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Old 14th May 2019, 19:14   #676
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by Saanil View Post
Hi Guys,

I am planning a trip to France with my wife and need help in shaping up my itinerary. The duration of the trip will be 12-14 days and will be done towards end of July till beginning of August. I am keen to do Paris although I have heard many different opinions on it. People have told me that it is crowded, dirty and overrated. But in spite of all this, I feel like doing Paris. I .
Hi Saanil

I have been to Paris 3 times over past few years
In my opinion its a beautiful city. Most of the stuff are indeed touristy.
Here goes my Paris advises
Make sure you book two tickets way in advance - Moulin Rouge and Eiffel Summit. The Eiffel tickets are not very expensive but online tickets are sold off too early. You will be there in summer so the crowds will be huge. Advance booking is a must if you plan Eiffel. You could go there by 9 PM which is kind of few minutes before sunset. Come down by 10.30 PM and enjoy the view of the tower when the lights are on.
Moulin Rouge is in my opinion the best thing in Paris. Tickets would cost north of 100 Euros but totally worth every penny. When you walk through the street be careful. Pigalle is very notorious for scams. Do not fall prey to any guys offering you tickets for anything else. Its the red light district of Paris.

The next two main attractions are both in Louvre Museum - The Monalisa and Venus De Milo. If you are planning visit Louvre museum then dedicate a day for that. Go there if possible without any bags. Its long hours of walk. The Museum is many kilometers long walking wise. Unless you are a fan of art you will start to feel bored in 4 hours or so.

The most fun I had in Paris was at Disneyland. If you are planning Disney let me know. Disney would need a very meticulous planning which I can help you with.

The hop-on hop of bus Tour in Paris is worth the money. It includes a river cruise too. You cannot cover so much of Paris in two days through any other options.
In general Paris is a beautiful city. French people are not as friendly though. I have traveled across Europe many times and I can say that they are the most arrogant beating the Germans by some distance. They don't like us speaking in English to them.
If your connections to other European cities are by train then make sure to reach the train station well in advance. The stations like Gare Du Nord are bigger than most airports.

Enjoy your trip.

Please do feel free to be in touch for any specific questions that you may have. Happy to help.
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Old 14th May 2019, 20:16   #677
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by Renjith_Mani View Post
...
The next two main attractions are both in Louvre Museum - The Monalisa and Venus De Milo. If you are planning visit Louvre museum then dedicate a day for that. Go there if possible without any bags. Its long hours of walk. .....
In general Paris is a beautiful city. French people are not as friendly though. .
Agree. Dedicate a full day to Louvre ONLY if you love art, but the museum is totally worth it. I spent a full day there. Also, there are many other paintings, which I feel, are far more awe-inspiring than the Mona Lisa which will be teeming with people and underwhelming, unless you go really really early. Book the tickets for Louvre in advance.

Also, learn a few basic words in French, like hello, thank you, can you please speak in English, etc. This goes a long long way in creating a positive impression. Every time I thanked someone in French, I got a smile and every time I said, "Could you please speak in English", a smile followed and people spoke in English in a really cheerful and happy way. The chief grouse of the French is that tourists do not follow the local rules. Also, just read up on the "Do and Don'ts" for traveling to France (may be you've already done that, but just wanted to reiterate). Do not jay walk/ skip signals even if locals do it (which they do).

And please please do try the local food. If you are a non-vegetarian you'll love the fine cuisine. Do try the local Boulangeries and eat lots of baked goods, especially the local macaroons. They are one of the best. There is a local ice cream shop near Notre Dame which is a must try. Do try prime steaks, if you enjoy them. DO NOT eat at the touristy places, nope. They are pricey joints and a complete rip off. Walk the city and go somewhere away from the popular touristy place. Eg. restaurants near Sacre Couer or at Eiffel Tower are not worth it (IMO). If you really really miss Indian food (why?) you can try the Sarvana Bhavan near Gare Du Nord. Do try the Cheese Bagels and Tiramisu. Tipping is not mandatory in France but is appreciated in case the service is really good. If you like wines, French Wines are really good and yes Champagne.

Do check the menu of the restaurants before you venture there lest you are disappointed with the choices available.

Paris is well connected and you can take the full week local commute pass. Also visit Arc de Triomphe during evening, when it is lit perfectly.

Last edited by Akshay1234 : 15th May 2019 at 01:14. Reason: Removing extra spacing
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Old 14th May 2019, 20:19   #678
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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People have told me that it is crowded, dirty and overrated. But in spite of all this, I feel like doing Paris.

