From the moment we started planning our vacation I knew I wanted to
take the train from London to Paris. I think I had images of the Orient Express in my mind when I booked the trip. It wasn’t quite that romantic, nor was the scenery as impressive as I had pictured. Though I can now say I’ve been through the Chunnel, which of course wasn’t very impressive either. So I guess my advice is don’t bother with the train unless you find a good deal but make sure you shop around, the plane tickets are surprisingly reasonable from London to Paris.
Our First Fabulous Meal in France
The restaurant was Auberge Des Deux Ponts, it was located a block away from our apartment on the Ile Saint-Louis. The carpaccio, the duck the steak, the wine and the creme brulee, it was all perfect.
Our Vacation Apartment
The Île de la Cité where Notre Dame is one of two islands in the Seine. The other island is Ile Saint-Louis where our rental apartment was. We went through Homeaway.com for this one and the stay went much smoother then our apartment stay in London did.
Here’s the view to the left of our little island. You can see the Ile de la Cité where Notre Dame is. Tomorrow I’ll post pictures of inside the apartment.
Ready for some picture overload? I’ll try not to bore you too much and give only the most pertinent of details.
This is a picture of our stopover in Iceland. Not only do I recommend stopping in Reykjavik (It was nice to get out of the plane and stretch our legs a bit) but I wish we had taken a few days to explore Iceland. Icelandic Air does a fantastic job of selling its tourism industry. They have Hot Springs, volcanos that you can climb into, and of course a good shot at seeing the Aurora Borealis. Iceland really sounds like a fascinating country.
I also highly recommend Icelandic Air, they were the cheapest flight and they also were a great airline. I made a mistake imputing my passenger info, I got confused with the European way of recoding dates and put my birthdate in wrong, They do day/month/year while we here in the States do month/day/year. I was afraid this would somehow mess me up if someone noticed the discrepancy, I contacted the airline and they quickly fixed it for me without any hassle at all.
Here’s some of the souvenirs and snacks at the Reykjavik Airport. I kind of regret not getting the dried fish.
Next up: Landing in London
(Other side note; I’m glad we didn’t fly on the Irish airline, when their announcements were made at the various airports I had no idea what they were saying! Their accents were great, just too thick for me to understand over a PA system.)
I love that phrase “letting an apartment”, it always reminds me of Pride and Prejudice, in American English it translates to renting an apartment.
Why rent an apartment on vacation?
Why NOT? When I first started researching hotels in both Paris and London, the few hotels in our price range were a bit old and wilted in my opinion, especially London with it’s leftover olympic village feel hotel dorms. I figured why not save the money and stay in a hostel, they seemed to be of the same quality, but hubby refused. Stupid horror movies giving hostels a bad name.
Then I stumbled across a website called homeaway.com and a few others offering all sorts of options with nice, clean, homey feeling places to stay. Yes, some are just a room where you are staying with your host family but there are also plenty of apartments that are completely yours for however long you stay, complete with your own bathroom, kitchen facilities and sometimes even a washer. Hubby was still a little leery of giving quite a bit of money to some random person and then traveling to a foreign country just to discover the place didn’t even exist, so I did a lot of checking and found only good things about such reputable sites as Homeaway.com or Flipkey.com (Which is run by trip advisor) I would be a lot more hesitant to risk my vacation with craigslist or other less monitored sites, they seem to have more of a horror story potential.
I booked both our Paris and London apartments through homeaway.com. Their website was very helpful with tips and suggestions for people trying vacation renting for the first time. I have been in contact with the apartment’s owners and feel pretty confident about our upcoming stay. Both required half of the money upfront, one went through paypal and the owners of the second apartments is more of a rental company and only took credit card which was fine. Obviously NEVER give out your bank account information or send a money order if you’re going to book an apartment.
I’m really hoping all goes according to plan because another benefit of staying in an apartment is you get to live like a local, which is one of my goals in traveling, I don’t want to be a tourist! I want to blend in I want to soak up the culture and the surroundings. How about you, do you have an experience with staying in a vacation rental or do you prefer a traditional hotel stay?
This October my husband and I will be checking off a european vacation from our to do list. We’re planning a week in London and a week in Paris. If you have an suggestions on what to see or where to eat please feel free to share them with us, it would be very much appreciated. I’ll be sharing some of our planning with you as we go along.