BEST OF ITALY & FRANCE

Jun 26th, 2004, 02:57 PM
  #1  
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BEST OF ITALY & FRANCE

We are taking a Globus tour "Best of Italy & France" the end of September. This is our first trip to Europe, so have many questions. Has anyone taken this tour? We will be visiting Rome, Venice, Florence, Nice & Paris. What is the weather like that time of year? We could use some advice on what to see & do (do they give enough free time on those tours?. What to pack/what not to pack. Are those cities still very crowded that time of year? Would love any and all tips, suggestions and advice.
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Jun 26th, 2004, 08:36 PM
  #2  
rex
 
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<<We will be visiting Rome, Venice, Florence, Nice & Paris. What is the weather like that time of year?>>

The weather in Paris might typically be like Maine (even though it is quite a bit further north than Maine); Rome more like Florida (though, once again, Rome is quite a bit further north than Florida). For more precise answers, see weatherbase.com

<<do they give enough free time on those tours?>>

Well, I suspect that it would not be enough for me, but you are already decided to take it, right? And the flip side is that they get you "in and out" to "see" places with a greater efficiency than you could probably be able to achieve on your own.

<<Are those cities still very crowded that time of year?>>

Venice is almost always crowded on weekends from February to December (okay, maybe January too) Mid week in late September will be less crowded than weekends in "shoulder months" (March, April, May, October), so hopefully you have one or more weekdays there. Rome and Paris are big bustling cities that will seem crowded and intense to those not accustomed to big cities; they handle tens of thousands of tourists every day of the year. Remember that most of those tourists come from Europe and Asia (closer to those two cities and much larger population than North America) - - and most of them go to the "tourist magnet" sites (with good reason). You can go to those same places, or you can pick other targets. The more "other" you choose, the more you will enjoy it if you can speak and understand a few hundred words of French or Italian or both.

The tourist impact on Nice and Florence has bigger ups and downs because they are smaller cities. I enjoyed Florence plenty in late September, just ten days aftr 9/11/2001. I think the smaller crowds are a pleasant aspect of going there once summer is over. Likewise, a few days on the Riviera in early October in 1999 seemed free of mobs of tourists, to me.

I am projecting about myself to say this, but the more you read about the places you are going, the more you will enjoy your trip. You need two, or four or more comprehensive tour books. Read them like novels. You can start enjoying this trip 90 days before you leave!

Best wishes,

Rex
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Jun 27th, 2004, 03:33 AM
  #3  
ira
 
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Very good advice from Rex.
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Jun 27th, 2004, 11:06 AM
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Were were in Florence at the end of April to May 1, and were amazed (and dismayed) by the hordes of people we encountered. No one else we've spoken to since has encountered the huge crowds we did, so I don't know exactly what was going on (although May 1 was Labor day and a European holiday), but it made our experience there less than optimum. Venice was crowded, but more so in the areas that are frequented by tourists (ie the Rialto area), but it seemed to bother us less, maybe because we expected it more there. The only weather advice I can offer is expect anything in Paris...it could be warm, cold, rainy, sunny, or anything in between. Make sure you have an umbrella and a jacket. We've been chilled in July and very warm in September. It's a beautiful city, but the weather is really unpredictable.
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Jun 29th, 2004, 07:11 PM
  #5  
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Thank you all for the great info. I agree with you Rex, the more knowledge, the better. I have stacks of books and am devouring them! Do you have any in particular that you would recommend?
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Jun 30th, 2004, 03:59 AM
  #6  
rex
 
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I like Dorling Kindersley's Eyewitness Guides.

And Fodor's.

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