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Paris to Rome: train, plane or automobile?

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Paris to Rome: train, plane or automobile?

Old Oct 16th, 2006, 09:22 PM
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Paris to Rome: train, plane or automobile?

Our family of 4 is traveling from Paris to Rome on December 23rd. Do we take Ryanair (120/ea plus hassles,) spend 8 am to 8:30 pm on the train ($187 plus some scenery), take the sleeper car (about 190 ea) or my crazy DH's fav: rent a car and toodle along on the highway in December?

So to recap: plane, train or automobile? Is there a certain charm to a european train that far exceeds the Ryanair experience? And I can't imagine myself agreeing to a car rental in December...
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Old Oct 16th, 2006, 09:53 PM
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Your DH isn't crazy. Rent a car and drive through some interesting places and scenery o your way. The journey just might be the highlight of your trip than either Paris or Rome. We, a family of 4, did that just this past month.

But how much time do you have?
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Old Oct 16th, 2006, 10:03 PM
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Dear shoonye - really? He's not crazy? We have 8 days in Paris and 8 days in Rome so we could shave some time off... But I worry about December weather being a problem. DH has a great fondness for crazy roadtrips. He finds them relaxing. Our two kids would think they've traveled back in time, family trip-wise.
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Old Oct 16th, 2006, 10:32 PM
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Fly from Paris Orly on EasyJet with fewer hassles, fewer worries about weather, and more time to spend IN Rome.
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Old Oct 16th, 2006, 10:45 PM
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Rose - the bulk of your driving could be along the mediterranean coast....French Riviera, Liguria, coastal Tuscany down to Rome. This could be done over a period of 3-7 days. December can be a little dicey but not overly so. It will be warmer along the coast than other regions.

For me 8 days in Rome and Paris would be on the higher side....for others it wouldn't. My recommendation would be to shave atleast 2 days off both cities and move 4 days to the drive.
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Old Oct 17th, 2006, 12:05 AM
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Rosetravels, have you thought about Christmas Day being an issue for you? Maybe it doesn't affect you but it could be a thought. We drove last year, from Milan to Rome and that alone took 7hrs. It was hideous, mega trucks the whole way, OK it was on the freeway, but I wished we had just flown or taken the train. I was really scared the whole time. We have driven in Europe heaps of times before but this was not pleasant because of rushing to get from A to B in a set time. However, there is a lot to be said for taking your time and meandering along country roads etc. Mind you in winter it will have a different feel about it than in summer. I would certainly keep the 8 days in Paris, but maybe skip a couple off Rome and add in Milan. So another thought would be train from Paris to Milan, a very pleasant 6 hours or thereabouts. Get off and have a couple of nights in Milan, maybe have Christmas there and then train again to Rome. We were really impressed with the whole train thing, but to do such a long journey in one hit I think could be just too long.

Anyway,it is another thought for you. At that time of year I wouldn't vote for driving. To summarise, either fly or take the train in two stages.

Enjoy, which ever way you go.
Schnauzer
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Old Oct 17th, 2006, 12:56 AM
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I was thinking the same thing, except Nice. Drive to Nice (DH gets his thrills) or take the train. Spend Christmas there and then fly to Rome.
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Old Oct 17th, 2006, 01:18 AM
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I choose a sleeper, from Paris Gare de Bercy at 1900 to Rome Termini at 0942. There are single, double and triple berth compartments with washbasins, four berth and six berth couchette compartments with washbasins down the corridor, and single and double sleepers with toilet and shower en suite, a bit expensive. For economy and a fair night you need a four berth couchette compartment, or for comfort two double sleeper compartments. Less obvious is to send a son or father to share with two other men in a triple sleeper, and to take a triple compartment for the rest of you. From 1900 to about 2100 you tip the conductor to fold the beds away and make up compartment in day formation, and all four sit in it, and from about 0830 to Rome much the same. If he or she has no time for that you can walk along the train or the platform to seats cars.

Dinner on board is pleasant. You can take a bottle of wine, a corkscrew, and six plastic cups on board -- six to let you offer dinks to neighbours, and to talk with them. You can also take some sausage or cheese to add to the small continental breakfast that your conductor serves you free in sleepers.

The day trips by car or train are long. A flight takes about four hours of daytime, while the sleeper goes as you sleep.

If you set Google to Man in Seat 61 Italy you find pictures and details. He says, rightly: Paris to Rome couldn't be easier. Just take the overnight sleeper from central Paris to central Rome. Enjoy a meal in the restaurant car as the sun sets over the rolling green hills and picturesque villages of the French countryside, then wake up in your sleeper or couchette to coffee and croissant and a classic Italian landscape of red-roofed houses and poplar trees. You'll catch sight of the dome of St Peter's from the train before arriving at Rome's Stazione Termini, right in the heart of the Eternal City.

