Europe in June with 8-year old

Old Mar 5th, 2015, 09:41 PM
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Pompeii is an easy day trip with a child. 8 years old is not a baby. The fast train takes 1 hr 10 minutes, then the local service is about another 50 minutes. That's a whole lot of sitting down and possibly reading about Pompeii on the way. Take your time and see the site at your own pace - there is a great cafe on the inside and it's reasonably priced. The guided tours are cheap at only 10 euro per person.

Alternatively, get a taxi to Pompeii as it's about half an hour down the autostrada from Naples. It's 90 euro fixed fare for the trip there, a two hour wait and the return to Napoli Centrale. Not too taxing a day, especially as you can rest on the way back to Rome. If you imagine this is the only time you'll get there, then by all means consider it as a day trip. Thousands of people - and their kids - do it every year.
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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 10:14 PM
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You might like a couple of these books for your daughter?
You can order them from Amazon

Venice for Kids by Elisabetta Pasqualin
This is a fabulous guide book, great illustrations and stories.
She has also co-authored Ancient Rome for Kids in a similar style.

These by Lonely Planet, also get great reviews, though I have not actually seen them.
Not for Parents Rome: everything you ever wanted to know
Not For Parents London: etc.
Not for Parents Paris: etc.
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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 10:35 PM
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Just a word about those 'Not for Parents' guide books - The Rome one is written in the 'Horrible Histories' vein - i.e. making light of human suffering, torture, complete annihilation of animal species via beast hunts and murder as entertainment. There are also illustrations in case the kids don't get it. If this will affect your daughter then leave this guide back on the Amazon shelves where it belongs. It's low-brow in the extreme.
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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 11:03 PM
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Hi thepilotswife,

Regarding whether to fly or train from Paris to Nice, I would say that the train will be easier. You just need to take a taxi to the train station, then get on the train, and get off in Nice -- there are many direct (0 changes) connections. There will be a restaurant car and a bistro car where you can spend some time, or you and your daughter can stroll the aisles if she gets bored. You can also bring aboard a gourmet picnic to enjoy as the scenery slips by.

If you fly, you have to get from the hotel to the airport (taxi and train or an expensive taxi or shuttle), then deal with desks and lines until you get to sit on the plane, then in Nice you have to deal with baggage again and getting into town. Flying won't be much faster either, once you take into consideration the time to get from Paris to the airport, waiting at the airport, flying, waiting for your bags, etc.

The train trip will be around 5h40.

Have fun as you plan!

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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 11:13 PM
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So glad you were able to give some first hand knowledge about Lonely Planet's books. As I said, I have not seen them, surprised they get such good reviews. That is horrible, too bad.

I think, then, the OP should sick with Elisabetta Pasqualin's books. I have the one for Venice and it is really, really good.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 01:07 AM
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@ Sassafras - some people love this style of guide book for kids - it just depends on the child. Your advice was fine - this book is very popular

I just added my opinion as I find this flippant way of 'engaging' kids in Roman history to be ugly and minimising the reality.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 02:17 AM
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As a child, I was brought to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Venice. London and Paris were harder work - big walks from one place to another with just busy city in between. Venice and Amsterdam were much more attractive, compact centres with (in the case of Amsterdam) the option of biking everywhere. Venice is a joy to stroll with the lack of cars and the canals - every step is an adventure, whereas in the big cities of London and Paris sometimes it is hard work to get from one place to the next.

If I was travelling with a child (and we do travel with my 8 year old, a lot) - I would not spend 1 week in each of Paris and London, wonderful as they are, as that would just tire us both out. Venice is magic for kids, the Lido and the islands (Murano, Burano, Torcello) are great spots and very laid back.

London and Paris are probably more about checking off the major attractions rather than really experiencing local life. In your itinerary, by day 11 you are still in a big city, if it was me I would take some time from London and Paris and add it to Nice or elsewhere on the French riviera, just to relax a bit.

Or maybe make sure to build in "down time" type trips within the cities, for example the boat trip to Hampton Court palace from London is a lovely day out from busy sightseeing in London.

Agree Geneva makes no sense, I would cut it and train from Nice to Venice.

