My husband and I are in the process of planning our first trip to Europe. We are pretty much set on doing the RS 10-day Italy tour in May 2008. Following the tour (it ends in Rome), we wanted to go to Paris for a few nights and we're not sure the best way to get there. Unless I am looking that the pricing for the rail passes wrong, flying doesn't seem to be that much more expensive. Suggestions? Thanks!
Excellent idea! With discount airlines, it's hard to turn down flying....less than 7 hours, door to door, from Rome to Paris, giving you more time in Rome, or more time in Paris. easyjet flies Rome-Ciampino to Paris-Orly (a little closer to central Paris, and a heck of a lot easier to get around that CDG), while, as noted, vueling flies Rome-Fiumicino to Paris-CDG. Both airlines are quite good. Neither will have May 2008 schedules out until late this year or early next....sign up for their e-newsletters and book ASAP. Remember, these tickets are non refundable, and usually non-changeable, without paying a fee. Avoid Ryanair...you'll pay thru the nose for luggage, and arrive at "Paris-Beauvais," a 90 minute bus ride from Paris. For accommodation, look to accorhotels.com, a French-owned worldwide chain with many hotels in the Paris area. Their Ibis and Etap chains are good quality and relatively inexpensive. You'll love Paris!
There is quite a lot of wonderful stuff between Rome and Paris, and if you wanted to stop and smell the lavender a train trip (with a local car rental) might be just the thing.
But if you just want to get to Paris a quickly as possible, to spend as much of what is left of your vacation there, nothing beats flying. So if the price is right, fly!
A train journey is 12.5hrs to 14.5hrs. depending on when you leave. A plane ride is a few hours. On the train, there is an overnighter from Rome to Paris Bercy that leaves Rome at 6:40pm. No train changes but the journey is 14.5hrs. The train does have couchettes and you travel in the dark so you are not seeing anything. Of course, you don't see anything close from the air either. You have choices.
If you are taking the train, consider stopping overnight somewhere along the way, maybe Nice. That would divide the trip approximately in half and you'd get to see something of the French Riviera. From Rome to Nice would be a long day (8 hours or so), but from Nice to Paris it would be about 6 hours. If you arrived in the late afternoon in Nice you would have the evening and half the next day before continuing your journey. Old Town Nice is worth a few hours and would be a good place for dinner. There are plenty of hotels; I've stayed at the Hotel Berne just across the street from the train station in Nice.
Train stations are typically in the city centers. Airports are typically very far away from the major cities. The older the city the further out typically. So when factoring your time and cost take every minute and cent into consideration from the door of your hotel in Rome to the door of your hotel in Paris. Then you can compare apples to apples to see if your savings are what you'd expect.
The other thing to keep as an option is to get yourself a night train and sleeper car on the train. (I make this recommendation about 4 times every week on this helpline, so those who have seen me write this can feel free to glaze over). The sleeper car is more expensive, but you can subtract the cost of one night in a hotel from your trip cost by doing a night train.
Just some ideas. Only you can put a value on your time.
Using Kayak, I just checked for a Nov 10 one-way trip to Paris and there's an airline called Vueling that has a price of under $100/pp from ROM to CDG.
But you may want to consider booking your entire air itinerary with the assumption that you'll fly home from Paris. You could either do a multi-stop itinerary and book form ORD-ROM in one segment, ROM-CDG in the second and CDG-ORD in the third. Or you could just do ORD-ROM and CDG-ORD and figure out the ROM-CDG part later.
While fares on budget airlines can be very cheap, there is the time and expense of getting to and from airports and going through security. Even if the flight itself is short, you'll easily use up half a day that you could be sightseeing.
So I'm with Jarrod in recommending night trains. No hotel cost, more daylight hours for sightseeing, a relaxing ride, and more environmentally friendly than flying. A railpass will not be cost effective for one trip from Rome to Paris. Buy point-to-point tickets. If you book well in advance (up to three months allowed) at either trenitalia.com or sncf.com, you can get discount fares. For more information, including photos, go here: www.seat61.com/Italy.htm.
I agree with Adam.If you have the time train to Provence and spend a day or two.Its a wonderful area.That way the train makes sense and breaks it up.For speed of travel flying cant be beat.
I would definitely fly. Unless you're planning to stop a few places on the way, I can't imagine wasting 12+ hours riding on a train when I could spend those hours at a Paris Cafe, in a museum and/or cruising the Seine.
Also, if you price the tickets, you'll find it's very cheap to fly intra-Europe. Now, if you were going to be in Avignon, Lyon or Strasbourg, then a train ride would be the way to go. These cities and others are served by high-speed TGV type trains and you can get to Paris in 2-3 hours.
Italy is great....you're going to love it....if it's your first trip to Europe and you haven't booked yet, you might want to consider doing more than Italy. Grab a taste of Europe - moving quickly - and then go back for a deeper look at the places you liked.
You could fly into London, take the Eurostar to Paris - then a TGV to the South of France. You could then catch a night train from Nice to Venice.....work your way South and then fly home from Rome.
I like the night train sleeper idea from Rome to Paris and would like to book it for July 2008. I read online at Raileurope.com that I can only book 60 days in advance. Hummm. Is this true or is their an alternative way to book earlier?
Do NOT book with Rail Europe. Their fares are inflated. For international routes you can book up to three months in advance at www.trenitalia.com/en/index2.html. Warning: You have to register on the site first which can be a headache, but discount fares are available if you book far enough ahead. You can also book on www.voyages-sncf.com, but you'll have to have your tickets mailed to an address in Italy (like a hotel). Discount fares are available for advance bookings.
We just did a Paris to Rome overnight via train last week. It was our first sleeper train experience. Personally, I felt it was too long and a little wierd if you share the couchette. If I did it again, I would go with flying. As someone mentioned, getting to airports may not be as easy as getting to train stations, though.
I would fly, the cheapo airlines make it so easy. And there is an excellant RER system in France, it will cost you 8-9 euros to get the RER right into city center Paris and takes about 30 minutes.
I flew hubby and son from Paris to Hanover ( north eastern Germany) one way for less then 90 euros ( for BOTH of them combined) and from Hanover to London for 115 euros, total.. really cannot beat these prices and the TIME it saves is precious.
Now if you have lots of time ,, then sure take the train and make some stops along the way,, but you are not saving money or time by doing so.