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best way to travel and buy tickets for travel in France and Italy

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I'm travelling to Paris at the end of July with my 11 year old and 3 year old. we'll stay a couple of days in paris, then travel by train to St Gervais les bains for about 3 weeks (possibly stopping off in Lyon), then down to Rome (possibly going back to Lyon first to leave my 3 year old with friends or they might collect her from St Gervais). On the way to Rome my daughter and I will stop off in Milan for a couple of days to visit friends. We may also make another stopover on the way to Rome (Florence?). We'll be in Rome for about a week, possibly staying 25km out of the city on the Pescara train line. Then we need to travel back to collect my 3 year old (friends will probably drive her down from Lyon to meet us, perhaps in Avignon) - there is time to make some stopovers on this trip. Then we have to travel to meet my sister and her little ones for a week at a beach in the south of France before we travel together to meet her husband in Lourdes for 5 days. We then take a train to Toulouse airport on the 23rd of September.
I'd like to know what are the best options for organising this travel. What sort of tickets should I buy? Which websites can I look at to work this out? I found the train websites very confusing and couldn't see how to easily find out the routes trains run and where changes would have to be made and to find out the cost and what would be the most economical way of doing this.
Any advice would be most appreciated, also ideas about where to make stopovers, where to stay on a stopover and what would be interesting for my 11 year old daughter.

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