Paris to Munich in two weeks

Old Jan 18th, 2000, 05:57 AM
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Paris to Munich in two weeks

Well I never imagined what a tough (but fun) job it would be to plan this trip for three couples. We'll arrive in Paris June 16. That part was easy, but now we need to decide the route and stops that will get us to Munich by July 1, traveling by a rental vehicle of some sort that will hold the six of us plus baggage. We came up with a brain storm last night, and I'm hoping for some feedback from you fellow travelers.

Our idea goes something like this:

Spend 3 nights in Paris, then head south through some of the great wine country. Maybe spend a night in Dijon or thereabouts. Continue south until we hit the coast. (This is fuzzy, and I would love to get some suggestions on stops, routes, etc.) Now we head generally east with a goal of spending 2 nights in Venice. From there, back north with hopefully a couple of nights in Salzburg. Then on to the Munich area.

Are we mad to think we can do all of this in two weeks? Two couples have never been to Europe, and are basically leaving it to us to plan the trip. My wife and I have been there a few times (once for two years when we lived in Heidelberg). We have enjoyed all of travel in Europe, so in some ways are easy to please. One thing I think appeals to us all is that if we can avoid the heavy tourist flow, we'd like to do that as much as possible, understanding that with places like Venice and Paris it might be a pipe dream. (Just want to spend some time off the "beaten path".)

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Dave and Marian Williams
Old Jan 18th, 2000, 09:23 AM
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It's quite doable, but exhausting if you drive and complex to plan for six persons. If it were mine to plan, here is a route: Paris, Reims, Nancy, Strasbourg, Colmar, Basel, Bern, Interlaken, Geneva, Turin, Venice, Innsbruck, Munich. Poll your group to see what interests them most: museums? mountains? scenery? food? What kind of car do you plan to rent? Six is a bit much unless you have a van -- and they rent for megabucks in Europe. What is your budget? Are you pooling your funds? Make sure you AGREE on how you will split the costs BEFORE you do anything. We often do this: each couple puts $500 into a pot and one person acts as the "purser," paying all the bills and keeping all the records. When the money runs out, each couple puts in another $500. It works. This pays for: food, lodging, but not drinks. It pays for car rental (which we charge and split on our return), gas, and oil. Make sure everyone participates and agrees in the planning phase. You soon will find who the whiners are.
Old Jan 18th, 2000, 09:47 AM
Richard Selfridge
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Tips for Italy:

Stay an hour or so outside of Venice (maybe near Venona) and take a train in and out. Venice is beautiful but absolutely packed with people, so early (7am) one day if you can.

Give yourself as much flexibility as you can for your alps crossing. We crossed from Germany to Italy via Austria in Sept 99 and saw nothing but cloud - very frustrating when you know that behind the cloud is the most beautiful scenery you'll ever see!

Avoid southern Lake Garda unless you like tourist traps. Maggiore is the nicest Italian lake. The Brenner Pass (Italy to Austria) is a fantastic drive.

Be tourists in the cities and travellers in the country.

Have fun!
Old Jan 20th, 2000, 11:03 AM
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Al and Richard, I want to thank you both for the helpful responses. Concerning the car rental, we have checked several sources and got quotes on van-type vehicles. It seems that the pickup in Paris and drop off in Munich poses a problem for some rental companies, but it looks like we can still do it. Cost will probably be between $1100 and $1200 for two weeks, split among three couples. But we're still trying to fine tune that.

Thanks again,
Dave Williams
Old Jan 20th, 2000, 12:12 PM
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Just an FYI, Dave: European vans are smaller than U.S. vans - less legroom, and WAY less luggage room. Either make sure no one has more than one small bag and a tote, or rent a closed luggage carrier that is attached to the roof.
The other big thing to realize is fuel costs are very high (4x the cost in the U.S.) AND HIGH ALTITUDES CHEW UP GAS like you're driving a semi.
Look at maybe renting two cars rather than one van (we did it last fall with 8 women - we could have rented a van to fit us all, but it would have meant that if we wanted to go our different ways one day, we couldn't. The two cars worked out very well).
Old Jan 20th, 2000, 05:18 PM
wes fowler
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Here's a suggestion that's a bit belated, I imagine. My wife and I have traveled extensively to Europe. Ten years ago, we were joined by dear friends that had never been. First words out of their mouths: "You plan the trip since you've been there before."
We initially sketched out a plan including Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Bavaria. Four countries, four people. I then told each to pick a country and assume responsibility for what we do, what we see, where we stay. It took a lot of pressure off me in trying to please diverse personalities, more importantly, forced the other couple to learn a great deal about trip planning and prioritizing and made them very much part of a team effort. It also made the trip far more meaningful both for the group and for its individual members. The results: three years later they approached me and said "Let's do that again, we have some ideas you might like!"

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