auto travel France, Germany, Italy

Apr 10th, 2004, 07:15 AM
  #1  
jem
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 2
auto travel France, Germany, Italy

We plan a two week trip Aug 2004 by car from Paris to Rome, hopefully by way of Germany (Munich) and a couple days in Switzerland and some time in Tuscany and Umbria before flying home to Boston from Rome. We are searching for mileage from Paris to Rome, Paris to Munich, Munich to Rome. Can anyone provide a site to get this info? I have searched everywhere. Also general information on car travel.
Thank you so much!
jem is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 07:30 AM
  #2  
 
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Hi Jem, I guess a lot of Fodorites are sleeping in this morning, so I'll take a stab at answering your question. First take two travel days (flights over/back) away from your 14-day trip, leaving you with 12 actual days in Europe. A car trip from Paris to Munich would one 12-hour day (I've done it), from Munich to Switzerland would be one day, on to Tuscany/Umbria would be another day, leaving you with only eight remaining days to see Paris, Munich, Switzerland, Tuscany/Umbria and Rome. My suggestion is that unless you want to see only a ribbon of autobahns, autostrate, etc., that you focus on two destinations. For example, if you fly into Paris and out of Rome, you could spend several days in Paris, take the train (or an inexpensive flight) to Rome, explore Tuscany/Umbria by car, end up in Rome for a few days and fly home relaxed and happy.
Betsy is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 07:52 AM
  #3  
 
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A good source for the hard data you want is www.viamichelin.com: the most direct route from Paris to Rome (about 850 miles) would avoid Switzerland and Germany.

It's no particular problem, or even especially stressful, to drive: it's 12 hours driving time, but you really must take a couple of hours off. Don't confuse experience with aggressive drivers at home with aggressive drivers doing 100 mph, devoid of tolerance for dawdling fools, on relatively narrow and winding motorways, often with sudden transitions from blinding sunlight to gloomy tunnels.

Going the long way round, and seeing a bit of Central Italy, is possible. But you really aren't going to see very much of anything.

Don't underestmate the time spent getting from motorways to sights, finding somewhere to park, then orienting yourself in a place wherethe primary language isn't English. And the near certainty of divorce each time you try to navigate a few miles off the main road.
flanneruk is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 08:01 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I use www.viamichelin.com a lot. Friendly and easy to use, much like mapquest.com. Your schedule seems too ambitious to me as well, especially if you are not familiar with driving in Europe. To get between big cities in the amount of time you have I would prefer taking trains - driving on expressways is not very scenic, getting into and out of cities is an *enormous* pain, and parking is often impossible. But then again, I know what it's like to drive in Boston. If you're okay with that, you'll do okay in Europe....
derekflint is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 08:10 AM
  #5  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi Jem,

I think you have too much time on the road to be able to enjoy this trip.

From your itinerary, I am guessing that this is your first trip.

I suggest that you do

1 a week in Paris and environs, and a motor trip throgh France

2 a week in Rome and environs, and a motor trip through Umbria/Tuscany

3 a week in Paris and a week in Rome
(preferred).



ira is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 08:18 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Another site for driving information is
www.mappy.com.
Underhill is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 08:53 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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We did a similar trip last May. Started in Rome and ended up in Amsterdam - stopping in Siena, Florence, Cinque Terre, Nice, Lyon, Beaune & Paris in three weeks. Some of these stops were 1 or 2 nighters others were longer (1 week in Paris). One night stayovers are draining. Do not underestimate travel time. Add extra time for finding your way through these cities. Take Florence, for example, we only gave it one day - but thought we'd get there early as we were coming from Siena. We ended up probably spent more time navigating through Florence - hunting for our hotel - than it took driving from Siena.

Travelling by car in Europe is very easy. Car travel allows you more flexibility than train travel - you can stop whenever, experience family-run restaurants in small villages. We have memories of our driving 'challenges', that we can thankfully laugh at now. Be sure to learn how to ask for directions in whatever country you are going to be in, especially in some of the rural areas - where not everyone speaks English. Of course, then you need to be able to understand their response - gestures are very helpful. Be careful when renting - most companies charge a huge fee for dropping a car off in another country than the one you rented in. We got around that by dropping off our car in Italy (after Cinque Terre), taking a train to Nice and rented a car when we left Nice. We rented through AutoEurope - arranged before we left on the trip.

BTW...August will probably be very hot in Rome - we've been there in early July (oppressive) and May (not quite oppressive, but very hot). Hope you have a great trip!!
Shopgirl is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 08:55 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Don't know where you are searching, but a simple Google search using "road maps europe online" brought up over 200,000 sites of which viamichelin and mappy are in the first 10 and both are excellent. If you want to go via Germany and Switzerland that is perfectly OK. I personally prefer the smaller towns in Europe and cannot conceive of 7 days in either Paris or Rome, but it's your choice. Let us know when you have decided on an itinerary and we will try to help you out. Have a wonderful trip!
CharlieB is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 10:32 AM
  #9  
rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I think your plan is perfectly fine, and will be well served with a 7 day rental; you will not want the car until you leave Paris, nor after you arrive in Rome. I would urge you to "pass" on Munich, and spend some time in the Black Forest instead. I especially liked the small town of Oberkirch, just a half hour west of Strasbourg.

From there, you can go through Alsace or through Germany to get to Luzern - -another excellent one or two nights. If you are "move it along" kind of people, you could cut down on DE/CH by one night and stop in the Lake Como area or Tuscany en route to Rome.

The one caveat I have is that it will cost you plenty (a few hundred dollars?) to return a French car in Rome. The onlly other way I can see you doing what you want would be: fly volareweb.com to Milan, then make a loop up into Germany and/or Switzerland (maybe just Switzerland?) - - and then head back down to Rome. This is barely more driving; A similar alternative would be to fly into Venice and make a loop into Northern Italy and/or south/west Austria.

Best wishes,

Rex
rex is offline  

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