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Carpe Diem Flights Booked! Need help w final itinerary France/Switzerland

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Hello fellow travelers,

This is a follow-up to that Seize the Day trip that has evolved into France/Switzerland. Yesterday, our flights dropped in price by a total of $400 for our family of 4, so I snatched them up! We fly JFK to CDG and return Nice to JFK: great flights!

I’ll be traveling with DH and our two teenage sons, 17 and 15. They have traveled throughout Italy last summer for a month, and they enjoyed visiting museums, seeing art and architecture and just generally experiencing the culture.

So here's our rough itinerary:

-Fly into CDG, stay in Paris at Hotel de Lutece on Ile St Louis. DH and I stayed here before, and loved it. We have reservations for 5 nights but may switch to 4 nights, based on trains...

-Train to Geneva: In looking into booking our trains on scnf, I like to use the french version of the site. I believe I've read in the past that it is least expensive that way. I'm fairly good at reading French, and I've booked this way before.

Here's my dilemma: if we travel on Monday, I can get tickets from Paris to Geneva in 2nd class (which appears to have reserved seats? I hope? ) for 192E. If we travel on Sunday, the same trip only costs 148E. Traveling on Sunday would mean only 4 nights in Paris, and would give us 8 or 9 nights in Switzerland (still negotiable).
I signed up for alerts when tickets go on sale, but I think we’re within the 120 day window already.
Would you recommend shortening Paris to save the money, or stay with the 5 nights?

-Switzerland: at this point about 8 or 9 days.
I've been reading everything I can find about Switzerland, and I'm overwhelmed by the amount of things to do in such a small country! I've plotted out cities on Google Earth, trying to come up with an intelligent itinerary, but so far it's still very rough.

Here are some of the things we’d like to do in Switzerland:
-stay in quaint hotels with views over ancient bridges framed by majestic mountains
-visit Chateau Chillon
-take the Golden Pass railroad
-visit Gruyere and perhaps the cheese factory, but definitely eat the cheese
-take the Chocolate Express, and again perhaps visit the factory, but more interested in medieval towns, gorgeous vistas and eating the chocolate (preferably dark ☺)
-ride on lake steamboats for touring
-see beautiful glaciers from afar (we have plenty of snow and ice in upstate New York; can’t think we’ll want to see more in July, but I might be wrong)
-I might like to look at watches…not Rolex level, but can you get a good deal on watches there?
-do any number of things I haven’t discovered yet…we’d love suggestions!

Here are some towns that I think we'd really enjoy:
-Lugano: I know it's not very convenient, but it looks so beautiful. Is it sensible to try to stay 2-3 nights here? It seems a bit out of the way from the other spots I'd like to see.
-Lucerne: This looks beautiful and a little better located for seeing other towns. Would this be a good spot as a base for 2-3 nights?
-Montreux or Vevey as a place to stay (we’ll miss the Montreux Jazz festival, so we wouldn’t have to worry about the crowds then) This looks like an area with a lot to see nearby.
-Others people have mentioned on the forums are Locarno, Neuchatel, Geneva, Nyon, Murten, Morges…the list of quaint towns seems endless! Can anyone help sort out the most enjoyable as far as scenic beauty, medieval architecture and things to do?
-Based on what I’ve read, and the fact that it’s somewhat further out, I’m inclined not to include Zurich. We’d prefer to spend more time in quaint areas. However, if it’s a “must see” please let me know.

Here’s my Swiss dilemma:
Where and in what order should we stay to make the most of our time in Switzerland? Would you recommend starting in Geneva or nearby, then heading to Lucerne, down to Lugano and back to Geneva to catch a train to Avignon?

-Train to Avignon, pick up rental car, stay in St Remy for 6 or 7 nights.
This is a change from what we've done on previous trips, but I thought it might be nice to just base in one spot for a while. We have reservations at Hotel Sous Les Figuers, where I have tried (and failed) to get reservations in the past. It looks heavenly!

Here's another question: is that too long to stay in St Remy? Are there enough interesting day trips to fill that time? Would you recommend shortening it to 5 days, and adding time back to the Switzerland part of the trip?

Could anyone recommend some towns to visit nearby? We’ve seen Les Baux, but will return with our boys. We’d like to see Arles, possibly Nimes and Orange; not too sure about Avignon. We’re not that interested in the Camarque.

-Drive to Vence or St Paul de Vence and stay for 2 nights before returning home from Nice.

People have recommended Vence, and it looks beautiful. Does anyone know how long it takes to get to the Nice airport from Vence? We have stayed in St Paul de Vence before and absolutely loved Le Hameau. We can return there happily, but are willing to try a new spot as well.

So overall, I’m wondering if we should shorten St Remy part of the trip and add to Switzerland, or if you think it’s set up pretty well the way I have it. As well as any suggestions on Switzerland!

Thank you very much for all of the advice on my previous postings!

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