Mature Travel readers share their reviews of recent vacations – read our conversation with Faye and Richard from Tennessee who just returned from Paris and London.
Where did you go?
We spent four days in both Paris and London, traveling on the Eurostar between cities.
With what tour company?
How long did you research this trip for and how did you do it?
Mix of our travel agent, Collette Tours’ call centre and the internet to validate and research more.
What was your best resource?
My travel agent who an had in-depth knowledge of both the tour company and destinations we wanted to go.
What made up your mind to go there and not somewhere else?
It has been our long-term desire to visit London and Paris and this tour offered both destinations in the one trip.
What was the highlight?
The Eiffel Tower and sidewalk cafes in Paris and Windsor Castle just outside of London were unforgettable.
Another highlight was taking a step back in time at Churchill’s War Room. To imagine him and his Generals together in an underground meeting room with living quarters being filled with Churchill’s cigar smoke was something to think about and imagine.
Would you recommend the company you toured with and why?
Highly recommend it! Everything was completely organized for us, we did not have to worry about a thing.
It was so nice to be able to enter different sites and attractions and not have to wait in line.
Do you think you got value for money?
Yes. For around $310 per day per person, it included all transport, accommodation, some meals, and all entrance fees to attractions.
What did you wish you knew before you got there?
What a great subway system (called ‘The Tube’) they have in London. It is not only huge but also efficient, easy to use, reasonably cheap and with nice aesthetics.
What will be your lingering memory of that trip?
The architecture and the age of the beautiful buildings was a sight to behold. Behind our London hotel was an original Roman stone wall dating back to 900AD.
Our greatest memory of Paris is being at the Arc de Triomphe. After visiting Normandy and seeing a movie of Hitler marching through the Arch and down the street, it was almost surreal being there admiring its beauty.
The tour of the sites of D-Day and Normandy Beach (not part of the Collette tour, we booked this day tour ourselves separately) was also an honor to see. Normandy Beach is so beautiful and is now filled with people enjoying the beach which they treat respectfully.
On the train ride from Paris to Caen (a small village where we met our tour guide) to see Normandy, we were surprised as to how fast it traveled and how nice the train cars were.
How was the food? Your favourite?
Good fish and chips in London but not too crazy about steak and kidney pie.
In Paris, although it’s an Italian dish, the Chicken Cacciatore was delicious but you could always find a good old hamburger and French fries if missing home.
Did you feel safe there?
Yes, always. And traveling with a group made it safer and easier.
What would you do differently next time?
Take a larger variety of clothing for different weather conditions as it can get hot and cold quickly in Europe.
Also with airport security so tight at London Heathrow, limiting items like small bottles of hand sanitizer in your pocket to avoid unnecessary delays.
How long did you spend there and was it the right length of time to see enough?
We extended our stay for a couple of nights either side of the tour so we had a good one-week in each city. We saw a lot for the time we were there, but would have liked to stayed longer as there was just so much more to see.
What’s the one thing you would tell anyone planning a visit they absolutely must do or see?
The Louvre in Paris dates back to 1200 AD from a fort with a moat to the largest museum in the world I believe.
It is stepping back in time seeing the ancient items on display. Also Windsor Castle in the lovely little town of Windsor just outside London is a must see. It is a quaint place that you would want to live in yourself.
The beauty of the grounds of the castle is breathtaking as well as the castle itself.
The church with all its history is incredible. I now understand why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry chose this beautiful place for their wedding.
Where are you thinking about heading to next?
Hoping to make our next trip to Italy. We’ve always been intrigued by it.
What’s at the top of your bucket list now?
Anyone who has ever taken an Alaska Cruise tells us it was their best trip ever. Many people have gone back multiple times because they enjoyed it so much, so we are looking to do that also.
Anything else to add?
Enjoy every place you visit and everything you do for what it is. You are making some awesome memories and learning about this beautiful world.
Paris & London
Collette Tours – www.gocollette.com
Paris & London
(based on the season – prices correct at time of publish)
(can be done in reverse)
Transport by coach, 7-nights hotel, 6-breakfasts, 3-dinners, tour guide, driver.
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