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Planning a London/Paris museum hopping trip

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Francois Caron, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Well-Known Member

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    I'm considering traveling to both London and Paris this fall to visit each city's major museums. One of the items I'd like to find is reasonable hotels (private room with bath) within walking distance of the museums and the public transportation facilities. I've found the Euro Hotel in London as a start (near British Museum, Picadilly line for the airport, and St Pancras Station for the Eurostar). Would anyone else have any other hotel suggestions for both cities?

    EDIT: It's no longer a consideration. My flight is booked, and I'll be booking the Eurostar next for the trip to Paris. All I need now is help with the hotels, preferably near the British Museum and either Le Louvre or Pompidou.

    EDIT 2: Never mind. I was so excited that I went ahead and checked tripadvisor.com for the best hotels I could find. It'll be Premiere Inn London Kings Cross in London, and Hôtel Baudelaire in Paris, both near my priority museums. The bill for the rooms will be rather steep, but I can live with it. Besides, the trip will be an incredible experience of a lifetime! I even splurged on the plane trip by upgrading to British Airways' World Traveller PLUS! That means seven extra inches of leg room! [​IMG]

    I'll probably post pictures once I'm back.
     
  2. andrew markworthy

    andrew markworthy Well-Known Member

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    I was going to say that Premier Inns were usually pretty cheap (they're a nationwide UK chain), but I've just checked the website for the Kings Cross hotel and the prices are double what you pay in other parts of the UK. Having said that, for a clean reliable no frills hotel in London this is about par for the course, if not a bit cheaper than average.

    I've used Premier Inn hotels around the country quite a lot. The vast majority I've found to be basic but reliable.

    I presume you'll be doing the British Museum and The National Gallery? If you've still got time to spare, the Courtauld Institute is worth seeing. It's relatively small, but the quality ratio of good:indifferent paintings is amongst the highest on the planet: The Courtauld Institute of Art - Homepage
     
  3. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Well-Known Member

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    I'm definitely doing the British Museum to view the spoils of war of the former Great Empire. [​IMG] I should also have time to visit both art galleries as well since I'll be in London for four full days (also four full days in Paris). Do note however that I don't plan to visit everything I can in a single trip. If the first impression is good, I'll definitely be heading back in the years to come and catch up on the things I've missed.

    I was hoping to stay at the Euro Hotel in London which is cheaper than the Kings Cross, but they didn't have a room available for my entire stay. I'll still send them a note however just in case they can make some kind of arrangement. That change alone would save me about £25 per night.

    The Baudelair in Paris however is a bit steep, but it does have a decent reputation based on reviews I've read on traveladvisor.com. Still, I'll see if I can find something a bit cheaper in the same area (2ème arrondissement).

    While the transportation arrangements are non refundable or have steep penalties, I can easily change the accommodations as I see fit. So if anyone has any interesting alternatives to propose, go right ahead! But I do insist on a room with a private bath. I've tried the shared bath a few times in the past, but it's simply not my cup of tea.

    Bloody hell! I haven't even left yet and already I'm starting to write with a British accent! Et ça ne sera pas mieux une fois à Paris putain de merde! [​IMG]
     
  4. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Well-Known Member

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    Is there any reason why the French "putain" sounds like the Russian politician Putin? [​IMG]
     
  5. SethH

    SethH Well-Known Member

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    I would highly recommend visiting Musee d'Orsay in Paris.
     
  6. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Well-Known Member

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  7. Holadem

    Holadem Well-Known Member

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    Me too!

    --
    H
     
  8. Kevin Hewell

    Kevin Hewell Well-Known Member

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    My arteries are clogging just looking at that.
     
  9. todd s

    todd s Well-Known Member

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    I just went to London for the first time last March. My wife and I spent a week. Definitely purchase an unlimited tube pass. It cost me $50 for 7 days and included the tube fare to and from the Heathrow. We also stayed on the Picadilly line. We went everywhere on the tube. Even with closures its amazing how easy it was to go places.

    We stayed at the Millenium Gloucester. It's in South Kensington about 2 blocks from the Victoria & Albert Museum.

    We were going to split our stay and go to Paris. But, decided to stay the entire week in London. This way we could take our time and see more. I would also recommend seeing a show. If you go to Leicester Square. Their are places selling tickets 1/2 off and they were great seats. We also took a day trip out of London to Leeds Castle and Canterbury.

    I am dying to go back! [​IMG]


    ps-If you are planning on going to Tower of London. Try to buy your tickets at your hotel. We did. When we got there. The line to buy tickets was enormous. We went right in and beat the long lines to see the tower jewels.
     
  10. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the tips Todd! I was going to ask if there was an equivalent of a NYC TKTS booth. And yes, I'm planning to go to the Tower of London to visit the family jewels. [​IMG]

    I'll be spending three and a half days in London before heading off to Paris for four full days. That might seem like a tight schedule for each city, but it's just right for me. I get to see all the essentials while saving a few sites for the next visit. My experience in NYC has demonstrated this very well.

    This will be a fun trip! I'm fluent in both French and English so there will be no language barriers! I'll be able to soak it all in!
    Just wait until you TRY to eat it! [​IMG]
     
  11. andrew markworthy

    andrew markworthy Well-Known Member

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    Intellectual curiosity - why? I'm a Brit and I've never seen them and I don't know any Brit who has (other than fellow citizens being forced to see them when they were kids as part of a school visit or similar). Having said that, in general, and I really don't mean this as a barbed comment, Americans seem more interested in our royal family than we are.

