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First Trip to Europe!

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by avatar Penny 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #762577 Reply
    courtney89
    courtney89
    Participant

    Guys,

    next year, my sister and I have decided to celebrate our 30th – in PARIS and LONDON! We are just in the initial planning stages, but any recommendations or thoughts/impressions/ things to know about either Paris or London is helpful! It’ll be my first trip over there. Thanks! 🙂

    #762582 Reply
    avatar
    Ale
    Member

    I recommend staying in Montmartre in Paris. It’s such a vibrant neighborhood. And it’s not far from downtown.

    #762584 Reply
    courtney89
    courtney89
    Participant

    Noted, thanks ! we have been looking at airb&b’s which are reasonable (We booked the flight, need to get our lodging nailed down).

    More nervous about Paris because of the language barrier – trying to learn some simple phrases in French but of course i sound silly saying them!!

    #762700 Reply
    avatar
    Ale
    Member

    I spoke french there and people responded in English, I don’t know why. My native language is Spanish.
    So, people do speak English and it won’t be a problem.

    #762909 Reply
    avatar
    FannyBrice

    Congratulations!!! How exciting!!

    First of all, don’t worry about the language barrier in Paris. Many, if not most, people will speak enough English to communicate, although they do appreciate it if you at least try “parlez-vous anglais?” or “merci!” See all the obvious sites in Paris, but try to leave plenty of time for just wandering. Also the Rodin house and museum is awesome.

    In London, learn the tube system because taxis are $$$$$$$! Although treat yourselves to a ride in one of the iconic black cabs if you can. One of my favorite places was the National Portrait Gallery – I never would have picked that one on my own, but my friend wanted to go and I LOVED it.

    Have fun planning!!!

    #762914 Reply
    avatar
    LisforLeslie

    There is a good series of travel books called Culture Shock that has tips and tricks. In Paris:
    Don’t smile, smiles are for friends. They think Americans are silly for smiling all the time
    When you enter a store say “hello” you are entering their space, it’s impolite to all into a boutique or shop and just start poking around. When you leave say thanks and goodbyes.
    Meals in Paris take a while, be prepared to sit and wait for a server then food takes time to prepare. Meals are meant to take time.

    Take subways in both towns, they go everywhere and are easy to understand.

    In London bars close early. Be prepared. Try to hit up the theater. Often shows start there then come to broadway. You can get cheap day of tickets for some shows.

    As a general tip, if you want the funkier hipper part of town look for used book stores. It’s not a guarantee but it has served me well in almost every city.

    #763055 Reply
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    Ale
    Member

    In Paris I loved the Pompidou Museum and hated the Louvre. You can buy a Paris Pass that includes tickets to a bunch of museums and sites like the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe. But like Lis for Leslie says, do take time to wander and/or just sit in a cafe watching people go.
    The metro system is good, takes you everywhere. You can ask in the airport which card for the metro suits you better.
    In Montmartre hotels are cheaper. And also it’s where the movie Amelie is set (I highly recommend watching that movie so you can get more excited)

    #783425 Reply
    MaterialsGirl
    MaterialsGirl
    Participant

    In Paris, I loved just sitting outside and people watching while sipping wine or coffee. Everyone smokes a ton (same in switzerland too which I found odd, but whatever).

    In London, I loved the Tate Modern and the V&A. Definitely go to a chippery

    #783521 Reply

    For London, I can recommend the Camden market. It’s super interesting there. They sell all kinds of goods like clothes or, well, just about anything else. There’s also really tasty and cheap street food.

    #783556 Reply
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    Heatherly
    Member

    When you arrive in London get an Oyster card( pay £5) and then you place money on to travel at a discounted rate. You tap in ( only once on buses) & out as you get on & off buses( if you don’t tap out it takes a fine & wipes out most of your credit), trains & light rail & even some boats. Cash isn’t taken on buses & getting a daily travel card whilst possible or even individual tickets will cost you more than topping up your Oyster at the stations. It works for entire 6 zones of London. But you’ll need to buy train tickets to say go to out of London to say… Bath( very lovely town that has Roman Bathes & other beautiful architecture)

    I recommend going on a guided Pub Crawl or a Jack Ripper Walk or a Ghost one. Also Greenwich is lovely – there is even a Fan Museum as well as a Naval Museum & obviously where Greenwich Mean Time started. Hampton Court is a great former Royal Palace to see- Henry the 8th’s haunt. Oh recommend the Princess Louise pub in Holborn for a lovely old style pub decorated for Queen Victoria’s favourite daughter.

    #785430 Reply
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    Deborah

    Marvelous city, you will have a wonderful time. Keep track of belongings! Protect purses and pockets particularly on metro where kids sometimes grab items and race off just as doors close.
    The trains and metro are tremendously convenient. Streets wide and easily navigated. Enjoy!

    #785468 Reply
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    Penny

    Hi -The George Pompidou centre is an interesting place-it has art and exhibits and a beautiful roof top restaurant with a breathing taking roof top view of Paris! Go out to Versaille-just take the train out and pay a little extra to tour the king or Queen’s chambers ( staff will be asking who wants to)-you will get to by -pass the long line-ups and learn much more.
    I love London-don’t miss Harrod’s of course and Top Shop has a great vintage shop in the basement. Go to the theatre one evening. They have a restaurant in the old crypt below St.Martian’s in the Field church. Also they have lunch or evening concerts in the church. Pachelbel’s canon by candlelight,kind of thing…

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