I consider Paris to be #2 after Rome/Vatican in all the places I have visited.
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Old 15th May 2019, 11:38   #679
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Hi Saanil

I have been to Paris 3 times over past few years
In my opinion its a beautiful city.

Enjoy your trip.
Hi Renjith_Mani

Appreciate your comments on Paris. I will definitely include Moulin Rouge and Eiffel Summit in my itinerary. Regarding the Louvre, we are planning to take a guided tour - similar to what we did in Florence. These tours might be 2-3 hours depending on the size of the museum. I find guided tours very helpful as the expert guides give a lot of historical context behind the various paintings or statues. I am not planning to take an audio tour or just go there myself and read the descriptions which are usually placed near the objects.

I am thinking of using the public transport to reach various places within Paris so will probably skip the hop-on hop of bus tour. I am not keen on visiting Disneyland but I am looking at doing day trips from France. Some of the famous ones are Versailles, Normandy beaches and Mont-Saint-Michel.

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Agree. Dedicate a full day to Louvre ONLY if you love art, but the museum is totally worth it. I spent a full day there.
Agree with you. I am not an Art lover so a full day for Louvre would not be recommended for us. I think we just need a flavor of the Louvre which would be possible with a guided tour (3-4 hours overall). I wish I could try the local food but being a vegetarian, I am going to miss tasting the French cuisine. Thanks for the tip regarding Sarvana Bhavan – I like South Indian food a lot. Do you have any particular recommendations for day trips from Paris?

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Originally Posted by carboy View Post
I consider Paris to be #2 after Rome/Vatican in all the places I have visited.
Thanks for your comment. Any particular places in Paris/France you would strongly recommend?

I am still confused regarding my itinerary for South of France. I have read that July/August is the peak time to visit Southern France. I just want to know how bad will be the situation. If I do visit South of France, I will book an open jaw ticket i.e. Bombay to Paris and then Nice to Bombay. I am looking at flights on makemytrip and surprisingly I do not see any direct flights to France in July.

Last edited by Saanil : 15th May 2019 at 11:53.
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Old 15th May 2019, 12:12   #680
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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I consider Paris to be #2 after Rome/Vatican in all the places I have visited.
Agree, one can spend a couple of weeks in Rome. And the food is to die for.



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Originally Posted by Saanil View Post
...but being a vegetarian...
......surprisingly I do not see any direct flights to France in July.
Do not miss the baked goods. The pastries and the different breads. If you even avoid eggs, then do ask. Look for vegan options, as sometimes eggs, fish and chicken are considered vegetarian in some places. Check the description.

For day trips, does Switzerland count? TGV Lyria takes you to Zurich in 4.5 hours and Switzerland is exceptional. You can spend a month there. I can give a complete itinerary for this.

I haven't ventured in South of France, so not much idea there but be aware that July is peak tourist season so you'll have ample crowds, even from other parts of Europe. Book your tickets asap to avoid high tariffs.

I have, though, heard that Strasbourg is a beautiful place but mostly to relax. Nice is also praised by most.
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Old 18th May 2019, 21:56   #681
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

Hello All,

Any recommendations on buying a travel insurance for 65 yrs old lady (my mother) with existing medical condition visiting us in Netherlands (Schengen) for 3 months duration.

She had undergone bypass surgery 9 years ago. Since then is on medication that hasn't changed over period. Since the surgery she has visited many countries including some in European region.

Somehow now I find online plans available on Indian websites with medical condition are quite restrictive.
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Old 19th May 2019, 18:10   #682
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by Saanil View Post
I am still confused regarding my itinerary for South of France. I have read that July/August is the peak time to visit Southern France. I just want to know how bad will be the situation. If I do visit South of France, I will book an open jaw ticket i.e. Bombay to Paris and then Nice to Bombay. I am looking at flights on makemytrip and surprisingly I do not see any direct flights to France in July.
Hi Saanil

South of France is indeed very beautiful especially lavender fields in Provence whose peak blooming season is July/August.

Alps

The base town would be Grenoble. From here you could drive or take a train to Chamonix which is a lovely town in the French alps.

Lavender Fields

Base town Avignon. From here you will get many day trips to the lavender fields. Avignon is well connected by TGV to Paris/Nice. If you want to stay very close to the lavender fields then Aix - En -Provence is an option.

South of France Beach towns

Nice is a big city. Lot of culture food shopping. Nearby there are small seaside villages which are very popular like Antibes and Menton. Cannes is also nearby but it does not have much to see outside of the festival dates.

Check out my travelogue of my trip to France in 2015. I did a similar trip like you are planning. You will find all details on how to book TGV tickets Eiffel Tower tickets about car hire etc etc.

