3 days-Luxembourg or Switzerland?

Mar 17th, 2005, 04:26 AM
  #1  
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3 days-Luxembourg or Switzerland?

My husband, children (ages 6 and 9), and I are spending a week in Paris and would like to take a 3-day trip to either Luxembourg or the Lausanne/Montreaux/Bern areas of Switzerland. We plan to travel by train and due to time restraints, can only choose one city. I'd love to hear recommendations as to which of these areas might be our best choice in that short of time. We've not been to either area and have no preference, which is why I'm seeking advice.
Thanks.
Kathysa is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 05:25 AM
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What time of year? Do you prefer outdoor activities and scenery, or musuems and small cities?
Cicerone is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 05:54 AM
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It will be the last week in June. We prefer outdoor activities and scenery, but also like museums. Since we won't have a car, we'll be relying on walking and buses. I'm thinking that after a week in Paris, we'll enjoy a slower pace and fewer crowds.



Kathysa is offline  
Mar 18th, 2005, 01:19 AM
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Late June is a nice time of year in either place, and it will be light until quite late, after 10 pm and even a bit later in Luxembourg than Switzerland, so you would have the chance to fit in a lot. Both have an excellent public transport system, so getting around with a car will not be a problem.

That being said, there is not a whole lot to see and do in Luxembourg, IMO. I have only been there on business and then taking some time to sightsee, so perhaps there are other things on offer that I have not had have time to take advantage of, but overall, I did not find it as interesting as I find travelling here in Switzerland. I have spent most of my time in the city of Luxembourg, and have not been to the eastern part of the countryside, which I think they tout as being a “little Switzerland”, and which may have more outdoor activities. I have to say that the city of Luxembourg reminds me in many ways of Berne.

Switzerland also has more scenic beauty, IMO, esp the Lake Geneva area you are considering. The Alps make an impact that you won’t get in Luxembourg. You can take boat trips, walk or bike through the vineyards or along the lakes, take incline railways up Alps and then get to good walking areas from there. Luxembourg would offer biking and walking opportunities, but does not have the large lakes, and Alps.

If you go to Switzerland, with only 3 days I would spend all your time in the Lausanne area, and not try to include Berne. If you want a nice day trip, consider the Neuchatel area.

You can fly from Paris to Geneva and then train on to the Lausanne area (45 minutes or so), but IMO a better way would be to take the train. You can get to Lausanne in 4-5 hours. There is even a super-fast TGV train that requires no changes to get to Lausanne, and takes under 4 hours to make the trip. I think you kids may really enjoy travelling this way, very different from a US travel experience. Go to rail.ch for info. Make a reservation in the dining car and have breakfast or lunch while the countryside zips by. Door to door it would be about the same as flying, between getting out to CDG and having to be there 60 minutes before the flight, etc. The no-change TGV train door to door would actually be faster. The train leaves from central Paris and goes to central Lausanne.

In either, you probably will encounter crowds in late June, but nothing like the lines at the Lourve, Eiffel Tower, etc. . . .

If you do go to Switzerland, look into flying out of Geneva back to the US, rather than having to back track to Paris for a flight.
Cicerone is offline  
Mar 18th, 2005, 03:39 AM
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I would second the notion of Switzerland as it is easy to reach Lausanne by TGV from Paris as has been pointed out above.

And for the children there are at least one or two activities that are relatively close by, especially if you are going by rail:

the Chillon Castle near Montreux can be reached by boat ( a great way to do so) or by city bus or even by walking along the shore of the lake. Children I've seen there during my own visits seem fascinated with it.

The trip up to Rochers de Naye out of Montreux on the rack railway is another possibility, easily done, and offers absolutely spectacular views over Lac Leman (Lake Geneva to most of us).

And then there's the "Chocolate Train" and all that comes with that.

I think you'll find a wealth of things to do, great scenery, and a rather laid back ambience..very relaxing but lots of fun, too.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2005, 03:48 AM
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Thanks for all the advice and suggestions. We'll definitely plan for the Lausanne area of Switzerland. It does sound beautiful. I'm sure I'll be asking more questions as I attempt to put together an itinerary. We're hoping to see some of the countryside in France so the train sounds like the way to go. I'm curious...what is the Chocolate train? Anything with chocolate in the name has to be good.
Kathysa is offline  
Mar 18th, 2005, 04:31 AM
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The “chocolate train” is a one-day excursion by train from Montreux to some cheese factories in the Gruyères and to the Nestle factory in Broc, not far from Lake Geneva. I have not done it. It looks like a long day (from 9:30 - 6 pm) and IMO you could do this easily on your own and at your own pace, but for info take a look at http://www.goldenpass.ch/GPS/produits/choc1.asp. I found a commercial website (http://switzerland.isyours.com/e/gui...lagruyere.html) that says you can visit the Nestlé factory on your own Mon–Fri 9–11 am & 1.30–4 pm; free; reservations essential, call 41-26-921-5151) Broc is about an hour by train from Lausanne, would be a pretty ride. Broc is 20 minutes from Gruyères, and Gruyères is about 1.5 hours from Lausanne, so you could do this as a circuit. I have heard that the Nestle tour is not much, whether you do it on your own or with the chocolate train. For info on Gruyères, go to usa.myswitzerland.com and search “Gruyères”

There are number scenic trains in Switzerland. Take a look at rhb.ch which operates many, and goldenpass.ch. where you can book the chocolate train and which also runs the Golden Pass Train.

Switzerland is extremely popular on this site, and offers a huge variety of places to go and things to do, so you may be a bit belwidered at first.

Cicerone is offline  
Mar 18th, 2005, 05:13 AM
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Here is an excellent website that can provide a great deal of information:

http://usa.myswitzerland.com/
Intrepid1 is offline  

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