I'm planning to travel alone next January. It's the first time I'll be travelling to Europe, and all by myself. I'm thinking one month in London and one in Paris. But let's just focus on Paris in this post.
Thing is my family is telling me that it is not such a great idea to stay just in one place, that I should use my time to see a lot of places (different countries and cities, from Spain to Greece, just to say something), but I'm reeeeeally digging the idea of staying in one place and getting to really know it. I'm not saying that I'll get a room in the seventh arrondissement and never ever leave the Eiffel Tower since I do want to visit as much as I can. I've even thought about leaving for the day and then taking a night train or so to come back, so I could sleep while travelling, but I don't know if that's just madness.
Priority number one is Paris, of course, with the arrondissements that I want to visit the most - but I'd also love to get to visit another places like Brittany/Bretagne, Normandy/Normandie, Burgundy/Bourgogne...
My question is... Is it a good idea? Getting a room in Paris and then using transportation for getting to other cities? Is my plan a good one? In which city would you say should I get a room? Any advice or things I have not noticed/mentioned? Any places you think I must visit?
I'm really really lost, and I'd absolutely appreciate if you could give me some information and tips!
P.S: If you'd like to help me out with the London part, you can do it here: http://www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?thread=86943
I think it's a great idea! You'll really get to know the city- and in Paris or London, you'll never be bored.
"When a man is tired of London [or Paris], he is tired of life." -Samuel Johnson
Are you planning to do some French language study while you are there?
I'd recommend visiting the English Channel coast, while you are in Paris. It is not too far away, and quite beautiful.
The only thing I'd question is your timing. Paris in January might be rather cold.
Actually, I've been studying french for five years, so that's covered! I'm still studying and will continue next year, and that should be my last course. Yay!
And I would be arriving in France in february... Is it still very cold??? But that will have to do, it's next february or never!!!
Thank you for your encouraging response! If you get to know more "tips" keep them coming!
[ Edit: Edited on 14-Mar-2012, at 22:35 by everymanjack ]
I can only agree, you should go to the channel coast. For example, you can go to Calais by train from Paris and then walk along the coast.
Other cities around Paris that I've been to and can recommend are Reims, Chartres and Rouen. A bit farer away but still ok for a day trip: Angers and Le Havre. Le Havre itself is not that beautiful (has been destroyed during WW II), but the Normandy coast to the north is, as is the little town of Honfleur on the other side of the river Seine. You could make this a 2 or 3 day trip: Visiting Rouen during the first day, going to Le Havre in the evening to stay one or two nights and explore the surroundings. By the way: the train track Paris - Rouen - Le Havre follows mostly the Seine valley, so it is worth a trip in itself.
Another idea for a two day trip: Alsace. Stay e.g. in Strasbourg and get around with local trains to the surrounding cities, e.g. Colmar.
Enjoy your stay! It is certainly a good idea to mostly stay based in Paris. And February is certainly not "too cold". Of course you'll need a good jacket, but you might experience some wonderful sunny and nonetheless not too cold winter days!
If you have more questions, do not hesitate to ask.
Thank you so much, MlleKosuch! That sounds like great information. I like the fact that I would be able to go to all those places just by train, so I don't have to find a place to stay everywhere. You totally got what I wanted, and I'm certainly going to check those places out!
Any thoughts about Orléans? Also, I'd like to see Bretagne, but I'm afraid that's total wishful thinking... it's too far away! Isn't it?
(By the way: I am really bad with geography, so with a little help from wikipedia and a map in one of my french textbooks I was able to decipher what you told me. It's not that I am a complete worldmap-pro. I hope this trip helps me with my geographic issues! I am terrible, and that's just being kind! Haha.)