I want to take a night train (with a sleeping cabin) from Paris to Rome on a Thursday night/Friday morning. I'm traveling alone and meeting friends in Rome. What is the best option for price, travel duration, and safety? Is a night train the best option or would it be better for me to look for a cheap Ryan Air flight?
Terry, I'd suggest using a budget flight on that route, as it will be cheaper than the train and probably a lot more pleasant than a LONG night train journey. Some people are able to sleep well on a train, while others aren't and they usually arrive tired. If you decide to go by train, it would be a good idea to choose a direct train (no changes). A few of them have a 06:00 change at Bologna Centrale, which will wake you early. In the same situation, I'd use an EasyJet flight from Paris /ORY to Rome / FCO. They appear to have five flights a day, with a flight time of 1H:55M and current prices as low as €41.99. There will of course be a few "fees" on top of that. If you decide to go with EasyJet, be sure to read their "Terms & Conditions" carefully, especially regarding luggage limits. They usually only allow ONE carry-on item of the approved size. For information on transportation from Paris to ORY, have a look at the comprehensive Paris by Train website. Happy travels!
Terry - You can check out The Man in Seat 61 for info on the night train from Paris to Rome. As another option you can fly the same route on Easy Jet or Vueling for as little as $60. Check out Kayak.com for flight information.
Terry I would fly, but thats just me, but I would not choose Ryanair, they use an airport for Paris thats actually almost 100 kms away from paris with no direct train, you have to bus and train. Not sure which airport they use for Rome, but Ryanair has a reputation for using remote airports far from the city they apparently serve. Use Easyjet or Vueling they both use main airports which saves you time and money in commuting. If you take a night train you will have to pay alot for a private cabin, cheaper options will be a four or six bed couchette, and you will share those with strangers. Could be interesting, or not.. up to you. I would compare prices.
I took the night train in the summer of 2010 and found it pretty icky. Like I couldn't believe in the 21st century this was the rolling stock that these two fine countries had put up for the ride. However, one of the other ladies in the couchette with me said she was a regular traveler on the route and that it wasn't usually that bad. (Note that if you do decide to take the train and can't afford a smaller, more private compartment, you can at least designate that you request to be placed in a females-only compartment.)