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France & Italy December 2010

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1. Posted by deediaz (Budding Member 40 posts) 6y

We are planning a trip to Europe in December 2010 (Dec. 16-Jan. 2). We were planning on flying from Miami to Paris then train to Marseilles and Nice over to Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome. We are fully aware of the weather that time of year but it does not deter us. We're not looking for any winter sports. Does anyone have any recommendations for any type of markets, restaurants, hostels, hotels, etc.. in those areas. It will be our first trip to Europe.

Also, any recommendations on where to spend Christmas and New Years Eve would be appreciated.

Thanks,
D & O

Posts 2 - 4 were removed by moderators
5. Posted by Sallyxx (Budding Member 42 posts) 6y

Without a budget it's hard to know what to recommend. Usually when I travel to France I stay in one of the Accor group hotels, Ibis for cheap and cheerful, Novotel or Mercure for mid range, Sofitel when I'm feeling rich: http://www.accorhotels.com/

Specifically in Paris, I have stayed in several other independent hotels and my favourite mid-range one is Hotel Michelet Odeon: http://www.hotelmicheletodeon.com/

When I have an early train to catch, I try to stay at an Ibis close to the railway station (make sure you have the right Ibis for the right railway station as there are several) for convenience.

In Paris you should avoid the cheapest no-name hotels. More often than not they have thin walls, bad furniture and inedible breakfasts. They're also usually far away from the centre.

I'd skip Marseilles and go to Lyon instead. It's a gorgeous city and easy to get to/from Paris and Nice.

In Italy, I'd consider trimming down your time in Milan in favour of spending time in Verona instead. Milan is nice for shopping but Verona is gorgeous (and also nice for shopping). Also see if you can stop at one of the lakes near Milan. The train from Milan to Venice goes right past Lake Garda.

When we did a similar trip, we used Brescia as our base. It's a nice enough town, some good ruins and churches to look at, but most importantly the hotels were cheaper than either Milan or Venice. We did Milan, Verona and Venice as day trips from Brescia. Nothing easier.

Check out which of the places you'll be visiting have Christmas markets. This is more of a German/Austrian custom, but you can also find them in France and Italy. If you can fit it in your itinerary, the Christmas market in Colmar (Alsace) is awesome and very authentic due to the proximity to Germany. You could take the fast train from Paris to Strasbourg, overnight in Strasbourg and do Colmar as a day/evening trip. Christmas markets are best seen after dark. If Colmar is too much of a side trip, look out for Christmas markets in Paris. There will be at least one, although don't expect anything as amazing as Colmar.

Post 6 was removed by a moderator
7. Posted by C.Pearl (Budding Member 11 posts) 6y

Hostel Archi Rossi in Florence is GREAT!! One of the best hostels that I stayed at while traveling through Europe!! Look it up on hostelbookers.com

A great day trip from Florence is Siena, very cute quiant little town. Another really fun one is Cinque Terre (look it up online for more info.). Cinque Terre offers beautiful views and a nice hike if you are into that sort of thing but it took a bit of time to get there, well worth it in my opinion but something to keep in mind.

If you get a chance try to see Lake Garda!! I would highly recommend staying there for a few days if possible. I did a day trip from Venice and it definitely took some time to get there and back, I was really only there long enough to get a taste of it but the 3 hr boat ride from the south to the north of the lake (Limone) was absolutely beautiful and I really really loved it!!

As far as Rome goes, it's amazing!! The only recommendation that I can really give you is to not stay at MJ Place Hostel (or something similar to this!!). I hear great things about Alessandro Hostel. Check it out and let me know!

Hope this gives you some ideas and helps a little!!!

8. Posted by deediaz (Budding Member 40 posts) 6y

Quoting C.Pearl

If you get a chance try to see Lake Garda!! I would highly recommend staying there for a few days if possible. I did a day trip from Venice and it definitely took some time to get there and back, I was really only there long enough to get a taste of it but the 3 hr boat ride from the south to the north of the lake (Limone) was absolutely beautiful and I really really loved it!!

Thanks so much for your reply!! I've heard about the beauty of Lake Garda but I think we might leave that for our next trip to Italy (hopefully in warmer months).

I did look into Hostel Archi Rossi, I think that will be our place to stay!! thanks for the insight

9. Posted by deediaz (Budding Member 40 posts) 6y

Quoting Sallyxx

I'd skip Marseilles and go to Lyon instead. It's a gorgeous city and easy to get to/from Paris and Nice.

In Italy, I'd consider trimming down your time in Milan in favour of spending time in Verona instead. Milan is nice for shopping but Verona is gorgeous (and also nice for shopping). Also see if you can stop at one of the lakes near Milan. The train from Milan to Venice goes right past Lake Garda.

When we did a similar trip, we used Brescia as our base. It's a nice enough town, some good ruins and churches to look at, but most importantly the hotels were cheaper than either Milan or Venice. We did Milan, Verona and Venice as day trips from Brescia. Nothing easier.

Thanks for the idea on skipping Marseilles and checking out Lyon, we're looking into it now. We might actually skip Milan also and spend more time in Florence/Rome and explore the surrounding areas.

Also, I looked up the christmas market in Colmar, it looks amazing and hopefully we can find a way to squeeze it in to our itinerary!

Thanks for the information.

10. Posted by laurim (Respected Member 260 posts) 6y

Quoting C.Pearl

Hostel Archi Rossi in Florence is GREAT!! One of the best hostels that I stayed at while traveling through Europe!! Look it up on hostelbookers.com

I second that! They had free city tours, free breakfast, free internet and it was in a great location.