3 weeks France + north Italy itinerary

Apr 20th, 2014, 06:14 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 4
3 weeks France + north Italy itinerary

Hi, I'd like to get some input on a trip I'm organizing between May and June (21 days) to cover some of France and some of north Italy.

I'm from Argentina and will be travelling with my wife and my 2 1/2 years old daughter.

We have already been in Paris in a previous trip so we don't want to spend a lot of time in there in this one (one or two days would be just fine)

We will probabbly be fyling in and out from Milan (it's cheaper for us)

This is my initial idea:

Fly into Milan and then fly to Paris

1 day in Paris

Rent a car and spend 3 days driving through Normandy up to Mt. Saint-Michel and then return the car back in Paris

1 day in Paris

Train to somewhere in the Dordogne region (Perigueux?)

Rent a car

3 days in the Dordogne region (I'm not very interested in the prehistoric caves)

1 night in Carcassone

3 days in Provence region (I'd like to see the Calanques)

2 days in Nice and return car here

train to Cinque Terre region

2 days in Vernazza?

train to Milan

2 days in Milan (maybe rent a car to go around Lake Como)

fly back home

I think that gives me 20 days so I have 1 additional day to put somewhere.

I have doubts mainly about the last part of the itinerary: I'm afraid it may involve too much travelling time (Nice-Cinque Terre-Milan)... I haven't read many exiting things about Milan...

I'm trying to figure out if the time allocation in each place is ok, and to get some general feedback about the itinerary.

Thanks in advance.
germans is offline  
Apr 20th, 2014, 06:46 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,476
This seems like an unwieldy itinerary to me, especially with a small child. Since you have to pay for airfare for three people, and probably extra for luggage, from Milan to Paris (plus use up another half day of travel), are you quite sure you will end up saving enough money to justify flying in and out of Milan?

You are going to Paris twice, meaning more time spent checking into and out of hotels.

You have another one night in Carcassone. On a long trip with a little one, I would avoid any one nights.

You do not seem really intersted in Milan and not sure about Lake Como, so are left with Cinque Terre being about the only place you are actually interested in, in Italy, yet are spending a lot of time traveling there and back to Milan. I suggest picking places you have more interest in seeing at the end of your trip.

My calculations are that a third of your time will be spent getting from place to place. You need to consolidate bases and eliminate one nighters. Three nights minimum would be great with the child.

You are going to Provence in May when it should be beautiful. Why not spend more time there?
Sassafrass is online now  
Apr 20th, 2014, 06:46 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Have you already bought air tickets in and out of Milan? I think the "savings" might not be worth it, especially since you not only aren't keen to see anything in Milan, you aren't interested in the area around Milan either. The places you have picked to go in Italy are not ideal with a toddler. So even though it looks more "expensive" thinking about flying right into France and staying there, since it has more of the things you want to see.

But if you really must fly into Milan, then I would try very hard not to put your family onto another plane flight the very next day. How about spending a little time on a lake? When you land at Malpensa, you can get on a bus and within 50 minutes be at the lakeside town of Stresa. That is a very nice place to be with a child because it is flat but there are also boat rides to islands with peacocks if you want a little excitement. It is very pretty.

http://www.stresa.com/

After you rest up, you could think about taking a train ride to the Italian Riviera for a night or two. I wouldn't go to le Cinque Terre with a toddler. Too many steps. Camogli has lots of places for a toddler to have fun with other toddlers. Think about spending 2 or 3 nights in Camogli. You can visit Portofino by boat and other scenic places. (By the way, a lot of people from this area migrated to Argentina).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camogli

So then you could take the train to France. I suggest you not go anywhere in France that is not very interesting to you. I also suggest you skip Paris rather than spend just one day there. Even if you need to go to a Paris airport to return to Milan, then just take a train up to the airport (or drive there) and stay near the airport.



Then you could tak
sandralist is offline  
Apr 20th, 2014, 06:49 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
sorry for the incomplete thought at the end! I meant to delete it. I noticed I also made a typo. I meant to write: "So even though it looks more "expensive", think about flying right into France...
sandralist is offline  
Apr 20th, 2014, 06:49 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
1 day in Paris

Rent a car and spend 3 days driving through Normandy up to Mt. Saint-Michel and then return the car back in Paris

1 day in Paris

Train to somewhere in the Dordogne region (Perigueux?)>

why go back to Paris for 1 day - keep the car perhaps and drive from Mont-Saint-Michel to the Dordogne - it is not that long a drive and you could hit sweet places like La Rochelle en route or other neat places.

And drive via Provence to Nice to return your car.

Short term car rentals can cost about as much as a week or so so why rent cars on two different occasions -

The Nice to CT train is a long slog - slow trains via Genoa -

I would tend to tell you to stick to France rather than a quick foray to the Cinque Terre - takes a long time and is nice but to me the Nice/Cote d'Azur region offers a lot more than the CT and its sadly often overrun with tourists small villages.

If you do end up taking trains, which to me in France is not the best option - keep the car - check out www.voyages-sncf.com for discounted tickets Paris to Dordogne and www.trenitalia.com for Italian ones - though from Ventimiglia, the border station where you must always change trains when coming from Nice those are mainly IC and regional trains that offer little discounts and do not demand or even offer seat reservations - ditto for trains from CT back to Milan so just buy those tickets once there.
For lots of great info on French and Italian trains check out these IMO superb sites: www.seat61.com - great info on discounted tickets); www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

Again there is a plethora of neat things to do in the nice Nice area - you have it sems about one day there if you spend a day getting there - famous hill towns like Grasse and its perfume factories, Vence, St-Paul-du-Vence, Eze and of course Monaco, Antibes, Cannes and on and on and...
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 20th, 2014, 02:40 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 4
First of all, thank you all for your input.

