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Which trip is more fun:Paris/Provence, or Rome/Tuscany?

Which trip is more fun:Paris/Provence, or Rome/Tuscany?

Aug 28th, 2003, 07:14 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 133
Which trip is more fun:Paris/Provence, or Rome/Tuscany?

We're from Washington, DC and are planning a trip for next summer already. We're thinking of one of the two options in my title. We've never been to Italy. We've been to Paris for 5 days last year. My wife and I speak a little French from high school days. My daughter (13) loves Paris from our previous trip. We'd like to add the south of France to this trip-Provence, St. Tropez, etc. Alternatively, we can bag France and fly to Rome and hit Tuscany, maybe even Venice, depending on costs. Which trip would you take and why? Thanks.
Mark_va is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 07:35 AM
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Objectively, I think both Provence and Tuscany are equally "fun"! Both have beautiful scenery, friendly people, lovely little villages, good food, historical sites, local products to shop for, good wine, ease of access, etc.

Subjectively speaking, I would vote for Paris/Provence b/c I have had a love affair with France since I began studying French many years ago in high school, and I travel there as often as I can.
I imagine you'll get a get a split vote since so many of us feel passionate about one or the other of the places. But you can't go wrong with either decision--a wonderful dilemma! Have lots of fun planning and taking this trip!

grandmere is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 07:38 AM
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In your case, I think the answer is simple. You've never been to Italy. Obviously from reading this board you already know how many people love it there. Give it a try!
Dori is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 07:47 AM
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Wonderful trips, both. Yours is a difficult choice. Since you have been to Paris and haven't been to Italy, I would suggest the Rome/Tuscany option. I would also suggest that you go as early in the summer as possible and that you do your very best to include Venice in your trip. Venice is unique and unforgettable. Whatever you decide, you will have a lovely trip.
mamc is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 08:13 AM
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Wow, that's like someone asking who is your favorite child!! You'll not go wrong with either choice however I agree with a previous poster, give Italy a try since you've not been there. Rome is amazing and if you have a car you can have a terrific time wondering through Tuscany.
csroe is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 08:20 AM
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I agree - we love both choices as well as you get some wonderful city and some wonderful relaxing countryside. I would suggest you do the Rome/Tuscany, however that you start your trip in the countryside to get used to Italy and finish up in Rome. The airport is located on a Beltway. Pick up a car and drive immediately to Tuscany. You can return the car in Orvieto where you can take a train in to Rome (and not worry about the car). Use a limo to take you back to the airport when it is time to go.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 09:07 AM
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Thanks for the sensible responses so far.
I'd disagree that the choice is like choosing a favorite child; that assumes that naturally you know both kids. Here, but for Paris, I know nothing other than the little I've read so far. I guess to narrow the issues, my familiarity with Paris and the TGV to Provence (thanks to RailEurope.com) makes that
trip easier than italy which is completely "Greek" to me. "Uhoh busteds" reply starts the ball rolling on the practical information; ie. fly to Rome rent a car, drive to Tuscany and back, then rail to Rome. The ease (and cost) on getting from one place to the other can dictate to a certain degree when time is limited (we'll have two weeks). Also, since we're restricted to summer to do this trip due to school schedules, which place would be less hassle with heat and crowds? But, I do agree, both trips would be great.
Mark_va is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 09:42 AM
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I general I prefer Italy over France. (I like France very much, and love parts of it, but I LOVE Italy--all the regions I've seen so far--and I know it a lot better than France.) However, I didn't like Rome very much when I was there twice many years ago, and I DO like Paris. (I generally do not love really big cities.) So if you plan to focus on Rome if you go to Italy, the Paris/Provence trip sounds more appealing to me. However, If your focus will NOT be Rome, given the fact that you have never been to Italy, I'd recommend going to Italy this time.

If you plan to use public transportation, I think it may be easier to get around central Italy than France. I don't drive in foreign countries, so I can't compare the driving, but I suspect France may be better for driving. I love both Provence and Tuscany.

If you're not going until summer 2004, you have time to learn a little Italian. Since you're from DC, I know you can find places to take a class.
cmt is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 09:45 AM
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That is a very difficult decision! I love Paris and Rome - prefer Tuscany to Provence, but would return to all of them, although can't help comparing heat and crowds because I've only been to Italy in March and Sept. I was in Provence last summer from July 8 - 18 - the weather was warm, but not too hot and the crowds were not bad where we were. Using high school French was fun! However, there is something about Italy that touches me deeply, just as for some people France or England do. I did much of Rome alone and had very few problems with language - tried to learn a little before I left and most people spoke English. From what I've read here about Venice (haven't been there yet), I would suggest the Italian trip including Venice.
dellyb is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 09:50 AM
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Hey Mark,

You can't go wrong either way. As far as crowds go, they will be about the same.

