Train or Plane from FR to IT

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Feb 12th, 2018, 04:27 PM
  #1
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Train or Plane from FR to IT

I'm visiting Italy in May. I fly in/out of Paris, will spend a couple of days there and then on to two weeks in Italy. I'm thinking I'll start out with several days in Lake Como and am wondering what the best way is to get from Paris to Lake Como. I could take the train, which I'm sure is beautiful, or a short flight which would be quick. I know that either would be to Milan and I'd get to Lake Como separately by train. I'm looking for advice on getting from Paris to Milan and then any thoughts on trains from Milan to Lake Como. Thanks everyone.
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Feb 12th, 2018, 05:31 PM
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Why fly into Paris, why not into Milan?
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Feb 12th, 2018, 08:03 PM
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If you're going to fly, consider doing it the day you arrive in Paris. Book your own connecting flight same day to Milan. Then you won't split your time in Paris, and you won't have to deal with an extra airport day (perhaps CDG both days instead of just one). Visit Paris at the end.

If you want more info on the train, visit Seat61.com and find the section on the train route you would take. Also www.bahn.com to find the likely train schedule and routing.
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Feb 13th, 2018, 03:44 AM
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Sassafrass - since the OP plans to spend a couple of days in Paris there is obviously a reason for flying in and out of Paris.

I would recommend flying to Milan rather than train. There is a night train - https://www.thello.com/en/ - but what do you see? The only advantage is travelling by night gives you almost an additional day of sightseeing. Travelling by train during the day is possible by TGV but takes just over 7 hours - see SNCF_ITALIE_FR.pdf. It avoids Switzerland and the route from Geneva to Milan via Lake Geneva, the Simplon and down to Milan which is very scenic.

For trains from Milan to Lake Como it all depends upon where on Lake Como you want to be based which in turn can depend upon what your interests might be. Would this also include a night in Milan - May is a very pleasant month to visit this great city.
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Feb 13th, 2018, 05:42 AM
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Paris to Milan by TGV train starts at €29 in 2nd class or €44 in 1st class booked at www.loco2.com - there are 3 per day, at 06:30, 10:41, 14:41. Change in Milan for frequent regional trains to Como.

Flying will take 4-5 hours to Milan a relay race of RER train, airport, flight, airport, train, then train to Como, so doesn;t save as much time as you think. The train is central Paris to central Milan, while you chill through the Alps with a glass or two of wine.

Top tip, how about lunch at the Train Bleu restaurant at the Gare de Lyon before taking the 14:41? www.le-train-bleu.com

See https://www.seat61.com/Paris-to-Milan-by-TGV-train.htm for timetable, fares, photos, video and tips.
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Feb 13th, 2018, 08:17 AM
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If it were me, I'd be doing what Man In Seat 61 suggests, but I loooove trains and have had my fill of air journeys for the moment.
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Feb 13th, 2018, 08:22 AM
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I tend to agree with the train BUT in all fairness you COULD take a taxi to the Paris airport and then again from whichever airport you use in Milan (and don't forget, Linate is a LOT closer to the train station than is Malpensa) altho using the Malpensa Express train is cheaper than using a cab, You might want to look at budget flights from Paris to Linate or MXP by going to Cheap Flights with low cost, charter and other airlines: find cheap air tickets

Trains from Milano Centrale to the mid-lake region of Lake Como stop at Varenna-Esino and are regional services so no need to reserve ahead. They run about every two hours and the trip takes about 1.5 hours. They are run by Trenord Trenord - Home
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Feb 13th, 2018, 10:13 AM
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May may not be optimal time for Lake Como for several days - weather can be poor or nice. But in any case several days is a long time for Lake Como IME, especially during odff-season there.

How about taking train Paris to Interlaken and spending a few days in Switzerland's awesome Alps and a few days in or rather on Lake Como.

day trains from Paris to Milan via Lyon are not that scenic even when go thru Alps - Switzerland route much more so.

Anyway like Man in Seat 61 says book trains early to get those limited in number discounted tickets - www.oui.sncf for France; Acquista il biglietto con le nostre offerte - Trenitalia for Italy. Man in Seat 61's commercial site www.seat61.com has lots of didactic info on doing that - general train info www.ricksteves.com and BETS-European Rail Experts.
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Feb 13th, 2018, 01:19 PM
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2 train lines Milan Centrale to Lake Como - one goes with Trenitalia trains to the main station in Como - S Giovanni - about a mile or so from boat docks but with direct buses to Bellagio. The other Dukey mentioned is a regional railway that goes to Varenna-Esino with boats to Bellagio.
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Feb 13th, 2018, 04:53 PM
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"The other Dukey mentioned is a regional railway that goes to Varenna-Esino with boats to Bellagio."

