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Lease a car in France or by a Eurail Pass..?

Lease a car in France or by a Eurail Pass..?

Old Apr 17th, 2000, 08:46 AM
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Lease a car in France or by a Eurail Pass..?

I'm travelling with my wife to Europe in July, and we intend to visit in 30 days:
Paris, Bruxeles, Amsterda, Munick, Vienna, Salzburg, Genebre, Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo, Veneza, Pisa and, finally, Rome!!
I don't know if it's better to leasing a car in France (the fare is about US$ 850) ou buy 2 Eurail passes (it's about to US$ 1220 - not including 3 night travel, were we have to pay extra for the couchetes).
We are intending to pick-up the car when we are leaving from Paris, and returing the car when we arrive in Rome. It's expensive to park the car in the cities above? There are too many toll's in the highways?
Any experince about car driving in this regions..?
I really thank's for help!
Old Apr 17th, 2000, 09:20 AM
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Last summer we spent 16 days driving through France, Italy and Switzerland. I too compared renting a car to the train. We decided on a car and it was the best decision we ever made. You have so much more flexibilty and you can get "off the beaten tourist path". Many of the best parts of our trip were to places and sights we couldn't have gotten to by train. There are alot of tolls to pay but I still spent less on the car including rental,tolls, gas and parking than I would have on the train tickets. It was also not bad driving in these countries. My husband drove and I navigated. Get yourself some of the Michelin maps for where you are going. We only made one wrong turn the whole trip. It was also nice not to have to lug our baggage on an off the train. On a side note if you are going to Pisa ... there isn't much to see there except the Tower. I would highly recommend seeing it briefly and then driving over to Lucca (about a 30 min. drive). It is an ancient walled city and very beautiful. Great food and people too! Have a great trip. I'd love to hear what you decide.
Old Apr 17th, 2000, 11:28 AM
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I have done both, several times. But judging from what you say -- visiting those 13 cities in 30 days, you obviously are not planning on getting off the beaten track. Driving a car into at least half of those cities can be mind boggling, and when you get there you will have to pay to park (in most cases). Also don't forget the cost of petrol -- ranging to about $5.00 per gallon-- as well as some expensive tolls as you will need to take the expressways to cover the distance you suggest in such a short time. On the other hand a train will take you to the heart of all those cities without worry. I say it is no contest --take the train for your itinerary. Now next year when you plan to go back,(and I promise you will want to go back) get a car and drive, stopping in the wonderful villages off the beaten track. This year enjoy the scenery carefree as you travel by train from major city to major city. I'm sure there are some who will say take the car and stay somewhere outside each of the cities, but what will that accomplish? You will still need to hop on and off trains or busses to get into the cities, and you will lose the excitement of all those cities at night --often their best time.
Old Apr 17th, 2000, 11:59 AM
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Roger, 13 cities, municipalities in 30 days? I don't think it can be done by car and certainly can't be done if you drive into each city. Cut back, plan to do 3-5 days in choice cities and it's environs, don't get into the "been there done that, got a tee shirt" syndrome. You're cheating yourself with your proposed itinerary.
Old Apr 17th, 2000, 01:50 PM
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Roger - I have to second those who are cautioning against trying to see too many places in a month by car. Think long & hard about what you're trying to accomplish -- is this really a once in a lifetime trip? Or do you hope to repeat parts of it later? I've been the driver (not the lucky navigator) on several 7-8 day European car trips (two where we never even left France), and it can be exausting and stressful. Especially if you're trying to make it to Salzburg before dark, etc. Finding a parking place in Paris, Amsterdam, Munich, Brussels, etc. alone can be nerve wracking and very expensive. Having said all this, if you deicde to do it anyway, definitely look at the iti.fr side that helps you with your route planning and use the good regional Michelin maps. Have a great trip!
Old Apr 17th, 2000, 02:04 PM
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You are covering an enormous amount of territory in a short period of time; the train is the only way to go. Driving will be exhausting, and you'll have no time to stop and visit anything other than the cities you've outlined. At least on a train, BOTH parties can look out the window at the view; BOTH parties can doze and catch up on sleep; no need to stop for food - you can either buy on the train, or have packed a picnic from a previous stop. You can have a leisurely meal without stopping (driving and eating is yucky); enjoy a bottle of wine with your meal. Yes, there are additional charges for a couchette or sleeper, but that's not as much as a hotel would cost.
You're itinerary is ambitious, but it can be done by train.

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