From Paris to Nice or Amsterdam

Apr 22nd, 2006, 09:34 AM
  #1  
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From Paris to Nice or Amsterdam

We are planniong a trip to Paris and would like to take a few days to go somewhere else. What is the better option Amsterdam or Nice. Can you take the train to both cities or should we rent a car? All help is apprecited.
kristyngail is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2006, 09:42 AM
  #2  
MaureenB
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What time of year? That could determine it for you.
We were in Amsterdam last June and loved it. We took the train from Paris to Amsterdam, via Brussels (w/o changing trains). But I don't think I'd want to visit Amsterdam in the cold weather.
We will be in Nice this May, and there appear to be great options for sites and activities in and around Nice. Don't know how you'd get there from Paris, though. Fly? Train?
It's a matter of your personal preference and time of year especially, IMHO.
 
Apr 22nd, 2006, 09:53 AM
  #3  
 
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You can take the train to Amsterdam and either the train or a plane to Nice. You won't need a car in either city. If you book far enough ahead at www.sncf.com (up to 90 days in advance), you may be able to get discount train tickets to either city.

I haven't been to Amsterdam so I'll only comment on Nice. It's a little over six hours to Nice by TGV. There is also a night train (eleven hours) that saves you a night in a hotel and gives you more daylight hours for sightseeing. EasyJet (www.easyjet.com)has the cheapest flights, but the longer you wait to book one, the higher the price will be.

Outside of Paris, Nice and the surrounding area have the best art museums in France. The Orthodox cathedral is said to be the finest of its kind outside of Russia. The coast and the hills are beautiful. The beach at Nice is pebbly so you'll need waterproof footwear to be comfortable going in the water. Quick daytrips along the coast are easy and cheap by either train or bus. Buses will take you to nearby hilltop villages.
TimS is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2006, 11:25 AM
  #4  
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Thanks for the advice. We are planning on going next year in May for our one year anniversary. I have been to Paris before but have only been around the city and haven't ventured passed that. My future hubby is dying to go to Paris. We will only have time for one additional city. any more suggestions would be appreciated.
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Apr 22nd, 2006, 09:14 PM
  #5  
MaureenB
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Here are my notes from our visit to Amsterdam last May:
Final stop: Amsterdam. Five nights’ stay, first visit for all of us.

"LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Amsterdam! You always hear of the Red Light district and the coffee shops and the laissez-faire attitude, but you don’t hear how open and friendly the people are, how lovely the canals and side streets, how wonderfully trendy the restaurants and cafes, how people are out strolling at all hours of the night and you feel safe everywhere. I think I’d expected it to be quaint and charming (which it is), but in a dark wood-paneled cliché way, not in the young and contemporary way it is.

The standard reply we were given in Amsterdam, when we asked for anything, was always “Of course!” How refreshing.

We stayed in a fabulous location, at The Hotel Residence le Coin, which was directly across a small street from the Hotel de l’Europe, down the street from the Hotel Doelan, on Nieuwe Doelenstraat (sp?). A great neighborhood in the heart of old Amsterdam.

The hotel has a lift and A/C, also free use of the hotel’s washing machine and clothes dryer in the basement (which was welcome as we’d been traveling over a week when we arrived there). Each room has a little kitchenette, a nice-sized bath, large rooms with wooden floors and a sitting area. It’s fairly new, so everything sparkles. Very friendly front desk, too.

Two cafes on the same block as the hotel were wonderful: Café Katoen for a university atmosphere, and Café de Jaren, for great table seating on the canal.

Amazing dinners at two restaurants in particular:
“Stout!”, at Haarlemmerstraat 73 (www.restaurantstout.nl). Fabulous ‘foamy asparagus’ soup with shrimp, chateaubriande, fresh fish, dessert course, wine list. Very trendy lighting. Great service. We’d gone to the neighborhood in search of a restaurant called “Lof” which we’d seen written up. We didn’t like its atmosphere, but were lucky that Stout! was just across the street.

Also at “Restaurant Dining Eleven” we had a great dinner. It’s at Reestraat 11. Also trendy and contempory, well-presented and beautifully-served meal.

Another nice dinner at “frenzi”, at Swanenburgwal 232. Very simple and contemporary. We arrived shortly after 10:00p.m., when most restaurants close in Amsterdam, and persuaded the owner to sell us any left-overs they had in the kitchen! They put together a nice Caesar salad with cooked-in-the-shell shrimp and mango. Very nice.

