What is the best / quickest / least expensive way to travel from Paris to Santa Margherita?
Dunno where Santa M is, so can only say that we have taken a Paris-Torino train. This takes about 6 hrs and left, if memory serves, from Gare du Lyon.
I found about 10 Santa Margheritas in Italy. I found a larger one about two hours from Milan...
Anyway, the high-speed train looked like it would take 6 hours to Milan and another 2 to SM.
I'm going from Paris to Rome and I found a DIRT CHEAP flight from the Orly airport on Easyjet.
You might search flights on the small regioinal carriers from Paris into the closest large town to SM. Just be careful when booking. Easyjet flies out of Orly, but Ryannair flies out of Beauvais, which is about 50 KM north of Paris.
SM is near Cinqua Terre / Portofino. Would it be best to fly to major city and train it from there?
It is not "quick" to go from Paris to SM by train. It takes about 6 hours getting to Nice, then several more hours to SM. Quickest and cheapest might be to fly to Pisa, then go by train to SM. The trip from Pisa would take about two hours and wouldn't cost much (www.trenitalia.com). Check a map and you will see what I mean. Pisa is a good transportation hub in that part of Italy.
Use the full name of the town, Santa Margherita Ligure, when doing a train timetable search at www.bahn.de. (Click on "Internat. Guests" to view the site in English.) If I were to go all the way by train, I'd take the EuroNight train from Paris Est to Milano Centrale and then an Intercity train from there to Santa Margherita.
There are several budget airlines that fly Paris-Milan. You have your choice of several airports as well. Go to www.whichbudget.com to see which airlines use which airports. Unless you get a super deal, I'd avoid Ryanair because Beauvais is a long way from Paris and Orio al Serio is a long way from Milan.
EasyJet flies from Orly to Pisa.
The easiest way to get from Paris to Santa Margherita Ligure would be to take the suggested Easyjet flight from Paris Orly to Pisa. The Pisa airport is just minutes from the main Pisa train station by train. From there you can catch a direct train to Santa Margherita. No need to buy the train tickets in advance as it is just a local train.
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. This seems much more reasonable than I previously thought!! I was worried about an 11 hour train ride at over $500 / person! ughhh!
I assume you mean the SM just past Genoa which is just superb. If so I'd check out flights Paris - Genoa and then the train. It would be the quickest way. Otherwise train to Milan and then down to SM.