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Need advice for 10 day trip - Switzerland & Paris

Hello,
I'm planning a 10 - 11 day trip to Paris and Switzerland with my wife in early May.
I'm looking for advice on planning my trip.

Day 1 - arrive at Zurich airport from DC, USA. Check in at a hotel.
Which hotels would you recommend?
Day 2 - Day trip in Zurich.

Day 3 - Check-out Zurich hotel and take a train to Murren.
Check-in at Eiger Guesthouse, Murren and use this as a base for Bernese Oberland region.
Day trip around Murren.
Day 4 - Day trip to Interlaken & Spiez
Day 5 - Day trip to Jungfrau region
Day 6 - Check-out Eiger Guesthouse and take train to Paris.
Check-in at Paris hotel.
Which region / hotel would you recommend?
Day 7 - Eiffel Tower and .....?
Day 8 - Louvre and .... ?
Day 9 - Musse d'Orsay and .....?
Day 10 - Notre Dame Cathedral and ....?
Day 11 - Catch a plane at Paris & go home.

Information about us:
Budget - I'm comfortable spending around $300 per day on accommodations.
We are in late our 20s.
I'm a photographer. In Switzerland, we would like to see the spots which would have great views.

Questions:
1) Am I better off (weather & airfare wise) flying into Zurich and out of Paris or the other way around?
2) I'm planning to take 4 day Swiss pass and use this from Day3 - Day6.
Is there any pass which would be better for me for trains?
3) Can you recommend a hotel with reasonable prices in Zurich which is centrally located?
4) What should I visiting in Zurich?
5) Can you recommend a hotel in Paris ? How about Le 123 Sebastopol - Astotel ?
6) Would a metro pass cover all my transportation in Paris?
7) What should be I be covering on Day 7, 8, 9 and 10 in Paris?
FYI - Not interested in Disney. See enough of it in Orlando :)

Posted by
2081 posts

Bekarid,

welcome.

I havent been to Switzerland, yet, so i will pass.

But for Paris, this is just my comment and what i found out when was was there.

You maybe able to do the Musee d'Orsay (MO) and the Notre Dame in one day. Possibly the Eiffel Tower too. However, i was there in March and i will bet the crowds in May will be larger. But there no hurt in trying.

The Louve is a horse of a different color. I easily spent more than half the day in there and didnt see all i wanted to see. So, that would depend on what you want to do/see in there. If you go online, to the louve, you can get an idea of the layout and where things are located.

I would save some time during the day and night to do some wondering since Paris is different during those times. Also, it would allow you some down/chilling time.

when i was there i bought the individual "carnet" ticket pack. Theres 10 tickets. I forget the cost, but for me, it was the best deal for how i was getting around.

other than that, have fun.

happy trails.

Posted by
12040 posts

Two things...

Early May is not a good time for the Alps. This is the middle of the shoulder season when much of the mountain infrastructure shuts down. The weather is usually cloudy, overcast and frequently rainy. Much of the high altitude hiking is also inaccessible. If you can, shift your trip to at June, at the earliest.

Second, relating to the weather, keep your schedule flexible in the mountains. Again, weather will not be your friend and it may dictate your activities for you.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you Ray and Tom for your suggestions.

Tom,
Regarding Swiss Alps in early May, when you say the mountain infrastructure will shut down, you mean there would not be any transportation in and around Bernese Oberland to the top of the mountains?
Does it help if I plan my trip starting from Paris? This way it would be second week of May when I get to Bernese Oberland.

There isn't much wiggle room for my vacation window. Hence, the concern.
I even thought early-mid May would be better since it's not peak season and less crowds.

Posted by
8255 posts

The Alps are a gamble, particularly if photography is the goal of your trip, and you are paying a lot to be there and go up the mountains. When the clouds come in, your view is blocked. We were in Murren for four days one July. We had two clear days, one gray, cool, misty day and one totally fogged in. Maybe someone would know if May is more dicey or less dicey than July.

Posted by
12040 posts

For infrastructure, I meant most of the hotels, restaurants, and some of the ski lifts. The towns are still accessible, although most businesses shut down. The farmers also use this time to fertilize the pastures... liquide manure sprayed with a power hose.

If this is the only time you have available, then I guess go with it, but just realize that the weather's going to be roll of the dice, and the odds are stacked against you.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you. For now, I'm planning to push my vacation to late May - early June.
Also, I would like to stop over Paris first and then make a trip to OB. This way I would be either in OB around 1st or 2nd week of June. The more I read, I understand that the better views can be get while hiking.Hopefully, the weather will be better for hiking when compared to early May.

Posted by
1976 posts

With regard to Paris:

If you and your wife each buy a carnet of 10 Metro/bus tickets, that should be plenty for 5 days in the city. Be aware you'll need to buy a different ticket to get to CDG from Paris on the RER.

After we visited the Musee d'Orsay, we walked through the Tuileries Gardens and then all the way down the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe.

You could visit the Louvre in the morning / afternoon and then take a boat ride on the river in the evening.

What else are you interested in? There's Pere Lachaise Cemetery and Montmartre (do these in the morning / afternoon, then visit the Eiffel Tower in the evening); the Centre Pompidou; Ste.-Chapelle; the huge square "modern arch" building at La Defense, really awesome to see in person.