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Thread: Going Paris this saturday! Advice needed on Europe travel...

  1. #1

    Default Going Paris this saturday! Advice needed on Europe travel...

    Hi guys...

    I am flying to Paris this sat for training and will stay till end of March before going for vacation in Italy for 2 weeks in April. Actually this is a followup from the thread I posted couple of months back but I tot it will be better to reorganise my ideas and questions in a new thread. Wish I had a Lonely Planet book to look at but dun think I can get one in Sumatra now...will try to buy it in France.

    http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=238751

    1. Need some advice on the accomodation to stay in. I need somewhere clean and safe basically...in Australia for example,self-contained apartments are one of the best places to stay in for tourists and the price is decent...what about Europe? What kinda accom would be cheap and safe, clean? Do we need to book beforehand? I would most prob be travelling alone or in pairs.

    More specifically, I would hope to get specific accomodation recommendations from fellow CSers on these places and the rough prices and tariffs,

    For France, Marseille,Cannes,Lyon, Normandy.
    For UK, London.
    For Italy, Rome, Pisa, Florence,Venice, Lake Como, Naples, Sorrento, Pompei, Cinque Terre, along the Amalfi Coast

    If you have stayed at the above places would love to know which hotels u stayed in.


    2. I am trying to find if I require visa to visit Italy. I did not apply for a visa to France as its not needed if you stay in there for less than 3 months. I checked http://www.italyemb.org.sg/visa.htm and it only gives visa info for PRs...what about singapore citizens? Do we need the Schengen Visa to enter Italy and other countries of the EU?


    3. For Italy and these places, Rome, Pisa, Florence,Venice, Lake Como, Naples, Sorrento, Pompei, Cinque Terre, Positano, along the Amalfi Coast...how many days would be recommended and sufficient for each place? If you have any suggestions on the route from Paris through these places,would love to get your advice.

    4. Anyone rented a car in Italy before and hows the traffic there a? I am planning to drive in certain places so that its faster to move from scenic spot to another rather than relying on the local transport...especially in the smaller quaint towns.Is Hertz again the best choice?

    5. I will be going to London over the weekends...prob go on Friday night and come back on Friday night...is taking the Eurostar the cheapest and best choice?

    Oh well... ...I guess thats about it for now...would really appreciate all comments..
    Last edited by boroangel; 5th February 2007 at 01:04 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    1. When I was staying in France, my favourite hotels that I prefer when touring around was the hotel chain AccorHotel. Their budget hotel, Formule1 and Etap often have the cheapest rates you can find online. What I like about them is that they are quite clean and functional, and are mostly housed in their own building rather than in those old houses. Formule1's shower & toilets are in the common area, but is fully automatic and self-clean, and each booth is per person. Etap has its own toilet in each room. Also both allows up to 3 person per room. The only disadvantage is that most of them are situated around the outskirt of each city, but some are near the metro station(at least in Paris). If I'm not wrong AccorHotel group is the largest hotel chain in France. As for Italy and UK, you may have to search around online for the cheapest rate, but note most of the time, the cheapest hotel are often out of the way.

    2. Both France & Italy are under the EU. So the rules are the same for both country and would apply to all EU countries. In fact you'll be surprise there is no border check at all when you cross the border while driving. The only sign is a signboard stating you have enter Italy.

    3. As for Italy, I had drove around there but mostly on the northern part. From France, you'll be entering from either Nice/Monaco towards Genoa or through the Mont Blanc tunnel(if coming from Lyon) towards Turin/Milan.

    4. Actually, if you want to drive around Italy and assuming you'll be returning back to Paris, I would suggest that you rent a car in Paris, and drive towards Nice before entering Italy and do a loop around Italy ending at Milan, and from there use the Mont Blanc tunnel to get to Lyon and back to Paris. I find Hertz quite expensive. Try Europcar instead or book from NovaCarHire(I find booking from NovaCar cheaper than booking directly from Europcar). If not just book at one of their outlets in any of the major city/town in Italy.

    5. Not sure if Eurostar is the cheapest, but to me it is the most logical choice. Takes only about 3hrs to get to Waterloo station from Gare Du Nord. Your other choices would be by budget airline, or take a ferry from Calais to Dover(read very slow).
    Last edited by kelccm; 5th February 2007 at 03:08 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    Accomodation wise, I've good experience with B&B. Most (especially Germany, Austria and Switzerland, UK) offer satisfactory service and excellent breakfast. I'm not so sure about France though.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    I am looking at leaving for Italy on 31st March morning and back to France on 13th April.

