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sokanauj Apr 28th, 2008 09:48 PM

First trip to Europe for 10 days
Hi guys,

I am planning my first ever trip to Europe with my wife (coming from USA). We have set aside 10 days for enjoying what Europe has to offer. The problem is we can't decide what places to hit. Given that this is our first time and that we have only 10 days makes it complicated :(.
This might sound very vague but I am looking for any suggestions to help narrow down the countries we visit. We've decided not to do Eastern Europe on this trip and don't want to do London right now too(we travel a lot from US to India and chances are high that we'd get a stopover in London so saving it for that time). But that still leaves a lot of options. One place me and my wife would really like to visit in Paris...I guess we need to build around that..

GSteed Apr 28th, 2008 11:45 PM

How old are you? Do you like night life? How about opera and ballet. Sports? Can you find a business connection? History...the choices are endless. I suggest you read, Elder Hostel, note their Europe trip descriptions. Perhaps an organized tour is your answer.

Aramis Apr 29th, 2008 01:52 AM

With only 10 days don't try and stretch yourself too thin. You will gets lots of advice that Paris will take you at least 4-5 days so that camp will say you only have time for Paris and a couple of outlying French locales - perhaps Brittany, for a change of pace, or the Loire Valley, Bordeaux, Alsace, or the Dordogne.

Alternately, if you want to see something other than France, you could choose 3 larger locales and plan to situate yourself in each for 3-4 days. With that option you could see Paris, Rome, and perhaps Munich, Zurich, Venice, etc..

ira Apr 29th, 2008 02:06 AM

Hi S,

>One place me and my wife would really like to visit in Paris...I guess we need to build around that..

An excellent idea.

With 10 days, you could also visit Alsace, Burgundy, Provence, Normandy, Brittany or the Loire Valley for a few nights.

Enjoy your planning.


sokanauj Apr 29th, 2008 03:55 PM

Thanks for all the prompt responses. So it seems like the general consensus is that Paris has a lot to offer and it definitely isn't something to be done in a few days. So Paris is definitely in. However, I and my wife feel we should visit atleast two countries so we can experience different cultures. If we had to pick another country what'd you guys recommend?

We are not so much into night-life or wine tasting, but are looking more for natural beauty and history/culture.

Thanks for all the responses!!

MomDDTravel Apr 29th, 2008 04:00 PM

sokanauj we took a train from Paris to Switzerland last summer and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved Swizterland. It was dh's request to go there on our trip and it was really the only thing he asked for or suggested so I went with it and was thankful I did.

You might want to fly into Paris and maybe out of Zurich? (or the other way around) You would be able to enjoy Paris and all it has to offer and then go to Swizterland for amazing natural beauty. It is breath taking imo.

suze Apr 29th, 2008 04:05 PM

Paris + Venice
Paris + Amsterdam
Paris + Lac Leman/Switzerland

I would not try to do more than 2 places with only a 10 day trip.

janisj Apr 29th, 2008 04:19 PM

A week in Paris and 3 days In Amsterdam would be perfect. They are totally different cities/cultures.

Or a week in Paris + Brussels/Brugge

Or Paris + one city in Italy (either Florence or Venice would be my choice)

OR - all 10 days in Paris w/ a couple of day trips to the Loire Valley or Giverney or Normandy

If you do 2 cities - fly open jaw (into one and home from the other) to save you having to backtrack.

dwzemens Apr 29th, 2008 06:11 PM

I also recommend Paris and either Brugge or Amsterdam.

Brugge is very small and low key, but absolutely beautiful. Amsterdam is larger, but still a small "major" city.

Both cities are so different from Paris, and not too distant by train. Either would make a good choice.

chevre Apr 29th, 2008 07:25 PM

Reading your posting I immediately thought of a suggestion. Reading the responses I'm not alone. Amsterdam-Brugge-Paris. As already stated; different cultures each very interesting. I would arrive in Amsterdam and depending on the time of day of your arrival, spend no more than 3 nights. On your way to Paris, work out the train to be in Brugge as early as possible. give Brugge one night and then onto Paris via Brussels and the Thalys high speed train the next afternoon to arrive in Paris late afternoon or early evening. Leave out of Paris. Fitting Brugge may not work. But I think Amsterdam and Paris make a nice pairing. Amsterdam is an easy city to navigate and everyone speaks English so it is also a good city for the first time Europeam visitor.

StCirq Apr 29th, 2008 07:49 PM

What janis suggested.

dwzemens Apr 30th, 2008 05:53 AM

We did the exact trip chevre suggested in May 2006. However, we stayed three nights in Amsterday, two in Brugge and the last five in Paris, flying home from there on an open jaw ticket.

Terrific vacation. Just enough time in each place to not feel rushed, and the train service between all three cities is great!

Michel_Paris Apr 30th, 2008 06:06 AM

I've done the London-Paris and the Amsterdam -Paris combo.

Open jaw, fly into first city, take Eurostar/TGV to Paris, fly home from there.

On a first trip (and what I did on mine), I might recommend London-Paris. I like the idea of landing somewhere where the language and customs are similar so the first few days of jet lag are not as offsetting. You get grounded, enjoy a city with lots to offer...and then on you go and be in Pairs in ~3 hrs.

Amsterdam I found to be a city that I felt I could see in 3-4 days. Not too big, not too small. Lots of art, canal rides, Anne Frank house,etc..

Paris, to me, is (like London) a place you cannot see in 1 or 10 trips. So you plan around the "big" sites, and in some recommendations from here, some wandering time, and you will want to go back again.

I've also done a Paris-Loire Valley trip. Landed in Paris, stayed a day, then rented a car for a ~9 day drive through Loire / Chartres / Giverny and back to Paris for a few days. This may not be what you are looking for, if Paris is one of your main focuses.

For a France only trip, because of the ease of taking the TGV, you could split your trip into two regions. Land in Paris, walk over to TGV station at the airport and train to another area (Burgundy, Provence,Lyon,etc...). Rent a car there and tour around, train back, stay in Paris for the second half, and leave for home.

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