Going to Europe. Need advice.

Discussion in 'Community' started by Steven1621, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. Steven1621 macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #1
    I could use a bit of help from some of you European members out there.

    This summer, I will be backpacking London and Paris for 12 days. (6 days in each city) I have looked online and in some books as to what is cool to see, but I would like some ideas from "real" people. What is worth seeing? What isn't so great? Any help would be appreciated. Many thanks.
     
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #3
    If you're backpacking, you may be on a tight budget.

    If you need accomodation, then you could try the YHA.
    They have a beautiful hostel in Holland Park, just off Kensington High Street...

    Link

    London = expensive
     
  3. Sir_Giggles macrumors 6502a

    Sir_Giggles

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2003
    #4
    You going solo or with a travel buddy?
     
  4. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #5
    Add to that the current value of the $ vs £ :eek:
     
  5. whocares macrumors 65816

    whocares

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Location:
    :noitаɔo˩
    #6
    As well as $ vs. € (that's a Euro sign in case it doesn't come up on your screen ;) )

    So I guess you'll find Paris to be expensive too...
     
  6. Steven1621 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #7
    yup. me and a fellow college kid.
     
  7. Steven1621 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #8
    yeah it is going to going to cost a lot. fortunately, i get a lot of discounts as a student. i have been doing a lot of research to save money.
     
  8. Steven1621 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #9
    Living in New England and spending a lot of time in New York City, I know how expensive it will be. I'm not so much concerned abotu the cost as I am with getting my money's worth. If I am spending this much money, I want to get the most out of my trip.
     
  9. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #10
    Even against NYC prices, things in Europe are quite expensive. On getting your money's worth in Paris, I would suggest the following.

    See a couple of the "tourist" attractions. It's necessary to visit the Eiffel Tower, even though it's blatantly "touristy" and very expensive, it offers some incredible views of Paris. If you are on a really tight budget, you can get some pretty nice views from L'arc de triomphe. The Louvre (you don't have to go in, closed tuesdays) is incredible, and a joy to just wander around. Also, Notre Dame is: :eek: :eek:.

    I would suggest that, once having been sufficiently acclimated with the city through the tourist zones, you should wander through the streets, visit little cafés and parks, see the little boutiques and street corners that are filled with life. Tour the bustling quartiers. This is the magic of Paris. While doing this, you have to have a good map. No exceptions. Without a good map you will lose hours trying to find your way back.

    Something else you probably will no matter what, do, is eat at a small, bustling café on the street, outside. Have a sandwich and a coffee. It is an experience, that is uniquely from Paris.

    Another thing that you'll need to do is to walk (stick near the Seine river) at night. Paris isn't called the City of Lights for no reason. :)

    Something else that is really awesome are European castles. At some point during your time there you might enjoy visiting a medieval castle, as many of them are able to be toured. They are so incredibly disconnected from the world that we live in today, that they create their own bubble of perfection, and vivid history....blah, enough with the fancy schmantzy I wish I was there right now stuff, but in any case, the castles are cool (woowoo I can do alliterations!)

    Well, I hope that maybe at least one of these suggestions will help contribute to your journey in Europe, and I really hope that you have a great time. :)

    edit: BTW: If you are taking your computer, which you might, (I would), buy the Apple power outlet adapter kit (40 USD), it's a lifesaver. :)
     
  10. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #11
    Haviing said that it's expensive, make sure you've budgeted enough to make the holiday worthwhile.

    A bed's a bed (unless you wanted the full Ritz/Savoy experience) and you don't have to go to very expensive restaurants (the Stockpot and Bodeans in the thread mentioned above are good and cheap!). But don't skip out on the sights themselves. I had two friends from Vancouver who came over to see London - but then decided that they didn't want to spend the cash to go into the Tower of London or St Pauls (time your visit with a service - you only have to pay to go into the Whispering Gallery IIRC).

    Don't pay for the following - the London Dungeon and Madame Tussauds are a rip-off and you won't learn anything about London besides how to stand in a long line.