    31/03 - Paris to Rome
    01/04 - Rome
    02/04 - Rome
    03/04 - Rome
    04/04 - Venice
    05/04 - Venice
    06/04 - Florence
    07/04 - Cinque Terra
    08/04 - Cinque Terra
    09/04 - Sorrento
    10/04 - Positano
    11/04 - Amalfi
    12/04 - Capri
    13/04 - Sorrento/Naples back to Paris

    Last 4 days along the Amalfi Coast will be staying at Sorrento and use that as a base to get to Positano , Amalfi, Pompei, Capri. Still trying to work out a more detailed iti including travelling times but the above will be the rough iti, +- one or two days being shifted from one location to another.

    Anyone has any comments on the above iti?

    Most prob I will be travelling alone...so if theres anyone in CS who might wanna join me or if u happen to be around Europe...do get in touch...

  5. #5

    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    Venice i'd spend 1 more day and rome 1 less day.
    Florence 1 more day may be nicer.

    .

  6. #6

    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    Quote Originally Posted by AReality View Post
    Venice i'd spend 1 more day and rome 1 less day.
    Florence 1 more day may be nicer.

    .
    Can you advise on the best way to move from location to location and the estimated travelling times?

  7. #7
    Senior Member creampuff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    Please be vigilant when in Italy as I have had 2 friends falling prey to pickpocket gangs, once on the train and another when sightseeing.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    if you happen to travel by train, pls note some trains assigns specific carriage and seat....

  9. #9

    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    I keep hearing people mention tat its safer to carry a money pouch or bag...something along those lines...what are these and how does it work? Is it like a strap that goes around your waist with a small pouch to put your cards and money?

    Was wondering if there are these type available...it would be good to wear it aroudn the waist under your shirt...and put your cards and money inside...and use a cheapo wallet and put some money in it for your daily use...even if it is pickpocketed u dont lose the main items.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    yeah, money belt etc
    something like this...
    http://www.eaglecreek.com/accessorie...ey-Case-40020/


    Quote Originally Posted by boroangel View Post
    I keep hearing people mention tat its safer to carry a money pouch or bag...something along those lines...what are these and how does it work? Is it like a strap that goes around your waist with a small pouch to put your cards and money?

    Was wondering if there are these type available...it would be good to wear it aroudn the waist under your shirt...and put your cards and money inside...and use a cheapo wallet and put some money in it for your daily use...even if it is pickpocketed u dont lose the main items.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    Quote Originally Posted by boroangel View Post
    I keep hearing people mention tat its safer to carry a money pouch or bag...something along those lines...what are these and how does it work? Is it like a strap that goes around your waist with a small pouch to put your cards and money?

    Was wondering if there are these type available...it would be good to wear it aroudn the waist under your shirt...and put your cards and money inside...and use a cheapo wallet and put some money in it for your daily use...even if it is pickpocketed u dont lose the main items.
    In Italy, be aware of the gypsies gang, usually youngster. They come in a gang, asking you to buy something, mostly newspaper, and blocked the view from your waist onwards. Some other people will start to do something to your waist pouch etc. If you notice them approaching them, be fierce to them, challenge them, and they will not touch you. Also, never let your thing unattended, mostly, you will not see your stuffs again.

    Hope you enjoy your trip.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    As for DSLR and lens...do you guys use a small backpack to put them or just use a normal camera bag? I mean with the DSLR and all your gear and tripod its really hard to hide them...which u cant anyway as u would be taking pics most of the time...how do u protect yourself? It will be my first time travelling alone in Italy and I have read horror stories of people getting mugged in Naples...

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    If you're in Paris itself, can't help you too much. Formule 1 and Etap are alright for budget but they're out of the peripherique (ring road) and if you choose carefully you might get one that's still close to a metro.

    If you're going outskirts to the countryside, the French equivalent of the b&b is the Gites de France network. (http://www.gites-de-france.com/fr/gites_ruraux) So far even thought they mention that they speak english, I find that they know only how to say hello and basic 1-2 words to show you to your room. Its reasonably priced, usually 20-30euro ish per person, and if you're lucky to find a "Table de Hote" in the area you want to go, the host will even cook you a decent meal for another 20+ euro extra. And if you know a little french they will tell you a lot of things that you wouldn't have known otherwise.

    Its just too bad because this saturday I'm moving out of Paris after being here for 10 months.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    Would be great if there are any members of Clubsnap staying in various parts of France and Italy who might wanna meet up and maybe join me for some of the shoots...

