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Christmas Holiday

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May 10th, 2015, 02:37 AM
  #1
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Join Date: May 2015
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Christmas Holiday

Hello everyone!

My parents and I are planning to go to 3 European cities from December 22 - January 5. We plan to stay for...

Paris --> 7-8 nights ( 3 nights from 23 - 25; then maybe before or after New Year )
Amsterdam --> 3 nights
Milan --> 3 nights

Is this itinerary too ambitious? Or can we add one more city? Will the shops/museums/restaurants be open on these dates?

Thank you in advance
jennifer1978 is offline  
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May 10th, 2015, 02:56 AM
  #2
 
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I would try to center things a bit more geographically. Perhaps replace Milan with Strasbourg or Cologne. That would main train travel between the cities much simpler.
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May 10th, 2015, 03:14 AM
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I also recommend taking Milan out of the mix unless you are flying into Milan and spending the first three nights there. You would need a full day to get to Paris by train but it's a beautiful train ride through the Alps and France (there is a direct train to Paris from Milano Porta Garibaldi, takes 8 hours, but you can have a meal on the train and it gets you into Paris in late afternoon). Or you can catch an early morning train from Milan with a change in Basel or Lausanne, take a few hours break in Switzerland for a light meal and a look around the city's Christmas market, then on to Paris. After Paris, head to Amsterdam and fly home from there.

Many people put down Milan, but we like it very much and will be spending a few days there in September before heading on to meet friends in Florence.

I would not add another city into the itinerary.
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May 10th, 2015, 05:20 AM
  #4
 
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As for closings, MANY places in all countries are closed on Christmas day and often close early on christmas Eve, similar for New Year's Day and Eve.

I would research each city you will be in to figure out which places (including restaurants) will be open and be sure you have reservations for dinner. Yes, a few places are almost always open but you need to know which they are in advance (google will provide any info you need).

IMHO going to Paris twice makes no sense and 3 cities is plenty for your limited time - considering time traveling between them and the days with many closures.
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May 10th, 2015, 08:20 AM
  #5
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Thank you for your replies.

we are coming in from HK that's why we have to go back to Paris before going back...

will be traveling by air also from one city to the next...
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May 10th, 2015, 11:07 AM
  #6
 
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Paris to Amsterdam by air makes no sense at all - it's really faster to go by train - plus that way you can see some of the countryside.
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May 10th, 2015, 01:06 PM
  #7
 
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Paris is a good place to be on Christmas Day - things are hopping - many small shops and cafes open and the streets are thronged with strollers - this because the french celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve - at midnight with a tradtional family meal (in old days after the older ladies had come back from midnight mass - now IME on my in-laws since the church-goers have died off starts much earlier) so Christmas Day is just like another Sunday - folks going for strolls or to cafes.

Some museums in Paris were even open on Christmas Day - I think in other countries Xmas Day may be dead as a doornail except for churches being opened - not sure have not been anywhere save Paris and France on Christmas Day.

and yes nytraveler makes a great point - Paris to Amsterdam by train cheaper quicker and more comfy - no one flies much that route anymore - 3.5 hours city center to city center - www.thalys.com is the official site for Thalys trains that blow along at up to nearly 190 mph on that route - but book ASAP you can get as I did recently 39 euro tickets Paris to Amsterdam but they are sold in limited numbers and can indeed sell out weeks/months ahead of time. Full fare is about 200 euros I think! Ouch!

For lots of goodies on European trains and what to expect check out these superb IMO sites: www.seat61.com - great info on discounted tickets on Thalys; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

So take the train by all rational means Paris to Amsterdam - then yes fly to Milan. See a bit of the Europe in between Paris and Amsterdam - like the quaint Dutch countryside with cows, canals, cows, dykes, cows, windmills, cows, jammed packed bike paths, cows... and not just see airports and tarmacs.
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May 10th, 2015, 07:33 PM
  #8
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Hi PalenQ! Wonderful reply, truly helpful...

Yes, I actually forgot to say that Paris-Amsterdam will be a train ride... When I told my parents last night that almost all of the cities will be closed, my Dad asked me whether it was still a good idea to spend our holidays there.

Where I come from ( Hong Kong ), everywhere is open. We spend 3 Christmases in New York and it was really sad, except of course if we brave the crowds and go to Times Square....

Yes, PalenQ, I read seat61 which is a very good site, and I read and watch a lot of Rick Steves
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May 10th, 2015, 07:34 PM
  #9
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By the way, if we insert Switzerland in the itinerary, which city would be best to go to?
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