France & Switzerland in April

Old Jan 17th, 2022, 06:45 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
France & Switzerland in April

All of the COVID uncertainty aside, I am seeking advice on the itinerary my husband and I (late 20s) have created for our trip this April.

We will be arriving in CDG from the US the first week of April and staying for 12 days. We plan to rent a car (I know public transportation is incredibly accessible and probably less expensive but, for us, the drive is half the experience) and drive from there to Strasbourg where we can recover from our jetlag with some laid back sightseeing. Tentatively, the trip continues as follows:

Lucerne area 3 days (a day trip to Zurich maybe)
Lugano/Como 2 days
Interlaken/Laterbrunnen 2 days
Zermatt 1 day (we aren't skiers and this would really just be a quick "see the city and Alps" stop)
Dijon/Some other halfway point to rest for the afternoon/night-town or village recommendations happily accepted
…pernay 2 days
Drive back to CDG and maybe sleep somewhere close to the airport as our flight leaves early in the morning

Specific advice I am seeking:
1. Although weather isn't a major concern, will these locations even have places for us to sightsee, sleep, and eat given how early we're visiting? I'm already running into one or two major attractions that will definitely be closed. (Unfortunately, these dates are fixed. Luckily, our itinerary is not) Should we consider making adjustments to our itinerary? If so, where would you suggest we go instead?
2. Is the Lugano area a must see? It certainly looks beautiful but maybe more of a day trip. We are considering going all the way down to Milan to take a pasta and tiramisu cooking course, instead.
3. How is Swiss food? Its not something we often see here in the States!
4. When should we book accommodations, tours, etc. ? In the past I know the advice is typically to wait until a day or two before, but given COVID situations, I'm not sure if this changes things. Airbnb and Expedia, where we usually book through, have really flexible cancellation policies and I am much happier with fixed plans.
5. We are triple vaccinated and will not have issues getting a COVID pass, but I'm wondering if we need to get a new one each time we enter a new country, or does our French pass carry over to a Swiss pass? This would most likely rule out an Italy stop altogether.
trishapetersen0013 is offline  
Old Jan 17th, 2022, 08:17 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,419
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 1 Post
Driving in Switzerland is super easy . . . great roads, well maintained. That said, you may/should/will have to use public transportation (i.e. train) based upon your itinerary.

For example, Zermatt is a car free zone. So your options are to take, from Interlaken, a train (2 changes) to Zermatt . . . no worries, it's a 2 hour trip. OR drive to Tšsch, park, and take the shuttle train into Zermatt.
Same thing for day trip from Luzern to Zurich. Best option is to take the train, takes about 45 minutes by train and is a lovely, scenic ride.

The areas other than Lugano are in the German speaking sector, so a Germanic influence in food choices. And fondue of course! Lots of cheese dishes (I love a good Raclette!). So, think hearty, comfort food. Also, good salads. And I had a delicious pizza in Zermatt last time there!
Surfergirl is offline  
Old Jan 17th, 2022, 09:04 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 10,762
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Driving Paris to Strasbourg right after arrival is not a good idea! It is roughly a 5 hour drive.

Perhaps I missed it. Are you doing any sightseeing in Paris?

It looks as if you are mostly seeing Switzerland, so why not fly into Switzerland?

You mentioned a Milan. You could also fly into Milan.

Personally, I would skip Strasbourg this trip, but if you are set on it, you could fly into Frankfurt and take the train right from the airport to Strasbourg. Easy and fast. Pick up the car on the German side of the border if you are returning to Frankfurt by car.

Even better, do multi-city tickets.

Arrive Frankfurt.
Catch a fast train to Strasbourg. Spend the night and a day and perhaps a second night.
Take the train on to Switzerland and rent the car.
From Switzerland, drop down to Italy and depart for home from Milan.

Check on cost of car drop offs in different countries. That could affect where you pick it up, etc.
Sassafrass is online now  
Old Jan 17th, 2022, 09:10 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We are not really interested in sightseeing around Paris this trip. We plan to spend most of our time in Switzerland, but we were able to purchase nonstop round trip tickets to CDG for ~$300 less/ticket than 2 stop tickets to Zurich. We aren't set on Strasbourg, it just looks like a really neat city that is a good stopping point on the way to Switzerland from Paris. Renting the car in Paris or a city nearby is important since fees to return rental cars to another location are usually $500-600 minimum. I looked into taking a train to Strasbourg from the airport and renting a car from there, but the train schedule would have us sitting around at the airport for 2.5 hours with our luggage.
trishapetersen0013 is offline  
Old Jan 17th, 2022, 09:24 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I had no idea Zermatt was car free! Thanks for the info. Yeah, for fun and necessity we will mix in some trains and cable cars. Do you feel like we will still get to see and do a lot in these areas in early April?
trishapetersen0013 is offline  
Old Jan 17th, 2022, 06:15 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,419
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 1 Post
There's plenty to see and do in early April, although a lot depends on the weather, and the weather is very unpredictable at that time of year. But it is one of my favorite times, just need to do a lot of layering.

