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8 days in France or Switzerland - Feb 2014

8 days in France or Switzerland - Feb 2014

Oct 3rd, 2013, 10:16 PM
  #1  
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8 days in France or Switzerland - Feb 2014

Hi All
So far, the first week of our travels is sorted - in London doing our own thing ( 20yrold daughter and I)
The next week in England is still hanging: dont know if the tour we have booked up the west side and on to Edinburgh will go ahead - depends on numbers and they wont let us know til late Dec at the earliest. If id doesnt go ahead, we will either stay in London and do daytrips or try to get around using the rail system

The third week is partly sorted: we will meet OH and drive the top half of Ireland...details will fall into place on that leg I suppose closer to the time

Then we will spend five days in Paris all together - the three of us...OH speaks French and has a great sense of direction so we will be spoilt that week

Then comes the uncertainty again: we have booked a 9 night tour down through Lyons to Nice and Avignon but not sure if there are enough numbers for this tour to go ahead and so now have to have a good PLAN B

At first, I thought wed simply follow the tour we planned on..maybe just stay in three towns and catch coaches for day trips from Nice or maybe Marseilles
However, someone mentioned that beaches arent the go in winter and perhaps it is better to go to a place like Switzerland where winter is actually embraced
This does make sense..we dont ski but I did have a fabulous non-skiing holiday just this last Feb in Banff and Vancouver Island so I know one can enjoy winter destinations even
when not involved in the outdoor recreations

I cant think of too many reasons not to head to Swiitzerland if our France tour doesnt go ahead apart from cost and availability
OH reckons only the ski resorts would be full in winter..is that true? Banff certainly wasnt fuill even during the ski season..theyre much busier in the summer months the locals told me
Is this true of Switzerland?
We will lose some time travelling from Paris and then back to Paris ( we fly out Saturday at for Singapore 11 am so we will need to be back from Switzerland the night before )
So what would you suggest?
Stay in France ? we dont drink so doing wine districts wouldnt be our thing...wed prefer to go to the north-west and see the Norman history or head along the same path the tour had outlined
In Switzerland ( ive been to Lucerne) wed be looking to do scenic raliway routes and stopping overnight in centres where there would be something going on at night.

Id love to take my daughter to Lucerne some day ...could well be on
this trip...she hasnt experienced the beauty of lakes and mountains ( we are Aussies who have easy access to the beaches and usually holiday locally around the coast)

Doubt that we need to go to Bern or Zurich but any other suggestions would be very welcome
Thanks!
lanejohann is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2013, 10:38 PM
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Hi lanejohann,

Yes, ski resorts are quite busy in the winter; in fact, they are so busy that many hotels require a 7-night's stay during ski season.

I would definitely go to Switzerland, and to a ski resort. There are lots of activities for non-skiers, including sledding, winter walking, snow-shoeing, etc. And you would get to see the splendor of the Alps covered in snow.

Which scenic train routes are you considering? If you decide to do this, make sure you give yourself enough time at each stop-over so that you see more than tracks, stations, and hotel lobbies. A scenic train is NO substitute for seeing the Alps face/face, with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. Remember that you lose half a day of "outside" time with every move because of the chores of packing up and checking out, then checking in and unpacking again. I would plan at least three nights per stopover.

I would suggest that you find a nice spot and stay there for your six or seven nights, and go exploring and day-tripping to see the area.

Have fun as you plan!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Oct 3rd, 2013, 11:43 PM
  #3  
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Thank you Swanday!
Staying in a ski resort..didnt think of that..if they want at least seven days booking then of course I dont think Id commit to that

re the hopping around...I agrea..dont want to be hauling luggage around too much..we will have 20kgs + attached to our person so thats not all that much fun without OH to help lol

I havent even begun to work out a route...Id need to be based in bigger centres I guess to be central to transport links..Im wondering if coaches run regularly from towns to outerlying villages or are they subject to road conditions?

I would love to hear fron anyone who has done a short independent tour of some part of Switzerland..

What rail passes can I use from Paris? How far ahead should I book? I can book confidently as early as late December for this period ( mid Feb)...are there amazing savings to be had or does it really matter that much?