I suggest you consider the following criteria:

Do you prefer
Gelato to French Ice Cream
Pizza or Crepes
Croissant or Corneto?
Bordeaux or Brunello
Pastis or Limoncello
Baroque/Roccoco or Gothic/Romanesque?

ira is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 09:58 AM
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I'm not a city person, and I adored Rome. It was fantastic. My vote is Italy.
Lizzie518 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 10:15 AM
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Thanks again for the solid responses.
Since we're talking summer 2004, the responder who said there's time to learn some Itlaian is right. There's time to do lots of prep which includes floating a lot of questions and hypotheticals. The bad thing is that summer 2004 is far off. Heck, I'm ready to roll now!
Many people really push Venice such that maybe I should do a Tuscany, Florence, Venice trip and save rome for another time. Opinions?
I started looking into Venice and I've learned it can be scary expensive for the average middle income sort. I guess the way to get thru that is 3 or 4 days and gone. Enough time?
So, if I go to Italy. Is driving around Tuscany, Florence, Venice a major source of aggravation?
Mark_va is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 12:09 PM
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We went to Florence first and picked up the car when leaving the city. We reserved an automatic with Hertz and, despite our reservation, they didn't have one so we had to use manual...which was fine because it came back to us like riding a bike. My husband was just nervous at first driving in a foreign country. Get good roap maps of Italy - we have Michelin Driving Atlas which contains road maps of the entire country. You also need good navigators because the exit signs don't always have the town you are going to, so you have to look for nearby towns on the map to see if any of them are listed at that exit. The worst that will happen is that you have to turn around and go back. My husband can get highly stressed and hates to make a mistake and we were able to do it so anyone can. It's just a great adventure!
dellyb is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 12:54 PM
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Last fall, my wife and I did exactly what uhoh_busted suggests and it could not have been better. Rented a car at the airport in Rome, drove to Tuscany for a week, turned the car in at Orvieto and took the train to Rome where we stayed another week, then took a limo to the airport when we left. We had a wonderful trip. We are going to Paris, Normandy and London next summer but doing it a little different. This time we are staying in Paris for a week, then taking a train to Rouen and picking up a rental car for a few days in Normandy. Then getting to London somehow, haven't exactly figured that out yet but I'm sure a ferry and train will get us there. Enjoy Italy, both Tuscany and Rome are fantastic.
john183 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 01:11 PM
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Mark, driving is the best way to see Tuscany, but you won't want the car in Florence (or Venice). So you might follow the previous advice, but drop the car in Florence, spend your time there, then train it to Venice and back to Rome.

Actually, if you are not going to spend any time in Rome, you should check flights to Milan, which is just as close to Florence and a lot closer to Venice. Milan is the business center of Italy and there are a lot of flights at decent prices.

I agree that both of these trips are heaven -- great food and wine, art, architecture, landscape -- but for my part, I find the Italians warmer and more "forgiving" than the French. I just feel a bit more relaxed in Italy and that people are less formal and less concerned with doing things the proper (i.e., their) way.
Marilyn is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 03:34 PM
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Italia!! IMHO, having been to both, I think Tuscany has it all over Provence. I know that will probably draw some heat, but I just think it's more scenic and beautiful. As far as driving goes, the French do have a better grip on signage, and at least the roads we traveled were better maintained, but I've driven all over Italy 4 times now and never had a major problem. Just be alert, have a good navigator, and be fearless when you need to!

As far as Rome goes, I could never see enough of Rome. And I know there have been posters here who dismiss it as dirty or whatever, but I vigorously beg to differ. I personally find it a magical city, and the history there is mind-boggling.

I have been to Venice, but it was a day trip and the dead of winter. I was not enchanted, but my timing was less than ideal, so I cannot pass judgement on Venezia. It certainly has its devotees.

No matter where you choose to go, I think the main thing you need to keep in mind, is (as someone here posted earlier) go as early in the summer as possible. This year's heatwave notwithstanding, it will be hot in Rome any later than mid-June, and August is crazy anywhere you go in Europe (that's when the Europeans take their holiday). And see as much as you can, but don't bite off too much. That said, we took our kids a year ago to Italy and saw a lot of Rome, then went on to San Gimignano for a night, then Lerici for the next night, then drove the Cinque Terre and spent our last night in Pisa...all in 10 days! It was right on the verge of being too much.

Another plus for Italy is that I do truly feel that the Italians are more hospitable in general, and the language barrier is often lessened because of a positive attitude (on both parts, guest and host). Pride in country is also very evident no matter where you go. Well, I just love Italy!!
janT is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 04:23 PM
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Don't worry too much about heat and crowds. You will run into both during the summer but it won't ruin your trip. It was over 100 degrees for 12 of the 15 days we were in Italy and we still loved every minute. You can avoid lines by planning ahead and choosing certain times to visit sites. You ought to read travel reports on both destinations and then decide. My Italy report is at http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34436026
but there are many other good ones as well.
Lina is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 04:35 PM
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Since we've done both fairly recently (Italy in 2001, Provence/Paris in 2003 with a trip to London and Paris inbetween) you might want to see some of my trip reports and pictures (the pictures are really what I love) on VirtualTourist...www.virtualtourist.com/radiomom Click on see all Travel Pages, and look at Italy, and also St Remy and Paris. There's travelogues and hotels and all sorts of stuff. I trust Fodors for opinions and I like to surf VT for pictures.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 10:46 AM
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I posed this question to a friend who said the French way is better
(no unclean thoughts, please).
he said the French is much better and that Italy is very dirty. Thoughts?
Mark_va is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 11:25 AM
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I've been to both places... I would pick Paris/Provence!
provence97 is offline  

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