Our exchange student from China had never been to Europe, and so we decided to “sacrifice” our spring break and take her to London and Paris.
We started off in London where it was sunny(!) and, if not exactly warm, warmer than in DC. We stayed at the Shangri-la in London, which is located at the Shard and gives you smashing aerial views of London.
We did all of the customary tourist sites (Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Abbey Road, etc.) and a couple off the beaten road (Greenwich, Imperial War Museum). Highlights included a “WhoLock” tour (touring the sites in the Dr. Who series and the BBC Sherlock series) and dinner at Le Gavroche.
We then took the Chunnel train to Paris. Customary tourist sites included Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower. A little more off the beaten path were the Museé de l’Orangeries (with 8 gigantic Monet paintings mounted in 2 rooms especially constructed for them) and Museé Marmottan, which now has become one of my favorite museums with its fabulous collections of medieval illuminated manuscripts and Monets (the Monet paintings were mostly donated by his son, who was trying to limit the amount of estate tax he had to pay).
Dining highlights included Guy Savoy and Taillevent. Dining at Guy Savoy with its maître d’, Hubert, is like a show (where the dinner is the show). Dining at Taillevent is like dining at a friend’s house (assuming the friend is one of the top chefs in the world). I like dining at Taillevent better—it’s less showy and more intimate. Naturally, the rest of the family preferred the show. (More on the fabulously decadent meals later.)
We also did our best to relieve any sovereign debt issues the United Kingdom or France may have had. Whatever their debt amount was, it is something less now. 🙂
The trip back was uneventful, although, of course, we saw three sets of people we knew, either on our flight or at one of the airports. Fortunately, they were all people we like. 🙂
Our exchange student seemed to really enjoy the trip, which was the whole point. And, of course, so did we!