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Trip to Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice

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Jul 31st, 2010, 06:12 AM
  #1
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Trip to Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice

Hi!

First, a huge thank you to everyone who has EVER posted here for all the tips and information!

I am planning a trip in September to Paris, Rome, Florence and Venice. It is still dependent on my getting a visa (a bit iffy because of my nationality), but I would still like to get your feedback.

I have been to Paris once before, for a conference where we crammed sight seeing into about 2 days. I was not satisfied and was determined to go back. So, the itinerary is as follows:

Paris - 5th Sept - 11 Sept. Staying at Hotel de la Herse d'Or

Over night train to Venice. 12th Sept day trip in Venice. Train to Florence in the evening. Staying at Bed and Bed Cassia.

13,14th in Florence.

15th - train to Rome. Staying at Hotel Julia.

18th - Fly home to London

I am a student, so there is a budget, but I'd love advice of any sort on where to go, what to see, and how to do it = )

Cheers!
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Jul 31st, 2010, 06:48 PM
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I realize you want more time in Paris, but I think you will feel very shortchanged in Venice and, perhaps, Rome. I would take at least one day from Paris and add it to Venice.
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Jul 31st, 2010, 08:34 PM
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I agree - I love, LOVE Paris, but you won't even have 1 full day in Venice. You have seen at least a bit of Paris before, so I'd probably cut one night from Paris and add it to Venice.
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Aug 1st, 2010, 04:44 AM
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I agree with both of you! However, visa issues are unlikely to allow me to do that (long story which you don't need to worry about!)

On the plus side, on my last visit to Paris, I didn't get to go up the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe or Notre Dame, did not get to see Pere Lachaise cemetery or Les Invalides, in fact, had time for just the superficial stuff. Makes me think I might actually be short of time, because I don't want to be rushing around like a mad person in Paris. Saving that for Italy = D

Would you say that I should cut a night from Florence and spend it in Venice instead? If so, any recommendations for where to stay? I'm a 24 year old female, travelling alone, would like to stay in the centre for about 50E a night.

Thanks a million! = )
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Aug 1st, 2010, 08:28 AM
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Going up in the Tour, the Arc and Notre Dame is OK. I have been many times to Paris and have only been to the restaurant level of the Tour, and don't really think I've missed a lot. have been on the roof of Printemps and Samarataine, when that was open. Plenty to see and enough and not hours standing in line doing nothing.
I might agree with adding a little time in Venice. I am such not a fan of Rome, although I have been several times, and if you haven't, it is a "need". I think you've got your times just about right for hitting the high spots.
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Aug 1st, 2010, 08:34 AM
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If doing that all by train and under 26 then consider the Italy-France Youth Eurailpass - good for unlimited travel for the number of days you buy throughout Italy and France. An alternative to the pass is to go to www.voyages-sncf.com and see if you can score a discounted Paris to Venice overnight Artesia train fare - there are a limited number sold for each train at a good discount over full fare but generally should be booked when they come on the system 90 days out and cannot be changed nor refunded i believe. The pass if more flexible as it can be used on any train - subject to their being sleeping accommodations in your budget and though the pass pays for the train fare it don't pay for the sleeping options - from a T-6 or 6-bert tourist couchette for i think about $35-45. And though the Paris to Venice overnight train goes thru Switzerland it is fully covered by the France-Italy Swiss Pass - but you should check if you need a Swiss transit visa to ride the train thru Switzerland, even though you will be sleeping - Switzerland has joined the Schengen Accords to eliminate border controls, etc so it may no longer be the case but check that out.

For loads of info on trains in France and Italy and passes and alternatives check out these info-laden sites: www.seat61.com - has good info on discount tickets from voyages-sncf.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com - has great sections on train travel in each country; www.ricksteves.co

Not sure where you live but if interested in the pass you have to buy it in your home country as it is not sold at stations in Italy or France - it is sold at one station in Paris - Gare Saint-Lazare's International ticket window but at about 20% above what you would buy it thru a travel agent in your home country.
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Aug 1st, 2010, 12:42 PM
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Zeppole - Considering I asked for advice, anything janisj said was perfectly fair. Furthermore, while I appreciate the concern, I fully understand that everyone has different likes/dislikes and, trust me, I will only change my plans if I wish to.

