Europe May 2022

Old Sep 30th, 2021, 10:47 AM
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Europe May 2022

Hi all, I'm planning a trip to Europe in May of next year. I'll have a full month. I originally planned to stay in the UK for the entire time, but I'm considering adding Italy and Paris. My flight is in and out of London. I used miles to pay for it. Flights from London to Rome are super cheap though. I thought I would them take a train from Rome to Paris to London. I would love to find some stops along the train route. If it were you, would you add the other countries or do just the UK? This may be my only trip to Europe, but I don't want to be rushed.
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Old Sep 30th, 2021, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by missymckibben5369 View Post
Hi all, I'm planning a trip to Europe in May of next year. I'll have a full month. I originally planned to stay in the UK for the entire time, but I'm considering adding Italy and Paris. My flight is in and out of London. I used miles to pay for it. Flights from London to Rome are super cheap though. I thought I would them take a train from Rome to Paris to London. I would love to find some stops along the train route. If it were you, would you add the other countries or do just the UK? This may be my only trip to Europe, but I don't want to be rushed.
There are a lot of variables here. One thing you could consider to simplify things is taking two round trips: fly from London to Rome and back, and at a separate point, take the train to Paris and back. We really need to know much more about your plans while in the UK. You could certainly fly to Rome and work your way to Paris via train with the time you have (but flights are pretty cheap). At a glance, train stops you could take include Florence, Bologna, Milan, Turin, but I know France much less. I think at this point, I would concentrate on picking exactly what you want to see, then work from there.
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Old Sep 30th, 2021, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by yorkshire View Post
There are a lot of variables here. One thing you could consider to simplify things is taking two round trips: fly from London to Rome and back, and at a separate point, take the train to Paris and back. We really need to know much more about your plans while in the UK. You could certainly fly to Rome and work your way to Paris via train with the time you have (but flights are pretty cheap). At a glance, train stops you could take include Florence, Bologna, Milan, Turin, but I know France much less. I think at this point, I would concentrate on picking exactly what you want to see, then work from there.
My plans in the UK include London and Edinburgh. If I stay in the UK, I would add add other stops. I love history and food! Thanks for the advice.
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Old Sep 30th, 2021, 02:02 PM
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You say this may be your only trip to Europe. Have you been before? If so, which countries or cities?
Did you pick the UK because of an intense interest or just the cheap flight? Is Scotland of great interest?
You do have some time to do some research, so you do not have to lock anything in just yet.
History (British, French Revolution, Ancient Rome, etc.) and food can be found all over, so anything more specific that you have dreamed of seeing or visiting (The The Roman Baths, The British Museum, Pompeii, St Peters, Sistine Chapel, The Eiffel Tower, Versailles, Van Gogh museum, a particular castle or palace, Westminster, etc., etc., etc.) would be very helpful in giving advice.

Last edited by Sassafrass; Sep 30th, 2021 at 02:20 PM. Reason: More info
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Old Sep 30th, 2021, 02:30 PM
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Paris is easy from London by train. IMHO, a flight to Rome, Venice or Pisa would be better than train. Then use trains for seeing places in Italy. Are you more interested in cities or small towns and countryside? If cities appeal, a train from Paris to Barcelona would work, then fly back to London. Another alternative could be a few days in Paris, then train to Lyon for great food or to Avignon for history and seeing a bit of Provence. An interesting historic place is Aigues Mortes where the crusades began, but it takes extra time, so you will be picking carefully what really interests you. May is a perfect time to go.
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Old Sep 30th, 2021, 03:01 PM
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I think you risk spreading yourself too thin. If the UK is your focus, then I'd stay there. You could perhaps take the Eurostar to Paris for a week but I would not attempt to include Italy in your itinerary as I think you'd just feel frustrated. There's more than enough in the UK (and maybe Paris) to keep you busy and engaged for far longer than a month - and you'll have a better time, in my view.
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Old Sep 30th, 2021, 08:28 PM
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Start making a list of what you want to see. Add up the required number of days.

Your initial plan is doable but it's very easy to end up just spending your whole trip enjoying the inside of a train.

I know a month sounds like a long time but if you start hopping around a lot all those travel days won't leave you much sightseeing time.

To get to Paris you have two more or less straight forward choices from Italy

Italy either from Turin or Milan take the train straight to Paris. For some reason TrenItalia isn't showing this but you can find it on the SNCF website.

