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First post - my itinerary highly influenced by this forum

First post - my itinerary highly influenced by this forum

Jun 6th, 2007, 09:09 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,458
I agree, the 24s are going to be most annoying right at the beginning of your trip, on the RER and Metro. Remember, you will be hot, tired, and disoriented. Take the taxi or a shuttle bus if your hotel can arrange one.

On the suitcase size: I would never dream of taking a bag that big, let alone four of them. You're going to be HOT, remember; you don't need three jackets and sweaters and eight pairs of pants. I especially worry about your 12-year-old, who will get tired more quickly and grasp the reason for her unhappiness less readily. I picture unpleasant scenes when you are trying to make a train and husband ends up having to haul all the bags up!

Think of it this way: a big pile of four huge suitcases, plus four totes, plus purses, with hot, tired, sweaty you standing around it, held prisoner by your baggage. There's the train. Let's roll! Yikes.

If you can't talk your husband out of them, I suggest getting a 20" bag for yourself, which will give you dozens or hundreds of opportunities to demonstrate to them how much better of a time you're having with it!
fnarf999 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 09:15 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,802
Give kids a game while on road trips that they have to do as a team. Maybe an eye-spy list of stuff - that if they find it all (together) they get some kind of prize. That way they can work together - (my parents thought this up for long roadtrips with me and my sister).
steviegene is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 09:19 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,802
Also, another good idea - which my parents did while we were in Europe.
When you get to a destination let the girls go off by themselves (together) to explore around on their own .
This was sooooo much fun for my sister and I (we were 16 & 13 at the time, and fought a lot). We walked around the main area of Florence, Vienna, and London. We got along a lot better when we felt like we had some freedom and the adventure of figuring things out together.

My parents later told me that they followed us at a distance the whole time. But at the time, I had no idea.
steviegene is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 09:42 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,426
I can't comment on the German part, but agree that you are being a bit tight with the transportation money in Paris -- planning to walk 600 meters upon arrival with your baggage. and after a long airplane ride and getting into the city. Taxis don't cost that much, considering the number of people it's covering.

I personally don't think a 24" rolling suitcase is so bad (assuming your carryon tote is not that big) and I travel with that myself, sometimes -- but probably not if I'm going to be taking a lot of trains or do not want to pay for cabs. I also would not be a fan of sharing suitcases with others. It would be better for each to have their own smaller bag IMO.

I'll admit I'm not sure what you are referring to about the train being free with your railpass into Paris. I think you mean the RER between CDG and Gare du Nord with some kind of Eurailpass. I think that is true on that line, that the railpass covers that part because SNCF manages line B between CDG and Gare du Nord.

However, if you don't want to spend a little extra for a cab, you shouldn't be buying Paris Visite passes which are going to cost you more than just buying regular tickets of some kind, so that's contradictory. A Paris Visite is 18,60 euro for three days, and if you just bought a Mobilis all-day pass, it would be only 5,5 euro per day or 16,50 total. Both of those are for the fewest zones. So, you'd be saving 2 euro per person right there. Now I don't think that is a big deal myself, and the pass could be convenient, but it's just that you are worrying about the extra euro for a taxi so thought that might make a difference to you.

That's an interesting address, right next to the Elysee Palace and the Interior Ministry. It is actually in-between a bunch of metro stops, but it seems closest to Miromesnil, not the Madeleine (or even closer to the Champs-Elysees Clemenceau metro stop than the Madeleine, a bit).

I just checked mappy.fr and it's a lot closer to Miromesnil than Madeleine. It's only 330 m from Miromesnil and 630m from Madeleine (only 600 from Champs-Elysees Clemenceau). That wold be a much better walk. You have to transfer twice, it appears, no matter which metro line you go to from Gare du Nord.

Christina is online now  
Jun 6th, 2007, 11:55 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 793
A word of caution using the Metro or RER as a family.

