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Thread: Across the pond for the Holidays!

  1. #1
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,258

    Across the pond for the Holidays!

    And now for something completely different!

    Instead of heading to a warm island for Christmas, we've decided to head to a cold one.

    Christmas in London then NYE in Paris.

    Just booked flights. British Air has a daily NS from Austin to LHR so easy breezy.

    We'll take the train to Paris.

    Can't wait...never been to either.

    Hotels will be Marriott Property in London TBD cause points.

    Paris we would like an apartment or Air BNB. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Also and suggestions on things to do, day trips, etc.

    Schedule is:

    12/23 Fly to LHR
    12/24 land in London
    12/27 or 28 Train to Paris
    1/2 Train or Plane back to LHR fo flight home.

  2. #2
    NancySC is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2017 Posts: 441

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    Oh what fun, 2 new places to explore in a very short time & all those lights in both cities & the fabulous shop/dept store windows ! And with that said, as 1st timers to Paris, I would opt for a nice hotel instead of an Airbnb or apt. for such a short time. Just go to the corner in whatever arr. you choose to stay for a bite to eat, coffee/tea & off you go. So many choices, so little time. And I do mean that, make your dinner reservations now in both cities ! There are many wonderful Paris websites I can send you. Will pm you tomorrow after I find my file from our trips there. Helpful to know what you think you want to see or your interests to narrow down what to definitely do vs maybe's or just let it happen ! Off the top of my head, I would fly from CDG to Austin, taking the Eurostar from Paris back to London I think complicates things for your return.

  3. #3
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,258

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    Quote Originally Posted by NancySC View Post
    Oh what fun, 2 new places to explore in a very short time & all those lights in both cities & the fabulous shop/dept store windows ! And with that said, as 1st timers to Paris, I would opt for a nice hotel instead of an Airbnb or apt. for such a short time. Just go to the corner in whatever arr. you choose to stay for a bite to eat, coffee/tea & off you go. So many choices, so little time. And I do mean that, make your dinner reservations now in both cities ! There are many wonderful Paris websites I can send you. Will pm you tomorrow after I find my file from our trips there. Helpful to know what you think you want to see or your interests to narrow down what to definitely do vs maybe's or just let it happen ! Off the top of my head, I would fly from CDG to Austin, taking the Eurostar from Paris back to London I think complicates things for your return.
    Thanks, nancy.

    any info is appreciated.

    Yes, I think we will fly CDG-LHR-AUS and skip the train.

  4. #4
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Austin, Texas Posts: 16,586

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    Sounds like a divine plan, Menace! I'll be in Paris in October and have done beaucoup apartment research. I recommend Paris Perfect and Cobblestone for rentals. I also recommend making contact with Corey Frye (A French Frye in Paris on Facebook, Instagram, website, etc.) if you're interested in personal tours while you're there.
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  5. #5
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,258

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    Quote Originally Posted by GramChop View Post
    Sounds like a divine plan, Menace! I'll be in Paris in October and have done beaucoup apartment research. I recommend Paris Perfect and Cobblestone for rentals. I also recommend making contact with Corey Frye (A French Frye in Paris on Facebook, Instagram, website, etc.) if you're interested in personal tours while you're there.

    Mer-Ce!

  6. #6
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 4,576

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    . . . have been in London & environs between Christmas & during New Year. It’s magical . . . much like the holiday energy & sensation of Manhattan in the same period. I’m sure you’ll find it to be magical!

  7. #7
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,258

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    Quote Originally Posted by cec1 View Post
    . . . have been in London & environs between Christmas & during New Year. It’s magical . . . much like the holiday energy & sensation of Manhattan in the same period. I’m sure you’ll find it to be magical!

    Thanks, Dennis. We're excited. Dare I say tingling?

  8. #8
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 24,117

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    Tingling works, Dennis.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  9. #9
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 4,576

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    Dennis . . . it may be a forgone conclusion, but be sure to go to Harrod’s — a fantasy holiday experience, for sure! Fortnam & Mason also is a great spot . . . various holiday fun events are offered, such as caroling, & their restaurants are elegant, memorable experiences (afternoon “tea,” for example). Finally, I think that one of the very best, top London stops is the tour offered at Kensington Palace (where the young Royals live). There’s a “tour lite” package & another that provides access to much more of the Palace. The latter is well worth the extra cost & time. One more . . . I would say that if you like contemporary art, cross the Thames & visit the “Tate Modern.” It’s in an old industrial power plant facility & very striking.

  10. #10
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,258

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    We already have reservations for afternoon tea at Harrod's on the 24th.

  11. #11
    bto is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2003 Saint Louis Posts: 3,457

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    Hi, Dennis, Paris - we've done the apartment rental a few times with Haven in Paris. We stayed in the 7th arrondissement off Blvd St-Germain, which was a perfect location...walked everywhere from there, even Eiffel Tower, but you have to like walking. Also second Missy's vote for Paris Perfect if you go the apartment route. We got everything we needed from Haven in Paris, including recommended drivers to pick us up and take us to the airport.

    Since it's New Years, I'd make sure to visit Tour Eiffel while it's still daylight and then stay till after dark for unbelievable views...second level gives you the best views imho. The Musée de l'Armée is a fabulous museum...and there is so much to see. Palais Garnier...Le Panthéon where all the literary greats are buried in the lower level...Victor Hugo etc. Trip to Versailles if time allows or even Fontainebleau, which we loved bc it was not at all full of crowds! Hemingway haunts off blvd St Germain like Les Deux Magots for café.

