Backpacking in London/Paris this April and would like some advice

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 18, 2012 7:18 PM GMT
    So I am backpacking, alone, in London for 3 days and then off to Paris for 4 days this mid April. April 17 to April 24 to be exact. I'll be flying back to Canada on April 24th.

    I'll be staying in hostels because that is the cheapest option and I am hoping to meet a couple of new friends. I have not travelled this way before so I'm looking forward to this experience.

    If you've done this before or are living there, can you suggest some things that I should see?

    Aside from using common sense, is there something that I should be careful of that people don't usually think of ahead of time?

    Thanks. icon_smile.gif
  • Suetonius

    Posts: 1842

    Mar 18, 2012 11:16 PM GMT
    Accomodations - no thoughts.

    What to see? What are you interested in?

    Check out the web.

    In London - Get an Oyster Card (transit) at your first tube station - saves on tube/bus fares. Check it out on line ahead of time.

    Get Time Out when you arrive - it lists everything - including free concerts. A tour of Churchill's war room/bunker. Hampton Court if you are into palaces. Take the tube to Hempstead, and walk uphill among the neighborhood of 18th to early 19th century buildings. Into theatre? Get tickets to theatre at the 1/2 price ticket booth at Leicester Square - lots more theatre than New York, and much cheaper. Look up London Walks - offers low cost guided walking tours of various parts of London - they have an evening Jack the Riper Walk.

    Paris - Buy a carnet (10 metro tickets) a discount off 10 individual tickets. Investigate getting amueum pass if you want to go to a lot fo musems. Go to the Office de Toruisme and inquire about free concerts (may be listed in Officiel des Spectacles or Pariscope). Check out Rick Steve's guide to paris - he has a wealth of helpful tips - everything from tranport to best times to visit museums, etc. I find it handy to have a Plan D'Arrondissements (I use a Michlein one on I got 20 years ago - a paper book that has maps on every page showing all the streets of paris - (You may get by with a Garmin or phone today - I would rather have the maps). Fits in a pocket.

    Walk anywhere and everywhere. On a sunny afternoon, visit the stained glass windows in St. Chapelle (in or adjacent to the palace of justice, so hours are limited.) Visit the (relatively) uncrowded Musee Mormottan (west side of Paris near the Bois de Boulonge) for Monets and the Musee de l'Orangerie (Monet murals on curving walls of the entire building.) Take a trip to Giverny if you are so inclined. Check out the food stores/markets on the Rue Montreguuil (Near Les Halles).
    Try a gay restaurant - Les Trois Cochons, or a bit off the beaten track Le Petit Robert. Go to bay bars in the Marais.

    Eat - Paris is all bout the food. Consider getting (a slightly outdated) Patricia Wells' Food Lover's Guide to Paris - includes food stores, not just restaurants.

    Email me if you have any specific questions (except on the best place to get laid).

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 19, 2012 12:47 AM GMT
    If "An American Werewolf In London" has taught us anything, it's that you should stay off the moors at night.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 19, 2012 1:33 AM GMT
    microbiologist saidAside from using common sense, is there something that I should be careful of that people don't usually think of ahead of time?
    Tourist traps.
  • gbc59

    Posts: 90

    Mar 19, 2012 7:50 AM GMT
    did about 7 years ago. never again. no curfew and for some reason large men ( overweight) always want to climb on the top bunk and they are noisey as all hell. in all honesty i then switch to b@b and for $10-$15 more cleaner and breakfast included. also u find migrant workers use the hostel as home and found them (eastern european ) were very unfriendly! pay the extra and saty at B@B. londo easy to walk around, but food is pricey. but its a great city been there 3 times now.
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Mar 19, 2012 10:16 AM GMT
    Rent the movie American Werewolf in London first!!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 19, 2012 1:51 PM GMT
    Definitely try http://www.couchsurfing.org/

    Been using it for over 6 years now and very happy with it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 19, 2012 11:40 PM GMT
    Thank you for all the tips guys.

    I signed up for the couch surfing thing. Looks very cool!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 26, 2012 11:10 PM GMT
    It looks like Suetonius has answered most you need to know about London.
    However, I stayed in hostels in London before now, but those occasions were in preparation for take off from either Heathrow or Gatwick Airport, which in all cases, happen to be before mid-morning.

    YHA England and Wales are the best hostels to stay at in London. There are several of them, all within easy reach of an Underground Station (known as the Tube over here.) Check your website or Google: "YHA London, UK".
    However, it is important that you book your bed well in advance, as I have found out, a vacant bed is a very rare sight in London.

    Also, traveling in London is frightfully expensive! An Oyster card for the Tube is a good idea. It is also worth asking whether London Transport do special discount cards for foreign visitors (just as the USA Greyhound Bus sells the Ameripass for foreign visitors as myself).

    Have a good trip.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 27, 2012 12:18 AM GMT
    how sad is this... that at first glance I thought I saw the thread title as "Barebacking in ~~~~~~~~~~"

    Y'all pardon me now I'm calling it an early night lol...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 27, 2012 12:20 AM GMT
    Oh yeah - the couchsurfung tip is a good bet. Definitely a few shakes better than hitting up Craigslist and wondering if you've just rung up the Midnight Murderer or the Aberdeen Assraper.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 27, 2012 12:27 AM GMT
    In certain restaurants in Paris, it is considered rude to ask for a doggie bag.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 27, 2012 3:23 AM GMT
    AlphaTrigger saidhow sad is this... that at first glance I thought I saw the thread title as "Barebacking in ~~~~~~~~~~"

    Y'all pardon me now I'm calling it an early night lol...


    Hahaha. I guess the two words (backpacking and barebacking) look similar if you read them very quickly.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 27, 2012 3:23 AM GMT
    yo_mamali saidIn certain restaurants in Paris, it is considered rude to ask for a doggie bag.


    Thanks, I will keep that in mind.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 27, 2012 3:25 AM GMT
    NotThatOld saidIt looks like Suetonius has answered most you need to know about London.
    However, I stayed in hostels in London before now, but those occasions were in preparation for take off from either Heathrow or Gatwick Airport, which in all cases, happen to be before mid-morning.

    YHA England and Wales are the best hostels to stay at in London. There are several of them, all within easy reach of an Underground Station (known as the Tube over here.) Check your website or Google: "YHA London, UK".
    However, it is important that you book your bed well in advance, as I have found out, a vacant bed is a very rare sight in London.

    Also, traveling in London is frightfully expensive! An Oyster card for the Tube is a good idea. It is also worth asking whether London Transport do special discount cards for foreign visitors (just as the USA Greyhound Bus sells the Ameripass for foreign visitors as myself).

    Have a good trip.


    Thanks for the advice. I will look for this Oyster card. What a funny name hehe.