Janisj and Sassafrass - Thank you for your opinion! = )

PalenQ - Thank you! I had to get my trains sorted before applying for a visa. Sadly, visa applications involve buying actual tickets and showing them to the embassy. So i had to spend far more than I would've had to = ( But thank you so much for the post!

Mimar - Thank you! You are absolutely right = ) I will want to go back to Italy. But is that so bad? = D
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Aug 1st, 2010, 01:16 PM
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sam86: Don't give it a 2nd thought. The more you read threads on here you'll recognize various personality "traits"

OK - now we understand why you can't modify the dates much (slight bummer, but not a big disaster)

Is there ANY chance you can change your train ticket from Venice to Florence? Usually it is only discounted tickets that are non-changeable? If you can, staying one night in Venice will give you a much different perspective. There is no passport/visa check on the trains w/i Italy so as long as the ticket is changeable, you shouldn't have any problems.

Then take a mid morning train to Florence.

(OR -- if the Paris > Venice ticket is changeable you might make an adjustment on that end, but w/ a reserved sleeper that might be difficult)

If they aren't changeable - just go w/what you have . . . or damn the budget and buy a NEW ticket
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Aug 1st, 2010, 01:28 PM
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sam86, sorry, but I don't get the visa point. There cannot possibly be separate visas for France and Italy, never mind your nationality - both are Schengen countries. So as soon as you are inside the Schengen area, I doubt anyone can dictate you how to split your time between Paris, Venice and so on.
But otherwise, if the point is that you don't WANT to take a day from Paris (which would be more than understandable, given your personal Paris history)... then I would suggest to go to just two of the three Italian cities, or you'll end up having the same feelings about Venice (above all!!!), Florence and Rome that you have now about Paris. Actually, you have just 6 days for Italy, so you could spend all of them in just one of these cities without getting bored; but if you prefer to hit two of them, I would actually prefer to do 3 days Venice and 3 days Florence, not because I don't love Rome (my personal preferences don't count for your trip, and actually, Rome is my favourite city anywhere in the world), but just because there's no way of doing Rome any justice on such a short trip. But if you are set on Rome, my opinion is that you need 4 days there; which leaves 2 for the second city, so I would suggest (once more against my heart) to skip Venice (my second favourite city in Italy), because in two days, it's easier to make sense of a Florence than of a Venice visit.
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Aug 1st, 2010, 02:00 PM
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Actually, I think the reason that I choose not to stay in Venice was because it was more expensive than Florence. I figure that one day, when I earn millions (who knows when that'll be!), I'll stay in Venice in luxury! I did still want to see Venice though. Florence is costing me 35E a night. I can't find a place i a relatively central location in Venice for 50E or even 60E for September. If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know!

You are right, no one will stop me from taking time away from Paris. But they require that if you apply through the French embassy, for example, you have to spend the most time in France or equal time in all the states but first point of entry must be France. I am a bit paranoid, and I hear they do keep tabs on your hotels and it can damage your chances of getting another Schengen visa if you mess around too much with the original itinerary!

Phew, that was complicated, I hope that made sense to everyone!

Oh and I have a Pakistani passport, which makes it FAR more likely that they will keep checks on me. Sadly = (

What I can do is to take one night away from Florence to stay in Venice. I am considering that...if I find a cheap place to stay = )

Thank you EVERYBODY!
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Aug 1st, 2010, 02:07 PM
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Ok, no, forget it - Venice IS incredibly expensive, and September is high season: no chance of getting any accomodation with that budget, unfortunately. Btw, those Schengen rules are a shame!
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Aug 1st, 2010, 02:17 PM
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I know! It is terrible! It is such a huge commitment of time and money and then they can just refuse your visa any indication as to why. I have my fingers crossed for the next 2 weeks that I get mine!

