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Need trip planning advice - just starting!

Need trip planning advice - just starting!

Old Feb 15th, 2001, 04:21 AM
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Need trip planning advice - just starting!

My husband and I are just now starting to plan a trip to Europe. We are looking at going for approx. 10 days. There is just so much to see, we don't even know where to start. My main interest is Paris... his is Italy. I was thinking 3 nights in Paris, 3 nights around Italy and 4 nights in the middle along the way (Switzerland, Monaco, Nice).

My question is this... (because it's so overwhelming when you first start).... is there any advice you can give us as to books or internet sites to use while planning our trip? I would like to see some trip reports if possible to read people's likes/dislikes/helpful hints. Thanks!
Old Feb 15th, 2001, 04:43 AM
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Just something to think about, but you can take an overnight train from Florence or Milan to Paris. On one trip we spent 10 days in Italy then took the overnight train to Paris and spent 4 days there, and that worked out really well.
Rick Steve's books provide pretty good summaries of places. You could consider Rome, Venice, Florence and Paris or something like that. Be prepared to get depressed when you find out how much cool stuff there is to see and how little time you have!
Old Feb 15th, 2001, 05:16 AM
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I'd second Paige's advice about Rick Steves. He has a section in his Europe book about how much of Europe one can reasonably expect to see in 10 days; London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rhineland, Swiss Alps - and that's a very, very fast look. Even if you cut London, you'd still make it only as far as Venice. Truthfully, you need to consider either northern or southern areas in such a short time.
Old Feb 15th, 2001, 05:26 AM
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Here's an idea: fly into Rome, spend 5 days, take the overnight train to Paris and spend 5 days then fly home from there. 5 days in each city would be a nice amount of time. Or you could fly into one, fly roundtrip to the other and fly home from the city you flew into. Unless you think this is a once in a lifetime trip, don't try to see too much.
Old Feb 15th, 2001, 05:36 AM
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Paige is giving you good advice. Don't try to do too much. Five days each in Paris and Rome is perfect. I may substitute Florence for Roma...just a personal choice, however. (It does take a day or two to recover from jetlag.)
I always head to the library and order up all the travel videos I can get my hands on and check out as many travel guides as possible. Barnes and Noble can offer some fine guide books as well as the "coffeetable" books, to allow you a brief glimpse into the many sights of Europe.
Enjoy the planning, it is half the fun!
A website that I like is http://www.virtualtourist.com/
It has pictures from allover the world.
Have fun!
Old Feb 15th, 2001, 05:48 AM
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I agree that for a ten-day trip, 5 nights in Paris and 5 in Rome would be just about perfect! I think you would be very sorry if you had to leave Paris after only 3 days -- barely enough to scratch the surface. Even 5 days isn't enough, but it's better than 3.
Old Feb 15th, 2001, 05:50 AM
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I think with only 10 days you should stick to just one country, preferably just one region of one country. There will be other years, probably....
Old Feb 15th, 2001, 05:59 AM
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Tara, See Europe by regions ! If you want France, then do Paris and Avignon, the Cote d' Azur, and fly home from Nice. If Italy, then do 3 desinations in Italy. Why spend a day in transit?
And, do not spend all of your time in big cites. Plan at least 3 days in Provence or Tuscany in the villages.
My best advice---plan ahead and see this trip as the first of several. You will go back. Plan by regions.
Old Feb 16th, 2001, 09:09 AM
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Gigi, Bob the Navigator and others have given you excellent advice.

We have traveled to Europe in each of the last nine years. We discovered Provence and return there each year. From experience, the packing, repacking, driving (or flying, rail) should be kept to a minimum.

Our plan is to stay in only 2 places-one of them Provence, the other somewhere else. Last year we visited Siena in Italy then drove to St. Remy de Provence. Even though that drive was on major roads, it was nine hours of 85/90 mile an hour of pressure, that I will avoid this year.

Your age is a factor as well. If you are young you can be more aggressive. We are in our 60's and enjoy serenity, savoring the local French culture, etc.

My recommendation would be 5 days in Paris, five days in Tuscany--stay in the Tuscan countryside between Florence and Siena to enjoy both cities. If you do the latter, do not miss the "Palio" in Siena, a medieval pageant and horse race run once in July and August, each year. This trip would give you a large city/small city view.

Nice and Switzerland might be for your 2002 trip. (Monaco is right near Nice and could be an easy day trip to visit.)

We are all different. The elimination of frenzy and zooming from a vacation, however,would be the best advice anyone might give. (As for guides Fodor's, Frommer's and Karen Brown are all excellent.)

Good luck!

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