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Please help with itinerary for Italy, France and London

Please help with itinerary for Italy, France and London

Old Oct 4th, 2003, 07:40 PM
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Please help with itinerary for Italy, France and London

We are planning on going to Europe for the first time in June and July of 2004--Our children will be 17 & 12--This is what we are thinking--please advise:
Sat.--Arrive Rome A.M.
Sun.--Rome
Mon.--Rome
Tues.--1/2 day Rome--afternoon train to
Florence
Wed.--Florence
Thurs.--Florence
Fri.--Florence--afternoon train to Venice
Sat.--Venice
Sun.--Venice--afternoon to paris--which way is best??
Mon.--Paris
Tues.--Day trip to Normandy
Wed.--paris
Thurs.--Paris
Fri.--Chunnel to London a.m.
Sat.--London
Sun.--London
Mon.--London-- my husband goes home and the children and I stay with Friends thru the weekend
Thank you in advance for your opinions-- I think everyone has such great advice
Thanks again!!



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Old Oct 4th, 2003, 09:04 PM
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I think that's a great itinerary! I think the only change I'd make, and it's only because you're going there for the 1st time is to not make the day trip to Normandy and just stick with Paris or, alternatively, go on that day to somewhere close to Paris, such as Versailles or Giverney. There's really too much for the kids to do in Paris to cut even a day from your schedule.

My husband would always say if you're going first time, start with London, because it gets you over that initial foreign country hurdle without throwing in too much of a language barrier as well.
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Old Oct 5th, 2003, 05:34 AM
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What you propose is pretty good, but ... I would cut out Florence and add the days to Rome and Venice. Also, I second the idea of dropping the Normandy daytrip for more time in Paris or a daytrip closer and easier to Paris.

How will you get to Paris? I assume you will fly as that is a long train ride. If not, can you take a night train? Another reason to reduce a location so you have some flexibility.

Traveling with kids is hectic and stressful. Where posible, I try to keep it simple on logistics and movements. You are traveling for a long time and covering a huge amount of ground. Plan some "downtime" with a relaxed pace and/or sleep in late option.

As you have it now, you are "on the go" at a fast pace with lots of bad drags and runs to the train station. You cram a lot in, but it comes at a cost. Tired, crabby kids can sure take some sparkle out of a European adventure. Help them avoid the potential for such an ugly situation.

Rome, Venice, Paris and London will provide you tons of adventure and plenty of enjoyment. Sometimes more is not better if it all becomes a fuzzy blur.
 
Old Oct 5th, 2003, 05:56 AM
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What a great idea and concept. But the devil is in the details; especially with kids in tow. Kudos for having the courage to attempt such a long trip the first time out.

Keep it simple and focused. I think you are shortchanging yourself with too little time devoted to Rome and Venice. You will be jetlagged and not get much done on arrival day. Same goes to the day you leave for Florence and arrival and departure from Venice.

Experienced folks can maximize a half day in a city, but novices usaully end up hanging around the hotel or train station afraid of missing a connection.

See how Venice is sandwiched in? Each city requires time to get oriented and find the best means of internal transport.

Personally, I'd cut out Florence(save for another trip) to reduce the stress of such a fast pace and so many train rides and hotel check-ins/outs.

If florence was super important to you, you could leave it in, but arrive in London later (dad would have to skip it). He could fly home and you and the kids/friends could tackle it and a daytrip or two. Not a great option, but still an option.

I'd just do Rome, Venice, Paris and London and allow more time to enjoy and explore at a bit slower pace.

 
Old Oct 5th, 2003, 06:05 AM
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Hi kimmi,

Wow - that's a lot of moving around, especially with a 12 year old. It can be done but you will have to be extremely organized in what you are seeing in each location as well as opening times of each site.

Suggest you plan your itinerary for each place then use post it flags on a laminated map (i.e., Streetwise) so you can easily see your route.

Make a check list of all the sights you want to see in each city and see if you can accommodate your schedule as you posted. Be sure to allow down time.

With only 4 days in Paris I'd leave out the day trip to Normandy. Check the distance and you'll see why.

My opinion is to see only one city in Italy plus Paris and London. You have lots of time in London and that's good. You'll get to see and do a lot and not feel rushed.

Trying to cram Rome, Florence, and Venice into a week will probably leave you frustrated at the pace and at the things you won't get to see (or have enough time at each sight).

New cities are always confusing. It usually takes me 2 days to acclimate myself in a city I've never been to before. Add to that confusion the afternoon closings in Italy.

I'd recommend Rome, fly to Paris, and then train to London. I'm saying Rome rather than Florence or Venice because it will offer more diversity and interest for the kids.

One thing you must do in London is the Ceremony of the Keys (search here for info). I'm mentioning this since I loved it and you must apply for tickets several months ahead (especially in July).

Have a fantastic trip,
adrienne
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Old Oct 5th, 2003, 06:33 AM
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Good advice so far. Need to simplify and focus more on fewer cities the first time out.

I'd fly into Venice, train to Rome, then fly to Paris before taking the train to London.

Can you skip London? Maybe not, but if so, then fly into Paris, take overnight train to Venice, and then train to Rome before flying back to the USA.
 
Old Oct 5th, 2003, 09:11 AM
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HI
If I were going to prioritize for myself, I'd reluctantly cut out the Venice or Florence trips, and I am a person who LOVES Venice and loves Florence.

It just adds to the time lost in intercity-travel, wear and tear, and gives you very little time in Rome and Venice. You want to arrive home still thrilled, not glad that the hassle of the trip is over.

From Venice to Paris, please fly if you can. Otherwise do a night train--you won't get a good sleep, but it's different, and takes nothing out of sightseeing time.

And if this is a first trip to Paris, I too would skip the Normandy trip. It barely makes it as a daytrip anyway--more time spent traveling than actually being there. If you must do a day trip from Paris (and I wouldn't with so short a time) then In summer I'd say go to Giverny or Versailles.
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Old Oct 5th, 2003, 09:12 AM
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I meant to add, I don't disagree either with the suggestion that you stick to
a trio of London, Paris, and one city in Italy, in which case Venice makes sense because it is northerly.
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Old Oct 5th, 2003, 10:30 AM
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On the issue others have brought up about the rush rush nature and kids, considering their age, I really don't think that's pushing it. It might be different if they were younger and unable to carry their own luggage, but at those ages, it's rather exciting (and less boring) to getting a brief taste of different cities, sights, and cultures. There are so many kids that age or a little older that get their first time away from their parents taking "If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium" type of tours, and it seems to work for them.
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Old Oct 5th, 2003, 12:58 PM
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Too many cities and too much ground covered. Cut out Florence.

Fly to Venice, train to Rome, then fly to Paris before taking a train to London.

Get the kids involved with planning the trip and selecting places to see and things to do. Time will go quick when you have that many major cities and those few days.

Need to slow the pace down and give yourself some extra time to relax and soak in the varied experiences. Making it too stressful will take the joy out of the entire trip.
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Old Oct 5th, 2003, 03:54 PM
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Thanks everyone--I will put together another itinerary--I am a planner but really don't want to over schedule the family with lists and lists of things to see and do--I appreciate your suggestions - give me a few days and I will get back to you!!
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Old Oct 6th, 2003, 01:13 AM
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kimmi, do a text search for a thread that had some great ideas about travel planning

I think it was: Confessions of a conflicted travel planner

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Old Oct 6th, 2003, 03:31 AM
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Something to keep in mind as you regroup, Kimmi, Venice is much more crowded on the weekends. If you can manage it, I'd try to be there during the week.
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