yourself a lot of time in the queues at the site.

A word of warning about such tour buses in Paris. We took one that was supposed to show us the city and allow us to get on and off wherever. The driver dumped an entire busload of us off in a residential neighborhood and drove off. I heard profanity in four or five different languages. The only thing that saved us was that I could see the Eiffel Tower from where we were, so we made our way back to the Champs Elysees.

Most people want to go to the Louvre, but I found the Musee d'Orsay every bit as good and not nearly as crowded. It's in a former train station in Paris. At the Louvre, there is a huge crowd around the Mona Lisa no matter when you go, and it is a lot smaller than I figured for it to be. Kind of an underwhelming moment.

The British Museum is free (as are most museums in the UK), and there is a ton to see there (including the Rosetta Stone and a lot of Egyptian and Roman artifacts).

I don't know if you're into vintage military aircraft, but I never miss RAF Museum Hendon when I go to London, It's outside the city on the Northern Line, a short walk from the Cosford Tube station.

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12 hours ago, mrwicked said:

If you like champagne, highly recommend taking the train from Paris to Reims and visit the champagne houses and caves (Veuve Clicquot, TaittingerPommery, etc). They are amazing.

Good call.

Reims is a great little city. Accidentally discovered Champagne down there... in the actual town. 

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11 hours ago, Vegas Halo Fan said:

I have B&Bd in London, near Paddington. It is a terminal for three Underground lines, and it's easy to get around the city with a Tube pass. The Circle Line will take you to most of the major sports in the city. I stayed at the Olympic House and another hotel that I unfortunately don't recall the name of. The Olympic House doesn't have lifts (elevators), the other place does. Bear in mind that the way that the English designate floors, your room is a floor higher than you would think. The first floor is the first floor above the entry level - which I discovered when lugging our bags to the third floor after an 11.5 hour flight from Los Angeles.

If you're into books, hit the bookstores at Charing Cross (London).

Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night. You won't regret it. Ditto boat tours on the Champs Elysees and the Thames.

The Tower of London is worth the visit. If you go on one of the tour buses (like the Big Red Bus that allows you to get on and off all day long), you can buy your ticket before you get there and save yourself a lot of time in the queues at the site.

A word of warning about such tour buses in Paris. We took one that was supposed to show us the city and allow us to get on and off wherever. The driver dumped an entire busload of us off in a residential neighborhood and drove off. I heard profanity in four or five different languages. The only thing that saved us was that I could see the Eiffel Tower from where we were, so we made our way back to the Champs Elysees.

Most people want to go to the Louvre, but I found the Musee d'Orsay every bit as good and not nearly as crowded. It's in a former train station in Paris. At the Louvre, there is a huge crowd around the Mona Lisa no matter when you go, and it is a lot smaller than I figured for it to be. Kind of an underwhelming moment.

The British Museum is free (as are most museums in the UK), and there is a ton to see there (including the Rosetta Stone and a lot of Egyptian and Roman artifacts).

I don't know if you're into vintage military aircraft, but I never miss RAF Museum Hendon when I go to London, It's outside the city on the Northern Line, a short walk from the Cosford Tube station.

The RAF museum is very good. Where else as a yank can you see a Lancaster?

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