March 25, 2011

Logistics and Beds - the Nuts and Bolts of Our Recent European Travels

Up to this point I have only shared the sights, tastes, shops, and streets we experienced during our trip to London and Paris. Now I am going to share some logistics about our trip - where we stayed and how we traveled.

In London one of my favorite neighborhoods to stay in is Bloomsbury. It is very central and yet the side streets have a quiet, local feel. On this is trip we stayed in this neighborhood at the Ridgemount Hotel on Gower Street. This hotel is located near the University of London campus and is only a 3 block walk from the Gower Street Tube Station.

The Ridgemount Hotel is a small family run bed and breakfast hotel located in a Georgian row house. The rooms are basic, but clean and the staff is very friendly. Classic English breakfast is served daily downstairs and there is also a community room with free wireless internet and a computer for guests to use. Since we were guests over Christmas there was a festive Christmas tree in the community room and the hotel staff left chocolates and wine in our room on the holiday. This is not a luxury hotel, but it is a warm, friendly, and centrally located place to stay at an excellent price. I liked the homey feel and would happily stay there again!

After several days in London and the surrounding countryside, we headed to Paris. When traveling between England and destinations in continental Europe there are two choices for transportation - airplane or high speed train. On this trip we decided to take the Eurostar train and had a great experience. After leaving St Pancras Station in London, the train speeds across the English countryside before descending underground to travel through the tunnel under the English Channel. Arriving in France the train reemerges to the sunlight and speeds past French farms and villages before arriving at Gard du Nord in Paris. Eurostar is a really efficient, civilized, and stress-free journey between London and the rest of Europe.

Once in Paris we took a cab to the 5th arrondissement where our hotel was located. Referred to as the Latin Quarter, this is a wonderful and vibrant neighborhood. This area of the city is close to Notre Dame de Paris and other sights as well as being home to a university, bookstores, and cafes.

In the Latin Quarter we stayed at the Hôtel College de France. This small family owned hotel is on a side street off Boulevard Saint Germain. It is a charming and cozy with a spiral welcoming lobby and breakfast area on the ground floor and then a spiral staircase or a very small elevator leading to the rooms upstairs. (We determined the maximum capacity for the elevator was one person and two suitcases or two people and one suitcase.) The hotel serves continental breakfast every morning, however it is not included in the cost of the room.

Even though it is right near the bustling center of the Latin Quarter, the street Hôtel College de France is located on is tucked away by the university and remarkably quiet. Since the hotel is only a block and a half off the Boulevard Saint Germain there are several cafes and shops in the local vicinity. This is an excellent for travelers who like independent hotels and want to be near the Latin Quarter and Île de la Cité during their stay in Paris.

Happy travels...


RamblingTart said...

I love the sounds of the place you stayed in London. :-) I like cozy homey places so much. :-)

Jessica said...

I agree! I always prefer to stay in local cozy hotels.

Nicole said...

I would love to take the train from London to Paris! How does the price compare to a flight?

Jessica said...

When we went the train was around $100 US per person round trip. I booked about 2 to 3 months in advance. There are cheaper airline tickets but then you have to pay to check your bags. (And there are fees for overweight bags, etc.) On the train we each carried 3 bags on with us and it was no problem. Another thing that was nice is we did not have to wait at our destination to be reunited with our luggage - as soon as we got off the train we were ready to go.