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Help trying to figure best option to visit Rome, Florence & Paris.

Need help for planning our trip to Italy, I am traveling with my daughters for 10 days. We would love to visit Rome, Florence (Pisa) leaning tower and Paris and we are really confused what all should we visit as part of our trip. We are looking to have a trip where we can visit the main places in Rome like art, museums. Vatican is like a must visit for us. We will be landing in Rome and I have booked a hotel near the Colosseum from August 9-11 thinking of extending for one more night and then heading to Florence?

They both want to visit we are confused in places from Florence & Paris. Wanted to know what could be a best trip for us they would like to take the train to Florence and then to Paris and visit Disney Land for one day? Do you all think its a good idea to visit Disney Land as we have visited Disneyland and Disney World here at the states?

Posted by
3475 posts

Is this trip in 2019? Does the 10 days include your 2 flight days? If so you have only 8 nites.
and I'd limit your locations to two at most with a flight on a budget airline between Paris and Rome (easyjets flights are around 2 1/2 hours). The train the girls want to take would consume almost a full day.

Posted by
7 posts

You are going to think we are crazy but it is for next week. 10 days does not include our two flight days.

So, Am I looking at the travel time from Rome to Florence wrong?08:15 AM ROMA TERMINI

09:46 AM FIRENZE S M N
1h 31m
Direct
Italo

Posted by
172 posts

Depends on how much you like Disney. I love Disney and so my family and I made time for a day trip there in 2015. However, that was on a 14 day trip centered on Paris and the surrounding area. Personally (and this is coming from someone who has been to Disney World 10+ times, as well as Disneyland), I would put it on the back burner for another trip. Paris is a gorgeous wonderful unique city with so much to offer. Disneyland Paris is truly fun but most (though not all) of the experiences it offers are similar to those found in the states.

As for the other cities, in terms of ‘major sites,’ with limited time, you will need to research each city to decide what is important in your limited time. The RS books really do a nice breakdown and might give you some ideas on how to structure your days.

For Rome, you have already said the Vatican is a must. Consider looking at the Colosseum/Forum, Capitoline Museums, Pantheon, and the Heart of Rome walk, which connects some of the most famous Roman landmarks like the Trevi and Spanish Steps.

For Florence, if you’re into the museums and art as mentioned, the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia are the two with the most famous known works. Both require reservations if you don’t want to wait a long while in line. I would also give the Medici Chapels a look and personal favorites are the churches of Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella.

For Paris, I would focus on the major museum area (Louvre/Orsay) as well as the Ill de Cite and Ill St Louis. Ill de Cite has Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle, a high recommend. You can never go wrong with the Eiffel Tower (also requires reservations). If time, the Orangerie, Cluny, or Rodin are great smaller museums. And Versailles is a half hour train away.

Perhaps you could give us a better timeline of how you are currently breaking down your trip? That might help us better advise you on what you will have time for and what is feasible, Remember traveling does take time between distinations.

That all being said, coming back to Disney, if it’s important to you and your family, well then you need to do what’s best for you to see. And buy some travel books to help you start your research!

EDIT: I see your trip is nearly on you. So what do you have booked in advance transport wise? Any reservations at all for major tourist sites? If not, for any major museum, you will need to be there before opening EARLY if you don’t want to wait hours in line. That goes especially for the Vatican. The line starts potentially 1-2 hours before public opening. They are the most crowded in Europe. That goes for the Colosseum as well, unless you join a tour. The Louvre line also gets really long.

Posted by
3475 posts

Rome-Florence is correct at 90 minutes. Adding Paris in that 10 days to Rome and Florence is just not conducive to an enjoyable trip.

Where do you fly in and out of?

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you so so much for your help. Here is what I have so far

Day 1. 12:30 PM - Rome I booked hotel just outside the Colosseum check-in, maybe 2p.m.? If time permits visit the Colosseum? local sightseeing.

Day 2. Breakfast at hotel and was able to book ticket via this site "https://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/musei/tickets/do?" Vatican for 12:30p.m. with headphones 3 hours?

Day 3. We have the hotel booked for one more night.