It sounds wonderful anyway, you have the bones of a great trip whatever way you do it.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 05:00 AM
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Agree with posters about cutting out Geneva.

If you enjoy hiking then you should know that the area north of Nice is very mountainous and would give you the opportunity to do some hiking. Check out this website (only in French, I'm afraid)

In the summer, special; buses run from Nice specifically for hikers (called randobus)

PS I would never contemplate trying to drive to St Tropez in the summer, it's a nightmare!
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 09:35 AM
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Agree with Littlejane about the attractions of Amsterdam. Both my DDs say they have great memories of the Netherlands.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 10:25 AM
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We took our four children to Europe, (Germany and Austria) and I would echo the advice to stay as long as you can in one place and do day trips. That was the only thing that kept the kids sane and calm and feeling at least a little settled here and there. I think she will remember more if you spend more time in a few places rather than jumping around to many places. My kids have the best memories of the places we stayed the longest. We visited many parks as well and spent time outside enjoying the beautiful summer weather. we spent almost a month and it was one of the best experiences, and they all want to return. One thing I did as well that you could incorporate is I had my kids study the places we were going on their own then they all did little presentations. They were more invested when we got there because they had all researched ( well not my 1 1/2 yr old but the others who were 7, 9 and 12).
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 10:41 AM
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I didn't read through every response but since you are now considering Rome, I would strongly suggest a day trip to Ostia Antica. Look it up. We took our son to Italy when he was 10 and his favorite things were 1. Ostia Antica and 2. staying in a castle in Tuscany. We stayed at Castel Pietraio which is pretty inexpensive and centrally located. We day-tripped everywhere there was to go, even Umbria. But returning to a castle and staying in the tower was the coolest thing ever. Even if you skip Tuscany please look up Ostia Antica, there is no place else like it and its a nice place to let yourselves run around, explore, and de-stress.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 10:52 AM
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In think your trip is sounding better all the time. I don't know how difficult it would be, but I would do it in the reverse order, just because of the heat, especially in Rome. I would do the southern bits first.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 12:17 PM
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I think a week in London would be wonderful for a child. There are so many things you can do there. Some of the things that my 9-year-old granddaughter absolutely loved were The Tower of London; a do-it-yourself Harry Potter walk I downloaded from the internet; the changing of the guard (although I swore I'd never be dragged there again; Westminster Abbey and Big Ben; and the costume exhibits at the V&A.

We were there in the winter, so we didn't take any boat rides, but When my kids were her age, they also loved the boat trip to Greenwich, with a visit to the Cutty Sark and the National Observatory; brass rubbing in a church; the British Museums (which we visited twice when they were kids, and were they love to return as adults);a trip to Hampton Court (train there, boat back), especially the maze; Hampton Heath; all the other parks in London; a day trip to Stonehenge and Avebury (do-it-yourself by train and bus).

As you can imagine, all of these things couldn't even be fit into a week. You'd have to choose, and I wouldn't plan more than one museum or church in a day. Alternate park days with some of the other things.

I only took my kids to Paris once, but they loved Notre Dame, the Louvre, Saint Chapelle, the Luxembourg Gardens, and the Rodin Museum. We didn't visit the Eiffel Tower. We did visit Sacre Coeur, but it wasn't a big hit. We weren't in Paris for a full week, but I can think of several other things they would have loved, including a boat ride on the Seine. Again, when traveling with a child, you shouldn't run from one sight to another.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 12:48 PM
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Usually, it is easier to fly into Venice and out of Rome, so you could do
A bit of Tuscany
Fly to southern France (consider Amsterdam, also)
Train to Paris
Train to London

If you are flying anyway, you could also fly from Rome to London and train from London to Paris.

This seems cheesy to many, but seriously consider having one of the artists in Place du Tertre, in Paris, do a portrait drawing of your daughter. Some of the artists are not good, but others are really good. Look carefully and pick one you like, not just one who is not busy. Friends went with us to Paris with three daughters. It was their favorite souvenir, except that two of the girls had the same artist, who did a wonderful job, and the other was too impatient to wait for the better artist and her portrait was not as good. I met a lady once, who, when she was six, had gone to Paris with her Mother. She said it was her favorite travel memory, having her portrait done in Paris. I have always been sorry I did not do it for my girls.
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