London to Paris by train

Old Dec 24th, 2014, 09:01 AM
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London to Paris by train

Hello,

We are planning a Europe trip in May 2015. We are a family of 4 with kids aged 9 and 11. I was planning the following places: London, Paris, Some parts of Switzerland and some parts of Italy. Trip duration can be around 3 weeks.

Currently on Eurostar, it shows a one way fare from London to Paris as 34.50 pounds for May 5th. I thought it is a very good deal even by USA standards. Am I missing something in the above fare ? Only thing I can see is that it is non refundable.

Can I fly into London and then go to Paris via train ?. From Paris go to couple of places in Switzerland by train. Then from there go to Venice and then finally Rome (also by train). And finally fly out from Rome.

Considering the low fare from London to Paris, I am assuming other train tickets will also be cheap if I book now.

Please advice.

Thanks.
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Old Dec 24th, 2014, 09:10 AM
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YES - Eurostar is incredibly easy from London to Paris and expense is nominal. For some of your trip, it may be too far out to book, but the calendar will tell you that when you go in to look at tickets. Others who have more experience with RailEurope may be able to speak on whether prices will go up or down the closer you get to the dates, but I've always booked just about as quickly as it allows, so I can't be sure.

As for ease of travel, the rail system in Europe is just fantastic and economy fares blow our USA amtrak fares out of the water!!
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Old Dec 24th, 2014, 09:23 AM
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Travel by train within Europe is without a doubt the most common way for a vacationer to travel.

I would suggest you begin your planning by reading the http://www.seat61.com/ website to familiarize yourself with all the choices and options that may apply to your trip. That is the definitive site for rail travel in Europe.
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Old Dec 24th, 2014, 09:31 AM
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Yes if you book 6 or 3 months (depending on the operator and routes) ahead of time, you can get some fantastic fares. £34.50 is an excellent fare and you should snap it up.
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Old Dec 24th, 2014, 09:41 AM
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If you wait too long the fares will increase substantially - so book your Eurostar tix as soon as your dates are firm.

My question is . . . three weeks for London, Paris, parts (plural) of Switzerland and parts (again plural) of Italy?? Not nearly enough time assuming you mean what you say about 'parts'. Just London/Paris/Rome is a full 3 week trip, w/ maybe a day trip out of London, a day trip out of Paris and maybe a day or two in Florence.

But if you truly meant London, Paris, some Alps, a lake or 2 in Switzerland, Venice, Florence, Rome ± some other part of Italy . . . not in 3 weeks. Even a month would be tough.
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Old Dec 24th, 2014, 11:25 AM
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Check out www.seat61.com for great info on cheap Eurostar 'Chunnel' train and also discounted tickets in Italy and between France and Italy - other informative sites to help plan a European train trip - www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

You can take an overnight train between Paris and Venice - save on the cost of a hotel and time - flying inevitably takes a half a day or so.
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Old Dec 24th, 2014, 11:39 AM
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I disagree; I think you could visit London, Paris, a bit of Switzerland, and a bit of Italy in three weeks. You could spend five nights in each country. As long as you don't try to see all of Italy or all of Switzerland, you should have an enjoyable trip.

Of course, you might not want exactly five nights in each place; it's just a general idea. Add and subtract according to your interests.

There are several places you might want to base yourselves in Switzerland; I don't know the country well. We enjoyed a stay in Lucerne. It was fairly easy to reach by train from Italy, where I live, and fairly easy to reach by train from Paris, where my sister was visiting. We met each other in Lucerne. It's a beautiful city, on Lake Lucerne, where you can take boat excursions. It's also convenient for some Alpine excursions, although it was too rainy when we were there to make that idea inviting.

Considering that you're traveling with young children, you might like to spend your time in Italy on Lake Garda. There are many things there that would interest kids, including Gardaland, Italy's largest amusement park. From Garda, you can make a day trip to Venice or Verona, or both.I wouldn't try to go too much further south than that.
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Old Dec 24th, 2014, 12:08 PM
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High-speed train fares work like budget airlines - cheap in advance, expensive on the day.

London to Paris from £34.50 www.eurostar.com

Paris to Geneva/Lausanne/Basel/Zurich from 25 euros www.capitainetrain.com

Within Switzerland: www.sbb.ch

Switzerland to Milan from 22 euros (around CHF 38) www.sbb.ch

Within Italy: Milan to Florence from 19 euros, Milan to Rome or Naples from 29 euros, www.trenitalia.com
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Old Dec 24th, 2014, 12:34 PM
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In Switzerland a Swiss Pass could be better than the very limited discounted tickets Swiss Railways offer - especially with kids under 16 - they automatically get a free Family Pass where they never pay a dime for any transportation - even on things a Swiss Pass only gives 50% off on - like aerial gondolas and mountain trains to mountain tops. Again Man in Seat 61 who posts above has a commercial site www.seat61.com with the best info and clues on discounted tickets-

which however yes are sold in limited numbers and often sell out weeks/months in advance and are typically non-changeable non-refundable - set your trip in stone long in advance and you can save money.

