Travel itinerary - Switzerland/France

Old Jul 11th, 2000, 10:40 AM
  #1  
Sara
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Travel itinerary - Switzerland/France

I would appreciate receiving some advice pertaining to the following itinerary we have planned for the end of July.
We will be travelling through Belgium and Germany with a children's choir, before taking off on our own at Munich. We have the Europass.
I will print the itinerary that we will be following : Depart Munich 12:14 - arrive Zurich 16:27. DO YOU HAVE TO RESERVE SEATS ON THE EC - we have had conflicting advice on this? Do we have our pass stamped by the stationmaster at each station? Also, is the train station far from Marienplatz - could we walk or take a taxi?
Same day: Depart Zurich 17:01 - arrive Lucerne 17:49; Depart Lucerne 18:34 - arrive Interlake Ost 20:31. Does anyone know how far from the station Hotel Alpina is? Could we walk there? (We are seniors - 60 and 61)
We will stay several days in this area, spending one day in Lucerne.
From the Interlaken area, we will journey on to the Locarno - Lugano region, spend some time there and then on to Nice, France for six days. We will take the TGV (reserved) from Nice to Paris Gare Lyon (is that in SE Paris?) arriving at 19:22. We will have approx. three hours before catching the sleeper for Frankfurt at 22:58. (Our flight leaves Frankfurt the next day- late morning) Questions:
Is there rail service to Paris Est Station or should we plan on a taxi? We would like to store our luggage in a locker and then take a cab to the Arc de Triomphe. From there we would walk down the Champs Elysees to the Grand Palais. From there, we will take a taxi back to Paris Est Station. Should we limit our sight-seeing to two/two and a half hours. We can't miss our train!
Does this all sound reasonable? Could we ask the driver to drive along Rue la Fayette/Blvd Haussman to the Arc de T. and what would be the approx. cost? Also, could we ask the driver to take us SE along the Seine to Blvd.Sebastopol/de Strasbourg to Paris Est station? We would like to see these areas, but also, we have been told the driver will take the longest route possible to get us to the station.
I know we should stay longer in Paris, but we can't. Next trip, maybe! What is an appropriate tip? Would American $ be acceptable?
We will appreciate any advice you can give us! Thank you!
 
Old Jul 11th, 2000, 11:59 AM
  #2  
Bob Brown
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I can comment on part of your many part inquiry. First, I have never ridden a Swiss train with a seat reservation.
If you want to ensure that you have a place to sit, then I would purchase one. But most people don't have them in my experience.
I do not know where the Hotel Alpina is exactly. The address is Hauptstrasse 44, but the web page says it is 10 minutes from the city center. I do not know if that is by car or by foot.
Whether or not you can walk there often depends on how much luggage you are carrying. Sorry I cannot help more on that one. I just never paid any attention to it while driving around Interlaken last year.

As for Paris, changing from Gare de Lyon to Gare de l'Est is not straight forward on the Metro because you have to change trains. Paris Metro station do not strike me as being overly friendly to people carrying suitcases. There are long corridors and steps to negotiate both in and out.

Paris taxis are not cheap. But if you want to see anything from Gare d'Lyon, you will probably end up taking one.
If you want one to drive you around the city, it could get to be expensive.
The base fee is about 15 francs, then 4 francs per kilometer, then 120 francs per hour, plus a charge for luggage. So you could pay anywhere from $35 to $50.

As for the tip, what would your reaction be if you were driving a taxi here and the rider gave you French money? Or if you performed some other service and they gave you French money in payment?
I trust you intend to pay in francs and not dollars.
 
Old Jul 11th, 2000, 05:39 PM
  #3  
Tony
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Sara.. Gee you ask a lot of hard questions - here are a few snippets.
Firstly reservations are not compulsory on EC or IC trains, but they are on TGV.
Personally, I would'nt bother, but then again if you have a few days in Munich, why not do it there, just to be on the safe side.
From Marienplatz to the station is too far to walk with luggage. There is a metro (subway), but it would'nt be too expensive in a cab.
Now to Paris. My wife and I attempted to do something like you are planning, quick sightseeing before catching a later train to Amsterdam. We had come from Cannes, so were probably on the same train as you will be.Anyway it turned out to be disaster - a long story which we won't go into but it basically revolved around a very long queue for taxis at Gare de Lyon, followed by an extremely uncooperative cab driver - and I think there are plenty of them in Paris. My advice would be don't try it. Why don't you leave Nice a day earlier,check into a hotel near the Gare de L'Est, where you can safely leave your luggage the next day, and have a full 24 hours for your quick sightseeing, before picking up your bags and catching the night train to Frankfurt.
Incidentally, last time I was in Paris which was 3 years ago you could'nt leave luggage in lockers or anywhere else due to security scares. They may well have eased by now, does anybody else know this?
 
Old Jul 11th, 2000, 07:18 PM
  #4  
gb
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I think you are trying to do too much. I think it is better to save Paris for another trip. Paris is intense, and you need to be alert and energized to enjoy it to its fullest. The metro, nor the people on the subway are good for luggage carrying, even small suitcases. There are a lot of steps, and if you have to change from a train, to a subway, it is cumbersome with luggage. I suggest trying to find a taxi, or some other sort of shuttle service. With that said, I still think Paris is quite a haul from Nice, and you might better enjoy exploring the region between Nice and Frankfurt.
 
Old Jul 12th, 2000, 12:34 PM
  #5  
Sara
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Thanks very much for your advice! I guess we'll just sit in the train station and read a book!
 
Old Jul 12th, 2000, 06:36 PM
  #6  
Tony
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We were only trying to help Sara !
At least sit at a pavement cafe, have a drink and watch the world go by.
 
Old Jul 12th, 2000, 08:41 PM
  #7  
Sara
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I'm sorry - I did sincerely appreciate the responses I received. Yes, we'll go to a cafe!
 

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