Start in Paris...Then Where?

I'm planning a spring trip to Europe for 2 Weeks. I HAVE to do Paris, where should we go next? I think we'll rent a car and fly out of another city. What are the best places to see?

Posted by Marie
San Diego, CA, United States
857 posts

Read Europe through the Back Door. Start a "like to see this" list. Beef up info on your list on-line. Plan out a route that maximizes your time at places you want to see. There's enough to see/do in two weeks you could just make it a giant circle if you wish. Want to see Florence as well? Take the train. We usually do a combo - no car in the city, high speed trains if there's a lot of distance involved, rental car to cruise the local area. Other times driving was the trip. Easy to get to out of the way places, stay in great B&B's, picnic etc. Last trip was all big cities so it was training all the way. Make a plan and then post in on this board for a sanity check.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2820 posts

If your other city is not in France, you will pay a supplement for renting a car in one country and dropping it in another. I've seen various quotes on this Helpline, as high as €600. Much cheaper will be to take a train or fly, depending on your destination. Both trains and flights will be much cheaper booked in advance (non-refundable and non-exchangeable) and much more expensive as you get closer to travel. Where else to go besides Paris? Wherever you want! You'll have to give us a little more to go on if you want suggestions. But I think it would be better to do some research and pick your own place. If you're really at a loss, Rick's videos are on Hulu and YouTube. And a list of where you can go nonstop from the Paris airports is on Wikipedia: here it is for Charles de Gaulle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_de_Gaulle_Airport#Passenger and for Orly http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orly_Airport#Airlines_and_destinations There is also Beauvais, with lots of service on Ryanair, but this is quite far from Paris, so only use it as a last resort: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauvais_Airport If you do want suggestions, tell us things like: who is "we" and what ages are involved? Is this your first trip to Europe? Do you speak any foreign languages? Are you looking for big cities, small towns, rural areas? Do you have any special interest, like WWII sights or car museums? Would you enjoy driving around France, or do you want to stay for longer periods in fewer places? Etc. Help us help you!

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2684 posts

Hi, Beauvais is basically one hour from Paris Nord by train. A very nice, quaint town to visit without rushing yourself. I was recommended to go there, didn't have enough time there, will have to revisit the town. For day r/t trips from Paris lots of places well worth seeing...Fontainebleau (esp if you're interested in Napoleon, the museum and the chateau), Soissons, Amiens, Arras, Compiegne, Reims, etc.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7819 posts

Patti, for two weeks you can hit the capitals of Europe,, and very contrasting ones they are!! Fly into London.. spend 3-4 days there, then take Eurostar to Paris, spend 5-6 days there ( I am a tad bias towards Paris) , then fly to Rome ( on Easyjet or Vueling, its cheap and fast,, trains take all day or all night, and most find that they arrive tired and feeling grubby, lol, plus with a night train you see nothing anyways) . Spend 4-5 days in Rome,, Fly home from Rome. When pricing your international ticket you are looking for a "multi destination " ticket, also called "open jaw".They may be a hundred or two more dollars BUT if you fly in and out of same city you have to account for travel time and cost to get back to your "start" city.. If you want to save money consider flying out of Vancouver BC..Airtransat has good prices for open jaws, but don't think they start flying till May. I would keep a 2 week trip to no more then 3 places myself.. in fact for me I would only choose two but I realize other folks are different. Every single time you travel remember you are eating into sightseeing time, getting to train station or airport, gettting to and from hotels, etc.. its always at min,. a 1/2 day lost, often more. Two nights in any one city only equals one full day.

Posted by Tara
Sarasota
139 posts

Hi Patti, We did a France driving tour this year, similar to what Rick Steves shows you in his France guidebook. We did not do Nice or the Riviera as we had done that on a prior trip. Landed in Paris Visited: HonfleurBayeaux (Bayeaux Tapestry and D-Day tour)St. Malo (no overnight...just visited for the day but would love to go back)Loire ValleyDordogne regionCarcassonne Arles (favorite part of the trip, actually. Went to a bull game - not fight but game- and stayed at the French country house outside of Arles that Rick recommends - can't remember the name off the top of my head - but you can find it in his bookAnnecy - okay, maybe THIS was the favorite part of our trip. Rented a sailboat on Lake Annecy which will be a lifetime memory.Chamonix - almost died hiking Aguille de Midi. Well, maybe not died but it was not pleasant. Chamonix was nice, though.Beaune - did wine road tour via car although you can rent a bike and do thisColmar - loved the German influence! So different!Back to Paris - 5 days in Paris. Hope that helps! If you need help, just PM me. :-)

Posted by Patti
Seattle, WA, USA
2 posts

Thanks for the recommendations. My husband and I did Italy last year and I've previously been to London/Ireland, Scotland so this trip I was thinking maybe making the loop from Paris to the Swiss Alps and on up into Munich & flying out home. Would that be worth it or should we stay in France? Is the train the best and cheapest way or should we chance renting a car? My husband and I are 30 so we are up for anything! Thanks again!

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4862 posts

Renting a car in one country and dropping it in another will incure a large drop off fee. I would check into that before deciding. One way to get around it is to drop off your car before reaching the border of the next country and renting a new car for each. You might find that you don't need a car for the entire trip because trains are so efficient. You would be surprised how fast two weeks can go by. I would spend the time in France and save the other places for another trip.

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3196 posts

I agree with Andrea.. I would stay in France. There is SO much to see, all very different from each other.. Paris, Normandy, the Loire, Burgundy, Dordogne, Provence, the Alps.. plus lots more. As Andrea said, 2 wks go by very fast. You can't do all these places in that short time, but you could get a guidebook from the library, read about each region and pick 2 or 3 max. Two weeks isn't even long enough for France, let alone adding another country to the mix.