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14-day Italy/France Planning Help

Hello, My fiance and I are planning our honeymoon (May 31st-June 14th)to France and Italy, but besides a few things/places that we definitely want to visit, we could use some help. Definitely want to travel to: Paris Day trip to Giverny Day trip to Belgium Southern France somewhere...if time permits Cinque Terre Northern Italy somewhere...if time permits Rome I could use help with a sample itinerary: Neither of us have been to France or Italy, so we don't know how long we should devote to each city or which cities we should not miss. We are going for fun, food, to see the famous landmarks and museums, and a little adventure. Thanks in advance!

Posted by
121 posts

We may run into you along the way! My wife and I are going back to Europe at the end of May and will be returning in July. We plan on spending more time in France as well as a 4 days in Cinque Terre (Monterosso al Mare) and 4 days at Positano on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. I highly recommend a minimum of 4 days in Cinque Terre in order to do and see everything. Plus, it seems easier to get hotel reservations the longer you stay. Recommendations in Monterosso would be Villa Steno or Hotel Pasquale. They are owned by the same family and have wonderful websites. The last time we were in France we drove the backroads and had problem getting into hotels; even without prior reservations. Even if your travel plans fall apart you'll have some great memories and interesting things to talk about. We always expect the unexpected when we travel!

Posted by
29 posts

Thanks for the replies, and recommendations. It seems like we may have to cut out Southern France. How does this sound: 1a)fly into Brussels the first day (we want to go to Belgium for brewery tours and chocolate), 1b)or Paris and do a day trip to Brussels. Either way, spending 3 days in Paris and 1 in Brussels, leaving on the 4th day 2) Travel to Cinque Terre (train or plane??) and spend 3 days there 3) Train to Tuscany somewhere (any recs?), spend 2 days in Tuscany 4) Travel to Rome, spend last 3 days there. Seems like a lot when it is all written down here! The only other place we are really willing to sacrifice would be Belgium. Does this sound reasonable?

Posted by
4125 posts

Best wishes, Jamie. You've made a good start by setting some priorities; you might do even better by setting a few more. . . . Two weeks is not a lot of time and you will be tempted to overdo the number of destinations. Try to minimize travel time! For instance, fitting the logistics to the priorities suggests that you might want to save half a day by flying into Brussels and getting a taste of Belgium first thing. . . . . It might be even more helpful for you and yours to think about exactly what you want to see and do in Belgium, also in the South of France and in Italy. Priorities are very personal decisions and you should follow your own inclinations, but here are a few of my reactions. . . . In the South of France, Provence beats the Riviera for history, Roman antiquities, and things to do. There are easy direct fast trains from Paris. You could happily spend 5 days in Paris and 4 in Provence (or more), but trim a day from each if you must. . . . With your day in Belgium, that leaves you 4 to 6 days to get to Italy, see a few things, and fly home (which will take up your entire last day). The trip to Italy is not short, so this translates into 2 sightseeing days in Italy, which is not a lot of time. You can arrange to fly home from Rome or Milan. . . . Do those logistical considerations inform your priorities in any way? You could axe Belgium, for instance, or Provence, to get more time in Italy. You could reluctantly save Italy for your next trip. You could add more time to your trip - believe me, you would not regret that! . . . Or maybe you want to do none of these things. It's up to you, have a great trip!

Posted by
1986 posts

"sacrifice Belgium" and add a day to Paris (you can even use it for a day trip) or one of your other locations. You wont get much out of spending only 1 day (your arrival day) in Belgium. You will probably waste at least a day with the extra travel.

Posted by
403 posts

Jamie: Good suggestions so far. IMO, Paris deserves at least 5 days, Rome at least 4, and Florence/Siena at least 3. The South of France, taking in both Provence and the Riviera, about 8 to 10 days and a rental car for some of those. The CT, probably a day or two. When you add all that up, you get 22 to 24 days, which is way over your 14 day plan. So your choice really boils down to seeing all these places, but cutting out experiences in each or going to fewer places. I would vote for the second, for maximizing your experiences and keeping travel time to the minimum. My suggestion would be (and feel free to ignore it, this reflects as all posts do, the preferences of the poster) Fly into Nice Day 1. Days 1-4 on the Riviera. Day 5 Train to Avignon, rent a car. Days 5-6-7-8 in Provence seeing Avignon, the Pont du Gard, Arles, the hill towns of the Luberon, and the lavender fields around Mt. Ventoux and Sault. Day 9 return the car at Avignon, TGV 2 hrs 30 min to Paris. Days 9-10-11-12-13 Paris. Day 14 Train to Brussels. Day 15 fly home from Brussels.

Posted by
132 posts

Also look at flying within europe.

And look at flying from Brussels to Italy.

There are some cheap flights. Sometimes cheaper than the trains.

Doing a quick search. There's presently a flight leaving CDG about 8:00 arrive Venice 1:00 on 6/8 for $110. The same from Brussels. Similar flights to Florence and Rome.

We did that April 09. Flew into Paris. 4 days. Took the train to Brugges. 2 nights. Grabbed a $99 flight from Brussels to Venice. 3 Nights. Flew home from Venice. Could have used more time in all of them.

One thing I would do different. I'd try to wrap up and fly out of Paris. I loved Paris so much. I found myself comparing every place else to Paris. But that's me. You'll find that others hate Paris.

Have fun. The planning and dreaming is half the fun.

Posted by
29 posts

Roe, I thought about what you said regarding making the choice between seeing more cities, but cutting out places/experiences in those cities, or maximizing my time in fewer cities. We have decided to skip Rome this time around. Now our trip will consist of Paris, short trip to Belgium, somewhere in Tuscany (Florence and a visit to a vineyard), and Cinque Terre. Does this sound more manageable? Dan, we are going to do a very similar route, flying to Italy from either Paris or Brussels. As much as I would love to take a train across France, this is a huge time saver!