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Overnight stop from Berlin to Paris

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Dec 11th, 2017, 10:21 AM
  #1
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Overnight stop from Berlin to Paris

Hi Fodorites!

I'll be in Berlin for a week in late January and then I am traveling to Paris. I think I have an extra day for Berlin and would like to use it to overnight some where different and break up the train trip. Cologne/Koln seems the logical choice and I think for one night it would be fine. But perhaps I am missing an obvious choice elsewhere.

Any suggestions?

Thank you.
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Dec 11th, 2017, 10:49 AM
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Unless you absolutely have to see the cathedral in Cologne I would fly between the two cities.
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Dec 11th, 2017, 11:15 AM
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Don't fly - it's bad for the environment, stressful and shows you nothing of Europe. Take every opportunity when you get it!

Yes, Cologne is a good stopover. Berlin-Cologne by superb German ICE train at up to 150mph from €29.90 www.bahn.de/en then Cologne to Paris from €35 by 186 mph Thalys train, www.thalys.com

City centre to city centre.

In Cologne, the cathedral is right next to the station, and the Rhine is a short 15 minute walk away. I recommend the Brauhaus Sion for a typically German dinner and beer, http://www.brauhaus-sion.de/

Of course another option is Amsterdam:

Berlin-Amsterdam by direct InterCity train with bistro car from €39.90, www.bahn.de/en

Then Amsterdam to Paris in 3h20 by 186mph Thalys from €35, www.thalys.com
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Dec 11th, 2017, 11:50 AM
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I agree with Cologne as an overnight stop. It is the junction point for the two high speed trains and in addition to the Cathedral, the nearby Romano-Germanic Museum is well worth seeing.
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Dec 11th, 2017, 12:45 PM
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Yes to Cologne - cathedral alone makes it worth it and there is a nice walk along the Rhine - some acclaimed museums - book rail tickets early as Man in Seat 61 says - for great info on trains check out his commercial site www.seat61.com and for general info and where to go www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

Amsterdam would be nice but not for just part of a day - a couple of days maybe.
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Dec 11th, 2017, 02:30 PM
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Cologne could be a short few-hour stop to see the cathedral right next door - put bags in station left luggage and then take train T Aachen, a much more manageable city and historic and more whatever place also right on high-speed train line to Paris (www.thalys.com)

Indeed one of the most historic oldest cities in western Europe.
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Dec 11th, 2017, 03:45 PM
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I would fly too, even though I love trains. In fact, I did fly when I had to get between Berlin and Paris; I took the extra day in Berlin. To be fair, I had already trained from Paris to Berlin over the previous two weeks...
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Dec 11th, 2017, 04:20 PM
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PalenQ's Aachen recommendation is nice. Cologne has the cathedral, and other than that, it's ugly. Aachen is a bit tame, but the center (a 20 minute walk from the train station, or two stops on a bus) is really atmospheric at night, and, in January, it is night practically all the frickin' TIME.

For a quick stop in Cologne, the train station has a great locker setup - - they're very central, and you put your gear in, and it gets transported downstairs into a quasi-warehouse, and then shipped back up at the push of a button.

On the Bahn.de website you can specify connecting times up to 45 minutes minumum. With that specified connecting time, chances are you would get closer to an hour, or more, which is plenty of time for the cathedral right next door.

In January you might get Berlin-Aachen even in 1st class for close to 39 Euro.
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Dec 12th, 2017, 01:25 AM
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Nothing is as "bad for the environment" than someone who denies the effects of electricity generation.
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Dec 12th, 2017, 08:13 AM
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Dukey -it is true German trains run on electricity in part generated from coal but also sizable % still nuke and now renewables but even if all coal trains are inherently much much less polluting than airplanes -one of the very worse polluters around - and you have to take buses or cars to and from airports.
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Dec 12th, 2017, 08:55 AM
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Aside from Cologne (and continuing with Thalys), the other option would be to go via Frankfurt - and continue next day with any TGV.
Neither Cologne nor Frankfurt are particular charming. Personally, I think that Cologne is bit more ugly than Frankfurt (though Cologne has the cathedral).
For museum fans both cities are fine.

End of January will probably be cold or very cold, the Rhineland and Cologne a bit milder maybe.
Any place will still have limited daylight hours until only 4pm.

For something really different than Berlin, you could also think of Munich. It's much more charming, also in the dark hours when the historic city center is illuminated. And also a higher probability of snow.

You could take the new highspeed line from Berlin to Munich in 4 hours and fly next day (evening) to Paris.
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Dec 12th, 2017, 10:16 AM
  #12
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Thanks to all. Cologne seems like an easy stop and for just 20 hours - interesting enough. And a good meal stop!

Just for background I am arriving in Berlin from US on 1/19 and I need to be in Paris on 1/26. So even accounting for jetlag that seems like an excessive amount of time in Berlin in January. I was hoping to get into my rental on Paris a day early but it is not available.

Thanks again.
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Dec 12th, 2017, 10:23 AM
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If you have a week in Berlin, you might take a few days and train say to Prague and fly from there to Paris. I'd love to see Prague in the snow, and it must be a lot less touristy in January.
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Dec 12th, 2017, 12:09 PM
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If you tire of Berlin itself there are some neat easy day trips by train:

Sachenhasuen Memorial - short train ride north to see the remains of anotorius Nazi work/death camp - sobering like all such visits -remains of gas chambers clearly visible.

Potsdam of course for Sans Soucci Palace and park

Lutherstadt-Wittemberg - Luther's town where he allegedly nailed demands to church door and his house and many momnetos and also a neat old town

Dresden just a couple of hours away

And I even took a day trip to nearby Poland once - just to an ordinary town to see a bit of Poland.
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Dec 12th, 2017, 12:40 PM
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If you wish to cut a few days off Berlin then Amsterdam for a few days would be great.
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Dec 16th, 2017, 03:04 PM
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Cologne is a LOT uglier than Frankfurt. Unless the Koelner Dom is a bunring a hole in your travel list, I would find somewhere else to stop.

Seriously, for this distance - fly, and get an extra 3/4 day out of Berlin or Paris.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 09:35 AM
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Cologne may not be the 'Venice of the North' but to call it ugly is a bit of a stretch - a typical large German city yes rebuilt from war damage so lacking old-world look but is nice for a short stop. And so convenient because right on main train line Berlin-Brussels-Paris. That said if you have a few days consider Amsterdam.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 11:15 AM
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6 days in Berlin could be cut to 4 giving you three days in lovely Amsterdam, only 3.5 hours from Paris by high-speed Thalys train. That would be my suggestion - Berlin has a lot of neat things and is a large city - Amsterdam is compact and two full days there would be nicer IMO than half a day in Cologne.

You may want to fly if Amsterdam however as is over 6 hours direct by train.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 12:20 PM
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If the alternatives are Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, and Frankfurt, Cologne is not typical in terms of the "quality" of the rebuild.

If you are comparing it to Dortmund and Dusseldorf, I might agree, although I would rate Dusseldorf higher than Cologne. Without that cathedral right outside the train station, Cologne would be starving four tourist dollars.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 01:06 PM
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Cologne is simply good because it is on the main train line to Paris - all other options aramis lists are much farther by train except Frankfurt just an hour from Cologne. I agree with aramis about those rebuilds but do not throw the baby out with the bathwater - Cologne like any German city can be nice. Great pedestrian shopping district. Maybe just stop for a few hours though and head to Aachen which everyone loves.
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