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Planning a London/Paris museum hopping trip


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#1 of 92 Francois Caron

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Posted August 01 2008 - 12:03 PM

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! Posted Image

I'll probably post pictures once I'm back.

#2 of 92 andrew markworthy

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Posted August 02 2008 - 05:11 AM

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 of 92 Francois Caron

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Posted August 02 2008 - 05:41 AM

I'm definitely doing the British Museum to view the spoils of war of the former Great Empire. Posted Image 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! Posted Image

#4 of 92 Dennis Nicholls

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Posted August 02 2008 - 06:42 AM

Is there any reason why the French "putain" sounds like the Russian politician Putin? Posted Image
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#5 of 92 SethH

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Posted August 02 2008 - 07:58 AM

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

#6 of 92 Francois Caron

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Posted August 02 2008 - 09:49 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Nicholls
Is there any reason why the French "putain" sounds like the Russian politician Putin? Posted Image
When I hear Putin's name, I think of this:

Posted Image

Posted Image

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poutine

#7 of 92 Holadem

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Posted August 04 2008 - 02:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Nicholls
Is there any reason why the French "putain" sounds like the Russian politician Putin? Posted Image
Only for those who can't pronounce "putain" correctly. Posted Image They sound nothing alike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Francois Caron
When I hear Putin's name, I think of this:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Poutine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Me too!

--
H

#8 of 92 Kevin Hewell

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Posted August 04 2008 - 04:12 AM

My arteries are clogging just looking at that.

#9 of 92 todd s

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Posted August 04 2008 - 04:56 AM

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! Posted Image


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.
Bring back John Doe! Or at least resolve the cliff-hanger with a 2hr movie or as an extra on a dvd release.

#10 of 92 Francois Caron

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Posted August 04 2008 - 01:50 PM

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. Posted Image

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!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Hewell
My arteries are clogging just looking at that.
Just wait until you TRY to eat it! Posted Image

#11 of 92 andrew markworthy

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Posted August 05 2008 - 08:09 AM

Quote:
I'll be spending three and a half days in London
My personal recommendation would be:

National Gallery
Courtauld Institute
St Pauls Cathedral
Tate Gallery [NOT the Tate Modern, unless you really like contemporary art]
Victoria and Albert Museum
British Museum

Theatre: something at Shakespeare's Globe (see below)



Quote:
And yes, I'm planning to go to the Tower of London to visit the family jewels
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 of 92 Dennis Nicholls

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Posted August 05 2008 - 09:05 AM

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....an_Crown_Jewels
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#13 of 92 Francois Caron

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Posted August 05 2008 - 11:07 AM

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.

Quote:
Americans seem more interested in our royal family than we are.
Quote:
You'll find the food probably isn't in massive portions...
I'M NOT A YANK YOU BLOODY WANKER!!! Posted Image

I always wanted to say that at least once in my life! Posted Image

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! Posted Image

Dennis, even though Canada is probably the only Western diplomatic "friend" Iran has left, I ain't going there. Posted Image

#14 of 92 Dennis Nicholls

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Posted August 05 2008 - 02:17 PM

Quote:
I'M NOT A YANK YOU BLOODY WANKER!!!

Eh?
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#15 of 92 Kevin Hewell

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Posted August 05 2008 - 05:11 PM

Quote:
Americans seem more interested in our royal family than we are.

Of course we are.

#16 of 92 andrew markworthy

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Posted August 05 2008 - 11:55 PM

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 ....

Quote:
Quote:
I'M NOT A YANK YOU BLOODY WANKER!!!
Eh?
If Francois really meant that, he would, in the parlance of Glasgow, be cruisin' for a bruisin'. Although 'wank' seems to be a rare but mild swear word in the USA (I even heard it used on Friends once) it is *much* more offensive in the UK. 'Wank' means 'masturbate', but the term is used as a general insulting term. It's not quite as bad as the f word, but not far off.


Quote:
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!
My pleasure. The Merry Wives is one of Shakespeare's lighter plays and done well is very funny. I don't mean this to sound patronising, but don't expect to get what everyone's saying, at least at first. The language can appear very dense at first. Also, *nobody* these days can grasp a lot of the jokes, because they rely on a deep knowledge of contemporary slang. Suffice to say that if you read a well annotated copy of Shakespeare, you'll find that a high proportion of his jokes are very rude. Most modern productions clip a lot of the less obvious jokes and with the others are likely to add gestures and similar to make the jokes more obvious to modern audiences. I've probably just put you off going, but trust me, you'll love it. I recently took my 12 year old daughter to her first Shakespeare play (A Comedy of Errors) and she swore she'd hate it, wouldn't understand it, etc, and she was doubled up with laughter. One final thing - don't forget that the Globe is open to the elements; heed the warning on the website!

Quote:
As for the Tower of London, I admit the Tower itself interests me much more than the jewels.
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 of 92 Francois Caron

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Posted August 06 2008 - 03:26 AM

Quote:
I lived with a Canadian girlfriend for a year and I'm usually sensitive to this. Oh dear ....
In all seriousness, it'll be interesting to find out how many times I'm mistaken for an American, especially with a huge number of Americans trying to pass themselves off as Canadian, with very poor results. "I'm from CanadER, aaay!" Posted Image

BTW, was your Canadian girlfriend English Canadian or French Canadian? Posted Image

I'm aware of The Globe's construction and can easily handle the elements. What I can't handle however is standing for two and a half hours, which is why I purchased a seat ticket. Now I'm debating if I should pay for the seat cushion. Posted Image As for the choice of play, I wanted to avoid the heavy "commercial" material and go for something light. "The Merry Wives of Windsor" seemed like a good choice.
Quote:
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).
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? Posted Image

Thanks everyone for all the advice!

#18 of 92 todd s

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Posted August 06 2008 - 03:32 AM

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.
Bring back John Doe! Or at least resolve the cliff-hanger with a 2hr movie or as an extra on a dvd release.

#19 of 92 Holadem

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Posted August 06 2008 - 04:18 AM

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 of 92 Francois Caron

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Posted August 06 2008 - 06:11 AM

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! Posted Image

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! Posted Image


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