Taking advantage of American Airline mile saver fare, I was able to book our round trip using miles for 36,000 points in economy (include 10% discount for owing the AA credit card). We flew out on American on Easter day after going to the 8:15am Easter service,but unfortunately headed to Dallas first, oh well, not in a rush, finally got into London around 7am on Monday. No issue with immigration and before we know it we were out, stop at the ATM machine to get some money out using my Capital One Debit card since it has no fee and the ATM we were using also charged no fee. After getting the money, we headed down to the train station, best decision made was to only have a carry on, lots of walking.
Upon getting to the train station picked up and oyster card for 5 pounds and loaded it with 15 pounds to get around the city, then we took the Piccadilly to Hyde Park Corner and walked to our hotel from there. My biggest splurge on this trip was the hotels, we stayed at Intercontinental Park Lane for 50,000 IHG points per night.
We spent Monday, after walking around the city and me having my English Afternoon Tea, hung out with my brothers and husband cousins, it was so nice to see them.
Dedicated to more family visit, went to visit my sister-in-law and my husband's cousin, we took the midland train from Euston to Northhampton with a stop back at Bletchley to see cousin, no issue navigating the train stations, someone is always available to help when needed, this was a separate fee, couldn't use the oyster card. Had a great time hanging with the kids and it will be a joy watching them grow up.
With all the family affairs taking care off, well kind of, we got a chance to explore the city, we started off at Westminster Cathedral this was so beautiful and peaceful, admission is free, donations accepted.
After walking in the area for a while looking at different architectures, we made our to Westminster Abbey/ St Margaret's Church, we are already running behind schedule and since we just the Cathedral for free we saw no need to pay 10 pounds to go in and see this.
Before heading to meet family for Dinner, we walked over to Trafalgar's Square, my husband's only request.
Before checking out and heading to Paris, we went over to Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guards, this is a must see when in London, the Queen wasn't in residence, only 2 guards patrolling, 4 means she was in.
When back to the hotel, picked up luggage and headed to St Pancras Station to get on the Eurostar to Paris, the station is massive and beautiful. Great price for Eurostar to Paris if booked early ticket was $56 to Paris online, paid in US Dollars and I picked my own seat, when I checked day of same tickets were $136. So book early, open about 3 months out.
Got to Paris Gare Du Nord train station, picked up 10 train tickets for 14.10 euro instead of individual tickets at 1.70 euro and headed to the hotel Radisson Blu Le Dokhan 50,000 points per night, better deal if you have the Club Carson credit since second night is free. This is a beautiful hotel, yes room is small, great location and service.
After a very good night sleep, headed to the Expo @ Parc Des Expositions de la Porte de Versailles, easy to get to via the metro and once there can't miss it. The expo was massive, lots of vendors and they had their pasta party going on which was great for lunch after all the working around.
Made one tourist stop today to the Arc de Triomphe de l'Eloile, with all the blooming flowers especially in London, my allergies were killing me so call it a day, 5k in the morning
Paris Breakfast 5k, no bib or time, but to be in the race had to wear the official race tee shirt, it was cold, probably the only really cold day throughout this trip. This was walking distance from the hotel, it was a great internationally race with people representing from different countries, breakfast afterwards was great pasties with tea or coffee. Nice finish by the Eiffel Tower and the start of the kids race.
Race Day, I completely miss the fact that I was starting at 10:05am and of cause today is a warm day, but the energy, the crowd, 45000+ runners and then the crown. The course was beautiful with lots of music and crowd support, the aid station and the volunteers were awesome, selection at the aid station were a nice surprise banana, orange wedges, raisin, dried apricot and sugar cube. Lots of people had mention the cobble stones on the roads, I didn't think they were an issue maybe because I also trail run. This was a beautiful tour through Paris since you do see quite a bit of the popular tourist spots and some. Took it easy since it was warmer than expected, went out with the 5:30 pace group but decided to run my own race about mile 4, walking all the water stops, about mile 23+ after my second wine stop realized I could come in under 5hrs if I race the last couple of miles, gave it a short and finished in 4:56:58. Great race and Organization, really wish there was something else to eat after the race was sick of fruit at this point, and that was all they had with the inclusion of apple.
After a shower, meal and nap to move some lactic acid out of the legs did a night short walking tour of Paris
Paris Runcation is fast coming to an end but before then it was another beautiful day, after breakfast at our favorite place a la Petite Marquise we headed off to Notre Dame, didn't feel like standing in line today so skip anything that required it except for the line to the top of the Eiffel tower but since we had the tickets it was a short wait, before heading to the Eiffel tower walked around the Latin quarters, pass Sainte Chapelle, Palais de justice, St Michel's Fountain, finish the day off with over priced ice cream at Trocadero by the fountain. The view from the top of the Eiffel tower was beautiful, this is a good thing to do after you've been in Paris awhile so you can look for places you've been to which makes it more meaningful.
Last full day in Paris, what to do but pay a visit to a la Petite Marquise pastry shop, this has been our staple for breakfast, then hop on the train to Museum Rodin to see the works of Auguste Rodin interesting to see how the collection in Philly compares, most people are familiar with his work"the thinker" but I think "the kiss" is one of my favorite and wow on "The Gates of Hell", spent a lot of time just enjoying the garden and the beautiful weather, intention was to go to the Army Museum where Napoleon I and Ferdinand Foch tombs are but we seem to be short on time so took some pictures and wondered thru Invalides before calling it a day. This had been fun, thanks for being a part of it.
After walking around to enjoy our very last hours in Paris, stopped for dinner before heading back to the hotel to pickup our luggage, decided to switch hotel to the Holiday Inn to stay closer to the airport. We took the RER train from Paris to the airport CDG for 10euro, not sure why anyone will take a taxi this was cheap and very convenient. Once at the airport, took the elevator to the 5th floor to take the free shuttle to the hotel.
Woke up, got ready, had breakfast, packed up and took the free shuttle back to the airport, before we know we were saying bye to Paris. This was a great trip, I think I did a great job with the planning there are lots of free information online and apps to make thing easy. Any question or if help needed, leave a comment. Can't wait to plan the next international trip.