Day 4: (not sure to stay in Rome or leave to Florence)

Day 5. Checkout and leave early morning by train for Florence local sight seeing and overnight stay.

Day 6, Checkout and leave early morning, and take a train to Paris?
Day 7, Arrive in Paris and either do Disney Land or skip
Day 8:

Day 9:
Day 10:

Here is where I am??

Posted by
172 posts

I mean this with all kindness but is there a reason you waited to so late to start planning your trip?

With your itinerary as is, I would skip Florence all together and stay in Rome. With so little time as you have allotted, the majority of your time will be dedicated to traveling, especially as you’re looking into taking a 930 train. I find transitions always take longer than expected. I don’t think think you’d really have much time to see any major site in Florence. You’d have less than 12 hours of site seeing time in the city. You could maybe slip in one Museum, if that.

The other way, of course, is to sacrifice Paris and stay in Italy. That might be a more effective and enjoyable use of your time as you’re looking at a long train ride to Paris with potentially multiple transfers. Save Paris for another trip when you have more time to dedicate to it.

If you choose that option, Rome truly has enough stuff to keep you occupied for at least a week. I just spent 8 days in Rome (one day side trip to Naples/Pompeii within that) and then we went on to 3 days in Florence before moving on to greater Tuscany.

So all that to boil down to one succint answer... I would eliminate a city from your itinerary. If it was me, I would just stay in Italy but it’s you're vacation! (Paris is my favorite city in the entire world, by the way, so this answer isn’t a bias against Paris.)

How do you feel with that advice? It’ll help if you tell us “No, I have to do all three cities,” etc. or “I’m flexible.”

As for the Colosseum, I would look into seeing if they have any open tickets available on the Coop Culture website. They allow you to go into the Colosseum after 2 pm and includ Forum entry as well. Both are open until an hour before sunset. Do buy in advance if you can rather than going into the ticket line there.

Keep your Vatican tickets. Or buy them now if you haven’t already. Consider doing the Heart of Rome walk in reverse in the morning to get there (ie starting at either the Spanish Steps or Trevi Fountain and working your way over toward the Vatican.) The time you start in the morning would dictate how much you get to see before needing to be at the Vatican. It’s still a 30 minute walk from Piazza Navona there... or you could cab it after doing what you wanted.

Buy a travel book to Rome (RS or otherwise) ASAP if you don’t have one. You’re going to need it with so little advance planning.

Posted by
11734 posts

So you haven't booked flights yet? For next week?

Posted by
406 posts

You do realize everything will be packed & it will be very hot. We were in Rome two years ago with teens & it was tough on them In Aug. We have also spent a week in Paris another trip & took two days at Disneyland Paris before we were in Paris for a week. We do like Disney. I would stay in Italy at this late planning stages. Have you flown International before? Jet lag can affect kids a lot.

Posted by
6524 posts

Day 1. 12:30 PM

Being at your hotel 90 minutes after landing is decidedly optimistic. Seeing Colosseum etc that day may be a bit of an ambitious goal.

With just the over night stop in Florence, you might as well just fly from Rome to Paris. If you do keep Florence in your madcap dash, I would suggest you look to fly, not train, to Paris.

What age are the kids?

Posted by
7 posts

Let me just say this forum is beyond exceptional with all the tips. I own a pet store and my daughters are both in college so time makes it very hard to get them together. My plan was to go to NYC and take it easy then "BOOM" they decided that I could create a miracle. My oldest daughter (21 years old) just came back from Africa unbelievable trip. My Youngest (18 years old) and I just came back from Croatia (our dream vacation) It has been my youngest daughter dream to visit Rome and Paris and then my oldest daughter decided to add Florence. But I believe I am stretching it.... I do have the road trip purchased and the problem is I have them landing in Rome and coming back from Paris.. so, yes I have to end up in Paris. I do very well with jet lag my daughters are ok coming back is the problem for them.. They both start college on the 24th. God willing all will go well...