Because I'm a big concert-goer, I like Switzerland in the Spring because believe it or not, there are music festivals there. For example, there's a cool outdoor festival in Zermatt. in early April --Zermatt Unplugged. This year they are going to have Thom Yorke of Radiohead!
Surfergirl is offline  
Old Jan 18th, 2022, 03:17 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 10,541
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Originally Posted by Surfergirl View Post
There's plenty to see and do in early April, although a lot depends on the weather, and the weather is very unpredictable at that time of year. !
Donít forget that the passes are closed until mid May/June, depending on the snow.
kleeblatt is offline  
Old Jan 19th, 2022, 07:59 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 7,328
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I second Sassafrass: never drive after a overnight flight. Furhtermore, a drive along the highway from Paris CDG airport to Strasbourg, Mulhouse or Dijon is all but scenic.
Take a direct train to Strasbourg (CDG dp 9.00 or 11.23) or to Lyon (CDG dp 6.47, 8.29, 10.00). Journey time to both cities about 2 hrs.
Both, Strasbourg and Lyon are interesting cities with tons of sights.
A loop (all by train) Lyon - Geneva - Interlaken/Jungfrau aarea - Zermatt - Locarno/Lugano - Lucerne - Strasbourg would b e perfectly possible (and very scenic!).
You will find spring weather (and spring flowers) along Lake Geneva and Lake Lugano as well as snowy winter landscapes in the Jungfrau area and around Zermatt.
All mountain railways and gondolas will run.
If you do all by car, you waste your time. And you have 12 days only!
neckervd is offline  
Old Jan 19th, 2022, 06:21 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by neckervd View Post
I second Sassafrass: never drive after a overnight flight. Furhtermore, a drive along the highway from Paris CDG airport to Strasbourg, Mulhouse or Dijon is all but scenic.
Take a direct train to Strasbourg (CDG dp 9.00 or 11.23) or to Lyon (CDG dp 6.47, 8.29, 10.00). Journey time to both cities about 2 hrs.
Both, Strasbourg and Lyon are interesting cities with tons of sights.
A loop (all by train) Lyon - Geneva - Interlaken/Jungfrau aarea - Zermatt - Locarno/Lugano - Lucerne - Strasbourg would b e perfectly possible (and very scenic!).
You will find spring weather (and spring flowers) along Lake Geneva and Lake Lugano as well as snowy winter landscapes in the Jungfrau area and around Zermatt.
All mountain railways and gondolas will run.
If you do all by car, you waste your time. And you have 12 days only!
I know and have heard very little about Lyon. What makes it a better contender than Epernay/Champagne region? As for the train to Strasbourg, this was part of our initial plan but the 2.5 hour wait at the airport turned us off. Itís been a while since Iíve been to CDG but I donít remember it being somewhere I wanted to spend several hours with a bunch of luggage jet lagged.
trishapetersen0013 is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2022, 05:59 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 16,296
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Please do not drive from CDG to Strasbourg on arrival from a transatlantic flight. For your own safety and that of other road users. It is the equivalent of driving while drunk, and you don't do that do you?
Strange roads, road signs, driving styles and car all require your full attention.
Either take the train or stay the night and set off the following day if you are determined to drive.
hetismij2 is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2022, 06:14 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I appreciate everyone's advice regarding the drive after our flight. It seems like I didn't consider our jet lag seriously enough when making these initial plans. I can't edit the original post, but will edit our itinerary Beyond that, for anyone still seeing updates on this post, can anyone answer any of the other questions I had regarding COVID passes, when to book accommodations and info on the Lugano area?
trishapetersen0013 is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2022, 06:51 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,419
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 1 Post
On health passes, each country has their own rules, and we all know now you have to keep checking for new rules that crop up. I found this link on line for Switzerland: https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home...eltigkeit.html

I would book accommodations NOW . . . if you can, with flexible cancelation policies. Flex is always a higher price, but I'd rather pay a higher price than lose the entire cost of a room if I cancel. For example, I've already booked my hotel (where we always stay) in Paris in mid June with the ability to cancel (and I mark down the last date to cancel) at the higher cost for two reasons: (1) so I don't lose money if I have to cancel; and (2) I have booked a specific room at the hotel . . . the room we always stay in at this hotel. (It's a suite with 2 bathrooms, and I've learned traveling with DH for 35 years that 2 toilets are a very good thing!).
Surfergirl is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2022, 08:00 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you Surfergirl! I really love having hotel plans early on so I’m relieved to hear it’s a viable option
trishapetersen0013 is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2022, 08:15 AM
  #14  
twk
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,343
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I did a 2 week Switzerland trip in 2016. While they certainly have some fine roads in Switzerland, generally speaking, you're better off without a car in Switzerland. If you need a car for some portion of your trip, I can understand that, but it will be a nuissance having a car in the mountain resorts and cities. The rail system in Switzerland is of historic importance -- before rail, Switzerland was an extremely poor, isolated country. So, not only is it a great means of getting around, but it is culturally significant in shaping the country in ways that it really isn't in most other European countries.

