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Do you really sleep on the Rome to Paris overnight train?

Do you really sleep on the Rome to Paris overnight train?

Oct 10th, 2006, 07:22 AM
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Do you really sleep on the Rome to Paris overnight train?

Our family is investigating booking the Rome to Paris Artesia Night Train. There will be four of us, grandparents and two granddaughters, and we are investigating first class and second class tickets and I would appreciate advice on what to expect.

If you have done this journey either to or from Paris, could you advise:

-- What are the differences between second class and first class and is the latter worth the additional cost of about 50 percent more?

-- Will we actually sleep? For comparison, we can accomplish short naps when flying, but cannot sleep.

We could fly, but since this is the girls' first trip to Europe we felt the overnight train would be a great experience for them. However, if it's tossing and turning all night trying to sleep, we'll likely pass.

This is the Trenitalia 226, departing Rome at 6:40 p.m., arriving Paris at 9:10 a.m. If this works as I hope, we could hit the ground running when we arrive and have a full day.


JimF is offline  
Oct 10th, 2006, 07:38 AM
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This train has no ordinary seats, but has a variety of sleeping accommodation, and a restaurant car for dinner and breakfast. Tickets include a berth in either a sleeping compartment or couchette. There isn't really first or second class: fares depend on the type of sleeping accommodation and the number of people sharing. There are descriptions and pictures on www.seat61.com.
I've used the Paris-Italy night trains several times over the years and am used to sleeping on trains. Some people like night trains and others don't.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Oct 10th, 2006, 07:44 AM
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My daughter traveled Paris to Rome overnight in a couchette last summer and arrived looking half-dead, and this is a girl who can sleep almost anywhere. She said she was awoken constantly throughout the night, sometimes by other passengers, sometimes by conductors, sometimes just by noise. I don't think she'd do it again.
StCirq is online now  
Oct 10th, 2006, 08:02 AM
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I don't think it will be the best nights sleep you have experienced, but you can stretch out and there will be several of you which will make it feel more comfortable. Go for it.
wally34949 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2006, 09:31 AM
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4 of us took the Artesia night train from Venice to Paris several years back.

To be honest, it was a lot better than I thought it would be. I am someone that can only nap for short periods on long flights - and I was able to sleep the night through on the train. It wasn't the best night's sleep, but it was ok.

We were 4 adults in our cabin, and I was surprised at how roomy (relatively speaking) our cabin was. I remember thinking that the night train would definitely be something my daughter would enjoy.

The worst part of the train ride was the shared toilets - by the end of the trip they weren't the greatest.
chepar is offline  
Oct 10th, 2006, 09:34 AM
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i've rarely had trouble sleeping on literally 100s of night trains i've taken in Europe...a bottle of wine and i'm asleep.

that said many people do have problems - it depends on whether you're a light sleeper or not.

as for moving train bogeys no - it's a smooth ride and the noise, though omnipresent is not overwhelming.

Thus your grandkids will love it - you may or may not sleep like a baby however.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Oct 10th, 2006, 09:44 AM
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I can't sleep on planes or in cars, and find I sleep OK on night trains - but if you're very sensitive to noise you might find it difficult.

It's less comfortable than flying and staying in a hotel, but would be a bit of an adventure for your grandchildren.
papagena is offline  
Oct 11th, 2006, 04:01 PM
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I have taken the overnight train from Paris to Spain, and a number of other overnight trains in Italy, Germany, and other parts of Europe. I figure that I am about your age and I highly recommend the train.

The one you have selected is a very good train. First class will be more comfortable and probably quieter. Sometimes second class has some roudy families immigrating from someplace south or east into France.

There might also be some twenties-plus Aussies who can be loud till late at night. Maybe your grandchildren will appreciate that.

The cost of the bed depends on how many bunks (T3=3, T4=4, T6=6) are in the compartment and whether it is a sleeper or a couchette. I can hardly tell the difference between a sleeper and a couchette. I guess they make your bed in 1st class and leave a bottle of water.

The cost of the train ticket is separate. This is 50% more in first class. I have usually been greeted in the morning with a complimentary continental breakfast in my compartment when traveling first class. This is something to consider since coffee in the dining car can cost $3 or more.

First class sometimes includes a full bathroom but I don't know about this particular train. For a 15 hour trip this may be a point to consider. The normal toilet on trains in Europe is a unisex potty at the end of the car, shared by all.

Whether you will sleep is up to you. I usually take a bottle of wine, some cheese, and some bread rolls on board for my dinner. I sleep like a baby and wake totally refreshed the next day.

Train stops are about the only thing that wakes me. Another nuisance is the idiot border guard who SLAMS the door open, turns on the overhead light, and demands my passport. This nonsense only happens in the eastern countries nowadays.

