Europe: Your Guide

Good afternoon!

Let’s do lunch, shall we?

Tuesday Lunch

Do you see what I see?

Vegetables! Woo!

I’m not gonna lie, it feels a little weird to be eating healthy food and not downing casseroles, souffles, fried pickles and Easter candy. But it feels kind of great, too.

Today’s lunch included a mozzarella, tomato and spinach bagelwich made with legit mozzarella that I bought at the grocery store last night.

Mozzarella Bagelwich

I was inspired to buy the fancy kind of mozzarella after Ryan’s mom used some of it to create a delicious caprese salad on Easter. Sometimes fancy cheese is worth the price tag.

On the side I enjoyed little bitty sweet peppers. Aren’t they cute? They were so adorable that I could just eat them right up… and so I did. πŸ˜‰

Great lunch!

Now for some Europe fun… but first, the Fashion page was updated this afternoon!

Europe: Your Guide

After receiving tons of amazing emails, recommendations, blog and Facebook comments from you guys about my upcoming trip to Europe, I just had to compile all of your thoughts into one massive post, complete with food and restaurant recommendations and “must do” activities.

If you have anything to add to this list, please do so in the comments section of this post! I want to try EVERYTHING! πŸ˜€

Rome, Italy

Food/Restaurants:

  • Gelato: Giolitti’s (near the Pantheon, somewhat off the beaten path)
  • Pizza: Da Baffetto or Dar Poeta (need reservations)
  • Enoteca Corsi for lunch
  • Navona Notte for delicious food
  • La Cisterna (friendly staff, amazing food, let the waiter order for you)
  • Iced coffee from Tazzo d’Oro Casa del cafΓ©

Activities:

  • Vatican
  • Pantheon
  • Colosseum
  • Borghese Museum
  • Cinque Terra
  • Trevi Fountain
  • St. Peter’s Basilica

Colosseum

Florence, Italy

Food/ Restaurants:

  • Must-try restaurant mentioned by many: Acqua al 2 (order the blueberry steak/ the tasting menu which you may see here on Meg’s blog), reservations are a must
  • Other great restaurants: Osteria Il Gatto e La Volpe and Trattoria Quattro Leoni (order tortellini with pear and gorgonzola)
  • Gelato: Vivoli, La Carraia or the place on the corner of the Santa Trinita bridge (the bridge next to the Ponte Vecchio)
  • Pizza: Gusta Pizza, Ostaria de Centopoveri or Il Pizzaiuolo (need reservations)
  • Prosecco
  • Cappuccino
  • House wine

Activities:

  • Explore Oltro Arno (the other side of the river from statue of David)
  • Walk up Piazza de Michelangelo (a big hill with an amazing view of the city)
  • Climb to the top of the Duomo
  • Explore the San Lorenzo Market
  • Great late-night bars: Moyo, Red Garter (American), Twice and Astor

Venice, Italy

Food/Restaurants:

  • Harry’s Bar for peach Bellini’s
  • Pizza: La Pearla

Activities:

  • Piazza San Marco

Lucerne, Switzerland

Food/ Restaurants:

  • Goulash and spaetzle
  • Swiss fondue
  • Raclette cheese
  • Chocolate
  • Zopf (Swiss bread)

Activities:

  • Mount Pilatus

Mount Pilatus

Paris, France

Food/Restaurants:

  • Berthillon ice cream (in I’ile de Saint Louis)
  • Crepes (Nutella + banana)
  • Pastries, chocolate croissants
  • Γ‰clairs and macaroons from La Duree
  • Baguettes
  • Cheese, brie
  • Croque madame breakfast sandwich

Activities:

  • Eiffel Tower + the light show at night
  • Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe
  • Louvre
  • Notre Dame

Louvre

London, England

Food/Restaurants:

  • Fish & chips (heavy on the vinegar)
  • Indian food (specifically try Brick Lane)
  • Happy Hippos cookies
  • Pub food
  • Bruges for chocolate
  • Scones with jam and Devonshire cream
  • High tea at Harrod’s, Browns, the Ritz, Fortnum & Mason’s or Claridge’s Mayfair
  • Food Hall at Harrod’s department store
  • Strawberry beer (Fruli)
  • Hobnobs

Activities:

  • Camden Market (in Camdentown) and Spitalfield Market (near Brick Lane, great Indian food)
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Buckingham Palace
  • Big Ben
  • Houses of Parliament
  • Hyde Park
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • London Eye Ferris Wheel

Comments

  1. says

    AAAH this is so exciting!! When you’re in London, you HAVE to go shopping in Oxford Street and buy a Ben’s Cookie while your at it!! Ben’s Cookies are literally the BEST cookies EVER and they’re probably the only thing I miss about being a vegan! πŸ˜›

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  2. says

    That bagel sandwich looks spectacular–I need to start bringing sandwiches to work more often.

    Make sure you visit the Colosseum at night as well as during the day! It is all lit up and is absolutely gorgeous!

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    • Kara says

      I lived in Florence for 4 months and definitely would recommend the same places you posted, BUT I would also make sure you go to Enoteca Coquinarius……they have the most insanely delicious “Ravioli de pera” or pear ravioli that is combined with pecorino cheese in little ravioli satchels….its pure heaven. The brie and honey appetizer is amazing too πŸ™‚

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  3. Chelsey says

    WOW you are going to be busy! I’m going to NYC for 5 nights in September for the first time ever and feel overwhelmed planning to see things just in NYC alone! I couldn’t imagine having to feel like fitting everything in on a trip to Europe!

    LOVE that food is on the forefront when planning. We think alike, Julie! πŸ™‚

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    • Ana Maria says

      Totally agree! I would pick just 2-3 recommendations per place and otherwise choose your own things. Make sure you get in some afternoons/evenings of spontaneity! They’ll make the trip!

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  4. Meg says

    That’s quite an itinerary! Remember to also allow yourself room for exploration and discovery rather than feeling pressure to hit up all these places; who knows what amazing gelaterria or trattoria your family might discover.

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  5. Jacki says

    Hi Julie!

    I have never been to Paris, but I know of a GREAT Chinese restaurant that has a location in Paris and New York…Tse Yang. Even if you aren’t a Chinese fan, it is very good because it isn’t like your typical Chinese food, if that makes sense.

    In London, you should definitely check out shopping on Oxford Street….it’s shopping for blocks and blocks, you will love it πŸ™‚ If you have the time, it might be worth it to take a train trip to York and see Yorkminster Abbey and just walk around the town.

    Enjoy your trip, have LOTS of fun…you’re so lucky!!

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  6. says

    What an incredible guide! Can’t wait to see it all on the blog! πŸ™‚

    BTW, you need to take that mozzarella and pair it with thyme & strawberry jam on a panini. Coat the outside with cooking spray and coat with a thin layer of sugar before grilling. The outside will get sweet and crunchy. It’s right up your alley! πŸ™‚

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  7. says

    YAY I LOVE SEEING that london stuff!! you really SHOULD check out Brick Lane too- its such a neat area of london.. its so funky! for fish n chips- go to The Sea Shell-its super famous for it.. liek the best in london.. and then come visit me cuz im like 5 minutes away from it πŸ˜‰ .. also go to Portobello Market in Kensington.. I LOVE Kensington and the market is so coool! only open on Saturdays I believe? camden market is SO MUCH fun! funky as well! and I live near there.. and THEN go to Abbey Road cuz ya kno, gotta get that famous Beatles picture and Im literally a block away from it πŸ˜€

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  8. Andrea says

    If you have time when you are in Paris, you should go to Montmartre. It is a beautiful area on the highest hill in Paris. The Basilica du SacrΓ©-Coeur is on top of the hill, and it is beautiful. It is known as an artist town ( Monet, Picasso, Van Gough, and Dali are known to have had studios there).

