Best way to travel in France and Italy

Dec 21st, 2006, 03:03 AM
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Thank you, Jean.

ira is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 09:30 AM
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well said ira

aucho53 is offline  
Dec 26th, 2006, 09:08 AM
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Hi AliRn

I am from South Africa. An American friend and I did the two week thing through Italy and France in March/April of this year. It can be done, it can be done by train and you will have more than enough time. I planned the whole trip carefully in advance. I have been to Paris before so did not mind not spending too much time there. We went to Paris, Lyon (where he lived), Nice, Venice, Florence and Rome. A few tips though:

Spend the most days in Paris and Rome. The smaller places do not need that much time. I would say you need a full day for Venice. Stunning city but once you have done the Gondola thing, bought some glass, St Marco square etc you have seen the most. One day in Venice is ok. Then Florence - there is a lot of art in Florence to see. So if you are into art spend two days. We did and had a lot to see. Unfortunately I was not that crazy about Florence. Nice was stunning. We only, because of bad planning ended up spending one days there. Two days would have been too little. I would have loved to spend a week there to discover all the other little places there. (Went to Grasse and Monte Carlo while we were there- hectic!)
If you take the train - remember that French trains are always on time but that the same cannot be said for the Italian ones! We missed a connecting Italian train in Milan and had to spend an uncomfortable few hours on the train to Venice as we had to hop on the next one without seat reservations and ended up standing all the way.
You defn. dont need a car in Rome, Paris or in any of the cities. But for those little towns along the way it is a good idea. I agree with what someone said here - two weeks gives you a good idea - and then you can always go back and discover it at leisure with a car later on when you have discovered which places you like best.

Good luck and have fun travelling. PS -Venice and Rome were the best!

Dec 26th, 2006, 12:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Train in France are so good and so fast that driving just can't compete, unless you have all the time in the world and are wanting to spend weeks exploring back roads. Example: It recently took me 10.5 hours to drive from Paris CDG to Provence-there was horrible traffic, road construction, huge tolls, etc. We could have taken the train and been there is a third of the time. Lesson learned, for me.

A car is very handy for exploring small towns, so you might want to decide what kind of vacation you want. What you have listed is mostly cities with great train service, so having a car will be more of a pain than anything. But, if you cut back your itinerary, allow more time for each place and decide to see some off the beaten track places, a car might be nice. BTW, you don't "need" a car for Tuscany-there is excellent bus service to most of those picturesque hilltowns.

I also agree that you are doing way too much in 2 weeks.
christy1 is offline  
Dec 29th, 2006, 04:29 PM
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I traveled through France and Italy this past summer. My advice would be to do a combo- take a car to Paris and train to Nice and Italy. I traveled with Contiki Holiadys and we had a luxury bus the whole time. I strongly recommend doing that because you get to see more and better experience the culture. I saw many of the most beautiful sights while driving from place to place. Hope this helps!
sunnyeve17 is offline  
Dec 29th, 2006, 04:54 PM
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I understand the idea of relaxing while taking the train over driving. We've done both and it is sort of a toss up.
But one thing is we have now switched to flying between Paris and Nice. It is quicker (yes, even allowing the long check in times at the airport) and considerably cheaper if you plan ahead with Easy Jet.
Without needing a car in Paris, Rome, or Venice -- or really even in Florence or Nice, I'd give up the car idea. This summer we spent a week in Nice with no car and enjoyed it as much or more than when we've stayed there with a car. And while a car is nice in Tuscany, you certainly don't have a lot of time left to spend in Tuscany. I agree that it would be wise to cut something out of this trip -- probably Rome for starters.

We've never had any extra payment for luggage on Easy Jet, even though we're traveling for up to 5 months. You certainly should be able to pack light enough for two weeks not to require overage on the luggage.
NeoPatrick is offline  
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