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Sept trip to Paris/Switzerland, itinerary help!

Sept trip to Paris/Switzerland, itinerary help!

Feb 12th, 2002, 09:40 AM
  #1  
trish
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Sept trip to Paris/Switzerland, itinerary help!

: Hi,
My husband and I are planning a trip to Paris and Switzerland in September.
We have never been to either country, and would like some suggestions on a possible itinerary. As we will have 8 days/8 nights, we were thinking 3 days in Paris, 4 days/5nights in Switzerland.
Any suggestions?
Thanks!
 
Feb 12th, 2002, 10:15 AM
  #2  
Beth
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I would suggest reversing the number of days/nights in each location. Spend 4 days/5 nights in Paris -- especially since it's your first time there. Take the TGV to Bern, Switzerland, and go up into the Berner Oberland, which is beautiful. I would guess that the weather in September is still OK in the mountains for walking, etc.

 
Feb 12th, 2002, 01:58 PM
  #3  
richard j vicek
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Good evening, Trish
Have to agree with Beth, with four days
in CH would also choose the Berneroberland, there is really an awful
lot to see in do and four days would
just be about right, for your first time. Richard of Lagrange Park, Il..
 
Feb 12th, 2002, 08:08 PM
  #4  
Bob Brown
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The Berner Oberland are a great combination of places to visit, and regardless of what you do, you will be the winner.
Let me make one suggestion quickly before I put in my judmental opinion.
Fairly soon, even though it is early, pick your hotel in Paris and decided on your dates. Then negotiate for reservations. Most of the hotels in Paris have someone on the staff during the normal work week who can speak English.

I suggest moving on your hotel fairly soon because September in Paris is a busy month with the city coming back to life after summer vacations. The better hotels tend to fill up relatively quickly.

I think the amount of time you spend in either place depends on which aspect of your trip you want to emphasize.
For example my ratio of time in Switzerland to time in Paris is a function of my preference for mountains.
If you asked me this question:
Where had you rather be on a clear day, Paris or the Berner Oberland? The answer is the Berner Oberland with no hesitation.
As a result I think I would bias my trip as you have indicated in yur initial posting.

On the other hand,if the attraction of the world's great art museums, the history of France, and the sights and sounds of one of the truly unique cities in all of the world appeals to you more, then you reverse the time allocation.

I know a logical follow-on question you might put to me is: "Have you been to Paris and Switzerland on the same trip?" The answer is yes; twice, with a 3rd one planned for September 2002.
And it will be my 4th visit to the Berner Oberland.

If you are in the Wengen - Mürren - Lauterbrunnen - Grindelwald area for 4 full days, you can see quite a bit.

Three days in Paris will push you to the limit of your stamina if you go at it like I did when I returned in 1999 after an absence of 40 years.
For Paris I think four activities on your part are vital to having a good visit:
A. Study guide books and read what this forum has to offer about Paris, and constructed your own list of what you want to see. I would group my objectives by location in Paris and by the objectives' importance to me as something to see and/or visit.

B. Study a map of Paris so that you are able to glance at it on the streets of Paris and orient yourself as to where you are and where you want to next.

C. Look at maps of the bus routes and the Metro Lines. You can find maps of the bus system, Metro, and RER at this web location: http://www.paris.org/Metro/

D. Make a working list of places you think you might like to eat and find out if reservations are essential or not.

I would like to emphasize that it is your trip and that you should be the one to set the agenda. Get all the input you can, but remember, most people will give you their value judgments as if they were the gospel.

I an happy to discuss with you my experiences if you care to email me directly. I don't know it all about those regions, but I have had loads of fun in both places. And, I look forward to September.
 
Feb 12th, 2002, 08:19 PM
  #5  
Bob Brown
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OOPS that was supposed to read Paris and the Berner Oberland are a great combination ....
Something ate part of the first sentence.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 05:50 AM
  #6  
trish
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions!!!
Although this is our first time to France and Switzerland, we are assuming it won't be our last, so we aren't going to go crazy trying to see a million things.
We are pretty set on 3 nights in Paris and 5 nights in Switzerland, and we are also pretty sure the Berner Oberland is where we'll stay.
We are thinking of making Interlaken our base for those 5 days, to give us the most flexibility for excursions.
I know most people prefer Wengen or Murren for the scenery, but it seems like Interlaken offers more ease in getting to other places for the day.
What do you think?