    Also, if you have time you should climb to the top of Notre Dame. The line is usually very long, but the views of the cities are worth it. It has been a lot time since I’ve been to Paris, but I remember the guide books had information about the least crowded time of day to visit Notre Dame.

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  9. says

    Omg you’ll definitely be sorted with that list!!
    Honestly, when you’re in Italy you can’t go wrong no matter where you eat! I found that the best pizza I had in both Florence and Venice were from little side street pizzeria’s selling pizza slices to go.
    A cruise on the bateau mouche along the Seine is a lovely thing to do in Paris too πŸ™‚
    And I agree with Emma that when you’re in London you should go to Oxford street, even just for a little bit cos it’s super busy! Oh and you should try to see covent garden too, it’s beautiful! and a show in the West End if you can!
    So much to do, so little time eh?! πŸ˜›
    You’ll have to try get to Ireland another time too πŸ™‚

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  10. Caroline says

    FYI- Cinque Terre IS NOT in Rome. It’s in northern Italy (north west of Florence), but AMAZING. It is definitely worth the trip if you can make it work. You can walk/hike through 5 beautiful cliff side towns.

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  11. says

    So jealous that you are traveling to Europe! You are going to have a fabulous time! I can’t wait to see the pictures and read about it! πŸ™‚ I have always wanted to go to Europe!

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  12. says

    When you’re in London, you have to visit Harvey Nichols! It’s the flagship store and I’m sure that you, also being an avid shopper, will be just as excited as me! The security guards wear suits and black sunglasses with little ear pieces too – it’s kind of a big deal lol!! http://www.harveynichols.com/london

    Also in London, see if you can get one of the double decker bus tours – basically you get a pass for the day and a tour guide (most of which are absolutely hilarious) takes you around the city and tells you all about the sights, famous people’s homes, etc. You can just hop on and off wherever you want to.

    Aww, now I’m so envious that you’re going to Europe and I want to go on holiday too!

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  13. Danielle says

    I lived in Florence for a summer during college, you must go to PerchΓ© No! for gelato!!! It’s located at Via dei Tavolini, 19-red, 50122 Firenze, Italy right by Piazza della Signoria.

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  14. Sarah says

    While in Florence, y’all sould definitely try to get to Pitti Palace. It’s the palace where the Medici’s once lived and houses an amazing museum and beautiful gardens, as well as amazing views of the city.

    Also, in Paris, if you have time, the Rodin sculpture garden is fantastic.

    And for London, the Victoria and Albert Museum is amazing and a can’t miss!

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  15. says

    Hello! I’ve been reading your blog for about a month now, and this is my first comment!

    I actually just moved back to Atlanta yesterday after living in Florence since December 2009, and I wanted to give you a few more suggestions.

    -Grom is another amazing gelateria right in the city center just a block from the Duomo. Their flavors are chosen month to month depending on the season and freshness of ingredients.
    -Birreria Centrale (located in Piazza Cimatori) is my absolute favorite restaurant. My husband and I ate there once or twice a week.
    -Piazzale Michelangelo is breathtaking at sunset…head up there with a bottle of wine (or two) to enjoy the view!

    I started my tumblr page specifically for my life in Italy, so check it out if you want to get some ideas/see some pics!

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  16. Jinnie says

    Paris – If you are looking for a fancy shmancy lunch or dinner, I highly recommend Taillevant. It has been around for I think over 100 years and the food is out of this world. Also, L’Atelier de Joel Rubuchon.

    As for things to see, the Latin Quarter is amazing and right across the river from Notre Dame!

    If you have time, I would take the train out to Versaille. The grounds alone are amazing and you can rent bikes and bike around them.

    Enjoy!

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  17. Shari says

    Florence – Gelato – Perche No!

    http://www.percheno.firenze.it (open since 1939 and still family run – went on a food tour and our guide said this place is it – even the watermelon granita was good..not fake watermelony at all!)

    Right off of one of the main squares (and right near another gelato place, Grom – also good, but no where near as good)

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  18. says

    You might already have this, so sorry if I missed it! Although I’ve traveled throughout Europe and the Middle East, Paris is one of the best places to have an amazing FALAFEL!!! You want to go to the Marais neighborhood, which is really hip. Try to hit up L’As du Falafel. Also, just try to get off the beaten path a bit if you can, that’s where the most amazing places are! (while roaming Madrid with my twin sis on one of our backpacking trips we came across the most amazing organic vegetable and salad shop. It was like a gem because it’s so hard to find really fresh, healthy vegetables/salads/food while traveling in Europe, which is so meat and pasta heavy)

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  19. says

    In London, you MUST go to the Tower of London! It’s lovely – and the Crown Jewels are kept there too. They’ve been there since 1303 when they were stolen from Westminster Abbey.
    Foodwise, try Malteasers (Whopper’s big brother, soooo delicious!), Yorkshire pudding with bangers, mash, gravy, and mushy peas, and Toad in the Hole.
    Make sure you go to a proper pub and have a beer (or wine!).

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  20. says

    Sorry, one more: Cinque Terre is absolutely not to be missed. One of my favorite places I’ve ever been (I’ve gone back 3 times!). You can take a train from Milan to La Spezia to Cinque Terre (either Riomaggiore or Monterosso Del Mare). Great hiking between the villages. So jealous…take me with you!!

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  21. says

    Oh my…I’m getting chills just thinking about how much I want to go back to all those places. I agree on most, but some I think are a wee bit over hyped. The best for me was to always find a cafe with outdoor seating and simply people watch for hours while drinking vino…I’ve often made friends with people sitting nearby and learned so much!

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  22. Caroline says

    You are going to have so much fun!!

    For Paris, I would recommend going to St. Chapelle Cathedral, it is full of stained glass windows and was literally one of my favorite sights in Europe when I went for a semester and traveled a ton. Also I recommend going to the top of the L’arc de triomphe at night- its a gorgeous way to see the Eiffel Tower light show.

    If you have enough time in London, I would suggest taking the boat to Greenwich for the day. Its a cute little town with a great market and you can straddle the Prime Meridian and be in two hemispheres at once.

    There is a great costume museum in Florence that I loved, especially if you are into fashion. In all three of those Italian cities I recommend just walking around and taking in as much as you can…there are so many great restaurants and gelato places you will stumble across and fall in love with! Also, the shopping is fabulous. In Rome its fun to visit the Spanish steps and gaze in all the high end stores windows! The Vatican is a must in Rome. And you must see the David in Florence- its one of those pieces of art that really lives up to the hype!

    Hope this is helpful. I have been to all of those places except Switzerland in the past year so if you have any questions feel free to email me! You are going to have so much fun!!

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  23. Christina Marie says

    Two art galleries to add (if you like that sort of thing.)

    1. Uffizi Gallery in Florence (and if you stumble upon Il Porcellino rub his nose and make a wish.)

    2. Mussee d’Orsay in Paris

    I did basically the same trip 10 years ago and those were my favorite museums. Hands down.

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    • says

      Yes, I second this! Both great galleries. Worth any kind of wait. I liked the d’Orsay because of its more modern art that I could relate to. I opted not to spend hours in the Louvre just bc I think it could get overwhelming and not worth my inpatience. πŸ˜‰

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  24. says

    And if I wasn’t already jealous… I AM NOW!!!! πŸ™‚

    Ya’ll are going to have so much fun!!! I seriously love family vacations, and I can’t WAIT to hear all your amazing stories and memories ya’ll make!!! WAHOO!!!

    And now… I really want to go back to Italy and eat gelato!

