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What Do you Think? Long Talked About September Itinerary

Christmas is finally put to bed so it's time to get serious about my September trip. I've made several comments over the past year eluding to the trip I want to take and signed up for. It's my first solo trip. I've researched, changed my plans, then researched a lot more. I think I have everything covered without going crazy and overdoing, plus taking into account venue closure days. If you don't mind giving me a little feedback about my itinerary I'd appreciate it.

A few givens:
1) Refundable plane tickets have been bought on United, open jaw from PHX to LHR 8/31 and VCE to PHX 9/28. Depending on Covid quarantine rules in summer, I may consider changing to PHX to CDG. But I don't want to because
2) A friend from Dublin is meeting me in London for the weekend.
3) The day trip to Trieste from Venice is non-negotiable so I can see Lipica Lippizan horse performance on Sunday 9/25.
4) Hotels have been reserved but all are cancellable. Thank you, all were recommended on the Forum.

Hope this doesn't bore you too much but instead of condensing time, I decided to lay out my plans per day:
8/31 overnight flight PHX to LHR
9/1 London: check in to Cherry Court Hotel; Royal Mews; either London Walks Westminster tour or RS Westminster audio walk
9/2 London: Hyde Park trail ride; Kensington Palace; Wallace Collection (all except rent-a-nag may change when friend flies in)
9/3 London: Tower of London; Theater
9/4 London: Hampton Court day trip
9/5 London: British Museum; dinner with hubby's cousin if he's in town or Eating London East End lunch tour
9/6 Paris: Eurostar to Paris; check in to Hôtel de Clement; Paris Walks French Revolution Walk or RS Historic Paris Walk
9/7 Paris: Museé des Arts Decoratifs; Museé Nissim de Camando; Bus 69 to Pere Lachais Cemetery
9/8 Paris: Take Walks Heart of Paris tour; Museé de Cluny; Shakespeare & Co
9/9 Paris: Marais walk-about; Eating Europe Julia Child tour; Rodin Museum if time; 2CV Paris night tour
9/10 Chartres: Train to Chartres, check in to RS hotel, explore town, stained glass shopping; Chartres en Lumieres
9/11 Chartres: Old Chartres Fortification river walk; Museé des Beaux-Arts; RS South of France tour begins @ 5pm
9/12 to 9/22: RS South of France tour
9/23 Milan: Train from Nice (end of RS tour) to Milan; check in to Hotel Berna; Duoma di Milano; Galleria Vittorio Emmanuel II
9/24 Venice: Train to Venice; check in to B&B Corte Campana; Mocenigo Palazzo; Ca'Rezzonico
9/25 Venice: day trip to Trieste/Lipica for Lippizan horses
9/26 Venice: Murano, Burano, Tortello; Christmas ornament shopping
9/27 Venice: Carlo Goldoni House; Venice Free Walks Campo SS Apostoli; Basilica del Frari hopefully for concert
9/28 fly home to PHX

Thanks everyone for all that I've learned in the past four years. You are all amazing.

Posted by
3144 posts

If you like stained glass, you must go to Sainte Chappelle in Paris.

Posted by
20868 posts

I like the variety of activities you have each day and that you're dialing it back just a bit on September 10 and 11 so you won't be exhausted when your tour begins.

I don't know how easy it will be to get to all three of the Venetian islands in one day and still have time to shop for Christmas ornaments, but I haven't been to Torcello yet and am not knowledgeable about the vaporetto schedule.

Posted by
1537 posts

Cala, Sainte Chapelle is planned for. It is included in the Take Walks Heart of Paris tour. If they change that, my alternate plan includes it. I should have added that I have alternate sightseeing plans for London and Paris in case something is closed. My plans are somewhat flexible.

acraven, if I run tight on time, I will drop Tortello. As with many things in Europe, time and distance look different on a map than in reality.

Nick, I won’t have time for the Last Supper. Milan is really a stop over to break up the train ride from Nice to Venice. But it gives me a quick view of somewhere I haven’t been.
This is my second trip to Venice. Sister-in-law and I were there for three nights in 2019 but there were problems so I didn’t get to all I wanted to.

Posted by
9576 posts

OMG...this sounds wonderful! I have a few thoughts, some relevant, some not, lolol!!

9/4: On a tour of the Royal Mews a few years ago one of the docents there said the horses go on vacation out to Hampton Court during the summer, lol! They keep 3-4 in the stables for folks to view. I asked at Hampton Court and there is no way to see the stables there.

9/7: This sounds like too much. I might start with Pere Lachaise because you could get there early, taking the Metro to the Gambetta station and then you can walk downhill thru the cemetery. You could take #69 back toward town. The route goes west on Rue de Rivoli so easy to get off at Musee des Arts Decoratifs. If you have time you can work in Nissim Camondo but I think that will be too much.

