A London Sightseeing Tour with a Difference!

Sightseeing tours can be lengthy and tiring, especially with children and, more particularly, if you are a little strapped for time, but still want to take in the main London sights.  Well, we have recently experienced a London sightseeing tour which was neither lengthy, nor tiring – in fact, it was a totally novel and fun experience!

The BB Bakery, the French owned shop and café in Covent Garden, has done up a 1960’s vintage Routemaster red bus and equipped it with comfortable seating and tables, all set up for afternoon tea.

And it’s quite some afternoon tea!  You can enjoy being served delicious sandwiches, mini quiches, cupcakes, scones (with jam and cream) and macarons, all while driving past London’s main sights –   The London Eye, Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St James’s Park, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, The Royal Albert Hall, Marble Arch, Piccadilly Circus, Nelson’s Column, Downing Street and more.

The sightseeing tour lasts approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes (depending on traffic).  Departure times are at 12.30 or 15.00, from Northumberland Avenue, just south of Trafalgar Square.

Costs are £45 for adults and £35 for children from 6 – 11 years.  It’s also worth remembering that the bus can also be hired exclusively for special events, such as a hen party, birthday or corporate event.

A nice touch was being given a box at the end of the tour to take any leftover edible goodies home.  However, if you find yourself craving for another of the incredibly delicious macarons and cupcakes, you can purchase these at the Covent Garden BB Bakery,  or enjoy afternoon tea downstairs where there is a tea shop, plus several  private rooms.  And it need not be a cup of tea – here you can also splash out on a champagne tea, including a glass of French Champagne Rosé La Romantique!

6 Good Reasons to visit Paris in November … and somewhere special to stay…

Paris is wonderful at any time of year, but going outside the high season months between May and September, when the streets are less crowded, can be an advantage, and there are still some great exhibitions to enjoy.

Paris Freed, Paris Photographed, Paris Exhibited at the Musée Carnavalet- until 8th February 2015

On 25th August 1944 Paris was liberated by General Leclerc’s Second Armoured Division and the Allies. Two and a half months later, with France and the Allies still battling the Nazis, the Musée Carnavalet began the historical record with a Liberation exhibition that opened on 11 November. This exhibition looks back to that 1944 exhibition, using photos by Robert Doisneau, René Zuber, Jean Séeberger and others to complement a selection of images, contemporary films, filmed interviews with witnesses, books and other sources testifying to the commitment of the Resistance movement in Paris. This unique accumulation of documentary material provides an insight into how images were created in wartime.

 Jeff Koons at the Pompidou Centre - 26th November 2014 to 27th April 2015
In partnership with the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Pompidou Centre has organized the first major retrospective in Europe dedicated to the work of Jeff Koons. Playing with the boundaries between advanced art and mass culture, transforming the relationship of artists to the cult of celebrity and the rules of the market for thirty five years, Jeff Koons is one of the most famous contemporary artists, and also one of the most controversial. The exhibition presents a preview of the artist’s new creations, as well as his best-known works.

Marcel Duchamp. Painting at the Pompidou Centre- until 5th January 2015

This exceptional exhibition covers the pictorial work of Marcel Duchamp through a hundred or so works, from 1910 to 1923. Taking a deliberately paradoxical approach, the exhibition displays the paintings of the man who, according to general consensus, “killed painting”. Little known in Europe, these paintings, have mainly come from the Philadelphia Museum, and have been brought together for the occasion.

The Borgias at the Musée Maillol -  until 15th February 2015
Dedicated to the Borgia family and their time, and including exhibits of armour, jewellery and paintings, this exhibition traces the story of the famous Spanish family, including the scandals surrounding some of its members and their impact on the politics of the time, and why they ultimately became a symbol of decadence in the Renaissance.

Bastille Antiques Fair, 6th – 16th November
The Bastille Antiques Fair takes place at the Place de la Bastille, and along Boulevard Bourdon and Boulevard de la Bastille from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. each day. Antique enthusiasts will be able to find furniture, paintings, ceramics, antique silver and glass, and fabrics.

Festival of Beaujolais Nouveau 2014, November 20, 2014
This festival takes place in towns all across France, and is a celebration of the year’s work on the part of the producers of Beaujolais wine which comes from the the heart of the Rhône-Alpes region, in east-central France. The festival offers the first chance to taste this year’s vintage, and is celebrated in bars, restaurants and markets.

Where to Stay
We still have good availability in November at our charming two bedroom apartment in Rue de Turenne, right at the heart of the popular Marais quartier. The apartment is just around the corner from the main shopping street here, the Rue des Francs Bourgeois, one of the few streets in Paris where the shops open on Sunday. It is also just a couple of minutes walk from the stunning and perfectly proportioned Place des Vosges. In addition, the Musée Carnavalet is just around the corner, as is the rue des Rosiers, the Marais’s historic Jewish quarter, with its delicatessens and several exclusive boutiques. Also within a short walk is the Musée Picasso, a great outdoor food market, the Marché des Enfants Rouges, and also the Pompidou Centre and the Ile St Louis.

 The apartment has been decorated in keeping with its traditional features, including exposed ceiling beams and wooden floors. It has been furnished in an eclectic, slightly Bohemian style, with beautiful antiques and other pieces collected by the interior designer owner over the years. The kitchen is modern and well equipped, and other amenities include wi-fi Internet, stereo, flat screen TV, a safe, ice machine, washing machine and heated towel rails in the bathrooms.