The "regional railway" is called Trenord, and besides Varenna-Esino it also serves the Como Nord Lago station which is closer to the ferry dock than Como S. Giovanni. You can search all of the options from Milan to Lake Como at Trenitalia - Homepage English - Trenitalia.

IMO, if you're interested in gardens, May is a terrific month to visit Lake Como. The azaleas and rhododendrons will probably be in bloom. Depending on the weather and when in May, perhaps camellias, magnolia and wisteria will still be blooming. I don't think May is considered off-season.
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Feb 13th, 2018, 10:38 PM
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As a resident of Como I would agree with Jean. Note that the train to Como Nord Lago leaves from the Milano Cadorna station.

PalenQ - rainfall in Interlaken is about the same as in Como during May but average temperatures in Como are about 4 to 5 degrees C higher.
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Feb 14th, 2018, 06:19 AM
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As a resident of Como you must lament the fact that nearly all Lake Como tourists who trek thru Como never bother to look it over -I stayed in Como and found it to be a really nice old town - give it a few hours at least.
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Feb 14th, 2018, 09:22 AM
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PARIS - COMO BY TRAIN:
Paris dp 7.15 - Como ar 14.55, change at Basel
Paris dp 10.15 - Como ar 17.55, change at Zurich
Paris dp 10.41 - Como ar 19.07, change at Milano PG
Paris dp 11.45 - Como ar 20.17, change at Zurich adn Lugano
Paris dp 14.41 - Como ar 23.07, change at Milano PG (train suggested by man in seat 61)
Paris dp 16.01 - Chiasso (Como) ar 23.45, change at Zurich; taxi to Como city center (a few miles) or arrival by bus at 0.30

PARIS - COMO BY PLANE:
sleeep at airport, CDG dp 7.00 - Lugano ar 10.00, change at ZRH
Lugano dp by train 10.34 - Como ar 11.18
Paris city center dp around 8.00 - ORY dp 11.05 - Linate ar 12.25, dp by bus 13.15 - Milano Centrale 13.40/14.10 Como ar 14.47
tons of similar connections

Last edited by neckervd; Feb 14th, 2018 at 09:24 AM.
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Feb 14th, 2018, 09:26 AM
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As much as I love trains flyin makes sense there though the train ride cuts thru the heart of Switzerland and is really scenic - more so than slower route via Paris-Milan.
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Feb 14th, 2018, 09:41 AM
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neckervd - you list two trains which involve a change at Milano Porta Garibaldi. These trains are the French TGV which actually ends its journey at Milano Centrale a few minutes later. I would recommend going onto Centrale for two reasons. Centrale offers Tilo trains or Eurocity trains to Como which are far more comfortable than the trains from Porta Garibaldi. Also the trains at Centrale are all on the same level which makes changing far easier than at Porta Garibaldi which is a confusing station and will involve negotiating stairs.
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Feb 16th, 2018, 07:29 AM
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With no train change at Milano PG and with TILO trains only between Milano C and Como SG, you would arrive at Como at 19.47 (instead of 19.07) resp at 7.48 (instead of 23.07 the evening before).
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Feb 16th, 2018, 08:30 AM
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If you can't decide, fly one way and train the other.

It's a day of travel no matter what.
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Feb 16th, 2018, 08:59 AM
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neckervd - looking at the train listings again the best train combinations are the first two you listed. The one recemmended by seat 61 is probably the worst.
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Feb 16th, 2018, 11:37 AM
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And, there is an overnight train - Thello ? Trains France-Italie - site officiel but get into Milan rather early.
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Feb 17th, 2018, 03:05 AM
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" neckervd - looking at the train listings again the best train combinations are the first two you listed. The one recemmended by seat 61 is probably the worst"

If I would have to do this trip, I would just choose the train recommended by man in seat 61
or may the train Paris dp 16.23 - Zug ar 21.00 (change at Zurich), sleep there and go on the following morning at 7.31 (Como ar 9.55)
In this way, you can spend the whole morning or even a part of the afternoon in Paris.

With all other solutions, you waste a whole day.

The overnight train mentioned by Palen could be a good solution too:
Paris dp 19.10 - Como ar 7.47, change at Milano C (arrival at 6am)
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