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Paris or Vienna w/a Swiss vacation

Old Feb 11th, 2003, 07:38 AM
  #1  
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Paris or Vienna w/a Swiss vacation

I am trying to plan our vacation - 2 weeks in Switzerland this September but I would like to include either Paris or Vienna. We would like to fly into either Paris or Vienna and leave out of Geneva or Zurich. I realize we probably can do both but I do not want to squeeze too much. We love mountains - last year we went to the Canadian Rockies for 2 weeks and loved every minute of it, so I figure Switzerland would be Europe's version of the "Rockies." But my husband has never been to Europe so I wanted him to see a little more than just mountains. If any of you have a favorite destination - either Paris or Vienna and how many days we should spend (we'd like to spend a least a week in Switzerland, unless the majority of you in-the-know would think that would be too much time in Switzerland). Thank you!
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Old Feb 11th, 2003, 08:38 AM
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Let me suggest running a trip in the reverse of what I did three years ago.

We flew into Paris spent 5 nights, then went to Switzerland. Then we went to Vienna via Salzburg. From Vienna we flew home.

My reasons for suggesting the reverse of what I did has this positive aspects:

If you start in Vienna, you can fly there first. Then you fly back from Paris which shorten the trip home.
My reasoning there is that to make a connecting flight in Charles de Gaulle airport you must allow ample connect time. Flights in the last morning and early afternoon after often late.
If I were trying to connect to a flight home that was scheduled for 4 PM, I would want to arrive in CDG no later than 1 PM on paper because 90 minutes of scheduled connect time is often insufficient.

If you depart from CDG, you can take a shuttle or a taxi to CDG right after the morning rush hour subsides and be there in plenty of time to get through security. I do not know how long it takes to clear security post Reid the shoe bomber, but in Munich it takes over 2 hours to clear security for a flight to the USA. (I have flown home twice from Munich post 9/11. Both times we were searched and questioned.)

If you have only 2 weeks, the trip will push you a little bit. If you have 16 days, counting two weekends, 2 days are lost to flying over and back. That leaves 14 days total.

After 3 visits to Paris in the last 4 years, I think that 5 nights in Paris is a good start, but for me it was not sufficient, particularly with side trips to Fontainebleau, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Versailles, and Giverny (Vernon train station)

A week is not enough in Switerland.
I go there for a week to two weeks at a time, and we will be there again in September. Once you become addicted, there is no recovery!!
We rent an apartment by the week, and have augmented the apartment stay with some wandering.
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Old Feb 11th, 2003, 08:42 AM
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Michael
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I would stick to the Swiss and Austrian Alps, starting or ending in Vienna. It may be better to start there, and then the Alps would provide a relief from city tourism. I think that there is more to see in Vienna than in either Zurich or Geneva. On the other hand, if you rent a car and do not want to pay the drop-off fee that is associated with cross-border drop-offs, you may want to start and end in Munich and do a loop of the northern German speaking Alpine area with an extension to Vienna.
 
Old Feb 11th, 2003, 10:29 AM
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Thanks Bob and Michael. Gee, Bob, are you the same Bob Brown that helped me last year w/our trip to the Canadian Rockies!!! My husband wants to go back to the Rockies but I think he should see a little more of the world. The reason I considered adding either Paris or Vienna to our trip is that I discovered that airfares appear cheaper flying to either than going directly into Zurich or Geneva (found a fare on expedia last Tues. for $398 each from Washington to Paris to Zurich, the direct fare to Zurich was approx. $1200 per person! but the next day the fare on expedia was up to $1200 too, today it's around $750 (this drives me crazy)! I've done a couple short trips to Paris (but my husband hasn't) but I haven't seen Vienna. So it's going to be a tough decision. More opinions, suggestion, whatever please!!
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Old Feb 11th, 2003, 12:06 PM
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One and the same on the Canadian Rockies. Guess where I will be in July!! And it ain't Lauterbrunnen.