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  25. says

    this is random, but which version of the Vitamix do you guys have? We want to buy one, but also want to get the least expensive as long as it is still wonderful!!
    Thank you!!
    Janine

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  26. lindsay says

    There’s a place near the Ponte Vecchio bridge (not sure where though) in Florence that has Ferrero Rocher gelato.
    Seriously among the best 5 things I’ve ever eaten. πŸ˜€

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  27. Liv says

    I missed your last post on going to Switzerland but as a Swiss person I have to tell you that in Luzern you need to cross the Chapel Bridge and I think you would enjoy the Lion’s Memorial and Glacier Garden (it’s really fun! a little bit of history plus a crazy mirror maze!). And of course eat lots and lots of chocolate πŸ™‚

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  28. says

    You’re up to your ears in great suggestions, but I must add, when in Venice? GET LOST. Literally.

    The main drags can get a little touristy. Meander off the beaten path to discover where true Venetians live, and you’ll never forget it.

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  29. says

    I swear I’ll send you those photos soon of the places to eat in Florence! Sorry it’s taking so long!

    Cinque Terre might be easier to get to from Florence than Rome (~1.5-2hrs vs maybe 4 if I’m not mistaken) Just a suggestion πŸ™‚

    Very excited for you!

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  30. Courtney says

    Your Lucerne list was a little light, so I thought I’d chip in my two cents since my family did a similar “European Tour” in 2008. Lucerne was one of our favorite stops – sooooo cute! You need to see the lion monument, he’s BEAUTIFUL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion_Monument) and totally walkable – walking around Lucerne is amazing. You also HAVE to try the rΓΆsti at (Wirtshaus Galliker was mentioned on another blog, and I think it’s where I ate it) if only for the fact that it’s soooooo cheesy! I hope you have a blast!

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  31. Lindsay says

    Sounds like you have a good list so far!

    Cinque Terre is not in Rome, and it’s not that close, either. With the amount of traveling you’ll be doing, you won’t have time to get up there. But that’s all the more reason to make a return trip to Italy!

    As for Paris, the Monet museum is very nice (called the Orangerie), and you must go to the Musee d’Orsay–the setting is amazing in an old, restored train station, and it basically shows paintings and sculptures from early modern periods like impressionism. Do yourself a favor and learn a few words of French before you go over. Trying to communicate in French first instead of expecting that everyone there speaks English will get you vastly better service and attention.

    Also, I’m not much of a fan of traditional English food (with the exception of high tea and the clotted cream and scones they serve at high tea), but London does have a ton of really, really good ethnic food–especially Indian! London is one of the art capitals of the world, and its museums reflect that. Don’t miss out on these world-renowned museums! The city has more than you can do in one trip, so in my order of preference they are: National Gallery, Tate Modern, British Museum. There are tons more, but those are the big three must-sees.

    Enjoy! So jealous of your trip!

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    • Grace says

      thought i would delurk to say definitely go to the Tate Modern Julie because the building is amazing (it’s a disused power station I think, but don’t hold me to that!) and it’s on the South Bank which is a really fab place just to wander along (it is where the London Eye is as well). I got really excited when i saw you might go to to camden – i live walking distance from there!

      Love your blog and have an amazing trip πŸ™‚

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  32. Sarah says

    a few other thoughts for London:

    – you have to try a cider at a pub – apple or pear – both are delicious and a nice beer alternative!

    – Covent Garden is a super cute area with lots of shops, restaurants and outside performers

    – I love Notting Hill and the market there

    – Kensingston Palace is a nice change from all the traditional palaces and tours..it’s in Hyde Park and has a unique installation/tour now which goes through the lives of all the princesses who lived there

    – Kate Kanzier! if you are anywhere near Holborn, stop by my favorite shoe/bag designer… not too pricey and adorable http://www.katekanzier.com/

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  33. Rachel says

    I second Cinque Terre!! It is absolutely AMAZING!!
    When I went we took a train from Florence (it’s been about 8 years).

    Very exciting!!

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  34. Brittany says

    Yes! I’m so glad someone recommended Happy Hippos in London! I spent a semester in Ireland last year and fell in love with hippos. My mom ordered me 5 packs for Christmas. Only one left! So amazing. Also, tortuga has the most Amazing pizza in Venice and is the only real bar we found on the island. Oh, and there are quite a few restaurants along the canal below the big bridge that everyone takes a pic from?? -words are escaping me. But they have incredible tirimisu. Best I’ve ever had in my life. So fun! Enjoy!

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  35. says

    Phew, that sounds like a great trip!! I’m super jealous.

    If you get a chance, make sure to check out the Musee d’Orsay in Paris too. I liked it a bit better than the Louvre.

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  36. Laura says

    I have never been to Europe but I wanted to tell you that you should check out a cool piece of history in Paris. Its called the Obelisk of Luxor–It was given to France from Egypt and it used to sit in front of the Luxor Palace. Its in the Place de la Concorde…I thinks its between the Champs-Γ‰lysΓ©es and the Tuilieries Gardens.

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  37. says

    Omgsh you are going to LOVE Florence! I studied there Freshman year πŸ™‚ When you are there don’t even fight your temptations for gelato..just do it (which I know you will..haha)!!! You have to try pistachio, cinnamon, and stracciatella. SO GOOD.

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  38. says

    How fun! I can’t wait to hear about your trip to Europe. Also, I was wondering if there were any tips you could share for people (like me) who don’t have really good eating habits already, and how I can just get started. I’m tired of eating things that are bad for me.

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  39. Katie says

    I am surprised I didn’t see this on your list – Angelina’s in Paris has the best hot chocolate I have ever had in my entire life. It is a MUST drink/see/eat. Their house desert – the Mont Blanc – is AMAZING as well. My mom and I both had the macaroons at Laduree and the hot chocolate at Angelina’s and we both favored the hot chocolate. I hope you get to make it there!!

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  40. says

    Cool guide!

    I need something like this for my one day stop in Manchester in June. I’m accompanying my boyfriend on an Ireland tour but my flight has me staying a day and a half in Manchester alone. I’ve never been to England so I don’t know a thing about it!

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  41. Kody says

    Add Pret to your London list. It is a deli chain but seriously, i crave their chicken salad sandwich and chocolate croissants DAILY. I can’t match their mayo : (

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  42. Chelsea says

    Thanks for the travel ideas! I am going to Paris and Reims in July and have not had a chance to do any planning yet. Your list will definitely help me!

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  43. Bonnie says

    The true beauty of YOUR OWN trip is truly making it your own – stop at the trattorias that entice you in Italy, rather than go from a list – maybe it was perfect for someone else, but not for everyone, every day. Be guided by your senses – and add in your sense of adventure and enjoy and be spontaneous.

    Of course this comes from someone who eschews “must dos” on trips – I love to be guided by my own whims and what sparks me.

    Have fun – it’s hard to find a bad place – not like the 1,001 chain restaurants in a city here.

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  44. Linda says

    Rome:
    Check out the Spanish Steps, Old Rome (where all the ruins are), a great restaurant:
    ristorante Da Fortunato (http://www.ristorantefortunato.it/)
    Tomb of the Unknown

    Florence
    Ponte Vecchio
    duomo

    Venice
    Like other’s said besides St. Mark’s square try to get off the beaten path, lots of fun stuff.

    London-
    Go to Abby Road
    Walk through Notting Hill’s markets (on the weekends)
    watch the changing of the guard at the palace
    Have dessert at Harrods
    Check out the Icebar London

    I am sure I could think of a ton more, but there’s just a few

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  45. says

    In Paris- go to Refuge du Fondue, it’s a quaint fondue restaurant that is SO fun.

    In London – go to Borrough Market, it’s a market that’s been regarded the best in the world, surpassing Pike Place in Seattle. Try the potatoes with cheese and the grilled cheese. Also – go to Sophie’s in London, quaint restaurant – very cute.

