Ciao, tutti!  and welcome to the second edition of my Guest Blog Series: “Travel Memories.” 

Today’s wonderful essay comes from my blog-reader, seasoned traveler and new friend, Kim Ives – an American who creates custom itineraries for world-wide travel experiences – beyond the standard travel guide.  Check out her website! 

Kim also happens to be the mom of two college students (a girl and a boy) – Whew! Here she shares a touching tale of making a lasting memory with her daughter – in London AND in Paris. 

Take it away, Kim! 

My daughter was fifteen and growing up fast. It was time to do something to capture those last moments with her before driving, dating, and college grabbed her attention. Thus, I planned a ten day trip to London and Paris for just the two of us.

Upon arriving in London, we had to do the London Eye first with its magnificent views of the city followed by a leisurely cruise down the Thames River. Dinner was al fresco in Covent Garden amid the buskers and crowds.

Busker in Covent Garden

In the following days, we saw all the sites such as the Tower of London with its dark history alongside its magnificent crown jewels. We saw iconic Big Ben,  the Tower Bridge lift up for a sailing vessel and “Romeo and Juliet” performed at the Globe Theatre. We entered St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, the sites of royal marriages, along with taking an unforgettable tour of Buckingham Palace.

Big Ben in London

We were able to slow down and relax with afternoon tea. This consisted of a pot of tea, small finger sandwiches, scones and small cakes while sitting in some of the fanciest hotels in London. How delightfully British!

Tea in London

Then, it was onto Paris via the Chunnel where you can travel nonstop under the English Channel from downtown London to downtown Paris in just a few short hours.

Paris was a delight. We spent the first evening atop the Eiffel Tower watching the sun set over the city. The local custom is to watch the Tower’s evening light show while having a picnic in the park. We had to try this before we left.

Eiffel Tower

The museums of Paris are unequalled. The Louvre, of course, holds some of the world’s finest and best-known pieces. We said hello to the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo and other incredible masterpieces. We followed this with a visit to the Musee d’Orsay which had works by Renoir, Manet, Monet, Degas, and many others. Finally, we visited the home of Rodin which is now a museum and saw “The Thinker.”

Rodin's "The Thinker"

We spent one day visiting the unbelievable Palace of Versailles along with its endless gardens.

Versailles Gardens

Everywhere you looked there was gold, elaborate paintings, and mirrors. The formal gardens are unequaled in their scope and variety which has been maintained since the French Revolution.

Hall of Mirrors-Versailles

Of course a visit to Paris is not complete until you visit Notre Dame. This magnificent church with its stained glass windows, soaring interior and elaborate gargoyles is not a sight to be missed. Its placement on the Île de la Cité in the middle of the Seine makes this the center of Paris.

On trip concluded with a magnificent cruise down the Seine from the Eiffel Tower to theÎle de la Cité. While dining on French specialties such as duck ala orange, foie gras, and chocolate soufflé, we were serenaded by a live quartet. This was the perfect end to an unforgettable trip.

I got to spend ten days with my teenager in two unforgettable cities and that makes these travel memories my best.

Thanks, again, Kim!  Those days will be memories that you and your daughter can share for a lifetime. I hope Lulu and I will also one day be lovely ladies who have tea in London and a picnic in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower together!

In the meantime, as she’s only five-years-old, I’ve chronicled the adventures and conversations we have shared thus-far in my new book, “Because I’m Small and You Love Me” available NOW for pre-order sales in the US and worldwide in just 10 short days on (appropriately) Valentine’s Day! 

How about you? Do you have a travel memory you’d like to share? With kids in tow or without! Exotic or the backyard!  Email me at GinaLondon@Gmail.com 

With love for all of us travelers, 

Gina

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