When we went, we got a 2 week unlimited travel pass which, combined with the SBB app on my phone, was just amazing. You could go anywhere on a whim, or, something that's really important, when the weather suited it. And weather is a huge question in the mountains. We based for a week in Wengen, but used bad weather days to go elsewhere, like Bern (could have done Luzern as a daytrip from there, but we had a couple of nights scheduled there later in the trip). Interlaken isn't much of a site to see on its own, but it would not be a terrible base for day trips to the mountains (Lauterbrunnen and above, or Grindewald), Luzern (and 3 nights is more than I would allocate to Luzern with limited time), and Bern. I have not been to Zermatt, and I'm not trying to discourage you from going there, but it would not be as convenient for daytrips elsewhere. If the weather does not cooperate for the one or two days you are there, then you've wasted your trip there.
twk is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2022, 12:52 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 587
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by trishapetersen0013 View Post
All of the COVID uncertainty aside, I am seeking advice on the itinerary my husband and I (late 20s) have created for our trip this April.

We will be arriving in CDG from the US the first week of April and staying for 12 days. We plan to rent a car (I know public transportation is incredibly accessible and probably less expensive but, for us, the drive is half the experience) and drive from there to Strasbourg where we can recover from our jetlag with some laid back sightseeing. Tentatively, the trip continues as follows:

Lucerne area 3 days (a day trip to Zurich maybe)
Lugano/Como 2 days
Interlaken/Laterbrunnen 2 days
Zermatt 1 day (we aren't skiers and this would really just be a quick "see the city and Alps" stop)
Dijon/Some other halfway point to rest for the afternoon/night-town or village recommendations happily accepted
…pernay 2 days
Drive back to CDG and maybe sleep somewhere close to the airport as our flight leaves early in the morning

Specific advice I am seeking:
1. Although weather isn't a major concern, will these locations even have places for us to sightsee, sleep, and eat given how early we're visiting? I'm already running into one or two major attractions that will definitely be closed. (Unfortunately, these dates are fixed. Luckily, our itinerary is not) Should we consider making adjustments to our itinerary? If so, where would you suggest we go instead?
2. Is the Lugano area a must see? It certainly looks beautiful but maybe more of a day trip. We are considering going all the way down to Milan to take a pasta and tiramisu cooking course, instead.
3. How is Swiss food? Its not something we often see here in the States!
4. When should we book accommodations, tours, etc. ? In the past I know the advice is typically to wait until a day or two before, but given COVID situations, I'm not sure if this changes things. Airbnb and Expedia, where we usually book through, have really flexible cancellation policies and I am much happier with fixed plans.
5. We are triple vaccinated and will not have issues getting a COVID pass, but I'm wondering if we need to get a new one each time we enter a new country, or does our French pass carry over to a Swiss pass? This would most likely rule out an Italy stop altogether.

1.) With 2 days I would strongly urge you to dump Interlaken and instead stay in Lauterbrunnen, Murren, or Grindelwald. (Unless Lake Thun is a major priority) You'll spend less time in trains and more time in the Alps.
2.) Swiss cuisine is quite varied with regional dishes from 26 cantons but in general potatoes, alpine cheeses, pork dishes, and savory sauces will be major players. For the most part it was a cross between French and German. Schnitzel is commonly found on just about every menu. Raclette, fondue, and rŲsti are must tries along with the chocolate of course. Beware of too much dairy/cheese though. It can be a real gas!
tailsock is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2022, 06:43 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 7,328
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lugano area https://www.luganoregion.com/en means
Lakes with sheduled boats going to scenic villages like Gandria or Morcote, to cog wheel mountain railways like Capolago - Monte Generoso, to cable cars like that from Brusino to Serpiano;
tons of buses which bring you into mountain valleys, scenic mountain villages and gondola stations from where you may go to mountains with panoramic views over 3 - 7 lakes and mountains from Mont Blanc and Matterhorn up to Bernina and Ortles;
old isolated churches, some of them with wall paintings (like that if Sala Capriasca with a copy of the Last Supper, painted by a disciple of Leonardo da Vinci);
several Unesco World Heritage sites https://www.ticino.ch/en/explore/une...-heritage.html
all kinds of museums (incl. a smuggler museum and Swissminiatur, a openair museum with the most popular buildings of Switzerland in miniatur);
adventure parks like that of Tamaro;
many hundred kms of well signposted hiking trails;
Italian architecture and Italian cuisine;
Southern climate and many subtropic botanical gardens;


neckervd is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2022, 06:52 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 21,899
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
tailsock puts it well about the regionality of the food

Epernay, is a nice little market town which I have spent a fair few days in and always found somewhere different to eat. The Avenue is a special place and TI at the centre of town/on the Avenue will clue you into bookings etc. To the north is the Montange de Reims which is a big hill with vines, some strange trees and a fair few wild pigs, plus a canal on its slopes.

TI will also tell you about Champagne houses that don't market themselves in town and these can be wonderful places to visit. Reims to the north of the Montange (train between the two) has a cathedral of great importance, the remnants of a Forum and yet more Champagne houses, some very beautiful plus more canals/rivers
bilboburgler is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
cybertraveler
Europe
5
Jan 18th, 2015 04:31 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information