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Please help me with my trip to Europe!

Old Oct 29th, 2008, 09:30 AM
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Please help me with my trip to Europe!

My husband & I are going to Paris in December. We are only going to get to be there from Thursday afternoon until Saturday evening. Any reccomendations for "must see" sights would be greatly appreciated. Would we have enough time to go to Normandy to see the WWII stuff there? We were planning to get a Eurorail pass because we will have to go from France to Germany on Saturday and I know that they have an overnite train to get us there. Is this a good idea? Thanks so much for any help you could give me!!!
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 09:39 AM
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Lucky you! The last time I was in Paris was in December 2006 and it was gorgeous with the holiday lights.

Here is a link for some suggestions that Rick Steves has (nice for a first visit):

http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/desti...rance_menu.htm

Are you only taking one train ride? If so, you won't need a pass. Here is another link to get some basic ideas of how to choose passes/point-to-point tickets:

http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/rail_menu.htm

Arriving Thursday afternoon and leaving Saturday night gives you two days in Paris and barely enough time to see a few must-see sights, so no is my very strong response on the Normandy sights. If you would be interested in WWI sights instead and depending on where in Germany you are going and your flexibility with the itinerary, you could rearrange your schedule to travel to go from Paris to Germany via Verdun.

http://www.verdun-tourisme.com/

Other than that, there are 1000s of posts here on must-see's in Paris.
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 09:41 AM
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1) We are only going to get to be there from Thursday afternoon until Saturday evening.

Do you mean you'll have 2 days there, or 9 days?

2) Any reccomendations for "must see" sights would be greatly appreciated.
http://www.fodors.com/world/europe/f...ure_30004.html

3) Would we have enough time to go to Normandy to see the WWII stuff there?

If you're in Paris for 2 days, NO. If 9 days, yes.

4) We were planning to get a Eurorail pass because we will have to go from France to Germany on Saturday and I know that they have an overnite train to get us there. Is this a good idea?

If you are only taking the train once (or even twice), a pass is NEVER a good idea (or good deal). Just buy point-to-point tickets. Where in Germany are you going? There are some discount tickets if you buy in advance but I'll defer that to the German Rail experts here.
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 09:46 AM
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Yes, we are really only going to be there for 2 days, not 9! I know it's not nearly enough time, but I got the chance to go with my husband on a business trip and couldn't pass up the opportunity. Someone suggested the rail pass would be a good idea because we could take it to Germany and also around Paris. We are going to Hamburg, and again only for 2 days. It will be a VERY short trip, but I'm trying to make the most of it. Thanks for the help!
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 10:10 AM
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Rick Steves has a good "if I only have one day in Paris" list in the front of his Paris book. He then goes on to say, "if you have a second day or a third day add these things".

You can see the Arc and Eiffel tower from afar and take a whirlwind tour of the Louvre, Orsay and Notre Dame. That should be enough to whet your appetite for the next trip.

There is a lot more to Paris and I think I would bag the Normandy idea for this trip.
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 11:44 AM
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The one "must see" in my book is Ste. Chappelle--very near Notre Dame.

www.hereinfranklin.wordpress.com
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 12:20 PM
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so to get this straight - you have 2 days in Paris and 2 days in Hamburg, right?

There is no rail pass that would do you any good on that itinerary.

Your first day in Paris - less than 1/2 a day really since you don't arrive until the afternoon - you will probably be jet lagged. Then you have all day Fri and maybe 8 hours on Saturday. Not enough time to see even a teensy % of the musts in Paris, let alone a full day to Normandy.

Then you have an over night train to Hamburg (have you considered flying - likely cheaper)
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 01:04 PM
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Since you only have two days, I’d drop the idea of going to Normandy; you’ll burn one whole day just to get out there and back.

My suggested must see sights:

Louvre Museum
Notre Dame Cathedral
Eiffel Tower
Musee D’Orsay

If the weather is nice try and walk along the Champs Elysees; it’s the main thoroughfare thru central Paris. You can also take a boat ride on the river Seine.

I’ve been to Paris twice – it is one of the greatest cities in the world! Have fun!
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 04:51 AM
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Hi M,

Look up Paris and Hamburg under "Destinations".

These links should be helpful:
Paris Superthread
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34519236

100 Great Things to Do in Paris
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...=2&tid=1277898

Degas’s Paris Walks
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34712768

Kerouac’s Ethnic Walk
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=35095155

Jacquemart-Andre’ Museum http://tinyurl.com/p9pol

Rather than trying to do the 10-min Louvre, I suggest the Orangerie. where Monet’s “Nympheas” (Water Lilies) are displayed the way they were meant to be seen. In addition, the Guillame collection has been very well arranged to give an historical insight into the development of the impressionists and their contemporaries;

We always stay at the Hotel Bonaparte, 61 Rue Bonaparte in the 6th. From 131E dbl w/bkfst. It is just around the corner from Place St. Sulpice, near 3 metro stops and 4 bus routes. Has AC and an elevator.
Tel 33 1 43 26 97 37
FAX 33 1 46 33 57 67
[email protected]
www.hotelbonaparte.fr

For more info, enter "Hotel Bonaparte" in the "search this forum" box.

Photos are at http://tinyurl.com/ludgd

Enjoy your visit.