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  46. K says

    Not that you don’t have enough suggestions already…. BUT I noticed no one mentioned Notting Hill in London! (except one of the comments on this post) It’s a really cool area and has the Portobello Road market (have you seen Bedknobs and Broomsticks?… anyone?) there are lots of neat places so shop, obviously, in the market, and it has a really great fresh food section if you go a little farther down. A great place to buy a cheap, fresh lunch while you’re touring around. Someone did mention it, but cider is the best – and it’s so much better in the UK! Strongbow is my favorite πŸ™‚

    Also, I know this probably isn’t something you can pnly get in London, but when I lived there, my favorite discovery was nutella hot chocolate… OMG so amazing. I actually remember having some as I was walking through Notting Hill and the market.

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  47. Lindsay H says

    Oh I want to go back! I second Dar Poeta in Rome in a big way (bufala pizza is to die for). Get there verrrry early bc the line will be out the door before they even open.

    I studied abroad in Florence and we ate lunch at the Oil Shoppe every single day. Such great sandwiches (meatball) and cheese fries! Also my favorite meal of my life is at Golden View Open Bar (across Pointe Vecchio). Four years later and I still dream about the Gnocchi with Gorgonzola cream sauce and a delicious chocolaty dessert which I cant remember the name of.

    And also Cinque Terre is not in Rome (and quite far..but a day trip from Florence!) but if you have time to make the trip do it! Its the most gorgeous place I’ve ever been. Bring a swimsuit and enjoy some sun and their delicious pesto.

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  48. Kate says

    The first things that came to mind were The British Museum in London, as well as Picadilly (sp?) circus. It’s an awesome area and a great place to see a show (inexpensive or expensive). I don’t love museums in general, but the British Museum was pretty neat!

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  49. Katie says

    It’s on your list already, but do not pass up Giolitti’s. It is life changing gelato. We went out of our way to stop by twice a day while in Rome. AMAZING!

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  50. says

    Great advice! When you’re in Paris, don’t get crepes just anywhere! A lot of them aren’t as foodgasmic as other places! The best one if the Creperies “Le Sarassin et le Froment” (which is on 84 Saint Louis en L’Ile. Conveniently, it’s right next to a Berthillon shop so you can have a two in one crepe and ice cream day… yum!). Some of my family is around that area and I definitely go there every time I’ve been to Paris. There’s nothing like their crepes (and they go heavy on the nutella, which I love). You’re going to have a blast!

    Oh, if you can, also take a “bateau mouche” when you’re in Paris as well. They’re the boats that take you up and down the Seine and you can see the sights from the river. It’s pretty touristy, but it’s also very beautiful and worthwhile πŸ™‚

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  51. Jenny says

    I didn’t comment on your other post but you would love going to mercato centrale. I studied abroad there and to me it screamed Italian life. It’s a huge market with tons of meat bread dairy and veggie vendors. It’s amazing. And delicious. For a snack, stop at Pugi in piazza San Marco and get bread w olive oil and salt. It will change your life. In terms of bars i don’t know that you’d like twice or Astor. They have a lot of Americans and they are very clubby. The disco central park is the best one. It’s open air and opens up may 1st. It’s a little on the edge of town but it’s unique. Have fun on your trip!!

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  52. Erika says

    Your trip sounds amazing!

    You definitely should try to go to Murano when you’re in Venice (you just take the water taxi) so you can see them blowing glass to get some really pretty glass flowers and necklaces and all that.

    Also while in London you should stop by Covent Garden. Theres an open air market and tons of bars and restaurants. My favorite is Punch and Judy’s. Also if you go to Kensington Gardens you can get tea in the Palace (it’s where Princess Diana used to live) Also you have to try a drink called a snake bite its cider beer mixed with a light beer like Fosters with blackcurrant in it… sounds gross but super good!

    Hope you have a great time!

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  53. Emily says

    You should add paddleboating on lake Lucerne and the Orangery for Tea in London — It’s in the middle of Kensington Gardens and gorgeous/delicious.

    I also second getting lost in Venice!

    Have fun!

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  54. Holly says

    While in the UK you have to try a Custard Slice… it’s to DIE for! And, if you’re not a big beer/larger fan (like me) try a Cider. Either Strongbow or one I LOVE is Kopparberg Strawberry & Lime. I was born & raised in the UK so i would recommend a gazillion things, but these are the 2 that spring to mid right now in the food dept.
    Now shopping, yes the usual Harrods, Marks & Spencers and so on. BUT, i’ve noticed from your blog that you like Forever 21 & Charlotte Russe, if that’s the case you’ll HAVE to go to PRIMARK! It’s like Forever 21 on steroids! =) I was in the UK back in March for a visit, it was the 1st time for my husband and he had an amazing time. I hope you and your family enjoy your trip =)

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  55. Katie says

    I also suggest you go to Covent Gardens (during the weekend if you can) and try a Pimms Lemonade if you are thirsty for a cocktail!

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  56. Amanda Davis says

    http://www.wafflehouse.co.uk/st-albans.html This place is a little outside of London but totally worth the trip. They put almost anything you can imagine on a waffle from the traditional breakfast toppings, to chili, hummus, and ice cream. St Albans is also a super cut little village if you want to see some English country side!

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  57. Morgan says

    When in Paris you MUST go to Versaille. The gardens are breathtaking and the place all in itself is too beautiful to not see when there.

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  58. Caroline says

    oh my gosh in paris, you HAVE to go to the Musee d’Orsay. I actually reccommend it over the Lourve, if you like impressionist art like Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, and Degas. It.is.amazing. also, you MUST stop by Sainte Chapelle church. The main sanctuary is wall-to-wall stained glass and it is breath taking. it is pretty close to notre dame and soooo worth it!!

    also, while in paris, the museum pass is a must. you pay one cheap price for the pass and it gets you in to mostly everything that you want to see!!

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  59. says

    A few more to add to the list. I went to Paris, London, Florence and Milan about 4 years ago so I actually had to go back and look at my pictures to recall some things! In Paris.. go see the Palace of Versailles and the Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart church). It is a Roman Catholic church and it was really special for me to see because that is the name of the church I grew up going to in my hometown which is closing due to financial reasons. Also take the boat tour (Bateaux Mouches???) it takes you up and down the river and at night you can see the Eiffel tower lit up…very pretty! In Florence, see the Ponte Vecchio (oldest Bridge in Italy) ..BEAUTIFUL! My favorite spot in all of Italy (at least from where I have been lol), and if you can take a day to goto Lake Como..you will not regret it!

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  60. Ali says

    Have to recommend Borough Market in London, the food selection is absolutely INCREDIBLE and it’s so much fun!

    http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk

    The website is great and really helpful, especially if you’re feeling pressed for time and want to plan out some stalls that you think are must-see (and eat).

    This is somewhat of a long shot, but if for some reason you happen to be at Elephant and Castle, there is (was? I was there last summer), all kinds of booths set up outside the mall there and I had the most incredible Jamaican food

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  61. Trish says

    I have had the torellini at Leoni it’s amazing!!!!!!! Florence has great shopping too…. great leather coats/bags Noi – in Florence i have been there 2x and bought a fur from there when he came to NYC last year amazing!!! also Gianni Chiarini i bought the cutest clutch and reasonablly priced!

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  62. Danielle says

    Before checking out the Louvre, be sure to check with your hotel about it’s busy time. Granted my trip was well over 20 years ago but busy is still busy. It took us over an hour just to get inside and it was so crowded and I mean literally pushing your way through the crowd packed. My mom and I found the Mona Lisa, saw it and left. We had no room whatsoever to check out anything else. Good luck and have fun!

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  63. Katie says

    Hi Julie,

    I am so jealous of your upcoming trip! I just got back from 2 weeks in Rome visitng my sister and I lived there for 6 months a few years ago.

