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Seeking advice on France, Germany, and London Trip

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Jun 14th, 2016, 12:01 PM
  #1
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Seeking advice on France, Germany, and London Trip

Wondering if anyone has any advice on planning for a trip in late November/Early December trip to France, Germany, and London. We would have about 11 - 12 days.

My husband and I would like to fly out of London home, as we have family there, but are looking to see Paris in particular, and Germany before that. I'd really like to see some Christmas markets in Germany.

Any advice on how long to spend and travel between the countries (fly, train) would be helpful!

Thanks!!!
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Jun 14th, 2016, 12:30 PM
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Trains for that itinerary are fine -

1-Land in Frankfurt
2-Visit Christmas Markets (Frankfurt has a grand one)
3-Frankfurt area

4- High-speed train to Paris
5- Paris
6- Paris
7- Paris
8- Eurostar train to London in a few hours, gain an hour on the clock when entering UK
9- London
10- London
11- London

That's about the only way possible to hit 3 countries.

For train info booking way WAY in advance can get deep discounted tickets - www.bahn.de/en for Germany to Paris trains
www.eurostar.com for Paris to London under the Channel by tunnel trains. For general info on trains like 1st vs 2nd class, etc check www.seat61.com (great advice on discounted tickets); www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Jun 14th, 2016, 12:44 PM
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Buy multi-destination or multi-city tickets (not two one-way), into a city in Germany. Train or fly to Paris, train to London. Home from London.

Check opening dates of Christmas markets because you might need to reverse the trip, starting in London and ending in Germany. If Christmas markets are the important thing, research for the best ones and focus on those for two or three days. Not in Germany, but there is a huge Christmas market in Brussels, so close, easy train trip from Paris. Google some images.

Is 11-12 days your total for trip or days on the ground? If it is total, take away day coming and going and at least 1/2 day for each change of locations. Your arrival day will be only part of a day and probably jet lagged. If you have 11-12 days total, you are left with 7-9 possible days for sightseeing. How many do you want in London with family? I suggest at least 4 days (5 nights) in Paris.

If you have only 7 days, Paris and London will take pretty much the whole time. Both will be beautiful at Christmas.

With 8-9 days, you could add one place in Germany or another place with a great Christmas market. Consider Munich or forget Germany and do Brussels with day trip to Bruges, which should also be beautiful at Christmas.
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Jun 14th, 2016, 01:12 PM
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As PalenQ says, Frankfurt does have a nice Christmas market, often with musical performances at night.

Frankfurt is also an easy airport to fly into and it is a 15 to 20 minute train ride from the airport right to the city center. It is an easy train trip from Frankfurt to Paris.

Logistically, he has given you a great plan.
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Jun 14th, 2016, 01:26 PM
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Paris also has some famous Christmas Markets:

http://www.xmas-markets.org/paris-christmas-markets/

This site also lists German Christmas markets - search for towns near Frankfurt and try to stay in a smaller more romantic town than Frankfurt - Heidelberg is a large city but was not largely destroyed in WW2 as many cities were - Mainz could be good too or even smaller Speyer is a fine Rhine-side town.
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Jun 14th, 2016, 02:08 PM
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if you have 11 or 12 days for this trip -- London and Paris is about it.

worst case . . . you only have 11 days that = 8.5 days on the ground. first half day will likely be jet lagged. So 8 truly usable days. Half a day traveling between London and Paris so you will have a grand total of 4 days in one city and 3.5 in the other.

W/ 12 days total =9.5 days - minus the jet lag and intercity travel you'd have 4.5 and 4 days each
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Jun 14th, 2016, 03:18 PM
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I agree with janis - I was outlining a possible scenario that if you really wanted to it could be done - all three countries but yes a bit too rushed.

Fly into Paris perhaps and out of London - Parisian Christmas Markets are not like German ones but pretty close - be sure to check out the department store windows at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps - really nice Christmas decor:

https://www.google.com/search?q=gale...HQHRC8MQsAQIHg
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Jun 15th, 2016, 12:12 AM
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I doubt that PalenQ has been to the Parisian Christmas markets in a long time - if ever.