The other choice would be to head towards Nice .

If you start with London,Paris and Rome you already have three large cities that could take up most of a month. You don't really have time to add more than a few more stops. Edinburgh would be one.
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Old Oct 1st, 2021, 07:24 AM
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If you don't have a specific interest in Italy, I would simplify things and just visit the UK with a side trip by Eurostar to the continent, which would open new possibilities. Besides Paris, you could also easily go to Brussels and Amsterdam. It all depends on your sense of adventure and personal interests.
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Old Oct 1st, 2021, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
You say this may be your only trip to Europe. Have you been before? If so, which countries or cities?
Did you pick the UK because of an intense interest or just the cheap flight? Is Scotland of great interest?
You do have some time to do some research, so you do not have to lock anything in just yet.
History (British, French Revolution, Ancient Rome, etc.) and food can be found all over, so anything more specific that you have dreamed of seeing or visiting (The The Roman Baths, The British Museum, Pompeii, St Peters, Sistine Chapel, The Eiffel Tower, Versailles, Van Gogh museum, a particular castle or palace, Westminster, etc., etc., etc.) would be very helpful in giving advice.
In London some of the things I want to see are:
The British Museum, Tower of London, Westminster, Hampton Court, Kensington.

I would also like to go to Scotland. I want to stay in a castle at least once. It will be my first time in Europe. I thought maybe I should just do Paris for a few days.
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Old Oct 1st, 2021, 09:48 AM
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There's a lot of great food in Europe, but Edinburgh ain't it. England too is still mostly quite a bit sad in that department. I'm not saying you can't find places, but it's not an eye-opening or mind expanding experience. If you go to Paris, you have to think about food as something more important than which restaurant to choose. You should seek out boulangeries, patisseries, traitteurs, chocolatiers, fromageries, salons de thé, bars à vins, and markets. Get yourself a really good baguette, some Bordier butter and radishes (Mai is the month!) to bring to your hotel room and you will have a marvelous breakfast. Go to a fromagerie and ask for which cheeses are "un peu liquide." Go to Patrick Roger for their pavé de mai. Step into Mariage Frères at their boutique in the Marais, and you will be stepping back in time to a place that is unlike where you are from. Go to the open air Marché des Enfants Rouges. Seek out regional French cuisine from the Southwest, Auvergne, Aveyron, Alsace. Food from the DOM/TOM (French overseas territories and departemnts) is also an important part of French cuisine, so go for creole beignets, and other island food. And you can't forget about a good couscous royale. Go to a crêperie for a true galette. Rue des martyrs in the 9th is a cavalcade of so many different kinds of food emporia.

The important thing to know about Paris food nowadays is that your general neighborhood bistro is more likely to use industrial based sauces from food service companies. Eating out has become so expensive that these very casual places you might pop into are looking to cut corners and may be filled with locals who are just looking to have a glass of wine and a salade composée with friends, and they are not ordering the rest of the menu. So my advice is that you can waste a lot of money eating substandard food just by looking at the menu on the sidewalk. Always go for a rec even if it means going out of your way. Also, you may get sent to places which do not have an equivalent experience where you live. Chez l'ami jean, for example.

Last edited by shelemm; Oct 1st, 2021 at 09:59 AM.
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Old Oct 1st, 2021, 09:55 AM
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You guys have provided a lot of good information. I'm thinking possibly of extending my stay to five weeks instead of four.

BTW, I love food!
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Old Oct 1st, 2021, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by shelemm View Post
The important thing to know about Paris food...
More than 80% of the food establishments in Paris get at least some of their items from the very efficient distributors like Metro. This goes up to something like 95% in terms of desserts. This doesn't at all mean that the items are bad. It means that the places have determined which are the best products to buy at the lowest price. If you compare the costs to the high end restaurants, it doesn't take long to decide where more of us prefer to go.

This is an interesting article for those of you who can read French or use Google Translate: Metro, fournisseur des bistrots et des étoilés (lefigaro.fr)
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Old Oct 1st, 2021, 11:49 AM
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"England too is still mostly quite a bit sad in that department. "

I have to really disagree Shelemn. That is very old 'conventional wisdom' (like from back in the 70's and 80's) that England has bad food. Many of the best meals I've had anywhere on earth have been in England (and not just in London) and yes, even in Scotland. Oh my (!)

