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From Royalty to Lights, My First Trip to London and Paris

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Written by Amber Feldpausch.

As a travel agent, I feel it’s to my benefit to travel. Not just for myself, but for Classic Travel’s clients. Since we do so much travel for others in Europe, I just had to go. The best way to get me there was to surprise my husband by celebrating his graduation in London and Paris.

We started off our trip in London. Words really can’t describe this popular destination. London has so much history in its castles, cathedrals and city life and makes you feel like you’re stepping back in time. Although we only did four nights here, we were able to crunch in everything I felt I needed to see. We stayed at the Hutton’s Hotel, which is a moderate hotel with a great city location. Our first day in London, we walked by and took pictures of Westminster Abbey and the House of Parliament, including Big Ben. Just a short walk away was the London Eye, which is the British Airways modern observation wheel where it takes 30 minutes to go all around and you get great sights of the whole city. That was enough amazement to see in one day.

On that Monday, we woke up early enough to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace (the Queen’s residence). That was an amazing experience. I think my favorite part of London was seeing the royalty and how it plays a factor in the city and decisions made throughout the country. From Buckingham Palace, we walked to Hyde and Kensington Parks. They say to walk around both parks, it takes 1 ½ hours. We were, of course, there for a lot longer than that, but it was a great stroll. I thought those two parks combined was beautiful and just a great addition to the city. We could spend hours there.

Tuesday we got a great highlight of England and its countryside. We booked a tour through Evan Evans Tour Company and visited Windsor Castle (the Queen’s weekend home), the historical city of Bath with a pass to the Roman Bath Museum, and lastly the mysterious Stonehenge. We really enjoyed this tour because it enabled us to see how Europe can be outside of the city life. We both loved being able to experience that in one day, without having to drive to all these locations ourselves. This tour was well worth the money to us.

Our last day in London was on Wednesday, where we spent it going to the Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral. At the Tower of London you can pay for a guided tour given by the greatest yeomen wardens. These tour guides shared great information of the tragic scandals and horrific executions that took place many years ago. This is actually considered another one of the Queen’s residence, although it’s rare to see her here.

Thursday quickly approached us and we boarded the Eurostar train to Paris, the city of lights. Paris is quite fascinating. The amazing thing in Paris is all the monuments. They are built on such a large scale, that’s it’s incredible to have the monuments right in front of you. We stayed at the Best Western in the Latin Quarter, which was another moderate hotel with a great city location. Our first sights included the Notre Dame Cathedral where Neil and I climbed to the very top, and then across the street to Sainte Chapelle, a beautiful cathedral built with astonishing architecture and the prettiest stain glass windows I have ever seen. After seeing these two cathedrals, we thought “why not see another” so we ventured off to Sacre Coeur, which is a Basilica that sits on top of Montmartre, the highest point in the city. This tended to be a main attraction/meeting place in Paris with all the people and bands that gathered here. You can visit this basilica free of charge.

Friday was a monumental day in Paris! We started our trip to the world known Eiffel Tower. We were able to go to the very top and get amazing views of the city and beyond. The Eiffel Tower in itself is Paris. It’s was just unbelievable there. We jumped on the subway (the best form of transportation we felt, in Paris) to the Arc De Triumphe, a monument built for the victories of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods. From there, we walked down the famous Champs Elysées to the Louvre Art Museum. The Louvre is the one of the world’s largest Art Museums. You should plan on being there for at least 2 hours.

One of the reasons why Paris is called the city of lights, is because once it gets dark, all the major monuments are illuminated. We were able to see Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower lit up. It’s quite moving to see this, especially as you so rarely in your life see such large monuments.

Overall, Neil and I had a great time in Europe and are excited to go back and explore even more. London and Paris were the best stepping stones I felt to getting there. That was an experience I hope all my clients can enjoy.