would I regret skipping Paris....

Old Jan 21st, 2014, 03:49 AM
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Nobody needs to go anywhere, but on your list, if there is something to skip, it would most likely be London. You are spending enough other days in England, and London is just grimy and noisy. ;-)
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 03:59 AM
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I could not say it better than Janis (and St. Cirq, I see). London/England is approachable for a first timer. Paris is an amazing city of MANY MAnY levels of enjoyment. Rome is "hard" to do, for me--and I've been several times, but I truly do not enjoy it. As for Capri, well.... I do like Venice and Florence.

Back to Paris. And the food. Surely you have some appreciation for food in your life without it being a 3* experience. Paris is simply a magical city to drink in as you simply "look around".
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 04:06 AM
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LOL...London apparently is a grimy and noisy suburb of Paris and believe me, Paris has more than a few less-than-attractive suburbs.
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 04:43 AM
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It sounds like this is your first trip to Europe. Many people feel it's a 'once in a life time' kind of thing (and for lots it is, for many others they get hooked and go back multiple times). Unless there is some strong reason why you don't think you'll get back then I would leave Paris off this trip, not because it's not "worth" it, but because fewer destinations will make for a better trip.

I would decide one of two things - is this a 'sample' the best of Europe trip so you can decide where you want to go back to? Or are you into rural/gardens/scenery and want a trip to see some of the specific places you've seen pictures of (which you said above)?

With your 18 days I would suggest two possible itineraries: keep England about as you have it. If you plan to rent a car outside of London, which you say you are doing for Kent, then use it for the Cotswolds as well, public transportation is less good there. Or, put more time in London and do some day trips - you can get to quite a lot of places by train. Add one more day to London. Then fly to Italy - probably to Naples (easyjet flies from London to Naples) and spend five days in the Amalfi Coast region. Personally I'd stay in Sorrento and do day trips to Amalfi, Positano, and Capri rather than schlep luggage all the way to Amalfi and then again to Capri. Capri is beautiful but crowded and one day is enough to see it. Then finish with Rome as that's probably where you'll fly out of. Add the extra days to Rome.

Or - do a three way split London, Paris, Rome for 6 days each and do day trips to get some rural villages in the mix.

You mentioned pictures - here's my galleries with photos of all the places you are considering. www.pbase.com/annforcier
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 06:19 AM
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fables----don't take offense. Try to brush off the snarky comments and take advantage of the good advice from others.

I'm with janisj about Rome. Yes, it's wonderful but very helter skelter as she posted. the pace always seems frantic to me.

Paris is my favorite and if you get away from the Champs E. it has some lovely areas--Lux. Gardens, Ile St. Louis, walks along the Seine, Tuilleries, Place Vosges, etc. It's a much easier walking city than Rome with many sites close together.
Yes, I am biased, but I'd choose Paris before Rome any day. See London, Paris, and then spend more days on the Amalfi coast IMHO.

Whatever you choose, enjoy your trip. I'm sure it will be memorable.
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 07:20 AM
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Paris is the most elegant city we've been to, and has lots of what you are interested in.

However, given the time you have, it would be better to confine yourself to two countries. Have you been to Italy before? If not, any reason you are going to Amalfi and Capri instead of, say, Florence, given your interests?
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 07:54 AM
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Hi F,

If you were to die before visiting Paris you would regret it for all of eternity.

There is more to Paris than 5* restos.
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 08:23 AM
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flpab, yes it wasn't until my 3rd trip to Rome that I even BEGAN to appreciate it! Absolutely hated my first experience there - seemed like I had been dropped into utter chaos,noise, and debris (and I speak decent Italian, so wasn't "lost" in that sort of way). Second trip I was with two toddlers and spent the entire time worrying they'd be run over by cars and trams and buses, plus I visited the Vatican Museums and was just so disturbed by that (to me) obscene collection of wealth. Third trip kids were older and I knew my way around a bit and began to get comfortable, a bit. Now I've been 7-8 times and look forward to it, but it was not an easy friendship from the start.
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 09:38 AM
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I agree about Rome. I hated it the first time I went there and didn't return for a very long time. I'm a more experience traveler now and Rome doesn't bother me but it's still a very noisy, chaotic city. I worked with a woman who went to Rome 7 times before she liked it. I would never have given it that many chances.

You do need to know how to cross a street before you get to Rome. If you cross in a crosswalk, the drivers will stop for you (even though it appears that they will not). If you cross outside of a crosswalk the drivers will slow down but will not stop. No matter where you cross, once you begin your crossing do not stop for anything as stopping confuses drivers and is apt to get you killed. Once you step off the curb you must continue.
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 09:48 AM
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My first time in Rome was for a long weekend (longer than you are allocating . . . I was living in the UK at the time so weekends in major cities were pretty frequent)

. . . And I could not get out of there fast enough. Truly made my head spin. I hated it. but my ex convinced me we should try again - I think it was my 3rd visit before I was happy there. Been a total of 4 times - the last for a week and while it still isn't my favorite city, I do enjoy it there.
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 09:55 AM
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To each his/her own. I much prefer Rome over Paris. It was love at first sight, and I can't get enough of the place. I also loved Paris the first time I visited, but each time I've returned I've enjoyed it less and less. Our week in Oct. 2013 will probably be our last visit for a long time.
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 10:10 AM
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Fables, only you will know if you will regret skipping Paris. By asking the question in the first place, I think you would.

As you can see, everyone has their own preferences. Is chocolate or vanilla ice cream better?

