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5 nights to get from Paris to Rome - What to do??

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I am traveling with my family including a 17 and 15 year old during the month of July. We fly into Paris and spend 5 nights, we then have 5 nights before we spend another 5 nights in Rome. We are struggling to decide what to do with the 5 nights in between Paris and Rome.

Option 1 - Rent a car and travel through Burgundy, Rhone, and French Riviera before getting on a train to Rome

Option 2 - Paris to Venice by overnight train and then on to Florence and Rome

Option 3 - Paris to London by train and London to Rome by plane

I really want the kids to enjoy themselves and don't want to wear them out. We are open to other options but so far these seem to be the best. Any ideas as to what would be best?

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    It depends on what you like to do. Venice and Florence are very different from London.

    Option 1 would wear me out - all those hours in the car.

    Since your destination is Rome the most obvious choice is Venice and Florence and they are smaller cities than London, Paris, or Rome and will give you a varied flavor of Italy.

    In July I would opt for a cooler climate and take a train to the Italian Lakes or someplace in the Alps such as Annecy. You'll get away from cities and won't have hours of highway driving. 5 nights is only 4 days and part of the time will be spent traveling to your destination and then onward to Rome so you'll only have 2 to 2.5 days wherever you go.

    Since your time in Paris is so short you could do some day trips from Paris and stay there longer.

    Lots of choices but what you do is based on your interests. Personally I would avoid cities during the July heat.

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    I would also want to avoid the heat and the tourist mobs. Mega tourist cities like Venice, with their heat humidity and crowds would be a poor set up for Rome, I fear . I would go to the Alps or the Mediterranean, but I would pick the Italian Riviera over the French Riviera. It's just more fun and cheaper.

    If you want to go to the Italian Riviera you can take a train from Paris to Torino and switch there for a train down to the seaside. It's a whole day of travel, but the payoff is spectacular. Any of the towns between Camogli and le Cinque Terre would work. All the towns are a little different in that some are quaint with pebble beaches, some have more of party scene (but low key and friendly, not snooty) plus sand beaches, and some are bit upscale in the French style. If you want to go hiking, both the area around the Portofino National Park (there are cheaper towns to stay in than Portofino itself) or le Cinque Terre is good for hikes ... just remember it is blazing hot in July and you might want activities other than hiking as well.

    From there it is easy to take a train down to Rome. You can stop on the way, put your luggage in the Pisa train station, and go visit the Leaning Tower and its surrounding buildings. If 5 nights sounds too long for the Riviera, then consider either spending 2 nights in Torino to break up the trip --- and especially so if anyone in your family likes movies or cars or Egypt -- or consider giving yourself an extra night in either Paris or Rome or both. In July in Rome, you might appreciate an extra day for a trip outside of town to the beach, to a hilltown, or to the fountains at Tivioli.

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