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Europe Family Trip

Trip details:

We (myself, husband and 9 year-old daughter) are traveling to France and Italy June 18th, 2017 to June 30th, 2017.  Here is what we have so far:



  • 6/18 -6.22 Fly into Paris (have a hotel) have not booked museum pass or kid tours - we want to see culture (Eiffel Tower etc. but would like suggestions on how to see Paris with a child and what we can book online so as not to wait in lines).  Is this long enough for Paris - should we stay one more night?

  • 6.22 - 6.25 we need ideas of where to go before we go to Venice.  We want this part of our trip to be relaxing and thought of taking the train to Nice and then Venie but would like suggestions of where in France on way to Venice we should go.  Should we do French Riveria or try Switzerland - we also thought about Tuscany or Lake Como - want a nice hotel (4-5 stars with a pool for our daughter).  Budget is up to $600 a night or cheaper as we want to splurge here and the be cheaper rest of trip

  • 6.25 - 6.27 Venice (have a hotel)

  • 6.28 - 6.30 Rome (have a hote) would love ideas on what to see and when with our daughter in this short amount of time


We want to see culture in Paris, Venice and Rome.  We love French & Italian winse and suggestions of authentic but not stuffy places.  Please let us know if we've allowed enough time in each city and any suggestions on what to do with kids on what days we're there would be very helpful. We are trying to book as soon as possible last hotel between Paris and Vince as June is very busy and things booking up


 


 


 


 

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Broad Itinerary: France and Italy - 18 June to 30 June 2017:

18 June to 22 June - Paris 


(assuming you are landing in Paris on 18th by midday)


18 June



  • Explore a quarter depending on where your hotel is - keep it easy since you are travelling in that day

  • Go up Galeries Lafayette Haussmann (free) - best sunset views

  • Do the wine tasting experience?


19 June


(We can rework this based on where you are staying so the route is easy for you to follow. I would highly recommend the walking rather than public transport as all of this is really close by)


MORNING - Start early to get a head start. I know this is a long day so it would be good to start early so you can get enough rest stops without feeling you are constantly running.



AFTERNOON



EVENING
Dinner


20 June


MORNING AND AFTERNOON



  • Musee d'Orsay

  • Notre Dame (and everything else on that little island)

  • Cross the bridge from Pont Saint-Michael - walk along the other side of the river to Shakespeare & Company book shop - Got lovely shops along the river and great coffee shop next to Shakespeare & Company

  • Explore the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germaine-des-Paris district 


EVENING
Dinner


21 June


MORNING AND AFTERNOON



  • Sacre-Cour and Montmarte

  • World's Largest flea market - Puces de saint ouen

  • Cemetary Pere-Lachaise

  • Le Marais - Picasso Museum - Jewish Quarter


EVENING
River Siene Cruise


22 June to 24 June - Florence and Tuscany


Leave Paris on 22 June, preferably in the morning (there is an Air france at 7:20AM and 9:35AM) so you get into Florence and in your hotel by mid-day


22 June - Florence - chill day!



  • Relax a little in your hotel, pool etc

  • San Lorenzo market - local market, good restaurants etc

  • Watch the sunset and amazing views of Florence at Piazzale Michelangelo - a walk and a climb up a hill


23 June - Tuscany day trip


Strongly recommend doing this = it includes 2-3 villages and one Chianti winery with wine tasting and food.


Basic Tuscany https://www.getyourguide.com/florence-l32/san-gimignano-siena-and-chianti-full-day-tour-t7679/ (£120)


**Also found this that includes Pisa (but is 13 hours long, starts at 7:45am) and could be worth it - https://www.getyourguide.com/florence-l32/tuscany-in-a-day-with-lunch-t44592/ (£130.52)


https://www.walksofitaly.com/florence-tours/tuscany-day-trips-from-florence (its a little pricey - £367 - but looks so good)


Or if you want to go full VIP, this is a private one https://www.walksofitaly.com/florence-tours/tuscany-day-trips-from-florence (450Euros)


24 June - Florence 


Accademia, Florence Cathedral and the Uffizi Gallery - i strongly recommend booking a tour to skip queues (6 hours)


https://www.city-discovery.com/florence/tour.php?id=8540 (£228)


Sit down for a bit at the Loggia dei Lanzi (an outdoor sculpture gallery) and watch the beautiful Piazza della Signoria. In the square you will also find a great number of restaurants and bars, just sit down on the steps of the Loggia or in a bar, and admire the beauty!


Get a nice dinner


25 June to 27 June - Venice


You will take a morning flight to Venice, I presume and will get to the hotel


Venice is all about exploring the neighbourhoods and stopping by cute cafes and bars for small tapas (cicchetti)and wine.


Couple of tourist traps that you can avoid: Don't eat anywhere near Rialto Bridge or St. Mark's Basilicca. 


