Best way to travel in France and Italy

Dec 19th, 2006, 02:27 PM
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Best way to travel in France and Italy

We have 2 weeks to explore Italy and France. We want to go to Paris, Nice, Florence, Tuscany, Venice and possibly Rome. Would we be better off to take a car for the whole trip, take the train the whole way, or do a combo--say take a car to Paris park it and then take the train/plane on to Nice and Italy. I think we maybe need a car to get around from Florence to Tuscany. We are also worried about weight restrictions on planes. Any advice would be great
Alisa
AliRN is offline  
Dec 19th, 2006, 02:34 PM
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Trains (except perhaps a car for Tuscany).
suze is offline  
Dec 19th, 2006, 02:35 PM
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One thing to keep in mind is the steep drop-off charges you'll incur if you pick up a car in one country and drop it off in another (hundreds of dollars in all likelihood), so that should figure into your equation.

I'd spend a week in France, ending in Provence/Côte d'Azur, drop off the car, and take a train into Italy and pick up another car and spend the second week there.

Alternatively, you might find acheap flight from Nice to Rome on one of the low-budget European airlines (check out www.whichbudget.com).
StCirq is online now  
Dec 19th, 2006, 03:14 PM
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I should clarify that we already have a car in Germany (my fiance is stationed in Landstuhl for a year) and he has a card--Does that change things
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Dec 19th, 2006, 03:19 PM
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sorry--he has a car (not card)--we wouldn't be renting a car
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Dec 19th, 2006, 03:20 PM
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Yes, with a car that changes everything. You have a good trip here if you drop Paris and Rome and add Bavaria/and/or Salzburg. Both of them deserve more time that you have.
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Dec 19th, 2006, 03:51 PM
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Trains. Have done both & infinitely prefer training it.
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Dec 19th, 2006, 05:00 PM
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The southern coastal train route from France into Italy (from Nice to Genova or Italian points beyond) is not good. You are better off flying from Nice to either Pisa or Venezia or Roma.

As previously mentioned, picking up a car in one country and leaving it in another is prohibitively expensive, more than you will pay in excess baggage fees.

Pack lighter!
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Dec 20th, 2006, 08:27 AM
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ira
 
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Hi A,

>2 weeks to explore Italy and France. We want to go to Paris, Nice, Florence, Tuscany, Venice and possibly Rome.<

That gives you less than 2 days in each spot.

Are you sure?

ira is offline  
Dec 20th, 2006, 08:31 AM
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Hi Ali,

If your fiance is stationed in Germany, then hopefully this will not be your only European trip.

Take your 2 weeks and spend it in either France or Italy. Don't try to do both in that short of time.

Buon viaggio!
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Dec 20th, 2006, 08:35 AM
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We took the train from Nice via Genoa to Camogli. It went along the Mediterranean and through all the small seaside towns. I thought it was quite a nice trip. I wonder what your requirements are for a scenic train ride, nessundorma?
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Dec 20th, 2006, 08:43 AM
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From Germany I would either spend two weeks in France or two weeks in Switzerland and Italy, driving all the way. It's not necessarily the cheapest way to do it, but it gives you the opportunity to see more of the countryside.
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Dec 20th, 2006, 09:41 AM
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Mimar,

I wasn't talking about the scenery. I was talking about the length of time the train takes to cover that distance and the reliability of the line.
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Dec 20th, 2006, 04:35 PM
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My husband and I have done two 2-week mostly driving trips in Italy and wouldn't have it any other way. The trains do get you from point A to point B, but I don't think they necessarily go through the most picturesque parts of the country - Milan to Venice was downright boring. We found that driving the secondary roads and exploring along the way by far the more pleasurable. You can do all the research in the world and we still found charming towns and villages along the way that weren't mentioned in our guide books - Mantua, Montereggioni, Montagnana, Caserta.

That being said, I think cars are impossible in the cities - our rental car sat in a garage for three days in Florence. There's a large public garage just as you enter Venice proper, and I thought I read that there are also ones in Florence. And if you can brave a little Rome city driving (not near as bad as it's made out to be), there's a large one near the Borghese Gallery.
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Dec 20th, 2006, 04:42 PM
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I strongly recommend not driving in Roma under almost any circumstance, except possibly picking up a car there and driving out -- and even then I suggest people take the hour train ride to beautiful Orvieto and pick up the car there (or vice versa - drop the car off in Orvieto and train to Roma).

Parking in Roma is a EXTREMELY limited, and illegal for non-residents in many parking spaces. You are much more likely to find a garage on the periphery of Firenze where you can dump your car while enjoying the city on foot. Simply getting to the Villa Borghese in the center of Roma can take up to an hour and a half in bad traffic once you get off the highway. Finding your way to a specific address in Roma is a nightmare if you don't know the city like the back of your hand. It's just not worth it.
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Dec 20th, 2006, 04:45 PM
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Dayle has it right !
This is really 2 trips---take your choice.
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Dec 20th, 2006, 04:48 PM
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Ira, 14 divided by 5 does not equal 2 and I think you CAN do this if you want to..all depends on how much depth you want and how fast you travel.

I never COUNT on having the opportunity to go back and then if you do you'll know which places deserve more time..if any of these even do in your opinion.
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Dec 20th, 2006, 07:45 PM
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Reading the very different responses here, I realize how much these things depend upon personality, style, etc.

We like to train it because we can totally relax on the train. Read, shmooze, sleep, stare at the scenery, etc. While we did see more 'out-of-the-way' places when we drove, we were definitely more stressed. OTOH, for people who love to drive, I can see it not being stressful.

The other reason we like trains is bc it forces us to interact w/"the natives" more than when we're in a car. Simply having to negotiate ticket purchase, seat finding, etc., requires communication with people, and we get off on that.

Again, travel style is a very individual thing, so reading advice as to "train v. car" should be taken with a big grain of salt!
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Dec 20th, 2006, 09:06 PM
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Dukey, I think Ira was factoring in the travel time between destinations which would only permit two days or less in each place.
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Dec 21st, 2006, 03:02 AM
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ira
 
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Hi Dukey,

>Ira, 14 divided by 5 does not equal 2 and I think you CAN do this if you want to..<

The OP wants to see six places.

If you deduct the travel time between places, I think that I am close enough for government work.

I agree that it can be done.

One can also learn to play Bach's Cello Concerto in A major on a kazoo.

Is it worth it?

ira is offline  

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