    The weather was PERFECT (70’s every day) and you MUST try these 3 places (only a few of many amazing places).

    1. San Crispino for Gelato. It is near the Trevi but off a back side-street. It is ranked by NYT and really is amazing. (If you have this and then try the chain Blue Ice you’ll notice the difference).

    2. Dinner: Osteria del Sostegno. Near the Pantheon but off the beaten path (Via delle Colonnelle, 5). Closed on Mondays. This is a favorite of locals and my priest who lived in Rome recommended it. Best restaurant I’ve been to in Rome.

    3. Roscioli. Near Campo di Fiori.(Via dei Chiavari, 34,). Go here for lunch and get pizza or if you on on Thursdays get the gnocchi! (every Thursday is gnocchi thursday). I went all the time when I lived here and when I went back a few weeks ago my favorite worker remembered me!

    I won’t go on and on here but if you want any more Rome recommendations and/or advice let me know, I have plenty! πŸ™‚

    Ps. Love your blog! Look forward to getting the email every day at work for a short distraction πŸ™‚

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  64. says

    Great post Julie! I lived in Florence, Italy for a while and also have experience doing some graduate school work in Rome. Just wanted to share some additional tips with you!

    St. Peter’s Basilicia is in Vatican City. Make sure you see the Sistine Chapel when you’re there. Double check the hours because sometimes it will just close on certain days at certain hours for no apparent rhyme or reason (I know b/c this happened when my parents came to visit and we were already standing in line. They turned everyone away after waiting about 30 minutes.) Some of the best sauces come from Rome, so be sure to try Amatriciana sauce.

    Cinque Terra means “Five Towns” in Italian and are actually five towns that you can hike through along the Italian Rivieria. They aren’t located near Rome though (if Cinque Terra is a restaurant in Rome then totally ignore that!).

    In Florence, you may want to take a bus up to Piazza de Michelangelo. It’s an extremely long walk, even for Italian standards. You can buy bus tickets at any Tabachi. Make sure you go to the Uffizi and the Boboli Gardens as well as see the David at the Academia. Also make sure you stop by the Piazza de Signoria. It’s am amazing square especially at night that is breathtaking (I got engaged there!). Also, while you’re in Florence make sure you try anything with truffles or tartufi. Truffles are amazing and they put them in a lot of their fresh pasta. A must to try! Also, ask around for the “secret” bakery. There’s a bakery in Italy near the Bargello and if you’re out late at night, they are already starting to make their fresh pastries for the morning rush. You can buy a fresh, hot chocolate croissant right out of the oven at 2am for super cheap. Ask any American students while you’re there… they will likely know what you’re talking about.

    If you’re going to be in Italy during July, this is awesome because the entire country has a huge sale on everything especially clothes and purses! When I mean everything I mean Gucci, Prada, Furla, etc. I’ve seen 50% off sales at these stores.

    Have an amazing trip and hope these tips help!

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  65. says

    I am so jealous reading this! I’ve been to Paris, The Netherlands, and Germany but there are so many other places in Europe I’d love to explore. I fully plan on having A European honeymoon none of that Hawaii nonsense that can wait for later in life! Hope you have a wonderful time:)

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  66. Mckenzie says

    In Paris y’all have to go to Versailles Palace. I was with a tour group in Paris and we did not spend near long enough there! I could have spent hours touring the gardens alone!

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  67. Briana (AuD Runner) says

    So excited for you and your European adventure!

    I lived in Dublin for a summer and in Germany for a year and I must say Lucerne is one of the most amazing places I have ever seen. If you can, in addition to riding to the top of the mountain, take a boat ride around the Lake, it’s breathtaking.I think they actually sell tickets that are for the cruise and the train ride. I actually posted a picture on my blog last Friday from my little cruise around Lake Lucerne: http://audrunner.com/2011/04/22/foto-friday-earth-day/

    I wish I could offer suggestions for places to eat in Lucerne, but I’m pretty sure I ate in some mall cafeteria.. but cafeterias in Europe, particularly Switzerland, are about 1000 times better than any one you’d find in a mall here! I remember amazing salad bars and drinks like you would believe.

    Not sure if anyone mentioned this or if this matters, but in Switzerland (not sure about other European countries), when you ask for water, they will typically bring you gas/fizzy/seltzer type water, so be sure to specify. I quickly learned the different in German between “tap” water and “gas” water! Water is more expensive then beer, I promise you.

    Okay, this is super long. Can’t wait to read along. You are going at such a lovely time of year!

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  68. says

    Paris – you must go to Montmarte to see the artists and see the sacre coeur! Also go by the Moulin Rouge and snap a pic its in that area as well. Also try some french onion soup! Go to Galeries Lafayette and it will amaze you! Go to the food section!

    Venice – don’t have espresso in piazza San Marco because its freaking expensive! Go on the Rialto Bridge! If you want to splurge go for a gondola ride. The drink in Venice is a Spritz, this funky orange cocktail. Prosecco is best in the Treviso province, super yummy! In Venice they have lots of nice glass stores.

    Florence/Firenze: Go over the Ponte Vecchio (The old bridge). Try and find all the Michelangelo statues there to. One is located on this big hill overlooking Florence.

    In Italy you must have pizza (seriously you will never like north american pizza ever again haha), have some gnocchi (potato based pasta), tiramisu and gelato!

    London you can pretty much do it in a day. Go to the Covent Gardens Market its really cool!

    And now I am green with envy haha enjoy your europe trip!

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  69. Erin says

    London- Portabello Market is WAY cool, it’s by Notting Hill (I know, like the movie!!). I would recommend high tea at the Portrait Gallery- it’s way better than Harrod’s (also, less expensive), and it’s near all the fancy museums, Trafalgar Square. AND you must see a show! Their production of Phantom is SO good!
    Windsor Palace is phenomenal, crown jewels- hello!
    and kensington Palace is neat too- it’s where all the modern day Princesses lived (Diana, etc.)
    I also loved the Tower of London- the boat rides they do are great.

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  70. Laura says

    I have some places to add to your list of things to do in Paris: you have to go to the Palace of Versailles and see the amazing Hall of Mirrors. I also think you need to see Sacre Coeur as well, it is breathtakingly gorgeous!

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  71. Stef says

    In Venice should also do the clock tower, the bell tower which is directly across from it where you have panoramic views of all over Venice, st marks basillica, and a gondola ride. don’t eat at any of the restaurants near the rialto bridge as its a very touristy area (but do take in the beauty of the Rialto Bridge πŸ™‚ ) and avoid at all costs, those restaurants where they offer the menu in 5 different languages. You will likely walk out very dissapointed. Also the accadamia museum is lovely and how could I forget a must see, dodges palace – we did a tour in an afternoon of dodges palace and st. marks basillica. If you made reservations ahead of time for the tours, you bypass the lines. Its super easy and you can make them online. hope that helps. πŸ™‚

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  72. Kelley says

    The Spanish steps in Rome are fun! Also in Venice definitely check out the Rialto bridge! Great view πŸ™‚ Hope you have a great time!

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  73. says

    Hi there,

    Just came across your blog recently and wanted to say ‘hi’ and give a few recs on my favorites in Rome!

    A great gelato place in Rome is San Crispino. Theres one near the pantheon and one near the Trevi fountain. All their gelato is all-natural with no artificial additives and they have fun and unique flavors.
    http://www.ilgelatodisancrispino.it/dove

    Also, Maccheroni, also near the pantheon, is a fantastic place for dinner. I highly recommend it. They serve typical and simple Italian, specifically roman, cuisine. My favorite is their spaghetti pomodoro, the black truffle trofie pasta, and a super creamy goat cheese pasta. But reservations MUST be made because they are literally full every night. It’s on Piazza delle Coppelle, 44.

