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1. Posted by rivya (Budding Member 4 posts) 9y

rivya has indicated that this thread is about France

Hello everyone,

My husband and I alongwith another couple wish to travel to Europe this coming summer/fall. We will all be starting from the US and wish to travel to three main coutries.

We are planning to make it a 2 weeks trip with France, Italy and Spain as our destinations. Ideally we would like to spend sometime in Paris, Barcelona,Venice, Rome, and along the spanish coast or the french riviera.

Since this will be our first time to Europe, we would like to get some help with planning this trip. If you could please give us tips and answer some of our questions it would be awesome...

1. What is the best time to travel top these places?
2. Is two weeks enough time to enjoy the cities given above?
3. Where can we find information about accomodation? Our budget is nominal and we would ideally want to live in a decent hotel/motel.
4. What is the best way to travel between destinations?
5. What is the best was to travel within the cities?
6. Is there a possibility to add more cities/destinations to this trip?
7. Is there anything in particular we should do in any of these cities, besides the generally recommended tourist spots?

Please respond to me with your expertise...
Rivya

2. Posted by shuwootie (Budding Member 4 posts) 9y

1) I went this past summer (July- August) and thought not only timing but weather was perfect as well!
2) I went on a Contiki where we visited London, Paris, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Venice, Florence and Rome all in 2 weeks and thought the amount of time was just right!
3. I say check out contiki.com because they basically set up your hotels and most meals for you as well, so its all hassle free.
4. I travelled by coach.

7. Paris- besides the tourist spots: the Eiffel Tower, the Lourve, Champse Elyse, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe and so forth I recommend trying Escargot, a baguette sandwich and a nutella crepe. Those are all worthwhile!
Venice- a gondola ride, a lace demonstration, glass blowing demonstrations and shopping around the city for cheap deals on wine and souveniers! I found a little shop that would sell 1L for only 1.5 Euros or so!
Rome- Everywhere in Rome is a sight to see! The spanish steps, the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the amazing Pantheon, Piazza Navona and much more!!

3. Posted by pfeiffer (Full Member 211 posts) 9y

Quoting rivya

Hello everyone,
1. What is the best time to travel top these places?

Avoid the southern countries such as Italy in August. It can be very warm and this is the local vacation time. (The first point I know from experience, the second from what I have read here and elsewhere.)

Have a lovely time. BTW, although you didn't ask, mid-May to early-July is a fantastic time to visit northern Europe, including Germany. The days are wonderfully long and sunny (in mid-June it will stay light until ten or even later) and everything is in bloom.

Fall can also be quite nice.

-Kevin
--
Kevin Pfeiffer

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 25, 2007, at 7:58 AM by pfeiffer ]

4. Posted by Herr Bert (Moderator 1384 posts) 9y

Hi,

1. Best way to travel is anywhere in between May and the end of September. Note that the Europeans usually have there own holidays in July and August, this means bigger crowds, higher prices (hotels), traffic jams on the motorways, and also this is the time of the highest temperatures.

I prefer to travel in May and June, because it is more relaxed, and what I think is a big advantage, is that the city is how it should be. The people that live there are at home, and living. In some place in July/August, you will find very little people at home (on holiday, themselves), and busloads of tourists. It gives some places a different feel.

2. I think the places you mention need some time to explore. I would stick with these for cities. Paris (4 days), Barcelona (3-4 days), Venice (2-3 days) and Rome (minimum of 4 days). It also depends on your interests. Would you be visiting places like the Louvre (you can spend a week in there and not see everything, if you want to visit, than concentrate on 1 wing (Denomwing?) for 1 day. It also depends on daytrips (Versailles from Paris, a couple of possiblilities from Barcelona (incl. some beachresorts, like Sitges), and Pompeii (a long, but doable daytrip from Rome.

3. You can check sites like www.hostelworld.com, www.gomio.com, www.hotels-europe.com. And ofcourse this one (check accommodation), but always read the reviews. Also of you would buy some books (like lonely planet), they recommend places. For the hostels, check the private rooms.