What routes would be most scenic and is there perhaps a route I can take at night back to Paris (early evening perhaps so we can stay the night in Paris and fly to Singapore at 11am)
thanks!
lanejohann is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 12:08 AM
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Hi again,

The train service is frequent and reliable, no worries there. Practically all towns and villages are well connected. You can check the connections using the Swiss rail site at

www.sbb.ch

I've visited Switzerland more than a dozen times since 1996. If you have a specific question, I'll be happy to be one of the folks replying.

Some ideas of places to base yourselves are:
Thun or Spiez, near the high peaks of the Jungfrau region, and also easy to get to Gstaad, Saanen, Rougemont, and Montreux.

Gstaad, perfectly located between Lake Thun and Montreux, so it's a nice spot to see those areas easily as well. In addition, there are some lovely walks in the valleys there.

Brig, nicely located on a main rail line and nearby Zermatt, Bettmeralp, and Riederalp to see the high Alps.

Montreux, French-culture town on Lake Geneva.

Luzern, of course, which you already know. Luzern is a great spot for a full week because it has such diversity -- mountains, lakes, and rolling plains.

Best bet is to buy your tickets for the trips to/from Paris about 90 days early, when the discounted fares go on sale. The discounted fares run around 39 Euro per person, but of course they sell out fast. That's one reason why it's a good idea to get your itinerary figured out early and then buy your tickets. You can use these sites:

www.tgv-europe.com
www.tgv-lyria.com

Do NOT let them bump you to Raileurope, where fares are higher. Make sure you select "continue with tgv-europe."

Have fun as you plan!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Oct 4th, 2013, 02:46 AM
  #5  
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oh most fulsome and excellent reply, Swandav!
With just the eight days I think maybe 2 or 3 destinations?overnight would be good

Im wondering, however,is there one central place I could find lodgings and then proceed to do short daytrips?
Is there such a hub from which either coaches or trains depart regularly?
Somewhere within cooee of Paris ...is that necessary or is everything fairly close to Paris anyway?

So Im imagining something like CENTRAL LOCATION X with easy access to say Lucerne and Interlaken

as for walking...not so much..walks along streets of course..but not really in isolated places
I, for instance did a walk with OH near Lake Emerald, Canada..would never have done it by myself or with just my daughter
Thanks for all your suggestions!
lanejohann is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 05:07 AM
  #6  
 
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Hi again,

Any of the suggestions I made above have good connections and are central for its area. I noted a few excursion destinations for each one, but there are many, many more for each.

Note that most places are linked by train; where there is train service, there is no bus service. They don't duplicate each other.

You can research each area at these sites:

www.thunersee.ch
www.gstaad.ch
www.brig-belalp.ch/en/index.php
www.montreux-vevey.com
www.luzern.com

None of these places will be isolated for winter walking -- people are active there, villages are nearby, and folks just get out and walk. You'll never be alone on a trail.

The trains to/from Paris leave from Basel (near Luzern) and Geneva (near Montreux).

Have fun as you plan!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Oct 4th, 2013, 06:24 AM
  #7  
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very grateful for the links!
will start the researching! thank you so much!
lanejohann is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 09:38 AM
  #8  
 
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Best transport hubs in the Swiss Alps:

Aigle, St-Maurice or Martigny: close to the ski areas of
Champery - Avoriaz (Portes du Soleil): 650 km of ski pists
Verbier - 4 Vallees: 340 km of ski pists
Crans-Montana: 140 km of ski pists
Villars-Gryon-Diablerets: 220 km of ski pists
Leysin: 60 km of ski pists

Brig or Visp, close to the ski areas of
Zermatt: 360 km of ski pists
Saas Fee: 140 km of ski pists
Riederalp-Bettmeralp: 110 km of ski pists

Chur, close to the ski areas of
Flims: 220 km of ski pists
Arosa/Lenzerheide: 225 km of ski pists

Landquart, close to the ski areas of
Pizol: 40 km of ski pists
Klosters-Davos: 270 km of ski pists

Martina, close to the ski areas of
Samnaun: 240 km of ski pists
Scuol: 80 km of ski pists
Nauders: 120 km of ski pists
neckervd is offline  
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