A Trip to Paris & London

Jan 27, 2023 at 10:13 am by RMGadmin

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

By Katie Murphy
Every year around Christmas time, my family gathers to take a trip. Because of all the uncertainty that has loomed over these past few years, we haven’t been able to leave the country for awhile. We decided that it was finally time to cross the pond and explore Paris and London during the most magical time of the year. I was excited to document my trip for the magazine and include our daily highlights and adventures as we experienced this once in a lifetime family memory! I hope you get to plan your trip soon and enjoy some of our fabulous recommendations!

We arrived in Paris around noon, but it was about six in the morning back home in Franklin. Luckily many of us were able to sleep on the plane but, nonetheless, we were giddy with jet lag. Our family of six carried that giddiness into a driving tour of the most popular spots in the area. The highlights included Place Vendôme, Eiffel Tower, Luxembourg Garden, Notre Dame, and, of course, a crepe stand. That night, France lost to Argentina in the World Cup Championship. After every score, we ran to the balcony of our hotel, Hotel Regina, to hear either the cheers or the groans from the streets below. 

On our first morning in Paris, we toured the home of some of the best-known works of art, the Louvre Museum. Our tour guide informed us that the Louvre has approximately nine miles of corridors, which is believable when we learned that there are 480,000 pieces of artwork in the museum. We saw many famous pieces, including Venus de Milo, Winged Victory of Samothrace (Nike), and Napoleon III’s Apartment. But the most exciting piece was a glimpse of the Mona Lisa. It was situated at the end of a crowded room, where people from all over the world stopped to see the magnum opus in person. That night, we stumbled upon a Parisian café. L’Envue was situated along a quiet road, and it was warm enough to take in the sights at an outside table. 

The next morning, we waited in line at Angelina. Luckily, it was minutes away from our hotel. Angelina is famous for its creamy hot chocolate and historic tearoom. The wait did not disappoint as we sipped the rich hot chocolate and ate delicious savory treats. Then, we explored the shopping scene in Paris. The streets are lined with designer stores and boutique shops, which is an experience like no other. The streets were packed with both tourists and locals, all searching to find the perfect Christmas gift. That night, we had dinner at Le Jules Verne, located in the Eiffel Tower. A private elevator with glass windows brought us up the foundation of the Eiffel Tower into the elegant restaurant. The seven-course tasting menu was an intense, but memorable experience. Sipping champagne in the Eiffel Tower was the best Parisian memory I could have made, and the perfect way to top off 2022! 

On our third day in Paris, we woke up to a beautiful sunrise from our hotel room. It was the perfect way to say “au revoir” to Paris. We then headed to the train station to take the Eurostar to London. The Chunnel from Paris to London was fascinating, considering you are underwater for twenty miles. It is also the world’s longest underground tunnel! When we arrived at our hotel, the Langham, we found that it was something out of a winter fairytale. The historic hotel was filled with sparkling Christmas decorations and included a hot chocolate station in the reception area. We dropped our bags at the hotel and immediately made our way to the London Eye. Serendipitously, we had a pod all to ourselves. The clear day meant we could see the city from an unobstructed view. But a warning to those wanting to visit the Eye – not the best idea for those afraid of heights! 

First thing in the morning was touring the astounding Westminster Abbey. It has been the site for every coronation since 1066 and has held numerous other royal occasions, including sixteen royal weddings! You can practically feel the history as you enter its massive, breathtaking space. Over 3,000 people have been commemorated or buried at Westminster Abbey, including Charles Dickens and Sir Isaac Newton. Afterward, we had tea at the Rosebery in the impressive Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hyde Park. The afternoon tea experience included six different sandwiches and seven different pastries and scones. We sipped on champagne and tea and enjoyed delicious holiday-themed treats! For dinner, we ate at Jamavar. Their elevated Indian menu excited our tastebuds and left us feeling stuffed but satisfied, then we were off to bed!

Despite being rainy on the last day of the trip, my family toured the Tower of London. Our tour guide told us gruesome stories of the horrors that occurred in the Tower of London. The weather made the ghost stories and hauntings seem even more real. After our tour was over, the rain broke and revealed a beautiful blue sky. For lunch, we stopped by Southbank Market – the second day in a row. With an eclectic array of food and craft stalls worldwide, we ate everything from Polish sausages to lobster rolls to truffle burgers. After a quick bite, we went shopping at Harrod’s. I bought my first designer bracelet, and we ended the night eating tapas at Pascor.  

Christmas Eve was the last day of the trip and we awoke feeling sad to leave these beautiful sites, but we were grateful to return home. At Heathrow – the airport in London –, we were met with duty-free shopping heaven and Christmas carolers. We were not prepared for the string of cancellations and delays that would plague the airlines. Many hours later, when we arrived home one hour before Christmas Day, we were greeted with a white Christmas in Tennessee.