    If you're going to see a play in London, check one of the guides to see what's hot and what's not. Time Out is generally considered to be reliable. Also check the web pages of our quality papers - The Times, The Telegraph, The Financial Times and The Guardian all have respected theatre critics. Bear in mind, however, that if someone is successful in the UK, the critics will usually damn whatever they do on principle, so don't be too swayed by their opinions. If you want to see something out of the ordinary, try The Globe Theatre (Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Bankside, Southwark, London) which is a replica of the original Globe Theatre and has done some excellent productions. If you like classical music, check the press for concerts (nearly all will have tickets, and London is one of the best classical musical venues in the world).

    At the risk of being a misery-guts, beware that prices in London (as in the rest of the UK) are painful for Brits at the moment, so factoring in the current exchange rate, don't expect to have a vast amount of spending power. My advice is have a hearty breakfast, grab a sandwich from one of our supermarkets for lunch, and unless you have the time to read through Time Out's restaurant guide or similar, go to one of the chain restaurants for dinner. You'll find the food probably isn't in massive portions or particularly thrilling in its range, but you won't starve and you've always got Paris if you want fine dining.

    Oh yes, and it's done nothing but rain for the last few days.
     
  12. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Well-Known Member

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    If you really want to see impressive Crown Jewels, go to Iran. My sister lived in Iran in the mid-1970's, and she told me the Shah's crown jewels made the Brit versions look like dime-store replicas.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_Crown_Jewels
     
  13. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Well-Known Member

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    Andrew, your Globe Theatre suggestion was such an obvious choice for a trip to London that I've just purchased a ticket for The Merry Wives of Windsor. I've seen musicals before, but I've never attended a Shakespeare play in my life. So what better place to see my first Shakespeare play but at a replica of the original venue? Thanks!

    As for the Tower of London, I admit the Tower itself interests me much more than the jewels. I'll already be in the area since I do want to cross Tower Bridge. Gotta do it at least once in my life.

    I'M NOT A YANK YOU BLOODY WANKER!!! [​IMG]

    I always wanted to say that at least once in my life! [​IMG]

    As for the prices, I'm very much aware of the current situation. In fact, the current exchange rate is $2.07 CDN for £1 GBP. Ouch! As for the food, you've already described my tactic. Besides, I'm not a big eater during the day especially if I'll be walking a lot. And believe you me, I'll be walking A LOT, especially in the museums! It wouldn't surprise me if my average walking distance per day is greater than the Circle Line's diameter.

    For transportation, I'm still deciding between a 5 day ticket and an Oyster card. The advantage with the card is that it'll still be good when I get back to London to catch my flight home. Plus, if the system crashes again, I get a free ride! [​IMG]

    Dennis, even though Canada is probably the only Western diplomatic "friend" Iran has left, I ain't going there. [​IMG]
     
  14. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Well-Known Member

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    Eh?
     
  15. Kevin Hewell

    Kevin Hewell Well-Known Member

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    Of course we are.
     
  16. andrew markworthy

    andrew markworthy Well-Known Member

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    Francois, sincere apologies, I thought you were from the USA. A silly generalisation. I lived with a Canadian girlfriend for a year and I'm usually sensitive to this. Oh dear ....

    Ah, entirely different kettle of fish. If you're interested in history, it's well worth seeing. I'd humbly suggest trying to get a guided tour (a lot of places in the UK have portable cell phone type devices that play pre-recorded bits of information about different sections of the building).
     
  17. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Well-Known Member

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    I might go for that. It'll help me avoid the flock of tourists which for the most part I simply cannot stand. In fact, I try my best to blend in with the natives wherever I travel, which backfires the moment a tourist asks ME for directions! What is it with me? Do I have the label "Tour Guide" tattooed on my forehead? [​IMG]

    Thanks everyone for all the advice!
     
  18. todd s

    todd s Well-Known Member

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    I have to agree with Andrew regarding food prices. My wife and I went to Planet Hollywood. The final price was 30 pounds. Which wasn't bad until we figured it in dollars. Yikes. Luckily, our hotel was right next to a Tesco Mart (like 7-11) and they had food for cheap. A bagel was on 60 cents (US). A sandwich was a couple of bucks. And try to find a hotel that gives you breakfast. While the buffets are not like those in the US. You can still fill up and with a light lunch be good until dinner.

    Andrew, with regards to Tower of London. The jewels (while impressive) weren't the reason we went. It was the history. Its amazing to see structures that are a thousand years old or older. In the states the oldest we usually see is a couple of hundred years old. It also didn't hurt that my wife had started watching the "Tudors" on tv and was curious to see the Tower.
     
  19. Holadem

    Holadem Well-Known Member

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    In Paris, start with a Bateau mouche (barge?) trip on the Seine. It's an easy way to get an overview of the stuff you will be visiting later on (Louvre, Notre Dame, etc...)

    --
    H
     
  20. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Well-Known Member

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    Holadem, not only does that mean I'll be surrounded by... *shudder* ...tourists, I won't have an escape route unless I dive into the water! [​IMG]

    Actually, I was thinking of hiring a cab to drive me around the Arc de Triomphe as recklessly as humanly possible! That should raise the heart rate a few notches! [​IMG]
     

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