Paris Again or Madrid?


Aug 15th, 2014, 07:49 PM
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Paris Again or Madrid?

Getting ready to plan our next family trip to Europe and are debating whether we return to Paris (visited nearly 2 years ago) or explore Madrid and Barcelona. Our Paris vacation was wonderful- first time to Europe for all 4 of us and the kids (16 and 14 then) were excited but timid. We were in Paris for Christmas so it was obviously cold and this trip will be taken in early June so we'll see a different side to the city then. I have two factors which keep me from jumping into planning for Spain: I don't speak Spanish and I have no idea what there is to actually do in either Madrid or Barcelona that would keep us interested and active. We can handle one museum but other than that we're looking for a trip which would allow us to have some adventures and explore. Since I'm a limited traveler, I'm really asking for your advice on what you think might be the better option for us. Thanks in advance to everyone for your replies.
egwright10 is offline  
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Aug 15th, 2014, 08:10 PM
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I've not been to Madrid but spent 8 days in Barcelona last year and loved it. But, if you only want 1 museum I would head back to Paris or split the trip between Barcelona and Paris if you have more than a week.

You don't need to speak Spanish in Barcelona and Madrid any more than you needed to speak French in Paris or Czech in Prague. Besides, Catalan is the first language in Barcelona, Spanish is secondary.

I would worry more about the heat in Madrid in June.

I happen to love museums, especially small, quirky museums. Why don't you like them? They're so much fun and Paris has such a diversity of museums.

If you return to Paris, what would you do that you haven't done before? What did you do last trip? I'm guessing that if you don't like museums you won't want to visit many churches. There are parks and gardens and walking around different neighborhoods but would your children enjoy that?

What types of things do you like to do? Maybe an outdoor vacation in a smaller city would be best. Some place such as Salzburg where you could visit a salt mine, ice cave, luge (I think there are luges in that area), Sound of Music tour, hike, rent bikes.
adrienne is offline  
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Aug 15th, 2014, 08:11 PM
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And you don't need to speak German in Austria.
adrienne is offline  
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Aug 15th, 2014, 08:30 PM
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Sounds like you and your family might benefit from spending some time with guidebooks! If you don't want to buy them until you decide, then visit your local library.
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Aug 15th, 2014, 08:33 PM
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There has been many discussions here comparing Madrid and Barcelona. If you search function above you will find extended conversations on the subject.
IMDonehere is online now  
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Aug 15th, 2014, 09:01 PM
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"I would worry more about the heat in Madrid in June" The heat in Madrid in June is negligible, and certainly not worth considering. Having stayed in Madrid on numerous occasions over the last 20 or so years, I recommend it over Barcelona for several reasons, the time of year having no direct impact. We like Barcelona with all its quirks, but prefer Madrid on every level; food, history, entertainment.
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Aug 15th, 2014, 09:03 PM
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Paris is better in the spring, fall and winter, then in the middle of the summer when it can be overwhelmed with tourist and an inversion layer.
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Aug 15th, 2014, 10:13 PM
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Are Paris/Madrid/Barcelona the only options??

It would be helpful to know what you like to do on vacation. What did you enjoy in Paris and what would you do/see if you returned?
Jean is online now  
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Aug 16th, 2014, 06:00 AM
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Have you considered Italy? How much time do you plan to be in Europe? If you go to Paris, do you have time to include a visit to another part of France (e.g. Normandy or Provence) where you will have much more to do outdoors and a more active vacation. I wouldn't simply visit Paris again without seeing something else of Europe.

Good idea to spend some time with guidebooks. We can't really tell you where to go but can only offer up suggestions including our favorite destinations. If I wanted to experience a new city, I would go to London, not Madrid or Barcelona but that's based on my experience. Your kids are old enough to help with the guidebooks and the decision and will be much more engaged on your trip if they do. Happy planning.
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Aug 16th, 2014, 07:18 AM
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If I was not much into museums, and I had two older teenagers in tow, and if I wanted to "explore and discover", I would go to Barcelona.
The medieval old town is fun to explore. The Gaudi mansions are more "wow" sights than actual museums. You can get active on the beach, discover Tibidabo and Montjuic. Climb up to a castle. Explore Roman ruins. Take a somewhat thrilling cable car ride across the harbor. Explore Parc Güell. Rent bikes (BCN is surprisingly bike-friendly). See an indoors rain forest.
All things considered, I'd say that the museum lover and foodie would be more happy in Madrid while this "non-museum" active family might like Barcelona better.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
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Aug 16th, 2014, 07:56 AM
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I love both cities, but agree with Cowboy.
Barcelona is unique..
danon is online now  
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Aug 16th, 2014, 02:09 PM
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I've been to Paris 5 times but not visited Spain yet... so I would personally pick Spain... even since you've only been once and loved it, wouldn't it be more exciting to visit something different? I LOVED all my trips to Paris but now I kinda wish I'd seen other parts of Europe after the first couple times.

I've traveled in 11 different countries and only speak English and French, and other than not being understood while ordering a langos at the Vienna zoo and trying to mail postcards in Bratislava, I've always encountered people who could function very well in Engligh.
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Aug 16th, 2014, 09:56 PM
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Thanks for all of your responses. I am going to spend some time in the guide books for London, Rome and Madrid, with the family. I'll be back after educating myself.
egwright10 is offline  
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Aug 16th, 2014, 10:22 PM
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Cowboy makes a good case for Barcelona. Paris is my first love in European cities, so may I suggest that if time allows you consider Paris and Barcelona? Last summer (July) we did three nights in Madrid followed by three nights in Barcelona then on to ten nights in Paris and had a great time. Transport between Barcelona and Paris was easy on the low cost carrier Vueling. If you wanted to add another bit of travel adventure there is now high speed train service connecting the two cities. See
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