    Many of the museums/galleries are now free in London and worthwhile going to - although obviously it depends what you're into. I like the British Museum, Museum of London and the Tate Modern. I go to the V&A if there's an exhibition I'm interested in (I used to go to see their glass staircase but now there's a better one in Regent St :) )

    Check whether buying a weekly travel card might work out cheaper than the daily ones - then you can jump on/off buses/Tubes without any problems.
     
  11. jayb2000 macrumors 6502a

    jayb2000

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2003
    Location:
    RI -> CA -> ME
    #12
    Some thoughts

    I have not been to London, but have been to Paris twice.
    For dinner/going out somenight, check out the Bastille district, some good clubs and restrants. There is a great Cuban restraunt - I forget the name.

    If you like sculpture, find the Rodin museum, it was a great experience, without the hustle of the Louvre.

    The best time to go to the Eiffel tower is just before sunset. You can go up during the day, spend 30 min looking at the views and then watch the lights of the city come up.

    One tip: Learn a little french before you go. If you can at least start a conversation or find the bathroom without saying "EXCUSE ME, WHERE IS THE TOILET?!" You will find are much better received. I have heard many Americans say that French are rude. But those are generally the same people who complain about people in the US not speaking English. If you are in a country where English is not the native language, at least make the attempt to speak that language, its polite and makes it easier to get along. Paris is a large, metrpolitan, international city, but there are people that do not speak English. Not trying to be preachy, just I have found it makes it a more pleasant experience.

    Oh, as a college student, if you are into any of the French Philosophers (Camus, Baudriarde, etc) then you must go spend a few hours at a good sidewalk cafe drinking coffee, writing or discussing something weighty. Now and then a bit of spirited discourse revitalizes the mind.

    Bon Chance and Bon Voyage! :D
     
  12. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030

    johnnyjibbs

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #13
    To echo what others have said, London and Paris will be very expensive compared to America, and especially at the moment with the current exchange rate. You'll find that with many things you'll be paying nearly as many pounds as you were dollars (although £1 currently equals almost $2).

    Don't expect your student discount to help you much either, especially as it's an international one, but give it a try anyway - no harm in that.

    Both London and Paris have good transport networks and bus/tube/metro passes aren't too expensive. Plus, although your accommodation will be expensive (even "cheap hostels" in London), walking down streets, seeing sights and looking in shops isn't. Many museums, such as the Science Museum and Natural History Museum in London are free to enter (although you may not want to waste any time in those, even though they are good museums).

    Don't miss the Chanse E'llise (no idea how you spell that!) or the Luvre and Eiffel Tower in Paris, plus Sacre Cur (spelling!) and the Arch de Triumph. In London, don't miss Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the London eye (and don't forget to glance over at the Millennium Dome but don't bother visiting it because there's nothing there!), Oxford Street and Regent Street (I gather you'll be wanting to peek in the Apple Store there!), Buckingham Palace and some of the parks in the centre.

    Above all, have a good time and explore the back alleys!
     
  13. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #14
    I found that the most impressive things in both Paris and London were things that I already knew something about. Seeing Rousseau's grave at the Pantheon in Paris, or Elizabeth's portrait in the National Portrait Gallery in London, meant more to me than, say, the Eiffel Tower or the houses of parliament, because I had read Rousseau's Social Contract and studied Elizabeth in college. So, my suggestion is to do a little research in advance, and find the things that have some bearing on your own reading or study -- no matter what your interest, I'm sure you'll find important sites relating to it in both Paris and London. Then seek them out when you get there.
     
  14. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #15
    When in London, I've heard that the Cabinet War Rooms, and Churchill's Secret Bunker are an incredible place to visit, and only £7.50 to get in. You can take a virtual tour online at the website, and it looks really awesome. :)
     
  15. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #16
    I second the suggestion for the Rodin Museum. If you go take some time to look at Les Portes de l'Enfer . Ils sont Incroyable!
     