Your train makes a couple of stops but between Piacenza at 2328 and Dijon at 0633 you have no interruptions. That should make for about seven hours of dreamland. I predict a most pleasant and memorable trip.

hopscotch is offline  
Oct 11th, 2006, 04:25 PM
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It's not about first or second class tickets, it is about what kind of sleeping cabin you reserve. Couchette are more like bunk beds. The private two-person cabins (called wagon-lit in Switzerland and France, not sure the Italian word) anyway are MUCH nicer.

In the private cabin, yes I can sleep reasonably well. And I have never once fallen asleep in a car or on a plane, as comparison. These rooms have nice normal beds, linens, etc.

I do not know your particular route but have done overnight trains, Geneva/Venice several times, and Venice/Paris once. I am assuming the experience would be similar Rome to Paris.
suze is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 10:01 AM
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My friends and I were on this train April 2004. Please read our story on my travel journal at http://www.jodypoesy.com/html/tuscan...ring_2004.html

It'll answer some of your questions. We did have motion sickness for 1/2 the next day.
I would love to do this trip during the day and see where we actually went!
JodyPoesy is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 10:32 AM
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I was also interested in this trip and did a search of seat 61, as suggested by GeoffHammer. The discussion of the night train is almost at the bottom of "How to travel by train from London to Italy," http://www.seat61.com/Italy.htm#The%...0to%20Italy%20...

It sounds like "comfort couchettes" don't exist any more? Too bad, sounded like a reasonable option for a family of four.

I'm probably crazy to be thinking about night trains after my family's experience on the night train from London to Edinburth about a year and a half ago. Our cabin was, unfortunately, right next to the conductor's, and she had a voice that could cut through tin. She held hearty conversations all night long, which she punctuated by slamming the door. I have a picture of us when we arrived in Edinburgh that is the funniest of the trip. I wouldn't have wanted to meet us in a dark alley -- we looked pretty scary.

But "next time" can always be different!?!?!
jeanm is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 10:57 AM
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But Jim, my question to you is, why would you want to do that? When you can do as I did a few months ago, take Ryanair from Rome Ciampino to Beauvais, for something like 30 or so Euros-get to Beauvais, get on the bus, and an hour later you're there at Porte Maillot and can take the metro or taxi to wherever. It was most enjoyable-I've said that it took exactly 18=20 minutes top to get off the plane, pick up my luggage, and get on the bus to take off for Paris, since I had already bought my bus ticket on line.

If I were you, I'd check out the ryanair website, to find out just how cheaply and easily you can get to Paris in a couple of HOURS, rather than overnight? That would not be my choice, AT ALL.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 10:58 AM
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Will you sleep? Yes. Will you sleep well? NO. Depends on your priorities, I for on would not like to waste a day or pay for a flight, so being a little tired is a small price to pay. Plus the excitement of entering a new city should more than make up for you sleepiness.
brando is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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I slept fine when my husband and I took the night train from Paris to Venice and back. We had a 2 person sleeper compartment with a sink. Absolutely loved the whole experience - way more fun (and much less stressful) than flying, in my opinion. But we really made the journey part of the holiday, packing a picnic and champagne...
That doesn't mean that I'd take the night train over flying for every journey, but it's certainly fun to do it once. (But note that on these trains you do get what you pay for - the more expensive the ticket the more likely you are to get a good night's sleep!)
hanl is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 01:51 PM
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If you are feeling uncertain about taking an overnight train then look at this page http://tinyurl.com/y57vft

hopscotch is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 03:46 PM
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Yes, I have done this from Paris to Rome, and it was fine. The ability to sleep on a train seems to be quite individualized; I usually do fine on trains. For comparison, I rarely am able to sleep for more than an hour or two in a coach seat on an airplane. As others have noted, a nice bottle of wine does help - maybe some warm milk for the kids.
Admitting that I am something of a train buff, I would recommend the experience for your grandkids - not something they are likely to get elsewhere. I don't think the first class is worth the additional cost - you should be fine in a T4 couchette that provides 4 beds. You won't have a private bathroom but will have to use the one at the end of the car.
Seamus is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 04:22 PM
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I took the 12-hour overnight from Paris to Venice, and we didn't sleep well, but we had a heck of a good time meeting people and talking with a group of high school students who were on a field trip and thrilled to meet a couple of friendly Americans willing to talk with them.

Arriving somewhere tired after a good night of making new friends can easily be made up for with an easy day and an early-to-bed night the next night.

Or, you can go first class, get some ear plugs, and sleep through it all, whatever your preference!

Happy travels,

jules4je7 is offline  
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