2 kids and August

Old Feb 19th, 2020, 05:58 PM
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sio
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2 kids and August

Hello everyone!

I am currently planning our summer vacation which will start in the second half of August. We will be 3 (I, kids of 13 and 11) and we will have 17 nights.

Paris is on the top of the wish list of the 11-year old girl. So, Paris is indispensable for this trip. And I am trying to build an itinerary around that.

The girl likes swimming, outdoor activities, (window) shopping and eating. The 13-year-old boy is interested in history and sightseeing and he doesn’t like swimming or spending time on the beach. And I have to balance their interests to make sure that everyone has his/her time.

And I am looking for a relaxing holiday. I like to take my time and see one or maximum two places of interest per day. I have gone to most parts of western Europe, although not in recent years. The one place I wanted to go but didn’t go yet is Prague (I know it’s not exactly western Europe). But Prague is not set in stone for this trip.

I am currently thinking of this itinerary:

- Prague 5 nights (possibly with a day trip to CK)
- Munich 6 nights (possibly with a day trip to Berchtesgaden and/or Garmisch-Partenkirchen)
- Paris 6 nights (possibly with a day trip to Versailles)

My questions are:

1. Does it make any difference to start in Prague or in Paris? In either case, we will fly open jaw.

2. If we start in Prague, should I allocate 6 nights there instead of 5 because of jetlag? I am putting 6 nights in Munich because I understand that there may be more day trip options.

3. Is Munich a good stopover between Prague and Paris? Or is there any other better option? I choose Munich mainly to cut the trip between Prague and Paris shorter.

4. With this itinerary, we will travel by train. Each train trip will last around 6 hours. I am not sure if we are spending too much time in transit.

Other options that I am also considering are:

- London > Paris > Barcelona; or

- Paris > Provence (no car) > Barcelona.

At this point, I haven’t reserved any air tickets yet, so we are still flexible. And I want to hear your opinions before I go ahead to book our tickets.

I will appreciate any input. Thank you!

Last edited by sio; Feb 19th, 2020 at 06:00 PM. Reason: typo
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 06:32 PM
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Is that 17 nights total or 17 nights not counting the flight over?

Assuming you have 17 nights IN Europe. I'd plan On Paris and London for 6 or 7 nights each and one other location for 3 or 4 nighst.

As you say Paris is a must and London would tick every one of your son's interests in spades. Then maybe one really want to see yourself . . . and get the kids involved in the planning . . .

Something like flying in to London, fly to the 'middle city', train or fly to Paris, fly home -- Or same in reverse -- Or fly into the '3rd city', travel to Paris, Eurostar to London, fly home.
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Old Feb 20th, 2020, 03:14 PM
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Well I like the London, Paris, Barcelona itinerary myself... but that may not mean anything to your family. And yes I'd add at least one more day to the first stop for jet lag.

Would Provence work without a car? (truly asking I don't know, not a judgement at all.)

The kids are old enough they can help you plan. Give them each "assignments" to figure out what they most want to see in various cities (maybe?) then plan around that.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 12:29 AM
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Provence is possible without a car, if minimalist Provence rather than the "real experience" is sufficient for you. There is some public transportation, but it certainly doesn't allow for the meandering that is almost essential to enjoying the area. And with kids in tow, well...I wouldn't do it.

I probably also wouldn't plan a trip that involved two essentially day-long train trips (in addition to two long-haul flights) in a 2-3-week period. So I would probably choose London-Paris-Barcelona, or even better (with kids) London-Paris-Amsterdam (with its myriad daytrips)..
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 12:47 AM
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Thanks for all your replies.

I guess my big issue is I want to go somewhere totally new for myself (e.g. Prague) but I know that option is not the most convenient and logical.

Provence is an option but I don't really want to drive on holiday and I doubt if the kids will find it as amazing as a city.

I will have a better look at the London-Paris-Barcelona and London-Paris-Amsterdam options.

Any idea what area is good to stay in London, Barcelona and Amsterdam?
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 04:15 AM
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I, too, like the London-Paris-Amsterdam option; it has many favorables like less transit in between (and thus more holiday time), and the food options are incredible for your young Foodie. Cycling in Amsterdam would be a fun outdoor activity, as well.

I love Prague, but it wouldn't be my choice to share with an 11 and 13 year old; the ratio of "old stuff" like history and culture to "trendy" (at their ages) is too high, whereas for London, Paris and Amsterdam the inverse ratio is true. We first took our children to Prague when they were 11 and 16 for the week between Christmas (because we lived in Vienna and it was close) and it was magical and all, but they politely declined to join us on most subsequent visits.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 06:15 AM
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If we decide to do the London-Paris-Amsterdam option. In which order should we do it? And how many days should we spend in Amsterdam. I am planning to have 17 nights on the ground.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by sio View Post
If we decide to do the London-Paris-Amsterdam option. In which order should we do it? And how many days should we spend in Amsterdam. I am planning to have 17 nights on the ground.
If you stick with this route you could really do it in either order but the deciding factor might end up being your transatlantic flight time if you are headed to the US. Since many flights leave in the morning-the big thing IMO would be to just try to avoid a scenario where you have to fly somewhere just to spend the night at the airport due to a very early flight. But you should be able to avoid this with these three cities. Also, I think CDG in Paris is the worst of the three airports to just have to hang out in waiting to depart, but given you are looking at London, Paris and Amsterdam, it might be more likely that you departure airport will be either London or Amsterdam given the geography.

