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Christmas in Paris

ILove2Travel

New Member
Europe during Christmas times - Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and London
We are planning a Christmas time tour to Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and London.
We are family of 4, My hubby, I and 2 girls 21 & 25.
Flying to Amsterdam via London on Dec 21st; will reach there evening time.
Will stay there 3 nights 21-24. Need some input on activities over there for 2 days. Booked a hotel near Dam Square since most tours start from there.
24th we will take train to Brussels, will explore neighboring areas. We haven't been to both the places, so everything is new for us. Booked a hotel near Grand Place since most tours start from there. Decided on Brussels since it is kind of on the way spot.
25th morning taking train to Paris, will go to Eiffel tower around sunset and then planning a walk or bus for holiday lights. I have booked apartment on Champs Elysee and may explore central Paris. We had been to Paris before but been only to Arc and Louvre before and the river cruise. So, what do you recommend near Champs Elysee or in Central Paris? Other option we are thinking of is Palace of Versalles. Need your input here. If we decide to go to the Palace, then I may cancel this hotel and book near the train station for convenience.
26th night we are taking train to London and will stay there for 3 nights. We might be tired after a lot of walking done in the earlier part of tour, so thinking of Hop on and Hop off bus; but the reviews are mixed and we have never taken those kinds of buses before, so cannot decide. What is your experience? What do you suggest to do in 2 days at London? Booked a hotel in Islington area.
Flying back to USA on 29th afternoon.
Your advice is highly appreciated.
TIA
 

veronicafrance

100+ Posts
It sounds exhausting! Four cities in a week! It may be a bit late to change your minds, but one night in Brussels seems a bit pointless to me. Wouldn't it be better to go straight to Paris? I concur with JustTravel that Christmas Day is pretty dead in France. It's a family day when people stay at home, and most restaurants etc. are closed. It might be a bit better in Paris, but it seems a bit of a shame for your experience of Paris to be affected by that.

If there's somewhere specific you want to go it would be as well to check if it's open. Versailles for example isn't open on the 25th, but it will be on the 26th. However you will have to dash off to get your train for London!
 

Parigi

100+ Posts
Welcome to SLOWEurope.

"I have booked apartment on Champs Elysee and may explore central Paris. We had been to Paris before but been only to Arc and Louvre before and the river cruise. So, what do you recommend near Champs Elysee or in Central Paris? Other option we are thinking of is Palace of Versalles. Need your input here. If we decide to go to the Palace, then I may cancel this hotel and book near the train station for convenience."

I am confused. You seem to be spending one night in Paris, arriving in the afternoon and leaving the next day.
And you have booked an apartment the Champs? Later you mention you may or may not cancel your hotel. Did you book an apartment for one night or an hotel?

The Champs, in normal times, is a desert in terms of good restaurants.
On Christmas day, when most restaurants - good or bad, touristy or non-touristy - will be closed, your picking will be even slimmer.
But luckily everything will work out since you won't have time to dine anyway.
Let's hope Versaille is open. Happy beaming.
 

chachalaca

100+ Posts
I think you have too much on your agenda. Choose two cities, tops, for this time frame. You are coming from the US at winter - include delays due to weather and jet lag in your planning, seriously. Give yourselves permission to "travel" less and experience more. Everyone will be happier in the long run.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Amsterdam 3 nights
Brussels 1 night
Paris 1 night
London 3 nights

1 night in a place doesn't seem worth the travel time. You could remove Brussels and spend 1 less night in Amsterdam, so you would have:
Amsterdam 2 nights
Paris 3 nights
London 3 nights

Or give more time to Paris because one of its days will fall on the 25th where everything is closed and end with just 2 nights in London.
 

DHC

10+ Posts
I'm a bit late to the party and agree with everyone about eliminating at least Brussels and giving Paris 3 nights instead. What I always tell people who have jam-packed plans is to calculate logistical time: the amount of time it takes to get from the airport/train station, travel time on the plane/train/taxi/metro/bus, hotel check-in, unpacking, repacking, checking out time, getting to train station/airport again, travel time, etc. etc. and doing the same thing for each destination. Plus travel time to the sites you want to see. Add it all up, and you're spending as much time on logistics as on sightseeing. Do you want to devote as much time getting to places as actually being in them? Seriously, work out the math.

As for Christmas, even closed, Paris has its sparkling moments. I recall a beautiful leisurely meal or maybe it was just a cheese plate and wine at Deux Magots in Paris on Christmas Day, front row seats in the warm, glassed in cafe facing yes, deserted streets, which were romantic in their own way. Peter Sellars, the opera/theater director, who was dressed in a French fireman's jacket!!!! was sitting immediately next to us and animatedly discussing the Magic Flute with his table mate. It was a very splurgy, very touristique experience but worth every euro.

Don't stay near the Champs-Elysées, which is just a big shopping mall that will be closed in any case, but somewhere in the 5th or 6th medieval Latin Quarter area, preferably near St. Sulpice Church, the Luxembourg Gardens, St. Germain Church where services with gorgeous music will be playing.

Here's a link to various activities you can do at Christmas time in Paris:

I'm sure there are many other links for Christmas in Paris and in Amsterdam. And that's my slow-down advice from Slow Europe France.
 

Christian

10+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Funny. I would avoid Amsterdam and spend more time in Brussels! Frankly, I never understand why people don't like Brussels and adore Amsterdam (yuck!), but to each their own.
In any case, I wouldn't do THAT many cities in a week, especially at Christmas time! Spending a week in Paris would be much more enjoyable!!!
 

DHC

10+ Posts
In many ways I totally agree with you, Christian, especially in wintertime when Amsterdam is so dark and dreary and Paris is all sparkles, elegance, and carousels. Moreover, we had concert tickets stolen from a backpack at the Rijksmuseum when the bag was checked, and I was shortchanged from a 20 euro note at the Van Gogh Museum. (The clerk-with-a-smirk went from English to Dutch in a split second when I explained I'd just come from the ATM and had nothing but 20E notes when she told me I gave her a 10.) We never had any problem whatsoever in Paris with that kind of thing. All the same . . Vermeer, Rembrandt (and his house) Van Gogh in their turf, little "brown" pubs, canals, Anne Frank, the landscapes seen in so many paintings all exert a strong pull. And since I Love 2 Travel has two young people in her group, Amsterdam has attractions that Paris may not. Maybe further rebalancing of days would be good. Chacun å son goût.
 

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