Sigh. But you know, I think it's a great incentive to come back, when you fall in love with a place and are determined to go again. You make sure then that you make it back = )
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Aug 1st, 2010, 02:18 PM
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OK - we'll stop trying to make you feel bad

W/ your budget, and understandably not wanting to risk anything, just stick to the current plan (and when you HAVE that first million) plan on at least 3 or 4 days/nights in Venice
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Aug 1st, 2010, 03:09 PM
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Sam86,

It was good that you explained. Stick with your plan. No matter where you are in Italy, it will be wonderful. As for Venice, a tiny bit is better than none. Simply coming out of the station and facing the Grand Canal is (for me, personally) worth the trip. Taking a ride down the Grand Canal is breath taking.

A couple of years ago, we were on our way from Rome to Treviso. We detoured and stopped in Venice just for a few hours, not to tour anything, just to walk around and once again be awed by the improbability of building all that on pilings surrounded by water, and to marvel at San Marco in the evening.

You can store your luggage at the Santa Lucia station for the day, and be free to explore.

No matter the opinions, I think all the posters on the board want you to have a great time. Happy travels!
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Aug 2nd, 2010, 05:51 AM
  #15
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Thank you everyone = )

Sassafrass - That's a great point about storing luggage at Santa Lucia, will do that!
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Aug 2nd, 2010, 10:33 AM
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(Were janisj thinking clearly, she'd tell you the only town she knows much about is London, and she doesn't know your travel style, just hers.)>

Yes this is beyond what should be accepted and not excepted on Fodor's travel forums - in the Lounge anything is fine IMO - but not only is the charge highly inaccurate IMO as janis has shown she has traveled widely outside of the U.K., on which she is hugely expert in many ways (escept trains) - the comment Z takes appropbation with is very good info - suggesting more than one day in Venice, which i think an sensible person would advocate - ykes defending janis? Am i getting senile?

Miss z needs to zip those type of unhelpful and innacurate comments IMO that only divert from the OP's goal?
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Aug 2nd, 2010, 10:41 AM
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"ykes defending janis? Am i getting senile?"

Naw - just soft in the head Thanks PQ - I really DO appreciate the support.

And I do concede to you vastly more 'train knowledge' than moi . . .
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Aug 3rd, 2010, 09:13 AM
  #18
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Advice on day trips form Paris anyone?

I have read of people going as far Bruges. People seem to have very varied views about that. What're yours?

I've been to Versailles on my previous trip, but it was in December, so the gardens were frozen over. Would you say it's worth a trip just for the garden?

I PERFECTLY understand that anything anyone says will be THEIR experience only! = D
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Aug 3rd, 2010, 09:39 AM
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Chartres and Reims are two great short day trips by train - Chartres is a sweet regional town and home to one of Christiandom's greatest cathedrals - the world-famous Notre-Dame de Chartres, the reason for coming here but Chartres is also a typical French regional town.

Reims is a larger regional town than Chartres and it has a great world-famous cathedral as well - one where the kings and queens of France were once coronated - but many come to Reims mainly for the Champagne tours thru the world-famous Champagne Houses - like Moet et Chandon, Tattinger, Veuve Clicquot (sp?) and others - visitors are taken thru the subterranean caves, covered with cob webs, to see the aging process and then thru the bottling area and then, of course, for some tastings of the bubbly right where it was produced.
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Aug 3rd, 2010, 10:48 AM
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A big, loud, directive yet personal YES to going to Versailles for the gardens, provided you go on a day when the Grandes Eaux Musicales are held (perfectly possible in September, but indispensable to book ahead!). This is the only chance to get into the famous, but otherwise always inaccessible bosquets, and with all the fountains in full action. The problem is that you have to hurry to see all of them in the quite restricted time span of the Grandes Eaux Musicales, so it's an exhausting visit, but great, great, great. Those gardens are not just a scenic sight; it's actually architecture of the highest order (garden architecture, of course).
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