3 families - Christmas 2008

Aug 25th, 2007, 06:17 AM
  #1  
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3 families - Christmas 2008

We are three families with 4 17 yr olds and one 21 yr old looking to spend a few weeks in Europe in Dec 2008/Jan 2009. I know itís a big ask but I would really appreciate any thoughts and advice on our current plans, and also some ideas on how 11 people can most efficiently travel from point A to point B in Europe.

Our plans right now are:

One week in Spain visiting family in Salamanca earlier in December and travel from there to Barcelona and up to Paris. This may be only my immediate family so 3 or perhaps 8 people.

Christmas week in Paris over Christmas. (11 people)

New Years week in Samoëns in the French Alps. (11 people)

After New Years in Samoëns, some of us also want to spend a few days in Lucca, Tuscany before we fly home to Sydney Australia.

We've found a few apartments that can accommodate us in Paris however while they are well appointed for some reason they have limited dining facilities Ė tables for only 8 etc. We are happy to buy a cheap card table if needed.

We will rent a chalet in Samoëns, but realise we need to book early.

Rationale for our choices of Paris and Samoëns

We have a chef in our group who has spent Xmas in Paris before and will be cooking Xmas dinner. He likes the markets and the range of food available. I don't know anyone who has been to Samoens before but it appeals because it is a medieval village rather than a full on ski resort, we can also rent spacious chalets. Several of the adults won't be skiing but the kids can take the lifts to some excellent skiing, the remainder want to do some touring. Geneva is only an hour away. We did look at Strasbourg but couldnít find any suitable accommodation.

Does anyone know if there are any deals on group train travel in Europe? Should we look at point to point train tickets or rail passes?

We arenít fixed on Samoëns, but France appeals because of the language and food. So any alternate ideas would be greatly welcomed. I donít think we are that enthralled with the idea of dealing with budget airlines over the winter holiday season. However, we are open to ideas Ė some people have suggested Croatia.

Another thing - we arenít great fans of German food.
Sarvowinner is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 10:09 AM
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tt
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Aug 25th, 2007, 01:55 PM
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WoW - sounds like an amazing trip and you are wise to be thinking ahead. One thought re: Paris lodgings - we have stayed in both hotels and apartments and have had good experiences in each. I am not familiar with apt. rentals for a group of your size (we are a family of three!) but you might want to check out Les Residences Henri IV in the 5th arrondissement. It's an apartment-hotel (well-reviewed here and on tripadvisor)that we'll be trying for the first time next June. Perhaps booking several rooms/apartments there might be a way to go - see what you think:

www.residencehenri4.com Bonne chance!
-msm4
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Aug 25th, 2007, 07:30 PM
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Thanks for the heads up on the apartment hotel. It's good to know of one in the 5th.

Does anyone have any ideas on whether we should do point to point or get a train pass?
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Aug 27th, 2007, 08:04 AM
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Anyone??
Sarvowinner is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 07:48 PM
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Good luck.

You should set ground rules for money and day trips before you go.

Even though you will be France for New Year's, you can celebrate Spanish style. At the stroke of midnight eat 12 grapes.

And it might be easier to visit Madrid from Salamanca than Barcelona. It is nearer and three world class museums to visit.

Aduchamp1 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 09:55 PM
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Thanks Aduchamp

We've travelled before and know we get along well together. I'm making it clear we will only stay in Paris and the French Alps together - this means only one major group transit.

I'm thinking we will travel from MAdrid by train to Salamanca. Any ideas on getting from Salamanca to Paris? Is it too much to go via Barcelona?

What is the meaning behind the 12 grapes?
Sarvowinner is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 03:10 AM
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I'd like to exchange my appartment in Paris (large and confortable) against one in NY for Christmas and new year's this year. 7 persons can sleep inside.
Perhaps it could help you, tell me.
Christine
esethi is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 05:36 AM
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Hi Christine

Great idea but we don't live in NYC (Sydney Australia) and our trip will be in December, 2008. However I would suggest you read the following thread:

http://tinyurl.com/28f6sj

Good luck, I'm sure you won't have any problems.
Sarvowinner is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 12:09 PM
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First the grapes.

There was an abundance of grapes one year and either the king or the grape growers encouraged the Spaniards to eliminate the excess by eating 12 grapes on New Year's Eve. You are supposed to eat one at every chime of the clock which leads to a messy good time.

Just for the heck it, I looked and and there is a direct flight from Salamanca to barcelona.

By the way Salamanca has a magnificent main square.

And over the entrance to the Salamanca University library is one of the great caveats, it reads something like this (whcih I just lifted from another site)
"His holiness reserves the right to excommunicate any persons who steal, take, or in any other way remove any book, parchment, or paper from this library, without the possibility of absolution until the above should be completely reinstated."
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 09:11 PM
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Aduchamp

Love it, love it! Give me more!

How do you give New Years greetings while eating the grapes? It will be messy!

My daughter is probably spending a few months in Salamanca in early 2009. I will warn her about the library fines - they have a severe kicker!
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Sep 5th, 2007, 01:27 AM
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On 5 January every year, the evening before Epiphany (6 January) the Three Kings (or Three Wise Men of the New Testament) arrive to all towns of Spain to be greeted by the Mayor. The Three Kings depart in their carriages, the principal part of a grand parade that proceeds slowly through the streets of the centre. The Kings and other participants in the parade throw barley sugar sweets and other candies to the children lining the route. The days leading up to the parade allow the opportunity for children to leave messages to his favourite King requesting gifts, which they (and adults, too) receive, traditionally, on 6 January.
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