Are the train stations close to the center of the Italian and French cities?
Which Italian and French cities, and as some cities have more than one train station, which station in which cities?
I have always used Google Maps then Street Viewer to map my route from whatever train station to hostel or hotel. The Map will show you the Metro stops, etc. Infact I save the route map for each city.
I would suggest looking in whichever RS Guide Book covers the cities you are interested in. His guide books always seem to give several suggestion about train stations in his books.
Hi, The train station is close to the center in these French cities: Lille, Amiens, Strasbourg (relatively), Arras.
It depends, for example, Paris has 6 train stations, depending on which way you traveling to or from the station will be different, for example if you're traveling to or from Belguim or the Netherlands you'd use Gare du Nord, and if you're traveling to Normandy you'd use Gare Saint Lazare. Whereas Bayeux in Normandy which is a small town the train station isn't in the center but is about a 10-15 minute walk from it, easily accessable.
Leah, More specific information would be really helpful. As the others have mentioned, many cities in Europe have multiple rail stations. That information is important when buying tickets, to ensure that one ends up at the intended location. If you could elaborate, I'm sure the group here will be able to provide the information you're looking for. Cheers!
Thanks so much everyone. You actually helped me a lot with your various answers. I need to find the stations and then make my hotel accomodations. We are going to Rome, Milan, Venice, and Florence in Italy. In France, we are going to Paris.
We are going to Rome, Milan, Venice, and Florence in Italy. In France, we are going to Paris Thanks, that's a bit more specific. For each one of those:
Rome - Roma Termini is very central. Have a look at previous threads here in the "To the Boot" section. That's where a lot of the cheaper hotels are but be aware that Rome is a large place and central to the city may not mean central to what you want to see. Have a look at the RS Rome Guidebook for loads of information about good hotels and sights, and how to get to them from Termini. There are other stations, especially if you are courageous and take the new trains which don't serve Termini. Milan - I wouldn't say that either station is central in Milan but the smaller station is quite close to the Last Supper and the Duomo. The RS Italy book has plenty information. Venice - the Santa Lucia station is right on the Grand Canal so your Venice experience starts as soon as you get to the top of the steps and survey the Venice landscape. It is magical. You will need to walk or, much more likely, take the vaporetto water-bus down the Grand Canal to the centre, defined as Rialto and San Marco. Florence - Santa Maria Novella station is very central. If you take the new train you may wind up in a different station which would be less central, Campo di Marti station or Rifredi station. Paris - Paris is huge and nothing is central to anything else, a bit of an exaggeration but not much. With all its varied stations you will need to be more specific. If you arrive by train from Italy (whew that's a long journey) it will be into either Gare de l'Est or Gare de Lyon.
"I need to find the stations and then make my hotel accomodations." Not necessarily. For all of your cities, anywhere you would want to stay will not be too far from the train station(s). They're not like airports, way on the outskirts. However, in many cities the area right around the train station is not the best to stay in. Just plan on taking a taxi from the station (if you don't want to use the bus, tram, or subway) and you can stay anywhere you want. Just think of Pittsburgh; the Amtrak station is on the edge of downtown, but any downtown hotel is not too far away. While I stayed at the Westin and could have walked (had I taken the train), from other hotels I would have just taken a short cab ride. Going to Pittsburgh and arriving by train, I certainly wouldn't limit myself to hotels within walking distance of the train station. Most European cities are similar. And yes, for specific information about getting from the station to your hotel, look at Rick's books, or at your hotel's website. This is PARTICULARLY important for Venice (once you're there, you'll understand why, but for now, it's sufficient to say that you must print out the hotel's arrival directions). In France and Italy, there are reliable taxi ranks outside train stations. In some other countries (particularly the Czech Republic and Hungary), this is not the case, and you have to call to get a trustworthy taxi. Again, Rick's books have all the specifics. When going to the train station upon departure, ask about the taxi situation at your hotel reception desk the night before leaving. Usually they can call one that morning, but sometimes they will want to book it the night before. Checking this way avoids surprises (or worse, missed trains) the morning of departure.
I'm going to take a different view from Harold. I stay near the train station on very short trips in smaller cities, but in Rome and Florence, I'd rather be near the center of the historic neighborhoods. I like the Piazza Navona/Pantheon/Campo dei Fiori area in Rome and the Duomo area in Florence. The main train station in Milano isn't in the middle of town, but it's very convenient to lots of good hotels and very near the Metro which can take you almost anywhere in the city. If you decide to do daytrips by train to othe cities (hill towns, for example), the station is usually at the bottom of the hill, with local bus or taxi transportation to the center (Assisi, Siena, etc.).
Leah, Thanks for the additional info. I'd suggest checking your Library or book stores as the Guidebooks have lots of good suggestions for Hotels in various parts of each city. Which Hotels to choose will depend to some extent on what price range you're looking for. A few suggestions based on the cities you mentioned..... > Rome - I usually prefer to stay near Roma Termini, as it's such a convenient area. You might have a look at Hotel Sonya or Hotel Aberdeen. > Venice - You'll be arriving at Venezia Santa Lucia. While there are a few hotels in that area, you'll most likely you'll be taking a Vaporetto to reach your hotel. Pensione Guerrato is a popular choice, but I'd also recommend Albergo Doni for good basic accommodations. > Milan - the main station is Milano Centrale and there are a few Hotels listed in the Guidebooks in that area. Depending on what touring you're planning on doing there, you could also stay near Milano Cadorna. It's closer to the Duomo, Sforza Castle and the Galleria Vittoria Emmanuele, and it's easy to get from there to Centrale via Metro. > Florence - the main station is Firenze Santa Maria Novella (abbreviated as Firenze SMN). The Guidebook has listings for several hotels in that area. > Paris - The rail stations there are arranged in somewhat of a "ring" around the central part of the city, so there's not really a "central" station. I'd suggest choosing your Hotel based more on convenience for touring, rather than proximity to the station. It's very easy to get around Paris via Metro to any of the stations. One of the most popular areas to stay is the Rue Cler neighborhood, near the Eiffel Tower. Cheers!