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Two European Cities in 8 days (Paris and one more)

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Feb 28th, 2015, 12:21 AM
  #1
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Two European Cities in 8 days (Paris and one more)

We are a family of 4 planning to tour France for 8 days in first week of June.

We are from India and are vegetarians.

We want to cover Paris and one more city.

So basically the first thing we have in mind is the transport.

I researched both renting a car and the France rail pass for 8 days.

And in my opinion the car is a cheaper option while being more flexible than the train.

The rail pass is more expensive than the car and there is an extra charge for trains which require reservations. Hence we prefer the car more. What would you suggest?

What is parking like in France? Will we get parking easily around famous tourist destinations?

We are planning to use AirBnB for staying purpose. Is it good enough? Are there any other cheap options?

We plan to stay in Paris for 4 days and other 4 days in the next city.

What are the best places to go around?

Also add in any other important thing you feel.

Thank you
kevindesai777 is offline  
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Feb 28th, 2015, 12:35 AM
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Just a quick comment right now . . .

If you are only going to Paris and one other city (or even Paris and a couple of others) there is no need at all for a rail pass. Regular train tickets would be cheaper. And you never need a car IN Paris.

Please clarify - is your entire trip 8 days (India and back to India) . . . OR . . . is it 8 days on the ground (so 10 or 11 days total)?
janisj is online now  
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Feb 28th, 2015, 04:33 AM
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For just 8 days you definitely don't need a rail pass and probably don't want a car either. Definitely don't want one in Paris. Other cities that would be easy to combine with Paris (less than 3 hours train ride) would be Strasbourg and Avignon. Both very different from Paris, easy to get to (you can buy your tickets for the train online ahead of time and get discounts). Lyon or Dijon would also work. Any of those cities have some rural areas nearby that you might want a car for but in that case I'd just rent it for a couple days. And really, with only 4 days total there there would be plenty to do in the cities themselves. Driving and parking in most of France (outside the big cities) is easy but gas is expensive, as is parking and tolls. Every time I've rented a car the cost of the rental itself comes out to about half the total cost when you factor in those other things.
isabel is offline  
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Feb 28th, 2015, 07:35 AM
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And if you buy your individual train tickets early, you can save a lot, like 3/4 of the fare or more. Here's a website with lots of information on French train travel: http://www.seat61.com/France-trains....cketsforFrance .

Of course, that means you lose flexibility, but that shouldn't be a problem in such a short trip.
Mimar is offline  
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Feb 28th, 2015, 07:52 AM
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You might also need this for inside Paris
http://www.ratp.fr/informer/pdf/orienter/f_plan.php
you can also buy small maps of Paris at most magazine kiosks. I'd probably stump up for the rough guide to paris or the time out guide to paris to get the most out of your visit.
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Feb 28th, 2015, 09:11 AM
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Strasbourg is a beautiful city, very compact, easy to get around. Less than 2.5 hours away by train. Colmar day trips popular, about a 30 minute train ride. Would allocate less nights than Paris.
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Feb 28th, 2015, 09:20 AM
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With a car you could explore a 'non-city' area like the Loire Valley, Dijon area or Alsace region for a couple of the days. It would give you a good taste of city life and non city life. We love the smaller towns in France. I would probably pair 4 days in Paris with four days in the Alsace region, staying in Obernai and day tripping to Strasbourg or Colmar along with the smaller towns in between. Lovely region.
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Feb 28th, 2015, 10:18 AM
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For vegetarians in June, I would pick Amsterdam or Nice, and you can get to either by train.
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Feb 28th, 2015, 10:26 AM
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Of course, your second city need not be in France. It's not too far to Amsterdam by train, for instance. Also, are your plans fixed with air tickets already locked in? Otherwise, open jaw tickets into Paris and out of your second city with a train between the two would minimize your travel details and costs.
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Feb 28th, 2015, 11:45 AM
  #10
 
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kevindesai:
While it is indeed true that you could tour some of the countryside with a car, I don't see why you'd do it your first time in. Furthermore, to use a car IN Paris would give you a big headache(!!). Rather, as the overwhelming majority of posters have noted, use regular trains and Paris metro which takes you everywhere (see passes available at: http://www.ratp.fr/en/ratp/r_61584/tickets/

As for your desire to see two cities, I will respectfully recommend, even though it might be contrary to what you asked, that you stay with Paris (which could include day trips to other close attractions). Paris can easily consume all of your time, while it would likewise be a wonderful introduction to Europe.

To my point, there is so much to see and experience. In the heart of the city the famous attractions: the Louvre -classic art and underground mall, Notre Dame cathedral and close-by the Latin Quarter, the Musee D'Orsay with impressionist art, the Champs Elysees and its famous shops leading to the Arc de Triomphe and, then, of course, the Eiffel Tower. Stroll along and over the Seine (historic and famous bridges) and enjoy the ambience of the Place de la Concorde. For Modern art, the Centre Pompidou.

More? Head up to the Montmarte area and see Sacre Coeur or enjoy the Pigalle district (Moulin Rouge). In another part of Paris, the 6th Arrondissment, visit the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg and take a tea or coffee in their quaint cottage cafe. . . . and on and on. . . . all of which, again, are accessible by metro.

But if that were not enough, should you have time you could also plan a very worthwhile day trip by convenient train to the Palace at Versailles (which just may count as your second city)- and/or even perhaps to Chartres.

In short, go to Paris and enjoy your trip.
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Mar 7th, 2015, 11:18 AM
  #11
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Thanks guys for all the help. Appreciated
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