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2 weeks to travel France/Italy

Minneapolis...
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2 weeks to travel France/Italy

I know there are a lot of forum topics out there regarding France and Italy trip planning, but I have a few specific questions, and wonder if any of you Europe experts out there could help us out.

My husband and I (in our late twenties) plan to spend 2 full weeks in France and Italy this fall (September/October), our first trip to Europe proper! We know for sure that we want to fly into Paris and spend a good chunk of time there, getting to know the city, maybe 5 days? We plan to save money by staying in an apartment instead of hotel, and skipping the Louvre for the D'Orsay and perhaps some free activities like the Tuileries gardens and picnics by the Siene. We also know we want to spend some time in Florence, as I am an artist, and we are both art enthusiasts. Maybe 3-5 days? Now, we would love to fly out of Rome, if possible, as it looks like it is the cheapest to book open-jaw tickets. So, if there isnt time for Rome (and I am assuming there isnt, as it could be its own trip!), where else can we visit either along the way (Nice, Cannes, Cinque Terre?) or after Florence and before flying out of Rome (Naples, Amalfi Coast, ??) It looks like it is pretty easy to take the train to any of these, but I'm looking for recommendations on what is most efficient/cost effective, as we are on a budget, and dont want to get too worn out. For instance, would it be better to fly straight from Paris to Florence (and cut out some travel time), and go down the coast of Italy from there, versus stopping on the Cote D'Azure via train? We are looking to get some relaxing beach time in addition to the hustle and bustle of the cities, as my husband gets pretty stressed during travel! Plus, it would add another facet to seeing Europe than just seeing the cities.

Thoughts?

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England, United...
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1. Re: 2 weeks to travel France/Italy

My first impression is that you won't have time to visit all the places mentioned as the first and last days will be taken up in travelling from/to the airport and check-in time before your flights. This will effectively reduce your 12 days to 10. In addition, you don't want to end up with a stressed, travel weary husband - never a good thing to go home with!

If you are flying into Paris, I suggest you spend at least 4-5 nights there. You will probably feel a bit jet lagged on your first day and it's always a good idea to familiarise yourself with your immediate surroundings on Day1. 4 nights will give you 3 full days to enjoy some of your chosen sights in Paris.

If you wanted to travel from Paris to the South of France, you could take a TGV (high speed train).

www.voyages-sncf.com (click on the English version). It is best to book the tickets yourself as RailEurope is an agency, not an actual rail network, and will likely cost more.

Check out this website for travel from Paris to Florence/Rome etc.

www.seat61.com

The Man in Seat 61 is a helpful contributor to Trip Advisor and I suggest you post any train specific questions on the separate Train Travel Forum.

This should get you started but my advice is to prune your itinerary, selecting perhaps three places that would allow you time to breathe.

Edited: 26 February 2014, 22:09
Minneapolis...
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2. Re: 2 weeks to travel France/Italy

Thanks Pamjo! Absolutely yes, to clarify, I do not intend to make it to all of the places listed, I am just looking for suggestions for which to visit. I assume adding even one of these locations will be pushing it stress-wise, but we'd really love to take in the beach somewhere for a few days! So, which is a must-see, the most laid-back, most cost-efficient? I would appreciate any suggestions, as I have never been, and can't decide how to organize the trip. There is just so much information out there!

Adelaide, Australia
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3. Re: 2 weeks to travel France/Italy

Paris to Florence fly www.vueling.com

Trains Florence to Rome and Fiumicino airport www.trenitalia.com Click on the UK flag for current train times.

You can take the Trenitalia train in the morning to Pisa, later to Lucca, returning by train to Florence.

Buses Florence to Siena and San Gimignano www.busfox.com/timetable

www.discovertuscany.com www.aboutpisa.info www.lucca.ca www.rome.info www.timeout.com/rome

www.parisinfo.com www.timeout.com/paris www.parismetro.com

Accommodation www.venere.com

England, United...
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4. Re: 2 weeks to travel France/Italy

Just to add: if you want to go to Florence (and IMO as an art lover you really should try to get there) book your tickets for the Uffizi gallery on line before your visit. You will still have to join a queue but it is separate to the very long queue of "hopefuls" who haven't prebooked.

Michel Angelo's "Statue of David" is in the Accademia gallery not the Uffizi (where a lot of people think it is) and again, you can pre-book.

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5. Re: 2 weeks to travel France/Italy

You are an art lover and plan to skip the Louvre and the Orsay? Please reconsider!

Minneapolis...
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6. Re: 2 weeks to travel France/Italy

We plan to skip the Louvre (this time), in lieu of the D'Orsay. Not both! We are young and on a budget, so we have to make our sacrifices, but rest assured that we'll be back to Paris again, hopefully with more cash, and will spend the 3 days just at the Louvre that it deserves :)

England, United...
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7. Re: 2 weeks to travel France/Italy

Well, when you do return to Paris (with more cash!) hop on a Eurostar to London and visit the many wonderful art galleries there.

Minneapolis...
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8. Re: 2 weeks to travel France/Italy

I know, can't wait to visit London! My top pick was Paris, and my husband's was Florence, so that's what we're doing for now.

England, United...
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9. Re: 2 weeks to travel France/Italy

That's the democratic way to enjoy travel - have fun!

10. Re: 2 weeks to travel France/Italy

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