Thanks again for all your help and thoughtful responses!!!
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 06:19 AM
  #7  
Ursula
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trish hello: I tend to recommend Interlaken. You can daytrip from there. If the weather should not be terrific, which can be the case in September, you are really stuck in Grindelwald, Wengen and Muerren.
From Interlaken, you can still go to Thun or even Berne for the day and discover the lovely arcardes and the Museum of Fine Arts in the latter.
Bad weather in the Alps is really not fun at all and it can be pretty cold and miserable. Let's hope for the best. But you never know with the weather. Right now, we have had spring temperatures for some days and it's only mid-February. It might change tomorrow though.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 11:45 AM
  #8  
Bob Brown
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I agree with Ursula on the "in and out and about" angle concerning your stay in the Berner Oberland. If you have rain, you will want a car for mobility.
One rainy day in 1999, we just "headed out" and arrived in a village named Afolten where there is a cheese factory. We got there for the climax of a cow judging contest. The best milk cows from a large of area of Switzerland were there. We were spectators when the judges awarded those huge bells and floral decorations that the cows wear.
Then we took off across country to Sarnen on a road that was so remote we had to wait for a logging operation to finish loading the truck. From Sarnen we returned to Lauterbrunnen via the Brunig Pass. (Brünig ?? )

Another good trip is to visit Luzern.
With a car, you can stay longer in the day, because you are not tied to the train schedule, and visit several places. We enjoyed the transportation museum because it is very well done.

Lausanne is a pretty city, too, but the fastest driving route is roundabout, and the most direct route via Gstaad is slow.

My personal choice is to stay in Lauterbrunnen. If the weather is good, connections to Grindelwald, Wengen, the Jungfraujoch, Mürren, and Interlaken are very easy. If the weather is lousy, it is just a short drive north to the main east west route out of Interlaken.
(You don't drive very far south out of Lauterbrunnen!!) Of course, Trümmelbachfälle (literally drum creek falls) are interesting and a cloudy day is a good time to visit them because they are so deeply recessed in the mountain that sunlight does not penetrate very much anyhow. The falls are lighted and there is an elevator.
I disagree vigorously with the assertion that the falls are NOT worth the admission. (There is a posting on the web that says the admission price is a waste of money.)
The falls drain the meltwater released by the glaciers that spawn on the north slopes of the Jungfrau and the Mönch.
The hotter the day, the more the falls thunder.

If the weather is cloudy, but not actually raining, or even raining lightly, a walk into the deeply recessed cirque known as the Kilchbalm is most interesting. The trail follows a farm road for most of the way. Naturally, hikers are expected to close the gates.
The "Kilch" itself is the glacial basin that nestles against sheer mountain walls streaming with waterfalls that are fed by melt water from pocket glaciers high up on the cliffs. The day we were there, cows were everywhere, contendedly grazing and chewing.

The trail, which is fairly flat, originates in Grimmelwald, close to the Luftseilbahn station.
(Gimmelwald is a small alpine hamlet perched well above the floor of the Lauterbrunnen Valley.)
I think you will enjoy your trip.
If you buy the Berner Oberland Regional Transportation Pass, you will almost reach the break-even point with the 3 most expensive rides in the area, which includes the train ride to the Jungfraujoch. The last stage of the Jungfrau trip is never free, even on the so-called "free days" included in the price of the pass; the best you do on the last leg is 50% off.
The last stage of the Schilthorn trip is also never free; at best 50% off of the last section from Mürren.

If you get a clear day, ride up from Grindelwald to the station named First.
I do suggest that you glue your eyes in to keep the from popping out! The scenery is that spectacular.
I will be there in September and I will soon start counting the days.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 12:13 PM
  #9  
ingo
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I just want to add that the Jungfraubahnenpass is cheaper than the Berner Oberland Pass. It covers most of the railways and cable cars south of Interlaken (Jungfrau region) - not in the rest of Berner Oberland. It is valid 5 consecutive days. You should buy this if the weather is fine.

Ingo
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 12:25 PM
  #10  
kelly
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I have to disagree with spending the whole 5 days in Interlaken... I do understand the reasoning as yes the weather can be unpredictable (I was there in Sept and it was fantastic, but you can't count on that) but there is nothing like being way up in the mountains and sitting on your balcony and staring out into the mountains. I was so impressed by Murren, and I had no idea I would be. Maybe you can at least spend a couple days there, I know its an extra hassle to change hotels but you would go up into the mountains at least one day right? When I was there in Sept, Murren was practically deserted, we didn't have any reservations and easily found a place to stay. Maybe you could start out in Interlaken with flexible reservations and if you choose go up to Murren? Just a thought...
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 03:03 PM
  #11  
Bob Brown
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The Jungfraubahnenb Pass costs 140 chf (Swiss francs) and is good for 5 consecutive days as stated above.
The Berner Oberland regional pass is 180 chf for 7 days with 3 free days included. (Based on the most recent pricing information I have seen.)
On both passes, the last section of the Jungfrau trip from Kleine Scheidegg to the Sphinx building is sold at 50% off the full price. It is not fully included in the cost of either pass.

I am not, however, convinced that the Jungfraubahnen Pass is actually cheaper than the Regional Pass when you analyze the full picture because the Jungfraubahnen Pass covers a much, much smaller area than the Regional Pass.

Moreover, one excursion in the immediate area around Lauterbrunnen and Mürren that is well worth the time, cost, and effort is the trip to the top of the Schilthorn.
With present information I do not believe that any of this trip is covered in the Jungfraubahnen Pass.
I have seen nothing to indicate that it is and, by implication, by not being included with other excursions, I infer that it is NOT.