9/8: Keep an eye on the Cluny Museum website. They still have "reopening Spring 2022" on their website so you'll check before you leave in the Fall to see if it actually reopened, lol.

https://www.musee-moyenage.fr/en/

The rest of your France time sounds wonderful. I'm glad you are going out to Chartres a day ahead of time!

Posted by
1537 posts

Pam, I’m willing to drop Pere Lachaise to have time for both museums. Do you think there’s enough time? Since I have 100 to 150+ year old Victoria furniture, I am interested in antique furniture and both have that. I’m hoping Cluny is open by September.

Posted by
3264 posts

Another OMG! What a great itinerary! We loved the South of France Tour. We were there in September 2013. I may have remarked in a previous post that our guide surprised us with a visit to the Camargue to see the wild horses & Flamingoes! Chartres was another highlight of the tour!!

Venice: We opted not to go to Murano. We found lots of glass to see in Venice (& less expensive). We chose to go to Burano & Torcello. We went to Burano in am, shopped, had an early lunch and hopped over to Torcello, just 5 mins away. Sooo glad we did. The remarkable Byzantine Mosaics at Cathedral Santa Maria were the best we’ve ever seen. Unforgettable. They provide an audio guide. On another gorgeous am we took a quick Vaporetto to San Giorgio Maggiore to look back at Venice from the tower! Amazing. We had time to visit Lido during the Venice Film Festival as well. Our main purpose in Lido was visiting my husbands ancestry at the cemetery.

Posted by
9576 posts

I think if you dropped Pere Lachaise you’d definitely have time for both Arts Decoratif and Camondo. You don’t have to 100% decide ahead of time depending on the need for timed entries. I’d not worry about having to book far ahead for either museum. If it’s a beautiful day and you want to be outside then you can switch to the cemetery!

If it IS a pretty day you can also walk in Parc Monceau which Camondo backs up to.

Posted by
4372 posts

Excellent itinerary, Horsewoofie!

If one of your museums is closed in Paris, I enjoyed Musee Jacquemart-Andre last time I was in Paris. It’s a smaller one but beautiful art & some furniture in a gorgeous building! I think half of my photos were the furnishings & half were the building interior.

Posted by
2211 posts

I'm excited for you taking the South of France tour. The stained glass museum in Chartes is interesting. It was part of our tour but I'm not sure if it's always on the list or at the discretion of the guide.

I looked Hampton Court. The audio guide is very good.

Head to Murano/Burano early. I can't speak for Murano, but we took the 08:30 Burano vaporetto and had the place to ourselves for a couple of hours.

Posted by
1537 posts

Thanks Janis and Allan for the tour feedback. Camargue is on my Arles free time to do list. My plan is to go horseback riding there to see the horses and flamingoes up close. Hopefully a few tour friends will want to join me.

Jean, I appreciate the smaller museum hints. Keep them coming so I can add the them to my alternative list. I went to the Louvre and Versailles the only other time I visited France. Although that was in 1969, those sites don’t appeal to me now.

Posted by
20868 posts

I don't know that you'd have time to include Aigues Mortes on your free day in the Camargue, but it's a town with an intact medieval wall. Expect lots of tourists on the main streets, but I walked the entire walled area and was sometimes alone.

Posted by
1767 posts

Thank you for taking the time to write an organized post.
9/1 take both Westminster walks.
9/7 I’ve taken the bus 69 tour and found the bus windows too small. My sister and I took this tour together and decided it would be best to each have a window seat. However, my sister had a passenger sitting next to her who wanted to practice her English and would not stop talking and my sister missed seeing most of the sights. If going to Pere Lachais it still is the most scenic way to get there but if you’re not going to tour the cemetery skip it. I would take this tour instead at dusk if possible: https://2cvparistour.com/.
9/23 you’ll need to add an extra day here to see Milan since there are no direct trains and the fastest one takes 5h 15m. To be honest I would skip Milan and fly nonstop from Nice to Venice on Easyjet for less than $50. This way you can take one of the day tours you have planned for 9/26.

Posted by
27504 posts

hi Horsewoofie,

Because you hang out with horses a lot I am sure it is no news to you that they can be fly and bug magnets. My experience is that there are so many flies and bugs in the Camargue that the tiniest fly and bug magnet will draw plenty.

I'm sure you will be prepared - we weren't.

Posted by
1537 posts

MaryPat, thanks for the suggestions. The 2CV tour is planned for my last night in Paris 9/5. Seems like a good way to say “au revoir”. Both you and Pam have talked me out of taking Bus 69. Not as much fun as it sounded in RS Paris guidebook.
As for Milan, I don’t have an extra day to spend there. RS tour ends 9/23 early am and I need to be in Venice 9/24 for a very early day trip to Lipica 9/25 to see the Lippizan horses. I’d rather see a little of Milan than nothing. Since the Lippizan performance is only on Sunday starting in September, the timing can’t be changed.

