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Old 07-31-2006, 04:49 AM   #1
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Hey guys,

I'm going to have one week at the end of September that I would like to spend in France. I will be leaving from Frankfurt or Strasbourg, Germany and at that point I am expecting to have 2 days of travel left on my rail pass. From that point I have 7 days before I need to be back in London.

Right now, my idea is to go from Strasbourg to Nice (or someplace else nice on the Med.), stay in Nice for a few days...maybe 3, and then go from Nice to Paris and spend the rest of the week there before doing the EuroStar bit back to London.

However, my dad is insisting that 3 days is not enough time for Paris, and I will be thankful if I spend more like 6 days there, and use the last day on my rail pass for a day trip to Versailles or someplace else close to Paris.

So, I'm looking for opinions...how many days should I spend in Paris? Is three enough to see the city? I'm going to be on my own there, and a major tourist, so it's not like I have a huge list of things to do there, just the obvious attractions that everyone knows about. I'd also like input on where to spend that other day on my rail pass depending on the decision to spend 3 or 6 days in Paris.
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Old 07-31-2006, 07:10 AM   #2
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Well I was there for a week and never saw that big famous street, I got lost looking for the lourve and only saw the outside of it. The lourve can take up to 2 or 3 days to see if full from what I hear.

There's loads and loads and loads to do in Paris.
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Old 07-31-2006, 08:07 AM   #3
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Are you sure you mean Strasbourg, Germany? I've just checked a couple of books and can't find any listing for it - there's a Straslund, Germany up on the Baltic coast...or Strasbourg, France, which has been part of Germany on and off over the centuries, but at the moment is still in France. Makes a difference as far as travel times are concerned... Frankfurt and Strasbourg are both pretty close to Paris, Straslund would take a lot longer.

Nice is really a long way from anywhere in Germany, or from Paris for that matter, it would eat up a lot of time just getting there and back.

Generally three days is a good minimum rule of thumb for getting a flavour of a city, but some cities (Paris, London, Rome to name a few) really have so much to offer that you could spend a lot longer taking it all in. We spent about four days in Paris in June - it was enough to get a taste, but not nearly enough to see everything. I guess the thing is, you can see quite a lot in three days, but you won't be bored or disappointed if you stay longer - you'll just have more time to enjoy strolling in the parks or along the Seine, relaxing at a cafe or immersing yourself in the fascinating exhibits at the museums and galleries.

If you have the extra day on your pass to cover the trip to Versailles, that's great, otherwise, you can buy a local transit pass which covers at least a portion of the RER ride to Versailles. We bought the Paris Visite pass, which was okay, although a better deal is the Orange Card. Unfortunately, it's a pass valid for a calendar week and isn't sold on Thursdays (the one for the following week goes on sale on Friday). Naturally, we arrived Wednesday night, but didn't know about the restriction, so didn't buy the pass (or try to) until Thursday morning!

I think that pass pays off in about 10 rides, which is very doable even in three days, and totally worthwhile for a longer stay. Our pass took about 15 rides to pay off, which we easily accomplished in our three days of sightseeing there. Best thing is that you can use them on all bus, metro and RER lines within the valid zones (1&2 is enough for most visitors to Paris) so if it's hot, pouring rain or your feet hurt, you don't hesitate to hop on a passing bus instead of hoofing it to your next destination.

We mostly went to and from our hotel by metro, but took note of the nearest bus route and were very grateful on a hot, tired, hungry afternoon after wandering fruitlessly for about 2 hours, to stumble across a bus stop with our bus waiting there. Didn't quite say "HOME" but close enough!

The other thing is, by basing yourself in Paris for a longer stay, you can still daytrip to nearby places - Versailles, Chartres, even the Loire Valley, without the tremendous investment of transit time that a visit to Nice would entail, and with the added advantage of not having to lug all your stuff along with you.

The end of September will be a great time to visit Paris - may still have nice weather, but it won't be stifling, like now, most of the tourist hordes will have subsided and the local Parisiens will be back into their normal lives so you'll get a great sense of what life is really like there. It will also be a far less crowded time to see Chartres and Versailles, if that's what you choose to do.

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Old 08-01-2006, 12:37 AM   #4
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Ah yes, my bad, I guess Strasbourg is in France. It is like...directly on the border though isn't it? I just assumed it was in Germany based on its name. I'm driving around in southern Germany and France for 12 days, and I plan on ending up in Strasbourg or Frankfurt, depending on which is closer to wherever I decide to go.

It sounds like you guys are saying I should just go straight to Paris though...Nice would be great, but then I have an extra day on a train and only a couple days in each city...I guess it's not worth it.
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Old 08-01-2006, 01:14 AM   #5
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The whole Alsace/Lorraine region is full of German sounding names, because they've been back and forth between the control of Germany and France so often - even driving through, it's sometimes hard to figure out which country you're in. But it is just gorgeous and there's tons in the area to see. Do try to visit Colmar, it's just a little south of Strasbourg and very picturesque - if you're going to have a car, it's a breeze to get to.

I think I would recommend skipping Nice - it really is so far away, you'd spend a lot of valuable time getting there and back. If you had time to visit other places en route that would be different, but to just go for a day and come back doesn't make a whole lot of sense when you have such a short period of time to play with.

There is plenty to do in and around Paris to fill up all the spare time (and train days) that you have left, and I don't think you'd really regret it. I had planned to spend a month circling France, but decided part way through to spend two weeks in Spain and Morocco, a decision I have never regretted, though I still haven't made it back to that part of France. You can always go back.

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Old 08-06-2006, 06:33 AM   #6
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Even six days isn't enough for Paris. Even if you stayed six weeks, you wouldn't have seen everything. I'd say, go for three days and enjoy some other cities as well.

Also, don't spend all your time on the obvious touristy things. Yes, go see the Eiffel tower and such, but see some of the real Paris as well. Small streets, innercity suburbs, trains, meet people.
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