France, Italy, and Switzerland

Old Jun 30th, 2012, 10:45 AM
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France, Italy, and Switzerland

What is the best way to see parts of France (route wise) after spending several days in Paris?
The North West part of France: Normandy, Versailles, Giverny (2 days)
The South part of France: Provence (Avignon, Marseille), Nice, Corsica (2-3 days)
*What is a must and what could we cut out?

Is it best to have Paris as the home base and take day trips by train to the NW part of France and then find a place in Provence to see the Southern part of France?

We (family of 4 adults) were thinking of driving, but it sounds like the cheapest bet would be to rent a car from Paris and then go to see other parts of France, return it in Paris, and fly out to Italy. What do you think? It would be nice to do South of France to Italy, but it seems like our options are limited? Am I mistaken?

As for Italy, the plan is to do Cinque Terre, Rome, and Venice.

Our route: France (approx. 8-9 days) , Italy (approx. 8-9 days), Switzerland (2 days )and then back to Paris for return trip. What is the best way to get to Switzerland? Is it best to do France-Switzerland or Italy to Switzerland?

Is it best to book trains before we leave? Is TVG better than RailEurope?
What is essential to book now as opposed to when we're at our destination-if we wanted to change our day trips, for example?

Appreciate any feedback!
newvision is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2012, 01:12 PM
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If I were you, I would buy a nice Fodor's guidebook or 3, and start doing some stuyding on your own.

Come back when you're better prepared and have an idea as to what all 4 of you want to do.

Choose Rick Steeves if you don't have a clue as to what you're doing and have never been to Europe before.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2012, 01:17 PM
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I don't know if your flights are booked, but, if not, consider flying into Paris and out of Rome or somewhere else to avoid the time and cost of back-tracking. Just ask for an open-jaw ticket which generally doesn't increase your cost.
jane1144 is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2012, 02:01 PM
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IMO, you're trying to cover too much ground. Two days for Switzerland is hardly worth the detour, and some of your other ideas make it apparent you haven't checked distances between points and travel time required. In particular, Avignon, Marseilles, Nice and Corsica in 2-3 days is completely impossible.

I agree with jane1144's suggestion to purchase open-jaw tickets. Into Paris, out of Rome or Venice.

TGV is the high-speed train in France. RailEurope sells rail tickets and passes but adds fees for their service. If you want to consider passes, you need to add up the cost of all point-to-point tickets you'd be buying and compare that number to the cost of a pass. You can buy point-to-point tickets from each rail company.

When is this trip?
Jean is online now  
Old Jun 30th, 2012, 05:43 PM
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Agree that you are trying to do way too much in too little time.

You have listed 3 day trips out of Paris - and Normandy is a very long, exhausting day - so you would need to spend the entire 6 to 9 days in paris to do this, If you want to tour southern France you need to allow at least a week for that - and Corsica would take another 2 or 3 days.

Not sure what you want to do In Italy - but in 8 or 9 days I would do at mo st 2 destinations.

And 2 days in Switz makes no sense - it would take the first day to get there and the second day you would have to elave again.

I would do an open jaws ticket into Paris and out of Rome - and either limit yourself to Paris - with day trips and either Florence or Venice, ending in Rome. Or - if yuo want to see the south of FRance then do 4 days in Partis with no day trips and see a couple of places in the south.

And TGV is simply a high speed train - not a company. RailEurope is just a travel agent that sells rail passes. But - TGV trains have very limited tickets available to pass holders so you must arrange far in advance - esp for 4 people.
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