We will be in Paris for 4 days and then will take a train to Venice and spend another 4 days there. We have allotted one day in between for travel. Are we better off: (A) Spending that middle day on the nice TGV day train through the French countryside and alps and then sleep in Turin or Milan (with some quick site seeing) before continuing on to Venice the next day; or (B) Spending a 5th day in Paris and then take the evening Thello sleeper train through to Venice? We are a family of four (two teenagers). Assume cost is not an issue for purposes of this question.
You are better off with (C), both time wise and money wise.
And (C) is:
FLY EASYJET from Paris to Venice. One hour and 40 minutes gate to gate for €50-75 each and you are done.
Yep. Once again, Roberto is spot on. Don't waste all that time on the train. Fly.
Personally, I love train travel and prefer it to air. Others just want to get to where they are going as quickly as possible. If this is your first time in Europe I would vote day train in part so you can experience how good train travel can be and to see the countryside. The decision really is about your goals/priorities.
I am with Roberto. I would much prefer spending the time on the ground in Venice, so we would fly. There are other places in France and Italy to take shorter trips on the train that will make you appreciate train travel.
Have a great trip!
A day on the train can be a delightful break in your trip. To me it is a wonderful choice and the trains are marvelous. The night train, not so much, unless you (all) can sleep no matter what. It is VERY hard to sleep on a train.
I very much agree with cbrochu30 and Laurel on this one.
I've not spoken favourably about night trains for some time.
To ride through the Alps is magical.
To get there quickly has advantages.
We'd need to know a lot more about you and the whole family and its dynamics to give the best answer.
One item to note as you make your decision is that if you are considering a Eurail pass, Thello will not accept it unless they have changed their policy recently.
Fly or take the day train. We took the night train last year Venice-Paris and it was awful. No A/C, dining room a joke, crowded, nothing to recommend it at all. Anything would be better than the night train run by Thello.
Thanks everyone - your comments have really helped us think this through. The point about flying being faster and getting us more time in Venice is a fair one and appeals to me personally. But I think we are leaning toward the day train option. After 4 days of concrete and museums, etc. in Paris, we think a little down time on a train (i.e., reading time for parents; screen time for teenagers) might feel just right. Plus we will expose our kids to European train travel, see the countryside and alps views along the way, and add a short stay in Milan. We will get into Milan at about 3pm, which will allow for an evening and the next morning to "sample" Milan before we finish the trip to Venice.
Nice plan. A night in Milan is just fine. Just note that the French TGV arrives at the Milano Porto Garibaldi train station and you will want to depart for Venice from the Milano Centrale station. The two train stations are about 1.5 miles apart. There is public transportation but a short taxi ride may be easier.
The only thing I can add is to book sooner and reserve 4 seats with the table in between. The table comes in handy on a 7 hr trip. Oh- be sure & pack snacks. Here is a link to the TGV Cafe menu - t is in French but you will get an idea of what is available.
Enjoy the trip - we love the down time a long train ride provides.