I totally understand the temptation for you to see some place new but if it has a been a number of years since you have been to these places I think you will be amazed how they have changed, and I think it will be also fun to see them through your kid's eyes and maybe even revisit together places you have been. I took my god daughter a few years ago to Paris (where I had lived a number of years) and it was super fun because of that.

Also I don't know if you know about Paris Plages, which is a fun event in Paris in the summer with beaches set up along the Seine and open air swimming pools-so that might interest your daughter:

https://en.parisinfo.com/discovering...s/paris-plages

In terms of where to stay, I don't know Amsterdam well enough to comment other than I liked the area over near between the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, and I know De Pijp is a popular neighborhood for restaurants, etc.

In Paris, for your kids as first time visitors I would suggest staying either kind of near the river on the left bank kind of near St Germain and Rue de Rennes in the 6th nearer to the 7th. I would avoid the more touristic part of the 6th near boulevard St Michel between St Germain and the river since it is noisy and for shopping is mostly ticky tacky tourist stuff IMO. The Rue de Rennes from St Germain to Montparnasse has nice shopping for young people. If you start to narrow down to specific lodging we can give you good feedback about exact locations.

Alternatively I would suggest if you prefer the right bank you could stay in the Marais. I would suggest the area from Place de Vosges west towards the river up to the area next to the Louvre-BUT I would avoid the area of Les Halles proper-it is mostly an underground mall with KFC and fast food restaurants like that around it etc. even though there are nice areas right near there like the shopping street Rue Montorgueil which fun-but it can be noisy to stay there. If you want specific lodging recommendations many of know lots of places depending on budget, desired location, etc.

Here is a rough graphic of those two suggested neighborhoods circled in yellow


In London I prefer the area near between the Tate Modern and Borough Market on the south bank, but there are many other more London experts on the forum who will have many ideas for you I am sure.

One thing for all those cities in August-I would recommend getting lodging with A/C as much for noise as for having it cool. August has been hot in most of Europe these past few summers!

Have fun planning-it sound like a fun trip!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 12:43 AM
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Thanks for all the useful tips and information! I am convinced that the London-Paris-Amsterdam option is going to be more fun and interesting.

I will start looking at flight and hotel options.

I am thinking of 7 nights in London, 6 in Paris and 4 in Amsterdam. Should that sound reasonable?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 06:12 AM
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Yes I think that would be a nice amount of time. Paris and Amsterdam are really smaller city cores than London so I think the extra day in London makes sense.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 06:13 AM
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Sounds perfect to me.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 09:58 AM
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That's a very good division of time . . .

The order makes almost no difference since transport between the three cities is very easy. Mostly by train but flying between London and A'dam can make sense - especially if the flight uses London City airport (LCY). I'd decide based on which two city combo got me the lowest Open Jaw fare
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 10:59 AM
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Seven days in London sounds like too much to me unless you have a big list of museums and monuments to see (I'm sure your kids don't). You could take the Eurostar from London to Amsterdam, but since Amsterdam station is not equipped for customs and immigration, I believe that you have to pause in Brussels anyway (or that might only be for the other direction, where I -KNOW- that it is obligatory). Brussels would be worth a day. It is terribly underrated, which is another reason to go there. The Thalys from Amsterdam to Paris is excellent.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 12:17 PM
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There is a direct train from London to Amsterdam. No need to fly.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by kerouac View Post
Seven days in London sounds like too much to me unless you have a big list of museums and monuments to see (I'm sure your kids don't).
It isn't seven days in London - its 7 nights which equals 6 days and London is absolutely ENORMOUS. There is soooooooo much for kids in London - More even than in Paris - and that would be without a single 'monument' and only a few museums. They would barely scratch the surface in 6-ish days

Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
There is a direct train from London to Amsterdam. No need to fly.
I agree -- I only mentioned that flying 'can' make sense if they use LCY which is very quick and easy to get to as opposed to the other airports. It partly depends on where they are staying in each city.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 01:23 PM
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Flying such a short distance never makes sense. Sorry but there is a climate emergency going on.
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Old Feb 24th, 2020, 06:50 AM
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Don't know your exact dates in August, but maybe try to include this event in Amsterdam;
https://www.holland.com/global/touri...erdam-2020.htm

It will be busy in Amsterdam during Sail, though.
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