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Family of 6, Normandy to Zell Am See - plane, train or automobile?

Family of 6, Normandy to Zell Am See - plane, train or automobile?

Jul 4th, 2009, 01:32 PM
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Family of 6, Normandy to Zell Am See - plane, train or automobile?

We are spending 5 weeks in Europe this summer and have allotted ourselves 7 days for Paris, arriving on July 24th. We need to be in the Zell am See area of Austria by July 31rst in the am. We originally intended to stay in Paris for the whole week as it is our 4 children's first time there but my husband now wants to go to Normandy and see the D-Day beaches.

We have a lot of luggage and there are no direct trains between Normandy and Zell am See - I don't relish running through numerous train stations with our children lugging our 12 enourmous duffel bags plus hand luggage in under 12 minutes. Flights are either outrageously expensive or involve numerous stops as well. And one way car rentals for 2 days seem to run at around 1,500 Euros not to mention I have yet to locate a car that accomodates 6 passengers plus a ton of luggage.

Any ideas?
4kidsinEurope is offline  
Jul 4th, 2009, 01:51 PM
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Have you thought about eliminating some of that "ton of luggage"? Many people travel for weeks in Europe with just a 22" suitcase.
bettyk is offline  
Jul 4th, 2009, 01:57 PM
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As did I before children. Adding to the difficulty, we will be doing some semi serious hiking/outdoor activities in the latter part of the trip while the first half will be largely big-city sightseeing and social events. We basically need to bring everything from hiking boots, jeans and fleece jackets to flip-flops to dress-up clothes. Besides, with 4 kids all I remember from my last trip to Europe is doing laundry. This trip I would like to be able to do a little sight-seeing..
4kidsinEurope is offline  
Jul 4th, 2009, 02:23 PM
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Hello 4kids

What a wonderful trip you have in store - 5 weeks!

One way car rentals are most expensive if you drop off in a country other than the country of origin. If you can work things so that you drop off in France near the German border, and then grab a train from there to Zell Am See, it will likely be much cheaper. (can't think at the moment quite what would be the best choice of dropoff city, but maybe someone else will have a brain wave.) Even so, there be a change of train at some point. Paris-Mannheim-Stuttgart-Salzburg-Schwartzach-Zell am See is the route showing on www.bahn.de - and given that it's a journey of 11 hours or so (more like 14+ if you leave from Bayeux), you'll want to break it up at some point anyway.

That said, I note that you have 12 enormous duffel bags - this could pose a problem for car rental. It will be hard enough to find a car to handle 6 people, let alone 6 people with that much luggage.

So, perhaps your best shot at this date is to take the train from Paris to Bayeux and drop your bags at your hotel. You can then go for a van tour of the beaches (e.g. Battlebus - well recommended albeit not cheap) or try renting a car locally to drive around the area to see the beaches. Warning: this is a large area and you can easily spend 2 or even 3 days looking around the many museums, etc. Then return to Paris, and start your way to Zell am See, breaking up the trip at various points as you see fit.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jul 4th, 2009, 02:33 PM
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Thank you so much Sue_xx_yy! I didn't know it made a difference to return the car within the country you rented it so I am going to look into Strasbourg as the car return city since there seems to be a train that goes straight to Munich from there and you're right about maybe breaking that trip up a little - maybe we'll spend the night in Munich or something.
4kidsinEurope is offline  
Jul 4th, 2009, 02:33 PM
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ACK! I just reread your post and see you have only a week between arrival and your expected arrival in Zell am See.

I think, quite frankly, it will be pushing it to see the beaches in that case. You will easily spend 4-5 nights in Paris, and then perhaps spend a couple more nights 'on the road' to Zell am See. There are very brief, very intense day trips to the beaches area offered by various companies from Paris - I don't usually recommend these, but maybe this time it is the only way to go. What do you think?
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jul 4th, 2009, 02:49 PM
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You can also go on an escorted bus tour that leaves super early in the morning and returns late at night. Then you don't have to worry about baggage at all. It's just a long day trip. True you won't see "everything" but it might suit your purposes.
AMV is offline  
Jul 4th, 2009, 02:55 PM
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Is it heresy to suggest your husband takes the trip to Normandy and rejoins you all in Paris? Depends on how interested your children are in seeing it.
helen_belsize is offline  
Jul 4th, 2009, 04:31 PM
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helen_belsize - exactly what I was thinking.
SallyCanuck is offline  
Jul 4th, 2009, 06:24 PM
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You don;t say how old your kids are - but perhaps you and your husband can go to see Normandy by train by yourselves and just let the kids hang out in Paris. I don;t thin getting all 6 of you and all that luggage on/off/on trains is realistic. And for 6 people plus all that luggage you will need some sort of people mover for 10 or 12 people.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 5th, 2009, 08:58 AM
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Helen, Sally, Sue & NYTraveler: You are all right. My husband & son will be heading to Normandy to do Battlebus tours shortly after we arrive in Paris, leaving the 3 girls & I to girl-tailor our Paris sight-seeing for a couple of days (any suggestions? Girls are aged 6-15..) In the meantime I will keep looking for a reasonable way to make it to Austria by the 31rst.
4kidsinEurope is offline  
Jul 5th, 2009, 10:16 AM
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Hello 4:

Since the 12 bags seem to be a bit of the problem, have you considered shipping half of them ahead to a hotel part of the way through your itinerary? We did this very successfully with our formal duds shipped ahead to Vienna over Christmas. Gradyghost

Incidentally, on that trip, we took the train to Zell from Salzburg --fantastic views.
gradyghost is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 06:25 PM
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You could take a night train from Paris to Munich. With 6 persons you would fill up the 6 berths so no strangers in the cabin with you. It is less than 2 hours from Munich on to Salzburg.

In June we had friends who traveled with us in Europe and the 20 year old was disappointed that we did not sleep on the train. I guess it is the new experience of something. I have done it for years, so nothing special for me.
scatcat is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 06:50 PM
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scatcat: The thread is more than 6 months old - they went last summer . . . .
janisj is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 06:54 PM
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oh, I didn't even check the date. Thanks janis
scatcat is offline  

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