Posted by
172 posts

I would really consider skipping Florence then. You will have so little time in city with your current outline that you won’t be able to do it justice. To do the bare minimum, you’d need at least a full day but really two is what allows you to do enough. Would your daughter understand cutting Florence? She is young and I’m guessing would have more opportunities in the future. Otherwise, you will be wasting so much time rushing around and traveling between destinations that it would be hard to enjoy any of the cities. Not to mention you have hardly anything reserved in advance, setting you up to wait in long lines no matter where you go.

Your transition to Paris alone will take an entire day if done by train... so you really only have 9 days. In that case, I would consider flying from Rome to Paris as well, rather than doing the train if you can.

Posted by
7 posts

I believe I will take your advice to skip Florence.. As much as I will hate. What about just stopping and seeing Pisa??

Posted by
172 posts

It might be feasible to spend a half day in Pisa as you leave Italy but I confess I’m unfamiliar with the train routes to get there. Maybe someone else can speak to this as I think Pisa may still be out of your way as you make your way out of Italy. Not to mention you’d need to figure out where to store luggage. And I’m pretty sure to go up inside the tower, you need reservations as well, which may all be gone. Your easiest bet is to stick to just the two cities...if you do that, do look into flights vs doing the train. You’ll have far more options.

And hey, what you don’t see this time, you can see on another trip.

Posted by
11734 posts

Ah, good to know that you have the flights booked.

Okaydoke, so you land in Rome midday on Day 1 sometime next week, and fly out of Rome on day 11, right? Yep, I'd probably just go with Rome and Paris too. On really short notice, trying to arrange accommodations and tickets for just two locations will be easier than for three.

That said. I don't think Rome> Florence> Paris are out of the question if you give up Pisa and Disney. Really, if you've been to both Mickey locations in the States, it makes sense to do/see things that you can ONLY see in Paris when in Paris? Pisa...meh. Best to spend the little time you have on bigger things, IMHO.

Day 1 - Rome
2 - Rome
3 - Rome
4 - Rome
5 - Transfer to Florence
6. Florence
7. Florence
8. AM transfer to Paris
9. Paris
10. Paris
11 - Fly home

You could take a day from Rome and add it to Paris, if you wish, but however you divide the time, it's probably best at this point to get that sorted before tackling daily itineraries. I wouldn't commit to anything in advance for Day 1 that you couldn't cancel without losing $$ if your flight is delayed.

Posted by
6524 posts

What about just stopping and seeing Pisa??

If you take a train before 7AM out of Rome you could get to Pisa , see the Tower and get the 315PM flight to Paris

See here for Rome/Pisa train --https://www.rome2rio.com/map/Rome/Pisa

See here for Pisa-Paris flight---

-https://www.skyscanner.com/transport/flights/psa/pari/180816/?adults=1&children=0&adultsv2=1&childrenv2=&infants=0&cabinclass=economy&rtn=0&preferdirects=false&outboundaltsenabled=false&inboundaltsenabled=false&ref=home#results

(Just picked a random date)

Posted by
7 posts

Again you all are amazing for all your advice. I will update you what we decided in the morning well already morning. Just finalizing it has been so difficult. All of your advice were correct as lots of attractions are completly sold out trains are limited and flights are odd times. I am doing my best and seeing what are the options as you all provided amazing information.

Posted by
339 posts

What about just stopping and seeing Pisa??

Skip it. I'm all in favor of people seeing what they want to see, however, I've found Pisa to be one of the more over-rated sights in the history of tourism. There's an engineering disaster (or marvel), a large church, a baptistry and a large grassy field...that's it. Time is working against you, a visit to Pisa will kill about two-hours, then it's back on the train; you would get more value out of visiting nearby Lucca and roaming inside and on top of the walls than a photo op in Pisa.
Stick to Rome and Paris, both will occupy plenty of your time, you'll get an enormous return in memories and considering the short time-frame you're dealing with, you're looking for ways to simplify an already crazy notion of a short-notice, international trip, to two countries, with two college-agers.

Posted by
11734 posts

..we can visit the main places in Rome like art, museums.

All of your advice were correct as lots of attractions are completly
sold out...

