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Travel to France & Switzerland with my daughter next summer

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Oct 6th, 2015, 06:43 AM
  #1
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Travel to France & Switzerland with my daughter next summer

My daughter and I have begun planning a trip for June 2016 to France & Switzerland. We would like to start in Paris, then take a train to Nice and southern France and finally rent a car and driving into Switzerland. We are planning on an 8-10 day trip. This is her sweet 16 birthday present and these were the top places she wanted to see. Does this sound reasonable?
I am also a little concerned about safety as I have always traveled with my husband. What should I plan on in regards to safety when traveling alone with a teenage girl to France and Switzerland?
I have not been in Europe since I was 16 so I don't know what to expect this time around. Neither of us will know the language very well. She is taking French in high school and I vaguely recall German. Will this also pose any issues for us?

Thank you!
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Oct 6th, 2015, 07:25 AM
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Well many folks find taking trains in Switzerland better than driving since in Alpine areas - the dreamy parts of the country you cannot drive anyway. Consider trains - good sources of info: www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

Makes more sense to drive around Provence and then ditch the car before getting to Switzerland IMO.
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Oct 6th, 2015, 07:38 AM
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Hello
For me would make more sense to ditch Switzerland.

You have 8-10 days, Paris should be given 4-5 days, Nice deserves 2-3 days and you can take daytrips from both cities. Or stop along the way in Aix en PRovence or Avignon.

What does your daughter want to see in Switerland ? Mountains or cities or ?

Safety : we have occasional killers but France is quite safe. Pay attention to your belongings and behave normally and nothing should happen.

My daughter just did a trip of 3 days in Paris with a friend (female too) - they are both 17 and we didn't bat an eye.
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Oct 6th, 2015, 09:58 AM
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I think you are trying to cover too much ground. With 8-10 days (is that the number of days you have on the ground in Europe?) I'd personally just stay in Paris and take a few day trips - if I could tear myself away from Paris.
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Oct 6th, 2015, 10:00 AM
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Yes way too short of time for all three places - Paris and Switzerland could work - fly into Paris and out of Zurich or Paris and Nice but not all three for sure.
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Oct 6th, 2015, 10:20 AM
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Agree that 3 places is too many - you will spend too much of your time just in transit. And how many nights do you actually have on the ground in europe? Remember it takes 2 nights in a city to have one full day of sight seeing.

If it were me I would do Paris and one place in Swtiz (keeping in mind how very expensive the latter is) and travel by train. We love doing road trips but IMHO you don;t have enough time in the countryside for it to really make sense.
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Oct 6th, 2015, 10:23 AM
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Sorry - the places you are going are safer than the US. Just watch out for your belongings - as in NEVER let them out of your hands in public.

Language should not be an issue but this is a good chance for your daughter to practice her French. The first time we took our DDs - then 11 and 14 - to Paris they loved being able to use theirs esp when shopping or eating on their own.
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Oct 6th, 2015, 10:34 AM
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Where are you flying home from? That affects your itinerary.
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Oct 6th, 2015, 10:46 AM
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Thanks for all the info! We are flying direct from DFW to Paris. I planned on returning home via Zurich. I had no plans to try and get back to Paris to fly back to the US.

I know my daughter is excited about Paris but I honestly don't know how long we will reasonably stay there. She isn't too excited about museums and just wants to see the touristy parts of Paris before going somewhere else. (Short attention span!) My daughter wants to go to Switzerland to see the Alps. She wants to go to Nice so she can see a different part of France, besides Paris. I was thinking perhaps we would do most of the trip in France and only a few days in Switzerland.

I had considered just traveling by train because the Europass seems like a reasonable way to travel. I just haven't had to travel by train in a very long time!

Thanks!
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Oct 6th, 2015, 12:01 PM
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just for my info : DFW ? Dallas ?
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Oct 6th, 2015, 12:19 PM
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Oh sorry ! Yes. Dallas.
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Oct 6th, 2015, 01:17 PM
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I had considered just traveling by train because the Europass seems like a reasonable way to travel.>

No way would any Eurailpass be cost-effective or nearly so for your trip plans - now if in Switaerland for say 4 days a Swiss Pass could well be but you'd have to be traveling a bit.

