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8-days in London, Paris and Rome

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Washington DC...
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8-days in London, Paris and Rome

A girlfriend and I are planning an 8-day trip to London, Paris & Rome in March 2014 for my 34th birthday. It's our first time to Europe, so we were told that these are the most popular cities.

Our trip details are:

Mar 23 - Leave USA (overnight)

Mar 24 - Check into hotel in London (2 nts)

Mar 26 - EuroStar from London to Paris / Check into Paris hotel (2 nts)

Mar 28 - Flight (2hr) Paris to Rome / Check into Rome hotel (2 nts)

Mar 30 - Morning (Depart at 7am) Flight Rome to USA

I know I want to see some of the famous attractions, like the Louvre and Eiffel Tower in Paris. I was told to check out these:

London - Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.

Paris - Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Élysées, the Louvre, Versailles, and top of the Eiffel Tower.

Rome - The Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, and Michelangelo’s Pieta.

Questions

- What is a good itinerary for visiting the attractions that are a "must see?"

- Should we buy tour packages or online passes?

- What about travel?

- How much should we expect to budget for tours, museum passes, travel, food, etc?

- Where are some good restaurants? I am a foodie and love wine. :)

Thanks.

California
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1. Re: 8-days in London, Paris and Rome

Whoa.

Okay, well, you have a very ambitious list of things to see. For Paris, I don't think you're going to be able to see much of the Louvre given the other things you want to see. The Louvre is huge and overwhelming - it took me nearly 2 hours to get through just a SINGLE wing of the museum. Versailles is probably not going to make it, unless you want to devote half a day to it, and with everything else you have, unless you plan on a quick stand-in-front-and-shoot-a-picture, you will have to cut something out.

I'm not sure what you mean about "travel". It seems you have trains and flights picked out from city to city, but you will need to learn how to navigate the tube and metros for those cities. You will probably not need to buy a "tour" for these sites, and with your time crunch, it probably wouldn't be worth it. Depending on which museums you really want to go to in Paris, I doubt the Paris Museum Pass will be really worth it financially, given your timetable.

For good restaurants, I would suggest doing a search here on TA and see which ones have some good ratings. It sounds like you would do well to spend some time googling or searching on TA for the places you want to go.

London
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2. Re: 8-days in London, Paris and Rome

Please ask specific questions on the relevant forums (Paris, Rome).

Instead of blindly following what others tell you to see why not read up a bit and decide yourselves what interest you,. I could (and have) spent whole weeks in Rome and not covered it all for example. Personally I'd say London /Paris/Rome in 8 days is going to shortchange all of them so I would stick to two of them or lengthen the trip. I realise that may not be possible. And yes, try and fly multi-city (into one/back from another ) to save redundant travel legs and time as you've sort of indicated.

Edited: 15 October 2013, 16:56
London, United...
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3. Re: 8-days in London, Paris and Rome

I agree with parklandwalk - you won't do 3 cities justice in 8 days. You won't do two cities justice but it's an improvement.

Read some guidebooks and decide what you want to see. Those lists you have are very uninspiring.

Fredericksburg, VA
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4. Re: 8-days in London, Paris and Rome

Ok, we spent 2 nights in Paris a few years ago and managed to see most of what you listed, except we didn't go to Versailles and didn't go up the Eiffel Tower (just looked at it from below). We only spent a couple of hours in the Louvre, seeing Winged Victory, the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo and that's literally it for the museum. And we were totally worn out when we finished.

We had already spent quite awhile in London (12 days) and a few days in Normandy, so we weren't still getting over jet lag either.

Having flown from DC to LHR three times, this is how your first day will most likely go: arrive LHR early morning. Collect luggage and figure out how to get to hotel. Take tube to hotel (taking at least an hour). Find hotel. See if you can leave luggage. Finally get out of the hotel around 11 am if you're lucky. Grab something to eat and maybe walk around Big Ben, Parliament and Westminster (the outside). Eat something. And by 3 or so, you may be ready to drop from exhaustion. If you're not staying somewhere very close to Westminster, also count on perhaps a significant amount of travel time in London - it's huge.