My husband, daughter (20 yr old) and I were on a very crowded metro in Brussels recently. Hubby and I had the big suitcases, daughter just a tote. When our stop came up, she jumped off and hubby and I couldn't get through the crowd to get off.

We're experienced travelers and we should've seen this coming, but we were tired and moving slowly because of the luggage. We had cell phones and were able to meet up about 15 mintues later.

You may want to make plans on where to meet if this should happen to you.
canterbury is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 12:10 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,472
steviegenie said what I was thinking.

Your 15 year old is at the age when she has a drive for independence - give her some responsibility for the trip, and a chance to get off with her sister, and you'll find her more engaged. If it's just them, they find they'd better get along.

Also make some time for her by herself - maybe she can read a book in a comfy chair in the hotel lobby, or check out the hotel's computer, if available. Sometimes there can be just TOO MUCH family togetherness.

My girls read the guidebooks for the next destination when we're on the train, and make a list of what they'd like to do. We then make sure we follow up and do at least some of what they have marked as their priority.
noe847 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 12:20 PM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
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I forgot to add that I agree with giving the kids some freedom - definitely the 15 yo. And, maybe have the girls choose a cafe to go and have lunch by themselves. You can decide a time and place to meet afterwards.
canterbury is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 12:50 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,176
A taxi for four people is not that much more expensive than RER for four people.

If you don't want to send the girls off on their own, consider splitting up on a per-parent basis.
WillTravel is online now  
Jun 6th, 2007, 06:59 PM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,228
My 14 yr old son and I traveled to Paris and Normandy for two weeks several years ago and when he got tired of museums he just went "home" on his own via the metro. He was an ace at it pretty quickly.

I would take the girls to the D'Orsay then break up and meet them back in an hour at the cafe inside the museum. Don't tell them they have to stick together or anything. Just start at the cafe and say see ya back here in an hour. They will either each go their seperate ways or they will stick together but they are much less likely to fight without you around. Then when you all get back just say, "Want more of this or should we move on?"

Do the same thing at Galeries Lafayette department store- Here's 50 euros each, buy what ya want, see ya back here in an hour and a half.

PLEASE do not buy the Paris Visite pass for the metro. It is an absurd ripoff for tourists. You are better off to buy carnets of ten tickets at a time. When you run out, buy more. "Je voudrais une carnet, sil vous plait" to the lady at the ticket window.

My son had about 4 weeks of French in an eighth grade exploratory class and I encouraged him to order his own sandwiches and crepes at the walk up stands all over town.

The Champs Elysees is boring as all get out with lots of chain stores but you can send the girls off on their own there as well.

Let them sit at their own table at places like Pizza Pino (there is one on the Champs Elysees) and don't get invovled in their conversations. If they find they've ordered a hideous pizza with an egg served on top let them deal with it.

Don't let their arguing ruin your time for even a second in Paris. Drop them back at the hotel and let them duke it out all day long and enjoy yourself in Paris without them. They aren't likely to keep it up for long when they realize you don't really care if they waste their time.

I've had no trouble going to hotels in Paris early in the morning and leaving bags behind the front desk if my room isn't ready. I've also been given my room at 9am on occassion as well. It doesn't hurt to ask very nicely if there is a room available.
amwosu is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 09:04 PM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,467
I support the idea of giving them some independence, with one caveat: Get a cell phone for them so that you have one and they have one.

And I would suck it up and buy a European compatible one before you go to Paris. You will only be there three days, you don't want to waste a third of your time shopping for a phone store.

You can buy a Team Mobile and find out from the boards here how to "unlock your phone" and then almost any tobacco shop or pharmacy will have the little cards to put in them. (Note this is cheaper than paying international rates but does give your phone a new number while you have the card in it.)

Or, you can do the Mobile phones that some people on this board get. There are so many posts on this board regarding phones do a search.

Well worth the effort. My mom and I spent hours trying to find each other in Rome and it is very stressful even for adults.

5alive is offline  

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