Should I take train from Paris to Rome or Fly?

Hi,
I am planning on a vacation in Europe with my family (with two kids 8 and 14 yrs). We are planning to go from Paris to Rome. Just wondering if we should take trains from Paris to Rome or take a flight? Somebody told me that it's a scenic route from Paris to Rome and we might enjoy the day trip.
Will that too tiring and expensive going by train? If I take trains, any suggestion for trains that I should book? I am really confused with the train service in Europe.

Thanks

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
6540 posts

The daytime train from Paris to Rome takes 11 hours with a connection at Milan or Torino. Only a couple of those hours are through the mountains. Train ticket prices start about $150 per person for purchase three months ahead and go way up from there. I strongly recommend flying on Easy Jet or Vueling, from Paris CDG or Orly airports, not Beauvais; see www.skyscanner.com. The overnight train is not any faster or cheaper and not covered by rail passes.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
4214 posts

"I am really confused with the train service in Europe."

The best way to find train schedules is on the Bahn (German rail) website, which has schedules for almost all trains in Europe and is easy to use. Here is the site: http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

and here is Rick's tutorial on how to use it: http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains/online-schedules.

This site will only have prices for trains that start or end in Germany. To look at prices for other trains, and to confirm schedules, you look at the site of the country where the train starts. In this case, that's France, so use SNCF: http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/. Choose France as your ticket collection country, to avoid being re-directed to Rail Europe. Rail Europe is a reseller which does not list all trains, and which marks up tickets it does sell.

However, if you actually want to book a ticket, SNCF only sometimes works with US credit cards. You can use Capitaine Train instead: https://www.capitainetrain.com/en. This site matches SNCF's prices (for now, anyway) and is easier to buy from.

Any other train questions? The single best online resource is The Man In Seat 61. For instance, here's his Italy page; you can just use his London to Rome directions and skip the London to Paris part: http://seat61.com/Italy.htm

All that said, Laura is right - for this route, flying is cheaper and easier.

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
2331 posts

i use seat61.com first and i will also google for the countries train system. Most of them will have an english option, if not i open up a google window and it will recognize that it isn't in english and offer to translate. Sometimes it screws up the popups or options, but i just open 2 windows one in the native language and the other in english and use the english as a cheat to navigate through the native langugae web site.

to answer your question, i would fly,. But thats just me.

happy trails.

Posted by Allie
USA
130 posts

I took my family with 2 kids last summer on Easyjet from Rome to Lyon. Including getting to airport and then from airport to hotel took about half the time as it would have by train. At least in France, the TGV (train) moves so fast you cannot enjoy scenery.