Now please, don't ask me which mountains I prefer. The answer is YES.

We will be in Switzerland in September, same apartment. We have gotten to know the drill there, and we move about that part of the country without the need to consult a road map for much of it.

I think it is toss up as to what you do. Vienna is fun, and interesting.
How much time is it worth? Depends on how many operas you want to attend.
We did 3 in four nights last time around. I think in 3 days you could see the highlights, but you would have to push it a little.

Paris is interesting, beguiling even, and sometimes frustrating. Even when frustrating, it is interesting. The problem there is the art museums. Art lovers could disappear into the Louvre and not be seen for 12 hours. The Musee d'Orsay is managable in perhaps 4 hours, plus lunch in that beautiful dining room.

Flying in and out of Munich is usually cheaper than flying in and out of Zürich. For some reason, flights to Zürich are expensive. I have done it twice. Once as part of an open jawed Air France package, and once round trip with KLM via Amsterdam.

The airport in Munich is a good one, and easy to get too via the Lufthansa Bus or the S Bahn.

CDG is my least favorite airport of them all. I have flown into CDG 4 times and home from there two times, both times because that is where we connected for home. The Lord deliver me from CDG. My recommendation is a minimum of 3 hours scheduled connect time at CDG for T2 connections. I allow 4. We allowed 90 minutes once, which shrunk to 25 minutes. Had out flight not been delayed, we would have missed it. There was no help from Air France, either, in getting from T2B to T2C.

If you must connect from T1 to T2 or the reverse, I think I would allow 4 hours to make the connection. There is no telling what is liable to go wrong in that helter skelter place.

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Old Feb 13th, 2003, 06:15 AM
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Bob, you're going to the Rockies in July and Switzerland in Sept.! Oh how I envey you. No, I won't ask which you like best as it seems obvious you like them both equally. Even though both are mountains, each must have it own special qualities and I imagine Switzerland to be very different from the Cdn Rockies (the people, the villages, etc.). I am going to check flying into Munich (don't like the sound of your advice re flying into Paris). Picked Paris for the cheaper airfares (you're right about flying into Zurich directly being so expensive). Since you are going to Switzerland in September, I guess this is a good time to go there. I was looking to go the first 2 weeks. I will search your posts as to where you like to visit in Switzerland. You were a great help for our trip to the Rockies. Thanks again for your advice.
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Old Feb 13th, 2003, 06:47 AM
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I think our best trip to date was in 2000. We started in Paris with 4 nights (follow up to the 1999 visit), spend a week in Switzerland, and ended in Vienna.
We flew home from Vienna.

We changed flights at CDG. I opted for 4 hours of connect time versus 2.
The flight was early enough that it was on time, so we had to wait the full 4 hours. La Brioche Doree to the rescue.

The problem now with any flight home is the long security lines. I think the wait is going to be considerable any where. In Munich, we found that the Germans are very thorough. Even though the inspections are well organized, the German methodical approach takes a while. So allow a minimum of 2 hours to get through the security gate.
That time requirement is in addition to the time required to check in at the counter.
I plan on allowing 3 hours when we return in September.
The question arises of how best to get to the airport. You have three basic options: taxi all the way, Lufthansa bus, and the S-Bahn/U-Bahn.

I have tried several ways, but for us the best way was to take the Lufthansa bus to the Nordfriedhof stop and take a taxi to the hotel. The bus driver can radio ahead for taxi to meet you at the bus stop.

Last year, because of the location of our hotel, we took the U-Bahn to the Lufthansa bus stop. That worked quite well, too. The Munich U-Bahn has elevators and escalators, which makes moving luggage fairly easy. I am not sure if the difference in cost is worth it.

In terms of cost, taxi all the way is the most expensive. The Lufthansa bus is a little more than the S-Bahn.
I prefer the bus to the S-Bahn, but that is a personal choice.
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