    Have a great trip!

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  74. says

    Oh and one last thing, if you’re in Rome and happen to be walking along Via Cola di Rienzo or around the area make sure to check out Mo’s Gelaterie. (building #174) Their dark chocolate gelato is to die for!

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  75. Kate says

    A few more Paris recs…

    L’As du Falafel in the Marais neighborhood has the best falafel.

    I like the Museum D’Orsay and the Rodin Museum more than the Louvre (esp. the gardens in nice weather).

    The Luxembourg Gardens are great for a peaceful walk or impromptu picnic with crepes or cheese and baguette. Another little green spot is the Place des Vosges in the Marais, very peaceful and pretty.

    Macarons from Laduree or Pierre Herme.

    A few restaurants we loved for nicer dinners: Benoit, Ambassade d’Auvergne.

    In London, I love the Tate Modern, high tea at any of the super-nice hotels (reservation required), and had an amazing upscale Indian dinner at the Cinnamon Club.

    In Rome, there is a really pretty restaurant just outside the Piazza Navona called Santa Lucia. You need reservations, but the little outdoor terrace is so cute and the food was delicious. I would also try to get over to the Vatican Museum early in the day if you want to go through it. The lines get long! Also, the Cinque Terre is a little row of 5 towns on the Italian Riviera that is much closer to Florence or Milan than it is to Rome.

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  76. Jenni says

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but this is my first comment!

    I noticed that your Venice list was a little light- I agree with everyone about getting lost, but there’s a few more must see places!

    1. The Jewish Ghetto- This is where the “ghettos” first started. As in a specific area where a group of people were forced to live. Its pretty cool and has some great breads/cookies too!

    2. Murano- you can get the glass anywhere in Venice, but the trip out to the island is really neat!

    3. The Rialto Bridge is pretty cool and has a lot of little shops/restaurants along the canal

    4. St. Mark’s Basilica- I’m sure you’ll go there, but if possible try to go at a time when they will change the lights. When I studied abroad, they led us in, shut off the lights, and then slowly turned them on. It was pretty amazing b/c of the gold tiles everywhere.

    5. Squid Black Ink pasta! It’s awesome and try to go to small/not touristy places for something good and cheap!

    Have a great time!!

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  77. kate says

    From a Londoner:

    Forget Harrods. It is an overpriced tourist trap – the best Department store (if you’re into that kind of thing) is Liberty. At the other end of the scale Camden market has also gone waaaay downhill in the past 10 years. Skip it and go to Portabello!

    A full English breakfast is a must. I like the Electric Brasserie (on Portabello Road – convenient for the market, which is fun), or The Wolesely in Picadilly is also an affordable treat for breakfast (runs until 11.30am in a beautiful art deco restaurant with silver service)

    The best food market in London is Borough Market.

    Pub food is famously bad! (Unless you find a gastro-pub)

    Fish and chips are great, but get them at a proper take away place, wrapped up in paper, not in a restaurant. Otherwise it isn’t the same.

    For

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  78. says

    Being a Swiss lady by heart, you MUST have the pretzel bread as well. Any bakery should have it-pretzel bread or roll. If you ever swing by Germany, get a real pretzel-TO die FOR!

    Love your lists-they look great! I love London πŸ™‚ Your list looks pretty legit already though!

    Great lunch today, by the way. SO STOKED for you to go, Julie πŸ™‚

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  79. says

    I definitely have some additions for your list!

    Rome:
    1) Dinner at Santa Lucia Ristorante (by Piazza Navona) – incredibly romantic outdoor patio
    2) Gelato Tre Fontane (on Piazza Navona)

    Venice:
    1) Barababao (Restaurant)
    2) Antico Dolo (Restaurant)
    3) Guggenheim Museum (modern art, for when you tire of frescos!)
    4) Doge’s Palace – a must see

    Paris:
    Shopping at Les Printemps

    London:
    1) Champagne cocktail at the Savoy Hotel
    2) Tate Modern (museum)

    Have fun!

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  80. says

    Love the London part of this, since I’ll be heading there next month!!

    Paris- Breiz Cafe for crepes and Maison Laduree for pastries!! Oh, and a croque madame isn’t a breakfast sandwich. It’s basically the equivalent of what we Americans call one, but the French would never eat something that heavy for breakfast!! Such snobs…though if I could eat chocolate croissants every day, I probably wouldn’t be eating many sandwiches, either πŸ˜‰

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  81. Sandy says

    You absolutely MUST go to the National Gallery in London. It is one of the most amazing museums…and it is FREE! One of the best days I have ever spent travelling was spent at the National Gallery. If you are into museums, the Victoria and Albert in London is really nice as well.

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    • Amanda says

      all of the museums in london are free! the british museum is really awesome too (aka, the museum of stolen artifacts). you’ll see the rosetta stone and pieces of the parthenon from athens. def worth the trip!

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  82. says

    Wow! You have a great trip planned!

    In Venice, make sure that you see the Rialto Bridge & hit up the Rialto Market early in the morning! Also, a good way to see Venice is to take a Vaporetto all over. For some good seafood, go to Trattoria alla Madonna!

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  83. says

    When you’re in London, MAKE SURE to order *mushy peas* with fish and chips — they’re like mashed potatoes made out of peas. Sounds gross, tastes amazing — and I don’t even like peas!

    Also, if you’re into the markets thing (think amazing local cheeses, specialty foods, desserts, fruits, wine, ANYTHING you can dream of) you should check out the Borrough Market in London. It’s less touristy and in my opinion one of the coolest spots in London that not everyone will check out.

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  84. Holley @ Smart Snacking says

    Ahhh! I want to go to Europe. I am drooling looking at all those restaurants.

    BTW – that is one of my favorite sandwiches to pack for work lunches!

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  85. Katie says

    In Paris, go to Montmartre & up Sacre Coeur – but avoid men who try and put bracelets on your wrists! and for an amazing view of the city that not many people know about, go up to the top floor/roof of Galeries Lafayette (it’s a big department store just next to the Opera), you can see loads! The Marais is fab, as is hot chocolate at Angelina on the Rue de Rivoli – it is literally just melted dark chocolate with a pot of cream, overpriced but SO worth it! Eat LOADS of cheese, speculoos paste and crepes.
    And London, definitely go to Covent Garden! shop on Oxford street but prepare for it to be busy – also pop into Carnaby Street which is just down the road for a few quirky little shops, and Hyde Park is lovely. Try cider – mixed fruits or pear – you’ll never know it’s alcohol (potentially dangerous…!) And well done for already having hobnobs on your list.
    Oh there’s so much I could suggest! Hope you have a lovely time and really looking forward to hearing about it.

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  86. says

    If you can spend more time in Tuscany, do it. Rome is great for history but you’ll hear a lot of American there. Tuscany, particuarly, a walled in city called Montepulciano is just absolutely amazing. I took my now husband there in 2001 and we were blown away. Pure. Authentic. Breath-taking.

    Lucerne is VERY pricey, just be ware but if you head up that way you HAVE to stop at Lake Como in Italy (aka home of George Clooney). Another tucked away gorgeous town. Although if it is the high season, it might be highly populated with tourists.

    When in Rome (my least favorite of the Italian cities oddly enough) be sure to head to the Spanish Steps (gorgeous photo op) and buy the street vendor roasted chesnuts! Yum!

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  87. says

    You have a million good tips! I will add two more:

    Florence — take the bus (either city bus or one of those double-decker touristy deals) up to Fiesole, and plan to spend time up there either having a drink or dinner. You take this amazing, hair-raising trip up through the hills (barely clinging to the side of the hill!), and the view of Florence is SPECTACULAR. You get a great authentic Tuscan feel, so amazing.

