Germany to Paris - Rail or Rental Car?

Old Jul 21st, 2003, 10:49 PM
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Germany to Paris - Rail or Rental Car?

Bonjour!

We are staying w/ friends in Germany. We could rail out of Forbach to Paris and back. We are flying into Frankfurt at 10AM Frankfurt time July 27th. We plan for Paris the afternoon/evening of the 28th. (Will I be too jet lagged?) We need to be back in Germany by mid evening on the 31st. We could drive or rail. There will be one adult and 3 teenage girls. None of us speak or read much French, but I'm told the roads to Paris are clearly marked and major signs are in both English and German or French. Will it be too stressful to drive this? If so, then I should take the rail and relax? Any opinions?

I understand there is some type of German rail overnight ticket that is 1/2 the normal rate. That sounds interesting to me so we would not lose sightseeing time. Unfortunately, I'm having a terrible time using the German Rail site online. Any tips on how best to use that? It won't give prices for some routes that are of interest to us.

Any ideas on what would be our best transportation?

Merci!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 12:21 AM
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Personally I think you would do best to take the train. That is quite a long drive to take after an international flight and once you get to Paris the traffic can be stressful and confusing. Don't forget you will also have to find a place to park the car.

I checked out the Deutsche Bahn site and it says that the prices for tickets outside Germany are not available online. If you order a ticket then they will calculate the best possible price for you but it looks like they can't tell you ahead of time. My suggestion would be to either have your German friends call or visit the Bahn service center. If you are interested in the night train you can click on "DB Nachtzug". There is a train leaving Frankfurt at 10:50 p.m. and arrives in Paris Est the next morning at 7:03 a.m. Strangely these prices are listed online. There are three different price classes based on what type of seat you choose.

Hope that helps!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 12:22 PM
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Merci! That was great help! My friends actually live closer to Forbach. Rick Steves said that the overnight inexpensive German rail fare was no longer available. But they called that Guten Baden and your name for the night train is different.

I was thinking I'd rather not drive so that I could relax and READ up on what I wanted to see first.

Am I crazy to go overnight on Monday having just arrived overight from the East Coast to Germany Sunday AM?

Merci!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 12:30 PM
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Hi I once overnighted from Paris to Munich, got a sleeper, got on the train and went to sleep. Had a good night's sleep. Awoke refreshed in Munich. If you do this, order coffee from the conductor before you turn in. I didn't and found out the next morning that it wasn't available unless prebooked. This was a while ago. Things might have changed. But sleeping on a train is very relaxing. Have a great trip. CJ
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 01:38 PM
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A sleeper on the train. That's an idea. I'll check into it. I think Rick Steves called them a couchette and he says you have to bring your own sleep sack? Is this true? If so, I'll take the 5AM train and hope it's non stop. LOL!!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 01:41 PM
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Agree with the other posters: you will be much better off with the train.

You will have your hands full with 3 teenage girls in Paris, let alone having to worry about parking the car. Paris is a walking city, not a driving city, and it has excellent public transportation system.

Driving that distance without any stopovers would be too much for one person (the girls will have to be at least 25 to drive a rental car), especially after a long flight.

Treat yourself to a nice train ride!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 01:54 PM
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Take an overnight train !
Driving with jet-leg along no speed-limit- highways would be too much for your first day in Germany.
Use public transportation in Paris . Thay are fast and safe.
Check www.nachtzug.de
Choose departure station first, arrival then . As the train displays you can choose the class of service.
Your train is Euronight D360
Frankfurt A/M 23.50
Paris 07.03

Regards
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 01:59 PM
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Wow! What a blessing you guys are! Okay, I'm with that idea - sleeper train and you gave me the number too. Thanks so much!

So...do I need a sleep sack? It's too late to order from Rick Steves, I think. So...where do I get one? I've never seen one before! LOL!!! ;-)

Paris w/ the 15 yo girls - everyone keeps telling me I will have my hands full with them. They tell me to cancel now that their mom can't come too. I don't think it's that much of an issue. Am I naive? Is this because of the gypsies and pickpockets or because people automatically think 3 teenage girls are a handful? These girls are wonderful! I wouldn't go with them if they weren't! I've known two of these girls since they were 8 (twin sisters) and the other is my daughter. It's their 16th bday present for my daughter to visit them in Germany and take this trip to Paris. Their bdays are two days apart in August.

