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South of France and Italy for Young Adults

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Could anyone help with a possible itinerary for a small group of 20 year olds traveling to Europe for the first time?

They will be traveling from the East Coast (Philadelphia or Baltimore) and flying into either France or Italy. They have 14 days max and would like to see the South of France, Northern Italy and possibly Switzerland. Please give recommendations on the following:

1.Cheapest/Best City to fly into and is it best to fly in and out of separate cities
2. A good itinerary - not interested in fine dining/Museums - they want to see sites! Would love to be able to somehow fit Paris in, but is that unreasonable?
3. Are hostels the best choice for lodging?
4. Is train travel relatively easy for them?

We are travelers, but total novices in the Europe area. I am one of the parents and would like to get them settled into a good itinerary. I would really appreciate help. They are VERY budget conscious!! Thank you so much.

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