Frankfurt-Paris-Frankfurt for family

Next March our family of three adults and three children 14, 11, 9 we will arrive/depart in Frankfurt main airport. We have nine overnights for our trip. We need advice on the most efficient and economical way to travel the Rhine River (Bacharach – St. Goar), Rheinfels Castle, Trier, Paris, Rothenburg o.b.t. depature from Frankfurt airport. We have no experience in train travel in Europe, this seems overwhelming to us. But willing to learn. Are trains the recommended travel mode? Any suggestions on routing and where/how to purchase tickets? Is a van rental practical for our family? Did anyone ever rent a van for a similar trip? What about accommodations for our family in these locations or nearby locations? Any suggestions on where to overnights to make this an efficient trip ?
All advice is welcomed.

Posted by Russ
Paradise
1749 posts

Most folks say visitors need 4-5 nights in Paris - so with travel time it will be more than a tad tight to fit in all you want to do and to return to FRA for a flight home. I would... 1.) look for a flight home from Paris to save a train trip, and 2.) consider substituting another town for R'burg that's closer to your Frankfurt-Trier-Paris trajectory (R'burg by train is 3 hours from FRA and 4 hours from the Rhine, which adds up to a full day of travel for a one-day town.) Germany has lots of old-world towns, but on your route, Bacharach and Linz on the Rhine, and Cochem on the Mosel, are all fine old-world villages with half-timbered buildings, old town walls and towers, cobblestones, etc. LINZ brochure If you spent 2 nights in, say, St. Goar, you'd have time to daytrip to Bacharach, Linz, and the one Rhine castle that's open year-round, Marksburg in Braubach. Cochem could be visited for several hours on the way to Trier or as a daytrip from Trier. If you have a choice, go at the END of March, when you'll find more attractions open. Trains: Use the German railways itinerary page to find train schedules and tickets - advance-sale ticket prices are typically excellent to Paris. How about 78€ for your family? That's the price I just saw for an arbitrary date of July 16 for 2 adults and 3 kids. These "savings fares" go on sale 92 days in advance. DB ITINERARY PAGE

Posted by Russ
Paradise
1749 posts

(CONT.) Trips around the Rhine and Mosel are easy and cheap for families with DAYPASSES like the Rheinland-Pfalz Ticket. Kids under 15 are free - so just 26€/day for your whole family to take a daytrip to Linz or to travel to Trier. I'd look into apartment stays where possible. We enjoyed the Rhineview apartment that sleeps 5 in St. Goar: Rhineview apartment

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
2253 posts

Yes, definately book using the multicity function on the web to fly into Frankfurt and leave out of Paris. With nine nights in Europe, (you'll lose one flying over, keep that in mind), you will need to hone your wish list. I would not through Rothenburg out immediately, but you'll need 2 nights there. I think kds will love it especially the Night Watchman tour if he is doing it in March (not sure about this one). St Goar will be 2 nights for sure, maybe 3 including a boat ride on the Rhine through the gorge. Trier? Unless there is something particular there you want to see or friends to visit, might cut that one or at least just 1 night. From there its 3 hours to Paris on the train. You really need to spend 4 nights here, that will give you 3 full days plus one afternoon. 3 nights would be a minimum. Sounds like a spring break trip. If you leave Friday night and return the following Sunday, that only gives 8 nights. Pulling up stakes and moving on can be a little trying for a family, so 3 stops should be the max if you only have 8 nights. So 2,2,4 or 2,3,3. You might add another stop if you do have 9 nights: 2,2,1,4 or 2,2,2,3. Based on current prices I have you at 317 Euro for your rail total with an advance ticket to Paris and the rest with family day pass deals.

Posted by Angela
Sammamish, WA
403 posts

Russ subtly hinted at this, but it will be important to check opening dates for the Rhine castles. Most are closed for the winter. For example, Rheinfels did not open for the season until March 21 this year.

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
3577 posts

Rhine river cruises opened March 29, 2013; they probably open on the last weekend of March (March 28, 2014). And it'll be very cold (windy!), so wear something warm if going outside on the deck. And ditto on the multi-city, aka 'open jaws', flights if you haven't already purchased airline tickets. Your trip is short as it is; don't buy a 'cheaper' ticket, only to spend $$$ and valuable vacation time backtracking across Europe to make your flight.