Seeing Europe Without the Crowds?

Old Oct 18th, 2007, 07:55 PM
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France sounds like a good idea--it offers just about everything that you could be looking for in Europe. But, I also agree with Ira--it would be a shame to go to France and totally miss Paris.

I say split your stay up 3 ways--Paris and two other French locales, one, or both of which, would serve as a base for exploration of the surrounding area by car.
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Old Oct 19th, 2007, 01:17 AM
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Just to say that autumn in North Europe can be grey, wet and depressing - even if they do speak English !

Head South ?


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Old Oct 19th, 2007, 08:48 AM
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Congratulations - lots of fun!
First thing - whatever country/countries you choose to visit you will not have made the wrong decision! "For the experience itself" is I think the best way to approach it! For our family trip to France coming up in June, I read lots of books, read lots of posts, made lots of lists, and stuck thumbtacks in maps. When I found an area that I could 'plan' 10 very different interesting days, then it was on my short list of places to stay. Even if we don't end up doing any of those 10 days, I wanted to pick an area for potential, and then let things unfold however they do... If it were me, I would maybe start my research looking at 'border areas' where you could do a day trip or transition somewhere else if you wanted (like South west France where you could daytrip or overnight to Spain). The places I remember from any trips, especially Europe, are places I stayed for more then a night, and the things I remember are the ones I discovered, rather then the ones I sought out.

Budget wise, so much depends on the type of travel you want to do. It sounds like you want to get the feel of a place, so I would pick two bases (as others have suggested) that are different from each other, and find a cottage, house, gite week long rental (super fun surfing the net for that!) in each.

Our family trip to France this summer (2 adults 2 kids) is 3 weeks include 1 week in Paris and has a $10-11K budget (Canadian). This includes staying in 3 different house or apartment rentals (Paris, Dordogne, Mediterranian) with a couple of hotel nights in transition. The budget doesn't include groceries and gas - in a personal accounting loophole we are applying our normal grocery and gas for commuting budgets to that. It also doesn't include shopping for souvenirs or stuff. The budget assumes we are spending money on some sort of attraction or event most days, and that we will eat out more than usual, but will cook dinner for ourselves more then we will eat it out.
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Old Oct 19th, 2007, 10:32 AM
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Definitely go "off season" (whatever that is for your destination). Last year, a plane ticket for our mid-March trip to Barcelona was $624. When I priced tickets for multiple western European destinations for July, the tickets were in the $1400 range.

Years ago we took a late February trip to Bavaria....the Black Forest and Neuschwanstein in the snow...with no crowds...delighful!
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Old Oct 19th, 2007, 04:37 PM
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I agree with the find the off season for your destination = no to fewer crowds & cheaper lodging & cooler weather for walking, hiking, biking, touring, etc.

Have fun, Julie
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