  16. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #17
    what ever you do, DO NOT do the london eye, a waste of an hour or more. Vist the apple store in London :p Go to the Effiel tower and go to the top (isn't there a post office on top of the Effiel tower) and take a boat rid on the Sin river. Try a crepe esp with nutellia (did i spell that right) I forgot the the name, but i'm sure a few of u might know this, what that "hill" that has a good view of paris......There are some good shops and resturant around there.....
     
  17. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #18

    I love the London Eye, especially at sunset.

    But I think it really helps if you know what you're looking at. As a local, I had many people in our capsule asking me what this or that was and I think that's what makes the difference. You just need the details to be fleshed out a bit... people just weren't sure exactly what they were looking at.
     
  18. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #19
    The "hill" is Montmartre, and on top is the Sacre Coeur cathedral, a very famous but (relatively) unimpressive sight -- but there are indeed great views from the top of the dome. You can take a funicular railroad to the top of Montmartre or use the (very long!) staircase.
     
  19. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Dornbirn (Austria)
    #20
    i second that... the Sacré Coeur with all it's suroundings is really worth a look

    and i add the first (smaller) model of the state of liberty on that list ..might be interesting to you
     
  20. Steven1621 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #21
    many thanks to all for the advice. this is a lot more helpful than any book. i am working on my french so that i can say basic phrases. i am hoping to find some great political conversation with some europeans as well. a persective different from an american's is a very welcome insight.
     
  21. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #22
    Knowing some basic phrases in French is a very good thing, and don't let me discourage you, because it will help immensely, but let me note that you shouldn't feel intimidated, because a large number of people there speak english quite well, which makes things easier, but it helps to be able to say, order food, ask where a bathroom is, or be able to ask where you are. :)
     
  22. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #23
    Remember, you will no longer be in America. I'm not being sarcastic, just pointing out something that many travelers forget. Things will be done differently, and a winsome American smile won't count for what it does back home. If at all possible in a new situation where you are doubtful as how to proceed, look around and see what others are doing. The Brits, as evidenced by those on this board, are invariably friendly and mostly understandable :D

    The French can be great as well, but you'll be there during peak season and tempers get frayed so take it all with a grain of salt and remember that French froideur is the equivalent of the American, "Have a nice day! :) " It can be just as appealing if taken the way it is meant.
     
  23. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #24
    Best piece of advice I ever got for getting good service from French merchants: Whenever you enter a shop or restaurant, make sure you smile and greet the shopkeeper with a cheerful "bonjour" (or bonsoir, as appropriate).

    This is considered common courtesy in France, whereas in America we wait for the shopkeepers to greet us.
     
  24. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #25
    When going to museums in many cities, it's generally cheaper to wait until 2 hours before it closes. You'll either get in free, or you'll get charged half price or something. I believe this is true at the Musee D'Orsay in Paris, if I remember correctly. Its possibly the same at the The Louvre, but I don't remember.

    Its quite overrated if you don't have a strong appreciation for paintings of Jesus and other religious things. Places like the Versaille Palace, Eiffel Tower (not even sure if it's worth going to the top...), Sacre Coeur and Montmartre, etc, may be of more interest for you if you're not an art freak. Same with the Musee D'Orsay since it contains lots of Post-Impressionist artwork that is easier for regular folks to appreciate. Think Claude Monet or something. ;)

    Many museums in London are free.
    Make sure you go to Greenwich so that you can see where 0 degrees longitude is. Pretty cool. :) And there's a "pie shop" there where you can get beef pies and apple pies and such for very cheap. Good place for lunch. ;)
    Go to the Apple Store.
    Go to Camden Market, or the 2 markets near Liverpool St. Station (Spitalfields and the other one...forgot the name :( ) since they have great stuff for cheap.
    McDonalds £1 burger menu is as cheap as you can get, and not a bad sized McDonalds burger if you don't mind eating at McDonalds.
     

Share This Page