Get discounted Paris to Switzerland tickets and Paris to Nice tickets at www.voyages-sncf.com or www.capitainetrain.com - same trains - same fares - latter is said to be easier for Americans to get to work - book up to 3 months in advance and get deep discounts over walk up fares.
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Oct 6th, 2015, 01:21 PM
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You could do Paris and Switzerland in that time frame.

I suspect she wants to see the Cote d'Azur, most kids wouldn't have even have ever heard about the city of Nice. If she really just wants to see another part of France, you could do Paris, then Dijon or Strasbourg and then Switzerland easily enough by train. Nice and Switzerland just aren't that convenient to get between, that's the problem.

If you must fly out of Zurich, I think you'll have to drop Nice, it's not realistic.
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Oct 6th, 2015, 06:23 PM
  #14
kja
 
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I strongly encourage you to use public transportation rather than renting a car -- it is very easy to use and it is SO much nicer to sit and enjoy the scenery than to try to navigate! As already noted, depending on where you end up going, a pass might not be your best choice.

I'm a woman who has travelled to all these places solo. I wouldn't worry too much about safety -- just use common sense and be mindful of your personal space and belongings.

I agree that trying to visit Paris and Nice and the Alps in just 8 to 10 days would be pushing it -- but it really depends on what the two of you want to see and experience.

When you say that your daughter wants to see the Alps, what, exactly, does that mean? Does she want to do some hiking? (Lots of lovely and easy -- and harder -- walks in the Bernese Oberland.) No hiking, but great views of Alps in a place with shopping options? (Lucerne?) Etc.

Whatever you decide, your daughter is fortunate to have this wonderful opportunity to travel with you.
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Oct 7th, 2015, 07:48 AM
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Instead of detouring to Nice, you could do day trips from Paris into the countryside to see more of France. A contributor here, FrenchMystiqueTours, has provided an exhaustive list of the options: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...from-paris.cfm.
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Oct 7th, 2015, 01:14 PM
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For the epitome of the grand Alps I would suggest that one of the best places to go is the Jungfrau Region around Interlaken - take a train to Interlaken then a mountain train to one of those cutesy mountain villages like Grindelwald or Wengen and be eyeball to eyeball with soaring glacier-girdled peaks - toylike mountain trains and thrilling aerial gondolas going off in all directions.

Hiking or walking trains for all abilities - no special shoes or experience required for the easier and most popular ones.

Cars are banned from the area except for a few parking lots at Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen.

https://www.google.com/search?q=jung...w=1455&bih=977
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Oct 8th, 2015, 04:32 AM
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If your daughter is not all that into museums, then I think 2 full days in Paris is plenty.

What specifically is the interest in Nice? My sister and her daughter spent a week there and had a good time. A couple of days in the area was enough for me.

Interlaken area is beautiful and would be my first choice if seeing the Matterhorn wasn't my priority.

If you rent a car in France and turn it in in Switzerland, you probably will incur a hefty drop off fee. Trains really are the best way to travel in Switzerland.

When you plan your days, be sure to include the travel times from the actual train timetables. There is a difference in thinking 'the train takes 5 hours' and knowing that the train leaves at 11:00 and arrives at 4:00.
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Oct 8th, 2015, 12:21 PM
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What should I plan on in regards to safety when traveling alone with a teenage girl to France and Switzerland?>

Just like you would at home - IME there is no or very very little physical crime but in places like Paris where tourists gather pickpockets - just carry all your valuables in a secure moneybelt or pouch that goes under your clothes - at least in crowded areas like metro stations and even museums.
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Oct 8th, 2015, 12:47 PM
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How about start in Paris then take a train to Geneva or Lausanne and stay in the Lac Leman area of Switzerland?

I especially like the towns of Vevey and Montreux, charming right on the lake with the mountains as back drop. Gruyere close by for a day trip. Chateau de Chillon a castle in Montreux to visit. Roche de Nayes a scenic tram.
http://montreux.ch/
http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-us/vevey.html

I would not rent a car (no need). Fly home from Geneva. 4-5 days each place. Would make a perfect trip with a nice mix of city and smaller towns.
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Oct 8th, 2015, 12:48 PM
  #20
 
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I have never felt concerns of personal safety in either place. Nothing more than standard travel common sense required.
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