And on the day you leave London to travel to Paris, you'll have to finish packing, check out of the hotel, make your way to St. Pancras (again could take some time depending on where you stay), get on the train (which at least doesn't require a long check in like a plane) then spend the couple of hours getting to the middle of Paris. De-train, figure out how to get to your hotel, travel there, check in, etc. So you're losing at least a half day to travel every time you shift countries.

As much as you want to see all three destinations, you may want to think along the "less is more" line. Split your time between Paris and London, or London and Rome, or Rome and Paris.

And just because somebody else says these cities are "popular" doesn't mean you should visit them!!! Do you actually WANT to visit Paris, London and Rome? Same thing with the sights in each city - don't visit them so you can check them off a list. I know it's heresy, but we really would have been perfectly happy had we NOT visited the Louvre.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: 8-days in London, Paris and Rome

Wow, that is quite an itinerary. You actually only have 6 days on the ground, one of them being a jet lagged arrival day. Quite frankly if it were me, I'd pick one of those 3 cities so that you have enough time to do it justice and take a day trip to see a bit more of the country.

With 1 1/2 days in each city (which is what you have now), you are going to be running from place to place and you may get some good photos but the trip is going to be a blur. You will have no time to sit and relax and enjoy any of these places the way they deserve to be experienced.

It's your trip so if you just want to tick off some boxes so you can say "I've been there", that's fine but I urge you to really think about this itinerary before solidifying plans.

No. California
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6. Re: 8-days in London, Paris and Rome

For your 1st trip to Europe do not do more than 2 cities! And even better, just one. You will spend most of your time, with 3 places, just packing and unpacking and going to and from airports---- trust me, you will not be happy. If you really want to go to more than one, why not fly to London and then on to Paris flying home from there.

I would also suggest a couple of good guidebooks and decide what interests you--- "must sees" are not for everyone.

Washington DC...
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7. Re: 8-days in London, Paris and Rome

I guess I should mentioned that the flights and hotels are booked, so changed to just 1 or 2 cities is not really an option right now.

London
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8. Re: 8-days in London, Paris and Rome

Can you actually check into your hotel upon your arrival in London? If not, what are you going to do with your luggage? Assuming you land early morning.

Use the websites of the various places YOU want to visit to check entrance fees. Write them down and then start comparing prices with passes (many of which don't actually give value for money).

Also research what exhibits are situated in whatever museum/gallery so you can go straight to them and save time. The Louvre is huge and Versailles is at least a half day trip.

Not sure if Buckingham Palace is open for tours when you're here, so you may just get to see it from the outside.

If you want to use your valuable time in Paris then don't go up the Eiffel Tower, just look around from the bottom. Otherwise you're standing around waiting when you could be viewing something else.

warrensburg,MO
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9. Re: 8-days in London, Paris and Rome

Don't worry about the "nay sayers" go and do three cities in one vacation. You might never be back again. Two hour train journey from London to Paris, two hour flight from Paris to Rome. You'll get a taste, maybe not a full course, but better than never seeing it ever again.

Stick to the Denon Wing in the Louvre, although a lot can be seen elsewhere, in about 2 hours you'll have seen a lot if the highlights if you just concentrate there.

Nottingham, United...
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10. Re: 8-days in London, Paris and Rome

As all of your travel arrangements are booked then this trip will just obviously have to go ahead. What you get out of it is debatable or even what you manage to see.

With London, I would suggest taking the hoho bus so you at least get a flavour of the city. The places that you wish to see would be incorporated in that so I can't see a problem.

Re Paris and Rome, it depends on how much time you have for both after allowing for travelling and hotel check in. Possibly not a great deal.

You really do need to use your time wisely and work out what you most wish to see in each city unless this is a tick list trip.