    Rome — if you go to the Borghese Museum, plan to spend some time in the Borghese Garden (where the museum is located). It is LOVELY to walk around, there is a little zoo, a little train, and lots of things to see. We actually enjoyed our time in the Garden more than the Museum (though both were definitely worthwhile).

    Have a great trip!

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  88. cait says

    omg I’m going to almost ALL of the places you are going too from May 18th-June 11th! Will you be in London, Paris, Switzerland Italy during any of those times!? I wrote about it on my blog!! HOW FUN!

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  89. Macrae says

    Oh Italy is my FAVORITE!
    In Rome there is the cutest restaurant near Hotel Julia! It is called Gioia Mia Pisciapiano. The owner is super friendly and will bring you lots of free Grappa πŸ™‚

    In Florance see Fra Angelica in Museo di San Marco. The way he paint Angel Gabriel’s wings will bring tears to your eyes.

    Also, please try to go to Siena. Breathtaking!

    Have FUNNNNN!

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  90. says

    I completely agree with the gelato place near the Pantheon in Rome. I didn’t even remember the name of it, but I’ve successfully given directions to it to everyone I know that’s gone there since I was there in 2003. Amazing!

    For Venice, I would agree with the people who recommended the Rialto Bridge, the Basillica San Marco, and Murano. And it’s cheesy (and overpriced), but a gondola ride is pretty interesting. πŸ™‚

    Also – I would add the Musee d’Orsay to your Paris list. It’s my favorite museum in Paris – yes, it’s much better than the Louvre.

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  91. Shari says

    To add to MM’s post about Murano…keep going on the vaporetto to the next stop..Burano…this is the little island with different colored houses that you think of when you think ‘ah, Venice’ Eats on Burano – Da Romano is an amazing restaurant (see Anthony Bordain’s No reservations: Venice)..where they make risotto from a bottom dwelling fish stock by tossing it in the air…the Venetian food here is amazing!

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  92. says

    It looks like you have some great things on your list!
    I can’t wait to read posts about it.
    I spent three months in London and you definitely have some great things covered! The other great thing about Europe, is that even though there is so much great food at every turn, there are so many places that are so conducive to walking about 5 miles a day!

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  93. kait says

    You must be so excited! In London, if you wanted to venture to somewhere very unique for your afternoon tea, I’d recommend Sketch parlour. It’s on Conduit Street off Regent Street (look for a big stone dog scaling the wall). A bit different to the traditional Harrods/Ritz job, it’s grandiose mixed with quirkiness. I like their gold milk jugs. Also if you get thirsty on Brick Lane try the Hookah Lounge for a pot of Persian Tea it’s yummy

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  94. Kelsey says

    cinque terre isnt in rome. It is in the more southern part of italy made up of 5 cities. One of my favorite places to visit but not in rome so dont go searching!

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  95. Kelsey says

    Also, if you like adventures try to go to Interlaken, Switzerland. It is the most fun I have ever had with outdoor sports in Europe. I looooved it. By far my favorite city in Europe.

    In Florence a good and fun option is to camp out on the Piazza de Michelangelo hill. Im not sure if your family would be up for it but my bf and I did it and had an absolute blast.

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  96. says

    When you go to Paris, make sure to visit Montmartre (the highest point of the city) and the Basilica of the SacrΓ© CΕ“ur , and climb to the top of the dome. The view from the top is incredible! The area around is very bohemian to this day, and I think there’s a Picasso Museum. Movies like Amelie and Moulin Rouge were set to represent this area of Paris. You should check it out!

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  97. Rachelle says

    In France the Musee D’Orsay is a must, also a Lemon/Sugar Crepe is amazing!! And if you can or have time you should see Versaille, it’s beyond words beautiful!!!!

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  98. says

    suuuch an amazing trip! you’re going to have a blast!

    if you have the chance in venice — try to find one of the glass blowing places. they can be hard to find — but the glass they make is GORGEOUS, and you can usually get in on a demonstration — soo cool. and go up the tower in the main square. beautiful views!

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  99. says

    So excited for you! I’m actually going to be backpacking Europe this summer…leaving May 22nd to spend 2 whole months in Europe πŸ™‚ Its exciting reading your posts about your trip…makes me more excited for mine as well!

    All of these are great recommendations…I’ll add that Montmartre is an amazing place to visit in Paris…it was one of the most memorable parts of my trip!

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  100. C says

    Watch a Shakespeare play at the Shakespeare’s Globe in London! They do it as authentic as possible to how the plays would be produced in Shakespeare’s days, e.g. hand-sewn costumes using fabrics that was used back in the day, no microphones… The acoustics is amazing there. It only costs about 5-10 pounds to be a “penny stinker”. It’s a bit nerdy but I thought you might like it since you like English πŸ™‚ They only put on plays in Summer, I missed out last time I was there in Jan. Watching Les miserables/Love never dies (sequel to Phantom of the Opera) on West End would be amazing too.

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  101. says

    Great looking lunch. All that fresh produce is just so colorful and pretty! I loved this guide to Europe- makes me miss it so much and also excites me for summer!

    In Paris, you also must try a flan- trust me on this! And in London, Walkers shortbread and Dairy Milk chocolate are musts! And Madame Tussauds is always fun to check out- the wax sculptures are remarkable. And also try and go for on a walk (preferably at night as the lights are beautiful) on Embankment: beauty of London! Eeks I’m excited for ya!

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  102. Brett says

    Hey Julie!
    I JUST got back from Venice last month! Another restaurant you absolutely can not miss out in Venice is Call La Zucca ( meaning the pumpkin in Itlaian). It is right up your alley- the chef counts on whatever produce is fresh that day to inspire the menu, which changes daily. They specialize in vegetarian fare ( I had the pumpkin lasagna- heavenly!) but also have delicious meals for meateaters (Shawn had the osso bucco, and the spiced chicken cous cous- yes it was sooo good we went there twice in 4 days…no judgement please). It was a little difficult to find ( everything in Venice is) but so so worth it.
    Also, if you are in Venice long enough, check out some of the smaller islands nearby- Murano is famous for its glass making, and is a less touristy area, and San Giorgio Maggiore is a tiny island featuring a tower you can go up in and get a gorgeous birds-eye-view of the whole island of Venice! Cheeaper then the tower in Piazza San Marco, and a better view.
    Also, if you will be in Venice for a few days- check into the Rolling Venice card. It’s a travel card for people under 29, and gets you a huge discount on the transportation card you will need for all the water taxis, plus discounts on museums & the Palace of the Doges, etc.
    Sorry that was a mouth- full (eye full?) but I loved Venice so so much. Hope you will too!

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  103. Brett says

    That should say restaurant is “called La Zucca” oops!
    Also forgot to mention that the gondola ride is totally touristy but worth it- we all loved it. It was about 80 euro (yikes- i know, pricey) but that price is for up to 6 pple and it’s a 45 minute ride past things like Casanova’s house, the Bridge of Sighs, etc. Feel free to stalk my FB album of Venice to see what I mean!

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  104. ellalinea says

    If you’re in paris don’t forget do to a boattrip on the Seine, that way you get a nice impression of the city on the water πŸ™‚

    Also don’t forget about the castle of versailles! It has a long waiting period to entry but it’s like you’re catapulted in the middle ages.. so cool!

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  105. says

    Being a European, who has lived in the US for a while, there is only one suggestion that came to my mind when I read your post: Take your time to stroll and suck in the feeling of Europe. You want to do so much in so little time, as most Americans when they are on this side of the pond, and I can totally understand, but I would really recommend to take at least an afternoon with nothing planned and just let the history, cobblestone streets and locals be your guide. Have fun in my home. You will love it!

