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Good 'starter' break in Paris?

(5 Posts)
oxcat1 Fri 24-Jun-11 12:34:11

PILs have a big wedding anniversary coming up this October, and we'd like to buy them something special. They have never been abroad - in fact hadn't even been to London until last year - so I was thinking about a few days in Paris? I'd like it to be by Eurostar, and MIL in particular can get quite 'nervous' in places she doesn't know, so I was looking for a very safe and structured break, with transfers from Eurostar to the hotel all arranged, etc etc. I want them to experience Paris, but they're not going to like it unless it seems quite familiar.

Any experience of good 'package' trips to Paris? They're both in their 60s, but pretty fit. Would want Eurostar, clean hotel (MIL very particular about that!), transfers etc. Anybody got any experience?

tribpot Fri 24-Jun-11 12:39:28

Not quite what you were asking I know, but would somewhere like Bruges or Amsterdam be more up your PIL's street? The reason I ask is that I've never attempted to get by with no French at all in Paris, but certainly have got by (indeed lived in!) Amsterdam with virtually no Dutch. Might they feel more confident if they knew they could speak English? Obv you could keep them well away from any dodgy bits of Amsterdam, the majority of the city is lovely.

Anyway, I'm sure you will find something suitable for Paris (a city I love) - a guided holiday would do away with the language issue of course?

Or how about Edinburgh or Dublin? Just a thought!

worldgonecrazy Fri 24-Jun-11 12:48:07

Budget?? How did they get on in London? Paris is not as crowded nor as crazy, but language can be a barrier if the English person isn't willing to try a bit of French. Is it possible to go as a family so that they have familiar faces with them?

I'd go for a hotel in the 1st or 7th Arrondissement so they are near the action. If they like walking then Paris is fairly easy to get around and the underground system is a doddle too.

I've only done Eurostar once but I can't recall there being any drivers waiting to pick up transfers, so it might be easier for them to just get a taxi to the hotel. There is a taxi line right outside the front though the queue can be long at times.

Have you thought about a coach holiday to Paris - they can be cheap and cheerful and a lot easier than self-managed holidays for first timers to new places.

oxcat1 Fri 24-Jun-11 13:07:51

Thanks for those.

They liked London, but in all honesty, I think it was because we were with them. Sadly I don't think we have the budget to pay for four people to travel to Paris, so it probably would have to be just them.

I don't think coach is an option as MIL is a bad traveller - or at least she thinks she is, which comes to the same thing.

A 'guided holiday' is perhaps what I'm after? I wasn't sure what to look for so haven't found anything, but that sounds just right. They'd presumably also then be with other British people so might feel more as though there was 'safety in numbers'.

I would certainly consider either Bruges or Amsterdam. Personally, I'm not as keen on either of those places as I am of Paris, but the things that I find exciting about Paris could well be the things that they find frightening, so that is certainly a good idea.

Budget - as low as possible as only on one income at the moment. However, MIL is very fussy about hotels being clean etc etc, so would need to ensure she was happy. She might be happier in a familiar chain hotel than something unique and boutique.

I'll get googling again - thank you!

tribpot Fri 24-Jun-11 13:51:05

I had thought the SAGA website might have something suitable but their hols seem to be in the main longer distance. The short hop ones I fear may be mainly provided by coach holidays, which could be difficult. You could always phone your nearest travel agency?

I have to say, after your second post, do you think they really want to go abroad? Do they even have passports? If no, how would you arrange that for them - assuming this is a surprise holiday? Will they feel guilty about the cost when you're only on one income?

Since they enjoyed London with you there last time, how about a repeat trip? That might also help to increase their confidence about unfamiliar cities and you could arrange a few little extras like Hampton Court Palace or something as a guided tour. It sounds to me like Paris might be better waiting til you can all go together?

That said, I googled and came up with this (yes, it is by coach).

Ooh and this - which is by rail and includes transfer from Gard du Nord.

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