Spain & France

Introduction

In 2007, we set out on our first big European trip without our children, who were 12 and 9 at the time (we are so very thankful for the grandparents who watched them)! It was hard to leave them, but, once there, we had an amazing time! I loved exploring parts of Spain, France, and a brief visit to London. Since this trip was 13 years ago, if a certain place doesn’t exist anymore, I will make note of that. We purchased our train tickets and Eurorail passes ahead of time.

My Itinerary

June 30

Leave LA to Madrid

July 1 

Arrive in Madrid 

Check into Hotel Ópera

  • Nice location

  • Quite loud outside

July 2

Reina Sofía Museum

  • Took train there

Dinner at an Argentina steakhouse (can't recall name)

July 3

Day trip to Toledo

Dinner at Ginos

Dessert at Chocolatería San Ginés

  • Amazing churros and hot chocolate

July 4

Last day in Madrid

Prado Museum

  • A lot of religious paintings

Tapas (and Burger King) for lunch

Dinner at Entre Suspiro y Suspiro

  • Southwestern cuisine, great meal

July 5

Fly to Barcelona on Iberia Airlines

Check into Hotel Constanza

  • Convenient and quiet location on a main street

  • Small room

  • Very nice stay

Lunch at Ciudad Condal

  • Yummy tapas

Basílica de la Sagrada Família

  • Unfinished and very strange looking

Explored the neighborhood

Plaza de Toros Monumental bull fighting ring

  • Off season so no show

Dinner at Tellula (appears to not exist anymore)

  • Paella

  • Good

Gelato at Dino

July 6

Brunch at Creps Barcelona

Picasso Museum

Walk along waterfront

Late lunch at La Oficina (couldn't find it online)

  • Located at the boardwalk

Walk to the beach

Take subway to Montjuic

  • Walk around grounds

  • See fountain

Visit the Olympic Village

Gelato again at Dino

July 7

Check out of Hotel Constanza

Walk to Cathedral

  • Make sure to have your shoulders covered if you want to enter

Walk on Las Ramblas

Go to a local laundromat to wash our clothes

Dinner at a café on Las Ramblas

Head to train station

Take overnight train to France

  • Very small room

  • Bunkbeds

  • Very bumpy ride

July 8

Arrive in France

Rent a minivan

Drive to Amboise

  • Approx. 2 hours

Check into Hotel Le Choiseul

  • Very quaint and charming rooms

Late lunch/snack at Anne de Bretagne

  • Very yummy

Walk to castle Château-Gaillard Amboise

  • Beautiful

Dinner at Le Cadran

  • Pizza and pasta

Dessert at Anne de Bretagne

July 9

Drive to Chateau Villandry

  • Beautiful home and grounds

Lunch at a café in Chateau Villandry

Drive to Château of Langeais

  • Very medieval

Drive to Tours

  • Walk around town

Dinner at L’atelier Gourmand

  • VERY GOOD food and wine

Drive back to Amboise

July 10

Breakfast/brunch at Anne de Bretagne

  • We really liked this place

Drive to Château de Chenonceau

  • Walk around and enjoy wine

Drive back to Amboise

Dinner at L’Épicerie

  • Good food and wine

July 11

Drive to Versailles

  • Waited in line 1 hour for tickets *worth it

  • Tour inside the home and gardens

Drive to Paris

Check into Hotel de Lutèce on Île Saint-Louis

  • Nice hotel

  • Small rooms

Return rental car

Dinner at Le Bucheron

  • Good pasta

July 12

Breakfast at a local café

Musée d'Orsay

  • Impressionist art

Lunch at Les Deux Musées

  • Near the museum

Walk to Saint Chapelle

  • Wait in line 1 hour to see the church

Go to Conciergerie

  • Where Marie Antoinette was held prisoner

Dinner at La Brasserie de l'Isle Saint-Louis

  • Good food

  • A little pricey

July 13

Breakfast at local café

Go to the Eiffel Tower

  • Climb 2/3 of the way up

  • Elevator was too crowded so didn’t go to the very top

  • Beautiful views

Lunch at Les Deux Musées

Walk to Arc de Triomphe and Avenue des Champs-Élysées

Go to the Louvre Museum

  • See The Mona Lisa

Dinner at Caffé Toscano

  • Good pasta

July 14

Breakfast at Hotel de Lutèce

Go to Notre Dame

Go to Panthéon

  • Impressive pendulum

Explore the Latin Quarter

  • Found a good falafel/shawarma spot

Boat cruise

  • Very hot

Dinner at The Bistro in the Latin Quarter (couldn't find it online)

Go to Pont Neuf and watch fireworks

July 15

Off to London

Take the Chunnel Train

  • Part of the ride is under water

Check into the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square

  • Nice and quiet

  • Big and comfy room

Lunch at Spaghetti House

  • Good pasta

Walk around St. James Place and Hyde Park

Dinner at restaurant in London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square

July 16

Breakfast at London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square

Got 1/2 price theater tickets for tonight

Buckingham Palace

Lunch at Queen Anne’s sandwich shop (appears to not exist anymore)

See Westminster Abbey and Big Ben

Dinner at Criterion Restaurant

  • Good steaks

  • Unique atmosphere

See the play 39 Steps at The Criterion Theater

July 17

Fly home