Nigel, ugh! I know all about flies and more flies. Fall ones are the worst, vicious biters. I go through gallons of fly repellent a year. And that’s just for one very spoiled horse.
I’m packing packets of mosquito repellent and will remember to wipe on liberally. Thanks for the reminder.

Posted by
3264 posts

Horsewoofie, I will also add to the Mosquito issues. As much as we loved Arles, that’s where I experienced bites. I jokingly said it was the “Mosquito Capital of the World.” lol. We do carry Mosquito repellent wipes!!! Just saying..

Posted by
7453 posts

I’ve taken the bus 69 tour and found the bus windows too small.

??? They are full-sized bus windows

Posted by
27504 posts

I've been on that bus, and many other Paris bus routes. They all look the same to me.

Posted by
3639 posts

Starting from Nice, you will be in Milan before 3 PM.
That leaves you with enough time to see Duomo + VE II Gallery that same afternoon/evening, and arrange a Last Supper tour the following morning if you so desire. Not necessarily a "must-do", but you do seem very interested in museums, so it is worth considering.

Posted by
3264 posts

Horsewoofie,
I will add a couple of personal recommendations for Nice. In our free time we visited the wonderful Chagall & Matisse Museums. With your interest in stained glass, the Chagall auditorium is intentionally left dark, so to emphasize it’s vividly stained glass windows. In addition the building itself was designed as a place for meditation and serenity, it’s interiors provide a sense of calmness. The Mediterranean garden which surrounds the building also plays a fundamental role to give the museum that calmness Chagall desired so much. Flowering plants were included so to blossom every July 7th, Chagall’s birthday. Visiting was a lovely end to Nice.

Posted by
1537 posts

Janis, thank you for the Chagall information. It sounds lovely. I hadn't thought about visiting since I prefer "old" art, but the museum definitely sounds worth a visit (and an attitude rethink).

Posted by
1756 posts

If you are interested in furniture, the Petit Palais in Paris has a lot of it: Art Deco, Art Nouveau, etc.
There are also many paintings.
It's a free museum that no one seems to go to, it was only me last time I was there pre pandemic.
It's right across the road from the Grand Palais.
It also has a nice little cafe where you can sit out in a palm filled courtyard.
Nice for something different.

Posted by
1537 posts

Thank you SJ, Petit Palais looks wonderful. I might visit it instead of the Rodin Museum.

Posted by
1028 posts

horsewoofie,

This looks like a fabulous trip.

You and I will be in Paris at the same time. I have an eye on the Julia Child food tour. I can't take it the same day as you because that is the last day of my RS Paris city tour. I am staying another week on my own after that.

I have been to Milan and liked it more than the average forum member. I am not trying to get you to change your mind about your choices as you know what you want to do more than I, but I will add another vote for The Last Supper. I was able to spend one full day (after landing from an international flight) and night in Milan. I was able to tour the Duomo including the roof, visit the Galleria, have an afternoon snack at a cat cafe, see The Last Supper, visit Michelangelo's Pieta, and have a nice dinner. Of those activities, The Last Supper had the biggest impact on me and up to this point I have not been an art lover. But seeing that faded piece in situ was a terrific experience.

If you don't mind, I would like to ask you about your planning process. I enjoy planning a trip maybe more than the actual trip. I will be in Paris for 2 weeks in September and it will include the RS tour. I have been watching vlogs, movies, reading posts and books and overall generally planning, but won't plan out the individual days until it gets closer. Now that you have your plan in place what will you spend your time doing between now and then? Will you start planning the next trip?

Posted by
1537 posts

,Vandrabrud, I love the trip planning. Not only do I learn a lot about where I want to go and what to see, it's been a good way to spend Covid not going far from home time. And yes, I've started thinking about the next trip for June 2023 but there are too many variables now to start actual planning. I think I need to start a "how do you plan your trip" thread, maybe tomorrow.

Posted by
3590 posts

Milan: The Galleria is right off the cathedral square and architecturally worth seeing, could be a 15 minute walk through. Sometimes shows up on the list of first shopping center.

Last Supper: this is in poor condition and the restoration didn’t help. Not a must-see unless you would be disappointed to miss it.

Posted by
7453 posts

I don't really have any suggestions -- you have clearly really thought this through. It looks like a great plan.

Have fun !

Posted by
1645 posts

I was just going to say that we did the London Walks Westminster tour the day we arrived in London. I thought it was a perfect way to spend some time when jet lagged. It was interesting and fun and I really appreciated someone else figuring out where to go!