    I've taken the métro before, but honestly, we enjoy walking everywhere...there's so much to see everywhere you go and you don't see it on the metro, although it gets you places quickly if needed. So many places, so little time!

    As far as London, which we also did along with the Paris trip, my favorite was Westminster Abbey. Take the guided tour...the history was absolutely unbelievable and I had no idea about some things i learned. Did the boat ride down the Thames which was okay, but it rained that day. Did not love the food in London so maybe others can help there. Can't wait to hear your thoughts when you get back.

  12. #12
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Austin, Texas Posts: 16,586

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    Yay! I was hoping you would log on and offer your insight and advice, Bev. Merci!!
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  13. #13
    Mary Liz is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Apr 2011 Pittsburgh Posts: 26

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    We will be in Paris from 11-13 to 12-11. Great advice from the forum.

  14. #14
    bto is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2003 Saint Louis Posts: 3,457

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    Missy, so glad you're finally going to Paris!! I'm no Paris-pro and haven't been since 2014, but I do have my favorite places to visit there. FWIW, I gathered some info for our last two trips from the France forum and as you said, TripAdvisor and let's not forget Rick Steves! That book is very helpful when you're starting out and just for suggestions in general.

    One bit of advice I'd offer is to research restaurants a little...I tried to find places near where we would be that day. Sometimes the itinerary changed and that would go down the drain, but it's helpful to have some idea of where you are because the touristy places on the main drags don't always have good food.

    London was difficult for me in terms of restaurants...didn't know my way around the city well like I do Paris. Also, we didn't want high end food every evening...light eating was hard to find there!

  15. #15
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,258

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    Any thoughts about Moulin Rouge?

    A must do or a tacky tourist stop?

    Go for dinner and the show or just the show?

    Merci!

  16. #16
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 4,576

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    My father thought it was great at the end of WWII . . . in the meantime, I think it has become a tired tourist stop.

  17. #17
    julianne is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2003 CT Posts: 3,025

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    Great suggestions from everyone, Dennis. We have been to both London and Paris many times and the recommendations to walk as much as you can or take the Tube or Metro are spot-on. One place we usually visited in London (after initially stumbling upon it while meandering)---the Grenadier---it is an old pub in Belgravia and is steeped in history. It tends not to be on the tourist lists because it is off the beaten path. Well worth having a pint or two there. Hope you and Lisa have a wonderful trip!

  18. #18
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,258

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    Quote Originally Posted by cec1 View Post
    My father thought it was great at the end of WWII . . . in the meantime, I think it has become a tired tourist stop.
    LOL...thanks, Dennis!

  19. #19
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,258

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    One place we usually visited in London (after initially stumbling upon it while meandering)---the Grenadier---it is an old pub in Belgravia and is steeped in history. It tends not to be on the tourist lists because it is off the beaten path. Well worth having a pint or two there. Hope you and Lisa have a wonderful trip!

    Less than 2 miles from our hotel.

    Noted!

    Thanks!

  20. #20
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 6,831

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    Dennis- These are our Paris recommendations-

    Cafe Constant (Great for lunch), 01 75 82 08 07,

    Le Violon D'Ingres (Dinner- our favorite), 01 45 55 15 05,
    Le Cinq (Very fancy) 01 49 52 70 70,
    Le Train Bleu (The train station we told you about- a must for lunch or dinner), 01 43 43 09 06,
    Le Relais de L'Ile (This one you will enjoy), 01 46 34 72 34,
    La Fontaine de Mars (great seafood- a lot of locals), 01 47 05 46 44,
    Marius (Way off of the beaten path- a wonderful neighborhood restaurant only Parisians know about- we are going back here), 01 46 51 67 80,
    L'Espadon at the Ritz Hotel (Fancy and expensive but good) ,
    and a fun place for the family is Le Refuge de Fondues (cash only), 01 42 55 22 65- this is very informal- you literally climb over tables to get to your seats- mostly young people- very inexpensive. The Museum Nissim Camondo and Marmotton are excellent.

  21. #21
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 6,831

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    The Square in London is very good but bring your wallet-

    https://www.squarerestaurant.com

  22. #22
    ccg is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2009 Durham, NC Posts: 640

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    Dennis - Great way to end 2018 and start 2019. I went to the Moulin Rouge when I was 18, more than a few years ago. :) I went with my uncle, who is Parisian, and some of his friends just for the show. He thought it would be fun, and it was. In my opinion, there are definitely things that you just should do when you visit a new place. I still have the magnum bottle that we had that night. My kids laugh at me for keeping it. It is a great memory!

    The next time I went to Paris, I made Bill go to see Jim Morrison's grave. Definitely DON'T do that! It was a huge waste of time. The cemetery is beautiful, though, with lots of history. Versailles is a must if you have time. I loved Musee D'orsay!!! That is another must see. My mom and daughter enjoyed a boat ride down the Seine. They did not take the dinner cruise.

    In London, be sure to get fish and chips from a street vendor. Delicious street food. Stratford-On-Avon for a Shakespeare play is also worth the time.

    Enjoy!!

    Charlotte
    "There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only who is foreign" Robert Louis Stevenson
    House Divided - Roll Tide War Eagle

  23. #23
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,258

    Re: Across the pond for the Holidays!

    Thanks, Charlotte.

    The Lizard King was not on the agenda.

    Versailles is.

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