25 June


Explore a couple of cool neighbourhoods of Venice. Venice is all walking and cobbled streets, easy to get lost in. But its fun at the same time. I would recommend - 


San Polo - beautiful little alleyways, small churches (highly recommend going in San Pantalon, Church of Saint Apollinaire Chiesa di Sant'Aponal), take lots of photos at tiny bridges etc.


Dorsoduro - Accademia bridge and the square, walk inside the streets and go towards Peggy Guggenheim collection and towards the end of Punta Della Dogana (great views)


--Both the above neighbourhoods are next to each other--


Must do a gondola ride :) but before 7pm (the prices go up after that) Lots of places along the canals, i would recommend choose a private one, which starts from Hotel Danieli, an historical venetian building or near Accedemia bridge.


Tip: Most rides are 40 minutes long. Make absolutely sure you agree upon the price and the duration of the trip before you step into the boat, write it down, and go by your watch (strangely, the gondoliers' often run fast). 


Are you interested in the Opera? Vivaldi in Venice is a must-do. But i am not sure if your daughter will enjoy it as much.. :) so your pick really.


26 June


Do the essential today - St. Mark's Basillica and Doge's Palace.


NOTE: No backpacks allowed in St.Mark's so try to go in there light. Otherwise, you will have to go and deposit separately and with the crowd, end up wasting time.


I used Getyourguide.com - really like them and i recommend them - https://www.getyourguide.co.uk/venice-l35/venice-st-mark-s-square-tour-skip-the-line-entrance-t6503/ 


After that, walk towards Rialto Bridge - extremely crowded, ok to take quick photos and walk away (i promise you, you will thank me later), Then cross the bridge and on the other side go to All'Arco and get lunch (cicchetti bar)


Dinner - will recommend some restaurants but would also highly recommend this as an option - http://www.urbanadventures.com/Venice-tour-Cicchetti-and-wine-tour-of-venice - as local as it gets :)


27 June


Take the general ferry (number 12 from San Zaccaria stop) to Murano and Burano islands


Murano Islands - Glass-blowing factories that you can visit. (tip: check with your hotel if they provide a free trip to Murano)


Burano Islands - Further on from Murano, the regular ferry will take you there. Colourful beautiful houses and streets, you can buy the crochet work thats so famous here. Got lovely little restaurants. Spend a couple of quality hours here.


Dinner in Venice.


28 June to 30 June - Rome


Leave early morning and get to Rome by mid-day, try make the most of 28 June.


Option 1: Take this 3-day OMNIA card valid for all attractions in Rome and Vatican City + hop-on-hop-off buses https://www.romeandvaticanpass.com/rome-pass-prices.php?rm=3362080 - looks really worth the value. And at Vatican, take an audio guide.


NOTE: direct tickets for Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel are sold out for 29-30 June, that would have been my first option. :(


Option 2: Take Guided tours for each of the attractions that I have listed below.


ONE BIG TIP: If you are staying close to the centre tourist district, head out after 10PM (if your daughter is awake) Rome is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS at night. You can walk through Colosseum, Roman forum and other attractions, completely free of people and tourists. Its amazing to take it all in the night.


28 June


Check out some of the other attractions that dont need a guide/tour. All are within walking distance and the piazzas are amazing to just sit, get some wine and gelato and people-watch :)



  • Trevi Fountain

  • Piazza Navona

  • Pantheon (free entry)

  • Spanish Steps

  • Capitoline Hill

  • Piazza Venezia

  • Piazza della Madonna dei Monti

  • Campo de' Fiori - artists hangout, local market and great bars at night


29 June


MORNING


Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Tomb of Julius Caesar and Via Sacra 


https://www.getyourguide.co.uk/rome-l33/skip-the-line-colosseum-and-ancient-rome-walking-tour-t7725/ 


AFTERNOON


Check out the district of Trastevere - its gorgeous, narrow winding streets, street art and almost non-touristy and spend some time in Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere


Dinner in Trastevere


30 June


MORNING


Go to the Vatican City - Museum, St. Peter's Basilica and Sistine Chapel 


There is a discount going on here - https://www.getyourguide.co.uk/rome-l33/skip-the-line-vatican-museums-sistine-chapel-st-peter-s-t1103/ (£143 total for 25 people tour or £181 for 12 people semi-private tour)


You will be tired after all that walking, so get some rest at one of the Piazzas mentioned above.


AFTERNOON and EVENING


OR take a bus and get to the Jewish Quarter. 


Watch the sunset from (Gianicolo or Terrazza Caffarelli) and get a lovely last night dinner

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Hello By Tanu Anand
Replies (+)

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Hi Lyra,

Very excited to plan your trip - you have chosen my two favourite countries in Europe. I have so many ideas in my head but i will try and pull them together today as a broad itinerary. So here is what i suggest - I will give you a broad itinerary today - how many days in your chosen cities, choice of locations for those 4 days in between and an idea of what all you guys can do. It will help me understand your likes and dislikes if you can then share your feedback on it. We will then go into details in the coming week - actual bookings of activities, places, restaurants (i have some good recommendations for Paris, Venice and Rome) etc. 