About why Milan... currently I can get a nice price for a round trip flight to Milan from somewhere near where I live... otherwise I need to travel by land to Buenos Aires and that is certainly more tiresome/expensive than counting an additional flight from Milan to Paris.

About the luggage... we are light packers we did a similar trip last year (Scotland+Ireland) with just 2 backpacks; we did several one night stays in this previous trip and I don't see that as a problem while moving in a car outside of big cities.

I'm also considering a sleeper train from Milan to Paris... I need to research a bit about this option.

I will reconsider driving directly from Mt Saint-Michel to the Dordogne region instead of going back to Paris.... I thought it would be less time consuming and cheaper, but now I'm not sure.

I really would like to visit Cinque Terre and since we are going to be so "close" I think that we can stand a long day of train travel to be there. Anyway, it's nice to know about some alternatives, and also about things to do in/around Milan.

I will probabbly be buying the main flight tonight but I will continue thinking about the details of the itinerary.

Thanks again.
germans is offline  
Apr 21st, 2014, 04:09 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
I will reconsider driving directly from Mt Saint-Michel to the Dordogne region instead of going back to Paris.... I thought it would be less time consuming and cheaper, but now I'm not sure>

And there is a lot of sweet things to see and do in between those places.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 21st, 2014, 05:03 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,717
Fly into Milan and then fly to Paris

1 day in Paris

Rent a car and spend 3 days driving through Normandy up to Mt. Saint-Michel and then return the car back in Paris

1 day in Paris

Train to somewhere in the Dordogne region (Perigueux?)

Rent a car

3 days in the Dordogne region (I'm not very interested in the prehistoric caves)

1 night in Carcassone

3 days in Provence region (I'd like to see the Calanques)

2 days in Nice and return car here

train to Cinque Terre region

2 days in Vernazza?

train to Milan

2 days in Milan (maybe rent a car to go around Lake Como)

fly back home

Bearing in mind that you have good reasons for flying into and out of Milan [you HAVE looked at open jaw into Milan and out of Paris and vice versa haven't you? you need to use the multi-city function if you're not familiar with doing this - it is NOT the same as two one way tickets and should be the same as or close to a round trip fare] how about this:

Day 1 - arrive Milan, fly to Paris. stay 2 nights.
Day 3 - rent car and tour france - 12 nights. with just two of you and a toddler there is probably no need to pre-book unless you want to. End in Nice.
Day 15 - take train from Nice to CT. Stay 3 nights.
Day 18 - take train to Lake como, stay 3 nights, or 2 nights and one in Milan
Day 21 - fly home.

there's a lot of playing around you could do with this, but by keeping the car in France all the way through, it gives you a lot more flexibility than returning the car for different stages of the journey.

Good luck!
annhig is online now  
Apr 21st, 2014, 05:13 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,717
oops - I copied your itinerary meaning to delete it once I'd worked out my response, but then I forgot. just ignore it.
annhig is online now  
Apr 22nd, 2014, 07:37 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,962
Just a couple of thoughts:

Since you've been to Paris before, one night in Paris seems like a lot of work/time/money to go through for what you get in return.

Have you thought of getting a flight from Milan to Paris-Beauvais through Ryanair, especially since you travel light? I just put in a date in May and came up with a seat for under 27 euros one way. You'd save a heck of a lot of time flying rather than taking the train. You could pick up your car at Paris-Beauvais airport and head out from there for Normandy.

I always feel a little nervous returning to my departure point from another country too close to my departure date (example being in France the day before I'm supposed to be leaving from Milan)If you really hold firm to wanting to visit Vernazza, I would do it at the end of the trip. Get a place close to the train station and relax a day and 2 nights before heading back to Milan for your departure. If I had a child, I personally would stay at Monterosso al Mare. The beach selection is better, more hotels, and it is flatter/more stroller friendly. You could still hop the train down to Vernazza (matter of minutes)to see it if you want.

My gut tells me you are trying to pack in one too many major areas into this trip. To get a great experience and enjoy yourself, I would drop one large area...if it were me, I would drop the Paris/Mont St. Michel portion and stay in Southern France and the 5terre. OR drop the Carcassonne/Nice portion, but that's just me. My kids wouldn't stand for sitting in a car seat hour after hour for 3 weeks.
klondike is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2014, 07:41 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,962
PS- I "get" the flying into Milan. My son was able to get a May flight from the States for half the price that it would cost him flying into Rome, Pisa or Florence.
klondike is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2014, 07:51 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 46,973
It's still an unwieldy trip. I'd just drop the Dordogne, since you don't have any interest in prehistory (or so you said on another thread). And you do NOT want to drive from Paris to the Dordogne. You could easily drop Paris/Normandy/the Dordogne and still have plenty to do. There's pretty scenery in many places.
StCirq is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2014, 09:46 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Yup outside of the grim industrial scarred northern France you can't go wrong anywhere practically in France - take the back roads ('D" for departmental) and you'll pass thru many a sweet old village and over generally bucolic landscapes.
PalenQ is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
prmbrown
Europe
8
Feb 25th, 2015 05:21 PM
natjgc
Europe
4
Mar 17th, 2014 01:39 PM
Alice9
Europe
8
Oct 24th, 2011 09:04 AM
mkdiebold
Europe
12
Apr 7th, 2006 07:54 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:26 AM.