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  106. Karin says

    I’m currently living in switzerland (the basel area), and i must say, pilatus is one of the best places we’ve been so far! save room for food when you get to the top- they have some heavenly desserts. I hope you get clear skies when you are at the top- the view is spectacular! one food you forgot- Γ„lpler Magronen. its the swiss version of macaronni- its amazing! don’t miss the gruyere cheese either- its one of the best known swiss varieties. be careful too- if you are in the area on a sunday, then EVERYTHING will be closed. a little inconviencience we learned the hard way ;]

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  107. says

    Hi Julie!!! Add Le Sacre Coeur (The Sacred Heart) cathedral to your Paris list! It is beautiful! While you’re there, head to Montmartre and you will see the artists’ corner of Paris. Van Gogh, Monet, Degas all lived there. You can get your portrait made by an artist there today! This is also very close to Moulin Rouge!! Have a great time!

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  108. Meg L. says

    I forgot to mention last time, that when you’re in Florence there is a wine and oil shop that lets you taste anything in there. We bought a ton of flavored olive oils and a bottle of limoncello when we were there and they are fantastic! Here is the website, their address is listed in it! http://www.italianloves.com

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  109. Lindsey says

    Two pieces of advice:
    1) Harrods food prices are INSANE! I spent $30 (american dollars) on a Reuben sandwich. It’s a funny memory now, but I wasn’t too happy about it at the time ha.

    2) Pick your
    wisely in Paris. I went there expecting the food to be incredible, but if you just go into any
    off the street, you might be disappointed. Do some research and read the reviews!

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  110. says

    I’d definitely add SacrΓ©-Coeur to the list in Paris. Its absolutely amazing and the area where it is, Monmatre, is adorable and fun and very artsy! Definitely worth it!

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  111. Becci says

    I second Sacre-Coeur/Montmartre in Paris and would also add Sainte-Chapelle. It has been a while since I went to Paris, but I definitely remember these places as my favorites! Also, you must stuff yourself with as much bread and pastries as humanly possible or you will regret it πŸ™‚

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  112. Sarah says

    I was just in Florence a few days ago and I actually didn’t LOVE Vivoli. My favorite gelato was from the gelateria Neri. It was actually the cheapest and the most generous with portions too!

    For Paris you also must go to Laduree from french macarons. My faves are caramel and pistachio.
    Just another note, the croque madame/monsieur aren’t breakfast sandwiches, they’re normally eaten more for lunch. As far as breakfast goes the French pretty much just eat some bread, or a pastry with coffee. It’s tough to find a bigger american style breakfast, though there is a great place called Breakfast in America you could try!

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  113. Anne says

    If you have time, you should absolutely go to Les Refuges des Fondue in Paris. My parents went on their honeymoon 35+ years ago. They recommend it to anyone going to Paris, and everyone always loves it, including my boyfriend when he went with his family. The fondue is fantastic, the ambience is quirky, and they serve wine in baby bottles!

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  114. Erika says

    I studied abroad in London! Go to Portobello Market in Notting Hill, amazing jewelry, great food. Go on saturdays! Oxford Circus is amazing for shopping especially for shoes. Love Topshop! Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Kensington High Street is good for shopping. See a play in Piccadilly Circus. Covent Garden has excellent bars and clubs. Ben’s cookies is great, too! Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert Museum, and The British Museum.

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  115. says

    Florence is basically the best place in the world. Leather coat for 120 euros with a lifetime warranty? Would never find that here! Although I did live in Rome for 5 weeks and it’s also amazing, Florence just has a place in my heart. And the olive oil in Italy is to die for

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  116. Winnie says

    Hi, I just discovered your blog a month ago and absolutely love it! Anyway I thought as there are over 140 comments it won’t hurt to add one more πŸ˜‰

    I spend half my life in London and although I am no Londoner (until september that is!) there are a few things that I love about it. If you are staying anywhere near hyde park an early morning run in the park is the next best thing to heaven. I usually do the 6 mile loop around lake serpentine and then sit and people watch/swan watch as I catch my breathe…very beautiful and peaceful! I have to agree on the borough market front…last time i was there there was a stall selling the most AMAZING balsamic sauces!! Not mentioned yet is Kings road. Its a lot less crowded than oxford circus and there are some cool shops but the best part is the little off the road old bookshops I discovered on an aimless wonder….you’re bound to find a few gems in such quaint little shops! anyway hope you have an amazing trip!!!!

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  117. Jen says

    Hi, I have been meaning to comment on good things to do in London for ages!! It seems everyone else had the same idea. Still – I couldn’t let it rest! πŸ™‚

    Whilst I LOVE London, I lived there for 7 years, it would be great if you had time to visit another English city… I would suggest Bath, Oxford or Cambridge. All are easy day trips from London by train. You get to see beautiful English countryside whilst seeing quaint English towns. Bath still has the original Roman spas – Real history AND an amazing fudge shop. (It is also close to where I live! πŸ™‚ )

    For London, people have made fantastic recommendations! Museums are all awesome Tate Modern, Natural History and the Science Museum are my absolute favs! London eye, Buckingham palace (changing of the guard), houses of parliament, trafalgar square, seeing a West End show, all good touristy things. Primark on Oxford street will be manic but a definite experience. SOO cheap! Also Covent garden (market, restaurants, shops, street entertainers), Leicester Square, Piccadilly circus, all have great atmosphere and would be quick to check off the list or wander through.

    Pub food can be really dodgy, but try and find a good gastro. Fish and chips with vinegar is amazing. Try Hache burger in Camden, or any ethnic restaurant. You can look on http://www.toptable.co.uk or similar for reviews or deals. You must try a 99 from an ice cream man. It is a soft serve ice cream in a cone with a chocolate Flake (a stick of chocolate) stuck in. They used to be 99p, hence the name. Delish!

    All the parks are amazing especially for early morning runs! Primrose hill has fantastic views over London, and is really close to Camden.

    Man, I could go on for ages and plan days of itineraries! If you still have time to read all these suggestions… Either way it sounds like you will have an amazing time. I am incredibly jealous! Take care!

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  118. Melissa says

    Hi Julie,
    Love your blog! You have so many awesome places planned to visit already, but I wanted to mention a few more. I studied abroad a few years ago in Wales, and traveled to all of the places you will be visiting!

    London:
    Borough Market is definitely worth visiting! We just stumbled upon it, but there is a lot of tasty food. I found mushroom pate that I really enjoyed! I also fell in love with Primark while I was there- such a good place to shop! Try chips and cheese and drink some cider!

    Lucerne:
    I loved everything about Lucerne. I remember eating at a place right on the River by the Chapel Bridge that had the best asparagus ravioli I have ever had!

    Paris:
    I think almost everything has been covered, but I wanted to mention Rue Mouffetard. It is a bit off the beaten path, but it might be one of my favorite parts of Paris. There is a daily open air market and a lot of cute shops and places to eat. It is in the Latin Quarter- Look it up! I think you would love it!

    Safe Travels!

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  119. says

    I have 4 more suggestions for Paris:
    1.) Sainte Chapelle – It has THE MOST beautiful stained glass windows.
    2.) The Catacombs – There is most definitely going to be a long line so get there before opening. (my experience: http://buissonfamily.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/et-201b-les-catacombs-de-paris.html)
    3.) Sacre Coeur – Be very careful of scam artists on the hill (my experience: http://buissonfamily.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/et-201-paris-france-day-4.html)
    4.) Pere-Lachaise Cemetery – The most visited cemetery in the world. If you have never visited a cemetery as a tourist before, it is a really neat experience in Europe because they are so unique and have amazing headstones (see the Sacre Coeur link above for my experience at this cemetery)
    I absolutely LOVED Paris! We did not experience any problems with the locals being rude, but we also attempted the language as much as possible which helps in any non-English speaking country.

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