London and Paris at Christmastime?

Discussion in 'Europe' started by DealHound, Mar 30, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. DealHound
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    DealHound Silver Member

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    I'm trying to schedule a family trip to London and Paris. The only time that seems to work for everyone is duing the Christmas holidays. I've heard that many things are closed in London at Christmas. Is that true? Just how bad is the weather that time of year? (We're from Texas and don't do cold very well.) On the flip side, I hear the Christmas decorations can be really wonderful in Paris. I'd appreciate any suggestions about what we might expect that time of year and what holiday activities we should consider planning.

    TIA!
     
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  2. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I have general comments rather than details about where to go. Both cities are attractive at Christmas IMO. I like them then.

    London is less festive, but it still is festive enough.
    if you have children or wish you were a child yourself there's no place quite like Hamleys. Their website explains ithttp://www.hamleys.com/
    Harrods has a "grotto" a parade and festive decorations that are great to see. This was last year:
    http://www.harrods.com/GlobalPages/EventArticle.aspx?Id=35ed4ac4-6802-4f01-8455-b18c608cafe2

    There is lots more, but two of the most entertaining shops are these two. All over London there are choirs,classic music concerts, all the major churches ahas wonderful music, and of course every other kind of music and arts as London is always prepared to provide.

    Paris is different. Of course Disneyland Paris is stuffed with Christmas themes. There are Christmas markets around Paris, there is ice skating, there are concerts, as in London, but the Notre Dame at Christmas is incredible, and there are lights and decorations all over. here is a website with a few Paris offerings, most of which I mentioned above:
    http://goparis.about.com/od/events/tp/Christmas_Paris.htm

    In both cities restaurants are busier than normal and reservations are essential. if you want the grand tables reserve them well in advance, like a month or so.

    Weather? You're going to Paris and London. Don't think about it, prepare for it. It will be chilly and damp, mostly,
    but both cities will be delightful anyway. Just don't forget to be prepared for the weather.
     
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  3. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    Having been to both cities during Xmas... my vote goes for Paris. I love London and it has a ton to offer... but for a family trip I think that Paris has the edge. Also, in the Food department Paris and its surrounding areas has the clear edge on London... especially if you want to eat at places other than the Grand Tables. The EuroDisney angle for the kids also adds a lot in my opinion.
     
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  4. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I do agree with you personally although I do think either is wonderful. While I lived in London I travelled to Paris for Christmas twice, so i suppose my money agrees with you also.
     
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  5. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Silver Member

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    One of my favorite memories of Paris was a forced overnight we had one Christmas Eve on our way to Shanghai. I know....we suffered so! ;) The lights on all the trees along the Champs was absolutely magical! Yes, it was cold. It was damp. And it was wonderful!!
     
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  6. DealHound
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    DealHound Silver Member

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    Thanks for the positive comments and suggestions. Due to award flight availability, we'll be spending time both places. London 1st, then Paris for Christmas and beyond. Just trying to determine how best to allocate our time and to avoid the "local" travel rush between the cities. The "kids" will be 17 & 21 (probably the last time we'll be able to corral them for a family vacation), but will never be too old to enjoy a good toystore. FAO Schwartz has always been a hit when traveling. We've done Disneyland and Disney World more than once (and once at Christmas), so I'm not thinking EuroDisney would be anything really new.
    I think of both places as walking cities, so I'm concerned about getting around in the cold. Are taxis for 4 people hard to come by?
     
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  7. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Paris is magnificent around the holidays. In addition to the general decorations in major "palace" hotels and famous restaurants, I especially love the antique manger (creche) scene at Saint Germain des Pres church and the lights along the Champs Elysees. These are special seasonal foods (although I associate goose more with England, Germany, and Austria) and chestnuts roasting on an open fire on every street corner. The city will seem crowded during the pre-Christmas rush and it's an extremely busy time for restaurants. You'll love it.
     
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  8. JennB
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    JennB Gold Member

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    In London, you will have no problem fitting four into a taxi. There is a bench seat and then two flip down seats as well. I've done London at Christmas but not Paris, yet. I will say it was absolutely lovely though. Walking down the streets like Oxford with lights strung above was magical. And the department store displays were great. I especially enjoyed Harrods, of course, and Debenhams. The inside was lovely and the entire outside was covered in lights. Enjoy!!
     
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  9. DealHound
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    I can hardly wait! Thanks!
     

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