Does that sound good to you? Speak to you soon!

Tanu.

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Lyra - i am not sure where you are based, but I was doing my research for your Itinerary and spotted that there is a discount offer on the Paris Pass that is ending today! You must get in and buy before its too late - https://www.parispass.com/paris-pass-prices.php - Paris Pass is one of the most Value-for-money thing you can get. Free entry to over 60 attractions, a free river cruise (that i highly recommend), wine tasting experience and free travel on metro/subway/buses.

I am on it on the rest of your itinerary :)

Lyra Schramm wrote:  

Hi Tanu,

Sorry for the delay.  We are booked at this hotel in Paris (http://www.hotelvillamadameparis.com/fr/accueil) 6.18 - 6.22.  In Venice we have an apartment 6.25 - 6.27 and then in Rome 6.28 - 6.30 we are http://www.argentinaresidenza.com/.

We can add an extra day to Venice and arrive on 6.24.  As you can see we have 3 nights free as of right now.  We can fly from Paris to Venis.  I still wonder if we should do something between Paris and Venice though warry of the travel for our daughter given she's only 9.  It looks like there are tours for kids at Eiffel Tower etc.

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Hi Lyra - sorry for the delay, work was crazy so was waiting for the weekend. 

So - i hear you and I know you would like to do something else in between, but I would now recommend increasing a day in Paris, 2 days in Rome. So now, your itinerary will read as

18th June - Land in Paris

18 June - 23 June - Paris (check out on 23 June in the AM)

23 June - 26 June - Venice (check out 26 June in the AM)

26 June - 30 June - Rome (check out on 30 June as per your flight)

There is a lot more in Rome that you can do with an additional 2 days. And an additional day in Paris can get you to Versailles or something fun in the city. I can figure those out for you.

what do you think about this and should we finalise?

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Hi Lyra - hope you are well. I am just following up to check how things are going with the amended itinerary? If it is all settled that i can send you my bunch of recommendations and suggestions tomorrow. Does that work? I am keen that you do your bookings for museums and palaces as June gets really crowded here. thanks.


Questions and update By Tanu Anand
Replies (+)

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Hi Lyra - I have put together a broad itinerary in the Itinerary tab of this page. Please go in there and have a look. Let me know what you think.

I have four questions and a pointer for you -

  • Can you give me your hotel locations wherever you have booked in Venice, Rome and Paris?
  • What do you usually prefer when you travel? Guided tours or self-guided ones? I have given you a mix of options in my itinerary. But things like Vatican City - do you prefer self-guided or guided?
  • What are your food preferences? I understand you like cultural, wine, open spaces.. but any other tips?
  • I have not given you any city walking tour options. How comfortable are you and your daughter with that? Usually these are free walking tours that last up to 4 hours and show you the ins and outs of the city - a great way to see and not get lost as well as know the history. Let me know your preference?
  • Once we agree if you want to do tuscany/Florence or the French Riviera, i will give you recommendations for hotels

Choosing the place for 22-25 June

I have given you itinerary for Florence and Tuscany (i have a soft spot for that area of Italy and i prefer Italy over France)

Reason i didn't choose Switzerland is because the country is too large, things are quite far from each other and you wont do justice and needs more than 3 days.

My second option would be Nice (and that would include a day trip to Cannes and a day trip to Monaco/Montecarlo along the coast) - very beautiful and lots of great views. But if you want a mix of beauty and culture, i would go for tuscany and Florence. BUT if you feel you had too much of it in Paris and will have it in Rome and Venice, then we can plan Nice/Cannes/Monaco/Montecarlo. Please let me know what you prefer.

TIP: I strongly recommend booking activities in advance and getting planned tours so that you get skip the line access. You are going to Europe in peak summer times and everywhere the lines are as long as you will get at disneyWorld or Universal Studios. So you have to spend a bit more and get those tickets. I have given loads of links in Itinerary to book those. 

Lyra Schramm wrote:  

Thank you really helpful.  We are considering extending Paris by two days and Rome by one day to cut down on travel for our 9 year old and see more in both cities.  Thoughts?  

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Hi Lyra - its never a bad idea to increase days in these two cities. They have loads to offer. If you extend Paris by two days, you could do a day trip to Palace of Versailles and spend the second day just exploring some more of the city. And another day in Rome can get you to Pompeii if you are interested in old civilisations. I can get you more details there if you want. 

Did you get the chance to buy the Paris Pass? And were you able to look at my questions above? That would help me a lot to give you a bunch of suggestions for food/drinks and activities. 

And finally, how do you feel about the itinerary leaving aside the Tuscany/Florence bit, that i can get rid of now?

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Hi Lyra - hope you are well. So just checking if we are ok on everything and ready to move on to suggestions on activities, restaurants etc? Happy to begin work on that! Thanks.