My wife and I, along with our two granddaughters ages 14 and 9, are planning a trip to Europe next summer (COVID permitting). We'll fly into Frankfurt, spend the night there, then catch a train for Paris the next day. We have reservations at a hotel in Paris near Gare du Nord, so I'm hoping for some tips on rail travel between the two cities. For example, is it best to use the airport Bahnhof, or should we proceed to the Hauptbahnhof? We'll likely stay in lodging near the airport, so that may help us make the decision. Thanks!
The current schedule shows DIRECT morning trains between Frankfurt and Paris Est at 6:56, 8:56, and 10:56 for the weekday I checked. There are no direct trains from FRA airport - stay there and you'll need to change trains somewhere. This is subject to change next year of course. But you'll likely a find similar offering then.
I would plan to spend the night somewhere near the Hbf in Frankfurt.
Once at Paris Est, you could even walk to the Gare du Nord. It's not far. We once traveled into Germany from Paris Est after making the walk from our Gare du Nord hotel. But a taxi should be fairly inexpensive.
Getting from FRA to the Hbf doesn't take more than 10 minutes or so on the S-Bahn. Use the underground Regionalbahnhof at the airport to catch one of these.
Right now there are 6 daily direct trains from Frankfurt to Paris and they all go from the Hbf and do not stop at the airport. From the airport you could either take the S-Bahn to the Hbf, or a mailnline train to Mannheim and connect there.
If you take the train 10 minutes to the Hauptbahnhof, exit by the main door and head down KaiserStrasse two blocks to Elbestrasse on the right. There you will find Hotel Victoria, with a lovely breakfast and a kindly staff.
(From the train station, you can also use a tunnel to walk under the street called Am HauptbahnStrasse and exit on the other side, without crossing through all the traffic.)
We last stayed there in 2019, just shortly before the pandemic, and it was a five-minute walk from the train station.
And 10 minutes away is a nice pizza place at 9 Nidenau (Pizzeria Sicilia). A further 10 minutes brings you to the Palmengarten, which is a nice wandering area. There is also a a Rewe close by that is on your way back. We usually go to the Rewe in the pedestrian center near MyZeil, which is about a 30 minute walk round-trip.
This is our first day set of activities to keep us awake and moving until the evening.
The only caveat I will give is that crossing Tanausstrasse on Elbestrasse brings you to the red light district, so you may want to detour a couple blocks to avoid this given the grandchildren with you.
Have a wonderful trip!
We'll fly into Frankfurt, spend the night there, then catch a train for Paris the next day.
I really don't understand. You plan on spending the night in Frankfurt, then going to Paris the next day, about 24 hours later. I don't consider 24 hours long enough to see much of anything. Frankfurt is not my favorite city in Europe, but I still don't think this does it justice. Or go down to the Rhein Gorge (Bacharach, St Goar, or Boppard) or the northern Black Forest (Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, or Gengenbach). See something of Germany before proceeding to Paris.
If all you want to do is see Paris, don't wait; fly directly into Paris. Paris does have an airport.
If I had to choose somewhere near the airport in Frankfurt for just one night, either a hotel at the airport or near the Frankfurt Hbf, I'd choose Mainz. I've done that several times. There are a number of hotels (e.g., Königshof) that I consider acceptable right across (approximately 100m) the Bahnhofplatz from the Mainz Hbf. Check them out; they are probably more reasonably priced than your other options.
I think heading to Heidelberg, mentioned above, is a very good idea! It takes about one hour by train from the airport, and the next day you can catch the TGV to Paris in Mannheim.
An evening and a morning is the perfect amount of time to explore Heidelberg, and it is perhaps more manageable than Frankfurt (which really did not do it for me when I visited 10 years ago, but maybe it has improved since).
Agree with Lee - give his suggestions some thought. You might take the ladies on a tour of Rheinfels Castle in St. Goar. Getting there is fun on a 1.5-hour cruise from the Rhine Gorge gateway town of Bingen, not far from Mainz. Bingen is roughly 1/2 hour from Mainz by train. From there to St. Goar, the cliffsides are littered with castles, vineyards, and attractive towns. Whether you've just arrived in Europe or are just about to leave, Mainz is a great town and very convenient to FRA airport by local train (20-25 minutes.)