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ay-france.html (French Macaroons! A holiday in France)


Itís better to book your TGV train tickets well in advance as the fare goes up closer to travel dates. The booking window opens 3 months before.

Best option for your open jaw itinerary would be Emirates. BOM-CDG NCE-BOM via DXB. First Check for the fares directly in Emirates website by selecting multi city option. You may later compare the prices and book through MMT Goibibo or Yatra. Whichever gives you cheapest option. Akbar Travels online also gives good discounts on international tickets.

If you have any more doubts I am here to help!
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Old 19th May 2019, 21:26   #683
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Hi Saanil

South of France is indeed very beautiful especially lavender fields in Provence whose peak blooming season is July/August.
If you have any more doubts I am here to help!
Hi sameer sultan,

I did go through your travelogue and it was very informative. As far as I remember, you had rented a hatchback to explore Southern France. But the issue is that I am not confident of driving abroad hence I will rely completely on public transport (bus/train). I realize that having a car makes traveling easier as you have tremendous flexibility.

Given that my total trip duration is 12-14 days and Paris would consume 6-7 days of that, I will have 6-7 days extra which I plan to spend in Nice and one of the following: Avignon, Marseille or Aix - En -Provence i.e. I will have to omit the Alps region from my itinerary. Let us say I spend 3 days in Avignon – one day will be spent in exploring the city and the remaining time will be spent in taking day trips.

Do you have an idea if I can take the witness the lavender fields as a day trip from Marseilles?
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Old 19th May 2019, 22:55   #684
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Given that my total trip duration is 12-14 days and Paris would consume 6-7 days of that, I will have 6-7 days extra which I plan to spend in Nice and one of the following: Avignon, Marseille or Aix - En -Provence i.e. I will have to omit the Alps region from my itinerary. Let us say I spend 3 days in Avignon Ė one day will be spent in exploring the city and the remaining time will be spent in taking day trips.

Do you have an idea if I can take the witness the lavender fields as a day trip from Marseilles?

Yes you can do a day trip to see the Lavender Fields from Marseille. Distance is about 40-45 Kms one way.

If you decide to spend 6-7 days in Paris then I suggest you stay 2 days in the Disneyland Paris village Val díEurope.

Itís a very beautiful small village with many hotels and the Val díEurope mall. There is a free shuttle bus which moves around between the Disneyland various hotels in the village and the train station.
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Old 20th May 2019, 07:36   #685
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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After entering Europe it is advisable to exchange and carry some Euros in small denomination of coins for using the washrooms.
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I would strongly suggest not to buy Matrix SIM card - its a ripoff.
Everyone - thank you ! Travel date approaching. We have picked up an ICICI travel card, and have some in cash. Will skip the Matrix and get the cards @ UK.


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. Is there any reliable website / agent, which can be used to get dummy tickets? This is required for Visa application.
Spikey, hope your query was resolved. We got a Schengen visa (Swiss embassy), through VFS bangalore without any tickets. Like others have shared, we did give the itinerary.
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Old 20th May 2019, 08:53   #686
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

Query regarding Switzerland: does one need thermals in first half of June when traveling in Switzerland ?
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Old 20th May 2019, 09:48   #687
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Query regarding Switzerland: does one need thermals in first half of June when traveling in Switzerland ?
June has really good weather; there's in fact small possibility of rain during that time. Carry a good jacket/rain protector.
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Old 20th May 2019, 11:34   #688
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Query regarding Switzerland: does one need thermals in first half of June when traveling in Switzerland ?
It really depends what you will be doing where. Down in the valley and most town you will be fine with just a summary coat/body warmer. But if you plan to go into the mountains, maybe see a glacier or so it will be cold! Even in mid summer it can be pretty chilly up on the mountain roads. As longs as you stay in your car youíll be fine. But if you stop to take a view or a bit of hike you will be glad if you brought at least warm coats.

But then again, my mother in law lived her whole life in the tropics, she brings thermals for stay in the Netherlands. Thin blood as they say!

Jeroen
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Old 20th May 2019, 11:41   #689
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

Hi Guys,

Any recommended places in Europe.

I have covered the following so far.
Germany - Black Forest
Switzerland - Most of it
France - Nice, Paris
Monte Carlo
Amsterdam

What should be on the next priority list. Self driving options may will get higher priority.
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Old 20th May 2019, 11:52   #690
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Query regarding Switzerland: does one need thermals in first half of June when traveling in Switzerland ?
It really all depends on the location. June is pleasant but do carry a light jacket. It rains as well, so be prepared.
July is usually HOT.
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