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First timers to France and Italy-trying to do both western France and northern Italy.

Trip dates driven by free seats using Snagged Business Class Atlanta- Paris May 4 and First Class from Venice-Atlanta May 18. Thinking 1st week Normandy, Loire and maybe Versailles and then EITHER drive on to Nice OR come back to Paris and fly to Venice. I want to tour northern Italy ( Lake Como etc ) and then a few days at the end in Venice. Was driving to Nice mainly to drop car ( can't drop France to Italy ). At Nice we would train over to Milan, get car for Lake Como, and then drop in Venice.

Liberal but practical budget. I realize Venice housing will be very high; thats ok. Not much for B&B's prefer to pay for regular hotels with all the features as best possible.

As said, we like to sightsee from a car window, love poking around back roads, can get out to see major attractions. Don't hike, canoe or climb.

Help please.

Posted by
3185 posts

I'd come back to Paris and fly to Italy, maybe Milan. I have driven from Paris to Nice and it takes just about forever even though it does not seem like it will when you map it out. If you fly from Paris to Venice, be mindful of the difference between the luggage requirement for transAtlantic flights versus flights within Europe.

Posted by
3696 posts

If you keep the France part to the north it will probably be easier to return to Paris, as suggested and fly to Italy. Milan would be a good choice if you intend to go north and do the Lake Como are, you could then drop car in Venice before your stay there.... I have driven all over these areas and that seems like the best plan. As stated, the drive to Nice does take a lot longer than expected, especially because there are so many distractions along the way and beautiful places to visit it is hard to bypass them... also can be lots of just to go point to point I would fly.

Posted by
8176 posts

Definitely fly from Paris to Milan or Venice. It will be a bit pressed to fit this all in with 13 days on the ground. (arrival May 5 and let's face it May 18th is just departure day - so you won't be doing any touring that day).

e.g. see how it shakes out with a sample itinerary (of course you can take days away from one place and give them to another, and I just arbitrarily put Loire before Normandy, which may not be your preference):

arrival day into Paris - take train to Loire
days 2-4 Loire
days 5-8 Normandy
day 9 - Normandy back to Paris and fly to Milan; train out that evening to Varenna?
days 10-12 Lake Como
Day 13 - venice
Day 14 - depart from Venice airport

Posted by
3185 posts

I really like the suggested itinerary above. My only suggestion/tweak would be to take one of the days away from Normandy and add it to Venice, which is a place that I think deserves more than one full day unless you have been there previously.

Posted by
9 posts

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who offered help, it has saved me a ton of worry and work !

Posted by
1019 posts

I have to add. France is a BIG country. We tend to think of European states being the size of Wisconsin or maybe even Minnesota. France is 5 times the size of Wisconsin. Think of it as N and S Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Italy is no small chump change either. But northern France, and I think you mean Normandy, is like being next to Montana and saying I want to see the Mississippi. And then go to Illinois and Ohio.

Yes, you can. But it means a lot of meaningless four lane highway driving. And driving a super highway is not enjoyable nor visiting a country. I say this from experience. We had 10 days and I said, "let's restrict ourselves to two counties, Normande and Brittiany. Yea god and little fishes. Those are two strung out counties. We only touched them.

And flying ties up at least a day every time you want to change locations, quicker than driving, but still a day shot in the butt.

So beware, they are big countries.

wayne, and come to think of Bourgogne France right now

Posted by
109 posts

honfleur in normandy is a beautiful stop, tho not within easy driving distance of the d-day beaches. stay in bellagio on lago di como, and get a second story room at hotel florence with a balcony overlooking the lake, nick