Also a good brunch at a place across the street from frenzi—called “Puccini”. Creative salads and sandwiches. Very nice also.

We took a canal cruise one evening. Toured the Anne Frank Huis and the Van Gogh Museum. Visited the Nieuwe Kerk (sp?) Our teens went to a concert at the Paradiso and loved it.

One afternoon we did the 2:30 “Best of Holland” excursion to Volendam and Marken, with a stop to see wooden clogs made, Gouda cheese created, and to visit windmills. It was by bus, with a boat from Volendam to Marken. A lot of fun. Even our two teens liked it.

Our teens also liked shopping at one street in particular, between our hotel and the museum district. Also a Zara shop there, and many others like it. They thought the selection and prices were better in Amsterdam than what they’d seen in London and Paris even.

A detail about Amsterdam if you go there-- carry enough Euros in cash, because many places won't accept a credit card for a 'small' purchase (i.e. under 25 EU).
The only unpleasantness we encountered in Amsterdam related to cab rides and inconsistent pricing. Especially when our two teens were grossly overcharged cabbing to the hotel from the concert. They were well aware of the route, having walked it already twice, but we'd wanted them to cab home late at night. They knew the cabbie took a very round-about way back in order to over-charge. Also, when we arrived at the taxi sand at Central Station, I was literally swarmed by rather aggressive cabbies and felt uncomfortably jostled by them all."

Have fun deciding. After all, can you really go wrong, when it's between Amsterdam and Nice??
 
Apr 23rd, 2006, 05:13 AM
  #6  
ira
 
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Hi K,

If you will be in Paris for only a week, or so, I don't think that you will want to go to another city.

In addition to Amsterdam and Nice, you might consider Brugge, Brussels, Dijon.

ira is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2006, 08:03 AM
  #7  
 
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I took the train from Paris to Nice last October - it was a lovely ride, and only about 3 hours. The countryside was just what you'd expect, green, rolling hills, and Nice is something quite different from Paris. I loved the Chagall museum. I chose Nice because I was eventually heading further south - but depends on your whole plan for your trip. Enjoy!
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Apr 23rd, 2006, 08:21 AM
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Nice seems to be popular on Fodor's lately! I'm glad because it is one of my very favorite places. Partner and I dream of retiring to Cimiez, the suburb where the Matisse and Chagall museums are. Anyway, I haven't been to Amsterdam, but LOVE LOVE LOVE Nice. Maybe because it's impossibly picturesque and real at the same time. Few places have both of those qualities.
Guy18 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2006, 08:29 AM
  #9  
 
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Well, I find Nice more romantic than Amsterdam -- and warmer. Where better to celebrate your anniversary than the French Riviera? (Actually, Venice, but that's another thread.) You can take the train to either place.

Also you might investigate open jaws air tickets, into Paris out of Nice or Amsterdam. That would save you some time.
Mimar is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2006, 01:44 PM
  #10  
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I think we are leaning towards Nice. Will Friday to the following Sunday be enough time. I have seen all the big museums in Paris (used to be a flight attendant) and he has no interest in them. We want to walk around the city, eat great food, and visit a few tourist attractions. I have no idea how we should split our time. I was that it is quite cheap to fly to Nice. How about the train. Someone said it is only three hours. Is it nice to see the country side?
kristyngail is offline  
Apr 24th, 2006, 11:38 AM
  #11  
 
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Yes, if you book an easyJet flight well in advance, it is cheap to fly from Paris to Nice.

The fastest direct TGV takes 5hr30min, not three hours, and some can be over six hours. There is also an eleven-hour night train which saves you the cost of a hotel and gives you more daylight hours for sightseeing. Either train can be inexpensive if you can get a PREM'S (discount) ticket by booking online at www.sncf.com. The booking "window" opens 90 days in advance or your travel date and it's best to book ASAP to have a chance at getting a PREM'S ticket.

See my note upstream about transportation for daytrips. Along the coast: Antibes, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Cap Ferrat, Monaco, Cannes. (The last two are low on my personal list.) Hilltop villages: Eze, la Turbie, St-Paul-de-Vence. A little farther inland: Peillon, Grasse.

Yes, the countryside is beautiful.
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