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1st trip to Europe, help in planning 9 days of touring France and Italy

Hi there, my daughter (14 y/o) will be making her first trip to France and Italy with mom in August for a total of 9 touring days. we are trying to put together a reasonable itinerary. They will be flying in to Paris and returning from Rome. Potential sites are Paris 2 days, Versailles?, Provence to Milan(?) Florence, Tuscany and Rome. Is this too ambitious, we could use some help in planning this trip.

Thank you, Mel

Posted by
6221 posts

Probably best to split the time between Paris and Rome. Presumably flying between Paris and Rome.?

Trying to add any ore destinations in such a short time frame and given the geographic spread would result in just rushing from one place to he next and not truly enjoying and seeing what there is at the destinations, Perhaps with good planning, could do Paris, Florence and Rome.

Three locations should be the max to try to do

Posted by
487 posts

There is no way you can do Paris, Versailles, Provence, Florence, Tuscany and Rome in 9 days.
Since you are going in August, skip Versailles for this trip - it will be hot and crowded and there is more than enough to see in Paris to keep you busy.

So, I'd suggest - 5 days in Paris, 1 travel day Paris to Rome, and then the remaining 3 days in Rome.

Posted by
2466 posts

First, I suggest you look at train travel times for the cities you want to visit.
The website www.maninseat61.com explains how European travel works.
Flying into Paris and returning from another city will save you some money.

Versailles will take at least 6 to 8 hours, and you will probably be exhausted in the August heat.
"Provence" is a very large region in France. You'd have to pick one city for your base.

"Tuscany" is the same thing. Pick a town for your base.

You should look at a map of France and Italy and try to narrow things down a bit.

Posted by
11613 posts

I woul split 4 nights Paris (daytrip to Chartres, not Versailles in the heat!), 4 nights Roma (daytrip to Ostia Antica or Orvieto), and one night elsewhere. Or, 3 nights each Paris, Venezia (will be crazy hot, perhaps substitute Firenze), Roma.

The distances to cover in your original plan are formidable.

Posted by
5702 posts

2 nights gives you one full day. Arrival day is pretty well shot with jet lag and the day you leave doesn't count. If you have 9 nights on the ground, that is 8 full days with one of those days largely taken up with the logistics of the move to Rome. Any major stop needs 3 days at minimum which is 4 nights and that is not generous. Your 8 full days is barely enough for Paris and Rome. I would not even plan a day trip from Paris unless the destination is at the top of your wish list. If you want to see a hit and run rush rush trip take a look at one of Rick Steves 22 days in Europe books and his itineraries. You of course don't have that much time, but you can see how to put together a rushed trip. IMHO trying to rush from one place to another spending almost all of your time on travel and on checking in and out of hotels and getting oriented will almost guarantee a miserable trip. It is also very expensive with little payoff i.e. all 'getting there' and almost no 'being there'. Would you take a week long trip in the US in which you visited Miami, Orlando, Charleston, Washington DC, NY City and Boston? That is what you are suggesting here.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all for your input, I agree, the initial itinerary is just too much. My daughter and wife may opt to go to london and countryside then take the high speed to France and spend a short stay or... delay trip till springtime. Thanks again for your help. Mel

Posted by
5702 posts

They can have a wonderful trip with 9 nights -- less is more. Either London or Paris would repay 9 nights 8 full days -- but half and half also works. Hope they have a great trip.

Posted by
2466 posts

Your child has plenty of time to travel in the future.
I'd suggest going to London for 3 days, and the countryside for 2. Then I'd go to Paris for 3 days.
Or - just forget the country and spend 4 days in London and 4 days in Paris.

Versailles will eat up 6 - 8 hours if she wants to see everything. Bike tours are an easy way to see the gardens and outbuildings.
I'd suggest booking the Private King's Apartment tour on the official website, because you will see things that others won't and will have a dedicated Pass Entrance, so will only have to go through Security.
You will need to shave off one whole day to allow for travel time.
This website gives everything you need to know about European train travel:
www.maninseat61.com