The Christmas markets in Paris are really nothing to get excited about. Little white chalets lining the Champs-Elysees and elsewhere in the city are all selling the same pricey tourist tat imported from Asia. The only reason people still go to these markets is to drink hot mulled wine and eat overpriced doughnuts. Then they wonder why they even bothered doing that.

Wandering around the city, looking at store displays and Christmas lights is nice - especially in the expensive shopping districts in blvd Haussmann, rue du Faubourg Saint Honore and the luxury hotels. Go into one of the hotel bars and indulge yourself.

Better you should go to the Christmas markets in Strasbourg, where they really know what they're doing.
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Jun 15th, 2016, 03:18 AM
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Better you should go to the Christmas markets in Strasbourg, where they really know what they're doing.

OR

Head a bit father up North into Germany where it's done right.
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Jun 15th, 2016, 02:30 PM
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I doubt that PalenQ has been to the Parisian Christmas markets in a long time - if ever.>

Well I have indeed been and yes they are not comparable to a German market though the one at La Defense was better than some German markets I've been too. Yes they are different because of local tastes and stuff but I think the idea of the German Christmas Market, based on several I saw about a decade ago, is more hyped than what you will find. They're nice but to spend a few days on a limited time trip just going to Germany to see them IMO is flawed.

Here is one person that found German Xmas markets nice but not as awesome as I expected. Mainly locals hanging around drinking after getting off work it seemed at some, like the one in Darmstadt I passed by several nights going to my ETAP Hotel.

I doubt if Fuzzbucket has been to the La Defense market to diss it like he/she does. That market again rivals many German markets I've seen - not the major ones but the regular type ones.

I'm not sure Fuzz has been to many German Xmas markets if any.
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Jun 15th, 2016, 02:31 PM
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https://www.google.com/search?q=la+d...HT8gA_cQsAQIGw

La Defense Christmas Market.
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Jun 15th, 2016, 02:38 PM
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PalenQ, those pics of the Paris, La Defense Christmas Market are fabulous. Actually make me want to go, and generally, I do not like Christmas markets.
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Jun 16th, 2016, 09:17 AM
  #13
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Thanks everyone, this is really helpful!!!!
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Jun 16th, 2016, 10:27 AM
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Have to agree on the market at La Défense being much nicer than the one on the Champs-Elysées. La Défense is pedestrian-only, while you have to watch out for traffic and very uneven temporary platforms along the C-E. The smaller markets scattered around Paris are usually a bit easier to navigate than C-E, but you'll see generally the same stuff at all of them.

Strasbourg and Colmar have very nice markets, as does Basel. We haven't yet hit any of the big-city ones in Germany (maybe this year), but have done a couple of little-town ones that were within a stop or two from Strasbourg. They were mostly closeout merchandise from local retailers, plus some food and drink.
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Jun 16th, 2016, 11:56 AM
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Well since it is a contest let us go.
I have been to the Xmas markets in la defense on les champs in Alsace Strasbourg and Riquewihr in Aachen Koeln Frankfurt Dresden and in Grand Case.
Fuzz is right imho. La defense market is without any interest les champs is hardly better.
I loved the one in Aachen and I loved the one in Riga.
But each to his own I heard there is one in Charleroi. I should try it.
PQ you are in shape these days ;-)
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Jun 17th, 2016, 01:59 AM
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It is quite easy:

First, fly into a German city that is close to France and has good train connections to Paris:

Cologne
Düsseldorf
Frankfurt

NOT: München, Berlin, Dresden

Second, select a city with a Christmas market and some other attractions, e.g. Cologne, Aachen, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf.

Third, forget the usual remarkt "the BEST Christmas market". EVERY German city has an excellent Christmas market. Cologne alone has no less than 13 of them.

Aachen is especially recommendable, because the Christmas market is within a fine historic setting, with a medieval City Hall and the gorgeous Cathedral dating from 800 A.D.

BTW, there is a direct train from Aachen to Paris that takes 2:41. You can take that train and stop in Brussels for 3 or 4 hours and see the Grand Place.
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Jun 17th, 2016, 11:08 AM
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Whatgoodbye:

How about Christmas Markets in Belgium- Brussels? Curious.
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Jun 17th, 2016, 05:34 PM
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If you really want to go to German and just see one town and one market traveler1959 has a great idea - don't be choosy - all German Christmas markets are fun!
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