4. Sticking to these cities, I would fly Paris - Barcelona (check Vueling Airlines, Condor, Easyjet and AirEuropa for this bit. (RyanAir flies from Beauvais, and arriving at Gerona airport, but because you will already have a tight shedule, I would choose flights, that don't require you to travel up to two hours to get to the airport)

Barcelona - Venice i would alsl fly. (check Vueling Airlines, AlpiEagles, MyAir) As prices can vary by the day, check all of them. Also keep in mind, that prices will rise the longer you wait. tickets are often non-refundable, and can only be changed by paying an extra fee (25 euros for RyanAir tickets), and also take a look at the rules for you lugage.

Venice - Rome, you can take the train.

5. In most cities, it is best to walk if you want to see the most. I would consider buying a card for the Metro, or a public transportpass (that also includes Busses and Trams). For Venice you can also use water-taxi's, but check on the timetable, how far they go, and till when they are going. In Barcelona, you can find some attractions, that are not in the centre of town, so a Metro card, is best.

6. There is always a possiblity, but I wouldn't do it. You don't want to rush yourself, and leave with the feeling you missed-out on a couple of things you wanted to see. You can decide to do some daytrips, like I mentioned before.

7. Don't forget the Italian Icecream ... hmmmmmmmmm.

Buy combined tickets for Palatine Hill and the Colosseum at Palatine Hill, it saves you standing in line at the Colosseum (if it's is busy, it's a very long wait) Even if you wouldn't be too interested in Palatine Hill, it can save you a lot of time. Don't take English tours, that are offered outside of the Colosseum, use the proper sanctioned ones.

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 25, 2007, at 12:12 PM by Herr Bert ]

5. Posted by rivya (Budding Member 4 posts) 9y

thanks you everyone...for all the valuable advice you provided...I think we now have a direction...ofcourse that does not mean I will not need your help anymore...
Today, we plan to continue with out plans...and atleast outline the trip on paper...

With that done...we will move on to the harder piece...accomodation, air/rail booking etc. Once there...I will be calling on to you guys again....
Thank you once again...

6. Posted by cagey7 (Budding Member 8 posts) 9y

1) The best time would be end of August and September, as it won't be so crowded and hot then.
2) Two weeks is definetly not enough. That is, if you are not interested putting all your energy rushing through these cities. Paris and Rome would need 5 days, Venice and Barcelona would take 3 days.
3) For cheaper accommodation, try hostelz.com. But there aren't always the best places. P.S. Don't make reservations over there! You can also look www.booking.com.
4) Best way for Paris and Rome is metro, Barcelona walking and Venice water bus.
5) It's your trip
6) Lose the city map and just walk around. Seriously. Enjoy!

-snip-

[ Edit: sorry, no promos in the forum please. ]

7. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Quoting rivya

1. What is the best time to travel top these places?
2. Is two weeks enough time to enjoy the cities given above?
3. Where can we find information about accomodation? Our budget is nominal and we would ideally want to live in a decent hotel/motel.
4. What is the best way to travel between destinations?
5. What is the best was to travel within the cities?
6. Is there a possibility to add more cities/destinations to this trip?
7. Is there anything in particular we should do in any of these cities, besides the generally recommended tourist spots?

1. I think May, June, September or October.
These months are often quite warm, but there are not as many tourists, as in July and August. It would be easier to get hotel rooms and every tourist attraction wont have such huge queues.
2. Yeah, just about. Of course more time would be better. To see the French Riviera, u could take the train, from Rome, and make sure u get one that goes along the Italian and French Rivieras, during daylight hours. The views are fantastic, on that route. But I dont think u have time, to stop at the rivieras or the Spanish coast. But at least if u drive along them, or take the train, u will get to see what they are like.
3. I think if u google the city and hotels, u will get a list. Also, u will be able to book a lot of them, online.
4. I think the train is the best way to travel, between destinations. On long journeys, u could book a sleeper, and travel at night.
5. The cities have good public transport. U could buy day passes, to allow u to use the public transport, as much as u want, for a day. Or multi journey tickets. That is the most economical way.
6. I would not do that. I think u have just about enough time, to see the ones, that are on your list already.
7. Try lots of the local food, and sit at cafes and people watch. It is very relaxing. Many of us, here in Europe spend a lot of time doing this.
Mel