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London & Paris May 2022

This is my second attempt to post. Apparently I did it incorrectly the first time. My husband and I were in London and Paris May 19-29. The trip was originally planned for October 2021, but postponed because of COVID. We were last in London October 2019; our last trip to Paris was 2005.
London Day 1
We arrived at Heathrow at 8:00 AM. The flat we rented at Notting Hill had an afternoon checkin, but the host agreed to let us drop off our luggage at noon. That still left us several hours, so we took our time to get our baggage, set up our phones, have breakfast and buy Oyster cards. We dropped our luggage at the flat at noon. We wanted to avoid the jet lag that ruined our first day in 2019, so we took advice from the RS forums and headed out to walk, with Borough Market as our destination. We took the tube to Blackfriars, crossed the river, and walked along the South Bank to the market. It was wonderful browsing all the food shops and stalls; we had the best sausage roll ever from the Ginger Pig and a delicious lamb meatball pita sandwich from Shuk. We walked back to Blackfriars, taking the Millennium Bridge. Back in Notting Hill, we stopped at Waitrose for groceries, settled into our flat and had dinner.

Day 2
We had morning tickets for the Beatrix Potter exhibition at the V&A. It was a thrill to see her artwork, sketchbooks, letters and objects that inspired her. It rained all morning, but by the time we finished lunch at the V&A, the sun was out and we decided to walk to the British Museum. We passed through Hyde Park on the way and enjoyed the rose garden. At Green Park near Buckingham Palace, we noticed many people dressed up and walking toward the palace. We found out later there was a royal garden party that day. At the British Museum, we visited the early Britain, medieval Europe and ancient Egypt galleries. It was Friday, and the museum was open late, so we we able to linger for a while. Then we walked to Dishoom in Covent Garden, had a fabulous dinner, and made our way back to the flat.

Posted by
7695 posts

I read your trip report earlier.

Did it disappear ???!! You wrote so much !!

Posted by
46 posts

I posted a trip report that disappeared a couple of weeks ago. I was able to get it reinstated, and then I edited it. I think the problem was that the trip report (which I had in several installments as separate posts) all had similar names, so the system got confused.

The best thing to do, I was told (and this makes sense) is, instead of posting multiple posts (part 1, part 2, etc.) to post once for the first part and then add the other parts as comments on the original post. That way they are all together and easier to read.

If you think the system might have deleted your post or made it unreadable, here is something you can do:

  1. Go to "My Travel Forum" (under My Account drop-down) and look at "My History" and see if your post is there. If it looks like it is there, click on it. If it's somehow corrupt, it will not load.

  2. If that is the case, then let the webmaster know by filling in the "Contact Webmaster" form here:
    https://www.ricksteves.com/forms/contact-webmaster

Good luck!

Posted by
22 posts

Day 3, London:
We spent the morning exploring the neighborhood around our flat and found a lovely spot to have tea/coffee and fresh scones. We had tickets for Cinderella, and planned to spend the day walking and exploring, making our way toward the Gillian Lynne theatre. We started on the bridge at Westminster and enjoyed seeing Elizabeth Tower without scaffolding. We made our way toward Trafalgar Square, following the RS Westminster Walk. There was a demonstration near 10 Downing Street. We couldn't tell the cause of the demonstration; it looked like several groups protesting at once, with more spectators than participants.

We reached Trafalgar Square and stopped to people watch at the plaza in front of the National Gallery. We walked around the West End and Leicester Square, which were very busy, and had an early dinner before heading to the theatre. We love Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, and Cinderella did not disappoint. The music, script and performances were excellent. At the start of the ball scene, the stage and the rows of seating in front of us rotated 180º, and we found ourselves sitting just a few feet from the stage, with the drama of the ball scene right in front of us. Actors moved into the audience, and my husband, seated on the aisle, got to enjoy side conversations between the characters. It was a perfect night; our first live theatre performance since before the pandemic.

Day 4, London:
It was a beautiful day, with sunny sky and a mild temperature. We had tickets to see Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare's Globe, and decided to take a long route through the city on the way to Southbank. After breakfast in Notting Hill, we walked to Kensington Garden. There were many Londoners who had the same idea, and we saw lots of people picnicking and basking in the sun. We found the Peter Pan statue, visited the Italian gardens, watched water fowl along the Serpentine and crossed over into Hyde Park. There was a lot of activity around Speaker's Corner, including a pro-Ukraine rally. We passed the Marble Arch and walked/window shopped along Oxford and Piccadilly Streets. We discovered that our favorite fish and chips place was closed (Golden Union), so we opted to try Poppie's in Soho. It was a bit disappointing. We're hoping Golden Union isn't permanently shut; their website didn't indicate why they were closed. From Poppie's, we walked to the Thames, crossed the river and walked along the South Bank. I stopped to browse at the Southbank book market. We arrived at the Globe and enjoyed another wonderful evening at the theatre. This was our second visit to the Globe, and I'd definitely go again. The production was great and it's fun to watch the interactions between the actors and "groundlings." We walked back across the river at Blackfriars for another late return to Notting Hill.

