Trips to Paris and London

London Eye to the Design Museum -- National Geographic's Ultimate City Guides  July 16, 2013 – 11:05 am
London & Paris Tour 2013 - Vacations & Holidays | Trafalgar

Unlike the disastrous Millennium Dome, (1) The London Eye is now a well-loved feature of the London skyline. Its 32 glass pods provide a thrilling overview of this vast metropolis—best at sunset as the city lights twinkle on. Look out for flags designed by British artists in Jubilee Gardens at the base of London Eye.

Wander east along the Thames to the 21-acre (8.5-hectare) Southbank Centre, "a gathering point for all the city's artistic and cultural tribes, " according to artistic director Jude Kelly. Built for the 1951 Festival of Britain, the (2) Royal Festival Hall reopened in June 2007 after a two-year refurbishment. Performances range from classical concerts to contemporary dance. The fifth-floor Saison Poetry Library houses the most comprehensive collection of modern poetry in Europe.

Stroll past the skateboarders to the secondhand book market outside the National Film Theatre. "Behind the cinema is the new (3) Mediatheque, a wonderful, free resource where you can watch forgotten films from the British Film Institute's archives, " says choreographer Gaby Agis. Colorful (4) Benugo Café next door does a mean Bloody Mary and brunch.

Continue east along the river, past the National Theatre and tourist traps of Gabriel's Wharf to the (5) Oxo Tower Wharf. "Most people go straight to the top-floor viewing gallery and miss the interesting design shops on the first two floors, " says Leo Hollis, author of Historic London Walks.

Press on beneath Blackfriars Bridge to the (6) Tate Modern, an architectural masterstroke in a former power station. The vast sweep of Turbine Hall makes a dramatic backdrop for specially commissioned installations.

Outside the Tate Modern is another turn-of-the-century success story: Norman Foster's (7) Millennium Bridge, known as the Wobbly Bridge because of early engineering troubles. It's now perfectly safe and quite spectacular. "Crossing London bridges on foot you get a fabulous sense of freedom as you look down at all the exciting activity along the river, " says Emma Hope, shoe designer.

Return to the south bank or you'll miss (8) Shakespeare's Globe, a reconstruction of the open-air playhouse designed in 1599. Plays are staged from May to October, with standing room for "groundlings."

Source: travel.nationalgeographic.com


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Vice President Joe Biden’s one-day trips to Paris and London in February cost American taxpayers more than $1 million, according to multiple reports.
Biden and his security detail rung up a $585,000.50 tab for a single night on Feb. 4 at the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand, a luxur... near the Louvre Museum, The Weekly Standard reports.
Meanwhile, The Daily Mail in London reports that Biden’s group spent $459,388.65 for one night on Feb. 5 at the Hyatt Regency in London, where the vice president met with Prime Minister David Cameron.
The contract for the London trip specified that Biden’s crew required 136 hotel rooms for that one-night stay, The Daily Mail reports

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