Kids may especially revel in the overnight train Paris to Venice - my kid that age was enthralled with taking them - a real adventure - www.thello.com is the official site and again the early bird doth get the proverbial worm.
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Old Dec 24th, 2014, 04:43 PM
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Folks,

Thanks a lot for all the tips. Let me go to the sites mentioned and I will get back with more questions.
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 09:00 AM
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Folks,

How is this itinerary ?

May 5th: Land in Rome. Spend 4 or 5 days in Rome

May 9th: Train to Venice. Spend 2 days in Venice

May 12th: Train to Switzerland. Spend 6 or 7 days in Switzerland. I am flexible about which 2 places to visit in Switzerland. Please suggest 2 such places which are unique to Switzerland and which will give a good flavor of the country.

May 18th: Train to Paris. Spend 5 days in Paris.

May 23rd: Train to London. Spend 5 or 6 days in London and fly out from London on May 29th or 30th.

We will have 2 kids with us who are 9 and 11 years old. Can I squeeze in couple of more places in the above itinerary or is the above itinerary already packed ?

Also this is our 1st trip to Europe. Since Europe has tons of places to see in each country, I thought instead of picking one country and seeing too much detail in it, we can get a flavor or Europe by visiting the major destinations like London, Paris, Rome and Switzerland in our 1st trip.

Please advice.

Thanks a lot.
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 09:53 AM
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hi gd,

you seem to have factored in some travel time [eg you say that you'll have 2 days in Venice, though you arrive on the 9th and leave on the 12th, which probably gives you more like 2 ½ days] which is a mistake that lots of people make. [not factoring it in, that is].

However, if you arrive in Rome on the 5th, and leave on the 9th, you'll have less than 4 days by the time you've checked in, recovered from jet lag, etc. So I might add a night to Rome, where you will never run out of things to see and do, and if it did happen, you can do a day trip to add variety.

I wouldn't add in any more places; you can do day trips if you find that you want a change from where you are.
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 09:57 AM
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Your itinerary is pretty packed. You will all be happier if you don't add more destinations. Remember it takes time to get from place to place - so if you really mean 5 days in Paris, you need to stay in Paris for 6 nights, to get two days in Venice, you need to spend three nights. As you have listed your itinerary, you will need a time machine to make it work.

Lay out your plan on a calendar. A travel day is just that - you don't get to count it as a day in your last location and a day in your next location.
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 10:06 AM
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Kathie - i don't see a trip with several stays of 5-6 nights as being overpacked. And the OP has taken some account of travel days. so I think you are being a little harsh, though I agree that setting out a trip day by day can be a good idea.
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 01:05 PM
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I certainly echo annhig's comments about the OP's itinerary being quite relaxed instead of hurried - for Switzerland I would highly recommend the fabulous Jungfrau Region around Interlaken - the epitome of the image of an Alpinewonderland etched in many folks' minds - stay up in the hills like in Grindelwald or Wengen two favorite of Fodorites and then perhaps

move to the French part of Switzerland - Montreux or Vevey being Fodorite favs - do a boat ride on the lake and take easy day trips to so many places and also be only a few hours from Paris via TGVs from Lausanne or Geneva to Paris.
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 01:27 PM
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It isn't packed - it is pretty good. But don't try to squeeze in any additional locations . . . Or then it would be getting on towards 'packed'.

Rome, Paris, and especially London, are enormous you wouldn't want to cut any time off any of the 3.
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 05:22 PM
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Ok. So far so good. Thanks for the tips.

I was hoping I can take couple of overnight train journeys so we save days. Board the train after 8.00 pm and arrive at destination next day early morning. Are there any journeys possible like that in the above itinerary ?

But if we do that, will we miss on seeing the country side which we can during day time train rides ? Are any of the above train rides scenic which we should do only during day time ?

Also PalenQ mentioned Jungfrau, Grindelwald, Wengen, Montreux, Vevey. Are these close by from Venice and also close to some city from where I can take a train to Paris ? Should I pick two locations from the above ?

Thanks.
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 06:44 PM
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Overnight trains don't make sense for any of your journeys. All are relatively short trips.
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Old Jan 5th, 2015, 08:05 AM
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Yup and there are no practical night trains even existing between those places but one between Rome and Venice, arriving there about 5:30am - so not a real option.
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Old Jan 5th, 2015, 05:19 PM
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Ok.

Which two places should I go to in Switzerland ? I have read in posts here that Interlaken is very touristy and crowded, so should I avoid it ?

Thanks.
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