An In-between Spot?

Old Apr 6th, 2016, 12:46 PM
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An In-between Spot?

Hello! We are traveling to Paris end of June and have to be in Como, Italy for a wedding on the 5th of July. We have a few days between Paris and Como, and are already planning on seeing Milan after the wedding but wanted some recommendations on towns or cities to see between Paris and Como. Anything by train would be preferable, though a short flight is also possible. We would have around 4 days for this spot, including travel time. We have already ruled out Zurich and Geneva, as we'd prefer to either see a bit more of France or Italy if we can. We're a younger couple, quite flexible in terms of activity but typically enjoy travel with good food, arts and cultural experiences, or fun bars, festivals, etc. Any recommendations? Thank you!
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Old Apr 6th, 2016, 01:14 PM
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The Avignon area of Provence has so so many neat places within a small radius - base in Arles or Avignon, with good train service and do day trips by public transportation or even rent a car for a few days.

then take the train by Lyon to Turin and Milan (you pretty much have to go thru Milan to get to Como by train coming from France).

for lots of good stuff on French and Italian trains check www.seat61.com- great info on discounted tickets available on high-speed long-distance trains in France and Italy- www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

Milan to Como has regional trains with a flat-fare and dirt cheap so take them and not the more expensive IC trains to Como - not much slower.
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Old Apr 6th, 2016, 02:00 PM
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In Italy, I would suggest Torino. There are direct trains (about 6 hours) from Paris, and many direct trains from there to Milan (1 hour), where you have to change to get to Como. There are also direct trains from Paris to Milan, which would open up other possibilities in Italy.

In France, I would suggest Strasbourg. There are direct trains from Paris (about 2 1/2 hours) and from there to Milan (about 5 1/2 hours, with a change in Basel).

If you were willing to consider Switzerland, I would recommend Basel as a stopover. It's closer to half way than any place in France or Italy: 3 hours Paris to Basel and 4 hours Basel to Milan. And it's a lovely small city, which shares a border with France and Germany.

Getting to Avignon from Paris is easy and quick, but getting from there to Como would involve at least three changes of train, including one change in Switzerland. (There are Thello trains directly from several other southern French cities to Milan, though.)

There are several train stations in Como, but most of them are only served by Tren Nord, a Trenitalia partner, and exclusively by regional trains. Trenitalia goes only to Como San Giovanni, and I didn't think there were any Intercity trains on the route. Maybe Palenq means the Eurocity trains, which are international trains which stop there en route to Switzerland.
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Old Apr 6th, 2016, 02:09 PM
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I also agree Como would be a real pain to get to, and Torino is a good suggestion given your interests as you describe them, and the ease of travel. In late June, you will need air conditioning for any hotel you book.
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Old Apr 6th, 2016, 02:10 PM
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How about Nice and the French Riviera? Nice is a center for public transportation along the beautiful Côte d'Azur coast. Or you could take the cute little Train des Pignes, back into the mountains north of Nice. And Nice itself is a lovely city with curvy, sensual Belle Epoque architecture and a culture and cuisine of its own that's somewhere between France and Italy.

Where on Lake Como is the wedding? You could train from Nice to either Como town or Milan depending.
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Old Apr 6th, 2016, 03:18 PM
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The trip from Nice to Como is another very convoluted trip, unless you're willing to try the Thello train from Nice to Milan. I have to warn you that their overnight service between Italy and Paris has horrible reviews.
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Old Apr 6th, 2016, 04:08 PM
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Maybe Torino as above and then up to the park or villages of Aosta? We actually are flying cdg to torino in may and flight was about 50 E .... sometimes flying can be cheaper.

I
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Old Apr 7th, 2016, 02:52 AM
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There are some festivals in or near Aosta at the end of June, but given the interest in "good food, arts and cultural experiences, or fun bars", even if flying to Torino it makes sense to stay in Torino. It is also a much more complicated train trip to go from Aosta to Como than it is to go from Torino to Como.
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Old Apr 7th, 2016, 03:28 AM
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Torino can be reached by flight for a small cost. torino is probably the most underrated city in Italy.

Nice is also easily reached from Paris. Train or flight.

Nice than Torino ?
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Old Apr 7th, 2016, 03:39 AM
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Torino has good food, arts, and cultural experiences. I don't know about fun bars; it's not my scene. It's a very pleasant city, with great views from the surrounding hills, and views of the Alps from various points. There's a national museum in a church (or ex-church?) on the Monte dei Cappucini, from whose towers you can see one of those great views.

Torino was the seat of the Savoy kingdoms (two of them), which were later united under the Kingdom of Italy, after ceding their French territories to the French state. There is a Savoy royal palace in the center of the city, and several other palaces (and a splendid "hunting lodge") in the vicinity. After World War II, Italy voted to become a republic and the Savoys, even those yet unborn were forbidden to touch Italian soil. They were greatly resented both for their cozy relationship with Mussolini and for the fact that they fled the country when Mussolini was overthrown, instead of remaining to unite the Italians to fend off the German invasion.

One of the world's foremost Museums of the Ancient Egyptian civilization is in Torino. There are various other museums and churches, dating from Paleo-Christian times through the medieval period, to the Renaissance and modern times. There are some ancient Roman ruins, and some ancient buildings are incorporated into modern structures.

Torino has a cuisine typically Piemontese, with French influences. It's famous for its chocolate, and you should try a local specialty called the bicerin, which is a cappuccino where the hot coffee is poured over a piece of dark chocolate before the steamed milk is added.

I was impressed with how much more easy-going and casual Torino was in comparison to Milan.
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Old Apr 7th, 2016, 03:43 AM
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I meant to add that sometime in the past 15 years, the edict that forbid the Savoys to enter Italy was rescinded, and now one of the younger generation is often seen on Italian TV shows such as "Dancing with the Stars". Some of the previous generation have been involved in corruption scandals.

I probably should have mentioned the Shroud of Turin, but it's rarely placed on view.
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Old Apr 7th, 2016, 08:48 AM
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>>Torino has good food, arts, and cultural experiences. I don't know about fun bars
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Old Apr 7th, 2016, 11:18 AM
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I was surprised at how nice Turin was - for being a big inudstrial Northern Italy city - the Detroit of Italy I believe it is called but any association after that.... well...
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Old Apr 12th, 2016, 05:24 PM
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Thanks everyone! These are great suggestions! We're between Lyon, Nice, and Torino right now. If you have additional comments for these places, that'd be amazing. Thank you!
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