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22 posts

Day 5, London
The weather in London the first four days was nearly perfect. The next couple of days were supposed to be showery, so we decided against a canal ride and trip to Camden. (Just gives us a reason to come back.) We had passed through Sloane Square on our last trip and decided to explore more. We browsed through John Lewis and and had lunch at Paul. Our visit coincided with Chelsea in Bloom and the start of the Royal Chelsea garden show, and we walked through street after street admiring the elaborate floral displays and the Jubilee decorations. We came to an area that was blocked off and bustling with police, and realized we'd found the Royal Chelsea Hospital, where the garden show was held. It turned out the Queen had visited that day. For dinner, we decided on another trip to Dishoom to enjoy their signature chicken ruby.

Day 6, London
It was another day of on/off showers, and our last chance to shop for London gifts, so we visited some of the shops we'd passed on earlier walks, including Fortnum & Mason, Liberty, Hamley's, Hatchard's and Foyles. This was our first visit to Liberty; I was disappointed when we entered, but enjoyed it much more when we got to the floor with the fabrics. It made me wish I had the time to take up sewing again. At Foyle's I left my husband to rest at the cafe while I went book shopping. When it wasn't raining, we explored streets we hadn't seen before and enjoyed more Jubilee decorations. Back at Notting Hill, we got groceries to take to the flat for dinner. We had booked tickets for the Eurostar departing at 11:30 and wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to get to St. Pancras, so we spent the evening packing and preparing.

Posted by
22 posts

Thanks, Tony! That might be what happened to my posts. I've added a couple more, using the reply function so they all stay in the same thread. I'll try to post the Paris part of the trip later this week.

Posted by
22 posts

Day 7, London to Paris
We had an easy tube ride to St. Pancras and arrived well before our 11:30 departure. We got through security and were funneled into a packed waiting area. As a couple of departures before ours were delayed, the waiting area became overcrowded. It was a relief to finally board and get settled. This was our first trip on the Eurostar and we really enjoyed it. We arrived at a very busy Gare du Nord and made the biggest error of the trip by opting to take the metro. There was a line that would take us straight to the station near our flat, but the crowds and our baggage made it very difficult. Then, my husband was pickpocketed on the packed train. He was jostled by several young men, one of whom unzipped his backpack and grabbed his wallet. They timed it perfectly so they could jump off as the train stopped. To say we were in shock is an understatement, but we arrived at the flat and met the caretaker. My husband was able to get online and block his credit cards. I found a helpful website that walked me through filing an online police report, using my high-school French. Luckily, we still had my credit cards and one of my husband's which is only accessible on his phone. We were very shaken, but went out to tour the neighborhood, The flat was located in the Latin Quarter, just off of Boulevard St. Germain, a charming location, with lots of little streets and shops to explore. We bought some food at a nearby grocery store and had dinner in our flat.

Day 8, Paris
We were feeling a little better the next morning, and had breakfast of delicious local strawberries and yogurt. We had planned for our couple of days in Paris to be low-key and didn't have a detailed agenda. After breakfast, we walked to the river and Notre Dame to see progress on the restoration. We were disappointed to find Shakespeare and Co. was closed for the day. It was Ascension Day, a public holiday, and some shops were closed or had shorter hours. We bought jambon buerre sandwiches at Eric Kayser and took them to Place des Vosges. The park was one of our favorite spots from our previous trip, and it was still lovely. Because of the public holiday, there were a lot of French families out enjoying the perfect weather. After lunch, we walked around the streets of the Marais and shopped at BHV. We continued walking to the Louvre and through the Tuileries garden. We crossed the river and walked back to our neighborhood. We had a nice dinner at Breizh cafe near our flat.

Posted by
961 posts

"He was jostled by several young men, one of whom unzipped his backpack and grabbed his wallet"

Always hate hearing the ugly side stories to travel - you're never the same for the remainder of the trip!

Question: was your husband wearing the backpack on his back, or did he reverse it to wear in the front?

Posted by
22 posts

Periscope, he didn't have it on his back, he had it in front of him. But he also had other baggage to handle and the movement of the train made it difficult to keep balance.