I see from your past posts that you have already received the good suggestions to fly to Paris and to use open-jaw destinations to save valuable vacation time at (typically, today) no extra net cost. I suppose that a few big cities in the US may have limited flight choices, but Paris is not an obscure destination. (Some Americans, often veterans once posted to Europe, choose Frankfurt very quickly. ) You have mentioned Bavaria in the past, so please tell us if you have bought the air tickets and they cannot be changed.
Thanks for the replies! After reading them, it's clear that I should have included more info on our travel plans in my initial post. In Paris, we have reservations at the Hotel Residence des Artes near the Pont Neuf, a recommendation from another forum member (thanks!), thus my questions about rail transport to Paris. We plan to visit Paris (4 days), the UK (London and the Midlands--5 days), and then spending the last 1-2 weeks in Germany (mostly Bavaria), and possibly some trips into northern Italy (Venice, Pisa, etc). After doing some initial research into the cost and availability of flights out of San Francisco (nearest major airport to us) to Europe, we concluded that open jaw tickets would be more than twice as expensive as round trip tickets (I just reconfirmed this a few minutes ago using 1-way flights from SFO-CDG outbound and MUC-SFO on the return trip as my bases), so we decided to concentrate on round trip tickets out of a central location, in this case Frankfurt due to its significant number of international flights (including direct flights from SFO) and robust rail/highway connections. In general, we're thinking of Frankfurt-Paris-London/UK-Germany (maybe a side trip or two to N. Italy), then fly back out of Frankfurt for SF. Long story, but that's why we picked Frankfurt. We haven't purchased tickets yet (we're waiting a bit longer to see how the whole COVID thing shakes out) but we may get refundable tickets when we do buy them. The whole trip should take a little over three weeks--my wife and I are pretty experienced travelers (combined 45 years of military service between us), but we're hoping this will be the experience of a lifetime for our girls.
You say that you compared two 1-way flights versus a round trip. A better comparison is to use “multi-city” versus two 1-ways. Using kayak.com I compared SFO-London and Munich-SFO using multi-city to SFO-FRA-SFO and the multi-city was actually a bit cheaper. Using 1-way flights will almost always result in a higher fare. I encourage you to try again using the multi-city option on your airline of choice or kayak or google flights or whatever. Have a great trip.
I think your problem was specifying 2 one-way flights. I just checked a hypothetical SFO-FRA r/t vs multicity SFO-CDG outbound and MUC-SFO return, 3 weeks in June-July 2022.
Best price was United, $1497 for the FRA r/t vs $1535 open jaw into Paris and out of Munich. All flights were nonstops. The cost of a train ticket from Frankfurt to Paris is more than the $38 price difference.
I will add that United website bookings include partner airlines very well (even for Award travel) so that secondary cities can be flown to with a second segment for, often, no additional cost. We now always fly open-jaw to Europe. Since we can’t get the hotel room at 8am (East coast departure) we are happy to arrive where we really wanted to be at 11:30. And Lufthansa has better service and planes than United.
One-way flights can prompt additional security screening.
Ok I'm convinced! As was mentioned before by others, the multi-city option turns out to be just as good--in some cases better--than R/T involving FRA. Now we have adjusted our thinking a bit...looks like flying into Heathrow, doing the UK stuff first, then taking the train to Paris and spend a few days there, then another train to Frankfurt (likely return flight from there to SFO) where'll pick up a rental car and tour around for a week or so in Bavaria, Austria, and northern Italy. Using this itinerary we can start in the north (UK) and work our way gradually southward. Thanks to all for the tips!
Feel free to check back in later with route details, but Frankfurt is far from Northern Italy, too far to drive. There are nonstop flights from Munich to SFO; Munich would be a much better starting & ending point for that section of the trip and is easily reached by train from Paris (about 6 hours, direct afternoon train). Also, "a week or so" seems a bit tight to combine Bavaria, Salzburg and the Dolomites (but 9-10 days would be OK).
I don’t know the details, but United has recently offered a formal promotion where they give you a free air ticket between your first European destination and your city of open-jaw flight home, or something like that. I don’t know if it includes all their partner airlines, but this could get you to Munich or Vienna.
Note that you usually want to return your car in the same country you rent it. And Brexit means allowing substantial time for formalities when leaving London. For example, Eurostar to Paris would require arriving at least an hour before departure time. Eurostar is much cheaper with far advance purchase, non-changeable, non-refundable.