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Itinerary help:France/switzerland/nth italy

Itinerary help:France/switzerland/nth italy

Old Sep 11th, 2004, 03:54 AM
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Itinerary help:France/switzerland/nth italy

Australians who have only been to Europe once. Arriving Paris 12/10 and then leaving 15/10. We have seen Paris and Rome before and only plan two days in Paris on this trip.

Therefore I thought we could hire a car from Paris and drive through Swiss Alps (would love advice on picturesque route/highlights and what towns/cities are worth longer visits). Love walking and seeing villages, trendy and historic areas but not into museums. During this trip we would like to then cross alps to see Venice, Lake area in Italy, Tuscany, before coming up the coast through Monaco. Need to be back to Paris by 29/10. 15 days all up. Husband loves driving so would prefer to travel via hire car. Are we pushing it time wise? Any advice very welcome as I have looked at tour itineraries etc.. but very confused and you can probably see have little idea.

Therefore please be kind but blunt.

Have to arrive in Paris and leave from Paris. Thought dropping the car and then flying/TGV back from Nice area however this looks like it increases the hire rentals. Thanks barni
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Old Sep 11th, 2004, 04:28 AM
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Hi Barni

In June I did something similar to what you are planning, the Paris - Swiss part anyway. I too contemplated keeping my car (I was in Paris-Brittany-Normandy back to Paris) and going to Switzerland. I decided against it b/c the fees to drop the car off outside of France was so exhorbitant! (which you won't be doing, true)

I don't recall exactly, if you click on my name above and read back through to say late April on my posts, you'll come across it. it was quite a bit of money. not just the $$ but the time factor involved made my decision.

that said, I flew on easyjet to Geneva (80 E one way, about a 45 minute flight) and from there trained through Switzerland. I took the Glacier Express which gives you some really stunning scenery, going from Zermatt to St. Moritz. there are other scenic trains of course.

I bought a Swiss pass good for 8 days for I believe 240 bucks or so. by the time all was said and done, I did save by taking the train but of course the train/fly combo came to 320 bucks. I wish I could remember how much extra keeping the car would have been. I think 500 bucks? plus gas and tolls? (again, dropping off in a different country)

now with two of you the car may well be a wash, plus as you said your husband likes to drive.

I think 15 days, Paris to Venice, is quite a ways, perhaps 1500 miles in total? surely can be done though.

I wonder if it is worth it to fly to Geneva from Paris and pick up a car again there, dropping it back in Geneva before taking another flight to Paris? If you book easyjet now it should be cheap per person, and will save you a considerable amount of time. It may or may not save you money but should save a bit of driving. (5 hours each way at least)
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Old Sep 11th, 2004, 04:33 AM
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You should NOT encounter a surcharge to rent in Paris and return the car in Nice - - if you are, then you need to shop around for another car company. Are you trying AutoEurope?

<<Are we pushing it time wise?>> All in all, you're probably okay, but mostly, you have to think about how to allocate your daylight hours; the days are getting shorter and shorter as October progresses, to the point of only about 9 hours of daylight near the end of October.

You mention through the Swiss Alps, and you mention Tuscany; you're not going to have the luxury of 3-5 days in both of those places (like most people would typically prefer to have), so obviously, you have to make some choices about what time you allocate to where.

You could gain almost an entire day;s worth of daylight by taking an evening train from Paris to Geneva or Basel on the 14th, and start your (French) car rental there.

Lots of different ways to skin this cat.

Best wishes,

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Old Sep 11th, 2004, 04:43 AM
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I can't believe how quick you both replied. Really wonderful..I feel the stress lines leaving my face already...or that may be the wine. Barni
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Old Sep 11th, 2004, 12:36 PM
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You might check with the experts about weather in mid-October in the Swiss Alps. I don't know if you should anticipate storms or not, but I know they bring down the cows before then. If you are not experienced in winter driving, it can be a challenge.

My suggestion would be to take a train from Paris to some destinations in Switzerland (the Bernina express is said to have superb scenery, and can take you to the lakes), then rent another car when you get into Italy, tour, drop off the car and return to Paris via train. You can save a lot of time with the trains, while still seeing the scenery, which would give you more time to explore Italy.
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Old Sep 11th, 2004, 04:30 PM
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Last September, we took the high-speed train from Paris to Geneva, then began using our 4-day Swiss passes for travel to the Interlaken area. The scenery was exquisite, and neither of us had to worry about watching the road or signs. We stayed in Lauterbrunnen for 3 fabulous nights, and used our passes every day. The 4th day, we trained through southern Switzerland to Milan, then on to Lake Como for 3 nights.

After a fabulous stay in Varenna on Lake Como, we trained back to Milan and flew via EasyJet back to Paris. Unbelievably, our fares came to less than $50 for the 2 of us!

Due to the ease of the train travel and the spectacular scenery, we feel it was one of our best trips ever. Europe has sensational public transportation!
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