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Layover in Athens, Greece and Paris, France

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Jul 27th, 2006, 08:23 AM
  #1
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Layover in Athens, Greece and Paris, France

Hi, We will be leaving in a few days on our vacation and need some advice. We will arrive in Athens by plane on Sat. Aug. 12th at 12:15 pm and our plane to Santorini doesn't depart until 8:50 pm. What should we do? My husband and I (under 30 years old) have never been to Athens and this will be the only time that we will be spending in Athens. Our vacation time is just on the islands on Santorini and Mykonos. So, what will we have time to see in Athens during our layover, and what is the best choice of transportation to Athens and back to the airport?

Also, when we leave Greece, our plane will make a stop in Paris, France. We will arrive at 9:45 pm on a Sunday and we will depart at 10:20 the next day. I wanted to go into the city and see the Eiffel Tower and I don't know what else? Should we see other sights at night? What type of transportation should we take? Should we go to a nightclub? I was thinking of booking a room at the Sheraton in the Charles De'Gaulle Airport so we can get back to the airport and lay down before our flight. Please help us!!!!!

Thanks so much,
Lisa
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Jul 27th, 2006, 08:24 AM
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This is a correction to the above message.
We will be leaving Paris the next day at 10:20 AM.
Thanks
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Jul 27th, 2006, 10:47 PM
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Well, the Athens airport is a good hour away from the part of Athens you'd really want to see - The Plaka. I suppose you can take the Metro. But, I think if I were you I would go to Matt Barrett's web site and hire "George, the taxi driver" or search this forum for Athens taxi drivers.

The driver can take you to all the major sites & get you back to the airport in time for your plane.
But it is really up to you as far as what you want to see. The Acropolis of course. Then maybe a little mezedes and a glass of ouzo before your flight.

Paris is easier because you can take the Metro from the airport. It is not a long train ride as I remember. But you are arriving in Paris at 2145 and leaving 12 hours later? Oh, man. It will take a while for you to collect your luggage, go through customs & check into the hotel. By that time I'd be ready for bed.

Perhaps you can hire a driver in Paris also. Have him drive you from the hotel, around the major Paris sites & back out to the hotel?

Not exactly the way I would like to see Athens & Paris but different strokes.....
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Jul 30th, 2006, 12:57 AM
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Good thing you said Athens, Greece and Paris, France. For a while there I thought you meant Athens, Georgia and Paris, Texas ;-)

Sorry, I couldn't resist.
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Jul 30th, 2006, 01:23 AM
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You probably don't want to hear this but my instant message to you is: CARRY ON LUGGAGE. Seriously, if you want to achieve anything like what you are proposing, you should do carry-on. Just this morning, I heard that Barcelona airport has hit the skids due to a baggage handlers strike.
 
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Jul 30th, 2006, 01:33 AM
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Sorry, hit reply before I was finished! You will need next to nothing for the islands - a few swimsuits, some shorts, a couple of dresses. You will think you want to take a lot, but Greek island life is so laid back that you will end up wearing the same thing over and over. Pack ONE pair of sandals because you will be able to buy gorgeous leather ones in Fira. You will be able to buy shampoo, suntan lotion, etc. in a supermarket there (Johnson & Johnson do a great range of sun lotion which I don't think they do in the States but I could be wrong. Smells yummy). I always holiday in Greece in August and I have learned not to overpack - they also sell lovely kaftans in Santorini. I like Cheribob's suggestion of hiring George the Driver. I think your layover is long enough for you to at least see the Parthenon and have lunch in the Plaka. You will also get a feel for the crazy city of Athens!

For Paris, this is more problematic. I would definitely encourage you to head into the city and go straight to the Eiffel Tower which has the most magical light show every night until, I think, 1 a.m. The whole tower is covered in twinkly lights. I hope they are still doing it. It started in 2000 for the Millennium and, due to popularity, they decided to continue. Here's a webcam you can check tonight -it starts on the hour, every hour and lasts for 10 mins:

http://www.abcparislive.com/

You can find somewhere to eat - the Champs Elysees will have loads and then head to your hotel. Or, if you are really adventurous, hit one of the clubs, stay out all night, watch the sunrise and then head to the airport. Here's a good guide for bars in Paris:

http://www.timeout.com/paris/
 
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Jul 30th, 2006, 02:04 AM
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On a more serious note, you have 8 hrs at Athens Airport, which is enough time to take the metro into the city for some sightseeing. There is very little to do at the airport, so you might as well spend your time in Athens. The airport metro stop is just outside the terminal (next to Sofitel), and it takes about 45 min to get into the city. Get off at Monastiraki station, and you will be able to walk up to the Parthenon and around the old part of the city. Chances are, with the August heat, you will be ready to head back to the airport in plenty of time for your evening flight.

AllyPally is right about not overpacking for the Greek Islands, but do bring along some long sleeves/trousers for the evenings to keep the mosquitos at bay. Sunscreen is readily available on the islands, but much more expensive than in the US, so I tend to bring what I need with me.
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Jul 30th, 2006, 02:42 AM
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Suntan lotion is more expensive - everything in Europe is compared to the U.S. - but I was just thinking in terms of weight for carry on. A bottle by itself doesn't weigh much but if you want to keep the weight down, these are the kinds of things you need to leave out. I only travel with carry-on now and have even managed a 2 week visit to Australia with carry on. Husband was very impressed! I buy all of my toiletries when I get to my destination. I take small travel sizes to last me my first night. Anyway, I like the excuse to visit foreign drug stores!
 
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Jul 30th, 2006, 07:56 AM
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AllyPally, I admire your discipline. I can manage with carry-on luggage for weekend trips, but not for anything much longer.

You are correct, of course, that it is not just sunscreen that is more expensive in Europe. Call me a miser, but I hate paying nearly three times as much for sunscreen, so I stock up on Coppertone before my trips.

For my trips to the Greek islands, essential kit includes a shortwave radio (for BBC World Service), snorkel and mask, and at least five paperbacks to read while on the beach.

As I usually go the the same island I can manage with a compact digital camera, but were I to do any serious sightseeing I would need my dSLR with speedlight, two or three lenses, charger, etc. That would use up most of my carry-on allowance by itself.
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Jul 30th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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I think it's living in Europe that's done it to me. It really is a pain lugging loads of gear around, up stairs, down escalators, etc. We are approaching 40 and are going to do a little island hopping this summer in Greece. I think Husband is just setting me a challenge! I know it's probably not what Ishirinian wants to hear but I think carry on is the way to go. Especially when you're going somewhere hot and you can pack lots of light clothes.
 
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Jul 30th, 2006, 09:56 AM
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When I travel it's almost always for 4 weeks, and I manage to take everything I need in a carryon and a day pack. Granted I have to leave my tuxedo and my King Kong costume at home, but otherwise I'm perfectly satisfied with the choices I bring, and that includes a selection of paperback books.
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Jul 30th, 2006, 02:32 PM
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I leave for Greece in 20 days. In light of the above, it looks like I'll have to do some serious thinking about my packing.
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