  15. #15

    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    Hi boroangel, I spent 3 months backpacking through Europe last year. I didn't go to most of the places you've picked, neither did I drive, so I can only give you some bits of info. I also replied to this other thread, but that was mainly about what camera equipment to carry. Anyway, hope you find this useful -

    a) Singaporeans don't need a Schengen visa if they're going to spend less than 90 days in Italy. If still in doubt, call the Italian embassy direct. I entered Italy via a flight from Athens to Rome and there was no immigration check.

    b) In Rome I stayed in a flat with an Italian actress (!) A bit pricey but a good insight into how real Italian people live, plus it was within walking distance to Vatican City. I can PM you contact details if you're interested.

    c) In Venice I stayed at Venice Rooms. It's in Mestre, outside of Venice city proper, but a lot cheaper. It's self-catering, clean, and the guy who owns it is very helpful. It takes about 20 mins by bus to get from there to Venice.

    d) I'd also recommend you stay in Venice a day longer, if you can afford the time, because it's a very photogenic city. Take a boat out to the neighbouring islands, like Burano, which is quieter, and filled with small colourful houses.

    e) According to your itinerary, you're going to be in Florence during Good Friday. Do note that Italy is a largely Catholic country, and everything shuts down for that weekend, till after Easter Monday. Florence itself is lovely to walk through to shoot the churches, architecture etc, but it will be near impossible to get food or transport. If you have no choice, then prepare beforehand.

    f) If you can do day trips, a visit to Siena or Assisi is quite nice. The Umbrian and Tuscany countryside is lovely in springtime. Trains are cheap, safe, and very reliable. So if you don't want to drive, they're a good alternative.

    g) It pays to learn a few basic Italian phrases. I found Italians very friendly and helpful people, and random strangers would greet you in the street, or strike up a conversation. Common sense precautions still prevail of course - like keeping your camera close to you when you're onboard crowded trams or buses, and staying alert to your surroundings. Don't leave your daypack unattended anywhere, or let people handle it.

    h) A money belt is flat kind of pouch which you can wear inside of your jeans. You can put your emergency cash and credit card in here. I would separate my money and have ready only the small change I need for the day. If your hotel has a safe, keep your passport there and carry with you a photocopy for ID purposes.

    i) Paris is quite nice and despite all the stories I keep hearing about how rude and snobbish the French are, I found the people generally alright. Again, it pays to know a few French phrases. Aside from the usual Notre Dame, and Eiffel Tower, visit Monmarte which has a nice hill park and a panoramic view of the city. Stay away from the AIJ (YHA) Hostel in Bastille. It is cheap, but not a pleasant place to stay in. Also, when walking down the main shopping street Champs d'Elysses, beware of strange well-to-do-looking Chinese/Japanese women/tourists coming up to you and asking you to buy branded leather goods at Chanel or LV on their behalf. They usually approach other Asian tourists.

    j) I'm not sure if this is your first trip to Europe, but be prepared to walk a lot. In some smaller towns in Italy and districts around Paris, streets get hilly, and pavements may not be, er...paved. Invest in good, comfortable shoes. Trolley bags aren't easy to drag over cobbled stone streets (lots in Florence and Venice), so you may want to consider a backpack. Also, unlike Singapore, public toilets aren't so readily available, and you may need to pay to use them in malls or cafes.

    k) When in Italy, eat gelato! In fact, indulge more in their desserts than in their main meals. Then walk off the calories by shooting more...

    Feel free to PM me if you need more info. Have fun.
    Last edited by wrkshy; 7th February 2007 at 05:04 AM. Reason: fixed links

  16. #16

    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    Hi wrkshy,

    thanks for the comprehensive info. I would definitely be interested in that accommodation with the Italian actress... ...do PM me the details.

    1. I am still trying to sort out the best iti and if possible I would like your help in gauging the travelling times and your comments on my iti. I have a female frd coming along for my first week in Italy and I have 2 options:

    Assumign a north south approach

    31/03 - Paris early morning flight to Genoa. Take train to Cinque Terre
    01/04 - Cinque Terre
    02/04 - Cinque Terre. Afternoon train or flight? to Florence
    03/04 - Stay at Florence. Day trip to Pisa.
    04/04 - Early morning Train or flight to Rome?
    05/04 - Rome
    06/04 - Rome. Frd goes back to Paris
    07/04 - Rome
    08/04 - Train or flight? to Naples. Move on to Sorrento.
    09/04 - Sorrento
    10/04 - Positano
    11/04 - Amalfi
    12/04 - Capri
    13/04 - Sorrento/Naples back to Paris

    or this:

    31/03 - Paris early morning flight to Naples. Move on to Sorrento.
    01/04 - Positano
    02/04 - Amalfi
    03/04 - Capri
    04/04 - Afternoon or evening Train or flight to Rome?Rome
    05/04 - Rome
    06/04 - Rome. Frd goes back to Paris
    07/04 - Rome.
    08/04 - Early morning flight or train? to Florence
    09/04 - Day trip to Siena
    10/04 - Pisa/San Gimignano
    11/04 - Early morning train to Cinque Terre
    12/04 - Cinque Terre
    13/04 - Cinque Terre to Genoa to Paris

    Not sure about squeezing Venice into the above iti as its in the Northeast and out of the way. Unless I take the second option and leave out Siena/San Gimignano/Florence and go from Cinque Terre to Venice and fly from Venice back to Paris?

