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France and/or Italy for 2.5 weeks with young teens-recommendations appreciated!

France and/or Italy for 2.5 weeks with young teens-recommendations appreciated!

Old Mar 20th, 2023, 06:18 AM
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France and/or Italy for 2.5 weeks with young teens-recommendations appreciated!

Hello! Planning to bring kids to Europe for first time this June- we have two full weeks, not including flights from NE US. Our kids are young teens. We have narrowed down trip to Italy and/or France, focusing on coastal or lake areas as much as possible (it will be hot, and we all like to swim). I'm thinking Cote d'Azur and then Italian coast, but cannot decide between Amalfi and Cinque Terre, and none of us has ever seen Paris or Venice, which I know are in different directions). Is Paris for a few days and then a flight to Italy the better option (skipping South of France-or is that more beautiful than coastal Italy, such that we spend more time in south coastal France and then head to Italy to do Venice and Rome and fly home)? We do not expect to see everything and would prefer to spend more time relaxing and exploring small villages than rushing and trying to see every major site. Days and hours in museums would not be enjoyed by our crew, if that helps. Does anyone have a recommended itinerary they don't mind sharing? Should we go through travel agent and book hotels, or is it relatively easy to search on own and find vrbos/air b&b? Not opposed to driving/flying/trains, but ideally not sitting on trains for long hours...also, ok with flying into one city and out of another! Would appreciate insights and shared experiences from those who have been with teens!
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 09:50 AM
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If you like to swim then the 80 km long beaches next to Bordeaux make the most sense or perhaps the Ile de Re (which might well suit what you are looking for, with Atlantic surf on offer. Very few museums, lots of places to explore on the island or inland

In terms of hotels, June will be filling up now but easy to use booking.com or go to the town website and (say La Rochelle) and voila https://www.larochelle-tourisme.com/...r/hebergements.

If you prefer tiny little coves/villages with small beaches and small hotels you might do better on the Italian Riviera. That to the east of Girona is more famous with the 5 Terre etc, but I prefer that to the west. But I would find little villages a bit too small for me.
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 11:22 AM
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Back to the family and ask them to pick just one city that is the most important to them. Unless you really, really enjoy airports — and you’ve said you don’t want long train trips — Paris and Venice and then the other possible destinations you mentioned are just too far apart for two weeks.

Venice would get my vote because it’s the most likely to disappear in your children’s lifetimes, and because you can indeed also swim there. At the Lido, and at other beach areas. Then add another Italian destination that appeals strongly. How about Lake Garda, or the Dolomites?

If Paris, then La Rochelle (as suggested above) is about a three hour train ride, while Nice is a solid five hours. But from Nice there is much to explore without museums, including train rides up into the mountains. You do know about the pebbly nature of most Côte d’Azur beaches, yes?

Or never mind the big cities for now, and puddle along from Nice to Cinque Terre. Don’t know whether flying out of Nice, Milan or Rome would work best.
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 12:28 PM
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Just be aware that the beaches of the US are better as beaches than those of France and Italy. Flying to Paris or Rome so you can go to the beach sounds so strange as to be a non-starter.
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 01:26 PM
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AJPeabody speaks the truth. When we want to cool off, we head into caves.
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 01:43 PM
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I dunno, I love the coast--it's not like there isn't a cultural component to going to the Italian seaside. But you need to get on the stick--accommodations book up for coastal areas months in advance. The Amalfi Coast seems extra super popular this year--I'd avoid.
I think choosing one country or the other makes better use of your time and money (unless you explore the contiguous riviera areas). Maybe look at Puglia in Italy--the beaches are phenomenal, and there are many small towns to explore without getting museum overload.
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 02:02 PM
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This is not the answer to the question about Venice and the Cinque Terre versus the Amalfi Coast, etc. but something based on how you have described your family’s interests.

I suggest that you absolutely keep Paris. You haven’t been and there is plenty to keep everyone’s interest for a few days. It will be the part of the trip focused on the culture (hopefully some art) of a major European city.
Then, rather than focus on another city, or simply a coastal area, in another country, look for sights or cities that include, or have nearby, opportunities for swimming, canoeing, activities good for teens, etc.

I am just throwing out a few ideas.

Easy train from Paris to Avignon to see the amazing Pont du Gard near Avignon. You can see the aqueduct and canoe and swim in the river. (History, architecture plus activity) You could rent a car for a day or two and visit Uzes or Arles to see the Roman arena still in use for concert and events. Many other things in the area.

Barcelona would be one city of choice for kids. Take the train from Avignon or if you decide to skip Pont du Gard, take the train from Paris or fly. It is easy walking and great for kids. The Gaudi Architecture (especially Segreda Familia) is simply astonishing and kids seem fascinated by it. You could take the cable car up to Montjuïc to the castle and for fabulous views of the city. Ton of other things to see and do there.
Now, the plus side. Barcelona has a beach.

Beaches in Spain are beautiful and vary from beaches right outside of Barcelona to hidden cove type beaches to lovely villages and beach resort towns, just about every kind of place you might enjoy. So you get the history and architecture of a great city (Barcelona) with the charm and beautiful beaches of Spain.

From Barcelona, you could just visit towns and beaches or head to San Sebastián. It is a Mecca for foodies and a favored place for swimming. On the way, you could visit a museum or two in several interesting towns.

Last, before heading to France, stay a few days in London which has a ton of things that seem made for kids: The London Eye, Hampton Court, Tower Bridge, The Tower of London, Canal Boats, Ghost walks, Theater, etc. almost endless. If you were so inclined, you could go to Oxford and go punting on the river.
take the train, London to Paris.

Will try to post a few links.

https://www.avignon-et-provence.com/...-gard-aqueduct
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 02:05 PM
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https://www.afar.com/magazine/best-beaches-near-https://www.barcelona-life.com/barcelona/montjuic

Last edited by Sassafrass; Mar 20th, 2023 at 02:08 PM.
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 02:32 PM
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https://www.uzes-pontdugard.uk/the-d...-all-the-info/

check out Wild Swimming in France
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 05:37 PM
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[QUOTE=Barcelona would be one city of choice for kids. Take the train from Avignon or if you decide to skip Pont du Gard, take the train from Paris or fly. It is easy walking and great for kids. The Gaudi Architecture (especially Segreda Familia) is simply astonishing and kids seem fascinated by it.

So sorry about the spelling in my above post (quoted above). Was in a hurry and did not check. I am not allowed to go back and correct original.
Anyway, should be “ Sagrada” Familia.

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Old Mar 24th, 2023, 07:02 PM
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Some of the simpler things in big cities can interest those young enough to see them for the first time. I am thinking, as an example, the Metro system in Paris. Your young teens can be commissioned to study the rides, and fares, on the Internet in advance. The three of you can work out a security plan. Basically, if someone gets on a train the others miss, get off at the next station and wait for the rest to catch up. They should each have a card from your hotel and enough money to get back alone, carried in a secure manner. This is not alarmist, just good sense and a step towards adult life through adventures in Europe.
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Old Mar 25th, 2023, 12:09 AM
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The gorges of the Ardèche are a huge hit with teens, especially if they have energy to burn.

The Pont d'Arc, Ardèche-Guide (ardeche-guide.com)
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Old Mar 28th, 2023, 02:02 AM
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Thank you all for these wonderful suggestions!
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