Plus London is a huge melting pot so besides amazing 'British' food like shellfish, and game, and beef and lamb, and terrific dairy products, and more, just about every cuisine know to man is available from neighborhood cafes to three star Michelin places.

You can get crap in London - and in Paris, and in Venice and anywhere.
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Old Oct 1st, 2021, 11:56 AM
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OK - rant over What else do you want out of a visit to Scotland other than sleeping in a castle? There are posh castle hotels in Scotland -- but also all over England. And there is a LOT more to Scotland than just Edinburgh. So do you really mostly want to see Edinburgh and hopefully a Castle hotel somewhere reasonably accessible to the city . . . Or do you want to explore more of Scotland? Undiscoveerd Scotland is a great resource to research different parts of the country. https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk

Also -- do you plan on renting a car in Scotland (not for in Edinburgh but for the rural and castle bits), or do you want to stick to pubic transport. That makes a huge difference on which parts are accessible
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Old Oct 1st, 2021, 01:58 PM
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100% of all restaurants get much of their food from some kind of food distributor. That's not the unusual part. It's not a question of simply bad vs good, but a question of eating something special. The fact is that the prices in Paris are higher and the quality can be surprisingly low. This change has been going on for some time now, and my opinion is that it's best to be careful about where you spend your money. I suggest getting specific item recommendations. For example, Domaine de Lintillac sources from their own farm in the southwest of France, prices are pretty low, and the confit de canard and cassoulet are wonderful, though I have to admit this is not at all a recent rec. Centrally located in the 2nd.
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Old Oct 1st, 2021, 02:07 PM
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<< My plans in the UK include London and Edinburgh. If I stay in the UK, I would add add other stops. I love history and food! Thanks for the advice.>>

OK - just concentrating on this idea, [which I appreciate may not survive the planning stage] you say that you have a round trip plane ticket into and out of London. Therefore it would make sense to put your stay in London at the end of your trip so as to be in the right place for flying home. A time efficient plan would be to fly straight to Edinburgh when you arrive, spend the first part of your trip there, then fly to Rome, see Italy, then fly/train to Paris, and then get the Eurostar back to London.
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Old Oct 1st, 2021, 03:09 PM
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I like annhig’s plan a lot, especially if you have five weeks. One change I would make would be the order. I would immediately take the train to Paris or fly to Venice or Rome. Your itinerary will, of course depend on your interests. I would visit Scotland just before England and end in England.
Rather than Italy, you could also do a trip to Spain from Paris (train to Barcelona) or visit The Netherlands and/or Belgium.

I am not a foodie, but when something is so great that it is memorable, I do appreciate it.
Bologna, Italy has the best food I had in many trips to Italy. If you are traveling through, it is worth a stop for lunch or dinner.
If from Paris, you decide to branch out a bit, Lyon is known for food and around Aix there is a lot of Moroccan influence and the food is just wonderful, especially the tagines.

Once you have a bit more of a handle on your itinerary, people can give suggestions for places to eat and places to stay.

Do consider a couple of days in/around Bath in England for English history, the connections with American history, Jane Austen and, of course, the biggie, the Roman Baths.
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Old Oct 1st, 2021, 03:12 PM
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OK, you have a bunch of different recommendations to chew over. Now look at the many trip reports here about where you are interested. For instance, my profile includes Paris and London and Italy trip reports, and there are many others to search out here. Then you will have many more ideas, enough to fill several months of touring.
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Old Oct 1st, 2021, 04:47 PM
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As you can see, there are as many opinions as there are people. With your wishlist, apart from the UK, you could perhaps visit Paris and one other area not too far away (e.g. Alsace, Provence, Ghent/Brugge, Amsterdam). Excellent idea to stay in London last if that's the city from which you will fly home. I think Italy would add too much to your holiday - it deserves it's own month long holiday another time.
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Old Oct 1st, 2021, 05:08 PM
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AJPeabody's suggestion to read some of the trip reports about the places that interest you will help (or confuse you no end )

You actually don't have to hunt via every member's profile -- Click 'Filter by Country in Europe' then click on the 'Airplane'Display Trip Reports'

This place isn't a castle exactly -- but is a Scottish Tower house. It is an amazing place to stay (they only rent out 3 rooms) but it would be best if you had a car though not impossible by public transport - its about a 15-20 minute walk from Innerleithen which is the nearest train or bus.

https://www.traquair.co.uk
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