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Europe: Western Cafés, castles, architecture, art, wine, the Euro, gastronomy, let´s meet up, and pub crawls.! Oh oui, backpackers paradise... See Europe by train
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Old 05-23-2006, 08:43 PM   #1
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so i got some hot rates from airfrance to go to paris in march...i'm going for 19 days; ive got some limited french language skills, and have been trying to get there for almost ten years. ive got a friend staying in brittany and a gluttenous desire to go to san sebastian, some cheese producors, and some vinyards. i'm traveling with two friends; we're all culinary students and in the food industry. where should we go? what should we do? how should we get there? how much time should i expect to spend on the train? I'll be 23 and will no longer officially be a student. we're not quite broke, but almost, so finances are definately an issue.


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Old 05-23-2006, 11:41 PM   #2
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Paris in the spring is fantastic. How much time you spend on the train will depend entirely on the journeys you take... could be anywhere between 10 minutes and 5 hours. Paris can be expensive as hell, but it doesn't have to be. If there are two or more of you, look into booking smaller hotel rooms at mom & pop neighborhood joints. You'll save money that way vs. staying in a hostel, but hostels can be a lot of fun.

Lyons is another (surprising) hotbed of great culinary activity at the moment. And you can't go wrong in Provence, but I the Languedoc-Roussillon area personally. Sigh. Have a wonderful time!!
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Old 05-24-2006, 02:34 AM   #3
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Since there are three of you, definitely check out the Etap and Formule 1 hotels ( should find them all for you) throughout France - usually there is a bunk-bed (one double, one twin bed), so if two of you don't mind sharing the double, you can all stay in one room for about the same cost as booking beds at a hostel - 10 -15 Euro each per night. And at the Etaps you get a private bathroom, Formule 1 is a shared bath in the hall I gather. There's nothing fancy about them, but they're just a place to sleep, right? And DON'T book the breakfast, it's a rip off and not good.

Consider Alsace/Lorraine as a destination - you'll have to pass through Champagne to get there, but maybe you can suffer that? The food in Alsace/Lorraine has a German twist, so it's a little different than what you might find in other regions. Colmar is a beautiful city, smaller and cheaper than Strasbourg, but striking distance for a daytrip.

You can't really go wrong in France in the food department. Spring in the north will probably still be a bit cool and rainy, so come prepared for that, if you head farther south, it'll probably be quite pleasant.

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Old 05-24-2006, 04:28 AM   #4
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Yeah Formula 1 are really good and cheap. Paris is a nice city in my opinion. You should definatly check out Notredam and Momarte. Not to mention the Sarce Cour. As for the rest of France I am quite parial to the Loire but also northern France particularly Normandy.
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Old 05-24-2006, 07:19 AM   #5
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i love paris in the springtime...
of all the big cities in europe paris rocks in the spring. don't worry too much about the language thing. most parisians told me to please stop butchering their language and just speak english (after learning it for 3 years in high school ) so there wasn't really a problem. you soon learn sign language and as long as you have a decent phrase book handy you'll survive. the languedoc area, in particular Nimes is a beautiful region and the locals are much friendlier than the parisians. lots of vineyards, organic producers and roman ruins to go visit.
i wish i could go.
ciao for now
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Old 05-24-2006, 07:20 AM   #6
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i forgot to add you get the under 26yr prices for train and bus travel. ooohhh to be 24 again!!!
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