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Leaving next week for Europe. Desperately need itinerary help!

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My family, which includes myself, my husband and 3 kids ages 17, 14 and 9 are headed to Frankfurt to visit family based in Ramstein. We will spend a few days adjusting to Europe time and then head to Paris for four days. After that, anything goes. Only my husband has been to Europe and he would really like to get back to the mountain scenery. I would like to learn more about the history of the area. Kids are along for the ride and will adapt to whatever we do. This trip came about at the last minute and I feel very unprepared to fly across the ocean and figure out train timetables or rental cars. We will have about two weeks after Paris to venture to Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Germany. I've been doing a lot with HomeAway to find lodging but does anyone have advice on if other options would be better. Also, train vs. rental car? With a family of 5 which is better? Any advice would greatly be appreciated!

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