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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 05:01 AM
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PS:

www.voyages-sncf.com is offering 1cl double compartment on the 20:46 train to Hamburg for 156E pp.

Just slightly more than the cost of a T3 in 2cl.

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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 05:17 AM
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hi, monikalee,

this is what we did in a day with our kids when there was a metro and bus strike about 4 years ago and we had to walk almost everywhere. [so if they are running, and no reason why they shouldn't be, it should be doddle!]

Ignoring the day you arrive, when i suggest that you wander around the left bank, get a night -time ride on a bateau-mouche etc. etc.

Friday - Starting at the eifel tower, go up to the top and enjoy the view. I first went to Paris about 30 years ago and only went up the tower when we went with the kids on this day trip. I was mad with myself, cos it's great.

then, if you are a fan of Napolean, go to les invalides, otherwise, get a boat up the seine to Notre Dame [they go from just by the eifel tower ticket office] to Notre Dame and see the cathedral and St. Chappelle. Have lunch - there are loads of little restaurants just over the river from Notre Dame [left bank] catering for office staff with very good cheap 3 course lunches - we paid €10 each in about 2004.

then stroll down the right bank past all the funny little shops selling flowers and birds to the louvre and enter if you want to. otherwise continue through the tuilleries to the Champs elysee, [which by now should be lit up] and walk up to the Arc.

get the metro back to your hotel and have a rest then dinner.

Saturday - depending on your tastes, you could see the musee d'orsay, go up to monmartre, wander around the maree district [i still remember Victor hugo's house from seeing it 30 years ago] see the pompidou centre [the beauborg to parisiens]. have a good meal somewhere - there was a recent thread making some gormet suggestions.

then catch your train - i like the idea of the rsleeper which wil give you a bit moe time in Paris.

you'll have a great time,

regards, ann
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 06:36 AM
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The Normandy visit has to be dropped with the limited time you have. Remember that jet lag will be a factor as well. Also, I feel that the Louvre should be left out as well. It is just too large to do in the two days. It has, after all, 12 miles of corridors. The Musee d'Orsay or the Musee Marmottan are good substitutes. The boat tours are worth while and Notre Dame and St. Chappelle should also be on your to do list also. Spend the rest of your time walking and eating. You will certainly not get a lunch for €10 any more, as suggested by a previous reply
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 06:47 AM
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If they were going to Normandy and back by train and to Hamburg then the France-Germany railpass may be of interest - especially for first class travel. But if just Paris-Hamburg then no. www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com are sources i always mention for info on passes as well as tons of info on using trains, etc in these countries - for the cheapest option try Ira's voyages-sncf.com tip but book well in advance there for discounted fares i think, which are in limited numbers often.
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 06:52 AM
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Two days is barely enough to see Normandy - and nothing in Paris. Or a little bit in Paris and nothing in Normandy.

A rail pass is a terrible idea for only one rail trip. (You can't use a rail pass within Paris - the Metro is a whole differnt system - with different passes and tickets)

Also, I believe that a rail pass does not apply to overnight sleepers (you at least still have to pay a substantial amount for the sleeper). Also - they often sell out in advance - so I would check out options and costs for that now.

And are you comfortable sharing a compartment with strangers? Or would you buy out a whole compartment just for yourselves -at a much higher price?)
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 09:01 AM
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I think monikalee doesn't know that there is no railroad called "eurorail" and thinks to take that overnight train you have to have a eurorail pass. Railroads are national and each country has its own, so there is a French national railroad, German, etc., and Eurail is a company that sells passes in conjunction with the national rail companies and the term Eurail is a marketing term. Assuming that's the pass meant, I've never heard of a "eurorail" pass.
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 10:21 AM
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My thoughts after 6 trips to Paris:

If you like museums, go to the D'Orsay(the Louvre is to overwhelming--we didn't go until our 3rd visit). Or another really nice small museum is the Carnavelat in the Marais.

If weather allows, take a Seine cruise.

Go to Notre Dame(and St.Chapelle if you have time).

Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night(stunning and the lines are shorter than during the day.

Explore a while on the left bank and I'lle St. Louis(again depending on the weather, after all it will be in Dec.).

If it's really cold and you want to shop, try Gallerias Lafayette---it should be beautiful at Xmas time. Otherwise the shops on the left bank are varied and afodable.The Champs Elysees is huge and not very inviting IMO.

And of course, try some of the wonderful restaurants in this beautiful city.

If you tell us where you will be staying, we can suggest more of an itinerary.

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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 11:13 AM
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If you are going to be there in December, you should try to stop by Le Bon Marche, the Left Bank department store, so that you can look at the Christmas window displays. They are terrific. It would be better to do this on a weekday during the day or late in the evening, so that you can avoid the crowds.
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 11:18 AM
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and to add to frog's suggestion the huge windows at the Galleries Lafayette and neighboring Au Printemps are marvelous as well - re-created fairy tales with moving figures and these attract mammoth crowds - i saw them after Christmas one year a few days.
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Old Oct 31st, 2008, 07:52 AM
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the term Eurail is a marketing term. Assuming that's the pass meant, I've never heard of a "eurorail" pass.>

Christina makes a good point to novice European rail travelers - there are no Eurail trains - you cannot take Eurail to anywhere - but a Eurailpass gives you access to trains in the countries it covers. Many folks seem to misspell eurail Eurorail.
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