With the regional pass, the trip to Mürren is fully included on a free day, and on any day the section of the Schilthorn trip via Luftseilbahn from Mürren to the Piz Gloria Restaurant is half of the normal full price. At the moment, I think the old adage of "You get what you pay for." certainly applies here.

I also know that spending even 5 days in the Berner Oberland Region is not enough for some people. I will be spending my 4th week there later this year, and there are still a few places in the area I have not yet visited. I think we should recognize that what we give here is a personal opinion that is not shared by everyone.
Unfortunately the tone of this forum has become such that if someone does not agree with someone else, the "other" person is somehow deficient intellectually and emotionally.
 
Feb 14th, 2002, 12:32 AM
  #12  
Ingo
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Bob, I always appreciate your contributions, no matter if you agree or disagree.

It was just an idea. I did not calculate the fares. But I am still not convinced that the BO Pass is cheaper. You have to consider that it gives only 3 days free access. Of course, it depends on which excursions you intend to do. BTW, the fares are a little higher in 2002.

I recommend to do the cog-wheel train ride to Schynige Platte - maybe add a hiking tour or just visit the Alpine Botanic garden.

I second Bob's recommendation to go up to First by gondola from Grindelwald. Add the walking/hiking to Lake Bachalpsee or, even better, up to the Faulhorn mountain.

I suggest to go to either Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn. For the first trip I'd prefer Jungfraujoch. The view of the Aletsch glacier is of an arctic dimension. Walk across the glacier to the "Moenchsjochhuette" hut.

On a more cloudy day pay a visit to Muerren via Lauterbrunnen-Gruetschalp (funicular) - train to Muerren. Hike/walk down via Gimmelwald to Stechelberg. Visit the Truemmelbach waterfalls on your way back to Lauterbrunnen. IMO there is not enough time to go up to the Schilthorn mountain.

If you have a fifth day (although I guess you have only 5 nights/4 full days) visit the beautiful old town Thun with its castle and maybe castle Oberhofen. You can go there by boat, bus or train.

Here is my calculation in Sfr.:
JBPass 165 BO Pass 195
Interlaken-Schynige Platte free free
Interlaken-First free free
Interlaken-Jungfraujoch 44,50 44,50
(free to Kl. Scheidegg)
Interlaken-Muerren free 21,80

Ingo
(back from Lauterbrunnen)
 
Feb 14th, 2002, 12:34 AM
  #13  
Ingo
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Alas! The spaces and tabs from the calculation vanished!

I hope you can recognize it anyway. The first price is with JBPass, the second with BO Pass.

I.
 
Feb 14th, 2002, 08:15 AM
  #14  
Bob Brown
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Right from the horses mouth, the price of the Jungfraubahnnen Pass is 165 Swiss Francs. (Courtesy of Elisabeth Züllig at jungfrau.ch)
If you hold a Swiss national rail pass, the Jungfraubahnnen Pass is 120 Swiss Francs.

The 7 day, second class, version of the Berner Oberland Regional Pass is now 195 chf, or 130 euros alternative pricing. You get 3 days of free use, with two exceptions, and 4 days at mostly 50% off of other rides. At current pricing, the Berner Pass is now 30 chf more than the Jungfraubahn pass.

Ms. Züllig kindly included a list of where the pass is valid. The Schilthorn trip was NOT listed as being discounted at all to holders of the Jungfraubahnnen Pass.

The Berner Oberland Pass covers a much wider area compared to the Jungfraubahnnen Pass but, as Ingo pointed out, it includes only 3 free days versus 5 for the Jungfraubahnnen Pass, and the initial purchase price of the Berner Pass is higher.

The decision all depends on where you are going and how long you are going to be there. I do not believe you can pick one of the passes for maximum cost benefit unless you are able to predict exactly which of the many excursions you will take. There are too many variables and conditions for precise forecasting.

If you rode the cable car Grindelwald to First and back, took the Jungfraujoch trip, from Interlaken Ost, and rode the gondola from Grindelwald Grund to the Männlichen Ridge and back, I think you have just about hit the break-even point on the Jungfraubahnnen Pass. I figured in 2000 that if I took the four most expensive rides on the Berner Pass schedule, I would break even.

After my travel mate and I bought our Berner Regional Passes in the summer of 2000, we spent 3 days like kids at Six Flags riding everything public I could find that had wheels and moved. We even took the bus to Isenfluh and found a small Luftseilbahn up there I did not know existed until I got there and saw it.
We also found an American Indian or native American style tepee at Kleine Scheidegg that was green and white. I am sure it would have pleased my Ann Arbor - Michigan friends. (Not quite in the same league as the big guy I saw in London at the Earl's Court tube station wearing a green and white sweat shirt that said University of Michigan. Obviously a fake.)

There was no sign of Sitting Bull, Cochise, Geronimo, or Crazy Horse near the train station.
 
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