Fares start at 52 GBP return from Paris to Rome in a basic 6-bunk couchette or 89 return in a more spacious 4-bunk couchette. More comfortable 1-, 2- & 3-bed sleeping-cars are also available, with breakfast included in the fare.

If you set Google to Night Trains Haines you will find my notes on getting the best from the journey, including notes on agents in the USA and Britain who can book you online. (The train will be crowded, so you should book as early as you can.) After that please write again if I can help further.

Ben Haines, London
[email protected]
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Old Oct 17th, 2006, 01:31 AM
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To correct a previous post: the bulk of the driving is not along the mediterranean coast. Check mappy.com.
The shortest route is taking the Frejus tunnel, and only involves a short stretch of the coast (about 200 Km). Even the much longer route through Nice is inland for a long stretch. The freeway from Genoa to Nice can be scary in bad weather. On the other hand, it can snow at the Frejus, and there can be long queues on a busy day (I once was 3 hours in queue). I'd rather fly.
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Old Oct 17th, 2006, 01:51 AM
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ps.
the alternative schnauzer suggested (train in two steps) is also good, you'll get to see some scenery (make sure to take an early train from Paris so you can get to the Alps before dark).
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Old Oct 17th, 2006, 03:20 AM
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Hi Rose,

Check www.whichbudget.com for flights to Rome FCO or CIA from Paris ORY or CDG.

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Old Oct 17th, 2006, 04:59 AM
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I'd also do EasyJet. There is a 7 AM flight from Orly (the early rising is the bad news) that gets into Rome (Ciampino) at 8:55 AM. You sure don't lose much travel time that way. Those tickets are currently 66.99 euro each. Cheaper than renting a car, tolls, and fuel is my guess.

And I'd take those tickets on Easy Jet before spending 120 each with Ryanair!
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Old Oct 17th, 2006, 07:41 AM
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Ask and I shall receive! This is all so helpful. Don't go away, I have more questions to explore.

Christmas Day is a huge issue for us. We're Catholic and according to DD we must be somewhere and settled on 12/23 for mass and festivities on Christmas Eve. They're happy to travel Christmas Day but definitely not on the 24th.

Haines - the train link was extremely helpful. It does look fun and the prices are much less than I'd seen on the eurrail site. I'm thinking about that, and DH likes that idea.

But let's consider the other idea of getting to Rome in 2 stages - if we did that, which place between Paris and Rome would be the best place to be on Christmas? I should mention that our trip to Paris/Rome really began by DH saying 'let's go to Switzerland for Christmas!' He really loves snow or sun, not rain, at Christmas but we live on the coast in the Pacific NW. Thoughts and suggestions?
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Old Oct 17th, 2006, 08:03 AM
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If you drive, you could stop somewhere in the Mont Blanc, like Chamonix. If you go by train, make sure to reserve *now*. On December 23-24 trains will be super full.
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Old Oct 17th, 2006, 08:12 AM
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Hi R,

>getting to Rome in 2 stages ... our trip to Paris/Rome really began by DH saying 'let's go to Switzerland for Christmas!' <

You can easily train from Paris to Somewhere in Switzerland and then on to Rome.

For example:
Paris/Geneva is under 4 hr. There is a night train from Geneva to Rome leaving at 20:40



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Old Oct 17th, 2006, 08:24 AM
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Thanks Ira - I was just on the remarkably frustrating Swiss rail website. Or at least I think I was - it was rather confusing! How do I find out about a train from Geneva to Rome? Do you think Geneva would be lovely at Christmas?
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Old Oct 17th, 2006, 09:12 AM
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I just did a quick check at bahn.de and found direct night trains to Rome from Lausanne, Bern, and Zurich--in addition to Geneva. With a couple of changes, you could also take trains from Luzern to Milan and pick up a night train to Rome there.
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Old Oct 17th, 2006, 08:20 PM
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One thing to check if you are going to fly EasyJet or Ryan is their weight restrictions on luggage. You could wind up spending a lot if your luggage is over weight. They are pretty strict.
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Old Oct 17th, 2006, 09:06 PM
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Thanks - we've decided to take the train and I'm leaning towards the sleeper car. A couple of days along the way sounds lovely but we're pretty eager to get to Rome and explore. My kids are big fans of the 'slow trav' approach.
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Old Oct 18th, 2006, 02:59 AM
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I think that's your smartest option, though Christmas in snowy Switzerland must have been very tempting!
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