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France, Italy, and Switzerland

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What is the best way to see parts of France (route wise) after spending several days in Paris?
The North West part of France: Normandy, Versailles, Giverny (2 days)
The South part of France: Provence (Avignon, Marseille), Nice, Corsica (2-3 days)
*What is a must and what could we cut out?

Is it best to have Paris as the home base and take day trips by train to the NW part of France and then find a place in Provence to see the Southern part of France?

We (family of 4 adults) were thinking of driving, but it sounds like the cheapest bet would be to rent a car from Paris and then go to see other parts of France, return it in Paris, and fly out to Italy. What do you think? It would be nice to do South of France to Italy, but it seems like our options are limited? Am I mistaken?

As for Italy, the plan is to do Cinque Terre, Rome, and Venice.

Our route: France (approx. 8-9 days) , Italy (approx. 8-9 days), Switzerland (2 days )and then back to Paris for return trip. What is the best way to get to Switzerland? Is it best to do France-Switzerland or Italy to Switzerland?

Is it best to book trains before we leave? Is TVG better than RailEurope?
What is essential to book now as opposed to when we're at our destination-if we wanted to change our day trips, for example?

Appreciate any feedback!

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