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steve Jul 10th, 1999 06:39 AM

Trip report:Strasbourg, Paris, Annecy and Zurich
We just returned from a very quick trip to the cities mentioned above. I was given free airline tickets in and out of Zurich and my travelling companion and I only had one week available for the trip. We had several criteria for the trip-my friend had never been to Paris and really wanted to see it and I had an interest in going to someplace(s) I had never been. By looking at the map, researching, checking train schedules and asking lots of questions we decided on an itinerary. The plane arrived early in the morning in Zurich and because there is a train station right in the airport, we were able to get on a train make one change and were in Strasbourg around 10:45 am. Strasbourg is a very lovely city and is particularly interesting because of the combination of German and French influences on both its archtecture and culture. We stayed at the very well-located Hotel de L'Europe where we had a small but pleasant room that cost around 60USD. Since much of the old town area of Strasbourg is pedestrian only-it is a very pleasant walking city. The Cathedral is quite impressive as is Rohan Palace. The area called Petite France is extremely charming and picturesque. We had a nice dinner at the well known Chez Yvonne where the staff was most welcoming. I would certainly recommend Strasbourg as a nice place to visit, particularly if one wants to do a tour of the Alsace region-it would provide a good base. I would also recommend the Hotel de L'Europe the staff was extremely helpful and cheerful(including the resident West Highland Terrior). If you are sensitive to noise you should ask for a room on the back because there is some pedestrian noise if you keep your windows open. <BR>The next day we took the train to Paris. Now, I realize that for all practical purposes, for such a short trip we should have probably just stayed in Paris, but that's not what I wanted to do this time. We did, however, pack quite a bit into our short visit. We stayed in the Hotel des Jardins du Luxembourg which is in the 5th right on the border with the 6th. It is a small recently renovated hotel on a dead end street. Our tiny but very "chicly" furnished room costs about 128 USD. Everything about the hotel is very attractive and once again we were lucky to find a helpful, pleasant staff. Our first night we enjoyed a boat ride on the Seine which is a nice way to see the city from a different perspective(sure it's touristy --but if the shoe fits....). Our first morning we took the Cityrama bus tour which was another good way to get a good general look at things. During our short stay we visited the Louvre, D'Orsay and Rodin museums--we spent the extra money for a museum pass to save waiting time. We walked almost everywhere, using the Metro occasionally. One of the highlights of our visit to Paris was attending a performance of the Paris Opera Ballet-I had ordered the tickets before we left home-it was a wonderful treat! We didn't eat in any major restaurants just small places based on reccommendations or things I had read. Of course, a short visit to Paris only makes one hungry(both literally and figuratively) to visit again. <BR>Next stop was Annecy in the Rhone Alps region. It is a smallish city on a beautiful lake. There is a charming old town which was pretty crowded with tourists and filled with lots of nik-nakky shops. But if you look past that you see beautiful buildings, charming, winding streets and canals. We stayed in the Hotel du Palais du L'Isle where our tiny but well-equipped room costs about 66 USD. One of the most fun things we did in Annecy was rent a small motorboat and spent about 2 1/2 hours exploring the lake. Also one of our favorite meals was in Annecy at the very attractive Auberge du Savoie. <BR>Our final destination was Zurich. We arrived at the very interesting train station in the late afternoon. I had very little in the way of expectations for Zurich, but I found it to be an extremely beautiful city. It is also very expensive. We stayed at the well-located Hotel Leonhard. The hotel is extremely basic-picture a college dorm room albeit a clean one. The staff was not unpleasant but not very friendly either and certainly not very knowledgeable. The young woman who checked us in did not even know where to get money exchanged. But it was in a good location for walking places. We paid about 124USD for our room there. <BR>We really enjoyed our quick French-Swiss adventure. What we did would probably not suit certain travellers but it filled the bill for our desires. One hint: if you are going to do such a fast trip I think the key is careful planning. If you are going to see very much you've got to have a very clear idea about what to see, where it is and the logistics(ie tickets, reservations, etc).

Catherine Jul 10th, 1999 05:31 PM

This was well written and interesting to read.You certainly got the most out of your trip.I am glad you took the trouble to type it up.Thankyou,for the vicarious pleasure. <BR>

Rhonda Jul 10th, 1999 07:09 PM

Steve, <BR>Do you remember where you rented the boat in Annecy and how much it was? We'll be visiting in August. Thanks

steve Jul 10th, 1999 07:36 PM

There are quite a few places that rent boats- when you get to the pier area go to the right side and you will see places that rent both motorboats and paddle boats. I can't remember the exact cost, but it was not cheap- I think it was about 40USD per hour. There are also large tour-type boats that you can ride on as well.

Jeanie Jul 11th, 1999 12:01 PM

I also loved Strasbourg. I felt like I was in Germany, although there was a french feel to it. I would definitely recommend stopping there. We didn't stay overnight since we arrived very early on a night train and left in the evening for Brussels. If you go have the Quiche Lorraine, it was heavenly and about 100x better than any quiche i have ever had.

Jay Frank Jul 11th, 1999 03:14 PM

This is yet another vote for Strasbourg! In addition to the great comments above, let me note that Strasbourg is an ideal base for day trips by rail to Baden-Baden and the Schwarzwald. It also boasts outstanding food and wine. <BR>

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