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Travel Itinerary - Italy, France, England - Request Input

Travel Itinerary - Italy, France, England - Request Input

Old Feb 15th, 2001, 09:03 AM
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Travel Itinerary - Italy, France, England - Request Input


I am traveling to Europe with my husband and another couple in September. We are flying into London because it is a direct flight from our home city in the US.

We are hoping to see London for a day and 1/2, train to Paris and stay for a couple of days, on to Provence for about 4-5 days, next to Tuscany for about 4-5 days and finally Rome for a few days then home.

Is this too aggressive for a 16 day trip?

Where do you recommend we base ourselves in Provence and Tuscany to experience the regions and do some little day trips?


Do you recommend something else?

We are interested in experiencing the countryside and the people of France & Italy when we are outside of Paris and Rome. My husband has never been to Paris or Rome . Neither of us have been to Tuscany or Provence and our friends have never been to Europe. So... we have varying levels of experience.

Any recommendations would be much appreciated.

Thank you in Advance.
Old Feb 15th, 2001, 09:52 AM
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i dont normally critique anyones itenerary,but,it doesnt sound like there is much interest to see london. a day & 1/2 will be just dealing with jet lag!!!then a full day on the train to paris,plus the extra 185GBP or so per person for the fare. maybe skip london and go directy to paris?
have a great trip.
Old Feb 15th, 2001, 10:12 AM
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I think it is really difficult for anyone to tell you whether that is okay or not as people have entirely different tastes in travel and how long they spend in transit and in one place. You trip sounds like a nightmare to me, but I'm sure others would find it brisk and interesting. It also sounds like a very expensive way to travel to see places for only a day or two. I agree actually with the previous poster, not because I don't like London, I do, but if I were to see London for only about a day after a transatlantic flight it would be pointless, you could not enjoy or see much. If the point of your direct flight was to save time, you are sort of spending hours beyond that time in transit from London to Paris, plus a very expensive train ticket to boot. I would fly to Paris and forget London. Well, you probably had your reasons so I'll just recommend Avignon as your best base city in Provence; you could stay in Aix-en-Provence if you were renting a car, but it's not as convenient for train connections. St-Remy is only okay if you have a car.
Old Feb 15th, 2001, 10:29 AM
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Nicole, it's very easy to overestimate how much one can absorb on a trip, and in the case of Europe it's very tempting to look at a map and say, "Gee, it's only a hundred (or two hundred) miles from X to Y, so why don't we go there, too?"

Of course your itinerary is doable, and you'll have fun doing it. But many experienced travelers would look at it and conclude that your stays in London and Paris will be virtually for naught, since these are big, diverse, complicated cities, each with a lifetime of things to experience, and in a day and a half or two days, especially fighting jet lag, you're likely to find that you're leaving before you've got your bearings, much less have time to see much except maybe a loop on a tour bus or the view from a taxi. And you'll spend a lot of time and money hassling from airport to hotel to train station or back to airport, etc., which, along with sleep and personal care, will really whack your time and energy.

I think many contributors to this forum would suggest that with 16 days you'd be better served by picking one or two areas, say Provence and Tuscany, or just France or just Italy, and spend your time visiting rather than traveling. That would certainly be my suggestion.

A trip format with numerous destinations is well and good if your aim is to get a snapshot view so you can plan a more leisurely return (or, as is often the case, to say, "I don't especially want to go back to X, ever.") But the tone of your posting suggests that you want to experience more than a superficial glimpse of these places, in which case the advice is slow, stop, smell the flowers, or olive oil, as the case may be. Save Paris and London (maybe Rome, too) for times when you can savor these wonderful places.
Old Feb 15th, 2001, 10:52 AM
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I generally agree with the other posters in that you've outlined a pretty busy trip. Either spend more time in London or leave right away for France. When you factor in travel time to your 16 days, you're down to not many days in any of your locations. I would recommend dropping something - but I wouldn't want to suggest which place, as all of them are definitely worth visiting.

Getting from Provence to Tuscany is not easy. If you drive, while parts of the drive are gorgeous, it'll take you about half a day (depending on where you're starting in Provence and where you end up in Tuscany). In addition, you may face a big drop charge; in 1998 we started in Italy, then drove to Provence, we had to pay a HUGE drop charge. (But that may have been only because we were going FROM Italy to France; it may not be the same in the other direction.) If you take a train, it'll take you a long time, because there are no direct trains. We gave up and drove, because the only train we could find (from Italy to Provence) would have had us sit in the Marseille train station for most of the night.

Depending on whether you're city or country-loving people, you might want to skip Provence (this time). While it's wonderful, and scenic, and all that, I think Tuscany is even more beautiful. You still, however, have the issue of getting from Paris to Tuscany (and then on to Rome).

If you go to Provence, I'd also recommend St. Remy. It's the perfect size, an adorable place, and a great market. In Tuscany, I really love San Gimignano. In the evenings, after the tourists have gone, it's almost perfect. But there are lots of other great little hill towns too. If you end up spending more time in Tuscany, spend several days in two different towns (Volterra, Orvieto, Radda in Chianti, Siena, Lucca).

Have fun planning your trip!
Old Feb 15th, 2001, 01:55 PM
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As one of apparently few people who is not as enamored of London as I am of the rest of Europe, and who understands the merits of taking a direct flight, I don't think it's the end of the world if you stay in London for only a day and a half, although 3 would be better. Take a double-decker bus tour of the highlights and head to Paris, if that's your heart's desire. However, I DO fail to understand why anyone would want to go to Paris for only a "couple of days" (unless you've been there a million times before). Paris deserves at least 5 days in my opinion -- and even then, you'll wish you had twice as long! If you spent, say, 2 days in London, and 5 in Paris, that would still leave you 9 days remaining. If you wanted to, you could do 3 somewhere in Provence, 3 in Tuscany, and 3 in Rome -- but I do think that's pushing it, especially since Rome, like Paris, deserves at least 5 days. Here's what I'd do: 3 days London, 5 days Paris, 3 days either Provence or Tuscany (not both), and 5 days Rome. There, that's better.
Old Feb 15th, 2001, 06:00 PM
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I actually think your itinerary is just fine. A short stay of 36-48 hours in London can do wonders for overcoming jet lag. It's not even vaguely a substitute for truly experiencing London (which perhaps takes a lifetime) - - but it's not a crime to see (or show your friends) a few of the highlights there. I would recommend flying to the continent - - to Paris, Brussels or to Italy.

One of the biggest challenges you may face is where in the south of France to base yourselves. I predict that you will eventually "lose" a day - - during one of the longer stays - - to just catching your breath - - enjoying "il dolce far niente" - - but it IS vacation, after all, n'est-ce pas?

Best wishes,


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