We are staying right near the Louvre and plan to walk as much as possible.

Thanks again for all your help!

Merci!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 02:26 PM
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You and they will have a great time! Don't even consider canceling. Just talk ahead of time about security issues, everyone should wear a money belt and then you won't have to worry about losing (misplacing) things. Have the girls use the buddy system and help look out for each other.
There are different categories of sleeping arrangements. There are sleepers for 4 which seems ideal. Or couchettes, which are open bunks. The open bunks are the cheapest and that is where a sleepsack could be used but you can just sleep in your clothes. Talk to someone (travel agent or raileurope.com) to fully understand the options. This sounds like a great adventure-one the girls will always remember. Go for it and let us know how it all worked out when you return. CJ
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 02:35 PM
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Thanks Carol Jean, your post was like a a reassuring hug!

I'll check into the 4 person sleeper. What fun! As if they will really sleep! ;-) Ear plugs just got added to my list! LOL!!!

Would you carry disinfectant with you for your train sleeper and hotel. Someone told me I should???
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 03:25 PM
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It's up to you. I wouldn't but I do carry a small size Purell for my hands and fabreeze since I am alergic to smoke but didn't use the fabreeze on this last trip. You will find the cleanliness level high. I'm envious of your trip. If you have the time, take the Vedettes boat trip at night (we loved the last one of the evening - 10:30 I think.) Have a great trip. How could you miss. CJ
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 08:22 PM
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Thanks Carol. Is this a trip on the Seine and the Vedettes is the operator? Thanks!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 08:44 PM
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Glad you will be taking the train - very wise decision!

On travelling with kids/teenagers - I always have a plan for those moments when we might get separated. I would suggest that each girl carry with her a card/piece of paper with the name, address, and telephone number of the Paris hotel. If you do get separated, you can always call the hotel and leave a message for each other.

Otherwise, the money belt suggestion is very good. Also one or two day packs (smaller sized backpacks) would come in handy. If you are on a crowded metro, you can always wear the day pack in reverse on your chest for safety. Try to carry only the day's cash in your pockets and not more.

Travel light. Wear comfortable shoes. And have a great trip! Should be a lot of fun!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 08:55 PM
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Thanks Jason. Travelling light - I will really have to try my hardest to pull that off.

I have a well loved pair of Birkenstock sandals. Would that be okay or should I bring something dressier? Here at home, you can't get me to wear anything else unless I'm wearing a special occasion dress. I wear my Birkenstocks w/ skirts, capris, shorts. I love them! I have Danskos too, but they are heavier and not quite as comfortable.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 09:48 PM
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Sorry to be so vague. The boat trip is on the Seine. It leaves from Pont Neuf, on an island in the river and the company is Vedettes. That company comes highly recommended on this board and we loved it. The boats run basically between the Eiffel tower and Notre Dame. Everything is lighted at night and it is quite a sight. And you see so many people enjoying the river.
Your Birkenstocks are what you should wear. Comfort is the important thing. CJ
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 10:03 PM
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Don't be sorry! I figured it was a cruise.

I will bring my Birkenstocks. My daughter thinks I should bring my Nikes or New Balance walkers, but they just aren't as comfortable. And the Nike's are more comfortable, but more beat up too. I think I should bring my Danskos instead. But my friends are volksmarchers and I wouldn't be surprised if we did one with them while there. So maybe I need to bring the Nikes after all. Decisions, decisions. If I am not wearing the Danskos, they are heavy to lug around in a suitcase.

I plan on buying more Birkenstocks in Germany, but won't have time to before our trip to Paris and all that walking. So my older, well loved ones will have to do.

I do have to bring a pair of strappy sandals for a reception in Germany, but I'll have my Birkenstocks available if a switch is possible. ;-)
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Old Jul 23rd, 2003, 12:04 PM
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CarolJean is right - COMFORT is the key word.

You should wear whatever will be comfortable even after a long day's walk (e.g. a minimum of two to three miles).

Personally, I don't wear sandals because of fear of someone stepping on my beautiful toes - but that's my own hangup.

Comfortable walking shoes with cotton socks are best. I like the cushion that the socks give.

Happy hoofing!
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