    2. Durign the Easter week, is everything closed as in museums and other tourist attractions? Are the trains and buses still operating? If no how am I gonna move from one place to another?


    Quote Originally Posted by wrkshy View Post
    Hi boroangel, I spent 3 months backpacking through Europe last year. I didn't go to most of the places you've picked, neither did I drive, so I can only give you some bits of info. I also replied to this other thread, but that was mainly about what camera equipment to carry. Anyway, hope you find this useful -

    a) Singaporeans don't need a Schengen visa if they're going to spend less than 90 days in Italy. If still in doubt, call the Italian embassy direct. I entered Italy via a flight from Athens to Rome and there was no immigration check.

    b) In Rome I stayed in a flat with an Italian actress (!) A bit pricey but a good insight into how real Italian people live, plus it was within walking distance to Vatican City. I can PM you contact details if you're interested.

    ..

    k) When in Italy, eat gelato! In fact, indulge more in their desserts than in their main meals. Then walk off the calories by shooting more...

    Feel free to PM me if you need more info. Have fun.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    The rail network within Italy is very extensive and schedules r frequent.
    Train is faster than flight.


    .

  18. #18

    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    The time you are going to be in Italy, can still be quite cold, and I sure not want to be along the Amalfi Coast if it's not warm.

    In general, I found your itinerary very aggressive.

    Naples, do becareful in this particular city. The area around the train station is quite doggy. I have been to many places, Naples is one of those place I go only because I want to catch a ferry to Capri.

    My suggestion is to go for the hostels. They are clean, in town, and you can easily meet like minded people to spend a day or two with. Do your research while you are in Europe. And people at the first hostel will recommend you the next one.

    Do not stay in hotels outside of town if you are not driving.

    I personally love Rome. Very walkable city. History everywhere. Find a hostel inside the old city, and you will not regret it. There is another website call www.lateroom.com. As the name suggest, they have bargains if you book a day or two in advance. they have good italy coverage.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday!Advice needed on Europe travel...

    [quote=Deadpoet;2826674]The time you are going to be in Italy, can still be quite cold, and I sure not want to be along the Amalfi Coast if it's not warm.

    In general, I found your itinerary very aggressive.

    Naples, do becareful in this particular city. The area around the train station is quite doggy. I have been to many places, Naples is one of those place I go only because I want to catch a ferry to Capri.

    quote]

    Yes I heard a lot of stories about Naples and the train station. Thats why I am wondering if I should take the plane from Rome to Naples and then take a cab or is there a train near the airport to Sorrento?

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Going Paris this saturday! Advice needed on Europe travel...

    hmm...I'm writing in reply to your first thread directly...u are saying u have only 2 weeks rite? If u absolutely love Italy, then by all means go around Italy...if u are adventurous enough, I suggest u should go AROUND europe as the eurorail will get u to different cities in different country faster than u travel from Milan to other Italian cities.

    What I do last time is...
    depends on what u prefers, given the amount of $ and time, its not practical for us to see the whole of one country especially at our time, there is no eurorail or budget airline and we travel mostly in normal train and buses.

    Hence what we do is visit major european cities that have the easiest and efficient transport + the legendary cultural centres and old towns Bern, Geneva, Titisee, Helsinki, Paris, Pisa, Madrid to name a few. Unless u have been to other european countries, throughout europe at the same ages, most european countries have similar cultural structures and influences. Eg. if u cross Swiss to German borders, they are not as distinct as each other and if u are not aware, u could be in German lands already.

    Also countries that have similar weather and landscape, tends to share similar natural scenery. I remember I saw a similar fields of plantation on the hill slopes in CH and a couple of years later I saw a similar plantation with almost identical landscape in CN. After asking the locals, I recall they told me this type of agricultural products are suitable in certain climates and terrain only. Hence unless u are very well verse in a particular country scenery, many of the European countries does share similar cityscapes and nature scenery.

    Having said that, I've not been to all the countries in Europe and that is basically just general comments made from classmates studying in Europe, Europeans colleagues as well as personal experience. Most of the people whom I talked to suggest the best way to tour Europe is to take advantage of their budget air and bullet train to cover vast distances. I have one classmate that took him 7.99 only to fly from London to Finland! They suggest we either go around East and West european nations or go direct to some of the older cities to make full use of the limited time and $$$.

    Unless u have lots of time, don't want to plan too far or maybe your company will be posting u to Europe again, then next time u can go to another countries for another 2 weeks and then repeat. Then that will be great! Else if your motive is to see scenery, then you can consider what I did last time.

    Just for a thought!

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