Each big city you mention has something for everyone. I loved every single one, and they are all different.
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 11:10 AM
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Fables-Congratulations to you for sticking around on this board and allowing yourself to get kicked around. Sometimes it's rough going. Incidentally, Paris is just plain beautiful. Last September, we included it in our Cinque Terre/ London trip just to look at it.
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 11:15 AM
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There are a lot of Paris-philes here at Fodors. I'm not one of them. Sounds like Italy is a priority for you, so Rome makes sense. If you decide to skip Paris this trip, consider flying from London to Naples. Do the Amalfi sites, then go to Rome. Get your airplane tickets to fly into London, out of Rome. (Open jaws -- or multi-city -- trip, saves you the time and money to backtrack.)

I'm concerned that you haven't allowed enough time for each change of base. For example, 3 full days in London means 4 nights. If you then move on to the Cotswolds, It will take you time to check out of your hotel, transport yourself to Moreton in Marsh and then onto Bourton-on-the-Water. And then check into your new place. Allow half a day for each such change. Picking up a rental car takes time also. (I always wonder why so much?)

Lay out your itinerary in nights, not days, and take into account travel time. Getting to Amalfi in not a easy jaunt. At the end of your trip how are you getting home? As a general rule in Italy, I always get to the city of my departure the night before. Things can happen, like strikes, traffic accidents, traffic jams, breakdowns.

Welcome to the wonderful world of travel planning. I love it, but I'm always having to cut out some place I really want to see.
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 11:19 AM
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Your idea that Paris is the gastronomic center of the world is ind of odd.

IMHO Belgium has much better food than France and there is plenty of basic, everyday food in Paris - some good - some not so good. Also there are a ton of historic sights - beyond museums. Granted Haussmann destroyed much of midieval Paris in the 1870s to create the Grand boulevards - but there are still many older areas - and wonderful places to visit for history, architecture, etc (what about the Louvre - outside, Versailles, Ile St Louis, etc)?

Paris has everything you have asked for - and really isn't any more formal or sophisticated than many other world capitals - that's just in your mind.

But only you can decide where you want to spend your limited time - I just encourage you not to spread yourself too thin. (And yes, bouncing around the Amalfi coast makes no sense. This is a small area with short trait times - if you want to overnight on Capri - fine - but then do 2 hotels only - and travel between towns by bus or ferry).
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 11:31 AM
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My personal city ranking is:

1) Paris
2) London
3) Rome

All are great!

There is just something about Paris that my wife and I love. The architecture, the Seine, St. Germaine des Pres, the cafes. I loved it the first time I went there back in college. I love it even more with my wife! We always make it a point to spend at least one night in Paris every trip to Europe. After seeing all of the popular tourist sights, we love to just get lost walking down city streets and discovering new delis, cafes, wine shops, etc. etc.

Paris je t'aime!

London is just pure energy!! I grew up in NYC and thought NYC was happening. London might be more fast paced than NYC. I love the vibe, I love the energy!

Back in college, me and my buddies went from London to Paris to Rome. We had 4 days dedicated to Rome and left after 3. My feeling was after being in Paris, Rome didn't compare.

That's just me! I did enjoy Rome, love the food, the popular tourist spots. For some reason, I just wanted to move on to someplace quieter!!

I'm with the group above that thinks if you miss Paris, you might regret it! (We are all different though...)

Good luck to whatever you decide!
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 12:00 PM
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Poor Fables! You have been subjected to the worst this place can do to a poster. You must be figuring out that everyone has their own opinion about what MUST not be missed. You MUST find out for yourself. Furthermore, for me, my "favorite" has evolved over the years. Italy used to be my must. I love London but suddenly I don't want to go there so much. My reasons for going to Paris every year are completely different than they were a dozen years ago when it was a new experience for me.

Also, the pace at which you visit places is very personal. I hope you'll take all the advice you get here and use it to figure out what you would be most happy with.

If you said if you will do this trip with others or alone, that might make a difference. I think some places lend themselves more to solo travel than others.
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 12:41 PM
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Just wanted to jump on quickly and say thank you to everyone. My ego is a little bruised and I am trying not to become too defensive. I am determined to learn from this post and all of you. I'll will be on tonight to respond more in depth and learn more. So keep it coming, I can take it
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 12:46 PM
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Would I regret skipping Paris?

If you don't go, you'll never know
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Old Jan 21st, 2014, 01:18 PM
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I have a close friend who won't go to places where all they have is scenery. He would solve your problem by bagging Amalfi and Capri. They do have history as well as scenery, but the more practical problem is that you can't fly home from there. You have to get " all the way" back to Rome. These changes of base, as Mimar usefully calls them, eat up a lot of time.

There are other things going on here. If you like places like the Cotswolds and the attractions you mention in Kent, consider leaving London out of your equation. If you loved museums, that would be awful because some of the best in the wold are there, but it is big, fast-paced, dirty, and expensive. What would you need to do and see there to make it worthwhile to put up with that?

If you don't skip Paris and fly directly from London to Rome, be sure to take the train to Paris. Flying takes much longer door to door, and though St Pancras is almost as bad as an airport, it is in the middle of town and you are there a much shorter time.

If you do go to Paris, you can skip the Eiffel Tower and should skip the Champs Élysées and Montmartre. If you like gardens, go to the Musee Marmottan in a leafy suburb to see Monet's or the Rodin Museum with its own garden and save the Louvre and the Orsay for another trip. Visit one of the house museums, see some churches, take a vedette on the river at dusk, go for a walk past Notre Dame at night, then along the Seine. Hang out near the sailboat pond in the Luxembourg. Make a visit centered around what you like. When you get home and people tell you what you should have seen, tell them you have your own places. Don't feel you have to shop or eat anywhere just because it was recommended.
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