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Best city/area for first trip to Europe?

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Sep 16th, 2012, 10:39 AM
  #1
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Best city/area for first trip to Europe?

Hi, we are planning a FIRST trip to Europe for mid-June. Have 8-9 days total, including flight days. Which is better pick for this...Paris or Rome? Also fine with doing some roadtripping around surrounding areas.
lianev is offline  
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Sep 16th, 2012, 10:42 AM
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Either one would be fine for 8-9 days in June. So if I were you, I'd pick based on which one I am more interested in seeing for various reasons. If you truly have absolutely no preference at all, then you might go by which is better in terms of airfare costs/connections or something like that.
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Sep 16th, 2012, 11:04 AM
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Paris, of course.
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Sep 16th, 2012, 11:16 AM
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Second for Paris...love it. Felt it was a great introduction to Europe. Very romantic. Plenty to do there for a week, with a day trip to Versailles and/or Giverny.
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Sep 16th, 2012, 11:22 AM
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Another vote for Paris. It is a fabulous city and has lots of interesting nearby day trips. In addition to those mentioned, Chartres is a lovely town to visit and has a fabulous Gothic cathedral.

You really only have 7 days on the ground but this will allow you lots of time to enjoy the city and a couple of trips outside, too.
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Sep 16th, 2012, 11:28 AM
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Paris.
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Sep 16th, 2012, 11:32 AM
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Why are you going to Europe?

If it is to understand Europe, perhaps by understanding the foundations of its history, Rome has a lot going for it.

If you are going to Europe to eat, go to Rome for pasta and pizza but for pastries, go to Paris.

If you are going to Europe for a fun vacation, it is really hard to tell you which one to pick without knowing anything about you as an individual. Do you like to do what most Americans like to do on vacation? Then asking for a vote on a message board is a good way to choose. Just follow the crowd!

If you generally find yourself fleeing from things other people find the cat's pj's, maybe you want to approach this differently. It's never cheap to travel in Europe. What kind of introduction to Europe do YOU want to have?

michele_d,

I can't resist asking: Where else did you go in Europe and why did you feel Paris introduced you to Europe? Most Europeans don't think Paris is representative of Europe at all. It's just Paris.
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Sep 16th, 2012, 11:35 AM
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Sorry lianev for assuming you are American. But my point still holds, even if you are coming from Asia. There are many standard ideas of a European vacation that assume one-size-fits-all, but I think that kind of vacation only works for people who generally follow the crowd in their tastes. Either you do or you don't, and you should take your own personality into account.
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Sep 16th, 2012, 12:40 PM
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If you want exquisite churches that leave you breathless, sculpture that makes you cry with delight, and fabulous antiquities then choose Rome.

Paris has a tremendous diversity of sightseeing experiences, the most wonderful museums, and lots of parks. It's a less chaotic city than Rome and probably the best one to choose for a first-time European experience.

With 6 to 7 days you won't have much road tripping time. Perhaps 1 day trip outside the city.
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Sep 16th, 2012, 12:42 PM
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<< Do you like to do what most Americans like to do on vacation? >>

I'm American and I would love to know what most Americans like to do on vacation!
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Sep 16th, 2012, 01:01 PM
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adrienne, it really depends on the vacation trip you're taking.

I recently rented an apartement for a week in Aix. Then it was mostly explore the town and take day trips by car to various towns.

Other trips I've taken, involved train travel only.

I've also spent an entire 2 weeks in Paris, with some side trips, all by public transportation.

Some areas deserve more time than a few days. Paris is my favorite city, and I've been there about 10+ times.

Other places require more travel, as they are 1-2 days towns.

In the Caribbean, I usually go to St. Barths, and park myself on the beach, and let the stress of daily life melt away.
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Sep 16th, 2012, 02:09 PM
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My first trip was to Paris for 8 nights. We took a daytrip to Giverny, but spent all of the rest of our time enjoying Paris. We've since returned to Paris for a couple nights at the beginning or end of other trips to France.

Another great trip we've taken more recently, was a combo of Paris and Amsterdam in late May. I think we had 4 nights in Paris and 3 in Amsterdam (train in between). It was GREAT. Mid-June is an excellent time to go, as it will be light outside until past 10pm. Perfect for enjoying wherever you decide to go.
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Sep 16th, 2012, 03:31 PM
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Adrienne,

If you want exquisite churches that leave you breathless, sculpture that makes you cry with delight, and fabulous antiquities, why not go to Avignon or even St-Denis in Paris?

Do you really think Rome doesn't have a tremendous diversity of sights?

If you want to know what most Americans like to do on vacation, there are polls taken every year by travel associations you can look up on line. It's not a guessing game for the pros. Even in Europe, travel professionals know how to cater to American expectations of what "a vacation" is.

Anyway, I think the OP has an idea about a "first trip" to Europe, and Paris and Rome, that only has a reality for a very few people. Many people would say that there is no "best" city for a "first trip" to Europe. Sort of like asking: "Planning to drink wine for the FIRST time. Which is better: French or Italian?"
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Sep 16th, 2012, 04:10 PM
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Paris
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Sep 16th, 2012, 06:24 PM
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My vote is for Paris. For a first trip, Paris is so wonderful. Although I LovE Rome. I have to say - yes - one of my top 5 fav places but Paris has everything - architecture, history, food, the Seine, museums, shopping and a wonderful ambience. If you ask me, without knowing anything about someone, I would recommened Paris. A treasure for all tastes and budgets.
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Sep 16th, 2012, 06:38 PM
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Another vote for Paris
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Sep 16th, 2012, 06:43 PM
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<< why not go to Avignon or even St-Denis in Paris >>

Because Avignon and St-Denis are not the choices the OP asked about. The choice is between Rome and Paris.
adrienne is offline  
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Sep 16th, 2012, 06:51 PM
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There is no wrong answer here.
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Sep 16th, 2012, 07:05 PM
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Hi vespacurves,
We have been to England, Scotland, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Russia, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Although I love Rome, and most everywhere we have visited, I still cannot wait to get back to Paris. Just something about it that is magical to me. So, between the two cities Paris wins for me every time.
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Sep 17th, 2012, 06:17 AM
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I have been to Paris 5x and Rome 13x. I love Rome for the history, food, wine, energy. I first visited both cities at age 16 and immediately fell in love with Rome.

Paris is a city I have never really connected with. It is quite pretty and I have had some nice experiences there but for me, Rome wins hands down in all categories.

If you really have no preference, then I would read everything I could get my hands on both cities, look at photos, read trip reports. Or,as suggested earlier, decide based on economics.
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