There are a few ways around that, although museums in Rome promise to be your biggest challenge. In Paris, I would strongly consider buying Paris Museum Passes when you get to Paris. They come in 2, 4 and 6-day amounts, and allow you to visit any of the museums they cover as many times as you wish; nice for the giant Louvre. Hands down, this is one of the best passes we've ever bought.

http://en.parismuseumpass.com

Making good use of the thing gives you another good reason to skip Disney. :O) Anyway, it might free up some pre-booking time. It does not cover the Eiffel, however.

There is a museum pass for Florence as well but will only cover that if you decide to go. Actually, if you can get tickets to the Uffizi, I'd skip the pass. Others of the better museums (San Marco, Bargello, etc.) usually don't have really long ticket lines.

Rome: for the Colosseum/Forum/Palatine, go to the Palatine ticket office FIRST THING in the morning and buy your general-entry tickets there. See the Forum/Palatine (must be visited together), take a break and then see the Colosseum at 2:00 or after. It needs to be 2:00 or so as general-entry tickets don't allow tourists into the thing before that hour.

Galleria Borghese: you're probably toast there but I might ask the desk at your hotel if they can work some magic although it's probably a long shot. The consolation is that a lot of the churches in Rome are full of art and are FREE to visit so go to, say, Santa Maria della Vittoria to see Bernini's swooning St. Theresa - it's said he carved his own likeness into the gallery of Cornaro-family gents weirdly looking on - or San Francesco a Ripa to see his (also a-swoon) "Beata Ludovica Albertoni". Santa Maria del Popollo has a couple of dandy Caravaggios + some other goodies and, well, you get the idea?

Vatican Museums: same problem. Check the website for open, general-entry time slots as well as tours which might not be completely sold out. If willing to spend the $$ - which may be unavoidable if it's a must-do - there are some tours by private companies we can recommend checking.

Posted by
1667 posts

Just do Rome and Paris. You don't have time for anything else. Fly from Rome to Paris.

The good news is both cities offer plenty to see and do that doesn't require tickets, so if everything is booked up, you can still have a great time. I'd check with Walks of Italy for the things you want to do in Rome. If they aren't booked, you can get admission to sites through them. Their tours are excellent as well.

I'm not a big fan of amusement parks anyway and I can't imagine spending money to get to Europe only to spend a significant amount of time in a passive, manufactured environment, especially when all of Paris and all the wonderful, real experiences are at your disposal.

Posted by
1700 posts

Plan will be much better if only Rome and Paris. In the August heat best not to push it.
There is plenty to do and see in Rome ; if you are really feeling the itch to see Florence once on the Ground ; you can always get a ticket that morning to head up to Florence on a high speed train and do it as a day trip.
That train won't sell out, and your trip is so close there is no advantage to buying now.

Not saying I really recommend it but it is doable as a daytrip and then allows you not to have to check in / out again plus that plan you can decide after you are already in Rome rather than now.

If at all interested though, plan on the day now so you have a plan in place if you decide to go.

If deciding between Florence and Pisa ; not only is Florence a much better it would be much easier/faster to travel to and back from Rome than Pisa would.

Posted by
11734 posts

@Kathy I went to http://en.parismuseumpass.com/ to purchase the pass
but it tells me to purchase in Paris? I wanted to purchase on line?
Did you purchase when you arrived or on line?

We bought ours when we got to Paris: very easy. We did it at one of the lesser-visited attractions (no lines) covered by the pass. Here's the page that details all the places you can get them (airports; in Paris; etc.)

http://en.parismuseumpass.com/rub-t-points-of-sale-3.htm

Read carefully how to date them the first day you use them:
http://en.parismuseumpass.com/rub-t-how-to-use-it-19.htm

Posted by
11182 posts

Don't purchase the Paris Museum Pass online; wait until you are there.

One great place to buy it is the newpaper kiosk just outside the Musee D'Orsay entrance. Or, just go to a less-visited museum first, and buy it there.

Posted by
901 posts

Not chiming in to opine on Rome/Paris vs. Rome/Florence/Paris but to state that, in addition to planning which cities you will visit, you also need to secure hotels, which will be expensive and probably difficult, given that you will be booking last-minute in a very busy tourist season.