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France and Italy for 10 days

Hi all,

I'll be taking my family to Europe during the month of June. We'll have 10 days on the ground and we're having a bit of trouble narrowing down our itinerary. Most of our family has seen London, but nowhere else in Europe, so they're wanting to see a good overview of the places. We have two potential options, but I'm a bit concerned that they're too ambitious.

Option 1: 2 days in Paris

travel to Lucerne. 1.5 days in Lucerne
Lucerne to Cinque Terre (connect trains in Milan)
1.5-2 days in Cinque Terre
Florence

Option 2: 2 days in Paris

travel Paris to Avignon;
2-3 days in Provence
Provence to Nice (1 night) Nice to Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre (2 days
Florence

any thoughts? They both involve quite a bit of travel, but our family has a wide array of interests and must-sees.

Thanks in advance for the help!

Posted by
486 posts

I would suggest picking no more than three places and maybe two bases with day trips if needed. Cinque Terre, while a nice and pretty place, would not be top on my list for such a short first visit. You will also save time and money if you pick places that are geographically closer together.

Posted by
7124 posts

I think you should consider France OR Italy for 10 days.

Paris (4N) >> Provence (3N) >> Côte d'Azur (3N)

Rome (4N) >> Florence (3N) >> Venice (3N)

Posted by
1060 posts

Hi Kate. Obviously it depends on your priorities. Looks like you want to do both Paris and CT. If so, one option is fly from Paris to Pisa (Easy Jet or other airline) to avoid spending too much time in transit. I really like CT so I would suggest three nights there to give you two full days. Then to Florence and/or Rome. In my opinion, one day in Florence is enough, but others will disagree. Probably better flight options home from Rome so you may want to include that, and train from Florence to Rome is less than two hours. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
17098 posts

You're at risk of spending a huge percentage of your vacation time in transit from place to place. It's a temptation everyone faces because there are so many wonderful options. It is, however, not the way to have a wonderful trip, especially if there are children involved. I think you may perhaps not have researched travel times. You propose 1-1/2 days in Lucerne, but even if you are willing to take a 7:57 AM train from Paris, you will not reach Lucerne until 1:55 PM. It will probably be 3 PM by the time you are settled into your hotel room and ready to head out to see the city, so that's not a half-day of sightseeing. And are you really going to try to get your family to the train station in Paris early enough to catch that 7:57 AM train?

I find the Deutsche Bahn website the easiest to use when looking for train schedules. You can easily check the travel times between places you hope to visit. Pick a date at least two days in the future so you can see all the trains and set the departure time to whatever morning time you think might work for you. For final planning you'll need to use precise travel dates, but quick-and-dirty will probably give you relatively accurate durations.

To get prices and buy tickets, you'll need to go elsewhere unless you decide to travel to Germany.

I'm concerned about the time you propose to spend in Paris, which it seems is a must for you. In giving yourself two nights there, you are probably limiting yourself to one day of sightseeing (Day 2 in Europe) and a partial day of wandering around sleep-deprived and jetlagged. That certainly would not be enough for me on my first trip (or any trip) to Paris.

I suggest you have a serious conversation with your travel group about the impossibility of doing what everyone wants to do in only ten days (which is really only 9 non-jetlagged days, if you're lucky). You'll all have a lot more fun if you travel less and really see two or at most three places that are well-connected, ideally by rail.

Posted by
444 posts

Start in Paris, 5 Nights
Fly to Venice, 3 Nights
Florence 2 Nights

Posted by
4125 posts

This is not feasible for a family with only ten days.

I gather your main priority in Italy is the Cinque Terre. It is hard to get there from France. Your best bet would be to fly to Milan from Paris.

But I think you would be better advised to save the CT for a trip where you are seeing more of Italy and can work it in to your itinerary. Maybe that is this trip if you forgo France this time.

If you are starting in Paris, however, I would suggest selecting another destination that provides similar values (Ocean? Rugged coastline? Rural? Mountains?) but is logistically more congruent.

Consider this: There is a fine line between "overview" and "blur."

Posted by
1772 posts

Full disclosure I have never been and may be way off base but....I never understand the CT appeal. Maybe 15 years ago when Rick first started writing about it but now it seems like Disneyland. If they can park a cruise ship nearby it is probably not for me. Scenic from the pictures for sure but it doesn't check any other boxes on my list. Also it is multiple modes of transportation to get to from Paris.

Paris 3 nights, Fly Florence 2 nights, Train to Rome 3 nights and maybe spend 1 night in Orvieto between Florence and Rome. A relatively easy trip.